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by Stephen Downes
June 30, 2010

Tony Bates on epistemology, course design and e-learning
I have to agree that if you don't design for epistemology you'll just get the default. You have to be explicit about the way you support knowledge and learning (which is, in an important sense, separate from the technology, but influenced by it). Otherwise, you get Janet Clarey's experience. "I haven't supported all of this in the past. I've gone with the gut. Banned the blah blah blah stuff from my work vocabulary. This is probably why I sway toward starting e-learning with 'course' in mind. Or content." Janet Clarey, spinning the social web, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Personal Learning Environments and Context
One of the nice things about the Critical Literacies course is that it has triggered some deeper thinking about PLE design, more than just the stuff about aggregating and connecting. This is a case in point. Graham Attwell digs into the different descriptions of the contexts in which a user may find him or her self. This could be seen from the perspective of relationships with teachers or other learners. It could also include the learning environment and practice environment. There are also matters of process and content - for example, how are outcomes defined? How is success defined? Are practices held in common or shared? All of these are contextual factors, all of these inform learning, and all of these need to be a part of PLE design. Graham Attwell, Pontygysgu, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Our Solar Sys­tem in CSS3
What I like about this CSS rendering of the solar system is that it includes Pluto. Well, and I also think the Internet Explorer version of it is pretty funny. Via Kottke. Alex Giron,, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups
Creative Commons has responded angrily to an ASCAP campaign claiming it undermines copyright. In an email sent out today, Creative Commopns Creative Director Eric Steuer writes, "Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses – plain and simple. Period. CC licenses are legal tools that creators can use to offer certain usage rights to the public, while reserving other rights. Without copyright, these tools don't work." In the ASCAP letter Paul Williams writes "We fear that our opponents are influencing Congress against the interests of music creators... these groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music. Their mission is to spread the word that our music should be free." David Kravets, Wired News, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Staged Self-Directed Learning Model
This presentation on Gerald Grow's staged self-directed learning model came up during today's Critical Literacies online discussion. It "proposes a way teachers can be vigorously influential while empowering students towards greater autonomy." The ideas is to map teaching methods to the learner's stage of self-direction. Grow describes four stages: dependent, interested, involved, self-directed. Of course, the model depends on getting the trajectory toward self-directed learning right. It does not account for multiple dimensions (and hence, multiple possible routes) to autonomy. But we saw today, in Paul Bouchard, that there can be as many as four dimensions of autonomy: conative, algorithmic, semiotic, and economic. Barbara Stokes, Slideshare, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Crises of Capital Animated
I'm really enjoying this mode of presentation by animation, and it helps that I think the analysis of the current (and ongoing) market collapse is fundamentally correct. The analysis, in a nutshell, is this: since the 1980s, wages have been repressed, and demand has been sustained by credit, which is - in the long run - unsustainable. Jum Groom, bavatuesdays, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

A global teacher of 1,516 lessons and counting
More coverage of Khan Academy, and an investor who is paying Khan a salary. "Sal Khan is educating the globe for free. His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures -- on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns -- are transforming the former hedge fund analyst into a YouTube sensation... Jason Fried, CEO of tech company 37signals, said he invested in Khan's nonprofit because 'the next bubble to burst is higher education. It's too expensive. It's too much one-size-fits-all. This is an alternative way to think about teaching -- simple, personal, free and moving at your own pace.'" Via Brian Lamb. Lisa M. Krieger,, June 30, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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