OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 19, 2011

Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert
Maria Bustillos, The Awl, May 19, 2011.

Interesting analysis of the rebellion against authority in McLuhan's writings, based essentially on the idea that communication itself imposes its own authority on receivers. "Just as, in Leavis's view, a poem imposed its own assumptions on the listener, created its own world, so too did every medium of communication force its own methods of connection into the human mind." Or as Lochhead writes, "Our view of reality, our structures of meaning, our sense of identity-all are touched and transformed by the technologies which we have allowed to mediate between ourselves and our world."

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A nightmare scenario for higher education
Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications @ Duke, May 19, 2011.

In a nutshell, Cambridge, Oxford and Sage publishers have asked for an injunction in a case bought against Georgia State University that would essentially remove any fair use provisions at the university and require the university to monitor all content uses, including uploads to LMSs by professors and copying done by students in libraries. "Not only would GSU have to micromanage each faculty member's choices about how to teach every class, they would also have to give the plaintiff publishers access to all of the computer systems on campus so that they too could examine each professor's decisions." Presumably the injunction will fail, but if it were me, I would respond to the publishers' even asking for such a thing by canceling all subscriptions, removing all publisher content from the premises, and enjoining professors to never contact, much less publish with, those publishers in the future. But that's just me; you may opt for harsher measures.

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files/images/Screen_shot_2011-05-18_at_4.26.09_PM.png, size: 87230 bytes, type:  image/png
Spider Scribe - Mind Mapping with Images, Maps, and More
Richard Byrne, Free Technology for eachers, May 18, 2011.

Whis is pretty cool. Richard Byrne writes, "What jumps out about Spider Scribe is that users can add images, maps, calendars, text notes, and uploaded text files to their mind maps. Users can connect the elements on their mind maps or let them each stand on their own." To me what appears most significant is that it doesn't appear to force you into a hierarchical representation.

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Purple Learning Interviews Clive Shepherd
Laura Layton-James, Purple Learning, May 15, 2011.

files/images/cliveshepherd.jpg, size: 17416 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Clive Shepard talks about informal learning and the idea of the learning architect in this interview on Purple Learning. The idea is that the learning architect is someone who designs environments for informal learning (which makes sense to me). This is very distinct from course design - people who create courses on design are "taking orders" rather than designing. They are not "professional" in the way an architect is. They have very definite expectations placed on them by their clients, they focus on formal courses, what they are expected to add is "quite limited". There is not much course designers can do in the context of their current to change that - their working environment may not welcome a change from course design to environment architecture. They have to develop their skills of the periphery. Start small.

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How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education
Courtney Boyd Myers, The Next Web, May 15, 2011.

Longish article summarizing some recent developments in the use of the internet to support education. It's more of an introductory piece, because the topics discussed - Open Culture, Khan Academy, Academic Earth, P2P University, Skillshare, Scitable, and Skype - will all be familiar to OLDaily readers. But it`s a list that represents a certain perspective, the idea of online learning as the delivery of online content. The question posed at the end, "can the Internet really replace higher education?" is a bit of a red herring, but reflects the perspective that 'higher education' means 'universities and colleges' and nothing else.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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