I work in the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.

SUBSCRIBE TO OLDAILY DONATE TO DOWNES.CA

~ ~ Vision Statement ~ ~

How Facebook's tentacles reach further than you think

Icon

It's frustrating not being able to click on the images in this BBC article to expand them, as the text is otherwise quite unreadable. But you'll be rewarded with much more than super-large images if you follow the references to the Share Lab website. The Facebook article (detailing the close-knit Stanford-Yale nexus infusing that company and much of Silicon Valley) makes it clear that the 'new normal' (as described by Audrey Watters) emanates from university values into Silicon Valley (and not vice versa). And there's much more: visualizations of browsing histories, maps of propaganda and information warfare, and on and on.

Today: 143 Total: 286 Joe Miller, BBC News, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

New post

Icon

Matt Bower refers to himself in the third person throughout this blog post introducing us to his work with the Blended Synchronous Learning project (see www.blendsync.org). He introduces us to the idea of a "blended-reality environment" (which should really just be shortened to 'blended environment'). "Video and sound recording equipment captured activity in a F2F classroom, which was streamed live into a virtual world so that remote participants could see and hear an instructor and F2F peers. In-world activity was also simultaneously displayed on a projector screen, with the audio broadcast via speakers, for the benefit of the F2F participants." This makes sense but in my experience the key is to ensure the video is large enough to display near-life-size avatars or images, and to ensure the audio in each direction is of sufficient volume and timbre to be accepted as being an equal voice. The paper itself is behind a paywall at BJET but there's a (preprint?) copy at ResearchGate.

Today: 162 Total: 268 Matt Bower, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

How Your Data is Stored, or, The Laws of the Imaginary Greeks

Icon

I could tell you that this article describes distributed data management as defined by Leslie Lamport’s invention in The Part-Time Parliament (33 page PDF) known as the Paxos algorithm, and the master election protocol called Chubby. But it's better to say that this article is an accessible description of different ways people can keep their records up to date. The systems described form the basis not only of modern file management but also distributed blockchain record keeping in systems like Ethereum. But even better, the article is illustrative of the kind of thinking it takes to work through an intractable problem in a methodical way.

Today: 127 Total: 233 Yonatan Zunger, Hacker Noon, Medium, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

OER Pioneer David Wiley Predicts All Community Colleges Will Dump Traditional Textbooks By 2024

Icon

By 'all community colleges' David Wiley and Jeffrey R. Young no doubt mean 'all community colleges in the United States', because expecting a community college in, say, Namibia, to replace textbooks by 2024 is to expect the very very unlikely. But more, as insightful as Wiley is, I think he is hampered by a basic misunderstanding or misrepresentation of economics. "If it’s 25 percent cheaper to get your business degree here than it is to get it over there, you’re going to go over here," he says. But we know this isn't true: people don't select education based on price, and institutions certainly don't differentiate it by price, not even at community colleges. Perceived quality, location, reputation, networks and more all play a role. So, no, I'm not expecting Wiley's prediction to come true. Not by 2024.

Today: 171 Total: 334 Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

The Story of Habitat, the Very First Large-Scale Online Role-Playing Game (1986)

Icon

Without diminishing the historical importance of Habitat., it should be noted that it was not the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). That distinction belongs to the multi user dungeon (MUD). Descended from Adventure (1975), the first MUD was created in 1978.Habitat was probably the first graphical MUD (where 'graphical' is understood as 'using graphics rather than text to create images'). But what really makes it distinct is that it was the first commercial MUD, created by Lucasfilm Games for the  Commodore 64s. Read the Wikipedia page for more on Habitat.

Today: 144 Total: 302 Colin Marshall, Open Culture, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

IEEE P7006 - Standard for Personal Data Artificial Intelligence (AI) Agent

Icon

Clearly this is an initiative that has multiple applications within the learning space. "This standard describes the technical elements required to create and grant access to a personalized Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will comprise inputs, learning, ethics, rules and values controlled by individuals." The kick-off meeting is June 14. See you there.

Today: 85 Total: 209 Ieee, 2017/05/26 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.