by Stephen Downes
Oct 21, 2016
Stephen Downes, Oct 21, 2016.
This post is a response to a request for my thoughts on the value of open practices and methodologies for putting them into practice.
From the World Wide Web Consortium, something interesting: "The Social Web Working Group has published a Working Draft of PubSub. This specification describes an open, simple, web-scale and decentralized Publish-Subscribe protocol; and HTTP-based profile which requirements for high-volume publishers and subscribers are optional." According to the protocol page, "As opposed to more developed (and more complex) pubsub specs like Jabber Publish-Subscribe [XEP-0060] this spec's base profile (the barrier-to-entry to speak it) is dead simple."
I'm not really a fan of the game-fiction-as-learning format, but I agree that it's a useful effort to provide information to children about online security and personal privacy (11 page PDF). But if you have to use superheroes couldn't their powers be something other than 'mystical powers'? (That's what bothers me about Netflix programming - every time I see something remotely interesting, it turns out that the character has some sort of mystical power; it gets boring). Also, I found it odd that the otherwise very useful list of privacy and security tools and plugins on the last page didn't include any ad blockers. That would be the first tool I'd recommend.
Some not-so-surprising aspects to this story: first, people want to see resources from other sites right on the page they're looking at (within reason; there's nothing worse than a page full of embedded YouTube videos), and second, Twitter and YouTube lead the way while Facebook is a distant last. If you want to embed this post anywhere just use the following (the https is necessary in many environments to support security standards):
Michael Feldstein recommends this webinar (66 minute YouTube Video) on xAPI and Caliper. Good discussion, though I wish Silver's audio quality were better. We mentioned earlier this month that discussions are being held between proponents of the two specifications on interoperability. "I suspect that more than the usual care is being taken to make the conversation officially unofficial," said Feldstein. No doubt; there's a lot of overlap. The value propositions look very similar, but there's a "design philosophy difference" (according to Silver) between the two. The second slide looks a lot like the old personal learning environment diagrams. There's a reference to the use of Apereo's open source LRS technology to support the JISC Learning Analytics infrastructure. Caliper, meanwhile, is "rewriting our spec from top to bottom".
This appears to be one of the new Recommended Reading (or in this case, Viewing) series announced today from the e-Literate blog. It's always nice to see a new source of good reading material in our field and let me be the first to welcome O’Neal Spicer to the edublogosphere (yeah, it's still a thing).
ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a system that "provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher... in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission." This article looks at a study of how widely ORCID identifiers are used through a survey of listings in CORE, an open access research paper aggregation service. In a nutshell: 16 percent of the 5.5 million records listed in CORE use at least one ORCID. Not bad, not great. You can study the CORE database yourself by obtaining the most recent dataset download. If you're wondering: yes, I have an ORCID number (it's 0000-0001-6797-9012), but not all my papers list my ORCID.
I revisited this article recently while looking up some references. Manuel Castells has a history of activism infused with a deep knowledge of networks and communications. Here he defines network power and counterpower - "Counterpower is exercised in the network society by fighting to change the programs of specific networks and by the effort to disrupt the switches that reflect dominant interests and replace them with alternative switches between networks." Reading it brings to mind my own work in Hacking Memes. Here is a video of him explaining his thoughts (I especially appreciate his opening remarks on the role and utility of theory).
This large (22,000 participants) report (35 page PDF) makes the impact of textbook costs clear: "The findings suggest that the cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access to required materials (66.6% did not purchase the required textbook) and learning (37.6% earn a poor grade; 19.8% fail a course)." There's no end to the efforts to improve course quality in order to improve outcomes, yet so little effort to address really obvious problems like this.
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