Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Subscribe to my newsletter: 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. Downes is a member of NRC's Research Ethics Board. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken at conferences around the world.

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Stephen Downes,, Casselman Canada

The Making of The Liberated Learner


This is a story of the making of Liberated Learners, an open book that aims "to enable a well-rounded and ready-for-almost-anything post-secondary learner. For Learners. By Learners." Terry Greene points to and credits a who's-who of the Canadian open learning community, from David Porter to Dave Cormier to Jenni Hayman, and too many to list here in between. As much as I love the original project, I also love that Terry Green wrote this, so that once all this is 'discovered' by some ivy-covered university professor, the right people will get credit.

Today: 100 Total: 262 Terry Greene, Learning Nuggets, 2023/06/02 [Direct Link]

Sleeping with the Elephant: Canada Deals with the Scourge of Censorship Sweeping Across America


I don't want to be like the Chronicle and do wall-to-wall culture wars coverage, but I do need to take note of the spillover from the U.S. into this country and point to this excellent analysis that identifies the source of recent campaigns here in Canada, decodes language like 'age-appropriate', and sends a clear message that we do things differently here. From the model for principles of selection, library collections should "represent the diversity of Canada's religious, ethnic, and cultural groups and their contributions to our heritage, Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing, experiences and perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds,lifestyles, sexual orientation and gender identity expression, and people of varying abilities (and) gender, cultural, and racial inclusiveness." Anything else is unfree and undemocratic, and honestly, I don't think we should even be debating whether some groups deserve to be fully included in society. They all do. If you find this remotely controversial, you're the problem. Via Doug Peterson.

Today: 93 Total: 237 Anita Brooks Kirkland, Canadian School Libraries Journal, 2023/06/02 [Direct Link]

My trip to the Alien Zoo: a virtual Biology 101 class


This article describes "what about 8,000 students at Arizona State University are already doing on a weekly basis as a part of their introductory biology courses. Replacing traditional labs, this new technology from Dreamscape Learn is used to reinforce the foundational life science concepts they are learning in the classroom." So, score one for the marketing department. But also, the technology represents 8,000 animal lives saved. "I was shocked by how bearable the virtual dissection was... Virtually dissecting a make-believe animal that didn't have to die was far less troubling." Also, though, if you can't match the skin colour of hands to that of the user, put gloves on the hands.

Today: 104 Total: 227 Olivia Sanchez, The Hechinger Report, 2023/06/02 [Direct Link]

Five Ways to Make a Splash with Wakelet


Quick introduction to Waklelet. "In Wakelet, a Collection refers to a curated grouping of resources around a specific topic or theme. On the other hand, a Space in Wakelet refers to a collaborative area where a group of people can work together, share resources, and engage in discussions."

Today: 101 Total: 235 Destiny Wagner, TechNotes Blog, 2023/06/02 [Direct Link]

Yankee Shed Foxtrot


Some intriguing thoughts here but ultimately I'm not supporting (also, I don't like Wilco). "Should we allow educators to have one course that they completely mess with? That is unmade from the convention?" asks Martin Weller. I commented, "They can already do this. I've been doing it my entire career. You don't need permission to offer a course. But if what is meant here is a course that students are required to take, the answer is no. You can't experiment on people without their consent, and in many cases, consent is impossible or impractical to give, especially in a teacher-student power relation."

Today: 93 Total: 227 Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, 2023/06/02 [Direct Link] challenges Substack with launch of paid newsletters


So our Fediverse Spring is going to come to a sad end from the unlikeliest of sources: WordPress. There are two items of importance mentioned in this article. The first and most obvious: WordPress paid newsletters. The second has been covered previously but shows up again here: "parent company Automattic recently acquired an ActivityPub plugin that blog owners could use to join the Fediverse, posting their updates directly to Mastodon." It will never be as bad as the platform social media, but it can be pretty bad, with Fediverse spam rivaled only by the email variety. It should go without saying that no WordPress link requiring a subscription will be found in this newsletter.

Today: 15 Total: 202 Sarah Perez, TechCrunch, 2023/06/01 [Direct Link]

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 04, 2023 03:39 a.m.

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