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The cMOOC That Would Not Die
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, May 29, 2015

Alan Levine tells the story of the #etmooc (Educational Technology & Media massive open online course) that continues to run on its own long after it finished (it's like one of those 70s cars, I guess, with run-on). "The site remains unshuttered and the blog hub continues to aggregate posts (4746 posts from 513 blogs). The twitter archive was stopped because twitter’s dropping of RSS (it can be done again though), but still when that happened, the site had aggregated 19,000 tweets." Nice. He adds, "I will cherish and take this kind of experience any day over some massive MOOC of tens of thousands of enrollees, 2% or so who stick around, and who’s corpus remains stockpiled behind a login.

2015 Internet Trends Report
Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, May 29, 2015

Mary Meeker released her annual Internet Trends report yesterday. As usual, it's a daunting 198 page slide presentation. Ad Age has a nice summary of the nine most important slides:

  • Tech is well-entrenched at the consumer level, but "government, health care, and education have the longest way to go"
  • Desktop traffic peaked in 2011; all the growth is mobile. And the video boom hasn't slowed.
  • Advertisers are overspending on print, leaving $25 billion room for growth in mobile
  • "Six of the top 10 mobile apps globally are messaging apps... messaging apps could evolve into the central hubs for communications"
  • Millennials are looking for meaningful work and a sense of accomplishment, and managers aren't offering it
  • The U.S. is the top market for drones, but other countries have more drone-friendly regulations
  • E-commerce continues to grow, leaving physical retail in continuing jeopardy
  • "India's Internet penetration in 2014 was where China was in 2008, and the U.S. in 1996." So the Indian boom is nearly upon us.


Women in Tech
John Reid, Vimeo, May 29, 2015

The CanWIT (Women in Tech) Forum has launched a video channel to support their work. The videos are designed to foster the idea of and give examples of women as role models working in technology. Currently there are 21 videos on the Vimeo channel, including: Franca Gucciardi, CEO of the Loran Scholars Foundation, on the value of mentorship; ulie King, President & CEO, Biz-Zone, on ecosystems to support women, and more.

Why Is The University Still Here?
Danny Crichton, TechCrunch, May 29, 2015

TechCrunch suggests Silicon Valley is beginning to learn about education. "There are few areas of startups today that continue to be as exciting as EdTech, but we have to be cautious in getting ahead of ourselves. Unlike shopping or socializing online, education is simply not as native an activity for many adults today. We can’t just assume that if we build it, they will come. Instead, we need to think more deeply about motivation and primacy in order to build a new mix that takes advantage of the internet’s best properties while competing with the quality of the university experience." Good article.

Analyzing the Social Web
Jennifer Golbeck, May 29, 2015

Sheri Oberman sent me this link to a set of video lectures on the topic of analyzing the open web. Topics include network basics, network structure, visualization, tie strength and trust, building networks, and more. Tools used include Gephi, "an open source graph analysis and visualization tool," and NodeX, "a graph analysis and visualization plugin for Microsoft Excel. Works on certain Windows platforms only. The unique feature of NodeXL is the 'spiggots' it has to import data from other sites, like Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. I often use NodeXL to import data and Gephi to visualize it."

Trends 2015: Learning and Teaching in European Universities
Andrée Sursock, European University Association, May 29, 2015

This is a survey of European higher education institutions in an effort to identify trends half-way through the 2010s finding that, in essence, "the following issues should be addressed if progress is to be continued and consolidated in future:

  • Lifelong access to learning for a diverse student body - "their success hinges on what takes place both inside and outside university classrooms, whether these are “click or brick”.... with a stress
    on student engagement through their involvement in governance, volunteer activities in the
    community, etc."
  • Student-centred learning and preparation of graduates for the labour market and society - "the importance of promoting active learning and interdisciplinarity and ensuring that teaching is ICT-supported and research-led."
  • Development and implementation of effective internationalisation strategies - "as a mechanism for preparing students for global citizenship and for developing a range of partnerships and research collaborations."

Links to a 133-page PDF.

The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates
Tara C. Marshall, Katharina Lefringhausen, Nelli Ferenczi, Personality and Individual Differences, May 29, 2015

According to this study, different personality traits can effectively predict what people will write about in their Facebook status updates. For example, "extraverts more frequently updated about their social activities and everyday life, which was motivated by their use of Facebook to communicate and connect with others. People high in openness were more likely to update about intellectual topics, consistent with their use of Facebook for sharing information."

Linking Creativity to Entrepreneurship
Chris Kennedy, Culture of Yes, May 29, 2015

I like the second-last slide of the presentation, which depicts the idea as "replacing 'I wish' with 'I will'." Developing a sense of agency in people is urgent and crucial. But There's a lot more to the concept of 'entrepreneurship' in education than this, and it's all this baggage that gives me cause for concern. But according to Chris Kennedy, the concept is shifting. " I know I held a traditional view of entrepreneurship, that the area of study was really about creating people for the world of business.  And yes, this is important, our schools are about so much more around the skills and qualities we want and the citizenship we want to foster."And the emphasis, he writes, is far more about the need for creativity and agency than business and finance.

Maybe, but if you look at the examples in the post the idea of business and finance are still central: in Early Entrepreneurs, "participating classrooms each get a $100 micro-loan as startup capital" and create a business to send profits to charity; in Entrepreneurship – Ignite Your Passion students "engage in topics such as leadership, communication, marketing, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship; culminating with developing their own business"; and YELL (Young Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad) is "a hands-on, experiential accelerator for high school students interested in gaining knowledge and developing experience in all areas of business and entrepreneurship."

Why do I dislike the idea of teaching entrepreneurship so much? Because it changes the child's perspective from the idea of serving social needs through work and learning to one of serving the needs of people with money. And when you have this perspective, you can never get at the question of why these people have all the money in the first place, and you can never perform work which changes that.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

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