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by Stephen Downes
September 4, 2009

Cloud Intelligence
After a whole day spent procrastinating (as reflected in this newsletter) I am at last working on my slides as electronic music echos across the Danube outside my window. Strange, eerie, cool. Tomorrow's session (I'm on at 11:00 a.m., or 5:00 a.m. eastern time) will be webcast live, with live twitter enabled. The live feed should be at and I hope to see you there. Various Authors, Ars Electronica, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

More aggregation fun

In case you were wondering... in OLDaily, you are reading at level 4 (that is, if I don't presume too much when I suggests that this is a source you trust)... (Oh, and Siemens says "The model emphasizes the role of curators (slightly related: curatorial teaching) in support of aggregation." But no. There are no curators here. There are multiple instances of level 3, multiple instances of level 4, and (significantly) they are self-selecting, not anointed appointed. George Siemens, elearnspace, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

E-Colleges and Free Online Courses Likely to Raise Achievement
Could it be that a side-benefit of the recession is that the whole point of online learning may be about to be realized? "The Christian Science Monitor hopes that 'the rapid rise of e-learning may finally help burst the bubble in rising tuition costs' going on to explain that the number of university students worldwide has increased by nearly half to 153 million in the last decade.... the DoE is rightly opening up free higher-education, helping to ensure citizens aren't priced out by tuition cost, can get a degree, and stay on terms with the rest of the world." Mike Smith,, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Reaching those that don't care about grades
Ah! Yes! I stopped caring about grades in grade 7 (with a brief relapse in grade 8) all the way through to somewhere in my fourth year of university, when I actually tried to start attending class (all the more remarkable, in retrospect, when you consider the amount of effort it took me to actually get admitted to and to afford university). The only time I actually cared about grades, I got straight As. The rest of the time - which is most of the time - I had other interests. Like learning, creating (especially creating!), understanding, knowing... Don't get me wrong, it's not that grades were irrelevant (you had to keep them to a certain level, at least after high school) it's just I was always willing to sacrifice a bit of grade point for something more important. Related: Alex Reid on Dan Pink Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Models for Building Knowledge in a Technology-Rich Setting: Teacher Education
According to the abstract, "this paper describes three technology models used by teacher education interns: electronic portfolios, negotiative concept mapping, cognote-supported electronic discussions." central to this account is a model of knowledge construction employed by the authors. In particular, if you map student discourse to knowledge-building techniques, and if you tell students you are doing this, you can increase the frequency of knowledge-building techniques. I'm uncomfortable with the proposition that knowledge is 'built' in the manner described (which appears to me to be an essentially cumulative model of knowledge creation) and I'm uncomfortable with the idea that stimulating rote processes has the effect of stimulating epistemic awareness. Still, it is worth applauding the attempt to engender some critical thinking in online discourse.
Gregory R. MacKinnon and M. Lynn Aylward, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The case for standardized open licenses
Peter Suber takes TechDirt's Mike Masnick to task for saying "I don't use any of their licenses, because I don't necessarily see the point. We've declared in the past that the content here is free for anyone to do what they want with it, and thus I feel no need for a Creative Commons license." Suber responds, "The need arises from the reality that sharing without standardized legal tools doesn't scale." Um, OK, but look what standardized licenses buy me: everyone (and not just regular readers) now they can reuse my stuff; software engines know they can reuse my stuff; and communities or institutions that require legal certainty know they can use my stuff. You know, this argument makes me rethink the value of standardized licenses at all, because the only people who seem to actually benefit are the mechanized reblog spammers. The "it doesn't scale" argument doesn't work for the 99.9 percent of us who are only writing to a smallish community or family. It works for the industrialists and the broadcasters and the propagandists. People who deal in mass messaging. Related: the contrary view, Scale is the oxygen that feeds collaboration. Peter Suber, Open Access News, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

I have been enjoying the Chronicle blogs page, Brainstorm. But whomever is following the authors and changing the titles of their posts needs to stop. I much prefer the title 'Reading Research Shows What?' (which actually reflects the popular trope) over the stilted (and uninformed) 'Research on Teaching Reading Shows What?'. And it is surely an exercise in blandness to create the title 'The State of General Education' out of the much more interesting original, 'Dropping the Pretense of "Common Core" Learning'. Note to the uninformed Chronicle editor: the original titles all show up in the RSS feed. You may as well just leave them. Various Authors, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

HTML 5: The Markup Language
Ah, this is better. If you're not building web browsers, the 900 page HTML 5 spec is overkill. This guide, by contrast, is what you need: a nice and compact listing of HTML 5 elements, from a to video. Michael(tm) Smith, W3C, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Utah State U.'s OpenCourseWare Closes Because of Budget Woes
Pretty much as the headline says. The project's champion, David Wiley, moved from Utah State to Brigham Young, and his previously funded projects ran out of time and money. Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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