by Stephen Downes
Mar 22, 2016
From Individual to Community: The Learning Is in the Doing
Stephen Downes, Mar 19, 2016, World Congress on Continuing Professional Development, San Diego, California
In this presentation I begin with the assertion that learning is personal, distinguish 'personal' from 'personalized' as being based in personal practice, describe practice in a learning network, and show how progress and evaluation through practice is based on performance in authentic communities.
My central disappointment with philosophy was with what it had become as an academic enterprise. "Philosophic activity devolved into a contest to prove just how clever one can be in creating or destroying arguments." I can think of more than a few such people - Jerry Fodor, David K. Lewis - who seem to think of it as some sort of scholarly gamesmanship. I have always considered myself first and foremost a philosophers (not that anyone in academia would recognize me as such) and I have always been one with "dirty hands" - not simply seeking wisdom or some sort of elevated being or even "that we ought to be (in spite of our failings) model citizens and human beings." There is, though, something inherent in philosophy (at least as I see it) that links it with conduct. "How does one become a philosopher?" "Wash the bowl."
It has always been difficult to communicate with an entire audience because of changing technology. "We’ve seen schools tackle this in many ways over the past decade – from listserves to public digital announcement boards – but they all seem to fall out of fashion as soon as we can perfect them. Part of the problem is that we’re losing digital communication channels faster than we can adopt new ones." But this time it will be different, right? "When a campus app houses so many different individual guides, institutions are also finding value in cross-pollination between departments.... Our hope is that by using one centralized resource to push a lot this important information, we can expose students to a lot of the options..." Yeah. This time it will be different.
A couple of good articles on SciHub, the service that allows you tom download any academic paper for free (and which is not on the publishers' best-wishes-list). The first item gives fairly specific advice explaining how to download without being detected using the secure browser Tor - "use the Tor Browser and Sci-Hub's onion address, http://scihub22266oqcxt.onion. Onion addresses provide encryption all the way to the destination, and since SciHub uses LibGen's onion address for linking, neither connection can be snooped by the network." Meanwhile the Library Loon covers the list of measures academic libraries might take to stem the continuing leakage of new articles to SciHub. Not that any of these will in the long run be successful; they'll have to rip out SciHub by the roots and begin suing academic readers for large settlements, like they did to Napster. Don't expect the professors to go as quietly as the students.
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