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by Stephen Downes
October 25, 2009


I took a break yesterday from trying to get caught up on work to take a walk with Andrea in the rain in nearby Sackville, a university town about a half hour from Moncton. You know, it's funny - I got more work done during my supposed 'vacation' last week than I do during a normal week in the office. I also got more rest. It makes me think maybe about reconsidering how I approach my work. Anyhow, I pulled this Sunday newsletter together while watching the football game. Hope you enjoy it.
Stephen Downes, Flickr, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Timely Open Education Essay As Canada Prepares to Shoot Itself in the Foot Over Copyright Regulations
This is not a partisan issue in Canada as the opposition Liberals were prepared to pass similar legislation. Rather, it is the usual 'power and money versus the people' issue. And the losers in this rush to a stringent copyright regime will very much be the Canadian people, as the established copyright owners are not domestic, as they are elsewhere, but foreign. Stringent copyright rules will not help the Canadian content industry, it will go a long way toward destroying it. William J. Allen, EDUCAUSE, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training
This is an entire book available for free download (or, you can order a print version). Even if you don't have time to read the whole book, be sure to see John Traxler's Current State of Mobile Learning, which outlines major categories of mobile learning, discussion of a definition of mobile learning (which excludes the current generation of laptop and Tablet PCs), the case for mobile learning (on grounds of personal, situated and authentic learning), and attributes of an evaluation of mobile learning. Mohamed Ally, editor, Athabasca University, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Research Scope
A national portal designed to raise the profile of Open Access
research in Ireland. Interestingly, uses the harvester developed by the Public Knowledge Project along with the Quintura word cloud search (which I don't think offers a lot of value). Various Authors, Website, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Access to Open Educational Resources
Wiki publication (there's also a PDF version) summarizing discussion from the community held in February and March 2009. "Part One gives an overview of the various constraints that limit access to OER, while Part Two documents some tested or proposed solutions or approaches. The access challenges and solutions identified may justify further exploration and follow-up action - proposals for which can be found in Part Three."

The publication is worthwhile for collecting a number of stories of open access along with some case studines, including the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course offered by George Siemens and myself. Interestingly, a proposal suggests a sort of super-Miro application to facilitate the upload and distribution of learning resources.

Finally, probably the most important part of the document is the articulation of three freedoms defining open educational resources:
- Legal freedom, which embodies licensing
- Technical freedoms, which include the freedom to download, to disaggregate easily, to move an OER around and to obtain different versions
- Cultural freedom, which might well be called educational freedom. Various Authors, UNESCO, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The effectiveness of work-experience programs in Canadian high schools
Survey article on the effectiveness of work-experience programs in Canadian schools. The article has a good typology of work experience programs and offers some decidedly unsurprising conclusions:
- Care needs to be taken when matching students to placements
- Assign a dedicated coordinator to oversee the program to ensure its success
- Develop a ‘contract' between the employer and the student that sets out reasonable expectations for each party
- Prepare students in advance
In related news, the sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, and cats spend a lot of time sleeping.
Unattributed, Canadian Council on Learning, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

ALT-C Keynote and invited speaker sessions
Nice page with embedded videos from all the keynotes and invited speakers at Alt-C: Michael Wesch, Martin Bean, Terry Anderson, Heather Fry, Aaron Porter, Richard Noss, Vanessa Pittard, Diana Laurillard, David Price, David Kennedy, Matthew McFall. Various Authors, Alt-C, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Open Access to Scholarly Information
This is an open access portal site based in the Netherlands. "The Open Access website provides structured information about Open Access to research results and the advantages that Open Access has. Practical examples are used to illustrate the possibilities opened up by the Internet for innovations in scholarly communication. The website provides researchers with information about how Open Access can give their work a larger potential audience." Various Authors, Website, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Power issues hit Africa e-learning project
This is the standard response as soon as anyone talks about e-learning in Africa. I continue to wonder why power can't be supplied across Africa. It just doesn't make sense to me. Michael Malakata, The Industry Standard, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Implementing a Cost Effectiveness Analyzer for Web-Supported Academic Instruction: A Campus Wide Analysis
I probably won't even analyze the economic impact of online learning in any sort of detail - that is the task of economists and accountants. But it is interesting to see how it might be accomplished. This paper looks into a metric for determining the cost-effectiveness of different forms of delivery. To me, it feels like mostly a translation exercise, from unquantified data, to 'coins': "The cost effectiveness values resulting from the calculations were summarized in four "coins" (efficiency coins=$; quality coins; affective coins; and knowledge management coins) for each of the three actors (students, instructors and university)."

Anat Cohen and Rafi Nachmias, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, October 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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