OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 7, 2012

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Which Connections Matter Most?
Rodd Lucier , The Clever Sheep, March 7, 2012.

Rodd Lucier writes, "I've been trying to come to terms why Jabiz Raisdana's recent post, Be More Interesting, resonated so authentically for me." Raisdana talks about a hybrid mode of connecting, one in which both online and offline connections are important. Lucier says, "my personal experience tells me that it is the blending of these two worlds that makes for the most meaningful connections of all." I think that talking about connections as 'important' or not misses the point. Network structures as a whole matter, individual connections may be 'stronger' or 'weaker', but individual connections don't 'matter', at least, not in the sense that some are more meaningful than others.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Experience]

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MOOCs for the win!
George Siemens, elearnspace, March 7, 2012.

Still more discussion on the nature and future of MOOCs. But as George Siemens says, it certainly appears as though it's MOOCs 4TW! I think we've bridged a conceptual gap, or crossed a threshold of social awareness. The temptation to measure them against existing programs is immense, but as Siemens says, "It is important to realize that MOOCs are not (yet) an answer to any particular problem. They are an open and ongoing experiment. They are an attempt to play with models of teaching and learning that are in synch with the spirit of the internet." See Rob Reynolds, meanwhile, who discusses MOOCs as a centrifugal force in education.

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

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The Civic and Political Significance of Online Participatory Cultures and Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
Joseph Kahne, Nam-Jin Lee, Jessica Timpany Feezell, DML Central, March 7, 2012.

This seems right to me: "we find that youth engagement in nonpolitical online participatory cultures may serve as a gateway to participation in important aspects of civic and political life, including volunteering, community problem-solving, protest activities, and political voice."

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

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How Researchers Can Use Inbound Linking Strategies to Enhance Access to Their Papers
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, March 4, 2012.

files/images/Publication_Stats.PNG, size: 10233 bytes, type:  image/png Brian Kelly makes a challenging argument: "I believe that adding information about one’s research publications to services such as Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Microsoft Academic Search and Google Scholar citations can increase the visibility of the papers to Google, as well as to users of the services, which may then lead to increased numbers of downloads, citations and take-up of the ideas described in the papers." More on this here. The problem is, this sort of pandering is exactly the sort of think SEO spammers use. And the challenge is whether we should be emulating their strategies, or undermining them. I have no doubt that sending content to the paper mills produces more hits and citations. What I question is whether this is a good thing. Because it seems to me that if we can game the number of citations we can get, it devalues citation count as an index of quality.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Microsoft, Research, Google, Spam, Academic Publications]

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Self-Interest Spurs Society’s ‘Elite’ to Lie, Cheat on Tasks, Study Finds
Elizabeth Lopatto, Bloomberg, March 2, 2012.

I have in the past in some of my more speculative articles talked about a time when we would begin to see wealth not as a positive but rather as a symptom of an underlying illness or instability. Amassing great wealth would be viewed as a symptom of a pathology that is ultimately harmful to society. The research backs me up. "The 'upper class,' as defined by the study, were more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiation, cheat to raise their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work, the research found." What we need to understand is that this is how they become wealthy. Being wealthy is evidence of this unethical behaviour. And my inclination isn't "to find a way to increase empathy among wealthier people," it's to find a way to prevent them from cheating their way to the top in the first place.

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

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Scholarly Publishing: Where is Plan B?
Richard Poynder, Open and Shut, March 1, 2012.

files/images/clip_image.jpg, size: 7785 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Summary of Elsevier's recent support for the controversial US Research Works Act (RWA), the fallout (including a substantial Elsevier boycott) and speculations about where the publisher will turn next. All this animosity, writes the author, obscures the underlying problem: "What is the underlying problem? Simply that the research community can no longer afford to pay the costs of publishing its research in the traditional manner." So what will keep the publishers relevant? In a word: peer review. So says Claudio Aspesi, a senior research analyst at the sell-side research firm Sanford Bernstein. Aspesi tracks Elsevier for investors. "I doubt the academic community is — by and large — ready to abandon peer review. If this happened, of course, then the role of journals would be further diminished, but I would not expect that to happen any time soon."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Wikipedia, Academia, Audio]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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