by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 12, 2014
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Coursera
Coursera is learning yet another lesson learned long ago by real LMS providers: you can't fake your way to privacy and security; you have to have real measures in place. Stanford's Jonathan Mayer identifies three major flaws:
- Any teacher can dump the entire user database, including over nine million names and email addresses.
- If you are logged into your Coursera account, any website that you visit can list your course enrollments.
- Coursera’s privacy-protecting user IDs don’t do much privacy protecting.
To follow up, he writes, "Coursera has acknowledged the issues, and claims they are “fully addressed.” The second vulnerability, however, still exists." Via Audrey Watters.
OER MOOC: Use of Open Educational Resources in Classroom
I saw a presentation advertising this MOOC. Searching for the MOOC (because the URL of the MOOC is nowhere in the presentation) I found this item on LinkedIn (stupid login probably required - why do people write articles on LinkedIn?) by Ishan Abeywardena suggesting that the purposes of MOOCs and OERs are opposed. He writes, "Among the areas being revisited are pedagogy, actual reuse of resources, licensing, curation and most importantly business models for sustainability." I responded by suggesting that OERs and MOOCs are inextricably linked, pointing to my article making the case, The Role of Open Educational Resources in Personal Learning, which is published but never cited (probably because nobody knows it exists). p.s. I still haven't found the MOOC - here's a Google+ page, a Twitter post, a Facebook page...
The Windows Store is a Cesspool of Scams — Why Doesn’t Microsoft Care?
I learned firsthand about the cesspool of scams around the same time this article came out, in mid-August, when I was struggling with the Windows video player app. Windows 8 didn't come with a native DVD player (something I find incredible) so I went searching for one, and found scam after scam (including the many many fake-VLC apps described in this article. Normally this would be illegal (you can't use another company's logo and name like that) but Windows doesn't care. This has the potential to be a widespread and long-term as commercial apps overwhelm searches for real (and especially free or open source) content with fake paid front-ends. Exactly, Rory, as I've predicted they would.
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