I lead 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.


  • Association of Medical Educators of Europe (AMEE) E-Learning Symposium, Glasgow, Scotland, September 6, 2015.

  • Ghent, Belgium, March 30, 2015.

  • Chang School Talks 2015, Ryerson University, February 23, 2015.

  • Hackademia, Online, to Brazil, March 16, 2015.

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Personal Learning Mooc

This course explores the topic of learning in three ways: first, through an examination of research and development issues related to the topic; second, through interaction with a personal learning environment (specifically: LPSS) to take the course; and third, through activities supporting the development of a personal learning environment at a conceptual level.

Today: 386 Total: 1310 noreply@blogger.com (Stephen Downes), Half an Hour, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

All Hail The Algorithm


The think that made Twitter the most democratic of the social media platforms was that it didn't pick winners. You read what you were subscribed to, in the order it was sent. No more. Now (as an opt-in feature, at least) users can choose an algorithm to show their 'best' results. As one commentator says, "This would be fine I was able to trust the algorithm, which as Facebook has shown, one cannot. We are not as good at this software stuff as we think we are." Not just that. Once there's an algorithm, there's somebody willing to pay money to skew the algorithm. This is how services like Twitter generate income. Not surprisingly the magazines and newspapers are in favour. They will be the ones to benefit most from the algorithm. Image: Larry Kim.

Today: 122 Total: 732 David J McGee, Metafilter, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

openSAP breaks through 1 million


This is an interesting milestone and is a good example of the sort of shape a lot of e-learning will take in the future. The OpenSAP MOOC "platform was launched in 2013 in conjunction with the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and has been constantly evolving over the last three years." It's a good example of a corporation working with an educational institution to use e-learning to provide product support (and SAP users definitely need product support).

Today: 121 Total: 605 Steve Brooks, Enterprise Times, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

When a $100M Installation Doesn't Go as Planned


One of the comments to this article suggests that it isn't news that a college system is having trouble converting from a home-grown to a PeopleSoft administrative software system. Maybe it isn't. I remember when I was at Assibinoine Community College in the 1990s we made the switch to (as I recall) Banner (now merged with its competitor Colleague to become Ellucian). But the commentary around the move is always interesting. "The transition was not only motivated by the age of the software, the system's desire to support initiatives such as analytics and competency-based education, and the need to boost information security, but also by a need to “speak with one voice” as a system." And, again in the comments, "The real value of enterprise software is that it forces a total re-engineering of those arcane and archaic process that we so dearly love... No one wants to abandon their customized data, "stovepiped" and personal, for a data dictionary that means the same thing to all users." Image: PeopleSoft.

Today: 117 Total: 579 Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

Coupling Pre-Prints and Post-Publication Peer Review for Fast, Cheap, Fair, and Effective Science Publishing


The title says it all. This is, in my view, the future of academic publishing, and of educational publishing in general, if we can break the publishers' hold on the marketplace and especially the distribution system. "It would be relatively simple to give reviewers of published pre-prints a set of tools to specify the most appropriate audience for the paper, to anticipate their expected level of interest in the work, and to gauge the impact of the work." I might add that newsletters like OLDaily could and would be an essential part of the post-publication peer review system. Image: Future of Scientific Publishing.

Today: 112 Total: 746 Michael Eisen, Leslie B. Vosshall, it is NOT junk, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

How an Alaska Teacher Improved Student Attendance with Minecraft


Throughout most of my educational career, the early morning subject was mathematics. Then, later, formal logic. It is as though someone figured our abstract brains work best in the morning. Well, mine most certainly did not. So I would have appreciated this teacher's method to encourage attendance first thing in the morning: Minecraft. Why does this work? "Are you more likely to put in extra time and effort on tasks you find engaging? For most of us the answer is, yes—our achievement is driven by our interest. This is true even for children."

Today: 114 Total: 774 Cindy Duncan, EdSurge, 2016/02/12 [Direct Link]

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