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by Stephen Downes
August 9, 2010 3:59 p.m.

The New Improved CChat
I'm pleased to announce that everybody can now use my backchannel system for their own presentations. The idea is, at a live event, such as a conference presentation or speech, people can send messages to each other and comment about the presentation. Normally, this would happen in secret, but it's more fun if you take the conversation and put it up on the screen. CChat, my backchannel system, allows you to do that. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, August 9, 2010 3:58 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Access Copyright's excessive $45 per university student proposed tariff - August 11, 2010 deadline
Access Copyright is proposing to charge Canadian universities $45 per student, and colleges $35 per student, a rate increase of about 1300 percent (that's not a typo) over current rates. Access Copyright was originally founded to collect levies for photocopying, but this newest fee represents a tariff for digital copying. And then some. "Incredibly, the tariff defines a 'copy' to include "posting a link or hyperlink to Digital Copy". So, that would presumably include any website with copyrighted material...! AC apparently expects to be paid whenever a professor posts a link on his or her website to my blog, or Michael Geist's blog or the Globe and Mail or eBay. That is simply absurd." Responses need to be filed by August 11 to the Copyright Board, which "seems to have an unstated 'rocket docket' policy when it comes to AC." Via Michael Geist. More from Techdirt. Howard Knopf, Excess Copyright, August 9, 2010 3:46 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

A joint policy proposal for an open Internet
Following concerns they were about to jettison net neutrality, Google and Verizon have done the opposite, coming out with a joint statement of seven principles that speaks largely in favour of an open and neutral internet, including this: "this new nondiscrimination principle includes a presumption against prioritization of Internet traffic - including paid prioritization. So, in addition to not blocking or degrading of Internet content and applications, wireline broadband providers also could not favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic." Awesome. Via Jay Hathaway. More from Mashable. lan Davidson and Tom Tauke, Google Public Policy Blog, August 9, 2010 3:28 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Well here's one way to respond to the Ning paywall. The former Ideagora Ning group has moved to "Ideagora is growing and adapting as a professional network of individuals, organizations and professional groups engaged in knowledge and resource sharing, research, social policy, political strategy, technology issues, and business policies." Various Authors,, August 9, 2010 3:11 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Shared Decisions and Abolishing Awards
Interesting: if your goal is "for each student in our school to recognize and develop his/her unique talents and interests..." then you may have a non-mainstream view on awards. "The key words in this are 'each student'. We do not want to just recognize those that excel in specific areas, we want to recognize EACH student for the areas in which he/she excels. As a school, we need to continue to move away from the traditional educational hierarchy that says those students who excel in language arts and maths are more important than those who excel in fine art." And, presumably, the one that says that students who excel in sports are better than any of them. Awards collectivize. They force people into pursuing the same achievement rather than their individual achievements. It is ironic to see people who celebrate individuality also celebrate awards. Via The Innovative Educator. Chris Wejr, Connected Principals, August 9, 2010 6:31 a.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Power laws & abductive research
Nice post on types of inference and in particular about abduction. Abduction is also known as 'inference to the best explanation'. It's what we have to do with respect to complex phenomena; it is most tentative of the three inferential strategies and gives us, as Dave Snowden says, anticipation rather than prediction. That doesn't mean it is without evaluative standards; I discuss those here, in my discussion of the logical fallacies. I like the presentation of the coherence requirement in this post. "He rightly headed the slide Complements, not alternatives. Abductive techniques are in effect means of generating coherent hypotheses under conditions of uncertainty. The coherence word is key here, just because we don't know everything it doesn't mean that all ideas have equal value." Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge, August 9, 2010 6:14 a.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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