OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 23, 2013

Open Educational Resources: An Asian Perspective
David Porter, Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Commonwealth of Learning, January 23, 2013

From the description: "This book, the result of an OER Asia research project hosted and implemented by the Wawasan Open University in Malaysia, with support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre, brings together ten country reports and ten case studies on OER in the Asian region that highlight typical situations in each context." You can download the 296 page PDF here.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Project Based Learning, Research, Canada]

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World's Largest Natural Sound Archive Now Online
Anita Li, Mashable, January 23, 2013

So I spent the better part of an hour listening to loons on Mason Lake and a chorus of birds in Queensland, Australia, thanks to this Mashable link to the free natural sounds archive, now available online from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. As Open Culture reports, the recordings go back to 1929.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Seneca, Australia, Queensland, Audio]

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Boundless, the free alternative to textbooks, releases its content under Creative Commons
Jane Park, Creative Commons, January 23, 2013

The story is in the headline. Boundless "has released 18 open textbooks under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA), the same license used by Wikipedia. Schools, students and the general public are free to share and remix these textbooks under this license." The company expects to make money selling premium features. Park writes, "Boundless is already rolling out some of those premium features, including flashcards, study guides, and quizzes." Better than Flat World Knowledge.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Wikipedia]

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Half a Million DVDs in Your DNA
Robert F. Service, ScienceNOW, January 23, 2013

I saw this in a couple places today (here and here): "Researchers in the United Kingdom report today that they've encoded these works and others in DNA and later sequenced the genetic material to reconstruct the written, audio, and visual information." Several other initiatives are underway to accomplish the same thing. DNA has its disadvantages as a storage medium though: it's write-only, and you have to sequence it to recover your data. But it lasts a long time and "can be stable for thousands of years if kept in a cool, dry place." The main message here isn't that we'll be storing data in DNA in the future - it's that the trend toward ever more massive storgae systems is continuing apace.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Great Britain, Cool, Audio]

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Thoughts from a MOOC Pioneer
Gene Roche, Academic Technology, January 23, 2013

We hear the same lesson from "MOOC pioneers" every time they report on their experience: "Producing decent video takes much more skill and concentration than it would seem." What else? Interestingly, Scott E. Page’ reports, "the constraints of sharing video with the entire world and trying to keep it reusable strips out much of the humor, the personal stories, and the other emotional content that make even average lectures more engaging than carefully produced video.  One student noted, 'You don’t seem to care as much in the videos.' He notes that he gets asked to speak on MOOCs in lots of settings, but, when he offers to send a video, almost no one takes him up on it. They want face-to-face interaction."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Interaction, Video, Experience]

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Help us Edit the Learners Bill of Rights
Philipp Schmidt, P2PU, January 23, 2013

P2PU is launching a campaign to create and in some sense ratify a 'Learner Bill of Rights' for online learners. All very well, though I think the idea of a Bill of Rights is a bit of an Americanism - I contrast it with the 'Cyberspace Charter of Rights' I authored back in 1999 and which I think still reads well. Of course, I never had the means (nor inclination) to round up a biunch of famous people to sign it, so it never received a whole lot of traction. Anyhow, the P2PU 2013 version - also covered in the Chronicle - includes some learning-specific clauses (which I think frankly are questionable): 'the right to have great teachers' and 'the right to be teachers'. It also includes a set of 'principles' which, to my view, have nothing to do with rights: that online learning should originate everywhere on the globe, that the function of learning is "to allow students to equip themselves to address the challenges and requirements of life and work," and so on. I'm not sure where they dredged up the original signatories (I was not asked or consulted, obviously) but if you ask me it's pretty top-down and manipulative. See also: The Possibility of Punk: A P2P Strategy Jam. More from University Affairs and Doug Johnson (who contrasts it with cartoons from Larry Cuban). Photo source Centre for Edupunx.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: United States, Google, Online Learning]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.