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.


DONATE TO DOWNES.CA ~ ~ Vision Statement ~ ~

Stephen Downes Photo
h-card: Stephen Downes,, Casselman Canada

Contact: · · · · ·
Subscribe: · · · · · · ·

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



I've been waiting for this. Essentially it's a really simply way to upload short podcasts ( it needs to be less than 5 minutes long, in MP3 format and less than 8mb), combined with a way to listen to them one after another in a stream. There's a search available, so it will be possible to listen to a series of audio clips on a specific topic (search doesn't seem to be working yet). Delz Erinle writes, "We believe there's a large and untapped market for audio as a social media, mainly because people have tried to use Twitter as a north star for a voice-based platform when the true north star for a platform that really works is YouTube."

Today: 101 Total: 101 Delz Erinle, Gist, 2020/08/13 [Direct Link]

Machines can spot mental health issues—if you hand over your personal data


I've been saying for some time that AI analysis of our online data (and especially the things we create and say) will replace tests and assignments as a means of assessing competence. This isn't exactly that, but it's following the same line of reasoning. For example, "People who are prone to hearing voices, it turns out, tend to talk about them." Also, "Low semantic density is a telltale sign that a patient might be at risk of psychosis." Now none of this is ready for deployment. And of course neural network based AI will provide much more fine-grained analysis (akin to a psychologist simply 'recognizing' that a person has an affliction). Still...

Today: 140 Total: 140 David Adam, MIT Technology Review, 2020/08/13 [Direct Link]

100 learning theorists... 2500 years of learning theory...


None of the articles is particularly deep, but when you take one hundred of them, you end up with a fairly substantial work. At the very least, as Donald Clark says, it's "written as quick, readable introductions to the many theorists who have shaped the world of learning."

Today: 117 Total: 117 Donald Clark, Donald Clark Plan B, 2020/08/13 [Direct Link]

Hear My Train A Comin'


Rob Abel writes, " as I mentioned in my last post and the introduction to the recent IMS annual report, we have begun driving toward more specificity in the terms 'personalized learning' and 'student success.' Our starting point is the more specific goals of equity, agency, and mastery." These are good starting points, but of course a lot depends on the details. For example, George Moore "details some challenges when the modality switches to entirely online... such as the ability to support identity, privacy, and security."

Today: 85 Total: 85 Rob Abel, IMS Global, 2020/08/13 [Direct Link]

How PwC uses gamification to support learning, engagement


This article describes gamification for interns at PwC. No matter what the educational outcome, the use of gamification fosters better feelings about working there. "83% of those who received gamified training felt motivated. However, 61% of those who received non-gamified training said they felt bored and unproductive." It's worth highlighting the most significant element of this story: the use of chat with gamification. "PwC's Take Flight game juxtaposed the intimacy of a classic board game with people sitting around a table."

Today: 96 Total: 346 Sheryl Estrada, HR Dive, 2020/08/12 [Direct Link]

Learning to Learn Online


This MOOC has just started so there's still time to enroll yourself, your kids, your prospective students, your whatever. "In this five-week course, you explore the fundamentals of the learning process and various models of online courses to determine your learning preferences and which forms of online learning are best for you. Activities address common misconceptions, frustrations and fears about online learning, and introduce techniques to help overcome such obstacles and gain confidence as a learner.

Today: 77 Total: 225 Martha Cleveland-Innes, Dan Wilton, Sarah Gauvreau, Contact North, Athabasca University, 2020/08/12 [Direct Link]

[All the Posts]
Thanks to Reclaim Hosting for their generous donation to support this site.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.