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September 2, 2011

Death Threats, Harassment, Stalking, Google Plus and Identity
Karoli, Odd Time Signatures, September 2, 2011.

Google Plus is an identity service disguised as a social network. That's why the debate over tagging and real names on Google Plus is really important. And as Karoli writes, citing more incidents of online harassment, "We have a problem, not only with sick people who feel free to post whatever pops into their brain cell at any given time, but also with companies like Google, who absolutely insist on requiring a real first and last name on Google Plus.... This is what Google is doing. Setting up people, and women in particular, to be stalked, harassed, to have their families threatened and harassed, and to allow anyone with a smartphone and half a brain cell to track them down and make their lives miserable."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Networks]

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Blackboard: A Tale Of 2 Companies
Roddy Boyd, Seeking Alpha, September 2, 2011.

A scathing post from market consultants Seeking Alpha. The 'two companies' described are, first, the one that is presented as an aggressive, dynamic and profitable software company, and the other that is force by competition and attrition to offer deep pricing discounts and survives only because of its military contracts. "Michael Chasen doesn’t talk about this company on conference calls and its cadre of enthusiastic (.pdf) analysts never got around to going behind the numbers, where a declining competitive position, baffling acquisition binge and weakening financial state all merited research. Revealed in obscure footnotes and buried documents, Blackboard would just as soon it stay buried." Ah, but it would just be words were it not for the actual documents linked liberally through this report.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Blackboard Inc., Research, Attrition]

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On ecosystems, Adam Curtis and positions of power
David Jennings, D J Alchemi, September 1, 2011.

Excellent discussion of Adam Curtis's All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (I covered the series in three parts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three). David Jennings picks up on two strands of Curtis's argument: first, on whether ecosystems are stable, and second, whether systems thinking ignores power (and in particular, individual empowerment). We need not agree with Curtis on these two points (and Jennings doesn't) but the crux still remains: "we need the conceptual means to step outside the system in order to change the system." Of course, this is a problem that exists as much in traditional hierarchies as it does in ecosystems and networks.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Networks, Wikipedia]

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files/images/lessig.jpg, size: 13192 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Derek Wenmoth, Derek’s Blog, September 1, 2011.

Short interview of Lawrence Lessig by Derek Wenmoth that makes an interesting observation about empowerment (I think the term 'entitlement' is misused in this context). Basically, the idea is that in year one, day one, Harvard Law students are addressed as though they are already lawyers, thus "releasing a new sense of creativity and thinking among ours students."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Lawrence Lessig]

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Open Course: Social Media & Open Education
Alec Couros, open thinking, September 1, 2011.

Once again Alec Couros is offering EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education as an open course. As the page for non-credit participants notes, the course will support live synchronous sessions, blogging and microcontent, social bookmarking and network mentoring.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Web Logs, Mentors and Mentoring, Networks]

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Preparing for my MOOC Contribution
Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, September 1, 2011.

Nancy White prepares for her Change 2011 MOOC presentation. "I realized," she writes, "I’m not so interested in focusing this week on reading, but on reflection and conversation about the everyday practices that support learning across boundaries. So now I have to think about what sorts of activities would support this. It also makes me wonder if this topic is either too thin, or too broad." The Change MOOC now has more than 1100 registrations and counting as the September 12 start date approaches. If you are writing about it, the tag is #change11 and we'll be aggregating content starting in a week or so.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Publications from the 2011 ALT Conference
Various Authors, ALT, August 31, 2011.

This will definitely be of interest - it's the full list of publications from this year's ALT (Association for Learning Technology) conference at Leeds next week. Full versions of the papers can be found by clicking the (unhelpful) number to the left of the paper title, while abstracts, comments and (we're promised) links to streaming media can be found by clicking on the 'CrowdVine' link to the right. I'd be tempted to sit at my desk and watch the whole thing, but I'll be in Mexico all week. Oh, and if you're wondering why the .mobi files are, oddly, the largest of all, Seb Schmoller recommended this explanation. Heh.

The paper that most appealed to me was the one on creating a simulated internet for education. It's not what you might think - the idea is to model simulated internet traffic for packet tracing and traffic analysis. "Packet Tracer provides access to otherwise inaccessible IPv4 and IPv6 address ranges, as well as an extensive range of networking technologies including: DHCP, NAT, STP, VPN, QoS, BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, RIP, dot1q, VTP, in an environment allowing students to make mistakes and learn from their experiences without impacting others." No need to say more; the bit about "distance based asynchronous and synchronous, collaboration..." is just fluff. Except for the few paragraphs of fluff, a great paper.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility, Networks, Experience, Learning Object Repositories]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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