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by Stephen Downes
October 19, 2009

Innovate to Cease Publication
It's not posted anywhere (to my knowledge) but news reaches me (and is apparently now public) that the respected online journal Innovate is being shut down by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. Articles and contents will be maintained online as a permanent archive. The journal went from zero to 76,000 subscribers from 271 countries in five years.

The suddenness and the finality of this takes me aback, and while I've been wondering through the week whether anything may yet be done it seems to me from the comments that have come in that this is the end for the publication. To say that this publication - Technology Source, and then Innovate - and the work of editor James Morrison was an important influence on my work and my career would be an understatement. I benefited at all levels from my involvement with it, from help with my writing, to exposure to innovative ideas, to the creation of an audience for my work, to Jim's encouragement and support, which was unwavering. My thanks to Jim and to everyone else involved.

Innovate staff can be found in Ideagora, a Ning community with more than subscribers and 42 discussions.
Various Authors, Website, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Thoughts on Trust
I was asked for my thoughts on trust, in relation to groups and networks. This was my response, not directly addressing the issue, but framing it I think in a relevant way. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Visual and Dyslexic Thinking and Learning Styles and the Educational Controversies
Dan Willingham's campaign against common sense continues apace, with yet more coverage (this time in the Washington Post, which has a major business publishing the sort of resource someone who agreed with Willingham might advocate). Willingham's argument is typically presented as "there are no learning styles," but becomes something rather less definite when challenged - something more like Eide's question as to "whether too much burden is placed on teachers to teach toward different learning styles rather than students to identify how they learn best," which is the same point again. But that does not mean there are no learning styles, not that they are unimportant in learning. "The educational literature is rife with differences between dyslexic and non-dyslexic thinking styles," for example, "probably part of the reason so many dyslexics are frustrated in conventionally taught schools." Fernette and Brock Eide, Eide Neurolearning Blog, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

GLOBE meeting - OER and its growing importance
GLOBE still exists, apparently, and now advocates open educational resources (OERs). Great. But the international group of repositories has never answered to my satisfaction (or at all) the question: how can you reconcile open access with an access federation? Garry Putland, Garry's Rambles, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Weblog of (a) David JonesChoosing a research publication outlet
It may be just me, but it seems to me that this list (and this list) of the 'top' publications is heavily weighted toward expensive closed-access publications. It concerns me when governments defer the evaluation of academic work to the word of three anonymous (prejudicial, and probably with a vested interest) referees. David Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

CCK08 Research Papers
"We – Sui Fai John Mak, Roy Williams and Jenny Mackness - have finally completed work on 2 research papers following our participation in CCK08. CCK09 Moodle site in Week 4 and General Discussion forums; Nellie's CCK09 Ning site; John's CCK08 Ning site. Roy has also invited discussion in his Google Groups Research site and John has invited discussion on his blog. " Sui Fai John Mak, Roy Williams and Jenny Mackness, Connectivism & Connective Knowledge, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

First comprehensive global study of broadband says USA is kept behind by closed access policies
"I want, and there is no reason we cannot have, at least 100mbs full symmetrical bandwidth. It is a global competitive imperative. Telcos, Cablecos, I do not want your lousy bowl of 1.5mbps gruel." Yeah, sounds reasonable, but look who you're asking: Bell, Telus and Rogers. (I got a phone call from Bell last week trying to sell me 350kbs ADSL - I laughed at them and told them to come back when they're running fibre.) David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Canadian Universities Too Closed Minded on Open Access
I am asked from time to time about institutional support for open access in Canada, and after I mention Athabasca University I usuall say something like, "In Canada support for open access is strong, but it's mostly on an individual level, not an institutional level." That statement has the merit of being true, because there is strong individual support for open access in Canada, but it is also true, as this article suggests, that such support is not manifest at the institutional level. Since I have pretty much given up on institutions (they always seem to bow to the will of the people with the most money) it has never really bothered me that on this issue, as with most others, institutions stand on the wrong side of the issue. But other people (i.e., pretty much everyone else in the world) think institutional support for an idea is important, and so the lack of institutional support matters to them. Michael Geist, Weblog, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The 15 Laws of Meeting Power
This article - via Seb Paquet by way of Daniel Lemire is interesting to me mostly because it's a nice summary of the tactics I've seen people in board meetings use (usually against me) to stifle democracy and use power instead of reason to get their way. Lemire reduces his tactics to four more basic rules. But you know, my feeling is, if you need to employ some sort of power tactic to get your way, you've already lost. Yes, power wins, and you can get the meeting - and even the organization - to go along with you. But these are all people who would have gone along with you anyways. What you haven't done is to sway the one person who really needs to be swayed: your putative opponent. I know this sounds idealistic, but I've seen this in practise (I've been in a lot of meetings over the years): meetings and organizations can survive the bad decisions - what they cannot survive is the factionalism and alienation that follows a power play. Venkatesh Rao,, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Tim Bray launched a version of something called PubSubHubub launched Sunday. "Parties (servers) speaking the PubSubHubbub protocol can get near-instant notifications (via webhook callbacks) when a topic (feed URL) they're interested in is updated. He's not totally convinced. "I just don't see how, absent heroics like Skype has to use, POST-to-the-client is going to deal with the reality of ubiquitous firewalls."
Tim Bray, Ongoing, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Re-Thinking E-Learning Research: Foundations, Methods and Practices
This book by Norm Friesen looks like it's worth a read; too bade only four chapters are available in this wiki site. There's a SCoPE seminar on the book starting in November. Norm Friesen, NMS Centre, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Put it in the Depot
Just launched in time to coincide with Open Access Week, the Depot helps you store your open access materials online. The Depot provides two s3ervices: "1. a deposit service for researchers worldwide without an institutional repository in which to deposit their papers, articles, and book chapters (e-prints); 2. a re-direct service which alerts depositors to more appropriate local services if they exist." Various Authors, EDiNA, October 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The Tiny Differences in the Littlest Brains
Review of a book (Pink Brain, Blue Brain, by Lise Eliot) that captures my own feelings about gender differences in brains: specifically, that they are minimal, and that our findings of gender differences are driven more by expectations than by actual differences. "'Sex differences in the brain are sexy,' Eliot writes. And so we tend to notice them everywhere. 'But there's enormous danger,' she says, in our exaggeration. It leads us to see gender, beginning at an early age, only in terms of what we expect to see, and to assume that sex differences are innate and immutable." Emily Bazelon, Washington Post, October 18, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Microsoft exposes Firefox users to drive-by malware downloads
If you've been noting some odd Firefox updates on your Windows machine, here's what has been going on. Last week, Microsoft released a Windows update. Part of this update was to silently insert into Firefox a Microsoft .Net extension. Firefox developers were upset, not only because this bypassed the normal procedure for extensions, which requires a user's permission, but because it introduced to Firefox the same sort of vulnerabilities to viruses and malware users of Internet Explorer face. So at the end of the week, Firefox released an update which removes the Microsoft extension. Hence, the messages you've been seeing on your screen. Ryan Naraine, ZD Net, October 18, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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