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November 6, 2012

The Paradox of Democracy
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, November 6, 2012.

Seb Schmoller sent me this link on the naive expert, and I responded with this post. To be clear, though, the post is not a response to the naive expert link, it's just a train of thoughts that were set off reading it. I try to capture the nature, purpose and essence of democracy. "I am a radical democrat. My commitment to democracy extends well beyond support for the mechanisms of democratic decision-making, but additionally, to mechanisms and measures supporting the greatest degree of autonomy and self-governance possible."

(p.s. I'm noticing that almost nobody is reading my articles when I post the link only to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The reason, of course, is that they are all now trying to sell online influence, as documented here (via James Baggesen). The same with my photos: posting to the social networks nets 150 views, posting here nets 600, for roughly the same number of readers. So, I'm glad I have my website and my newsletter, so my online footprint doesn't disappear when Facebook decides it's not making enough money).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Books, Google, Networks, Newsletters]

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Predators and Producers: Whither Flat World
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, November 6, 2012.

My response to the Flat World announcement. "Flat Earth represented the 'have your cake and eat it' school of publishing. It represented the idea that business models would not need to adjust to the digital reality, that you could take a traditional concept - like academic publishing - and simply add free digital content on top, as marketing and promotion perhaps." (Image: Sanford Forte)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books, Marketing, Academia]

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Everybody Wants to MOOC the World
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, November 6, 2012.

Michael Feldstein writes, "it’s worth asking what it means for the traditional LMS players to be marketing themselves as platforms for MOOCs and other open courses." In particular, he looks at Instructure's Canvas. "The main new capability," he writes, "seems to be the catalog that allows courses to be discovered across institutions." More interesting, he says, are the comments made by Instructure executives, specifically those to the effect that MOOCs are more about open education, that you don't need a fancy business model to build them, and that services like Canvas make MOOCs feasible for everyone. It makes sense to question the innovation. Peter Levine of Udacity says "Udacity aims to democratize education by delivering world-class coursework to hundreds of thousands of students everywhere." But that's hardly innovative (even if Levine thinks the software will "eat" education). What's missing in all of these, says Feldstein, are first, a sustainability model, and second, pedagogy. "While the cMOOCs are doing some interesting experimentation in pedagogy, I see little innovation in either course design or platform affordances in the xMOOCs."

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

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Premium Free Range OER
Geoff Cain, Brainstorm in Progress, November 6, 2012.

As mentioned yesterday, Flat World Publishing is the most recent company to disappoint its community as the former publisher of free and open texts has decided that 'free and open' means charging money for them. Geoff Cain responds, "I am announcing here that CainCo EduProducts will also be offering premium free textbooks at a relatively fair and competitive cost." How can this be? His book, he says, will be "free range books", much like the chickens picture. Parody, of course. Because there are laws about labling foods, aren't there? (Image from Wikimedia)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Books]

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Make a MOOC: Shaken or Stirred
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, November 6, 2012.

Alan Levine introduced the MOOC Shaker, a tongue-in-cheek generator of MOOC titles. Perhaps he could help me: I joined NaNoWriMo last week and got stuck on the title.

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Adjacent possible: MOOCs, Udacity, edX, Coursera
George Siemens, xED Book, November 6, 2012.

George Siemens bites back (good on him): "Let’s start by doing away with the 'lone genius myth' of MOOCs. Thrun, Udacity, Coursera, and Stanford did not invent MOOCs. They did run them on a much larger scale than we have done with our MOOCs. They had better PR connections and better funding. Our own MOOCs, in turn, borrowed heavily from online learning research, our work with networked learning, and the experiences of conferences and online courses that are at least 20 years old. In academia, there is a desire for attribution, an acknowledgement of the origin of ideas. In this regard, NYTimes fails at basic literature review."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Traditional and Online Courses, Research, Networks, Experience, Online Learning, Academia]

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Bitcoin: How the Internet Created Its Own Currency
Christina Warren, Mashable, November 6, 2012.

The story of Bitcoin is an interesting one, even if (as I believe) the artificial currency is unlikely to live a long life. In one of Mashable's better articles, Bitcoin is described from both a technical and historical perspective. "Coins are generated using a process called mining. Think of mining as a lottery. Computers connected to the network (known as miners) aim to find the solution to a certain mathematical problem. If they successfully solve the problem, a new block is created. Until December 2012, the value of each block is 50 BTC (Bitcoins). Every four years, the value of solving a block is halved." Bitcoin is probably the greatest testament to the idea that an economy can be built to be structurally fair by design. That, utltimately, will also be why it fails: because it will be unfair, and there will be no way to fix that.

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Go International
Dan Colman, Open Culture, November 6, 2012.

Dan Colman is one of my favorite bloggers. But he's terribly misinformed when he says today that "the first major providers of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) got their start in Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts." and that "now we’re seeing them sprout up outside of the United States." Additionally, his "complete course list" contains only a fraction of the offerings these providers offer.
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[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Web Logs, Silicon Valley]

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How Canadians Reclaimed the Public Interest on Digital Policy
Michael Geist, Weblog, November 6, 2012.

I'm inclined to agree with Michael Geist on this one, and it's reasonable to give credit where it is deserved: "the shift toward the public interest in the development of Canadian digital policies ranks as one of the most remarkable policy transformations of the current Conservative government. The change is not absolute - Canada caved to U.S. pressure on several copyright issues, delayed implementation of the anti-spam bill due to corporate lobbying, and is negotiating new trade treaties that could undo much of the recent progress - but the state of Canadian digital policy is far better than anyone could have reasonably anticipated several years ago."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Copyrights, Spam, Canada]

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Ed Radio Show Notes, November 6, 2012

Ed Radio November 6, 2012

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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