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by Stephen Downes
February 24, 2014

IMS Global Learning Consortium Releases Learning Tools Interoperability v2
Press Release, IMS Global, February 24, 2014

From the press release (edited to remove adjectives) : "IMS Global Learning Consortium has announced the release of the public specification of Learning Tools Interoperability v2 (LTI™ 2), which enables automated 1-click integration of a wide variety of educational apps and digital content with the educational enterprise." The press release is for some reason a PDF. More: "The LTI v2 standard can be downloaded from the IMS Global public website at http://www.imsglobal.org/lti/. IMS Global maintains a developer website for those wishing to implement LTI and has a catalog of tools and platforms that have achieved LTI conformance certification is maintained at http://developers.imsglobal.org/catalog.html."

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Unattributed, Hasso Platner Institute, February 24, 2014


The Hasso Plattner Institute has launched a Chinese-language MOOC portal. The recently launched www.openHPI.cn an educational platform offering MOOCs in Chinese language.  Current courses are found here: https://openhpi.cn/courses

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Not Every Disagreement Is a Logical Fallacy
Alex B. Berezow, Newton Blog, February 23, 2014


Nice article debunking some supposed 'logical fallacies' that have started to appear in the media and on discussion boards. For example:

  • False equivalence - i.e., "you're comparing apples and oranges". There's nothingw rong with comparing apples and oranges; I do it every time I open my fridge. The critic is searhcing for 'false analogy', but this charge requires some methodological rigour in order to make it stick.
  • Sunk cost - supposedly "we are biased against actions that could lead to regret." Suppose we are. It is good not to feel regret. It's just one factor to be weighed against other factors (like economic return), not one that is to be ruled out a priori.

As the author says, not every disagreement is a logical fallacy. "Blaming our disagreements, particularly political ones, on logical fallcies does nothing other than delude us into thinking that our opponents are illogical and that we are intellectually superior." Or as I say in my own Guide, the logical fallacies are intended to help us correct our own thinking, not to belittle that of others. Via Big Think. (p.s. the illustration is Bayes Theorem, aka conditional probability, a useful rule, but not the only number that matters).



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The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking
Adam Alter, The New Yorker, February 23, 2014


Beware philosophies saying 'thoughts become things'. Thoughts do not become things, nor do outcomes appear merely because you hope for them. Yes, there is a relation between visualization and desired outcomes. But what you have to visualize and practice is the hard work it takes to reach the outcome, not the outcome itself. (P.S. this is one of the best stock photos ever to accompany an article - though I've edited it to provide a meme-worthy alternative).

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John Seely Brown on Tutored Video Instruction
John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid, Innovation Memes, February 23, 2014

In the winter of 1981 I was sent to Austin, Texas, for three months to learn IBM's new MVS-JES (Multiple Virtual Storage - Job Entry Subsystem) mainframe computer, which would be the backbone of our global network of data processing sites (I was based in Calgary, others were based in Australia and Britain). I studied these systems (and took a communications course called 'On the Way Up') using tutored video instruction. It worked very well for me. Note though that while John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid say "the method requires viewers to work as a group... [to] construct and negotiate a shared meaning, bringing the group along collectively rather than individually," I studied on my own and practiced what I learned messing aorund with the mainframe on the night shift. Oh, and I sincerely doubt that the method was "discovered" at Stanford in the 1970s, as Fred Bershears suggests in an email today, no more than MOOCs were "discovered" at Stanford in the 2000s.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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