OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 14, 2012

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All I want for Christmas…
Scott Leslie, Ed Tech Post, December 14, 2012.

"All I want for Christmas," writes Scott Leslie, "…is for you to buy a single Flatworld Knowledge textbook, before December 31. And then share it with the rest of the world." Normally I do not post Christmas wishes, or holiday-specific posts of any kind, but here I'll make an exception. Why? Because, as Leslie says, "because of the technical restrictions FWK placed on the books (they are not at public URLs but behind logins; the content is not easily copyable unless you pay for it) after the gate comes down on December 31 and the licenses removed (because surely they will) unless copies of them are made outside of these walls, they will have effectively been removed from the Commons." I have liberated 'Introductory Chemistry' by David W. Ball and posted it on my website. If you want to help, pick a book from this sheet and note what you've accessed in the comments or on the wiki.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Content, Books]

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Various Authors, Website, December 14, 2012.

Daniel Christian posts in the G+ MOOC Community, "(a) piece of what they offer is subtitled as the "Web's first Engagement Management System" (so we now have another meaning for the EMS acronym :).  Interesting concepts therein. As the convergence of the computer, the telephone, and the television continues, should be an interesting set of techs to watch develop; especially as it relates to Learning from the Living [Class] Room..." Related, I saw the other day a reference to social network support as a 'second screen' option for video and sports entertainment on television, which makes a lot of sense to me. Multiple devices working in concert - this is the future of digital media.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Google, Networks]

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Access journalism is poison
Dave Winer, Scripting News, December 14, 2012.

"I was good at the access game," writes Dave Winer. "I traded ideas and news with reporters, and in return they wrote nice things about me and my product. I'm sure many of them actually liked our products, but the reason they looked at them, or even heard of them, was this exchange of favors." I'm quite sure this still goes on (I'm not a part of it because I can't be counted on to write nice things, or anything at all - not that I'm special or gifted or anything, it's just that my paycheque doesn't depend on these favours). This is in response to Margaret Sullivan's piece in the the NY Times on the "chummish" Dealbook Conference, and Felix Salmon's follow-up, which essentially dismisses Sullivan's piece as hypocritical. "Sullivan could pick any NYT story at random, and the chances that she would consider it “adversarial”, or performing any kind of “watchdog” role, would be very low indeed." Winer gets to the hearty of the problem. "People who are close friends with the people they cover aren't really covering them. If that's all there is, then we aren't getting news. And that leads to huge problems. Open technologies are ignored because there's no marketing budget for them. Housing markets are turned into gambling casinos by people who already have more money than they could ever spend. Ordinary middle class people are turned out of their own homes. There are real consequences to this system."

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

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Finally, alternatives to prominent MOOCs
George Siemens, elearnspace, December 14, 2012.

George Siemens tells us "Tony Hirst shared a new initiative via OU UK: UK universities embrace the free, open, online future of higher education powered by the open University. From a Times HE release: 'Futurelearn will carry courses from 12 UK institutions (see list), which will be available to students across the world free of charge.'" Siemens comments, and I echo: "I’m more dismayed now, however, than I was in July and the anemic vision and response by Canadian universities. Higher education is facing a changed landscape. Even if MOOCs disappear from the landscape in the next few years, the change drivers that gave birth to them will continue to exert pressure and render slow plodding systems obsolete (or, perhaps more accurately, less relevant)." He's quite right. Institutions in this country are so afraid they might be making the wrong move they end up making no move whatsoever. And yes, I include my own institution in that.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Great Britain, Canada]

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Freelance Professors
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, December 14, 2012.

I will be honest: I would love to be a freelance professor, offering courses online and earning whatever I can earn. This requires two things: a teaching environment, and accreditation. I've already built the first; all that's lacking is the second. So when I read an article like this, about freelance instructors, I'm wondering who is allowed to do it and how they are accredited. If I apply for a job at a university there's a blunt refusal because I don't have a PhD, but at StraighterLine your expertise appears to be more important. And a number of colleges grant credit for the courses. So there's hope for me going forward.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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