OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 7, 2013

Elsevier Upping the Ante in its Opposition to Academics
Alan Wexelblat, Copyfight, December 7, 2013


I haven't been impressed by the way Academia has been gathering copies of my papers from wherever and posting them on its own website; people looking for my work are now increasingly likely to find it on Academia, despite the fact that it's a commercial website. Eventually it will lock down the papers or plaster them with ads; it already requires that you log in before you can download papers (Rory McGreal says this never happens and that I can't produce any examples, but here you go). At any rate, Elsevier has started sending takedown notices to them. I don't care who wins this battle. Academics should post their own work on their own site, or at the very least, in an institutional repository.

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Learning and Performance Support Systems
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, December 7, 2013

This post introduces our Learning and Performance Support Systems program, a new $19 million 5-year initiative at the National Research Council that I will be leading. If I had to depict LPSS in a nutshell, I would describe it as a combination of the MOOC project we've been working on over the last few year, as well as our work in Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). The objective is to build a system where individuals can access, and get credit for, learning from any education provider at all, whether from home, the workplace, or at a school. The text is a version of the case we presented to NRC senior executive in order to have this program approved. They supported our proposal, and for the last few weeks I have been engaged in developing the program implementation with a large team of NRC colleagues.

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De-Icing the MOOC Research Conference
Jim Groom, bavatuesdays, December 7, 2013


Commentary and such, plus slides, from Jim Groom on the MOOC Research Initiative conference attended by a large number of creators in Arlington, Texas. A lot happened in the short time I was there (and although I had to leave a day early I feel like I escape Texas's icy clutch just in time). George Siemens announced he is leaving Athabasca University and joining the University of Texas at Arlington (Athabasca University has basically imploded; it's really sad to see). I announced our new Learning and Performance Support Systems program. I rode a steer. Here are the discussion summaries from the groups (the workshop was a series of discussions, not a series of speeches - so much nicer). And then we had an ice storm (pictured above from my hotel window) just to remind everybody of Canada.

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Open Source Options For Education
Mark Johnson, OSS Watch, December 7, 2013

This is a great list of open source alternatives to common educational software tools. It begind with the usual suspects - Moodle for an LMS, Audacity for audio, Big Blue Button for synchronous conferencing, Kaltura for video streaming. But then it gets into some very niche applications: OpenSankoré for whiteboards, Molly for mobile, Q-Light for theatre and drama. Even if you are familiar with open source alternatievs for education, you might find something new here. Schoolforge has a similar but much briefer list, with some additional tools.

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How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College
Alison J. Head, Cengage Learning, December 6, 2013

I guess what surprises me most about this study is that they're still using the term 'freshmen' in 2013. What doesn't surprise me is that new college students (sometimes called 'first year students' or, if you must, 'frosh') found that they needed more than 'look it up on Google' as research skill. But it's not because it's so much more deep and complicated reserach than they've seen before. It's not because "they were unprepared to deal with the enormous amount of information they were expected to find and process for college research assignments." It's because so much of it is blocked from the open web, either buried in proprietary archives or - worse - available on paper only.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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