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by Stephen Downes
February 19, 2010

Student Writing
Yes, student writing can be pretty bad, but I know I didn't write that badly in grade nine. Yet I had one of those educations that the critics like to disparage, full of self-study, electives (like Chinese history and world politics) and even more than a little rebellion (such as boycotting memory tests in Grade 12 English). So maybe the people criticizing the writing are comparing apples to oranges - comparing the best of writing (including their own, a precursor to a successful academic career) to the worst of today's (or at the very least, the average of today's). Were people better educated fifty years ago? Almost certainly not! They weren't even getting to ninth grade much less writing fluently in it. So maybe we should take these "oh my gost today's studentsa re so awful" stories with a grain of salt. Andrew B. Watt, Andrew B. Watt's Blog, February 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Response To My Linked Data Challenge

There's a lot of data online, in different (and linked) repositories - but can we query it? The answer, at least to a certain degree, is a tentative 'yes'. Brian Kelly asked, "tell me which town or city in the UK has the largest proportion of students," and Alejandra Garcia Rojas mined the data to provide the response. But what a response! And what a mine of data! And there's this: "A more general concern which this exercise has alerted me to is the dangers of assuming that the answer to a Linked Data query will necessarily be correct. In this case it was clear that the results were wrong. But what if the results had only been slightly wrong? And what if you weren't in a position to make a judgment on the validity of the answers?" Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, February 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

How I Aced College-and Why I Now Regret It
Kevin Carey may have coasted through university, but I didn't; I worked very hard. Not so much on my classes, which were mostly a breeze, but on other activities, especially those centered around the student newspaper. It's not actually hard to earn a university degree - I have long contended that it is well within the capacities of just about everyone, given the right circumstances. But it is hard to earn a quality education, whether in university or out. Suggesting that if we just make university harder we can make everyone get a good education misses the point. Sure, we can keep people like Carey in the classroom and out of the pub. But that would not give him a real education. That would require personal dedication and effort, a desire to achieve that goes beyond doing what you're told to do. That he does not understand this today is evidence that he did not learn this then. Kevin Carey, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Format shifting, low damages put Canada on IP watch list
Though the debate in Canada over copyright is ongoing, it won't be influenced by the US 301 reports. "In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by US industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our US counterparts." This article makes clear some of the reasons why. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, February 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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