OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 15, 2011

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Sensemaking artifacts
george Siemens, Connectivism, December 15, 2011.

I agree with the general point being made here, but not with the way it is couched in language to a specific approach to learning (in particular, I do not think of learning as 'sensamaking' I think of learning as a combination of personal empowerment and personal growth). So we can drop the 'sensemaking' vocabulary to come up with what (I would take as) a coherent account: "In our work in open online courses, we’ve found consistent patterns emerging as learners interact with each other and with information.... learners begin exploring and negotiating the domain of knowledge. In the process, they produce artifacts, such as the images posted above. Artifacts can include a blog post, an image, a video, a podcast, a live performance – basically anything..." The artifact doesn't need to explain how they've made sense of a thing - it can express any number of reactions to the thing. Ah - but we'll have a whole 'nother course to hash this out. Announcement soon, maybe.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Video, Web Logs, Podcasting]

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Multi-Device Web Design: An Evolution
Luke Wroblewski, LukeW, December 15, 2011.

It used to be the case that we could design online applications for different systems by querying which browser, more which platform, it was running on. But with a half dozen major operating systems, four major browsers (each with multiple versions), and dozens of platforms, raging from tiny mobile phones to full-size flat screen TVs, it's not possible to do this any more. Enter Responsive Web Design, "a combination of fluid grids and images with media queries to change layout based on the size of a device viewport." This post is a good summary, but you really want to follow the links to get a full overview of the subject. This link, for example, gives the reader some really good examples of responsive design.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Operating Systems]

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E-learning papers: learning design
Gráinne Conole, e4innovation.com, December 15, 2011.

With a pretty informal photo (above) Gráinne Conole announces the launch of a special issue of eLearning Papers on learning design. "In a world where content and services are increasingly free," she asks, "what is the role of formal education? What new teaching approaches and assessment methods are needed? How can we provide effective learning pathways to guide learners through the multitude of educational offerings now available?" There's some good stuff in the issue, including a paper on typologies of learning design that distinguishes between "TLD as a concept (LD Type 1), LD as a process (LD Type 2), and LD as a product (LD Type 3)," and in one of particular interest to me, a paper on students designing their own learning. "It was not just a matter of helping the students think up relevant and authentic learning tasks [but] to provide students with carefully considered scaffolds that enabled them to achieve beyond what they could as individuals..." In related work, Gráinne Conole summarizes a learning design conference in Sydney, and Clint Lalonde ponders universial instructional design principles for Moodle.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience, Assessment, Australia, Online Learning]

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My National Press Club talk on 'The Case for Open Journalism Now'
Melanie Sill, OJR: The Online Journalism Review, December 15, 2011.

As usdual, we can apply the same arguments to 'open education' as to 'open journalism'. And it is totally worth noting that by 'open journalism' we do not just mean journalism that is openly licensed; what's really important is the way it is created. Who cares if everybody has access to the local news, if the local news is published by a media monopoly using it's ownership of the press to advance a political agenda? Who cares about open access to education under the same conditions? "Open journalism begins with this notion of service. It recognizes that many people in our society have a stake in quality journalism and can contribute to it. And it applies ideas that have a lot of currency in journalism to the processes of journalism itself.... And open journalism works through networked connections. It links out -- to source material and to relevant web references. It establishes news people as active participants – in their roles as journalists – in a universe of information sharing."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Networks, Quality, Open Access]

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So.cl Experiment: Microsoft Launches Social Network For Students
Jeff Dunn, Edudemic, December 15, 2011.

Jeff Dunn writes, "Microsoft seems to always be a step behind. They just launched a new social network for students that features many Google+ and Facebook features. So.cl, pronounced social, is being billed as a site for student collaboration and information gathering." Maybe it'll show up alongside facebook and Google+ and Twitter in Major League baseball's new social media layer. Related: Use of analytics for early intervention with at-risk students.

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

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Measuring the Wrong Things — Has the Scientific Method Been Compromised By Careerism?
Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, December 15, 2011.

I think this is exactly right: "Perhaps we’re measuring the wrong things — number of publications, number of citations, impact factors of publication outlets — as a way of measuring a scientist’s productivity, which we then reward with money, either directly or indirectly. Perhaps we should measure how many results have been replicated. Without that, we are pursuing a cacophony of claims, not cultivating a world of harmonious truths." It is not, for example, how many publications I can get for developing the nature and form of the MOOC, nor the citations to my works, nor even whether I can raise research money for it. It's whether other people can use the model successfully. The papers and the money are an aid in doing this, a means to an end, not the end in itself.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research]

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The case in favour of more PhDs
Léo Charbonneau, University Affairs, December 15, 2011.

The phrase from this article that jumped out at me and slapped me in the face was this: "PhD training in Canada." I'm not sure what reaction the author is intending to evoke with such a remark (or whether it was merely written absently) but it does point to what I think is a widening disagreement about the purpose of higher education. The author has just written two posts pessimistic about the PhD job market (here and here) with figures suggesting that the difference in income between Master's graduates and PhDs is minimal. Here he points to figures that counter that argument: the amount of money made by MBAs, and the growth in the number of PhDs being imported into Canada. He concludes, "I think the debate isn’t that PhDs have value, but that they have to be perceived as having value by employers. The challenge, as I see it, is how to get the private sector to utilize and recognize the value of these workers." And my reaction to this way of thinking is hostile, because it would entail jumping through ridiculous PhD hoops to qualify for jobs outside academic as well as inside. What we actually need is a way to provide and recognize very advanced education in a manner that does not resemble some sort of medieval initiation.

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

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Network thinking
Harold Jarche, Weblog, December 15, 2011.

I like the list of characteristics of network thinking, though I think the descriptions are a bit lacking. Here are the characteristics:
- Adaptability instead of control
- Emergence instead of predictability
- Resilience and redundancy instead of rock stardom
- Contributions before credentials
- Diversity and divergence
There isn't space in this short post to write what I would think are the correct versions of each of the descriptions (so I suppose it's a bit unfair of me to criticize). But I do think the list is quite useful.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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Valerie’s Amazing Thinking About Social Artists
Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, December 15, 2011.

Nancy White writes, "As a followup from my week facilitating Change11, the amazing Valerie blew my mind with her video summary and synthesis of the week. No, it was much more than that. WOW. Take a look if you are interested in this idea of the social artist. Valerie, you ROCK!" Hard to say more than that.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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