OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 16, 2012

The Yield of Happiness
Jay Cross, Internet Time Blog, November 16, 2012.

Jay-Cross-photo-e1352984691694.jpg, size: 5159 bytes, type:  image/jpeg "Productivity and hard work have long been integral pieces of a successful workplace. Now human emotion is joining them. Organisations have discovered that treating people like robots leads to hostility, dissatisfaction and resentment towards management." So writes Jay Cross (also here), and while I agree with him, I find myself wishing this understand were found in all organizations. "The benefits of a happy working environment and teaching how small changes can boost productivity, ultimately increasing an organisation’s bottom line. One of Cross’ wellbeing-enhancing projects is 'Blips', a new app for portable devices that measures aggregate happiness in the workplace and will debut at this year’s Online Educa Berlin."

If I had that app, it would be happily beeping away right now, as I enjoy meeting with my colleagues in Colombia and sharing thoughts and ideas about online learning with them. Sadly, offering these talks isn't part of my job any more, so I'm not given time to give them (the conference organizers have always paid travel costs); throughout this year I've had to use vacation time. Soon I'll run out of vacation time and my blip meter will fall silent. And my productivity will fall, because for me, at least, innovation (and happiness) doesn't come from sitting in the office taking orders, it comes being creative, making things, and in part at least, from doing these presentations and being challenged and experiencing the reality of learning where it is happening.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Online Learning]

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What are we to do with feral publishers?
David Harvie, et.al., Leicester Research Archive, November 16, 2012.

(Handle) This is one of two publications recommended by Gary Hall on the occasion of a conference on "how implementing the Finch Review on Open Access Publishing will affect researchers and learned societies in the arts, humanities and social sciences." The article by David Harvie (et.al.) writes about "the profits and practices of commercial journal publishers and argues for an appropriate response from the academic community." The range of respinse includes a full-scale boycott. The article attacks publishers not only for high subscription rates but also in their relocation to tax havens in Swiss cantons such as Zug. Simon Lilley, in How Publishers Feather Their Nests on Open Access to Public Money, raises similar concerns.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Subscription Services, Academia]

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Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind?
Jaron Lanier, NY Times, November 16, 2012.

Great quote from Jaron Lanier: "Roughly speaking, there are two ways to use computers in the classroom. You can have them measure and represent the students and the teachers, or you can have the class build a virtual spaceship. Right now the first way is ubiquitous, but the virtual spaceships are being built only by tenacious oddballs in unusual circumstances. More spaceships, please." Via Will Richardson.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Ubiquitous Internet]

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Is Coursera Facebook, Amazon, or Pets.com?
Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, November 16, 2012.

Interesting (and accurate) take on the 'innovation' brought to the field by Coursera and the other xMOOCs. "It’s an uncomfortable truth for educational folks," writes Michael Feldstein, "that one of the principal innovations of the xMOOC is the store front. It is the ability to find courses in a catalog. If you look at what Coursera is right now from a platform perspective, it is primarily a store front on top of an LMS." Given this, where will Cousera and the rest move in the future. Feldstein suggests three directions:

  • Facebook - "the platform gains value primarily not from the content but from the people in the network."
  • Amazon - "the main value of the store front is as…well…a store front. It is a sales channel."
  • Pets.com - "store front as a stand-alone for-profit company is a passing fad."

I think there may be additional business models: as a histing service, for example, as a cloud service for institutions, even as an extension of advertising and marketing. But yeah, if you take the view that MOOC services are store-fronts, this is basically your list of business models.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Marketing, Networks]

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MOOCs trend towards open enrollment, not licensing
Timothy Vollmer, OpenSource.com, November 16, 2012.

According to Timothy Vollment, "An OER cannot be freely available or openly licensed—it must be both freely available andopenly licensed (or in the public domain) to be an OER." The earlier MOOCs such as CCK08 were both (and for good measure, ran on open source software), but the later MOOCs have drifted away from that ideal. "As MOOCs continue to develop course content and experiment with various business models," he writes, "we think it's crucial that they consider adopting open licenses as a default on their digital education offerings." Why? It increases the reach of their materials, it serves even more learners, and it streamlines reuse. The MOOCs we designed made use of open educational materials wherever they were on the web; we did not centralize all content in our own system. This distributed approach - plus open licensing - allows the same content to be used in multiple MOOCs, and assists learners in making connections between subjects across domains. (Image by Giulia Forsythe)

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Flickr, Open Educational Resources, Open Source]

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Twitter Email Facebook What You Need to Know About MOOC's
Various Authors, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2012.

Short article and timeline documenting the 'history' of MOOCs. I put 'history' in quotes because it refers only to Chronicle articles, and is thus a graphic demovstration of the fact that the Chronicle completely ignored the subject for several years. As a result they posit a revisionist history that eliminates any mention of the actual development of the form. It's all the more odd given that the Chronicle actually co-sponsored this year's MOOC with George Siemens and myself. Finally, the plural of MOOC is MOOCs, not MOOC's, because the apostraphe indicates possession, not plurality.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Twitter, Books]

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The Silent History - It's an App - It's a Book - It's Awesome
Liz B Davis, The Power of Educational Technology, November 15, 2012.

silenthistory.jpg, size: 30520 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I mentioned during my talk Thursday that the future of the book is an app. Here is an example of that. "The App itself is free, but then you have to pay for the books within the App. The book is serialized and each installment is delivered to your iDevice on a daily basis (except weekends). You must wait 8 (painful) hours between each piece of the story." Clever. Annoying. Not an auspicious start.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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