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by Stephen Downes
December 16, 2009

Feynman 'Fun to Imagine' 3: Rubber Bands
"The world is a dynamic mess of jiggling things." So says Richard Feynman in this explanation of how rubber bands work in a 1983 BBC segment. Here's a bunch more, listed on Metafilter. Things like this - and not, say, formal online courses - represent the future of learning online. Richard Feynman, YouTube, December 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Lessons Learned From Lessons Learned: The Fit Between Online Education Best Practices and Small School Reality
E-learning implementation best practices developed for large institutions must be adapted for small schools. This according to an article in the most recent Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. "Small public schools, on the other hand, are faced with unique challenges in profiting from the advice of these first movers. Small schools are hampered as a result of severely constrained resources, among which are personnel, money, infrastructure, and time." Al S. Lovvorn,, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, December 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

JISC announces Intute funding cut
Funding to Intute is being cut; I think we'll be seeing many more of these cuts in the near future. "It is JISC policy that, wherever possible, services move from being fully funded by JISC to being sustainable by other means. Unfortunately in the current economic climate no realistic alternative funding model for Intute as it currently stands has been identified." Jackie Wickham , Intute, December 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

I was wrong: games ARE an alternative vision.
There is, writes Patrick Dunn, an uncrossable chasm between games and e-learning. It's not so much a technical chasm as one characterized by attitude. Specifically: in e-learning, learning happens though content, while in games it happens through experience. E-learning design is nice, while games are designed to be challenging. E-learning assumes we learn things step-by-step, while games assume we learn many things at once. And e-learning assumes learning is emotionally neutral, while games assume an 'angle' or attitude. Now my question is, could something (say, a connectivist learning design) assume everything a game assumes, without being a game? Because on those four points, I'm four for four on the side of games. Related: presentation vogue. Patrick Dunn, Networked Learning Design, December 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Clean Slate
Coverage of the settlement between Blackboard and Dersire2Learn. D2L head John Baker expands on his blog, "this is in the best interest of our clients, the educational community and ourselves as we continue to serve you." Blackboard president Ray Henderson comments about the ongoing case, saying "this dialog has distracted attention from the many positive contributions to the industry that Blackboard has made and can continue to make." Seb Schmoller offers a long list of his own links on the case. The Chronicle comments over the confidential nature of the deal, "So a vocal and divisive fight has ended in silence." Michael Feldstein notes, "Left unresolved is the larger question of the role of patents in higher education." Barry Dahl also grumbles about the unresolved issues. "Doesn't this move by D2L signal the possibility that there is some validity in Blackboard's lousy 'Alcorn' patent?" he also notes that most of the D2L Blackboard patent case page has disappeared. And if you want the complete story, have a look at my full Blackboard Patent page, which covers everything from the original patent grant to the final settlement. Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, December 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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