OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 21, 2013

eTextBooks Europe eTextBooks Europe
Phil Barker, Phil’s JISC CETIS blog, January 21, 2013

Phil Barker summarizes a recent meeting for stakeholders interested in the eTernity (European textbook reusability networking and interoperability) initiative. The list of issues raised "sounds like a list of the educational technology issues that we have been busy with for the last decade or two" but there is, he says, a focus on education and learning rather than books and publishing.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Usability, European Union, Interoperability, Networks, Online Learning]

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Post-Publication Peer-Review Already Exists, Already Has Incentives, and Is Already Robust
Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, January 21, 2013

300px-K_26_M_Van_Trophies.JPG, size: 26377 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Kent Anderson responds to Wired's Dan Cohen, who argues "that OA can’t be effective if post-publication peer-review isn’t made as robust as possible." According to Cohen, we already have a mechanism that performs this function: awards. Anderson responds responds, basically, that pre-publication review and post-publication review are not mutually exclusive. "OA needs pre-publication peer-review as much as any other business model around scientific content." Meanwhile, awards do not serve the same function as pre-publication review. "Awards are usually meaningless in the long run.... Rewards, on the other hand, combine both power and viability, and therefore beat awards hands down. Scientists seek grants, tenure advancement, higher positions in the academic hierarchy..." But this response just begs the question. In a post-publication rveiew world, rewards and awards would align; tenure, for example, wouldn't be granted simply for posting a paper - anyone can do that - but would be granted for winning the "Natural Science paper of the Year" award, the equivalent (in a post-publication world) of publishing in Nature.

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

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Nowhere to Turn
Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed, January 21, 2013

iStock_000008206027XSmall.jpg, size: 4435 bytes, type:  image/jpeg A while back I wrote something along the lines of, "the financial crisis for higher education is slowly developing, through when it arrives it will seem like it happened overnight." Well, it's just about dawn, according to this article describing a Moody'sreport saying essentially that traditional revenue streams for the sector are drying up and will not return. "Most universities will have to lower their cost structures to achieve long-term financial sustainability and to fund future initiatives." Aside from some capital savings, a lower cost structure means fewer jobs, especiallygood jobs for academic professionals. But the other, more progressive, response is to see how the system can serve a much larger number of students. It won't eliminate the cost pressures, but students would find it much more affordable and governments would find it much more difficult to put the squeeze on.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Academia]

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files/images/squirm.jpg, size:  bytes, type:
“The squirming facts exceed the squamous mind”
Abject, January 21, 2013

One of the questions I ask myself on a regular basis is whetehr I should abandon low-level scripting in languages like Perl and managing my own server in favour as, as Boris Mann calls it, the new hack stack. The old hack stack is and was called LAMP - Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl (or PHP). But these days servers are constructed in environments like Ruby on Rails or Django and services are often plug-in, hosted elsewhere and accessed via APIs, like MailChimp for mailing lists or Amazon Web Service for data hosting. Now LAMP itself is and was a viable alternative to large enterprise computing, the sort of environment you would set up for an institutional LMS, as Brian Lamb discusses here. I'd feel more like a stick-in-the-mud had I not put in my time on both the enterprise side and the new stack side. I think the different systems have strengths depending on what you're trying to do. For full-service startup sites class2go the new stack is great. For institution-strength LMSs supporting services like Desire2Learn's new Binder application, enterprise is the way to go. Just in the same way for groups and activities, Facebook and Twitter and other social networks give people what they need. But for personal computing, I think I'm still wanting my own server and my own applications, using but not depending on these online services.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Mailing Lists, Books, Ruby, Networks]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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