OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 23, 2012

How Gawker wants to monetize comments
Felix Salmon, Columbia Journalism Review, May 23, 2012.

Good overview of the latest plan to monetize websites: through the comments. "Denton’s vision for Gawker Media’s editorial product is very much moving towards comments and away from posts, and he reckons that advertisers will follow him in that direction if he blazes the trail. Expect Gawker’s blog posts to get shorter, in future, and sometimes just be a headline." Except, it won't be conversation the way we understand it. "The advertiser will have a reasonably large degree of control of the conversation that most people see in that post."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing, Web Logs]

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files/images/connectome.JPG, size: 35011 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Quest for the connectome: scientists investigate ways of mapping the brain
Ian Sample, The Guardian, May 23, 2012.

Interesting article on a project intended to map the connections linking the 85 billion neurons of a human brain, collectively known as the connectome. The trick, though, lies in understanding how they function as a network. "There is overwhelming evidence that human cognitive functions depend on the activity and coactivity of large populations of neurons in distributed networks." So to some a neiron-by-neuron scan is unnecessary. ""If you want to study the rainforest, you don't need to look at every leaf and every twig and measure its position and orientation. It's too much detail." So the project is looking at larger-scale maps of neural wiring. A lot could be learned. "All the normal functions of the brain, the storage of information about the world, our memories, the way we perceive the world, the behaviours we learn, are all probably encoded in connectivity." Via Alexander Hayes.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Linking and Deep Linking, Networks]

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Intellectual Access — It Takes More Than Accessibility
Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, May 23, 2012.

Kent Anderson defends the domain of publishers by arguing that access alone is not enough. I want to send him to my (free) article on necessary and sufficient conditions. The argument that access is not sufficient does not refute the proposition that access is necessary. Anderson, though, touts a whole range of 'services' provided by publishers: "It’s about finding content or an artist (writer, singer, photographer) that a constituency cares about or finds interesting, pitching their works correctly for a target audience, cultivating awareness and interest in the work, making the work shine, packaging it for optimal consumption, and sustaining its relevance for as long as possible. Publishing is competitive, so publishers have to create the best venue for the best work." Well, that's exactly what I do here in OLDaily, but I am not a publisher. I am doing what the community now does for itself, without the need for publishers. (Note that Anderson uses the term 'accessibility' instead of 'access', perhaps unaware that 'accessibility' generally refers to providing special assistance disabled users, while the wider community uses 'access' to talk about removing financial barriers).

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

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Interview with Paige Johnson, Project RED
Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen, May 23, 2012.

Susan Smith Nash interviews Paige Johnson of Intel Corporation on Project RED. The intent of the current phase of the project is "to provide a series of educational opportunities, including webinars and regional institutes, for district leaders and school administrators." According to Johnson, there are nine 'Key Implementation Factors' related to better student achievement, including leadership prom the principal's office, collaboration online, online formative assessments, and finally, "The closer to a 1:1 student to computer ratio, the better the student outcomes." Project RED launched its new phase in late April but mostly seems to be about selling a report. Too bad; I would have thought Intel could do better.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Project Based Learning, Leadership, Assessment]

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MOOCs and the Professoriate
Kaustuv Basu, Inside Higher Ed, May 23, 2012.

Coverage of some resistance being expressed by academics over MOOCs (and in particular, the Thomas Friedman version of MOOCs). Jonathan Rees, for example, writes, "don’t think that your exalted status as a college professor will cause anyone planning to make money off the corpse of your career to lose a wink of sleep." Mark Brown argues, "it’s disgusting to present MOOCs as a solution to the crisis in public funding for higher education." There's a lot more reaction covered in this article, and while I understand the concerns I don't think the academics interviewed have come to grips with the problems inherent in the existing system and how MOOCs (the real kind, not the Friedman kind) were designed to solve them.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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