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April 5, 2012

Feature Article
Review: The Edupunks' Guide, by Anya Kamenetz
Stephen Downes, April 5, 2012.

I have now had the chance to read The Edupunks' Guide and can now form some opinions based on what I've seen. And if I were forced to summarize my critique in a nutshell, it would be this. Edupunk, as described by the putative subculture, is the idea of 'learning by doing it yourself'. The Edupunks' Guide, however, describes 'do-it-yourself learning'. The failure to appreciate the difference is a significant weakness of the booklet.

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3 Major Publishers Sue Open-Education Textbook Start-Up
Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 5, 2012.

Hm. "A group of three large academic publishers has sued the start-up Boundless Learning in federal court, alleging that the young company, which produces open-education alternatives to printed textbooks, has stolen the creative expression of their authors and editors, violating their intellectual-property rights." This isn't a case of copying and publishing content: the publishers are claiming something broader. Students list the traditional texts they have been assigned, and the publisher pulls together a collection of open source content covering the same domain. "The company calls this mapping of printed book to open material 'alignment'—a tactic the complaint said creates a finished product that violates the publishers’ copyrights." See also Audrey Watters coverage at Inside Higher Ed.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Content, Books, Push versus Pull, Patents, Open Source, Copyrights, Academia]

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First Steps in Learning and Teaching MOOC – Update
Jenny Mackness, Jenny Connected, April 5, 2012.

I've had a bunch of people sending me information about new MOOCs starting up and I'm totally losing track. You can follow the development of the fslt12 MOOC here as the largely Oxford-based team begins to grow. I have to say, we've long way from Oxford's traveling library days.

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Collusion – tracking and mapping links between websites
D'Arcy Norman, D'Arcy Norman dot net, April 5, 2012.

D'Arcy Norman outlines a Firefox plugin that diagrams links between websites he's visited and also websites connected to those websites. It's an interesting look, because we see the blog and Twitter stuff he reads, and then the sources in the background. He writes, "the non-glowing icons are sites that either fed media to the sites I did visit, or who tracked my activity as a third party." Now what I see when I look at this is that he depends a lot on social media, and this leads him pretty quickly to mass media sites on the net - I recognize the Yahoo logo, YouTube, Boing Boing. Google, and a bunch of others. I might try the app myself - I think that since my reading pattern is very different that the graph will look quite different as well.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Yahoo!, Twitter, YouTube, Video, Web Logs, Google]

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Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict
Melissa Terras, Melissa Terras' Blog, April 5, 2012.

files/images/discovery2.png, size: 70452 bytes, type:  image/png Last October Melissa Terras uploaded her 26 articles to University College London's Open Access Repository - "Discovery". In addition, she wrote a blog post about each research project and tweeted the papers available for download. This post examines the question: was it worth the effort? Short answer: yes. "People read the blog posts - I have about 2000 visitors here a month, 70% new, with an average time on the site of 1 minute and 5 seconds. You come here and tend to read what I have written (thanks!) and seem to be clicking and downloading my research papers... 27 out of the top 50 downloads in our department in the last calendar year feature me (as a rough guide, I get about 1/3 of the entire downloads for my department)."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Project Based Learning, Research, Web Logs]

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The Ultimate eLearning Design and Development Checklist
Nicole Legault, Flirting w/ eLearning, April 5, 2012.

There's some good stuff in the Flirting with E-Learning blog, which I'm seeing for the first time today, including not only this 'ultimate e-learning checklist', which covers pretty much everything, but some nice work on making graphics from photos, sample storyboard slides, and career development using social media.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Web Logs, Online Learning]

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An Interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Unattributed, Connected Educators, April 5, 2012.

files/images/PLP-interview.jpgw260zc1, size: 18318 bytes, type:   Purpose, size and social artistry - these are among the essentials of online community described by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in this interview outlining the development of the Powerful Learning Practice online communities. "I’d really caution developers to not become fixated on size and numbers," she says. "You really need to think about quality and whether you have the right people on the bus, not necessarily the most people." Also worth mention is the idea of distributed leadership, discussed in the latter part of the interview. "Ideally, you’re bringing back diverse thinking, helping achieve what Frans Johansson calls 'the Medici Effect': the idea that true diversity produces true innovation." This is the best overview of Nussbaum-Beach's work I've seen, and is worthy of careful attention.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning Communities, Leadership, Quality]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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