OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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October 13, 2011

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Review of Federal Support to Research and Development
Various Authors, Industry Canada, October 13, 2011.

An 'expert panel' reviewing research and development in Canada has released a report containing, among other recommendations, a plan that would result in the dissolution of the National Research Council. Full Disclousure: I work for the National Research Council. The report also recommends simplified and expanded scientific research tax credits for business, improved access to risk capital for business, and a mandate to incorporate development into procurement strategies.

NRC's Industrial Research Assistance Program, which transfers money to business, would be expanded and transferred to a new a new, whole-of-government program delivery vehicle — the Industrial Research and Innovation Council (IRIC). NRC's research institutes would be separated and assigned either to an industry-oriented non-profit research organization, an institute engaged in basic research to be affiliated with one or more universities, part of a non-profit organization mandated to manage what are currently NRC major science initiatives, or incorporated within the relevant federal department or agency.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Canada]

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Freeing the LMS
Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, October 13, 2011.

Pearson Education has announced a cloud-based "new learning management system that colleges will be able to use for free, without having to pay any of the licensing or maintenance costs normally associated with the technology." According to the article, "OpenClass can be used 'absolutely for free,' says Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of product at Pearson. 'No licensing costs, no costs for maintenance, and no costs for hosting. So this is a freer offer than Moodle is. It’s a freer offer than any other in the space.'" The company clearly sees greater potential in value-added content and services. "The company 'wants to change the perception of an LMS to [make colleges] say: ‘Hey, that’s a commodity, that’s a delivery system — and really education, and the education system, needs to be about the content itself and how students interact with that content,’' Hill says." Well - it's not like I haven't tried to convince the commercial software providers to open up and focus on services - now they're playing catch-up. Update: more discussion on my Google+ post. Update - here's the Pearson OpenClass web page. And here's the joinopenclass start page.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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Spreading social capitalism
Harold Jarche, Weblog, October 12, 2011.

I'm interested in the diagram, not simply because of what it says (though it does strike me that I could use the services of a connector to get me access a salesperson...) but because I wonder whether it makes sense to look at network diagrams and apply names and roles to different parts of them. Clearly this happens and can make sense - look at any map of the visual cortex, or a network analysis of an organization - but is this functionality an interpretation we place onto our network diagrams or inherent in the network itself? On an unrelated note, it occurs to me that if social capitalism works the same way the regular capitalism does, a small percentage (1 percent, say) of the nodes will connect all the links and claim all the social capital for themselves.

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The New Learning Architect
Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, October 12, 2011.

Christy Tucker live-blogs Clive Shepard’s presentation titled The New Learning Architect. Since the talk is part of a closed webinar series, and his book is only available on Kindle, this is the best look you'll get, so make the most of it. "What is a learning architect?
- Not a learning builder (at least not necessarily–one person might have both roles)
- More of a consulting role
- Can’t just be one because you call yourself that
- Take responsibility to do more of this, not just what your clients say they want. You wouldn’t go to the doctor and say “I’ve done all the research online, just write me a prescription.” Need to make the client aware that you know more about learning than they do and you can make recommendations they wouldn’t think of."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research]

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The hierarchical structure of an ePortfolio
Ray Tolley, eFolio in the UK and Europe, October 12, 2011.

If you're portfolio is structured as a hierarchy, you're doing it wrong. Just saying. Unrelated: David Hopkins's CMALT Portfolio.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: E-Portfolios]

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Chapter 16 Conclusion
Gráinne Conole, e4innovation.com, October 12, 2011.

Gráinne Conole released the draft of the 16th and final chapter of her upcoming book. Summarizing her main thesis, she argues, "designing for learning is the key challenge facing education today. To make effective use of the affordances of open, social and participatory media, learners and teachers need guidance and support. They lack the necessary digital literacies skills needed to embrace the full potential of these technologies." In particular, "Learners and teachers need to develop new digital literacy skills to effectively participate in these spaces, as well as an understanding of the nature and form of their digital identity." It would be unfair to respond to an entire book with a single-sentence quip, but I think it can be argued that learners already have many of the skills they need, and that it is teachers and academics that are searching for a way to understand them. That does not mean learners come pre-loaded with a full array of critical tools - who does? - but that what they lack has nothing to do with digital media in particular, and is reflective rather of the lack of critical skills characteristic of any learner of any age.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Academia]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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