by Stephen Downes
Apr 20, 2015
The Open Publishing Revolution, Now Behind A Billion-Dollar Paywall
Mendeley, as the author notes, built a piece of software "aimed at helping researchers organize their papers, annotate them, and share them with each other." In 2013 the company was acquired by Elsevier, which had "to squash the threat Mendeley posed to its traditional subscription model, and to own the ecosystem that Mendeley had constructed, with its valuable data on the behavior of millions of researchers." The reaction of members was, not surprisingly, widely negative. This article looks at the fallout, two years later, and some the efforts Elsevier has taken to soften its image.
What Harvard Business School Has Learned About Online Collaboration From HBX
Bharat Anand, Jan Hammond, V.G. Narayanan,
Harvard Business Review,
I think I have to file this under the category of "catching up" as the 'lessons' learned by Harvard Business School have long been known and studied in the wider online learning and distance education communities. Indeed, some of the recommendations they make - like having people begin by introducing each other in an online discussion, or that "norms of online collaboration can be shaped" - had become clichés long before HBS 'discovered' them. More recent work has been focused on how to adapt these long-known techniques to massive and open online courses (because, as we all know, a thread consisting of 160,000 introductions is unmanageable). And some of the 'discoveries' appear to be genuine but have been disproven by deeper investigation. Extrinsic motivation, such as paying people, or tying collaboration to grades, may appear to work in the short term, but fails in the longer term.
Education shouldn't be a zero-sum game
Is Canada really over-emphasizing university graduation? It has one of the highest rates of university and post-secondary education completion rates in the world: "In Canada, 50% of the adult population has completed tertiary education, easily the highest rate in the OECD." But a recent report for the Canadian Council on Chief Executives recommended cutting back on university degrees. "Canada could dramatically improve the quality of university education by cutting enrolment as much as 25 to 30 per cent," wrote Ken Coates. But it's not clear exactly what problem this solves. As Andrew Parkin writes in Academica, "Canada does not look at all like a country that has over-emphasized university education to the detriment of colleges," he writes. "The problem is not an over-emphasis on universities but an under-emphasis on any and all forms of postsecondary education and training." And it's not clear that a more open admissions policy in either system acts to the detriment of either quality or outcome. Quite the opposite: a wider admissions policy lessens our reliance on testing and enables those without the advantages of socio-economic status find an environment where they can thrive and flourish - people like me. Image: Herald Sun.
Being There: Heidegger on Why Our Presence Matters
New York Times,
On reading the headline I immediately thought of Terry Anderson. He writes of the importance of 'presence' in learning "that views the creation of an effective online educational community as involving three critical components: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence." As this article in the NY Times notes, the idea of presence is linked to the idea of our consciousness of external objects. Heidegger would ask, "given that I experience a stone in a more profound manner, what does that have to do with the being of the stone itself?" And Lawrence Berger offers the explanation, "Not only are we in direct contact with the people and things of this world, but also that our presence matters for how they are made manifest — how they come into presence — in the full potential that is associated with the sort of beings that they are." Now I don't believe this exactly - I don't think there's some sort of mystical projection of ourselves into the external world. But presence and consciousness are closely linked.
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