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by Stephen Downes
October 26, 2009

Draft report on openness in higher ed.
From Gavin Baker, "The Committee for Economic Development, a longstanding American business-led think tank, has released a draft of its report, Harnessing Openness to Improve Research, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education." He cites from the conclusion, "we are convinced that institutions of higher education should move toward greater openness on their own with support and encouragement from businesses and governments. ... We want to encourage thoughtful experimentation to learn more about the effect of greater openness in practice." Gavin Baker, Open Access News, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How I create and publish podcasts
Good detailed post looking in depth at how to create and publish podcasts (that is, audio recordings syndicated over the internet). Readers will appreciate the author's emphasis on free or low-cost software. Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Slides, Video from WCET09
Slides and videos from discussions of open learning at WCET in Denver from Jared Stein and Chris Lott. jared Stein, Flexknology, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Three-Year Solution
Some people questioned what I said today, that we might be looking at a full-blown crisis in the education system with a few months. I think anyone watching the headlines cannot escape that conclusion: we are seeing schools closing, people laid off, educational systems cash-crunched, inc reasing talk of privatization, and desperate measures, such as the 'three year degree' floated in this Newsweek article. Plausible? Not really - Brainstorm calls it "the magical three year lunch", Kevin Carey says there's no such thing as a three-year free lunch, and Joanne jacobs emphasizes the cost savings. What savings? Here's a bracing list of per year costs (via Leiter). And the Times recommends British students face what amounts to a doomsday scenario: "double fees and let banks handle loans".

Meanwhile students and faculty are protesting "the massive re-orientation of education toward job training, privatization and the standardization of curricular outcomes mandated by the Bologna Process" in Europe, while in the U.S. Four faculty members were suspended following a peaceful protest over cuts ("Southwestern officials could not be reached to explain why they took this action. The college's spokeswoman was recently laid off and she has not been replaced."). Semi-serious articles are being published about selling the California State University to the University of Phoenix while a university president in Colorado is fending off suggestions that his state university be privatized. Meanwhile, schools in Hawaii, unable to pay salaries, are taking Fridays off. This is just the beginning.
Lamar Alexander, Newsweek, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Barriers to change: Using technology to improve the cost-effectiveness of the academy: Part 3
Tony Bates continues his discussion of cost effectiveness in the academy. I referred to this post during our online discussion today, pointing out that we are rapidly entering a crisis period for education, as government are now withdrawing funding from the system. Increasingly, people are being left to their own devices, and in the absence of a strong education system, they become prone to misinformation and manipualtion. They need, I said, a vaccine that protects them against a disease of the educational system, and this vaccine is digital literacy. Tony Bates, Weblog, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Untangling the library systems environment

Summary of a presentation on the library systems environment describing "two major challenges. One is that on the management side libraries have to pull together a variety of systems and services whose legacy business and technical boundaries may no longer map very well onto user requirements. A second is that they have to project their resources into a variety of user environments and workflows over and above whatever integrated local library website environment they create." Related: Doug Johnson, Library as warehouse RIP. Lorcan Dempsey, Weblog, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Open Internet

If you wonder what's at stake in the net neutrality debate, view this video. None of this content - the product of individuals, not corporate interests with privileged access - would be possible in a non-neutral internet. "It would be one of the ultimate outrages." Alec Couros, open thinking, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Making an RSS feed where there isn't one.
Back in the early days of RSS most pages didn't have an RSS feed. So aggregators would engage in a practice called scraping, which was, essentially, to mine a web page and essentially produce a feed out of it (Technorati is still a scraper, which is why it is interested in microfortats - which are used on web pages - rather than XML data formats). These days there are services to do your scraping for you, such as Feed43. In this post, Andy Dickinson described how to use Feed43 to create a custom RSS feed. Andy Dickinson,, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Xkcd Redesign Pays Homage to GeoCities, Which Dies Today
I quite enjoy the web comic XKCD, which publishes geek-literate panels every day. I especially liked it today as the page was redesigned to pay homage to the shutting down of Geocities. I remember when Geocities opened up - it was a marvel in its time, which an especially creative Javascript system (that I studied in detail) to support user authoring of web pages. Michael Calore, Webmonkey, October 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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