The Downes Prize 2011
Dec 30, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is the second year I've awarded the Downes Prize. There's no money attached to it, no recognition, no formal banquet at the Grand Hotel, not even a certificate. Maybe one day; in the meantime, we'll start small.

Last year, the prize was awarded to Effective Assessment in a Digital Age, published by JISC. A number of excellent resources made the shortlist.

This year was a stellar year in the world of online learning, with some worthwhile contenders for the prize. Some notables include (in no particular order):
- Open Educational Resources in Brazil, UNESCO
- MITx: The Next Chapter for University Credentialing? Audrey Watters
- Using WordPress as a Syllabus Database, Alexandre Enkerli
- BlackBoard to Moodle Project Plan, Robin R Ethridge
- A TAACCCTful mandate? OER, SCORM and the $2bn grant, Lorna Campbell
- Rushkoff to Google: Don't Give Up on the Humans, Douglas Rushkoff
- Building Personal Learning Environments by using and mixing ICT tools in a professional way, Linda CastaƱeda and Javier Soto
- A Network Theory of Power,
Manuel Castells
- Freeing the LMS, Steve Kolowich
- Future Work Skills 2020, The University of Phoenix Research Institute

Any of these would make an excellent selection. Each combines some basic elements: it's a well-written piece, it touches on a significant event of 2011, and it was widely regarded by the community.

But it's not just up to me. I select the items that go into OLDaily, some 2900 for the year 2011. But after that, it's up to you, the readers. You create the top links through your actions. It's not a perfect system - it under-reports the actual traffic, and it confuses popular search result traffic with real news. Sometimes the link is to things that don't yet exist, like MITx or the Pearson Open LMS. Sometimes people try to run up traffic for themselves and campaign for awards like this. These false positives need to be eliminated. So there's some interpretation. But the winner must be unambiguously a top link from this list. As is this year's link.

So, without further ado, the Downes Prize goes to:

Acceptable Use Policies in Web 2.0 & Mobile Era
Consortium for School Networking, June 1, 2011.
The Consortium for School Networking has posted a web 2.0 and mobile acceptable use policy (AUP) guide (PDF download). Though brief, the resource outlines AUP policy formation and, most significantly, lists relevant laws for a couple dozen U.S. states. The guide also links to sample policies and additional resources. Via Fred Delventhal on Diigo.

Congratulations to the Consortium for School Networking">Consortium for School Networking for a job well done. Total: 568
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Re: The Downes Prize 2011

Thank you for the link to the .pdf. I have read several of the AUPs and in particular liked the one from Springfield. However, as is clearly stated, these are published by and for *Districts* rather than individual schools, their pupils or parents.

I would suggest that there is a place for a more user-friendly document that is both written in simpler terms and focussed on the needs of the end-user. Also, I think that the acronym AUP misses an important point, that of social and moral responsibility rather than just legal scenarios.

I have attempted to create my own document which I hope address these issues. See:

Best wishes for the new year, and keep the 'ink' flowing!
Ray T [Comment] [Permalink]

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