OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 18, 2011

We Do, In Fact, Need Some (Non-Stinking) Badges
Kevin Carey, The Quick and the Ed, May 18, 2011.

I agree with Kevin Carey basically never. But he touches on something that has been a long time in coming, open credential systems. An analogy makes the point. "The bar exam is an open badge. It's an independent assessment that, in theory, anyone can take, based on a distinct body of knowledge and skills determined by a professional guild outside of higher education." Given the existence of an independent assessment system, there is no reason a person would have to undergo training at a registered institution. We "are beginning to form an entire ecosystem for teaching and crediting human knowledge and skill, one that exists entirely outside the traditional colleges and universities that use their present monopoly on the credentialing franchise." The trick is to avoid having the existing monopoly replaced with a new corporate McMonopoly.

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Annual Reports
Various Authors, Media Awareness Network, May 18, 2011.

One of my regular and most useful sources is the Media Awareness Network. This post links to their 2010 Annual Report, "Raising a Media Savvy Generation. The theme emphasizes both the important role adults play in helping young people develop critical thinking skills about their media lives, and the numerous resources MNet develops to help them do this."

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files/images/wenger.jpg, size: 67388 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework
Etienne Wenger, Beverly Trayner and Maarten de Laat, Open Universiteit, May 17, 2011.

Etienne Wenger, Beverly Trayner and Maarten de Laat come up with an important new document on community management. "It is a foundation paper presenting a framework for promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks," they write, "it includes a theoretical framework and toolkit for helping professionals to tell stories on the value that networks and communities create when they are used for learning and to articulate how these activities result in desired outcomes that improve teaching practice." By "community" they mean "community of practice, which [they] define as a learning partnership among people who find it useful to learn from and with each other about a particular domain."

They seem intent to respond to the recent discussion of networks. "The network aspect refers to the set of relationships, personal interactions, and connections among participants who have personal reasons to connect. It is viewed as a set of nodes and links with affordances for learning, such as information flows, helpful linkages, joint problem solving, and knowledge creation. The community aspect refers to the development of a shared identity around a topic or set of challenges." And "the danger of network is noise and diffusion.... the challenge of network is that it requires a strong sense of direction on the part of individuals." It's an interesting take on the groups-vs-networks debate (or, maybe better, communities-vs-networks) that depicts them as mutually supportive. And "accumulating evidence of the value created by a community or network can be represented as a matrix of indicators and stories."

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How I Use a MacBook Pro (May 2011)
Doug Belshaw, Synechism, May 15, 2011.

Doug Belshaw demonstrates how he uses his MacBook Pro. For me, the big find here is Spaces, which creates separate desktops you can use to navigate to different types of tasks (ending the endless search through MacBook windows forever). He also discusses licorize, which "is a minimalistic and fast bookmark manager that you can feed with your bookmarks, todos, ideas," the Rockmelt browser, and If-Then-Then-That, a workflow application. Related: How to record your screen on a Mac and a whole series of videos by MacBookVidz. Inspired, I have created my own video, How I use my MacBook Pro. Enjoy.

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Students' satisfaction and valuation of web-based lecture recording technologies
Ross H. Taplin, Lee Hun Low and Alistair M. Brown, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, May 14, 2011.

One of the dangers of surveying students who have paid for access to traditional lecture-format classes is that you are surveying students who have paid for access to traditional lecture-format classes. This is going to skew the results in several ways. First, since they already have access to the classes, they will not value additional access very highly. Second, since they have already paid for the classes, they will resist paying additional money for recordings of the classes. Third, since they have invested in in-person classes, they will not be as likely to view recorded lectures as a suitable substitute. So research conducted of such students will unsurprisingly conclude that "the majority of students rarely used web-based lecture recording technologies (WBLT) and placed a very low monetary value on them, placing into question the high percentage 'positive' and 'appreciative' feedback found in this and earlier studies." If, on the other hand, you survey people who are not students in that particular course, you may well get a very different result (though I would still consider the suggested $50 price tag to be unattainable ($15, as suggested, may be more attainable - but if so, then maybe I have found my retirement career - would you pay $15 for a course of 39 hours of lecture from me in whatever?)). Via Helge Scherlund.

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The Rise of "Logical Punctuation".
Ben Yagoda, Slate, May 14, 2011.

files/images/110511_WORD_conanTN.jpg, size: 11005 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Interesting article on where to put the period when the sentence ends with a quotation mark. The style is changing, asserts the article, from always placing it inside, to placing it outside. I do a lot of quotation in this newsletter, and here's the rule I follow. If the punctuation mark is logically a part of the main sentence, I put it outside the quotation mark. That's how I manage short "clips" and "bits and pieces". But if the punctuation is logically a part of the sentence being quoted (which is typically preceded with a comma) I place it inside the quotation mark. That is how I would handle a sentence like, "You pays your money, and you takes your choice." I don't think the author of this article has discerned the logic of "logical punctuation" but I think he correctly identifies a shifting - and improved - rule.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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