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by Stephen Downes
November 23, 2009

Audience as Community
This is the image that appears at the bottom of Jeff Utecht's post in Google Reader and this is the site it links to (after reporting to various tracking services (and be careful what you click on)). The post is about 'audience as community' but the content is almost irrelevant when followed by an ad like this, don't you think? "A community of followers or readers is a powerful learning tool," writes Utecht. So why so carelessly (or naively?) send such misleading and even hurtful content their way? Jeff Utecht , The Thinking Stick, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Defining Open
My frustration with this post, in which David Wiley takes another stab at defining 'open' educational content, is that it refects a prosition that I would have thought untenable after our discussion in Vancouver last fall. But we'll get to see more of that. For now, the comments are where the interesting stuff is happening, with WikiEducator's Wayne Mackintosh bringing to bear the (comercially friendly) Free Cultural Works Definition and Stevan Harnad iterating that "Open Content is not what the global Open Access movement is seeking for their peer-reviewed research articles." My perspective is that each of these, and large swaths of Wiley's own position, represent efforts by corporations to own what we might call free and/or open content, and to make it not free. It's almost as though these authors all have a wilful suspension of belief regarding what corporations would do with content if they could. Today's newsletter ought to serve as a corrective. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Apple's Mistake
Think about it - if Apple could own the computer market, then they would have the right approve all applications that you are allowed to run on your computer. That is, after all, how they operate the ongoing disaster that is their app store. The result is bad software. "By breaking software development, Apple gets the opposite of what they intended: the version of an app currently available in the App Store tends to be an old and buggy one." Via Copyfight, which adds, "You cannot seriously be in the media business and expect to output a product that will somehow own the customer (user)." Paul Graham, Weblog, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Sorry Rupert, News Content Is Not a Google Killer
We continue to read how Rupert Murdoch is going to remove all his news empire's content from Google and (suggests this article, and others) offer (for a fee) exclusive access to Bing. It is not surprising (and reflects its usual ethical deficit) to see corporate media attempt to form a cartel. But unless they can actually control access to news, and all distribution of that news, they can't enforce a cartel. Yes, they would if they could; forget about democracy. They can't - but the key point to take home here is, they would if they could. Danny Sullivan, Digital Next, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

PhD: to what end?
The authors argue that philosophy grads from Canadian universities are at a disadvantage in landing tenure-track jobs. I never did finish my PhD in philosophy, but I spent five years pursuing it. One of the things that led me to move on to other things after I had written my dissertation proposal was the evident fact that people (and especially men) with the degrees simply weren't being hired; some very very good people were simply being shuffled through the system as sessionals and the rest just disappeared. "There is a deep incoherence here," write Groarke and Fenske. If a department considers a Canadian PhD a liability, how can it, in good conscience, busy itself producing more Canadian PhDs?" Of course, I did value my studies in philosophy (they prepared me for my current work). I just came to (deeply) mistrust the academic system that ostensibly offered me the education. Louis Groarke and Wayne Fenske, CAUT University Affairs, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Broadcaster Plan Involves More Than Just Fee-For-Carriage
In recent weeks Canadians have been subjected to a pervasive and frequently offensive campaign by broadcasters to "save local television" - this from conglomerate CTV GlobeMedia, owned by such entities as the Thomson family and Bell Canada. It is urging Canadian regulators to force cable operators to pay fees for 'local television' broadcasts. But these broadcasts, far from being local, consist in large part of broadcasts of American television programming (and it is the cost of this, plus the cost of borrowing required to fund the acquisitions that made it a conglomerate in the first place, that causes 'local' television to lose money). But as Michael Geist reports, the stations are asking for much more: they want to block American channels, drop over-the-air signals to Canadian communities, and delay digital television. What such a company would do with the internet, if it were able, is worrying. Michael Geist, Weblog, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Google Wave vs Twitter at conferences
The world of conference backchannels is still in flux, and while many have been using Twitter to exchange comments, some people have been experimenting with Wave. There are different ways to do it - commenters could use the default (and somewhat cumbersome) threaded discussion. Or they could collaborate and author a single document. This post reports on different approaches and shows - in part - how they worked out. Unattributed, Fresh Networks, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Bring math lessons to life with DreamBox Teacher Tools!
Pearson is collecting teacher e-mail addresses, and the way they're doing it is by offering these math lesson demonstration tools. They're not the only ones doing this, of course; Adobe was giving away free software at ECOO, but only if you gave them your email address and signed a petition form calling on the government to block-license Adobe products (which seemed a bit underhanded to me). Various Authors, Pearson Learning, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Doha Reflections
An unusual event took place in Doha, Qatar, this week, a sort of "Davos of Education" as about 1000 educators, business people, and others were whisked to the Middle-eastern venue for three days of talks and presentation of an action agenda at the World Innovation Summit in Education (WISE). I think I would have been pretty unhappy with the event and I sense some lingering scepticism from Alan Levine in this summary, tempered with an admiration for the many educational projects around the world. I must confess, if I were at Davos, I would be rather more comfortable being with the protesters outside the building. Just saying. Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, November 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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