OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 29, 2014

When Learning Isn’t Vulnerability
Darren Draper, Drape's Takes, January 29, 2014

Darren Draper critiques the recent "learning is vulnerability" argument offered by George Siemens and Audrey Watters, among others, but I think he mistakes what "vulnerability" means. Draper asks, "have we consigned ourselves to a world where learning must be networked, must require community, and must embrace the vulnerability of students? I hope not." He adds, "there are many times when learning (i.e., studying, practicing, being taught, and experiencing) takes place without an audience and with minimal communication strain on the part of the learner." Well, true. But consider. Draper writes, "Learning is no more vulnerability than eating might be." Quite so. But every time we eat, we are vulnerable. Not 'vulnerable' in the sense-of-community kumbaya sense. But vulnerable in the sense that we might be poisoned, suffer indigestion, eat too much, find the food distasteful, and any of a hundred other discomforts. Any change creates vulnerability because it introduces something from outside the system into the inside, and that introduces the possibility of some sort of failure - failure to adapt, failure to learn, failure to digest, failure to grow.

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Is Blogging Unscholarly?
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, January 29, 2014

I think this is a tempest in a teapot, but at the same time, I think it's a harbinger of debates to come. The proposed motion (which will probably be defeated) would prohibit journal editors for a small academic society from blogging, as blogging is an 'unscholarly' activity. But as I comment on the article, these days, many of the blogs I read are more scholarly than many of the journal articles I read. This is not good for scholarly journals, and they will need to rethink the submission and peer review process in order to survive.

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A Future Without Schooling?
Jim Shimabukuro, January 29, 2014


So, here's the question: "Can we, educators, imagine a future without traditional schools and teachers? The same can be asked of higher ed, Can we imagine a future without traditional colleges and professors?" Well in fact, Jim Shimabukuro says, we've already begun to imagine this future with MOOCs and other open online learning. So, the key issue isn't whether we can do it. Rather, "yes, students 'can' learn on their own or with peers, but the problem is 'will' they?" But isn't that an indictment of the traditional system? Contrary to all the stated goals of education, "Years of regimented schooling has succeeded in creating regimented students who are unable and unwilling to learn on their own."He adds, "we’re standing on the edge of a vista that staggers the imagination."

Just one thing, though. This new and exciting future isn't the outcome of a sole entrepreneur working outside the system, as the TED myth would suggest. This has been the goal of a lot of people, working together, mostly in government and schools, with some support (and as much resistance) from entrepreneurs. The internet, the web, open content and open access, the LMS, pedagogy and the MOOC: all were created within the public system, by people working for the public good, not by some lone capitalist with an idea. This future wasn't created by the Bill Gates of the world. It was created by the Pete Seegers. Never forget that. Photo: Robin A Richardson.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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