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July 26, 2013

Mapping the landscape of Open Educational Resources institutional initiatives
Susan D'Antoni, Commonwealth of Learning, UNESCO, July 26, 2013

Susan D'Antoni has posted information on the summary and wrap-up from last November's UNESCO-COL discussion on the feasibility of mapping OER initiatives. While I think the documentation covers the highlights, I think there was an undercurrent of scepticism about the usefulness of a map that isn't represented, as well as questions surrounding what constitutes an OER initiative. But in general the resource is a valuable contribution to the field as a whole. As a side note, I am now monitoring the OER Knowledge cloud feed, so I'll be more timely with resources like MOOCs are more social than you believe.

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The MOOC Racket
Jonathon Rees, Slate, July 26, 2013


Knowing that Jonathan Rees is a professor of history at Colorado State University, I am led to wonder how many people learned of the nature and causes of the decline of the Roman Empire from Gibbon. Surely it must be in the thousands, mustn't it? I ponder this after reading Rees write, "How do you teach tens of thousands of people anything at once? You don't." But surely Gibbon is accomplishing exactly that. I don't know what the 'completion rate' for Decline and Fall - I can't imagine it's great - but the beauty of books is that if one doesn't work for you, they're not expensive, and you can always start another one. Add to the book the community and interactivity of a MOOC, and you have a viable learning experience. The danger to universities isn't MOOCs - it's professors who assume they are the one and only path to knowledge. On such hubris far greater empires have fallen.

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How Microsoft could beat Siri and Google Now: A modern Microsoft Bob
Mark Hachman, PC World, July 26, 2013


This is interesting. "Behind the scenes, Microsoft has been busy developing what it calls its Satori engine, named for the first step on the Buddhist path to enlightenment. Satori’s goal, Microsoft says, is to build the 'world’s largest repository of knowledge' for Bing to tap into, always there to provide assistance when asked. Behind the scenes, Satori will collect and collate information from the Web, organizing it within Bing, and using individual applications as the portals for delivery to users." If we think of the impact Google had on online learning, we can imagine the sort of impact a successful implementation of Satori would have.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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