OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 11, 2011

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Thousands of Quebec students boycott classes, protest against fee hike plans
Marc Bousquet, The Gazette, November 11, 2011.

The Occupy movement is spreading to campuses, and meanwhile in Quebec, tens of thousands of students took to the streets to protest fee increases. Now I know student protests are nothing new - I myself led a march of 5000 students in Edmonton in the 1990s. But there's a new connectedness - symbolized by a rare joint edition of three Quebec student newspapers. "Calling for accessibility to education recognizes the long-term public good. It’s a fight for a fair funding model and for an investment in the future. Students have realized we cannot afford to be the scapegoat for a set of broken systems any longer and that real dialogue about alternatives at this point is mandatory." Quite right.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility]

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Bold Idea Essential for Student Privacy
Jim Farmer, e-Literate, November 11, 2011.

I think I'd have to think about this before endorsing this idea. Jim Farmer relates "a bold proposal" from Tracy Mitrano: "[the] most important action that can be taken to protect student privacy is a contractual requirement that contractors follow the same privacy requirements—including FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act)—as colleges and universities themselves follow." It sounds good in principle. But then's there the concern about whether FERPA will be enforced - there's the suggestion that it isn't being enforced now. And FERPA is intended to cover data related to financial aid, and therefore things like tax return data. Which may lead some to suggest that if companies are governed under the same rules, they should be able to access this sensitive data, something I would not support. I wonder whether a better plan might not to be to impose less stringent requirements and to not give them sensitive data in the first place. Because, after all, the likelihood that companies will adhere to the letter and spirit of the law is effectively nil.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Privacy Issues]

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Online enrollments in the USA grow 10% in 2011; OERs becoming accepted
Tony Bates, e-learning and distance education resources, November 11, 2011.

Tony Bates follows up "the latest in the series of surveys formerly known as the Sloan-C survey, but now jointly supported by Pearson, Inside Higher Education, Sloan, and Kaplan University. It is based on responses from over 2,500 institutions (a response rate of 55%)." The main outcome seems to be a slow-down in the growth on online enrollments. Paul Stacey suggests "new regulations have had a chilling effect on online learning in the US. Huge effort is being diverted from online learning innovation to red-tape compliance." And, he adds, the regulations seem based in a distrust of online and distance education. And while, as Bates says, ", this of course is nothing new," he also adds that ", at some point market saturation, and more opportunities in hybrid courses, are bound to kick in and slow down the growth of fully online or distance education to a relatively steady state." Until, of course, prices begin to decline.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Online Learning]

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7 Things you should know about MOOCs
Unattributed, EDUCAUSE, November 11, 2011.

The latest 'seven things' paper to come out of EDUCAUSE is about MOOCs (equally a surprise to both George Siemens and myself). As Siemens says, it would have been nice to see the document describe and link to other courses and other resources (surely Dave Cormier's What is a MOOC? video should have been mentioned!) but I guess we should be happy with what they do cover. And their final point does, I think, capture the significance: "perhaps the most significant contribution is the MOOC’s
potential to alter the relationship between learner and instructor and between academe and the wider community by potentially providing a very large and diverse forum and meeting place for ideas." That's exactly what we were up to when we started with these courses.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Video, EDUCAUSE]

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Is There an “Education Graph”?
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, November 11, 2011.

files/images/graph.jpg, size: 59414 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Audrey Watters folows up Maciej Ceglowski’s post The Social Graph Is Neither, which I covered here a few days ago, by looking at the education graph. It is, as she notes, "partially a response to a recent Forbes article that likens the “social graph” to crude oil — as in “Drill, baby, drill” when it comes to the perceived value of the personal data." Watters argues "should we ask the same set of questions about the education or student graph? Is it a graph? Does it capture education? Does it represent 'the student' and her or his connection to learning?" These are good questions - of course, a student's Facebook activity would not represent their learning, and we would never expect this to be the case. But one wonders whether there isn't some other representation that could do so.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Online Learning, Privacy Issues]

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Backup Your Flickr Images in Your Own Parallel Dimension
Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, November 11, 2011.

If you are depending on Flickr to keep the one-and-only copy of your favorite photos, you might want to consider an alternative. This application will create a backup library of your Flickr photos (me, I keep my photos on multiple backup disk drives, and use Flickr as a backup for them).

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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