OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 29, 2010

Feature Article
April 6, 1959
Stephen Downes, November 29, 2010.

Harvested from Half an Hour. In the light of April 12, 1954, being called the most boring day in history, I began to wonder about my own birthday in April just a few years later. Now 1959 was chock-full of great events, but what about that quiet spring Monday in Montreal, that 6th of April, when I uttered the first of what would be many cries of outrage?

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The World's Most Advanced Free Community Software
Various Authors, BoonEx, November 29, 2010.

William Langley sent me this link a while back and I kept it around because it's a good indication of the state of play right now. I get people sometimes suggesting that they want to develop new 'social network' software, and I respond by referring to this item (when I remember what it's called, which is not often), which is actually an application that helps you build your own social network creation software. "Dolphin 7 [is] open-source, downloadable, scalable, customizable, full-featured, independent and free software package for building social networks, dating sites and niche communities." Note that the vendor sells licenses and offers hosting services as well.

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U of A will allow Access Copyright agreement to lapse
Simon Yackulic, The Gateway, November 29, 2010.

A number of Canadian educational institutions are walking away from the collective copyright provided by Access Copyright following the announcement of large rate increases when the license expires in january, 2011. As the University of Alberta explains, the fee would jump from $4 per student to $45 per student. Access Copyright claims this is an exaggeration, but does not state what the actual rate increase is, only that "the tariff blends two previous fees, and covers extensive digital copying not covered by previous agreements." The University of British Columbia has also challenged the rate increase, and made the license database available to the public. Michael Geist also notes that, "The demand for significantly higher fees is particularly surprising given the increasing shift away from the copyright collective licence for both ordinary copying and course-packs." (Via McLeans, which should not be trusted as a reliable source of information on Canadian education.)

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Skype Call - Prishtina/DC
Various Authors, YouTube, November 29, 2010.

I get requests to publicize this or that. Usually, I cannot accommodate people because I can't verify the work and don't have time to review it. But I always feel badly about that. Ah, well. Here are some things from the last few days; caveat emptor:
- One World Youth Project with a short video of cultural exchange facilitated between classrooms in Kosovo and Washington DC.
- Anthony Marques: "I'd like to offer you and your readers a complimentary downloadable copy of the Storytelling Manifesto, a discount coupon to share with your audience, and a free press pass for yourself."
- Benoit Morel: "We just released a brand new SaaS product, Living Actor Presenter that makes it easy to create videos with full body 3D avatars as virtual presenters. It's an easy and very cost-effective way to create videos."
- Kaltura has released Version 3.0 of its Community Edition Open Source Video Platform, as well as an Amazon cloud-based platform edition.
- Susan Grigor forwards the visual literacy periodic table (which I believe I've covered in the past)
- Moodlerooms's Lou Pugliese sends Moodle 'official' music video
- The eDome video recording studio and facility at Cambrian College
- ConnectEDU is an online student planning resource that is all about helping students successfully manage their education and launch their careers. Related video, web page, and another video
- HootSuite University program "is designed for professionals seeking to increase skills in HootSuite and other social media tools and tactics
- Neil Joglekar, from ReelSurfer: "we have developed a video search platform that allows students and faculty to find segments in archived video. Currently we work with USC and National University. ZD Net Guest article.

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Islam, Higher Education & The Virtual Campus!
Zaid Ali Alsagoff, , November 29, 2010.

Many of the benefits of online learning in Canada would also benefit the Islamic world, and in this post Zaid Ali Alsagoff, summarizing a conference on Islam and higher education, describes some of the projects taking place in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran and outlines three major tactics they should employ: free internet access, copyleft, and learning networks. Speaking to both Muslims and the western world, Alsagoff writes, "We both have to do some soul searching (I am included!), and educating and connecting people (besides using Facebook!) is a great way to infuse greater understanding and moving forward." Agreed.

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Reimagining the University: autonomous and co-operative re-production
Richard Hall, DMU Learning Exchanges, November 29, 2010.

Overview describing "the deeply thoughtful and critical nature of the autonomous, inclusive student movements that are emerging in the face of the Coalition's cuts agenda." Interestingly, it looks a lot like what we've been describing here: "A university based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicisation of public space." It's Europe, so the movement is firmly rooted in theory. That's not a bad thing, as it provides a point of view from which to consider the wider implications of curriculum and the relationships between students and academics. "Part of the beauty of these examples is their interconnectedness and their lack of a formal, social media strategy or of institutionalisation. That these on-line spaces are being colonised, de-marketised, and re-claimed, offers us hope beyond the issue of education cuts, for wider opposition to the increasing enclosure and privatisation of the web."

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Are you worried about education?
Wolfgang Greller, Reflections on the Knowledge Society, November 29, 2010.

In a recent post on candid videos I argued that teachers should stop behaving so badly and that viewers should demonstrate more discernment when they watch them. Wolfgang Greller disagrees. "For one thing, teachers do have a right to fun and enjoyment too. Why demand self-censorship of the potential victims," especially victims of malicious or misleading attacks? Also, people begin to form beliefs even when they are viewing critically. And "let's not forget the intention behind posting: causing harm and embarrassment." In sum, "a spotless life cannot defend you if you are rightly or wrongly publically outed or ridiculed," writes Greller.

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The need for connection & engagement in education
Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen, November 28, 2010.

Connection is one thing. Engagement is something very different. Connection is about creating interaction, a voluntary state of affairs through a medium of communication. Engagement is about creating presence, a creation of immediacy and contact. Connection respects my privacy; engagement does not. Garr Reynolds writes, "Although I am speaking in front of nearly 300 students in a large hall in Japan, I still have them get up and *do* something relevant from time to time." I hate it when presenters do that. It is an imposition, an invasion of my mental space and often of my physical space. It's one thing to enable a space for activities - that's connection. It's quite another to require that everybody participate in these activities. That's engagement. Enable, don't require.

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Nancy Willard, YouTube, November 28, 2010.

Very nice piece of video work. Though I would have made the very last line "Strive to be :)" rather than to use a smiley face icon.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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