Stephen Downes works with the Digital Technologies Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada specializing in new instructional media and personal learning technology. His degrees are in Philosophy, specializing in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has taught for the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, Grand Prairie Regional College and Assiniboine Community College. His background includes expertise in journalism and media, both as a prominent blogger and as founder of the Moncton Free Press online news cooperative.  He is one of the originators of the first Massive Open Online Course, has published frequently about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily. Through a thirty year career Downes has contributed pioneering work in the fields of online learning games, learning objects and metadata, podcasting, and open educational resources. Recent projects include:gRSShopper, a personal learning environment; E-Learning 3.0, a course on new e-learning technologies; research and development in the use of distributed ledger technology in learning applications; and research on ethics, analytics and the duty of care. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.


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Coronavirus / Covid19 quick reference kit, to take your class or conference online cheaply and in a hurry:

Creating an Online Class or Conference - Quick Tech Guide

Become a sponsor to Creative Commons


OK, I didn't know GitHub did sponsorships (maybe it's new?) but it's a useful idea and a more concrete way to show support than 'likes' or 'follows'. And I really like this: "GitHub does not charge fees for GitHub Sponsors. We cover payment processing costs, so one-hundred percent of your sponsorship goes to the developers and organizations you fund." And while I am often critical of Creative Commons, I think it's well worth a few dollars a months, especially in light of the work done to support the software projects listed on the page. Plus, I'm the second person to sponsor, so there's that! Even if you don't intend to sponsor, you may want to have a look at the list, especially the CC Search set of tools and the CC vocabulary definitions on Netify (they're for the CC website, but as a developer I appreciate seeing them).

Today: 33 Total: 33 Creative Commons, GitHub, 2020/10/28 [Direct Link]

Technology Facilitation Mechanism


This resource is part of the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDG) knowledge platform. Online learning is typically involved in the 4th SDG (typically abbreviated SDG4). This page describes the process that "will facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnerships through the sharing of information, experiences, best practices and policy advice." To see how it works, have a look at the 'STI Roadmaps' tab (there's no direct link), and especially Part IV, the Reference List for the STI Roadmaps.

Today: 46 Total: 46 United Nations, 2020/10/28 [Direct Link]

EDEN Research Workshop


I haven't listened to all of the recordings, but there are definitely bits you'll wnat to watch, including a talk from Tony Bates on lessons learned from the pandemic (12:00 minute mark of the opening plenary) and the debate proposing that 'the Covid pandemic will have no lasting impact on learning and teaching in universities and colleges'. Also see the round-table discussion on open scholarship.

Today: 43 Total: 43 European Distance and E-Learning Network, 2020/10/28 [Direct Link]

Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer 2030


The Global Enabling Sustainable Initiative (GeSI) is a partnership of ICT companies and industry associations "committed to creating and promoting technologies and practices that foster economic, environmental and social sustainability and drive economic growth and productivity." This report "explores how the development and deployment of digital technologies can catalyse progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)." It basically maps out how the industry groups plan to work with international agencies toward these goals. Only the summary (48 page PDF) is available, with the full report reserved for members (not exactly an auspicious start). See especially the 'roles' for the stakeholder groups (p.9) including governments, NGOs, and investors.

Today: 57 Total: 57 GeSI, 2020/10/28 [Direct Link]

Washington Post public editor: the powerful have realized they don’t need the Post


I have long said that the future of media portends the future of education, and nothing I've seen over thirty years dissuades me of this. So reflect on this: "Tesla... has done away with its media relations department—effectively formalizing an informal policy of ignoring reporters... we should also recognize this for what it is: one more glaring data point showing that powerful people no longer think they need the mainstream press, especially critical and ethical outlets like the Washington Post." A free press is essential to a democracy, just as is a free educational system. Neither estate has served the public well, however, eschewing social responsibility in favour of the needs of the wealthy and well-connected (who are often also their owners and alumni). So I can see why journalists would consider abandonment by the powerful a "horrifying assault". But perhaps like educational institutions they need a concordat with the public, not one tailored to serve business and industry (as discussed yesterday), but one addressing the needs of the people, one taking seriously the idea that all people deserve and ought to enjoy security, identity, voice and opportunity.

Today: 146 Total: 162 Hamilton Nolan, Columbia Journalism Review, 2020/10/28 [Direct Link]

The Knowledge Exchange Concordat commits the sector to service


A concordat was historically an agreement between the Vatican and a sovereign state defining the relationship between them. More recently the term also describes the relations between the government of the United Kingdom and the devolved Scottish and Welsh governments. So the use of the term here expresses some pretty high ambitions for the U.K. higher education sector (extending almost to self-government). The WonkHE headline suggests that the Knowledge Exchange Concordat commits the higher education sector to service, but as I read the document (20 page PDF) it seems more to commit the sector to bringing greater profits to business and industry. How else would you interpret "a set of activities, processes and skills that enable close collaboration between universities and partner organisations to deliver commercial, environmental, cultural and place-based benefits, opportunities for students and increased prosperity?"

Today: 31 Total: 118 David Sweeney, Wonkhe, 2020/10/27 [Direct Link]

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