OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 10, 2010

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Stephen Downes, Course, September 10, 2010.

We officially start our course, Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge, on Monday, and as always it means a flurry of new resources. Among other things (including a pile of coding of gRSShopper) this week, I've posted the Research Ethics protocols for the course, some notes on Getting Ready for PLENK, a revision of How this Course Works, and a video on How to Add RSS Feeds to the course. The diagram below was created for our intro session today for people new to connectivist-style learning environments. There's still time to enroll; you can register here and we'll post the intro session recording here as soon as we have it.

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Goodbye @Diigo You Ain't for Me Anymore!
Miguel Guhlin, Around the Corner, September 10, 2010.

files/images/diigopremium.png, size: 21056 bytes, type:  image/png As the venture capitalists begin to press for returns on their Web 2.0 investments, we're beginning to see a shift in the way those nice free online applications behave. Take Diigo, for example. As Jeffrey Thomas explains, "Unfortunately, as I was bookmarking today, I noticed the Diigo capture option was grayed out! I started fiddling around and found out that it is now a premium feature! (Diigo Releases Premium Accounts ) I really liked the capture feature and now it's gone! Great-another one bites the dust!... What I don't like it this bait and switch technique-remember Ning?- that seems to be going on. At this point, I don't trust any free applications." The thing with premium isn't simply that you have to pay money - though there is that. It's that, because more and more things are costing money, you have to pick and choose and consolidate on a few applications, because you can't afford to use dozens like you used to. That may be good for vendors, but it's bad news for consumers.

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Twitter kills the password anti-pattern, but at what cost?
Jon Udell, O'Reilly Radar, September 10, 2010.

Like Jon Udell, I support the whole idea of OAuth. It's just a bad idea to store your Twitter password on third party applications. But also like Jon Udell, when Twitter ended basic name/password authentication to its API, some of my stuff broke - like the Twitters from this newsletter. So now instead of supporting OAuth in orinciple, I'll have to support it in code. But it won't be so easy. As Udell writes here, "The OAuth protocol is a choreographed dance that involves cryptographic signing, redirection, and callbacks... So complicated, in fact, that if I'd had my idea today instead of six months ago I probably wouldn't have bothered to jump through all the hoops."

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Dear Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Yers … Can We Please Move On?
Luis Suarez, E L S U A, September 10, 2010.

files/images/millennial_thumb160.jpg, size: 7969 bytes, type:  image/jpeg While we continue to read about Gen Xers and the rest, we are beginning to hear more people saying that it's not about the generation or being a digital immigrant but rather changing individual styles. Luis Suarez says, "It's the balanced mixture of working styles the ones that are going to shape up and define "The Future of the Workplace". Not the generations. They have got much more important things to tackle than just trying to divide themselves." And don't just shrug and say you're a "digital immigrant," says Peter Kent, who calls the attitude "learned helplessness." And Lisa Nielsen says, "As we enter into the next decade of the 21st century, it seems we have turned a bit of a corner. There is less tolerance for educators who do not believe it is their responsibility to move their teaching out of the past."

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International comparisons in higher education: the OECD's Education at a Glance
Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, September 10, 2010.

files/images/45899421cover20english20150.jpg, size: 14074 bytes, type:  image/jpeg The recent OECD report on advanced education has been making the rounds in the media, but I prefer the cautious reading Tony Bates offers. What has caught people's attention around here is the stat saying that Canadian students pay around 42 percent of the cost of an education, which is up substantially since the days I was in school (when it was around 20 percent). Also worth noting is how well Canada places in the number of adults graduated with some kind of post-secondary degree, following only Korea.

But that said, as Bates notes, "The closer one reads the report, the more cautious one needs to be in drawing conclusions. There are wide variations in the organization and structure of higher education across these countries, data on some key indicators are missing for some countries, and we all know how reliable government statistics can be." Even so, "one can't help be struck by the gap between expenditure and output in the USA. In particular, high tuition fees, relatively modest enrolment figures as a proportion of the population, and low completion rates all suggest that the USA has some major systemic problems to deal with." We are often told that the USA has the 'best university system in the world' - but less often stated is that it is serving that nation poorly.

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A Social-Media Blackout at Harrisburg U.
Paige Chapman, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2010.

files/images/city-is-our-campus.jpg, size: 43707 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Harrisburg University will be starting the new year by blocking Facebook, Twitter, AOL Instant Messenger, and MySpace on the campus network for a week. But it's not censorship, they argue. "By blocking Web sites-instead of just discouraging use-the university will give its entire community a shared experience, Mr. Darr said." Maybe they don't understand that those students and staff who can afford them will simply use their iPhones or Palm Pres to access the sites through mobile wireless. See also the Inside Higher Ed article.

David Parry, who was quoted in the Chronicle article, also comments, "There is one other concern here worth noting, one that I tried to raise in The Chronicle article but which unfortunately came across probably too soft. I think we should start by recognizing that social media isn't an online form of communication, rather social media is how students communicate. In other words Eric isn't asking students to give up communicating online, he is asking them to give up a large portion of the way in which they communicate. Imagine if the experiment was to have no one on campus talk to each other? There are actually fairly serious concerns here that shouldn't be treaded over lightly."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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