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by Stephen Downes
November 4, 2009

Call for Papers
Proposals for a book chapter (ten chapters in total) are invited, covering a variety of fields related to PLEs and PLNs, including (adult) education studies, technology, sociology, media studies and philosophy.

The deadline for receipt of a proposal is November 15th. For details, please see

The Only Way to Become Amazingly Great at Something
This, I think, is true: "There's only one way to become good at something:
1. First, you must learn it by reading or listening to others who know how to do it, but most especially by doing.
2. Then do some more. At this point, you'll start to understand it, but you'll suck. This stage could take months.
3. Do some more. After a couple of years, you'll get good at it.
4. Do some more. If you learn from mistakes, and aren't afraid to make mistakes in the first place, you'll go from good to great."
Now if we think about that, and realize that you become great "by loving it so much your morning bowel movement takes second seat" then it follows - doesn;t it? - that if we really want to promote greatness in learning, we have to let learners pick whatever it is they love (rather than to prescribe something to them, no matter how 'core' we think it is). Leo Babauta, Zen Habits, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Social and Semantic Web
Another candidate for the 'next generation web' (also known as web 3.0) gleaned from a W3C barcamp: "The next generation, I believe, so-called web 3.0, is when we move to system-generated content. The discussions that occurred on pulling together useful information to the benefit of organizations, like adding valuable information as a response to your searches and discussions." Clark Quinn, Learnlets, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Next Generation Conferences
"Conferences need to be reinvented," says Gary Woodill. "The idea of spending 3 days listening to people present their papers and their PowerPoint slides one after the other is excruciating." He links to a proposal on conference reform from Jeff Hurt. It reminds me of my post from a couple years ago on how I would organize a conference (my favourite ideas are the conference-long video hockey tournaments and the 'famous person bearpits'). But you know, as I think about it, the place where conference organization is weakest, and yet most-crucial in these post-modern conferences, is communication to conference-goers. Communication at conferences is usually terrible - that is what I would focus on first. Gary Woodill, Workplace Learning Today, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

How do I connect online?
Dave Cormier answers D'Arcy Norman's question and posts a video describing how he connects online. Rhizomes enter the picture at about the 2:30 mark. Strangers on a train around 3:30. Family around 5:00. Office / playroom at about 5:30. It's interesting - I've been in that room, I recognize the shelves and the toys. It's a neat feeling seeing it on video. How does he connect online? "In almost all the same ways I do face to face." Related: McToonish connects online. Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Higher Education Framework published
Review of the new framework for higher education in Britain published yesterday under the title Higher Ambitions. There's quite a bit of selected citation from the report. For example, "Each institution needs to provide 'a clear understanding of what it will feel like to study subject x at institution y'." For analysis scroll to the bottom of the article, where you'll read "the focus on online learning (with a distance twist) continues to intrigue me because this would actually represent a major change in strategic emphasis for many universities." This (it seems to me) is probably forced by financial considerations; as the report states, "more universities will face up to hard choices about identifying the areas where they can really achieve excellence, and specialising in those" and funding "should go to match fund those who are successful in unlocking other sources of finance, rather than to compensate those who fail to do so." The game, Watson, is afoot. Derek Morrison, Auricle, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

EDUCAUSE Joins Identity Management Federation: InCommon
EDUCAUSE has elected to join the InCommon identity federation. "In an identity federation like InCommon, participating identity providers (such as colleges and universities) and resource providers (like EDUCAUSE) agree on a set of shared policies, processes, and technology standards." A precursor to this is seen in EDUCAUSE's Seven Things document on identity federation. One problem - in my view - of the federated approach is that it is exclusionary. You don't get an identity unless you join one of the federated organizations (it's not open, like OpenID), which for learners means becoming a student and paying tuition fees. The 2009 EDUCAUSE Catalyst Award went to "federated identity systems", which I must say is the first time I have ever seen an award given to a concept. Related: Understanding single sign-on. Rodney J. Petersen, EDUCAUSE, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard Inc.Q3 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
Fascinating reading. The earning reported represent a substantial increase across the board over last year. "Revenue grew by 18% to $98.4 million... This over performance was driven largely by strong professional service and continued strengthen demand for managed hosting." Various Authors, Seeking Alpha, November 4, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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