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by Stephen Downes
February 1, 2010

CC & OER 2010
More news from Creative Commons about their (now extinct) ccLearn program. The big news is that "the ccLearn brand and website are going away." We are being told that this is "a big win" for open educational resources (OERs) and that Creative Commons is increasing staff committment to OERs because it's now included in the responsibilities of "our CEO, Creative Director, CTO, GC, and VP." I was never enthusiastic about ccLearn so I guess I shouldn't be too critical of the changes at Creative Commons. I'm hoping they understand that they are a part of a wider OER movement that has a use for Creative Commons but is not defined by it. Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Field Guide for Change Agents
I'm not sure I would call it a success, but EduCon's collaborative 'book' was interesting. Actually, I'm not sure I would call it a "book" either, unless we extend the category of "book" to include slide shows. I think, though, that the idea had potential, even if the execution was a bit off. The "book" suffered in terms of consistency and format and was filled with genuinely unoriginal observations and sayings; the only thing missing was "There is no try" with an attribution to Yoda (there was one attribution to "Uncle Ben").

The book was an outcome of the Educon conference held online over the weekend at Science Leadership Academy in Philadephia. As Dean Shareski, who was visiting there from Saskatchewan (and presented along with Alec Couros), said of the school, "The level of connectedness among staff doesn't hurt their image but indeed follows closely with one of their guiding principles: Learning can – and must – be networked."

There was a lot more blog chatter over the weekend from Educon, including Lucy Gray's survey, a session with wiki from Tracy Weber, reflections on privilege from Lisa Durff, reflections on friends and a day two summary from Kevin Jarrett, a short reflection from Jen Wagner, some play from Brian Smith, some linking to famous people (like Richard Branson and Chris Anderson) by Dave Warlick (twice), links and tweets from afar by Jerry Swiatek, a wrap-up from TeachPaperless, a take-away from Will Richardson, and of course the SLA kids from principal Chris Lehman. Thanks to Langwitches for numerous session summaries. Ben Hazzard,, Slideshare, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

What Are My Friends doing in My Google Search Results?\
Google is quietly enabling social search in some search services. For example, Alan Levine has discovered a link at the bottom of the Google Image search that provides results from his friends' photos. Me, I only have two contacts in the Google empire, so my image search is somewhat more limited (though I did learn a lot about who my two contacts are connected to, thanks to the second-degree of friendship search). Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

ePUB an iRevolution?
I don't know whether ePub is a revolution, but it is something new and it is increasingly important. ePub is the format used to publish eBooks, and is used by Apple's iBooks, Barnes & Noble's Nook, the Sony Reader, iRex's Digital Reader, and iRiver's Story, among others. Wikipedia has an article on ePub here. If you want to read ePub documents in your browser, you can use a Firefox extension. What makes ePub distinct from other content formats is that it creates a flow of content that can exist over several pages, and which displays more or less text per page depending on page size and text viewing area. Other than that, there's a packaging format, which defines things like table of contents and (optionally) digital rights management. If you want to create your own ePub documents, you can use the free and open source Sigil document authoring tool. Judy O'Connell, heyjude, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

"Internet is making education available to many more people these days"
Interview with me given when I was in Barcelona; versions are available in Spanish and Catalan. Appropriately, among other things, I discuss language on the internet: "I don't think it is a good idea for any one language to dominate because each language implies a different way of seeing the world, of representing all the possibilities. That is why these languages need to be preserved." Eva Millet , UOC, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Join in the 4C Initiative
"The 4C Initiative," states the website, "is all about content, capability, connection and collaboration." More to the point, "The four stated aims of the 4C Initiative are:
(i) develop a digital content supply network for education
(ii) connect education to a billion digital resources in the next ten years
(iii) help educators and educational institutions worldwide to collaborate
(iv) build local digital content publishing capacity worldwide."
The project is sponsored by The DCU Learning, Innovation and Knowledge Research Centre (LINK), The Nominet Trust and Cambridge University. Theyt are "currently undertaking a major capacity building project for digital content in education. The goal of the project is to enhance teacher capabilities using digital content and our aim is for proficiency rather than expertise." Patricia Donaghy, Using ICT in Further Education, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

HTML5, document metadata and Dublin Core
Very good and very detailed account of Dublin Core metadata embedded in HTML4 and HTML5 pages. Especially interesting is the use of the HTML5 microdata element, the wayward child of the old microformat specification. "Microdata offers similar functionality to that offered by RDFa in that it allows for the embedding of data anywhere in an HTML5 document. Like RDFa, microdata is a generalised mechanism, not one tied to any particular set of terms, and also like RDFa, microdata introduces a new set of attributes, to be used in combination with existing HTML5 attributes." Pete Johnston, eFoundations, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

NFB Unreels Online Smash Hits
Good overview of Canada's National Film Board, its open content online, and participative initiatives such as GDP. "The NFB has demonstrated the potential of the Internet and new media to attract new audiences for Canadian content. The old regulatory models premised on scarcity that led to Canadian content requirements are disappearing quickly." Quite right. It's a market of supply, not scarcity. Canadian culture is vying for attention - to promote Canadian content is therefore to fund it and make it freely available, not (as in the past) to try to restrict foreign culture from flowing in. Michael Geist, Weblog, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Filtering, Crowdsourcing and Innovation
What I want to say about the 'filtering' approach is that it is fundamentally conservative. What I mean by this is, first, that it retains the traditional role of the content publisher or other gatekeeper as a 'filter', and second, it retains the traditional role for content, as broadcast to "everybody." It's a way to represent social media and networks in such a way as to reassure business-people that nothing will really change at all. But in new media, unfiltered creative content is the norm; filters are the (much ballyhooed, especially by media) exception. And second, audiences are increasingly fragmented and local (though the media, which lives and dies on numbers, focuses on the mass market). Tim Kastelle, Innovation Leadership Network, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines
A major report finds "no evidence to suggest that 'tech-savvy' young graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors are bucking traditional publishing practices." Instead, it says, "Established scholars seem to exercise significantly more freedom in the choice of publication outlet than their untenured colleagues." Moreover, "Mechanisms for judging non-text and non-traditional scholarship (e.g., databases, cell lines, curated collections, websites, etc.) exist in all of the academic institutions we surveyed," however these are counted not as scholarship but rather as "service' or "teaching" (the same is true at NRC). Diane Harley,, UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

A personal view of e-learning at the University of British Columbia
Tony Bates delivers a great overview of e-learning at the University of british Columbia (UBC). UBC is, of course, where WebCT was first developed, though Bates suggests that the university may switch over to Sakai when its license comes up for renewal. UBC is also, according to Bates, looking at ways to redesign its first-year courses. Tony Bates, Weblog, February 1, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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