By Stephen Downes
December 13, 2004

Learning Objects, Metadata, Blogs And RSS: The Future Of Online Education According To Stephen Downes
Robin Good and I had a nice chat on Friday; he had the audio recorder running and links to the interview (the audio is also available on my site in MP3 format. Just to be clear, because a couple of people have raised this: I did not say I would never link to Robin Good again (my goodness), I asserted merely that I would not link to posts sponsored by Marqui. Quite a difference! By Robin Good, Robin Good, December 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Affordances Panel
Some great coversation during the Open Affordances Panel on Friday with Ross Mayfield, Ziauddin Sardar and myself, hosted by Ulises Mejias. Here's an excerpt: "I think the most profound impact of the internet is going to be on Islam. Up to now, the tools for education and the tools for interpretation have been in the hands of a select group of scholars. And these scholars specify certain criteria that have to be fulfilled before you qualify to interpret the sacred text. Now what is happening is that with the internet, an individual can empower himself or herself very quickly and argue and defend his or her interpretation of religious concepts. What that means is that power is being dissipated widely, and that will have important consequences for Muslim societies." By Ulises Mejias, Ideant, December 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CanCore en Français: Activities of the French-speaking CanCore Community
Norm Friesen cleans house for his winter holiday. "Bonjour," he writes, "Quebec, like a number of other provinces in Canada, has been developing its own adaptation or application profile of the CanCore guidelines to address its linguistic and other, local needs." This link points to a summary report by Pierre Bernard of that initiative. By Pierre Bernard, November, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Can For-Profit Schools Pass an Ethics Test?
Skirmishes along the private education front. In this lead article, private colleges face scrutiny into their recruitiment practise - this after the Apollo Group (University of Phoenix) agreed to pay $9.8 million to settle charges that its recruiting practices violated Title IV of the Higher Education Act, according to this article. In another story, the Colorado Christian University has filed a lawsuit after being denied its application to the state's new college voucher program - it was ruled that it had not shown that it was not "pervasively sectarian". Meanwhile, in Chicago, reports of investigations into Hoffman Estates-based Career Education Corp. for its high-pressure sales tactics. This is the thing about privatizing public services - you may save money in the short term, but making sure they don't break the rules proves to be more costly. All stories via University Business. By Eryn Brown, New York Times, December 12, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

http://www.masternewmedia.org/Stephen_Downes_interview_20041210.mp3 By Anonymous, December 13, 2004 12:29 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Issues of Interface
Summary paper describing literature on the effects interfaces on three kinds of interaction: interactions with course content, interactions with instructors, and interactions with classmates. The conclusion: interfaces matter. The impact is not so much that interfaces should be studied more (I think we knew that) but that interfaces should be taken into account when evaluating the effectiveness of online learning. Via Online Learning Update. By Karen Swan, Third EDEN Research Workshop, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Working Laterally: How Innovation Networks Make an Education Epidemic
This article promotes the idea of innovation networks in education. Why innovation networks? "Teachers do it anyway," note the authors, and "most innovation is the activity of networked teams, not individuals." The latter part of the report outlines five conditions required to foster innovation networks: a climate fostering motivation, opportunity, skills and means to innovate; a means of protecting against innovation overload and focus on good practice; a mechanism to transfer innovation laterally through a peer to peer process; the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to create a communications network; and the fostering of an open source culture that encourages sharing and collaborative innovation. This is to a large degree what I advocate and try to foster here. More information. Via Seb Schmoller. By David H Hargreaves, Department for Education and Skills, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Use of Computer and Video Games for Learning - a Review of the Literature
Readers will find the usual caveats about the lack of research and conflicting results. Beyond these, this survey of literature related to the use of computer games (or video games; the report treats both) is a comprehensive look at the field over the last few years. Probably the most useful sections are 6 (examples of the use of games) and 7 (recommendations on educational game design). PDF. Via Seb Schmoller. By Alice Mitchell and Carol Savill-Smith, UltraLab, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I-Names Explained
Another effort to create a distributed authentication system, this time based on the appeal of blocking spam. Downside? It'll cost $25 for your name. Via Seb Schmoller. By Various Authors, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Montreal Academics Who Blog
Via Seb, this list of Montreal area academics with blogs or wikis. Every city is probably similar, which gives us some idea of the scale of the academic blogging phenomenon. By Michael Lenczner, YulAcademics, December 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Spreading Like Wildfire
This is a great story. A student is assigned a 'compare and contrast' essay on his exist exam. He compares 'piracy' and 'stealing' music, and concludes that they are different. He is failed on grounds of content. The teacher says he is "splitting hairs". He appeals, posting his essay and the grading sheet to his website. His cause is picked up in a big way by the blogosphere, many (if not all) of whom conclude that an injustice has been done. Did the teacher follow the rubric for a 'compare and contrast' essay? Maybe not. By Steve Mathcaddy, Dece,ber 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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