Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [Mobile] [About] [Archives] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
November 26, 2009

Google/Feedburner Link Pollution
As someone who creates posts and edits links (in part) by hand, I have also noticed the 'link pollution' being propagated by Google and Feedburner (note that links served through OLDaily are always cleaned of 'utm' link garbage and redirects (such as Feedproxy or Feedburner) are dereferenced to provide actual (original) links). Link pollution like this breaks the system of using URIs as identifiers. I have long argued against the use of Feedburner; now we have more reasons: "1) it can pollute your links, first by appending them with Google Analytics tracking codes, then by rewriting the link as a proxied link; 2) you have no idea what future 'innovations' the Goog will introduce to pollute your feed even further." And yes, I'm also tempted to rewrite Google analytics code to highlight my own web site. Tiny Hirst, OUseful Info, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How do you connect to people online? (the video)
Video with contributions from people around the world (but mostly from Canada and the U.S.) describing how we connect with each other. There is broad agreement that the most important thing (as Alan Levine says) is to find something that's comfortable, that's meaningful, and ultimately, that's personal. D'Arcy Norman, Weblog, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Why you want to use scenarios in your elearning
I liked this presentation, which suggests a design approach based more on getting learners to solve problems rather than remember facts. The proof, suggests Cathy Moore, is in the results: the problem-based approach, using scenarios, will actually improve performance. "Since many clients don't actually measure the effectiveness of their materials and just want information put online quickly, it can be hard to argue for immersive scenarios. Have you successfully used scenarios? Did you have to convince stakeholders to let you use them?" Cathy Moore, Making Change, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Never mind the quality, feel the width
"Is Wikipedia," asks Steve Wheeler, "dying a slow death?" That might be a fair conclusion to draw following this report, "that Wikipedia has lost 49,000 editors in just a few months." Larry Sanger, who created Citizendium as a response to Wikipedia, suggests that Wikipedia was just the first draft, but "The Wikipedia experiment has deeply suffered as a result of its radical embrace of the most extreme egalitarian and anarchistic principles - which have made the community, as such principles always will do, descend into mob rule and a failed state, so to speak." My own take, entered as a comment on Sanger's post, is that Wikipedia's legion of article police are the cause of the decline. "They leave these little notes on articles - "this item should be deleted" - "this item doesn't cite published sources" - which basically attach contributions rather than improve upon them." Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Impact of Social Computing on the EU Information Society and Economy
Ignatia reports, "The European Commission JRC (Joint Research Center), Institute for Prospective Technological Studies released last week at the EU Ministerial Conference on e-Government a comprehensive report on social and economic implications of Social Computing [aka Web2.0, social media]." The 138 page report contains 9 chapters, each by different authors. It suggests, "Social Computing is now mainstream and companies and policymakers cannot afford to overlook it." Also, "Social Computing is novel and disruptive as it enables the open collaborative creation and sharing of content by users and the re-use of this content for a multitude of purposes." And "Social Computing has the potential
to reshape work, health and learning." Yves Punie,, eds., Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Why Big Media's Anti-Google Counter-Revolution Will Fail
Just in case it's not obvious, I want tyo go on record as agreeing with those who predict that News Corp's anti-Google action will fail. It's not simply because the company is trying to create scarcity instead of value - other industries (the OPEC cartel, the diamond industry, etc.) have succeeded at this. It's because it doesn't create a fair marketplace. "Who will create a FairTrade for media? That's every media player's next great challenge. MicroFox, still trapped in the confines of strategy 1.0, can't take it on. But somewhere out there is a Constructive Capitalist who will - and when they do, kiss big media goodbye." Umair Haque, Harvard Business, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

US Self-paced eLearning Market
Wow, I am so totally in the wrong business. A site-license for this 61-page report costs $4,825.00 USD. What it will tell you (according to the executive summary, available here) is that "The US market for Self-paced eLearning products and services reached $16.7 billion in 2009. The demand is growing by a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% and revenues will reach $23.8 billion by 2014." Ah, well, I think I'll just keep on providing quality e-learning analysis and insights in OLDaily for free every day. Sam S. Adkins, Ambient Research, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Comparing Repository Types: Challenges and Barriers for Subject-Based Repositories
I've been following an interesting exchange on the BOAI mailing list based on this paper comparing the value of institutional archives versus sector-wide archives (I've abbreviated the title in the title of this post). Favoring the former, Stevan Harnad suggests "Institutions are the universal providers of all research output -- funded and unfunded, across all subjects, all institutions, and all nations." This is, of course, debatable, and we can argue that "researchers want and will use disciplinary services (look at usage stats for arXiv, ADS, SPIRES, RePEc, PMC, SSRN vs IRs)." More from Harnad today here. There is a slightly dated metalist of archive repositories, including subject based repositories, available online. Chris Armbruster and Laurent Romary, Social Science Research Network, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Quality post-secondary education in Canada: How can we know?
The Canadian Council for Learning has released another report, this time on quality in post secondary institutions in Canada. According to CEO Paul Capon, "Other countries have developed and implemented standards in an effort to maintain and improve the quality of their PSE sectors. We have to do the same." However, the report, which may be found on the CCL website, does not explain why "doing the same" is an imperative. Read the full PDF monograph. It asserts, "Canada lacks an informational framework through which to understand, measure or clearly demonstrate the quality of its PSE sector." This, they assert, is important to funders. "People who invest in human capital through a purchase of higher education do not know precisely what they are buying until well after the investment is made." (p. 19)

Yet there are measures, provided by institutions every year, which define the success of these institutions through the success of their graduates and the economic impact on communities. And really, if we want to be honest about this, the objective is to change the objectives of the system. "The job of determining the ultimate goals of post-secondary education, from which quality measures ought to derive, properly belongs to governments, institutions and stakeholders." Moreover, the measures undertaken in the countries that we 'must follow' have been widely criticized. The Bologna Process, for example, cited in the report as a model (p. 20), is not effective. "The Bologna Process is perhaps not so much about marketisation, as bureaucratisation: it means the reorganisation of higher education not around the market, but around a series of tick-box standards." And Australia's AUQA program is also questioned. "AUQA is fundamentally flawed. It has become a self-serving industry, the quality audit industry. It's not adding value to the higher education system and it's not giving rise to discussions about the sort of issues that are at the heart of quality."

Why Canada would emulate such programs, without an assessment demonstrating the value of such a program, is a mystery. Press Release, Canadian Council for Learning, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

How To: Try Out The New Google Search Right Now
This works; I tried it myself, and I must say, I prefer the new (proposed) interface. Stan Schroeder, Mashable, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Multimodal Analysis and Digital Technology
I thoroughly enjoyed this paper, which asks, "does digital technology function to reproduce more effectively and efficiently knowledge which already exists, or does it produce new theories and approaches in disciplines such as mathematics and science?" The author draws on Michael Halliday's systemic functional (SF) theory to explain how we create meaning with different forms of communication, such as language, visual imagery, gesture, sound, music, three dimensional objects and architecture. Kay L. O'Halloran, Preprint, November 26, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.