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by Stephen Downes
March 9, 2010

Open courseware an ‘opportunity' for education publishers
David Wiley points to the new US $500m OER initiative and notes they will be free for commercial reuse. "We now know that the resources created under the AGI funding will either be licensed CC BY or placed in the public domain. We know this because no CC licenses with SA or NC clauses live up to the promises made in the above statements. And the GFDL has been relegated to the realm of the OPL." Well, we'll see how this works out. The U.S. can provide content infrastructure (I agree with Wiley on this point, that content is infrastructure) free to citizens and corporations if it wants; we'll see how it reacts to what will be the natural impulse of the corporations to block access to the free stuff. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, March 9, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The standard for online courses is firmly in place?
The standard for online courses, we are told, is firmly in place. Mark Guzdial protests. "Surely, this can't be it - it can't be that Sakai + Twitter + a blog or Wiki is what all future studies will call the 'traditional' form of online courses? What about amazingly and powerful collaborative spaces like Kansas, and provably better ways of teaching with technology like cognitive tutors Surely we can do better than what's being used today? It's that second step that's more promising. We can do much better than that.  It's not even very hard.  Have you seen the great new tools that CMU has made available for building your own cognitive tutors I've learned that there is a term for those trying to change education through radical on-line approaches: 'edupunks.'" Mark Guzdial, Computing Education Blog, March 9, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Is educational research asking the wrong questions about the enacted curriculum?
Is standardisation of curriculum 'an (un)stable and precarious achievement'? It is disquieting, writes Artichoke, "that after reading Edwards this seems increasingly likely." These reflections are based on a reading of Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. Some good stuff here, like this: "innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events, to avoid the creeping danger of believing that objectively described events define you, as they would define a machine."

Artichoke considers this in turn with respect to Richard Edwards Translating the Prescribed into the Enacted Curriculum (paywall, sorry) which draws "from actor-network theory (ANT) [to] provide alternative readings of the translations of the prescribed into the enacted curriculum." What we see is essentially a critique of knowledge translation, which has become popular in some public policy circles. Artichoke quotes Latour, "To translate is to betray: ambiguity is part of translation." 'Translating' (evidence-based) theory into practice is a one-way interaction, where what is really needed is diversity and conversation. Artichoke, Weblog, March 9, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Exploring Google Suggest
The meaning of a word, for Derrida, is in part defined by the alternatives it excludes. (See p. 89, here). What was the range of choices from which one could have selected? We see this explicitly in this model of Google Suggest. What questions can we ask, and what questions are excluded? What do you suggest represents this relationship visually, and interestingly, shows how by reforming language Google Suggest reforms what we can imagine. Alex Chitu, Google Operating System, March 9, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Moodle: e-learning's Frankenstein
I've heard this from a couple sources, that Moodle is becoming a mish-mash of conflicting technologies. This, I think, is the inevitable outcome of the module-based approach that has come to characterize open source software (and a reason why such an approach doesn't appeal to me). Donald Clark talks about the various offshoots, including Open University's pilot, which he calls a "dead end", and Kineo's commercialization. He suggests that its constructivist intentions are "a lot of rot", not implemented in practise, and "a utopian dream". Donald Clark, Plan B, March 9, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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