by Stephen Downes
Oct 08, 2014
Creating a Learning Network
Stephen Downes, Oct 07, 2014,
ABED (Brazilian Association of Distance educationP), Curitiba, Brazil
In this presentation I describe in detail how I created Ed Radio, OLDaily, the first MOOCs, and how I am taking the same distributed and networked approach to develop a personal learning network known as LPSS.
Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data
New York Times,
It may be too early to say that vendors have gone into panic mode, but the idea of large-scale learning analytics is taking a (well-deserved) hit this week as the idea founders on the rocks of individual privacy. The California student privacy statute was signed into law last week by Governor Jerry Brown. And now, Microsoft and several other companies are swearing they won't invade student privacy. "The participating companies are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders. They have also pledged not to use students’ data to target them with advertisements, and not to compile personal profiles of students unless authorized by schools or parents." So... do we believe them? Not me.
A special issue of First Monday on the 15–year anniversary of Napster — Digital music as boundary object
Raphaël Nowak, Andrew Whelan,
It has been fifteen years since Napster - it seems like yesterday to me, it was such a defining moment, yet now it's history. First Monday has published a special issue on Napster, and has done so in fine form, taking MP3 files and interpreting them as 'boundary objects' - "the phrase 'boundary object' can be used to refer to nodal events or entities, situated at the junctures of distinct discourses and distinct local cultures and social realities." I like that notion a lot, and it places MP3s into the same genre as, say, LOLcats.
Open Definition 2.0 released
I think that the 'Open Definition' people are doing a lot of harm to the open content movement by defining 'open' in such a way as to exclude non-commercial license (and hence, most of the open content in the world).
The new revised open definition is: "Any content released under an Open Definition-conformant license means that anyone can 'freely access, use, modify, and share that content, for any purpose, subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.'" When I actually look at the definition, though, I see it still needs work. It's the usual problem. Consider these terms:
- 2.1.2 Redistribution - The license must allow redistribution of the licensed work, including sale, whether on its own or as part of a collection made from works from different sources.
- 2.1.9 No Charge - The license must not impose any fee arrangement, royalty, or other compensation or monetary remuneration as part of its conditions.
It's hard for me to imagine any scenario in which both those conditions can be true at the same time. The sale of a work is the imposition of a restriction which prevents access unless money is paid.
Now in his introduction Timothy Vollmer says "it’s helpful to be able to point policymakers and data publishers to a neutral, community-supported definition with a list of approved licenses for sharing content and data." But he gets it exactly wrong. The community does not support this definition; only the commercial publishers do. And slapping a price tag on content is the exact opposite of 'open'.
Constructivist Ship In A Bottle
x28’s new Blog,
I think Matthias Melcher quite rightly points to the constructivists' objectivist problem. Quoting Potter: "Constructivists, analogously, do not realize the extent to which they work with objectivist ideals in objectivist contexts." But he then suggests that connectivism has the same problem. "All the notions of gradual, slow emergence of such patterns, or of 'seeing' them, makes no more sense for the explicit knowledge now extant." I wish he had drawn out this point in more detail, so I could see just where the problem lies for him. For me, for example, mathematics is just the formalized recognition of operations, similar perhaps to the process outlined by Kitcher. Our developing a knowledge of it is no more mysterious a natural phenomenon than is the development of a path to the ocean by rainwater in the form of a river.
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