December 6, 2005


John McAdams: Marquette Dental Student Suspended Over Blog Posts, Marquette Warrior December 6, 2005
OK, I'll confess. Sometimes I got out for a beer. Sometimes I go out for a lot of beers, though less frequently these days. And sometimes, when I was at school, I disliked my professors. Admitting to this, were I a student at Marquette, could get me suspended and worse. That is, after all, what happened to a student who made similar statements in his blog. As the author of this article observes, it looks like a vendetta prompted by ther anger of a hyper-sensitive school official. And would not be worth commenting on were it to have been an isolated instance. But, as readers know, it isn't. And I wonder: what made it open season on students? And what faith have we in our basic values, freedoms and liberties, when we are so quick to cast them aside when dealing with the powerless? This isn't about blogs. This is about what we believe, and how we act on those beliefs. [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Schools] [Comment]

Unattributed: Firefox Scholar (aka SmartFox), Echo December 6, 2005
Firefox Scholar will "enable users, with a single click, to grab a citation to a book, journal article, archival document, or museum object and store it in their browser. Researchers will then be able to take notes on the reference, link that reference to others, and organize both the metadata and annotations." Cool. [Tags: Metadata] [Comment]

Dustin Diaz: Top 10 Custom JavaScript Functions of All Time, Web Standards With Imagination December 6, 2005
I've used a bunch of these, and have needed them all. Each function is described, though not as fully as they could be. Event and cookie functions predominate, as would be expected. Nice download with all of them wrapped in a single file. [Tags: ] [Comment]

Mitchell Weisburgh: What do Kids do on Computers?, PILOTed December 6, 2005
Interview with Robert Kvavik, co-author of the ECAR of Students and Information Technology. Some interesting bits. For example, "We hear all this hype about digital natives and millennial students, and then find that they only had a moderate preference for technology in the classroom." And "the results do not vary much by the institutions, nor by grade point average, which may be the typical ways we measure ability; that the use of IT transcends this, that students have an innate ability to work with and learn technology regardless of academic performance." [Tags: Information, Academics and Academia] [Comment]

Declan Butler: Science in the Web Age: Joint Efforts, Nature December 6, 2005
Writing in Nature, Declan Butler wonders why more scientists don't blog. "many researchers still see publications in the formal scientific literature as 'the' means of scientific communication... for most scientists and academics, blogs and wikis remain unattractive distractions from their real work. Many consider them an online version of coffee-room chatter, background noise that goes against the very ethos of heavily filtered scholarly information." But blogging not only brings immediacy, it can bring readership and relevance. "If someone told me that I could show up at a lecture hall every day and deliver a short opinion, and that 1,500 people would show up to hear me, I'd be pretty satisfied - 1,500 is twice the subscription of many speciality journals." Via Richard Marsden. [Tags: Web Logs, Research, Subscription Services, Chat and Chat Rooms, Academics and Academia] [Comment]

Josie Fraser: Edublog Awards December 6, 2005
Nominations for the Edublog Awards have been announced and voting is now open through December 17. Last year I was nominated in four categories and took home one award. This year I appear in four nominations and would be lucky to win one, such is the quality of the entrants. Visit this site not so much to vote but also to get a very good representation of the state of the art in our field. It's amazing what we've all done this year together, and to think, this is only the beginning. Kudos to organizer Josie Fraser for pulling this together. See also Technorati's coverage of Edublog Award coverage. [Tags: Push versus Pull, Web Logs, Ontologies, Technorati, Quality] [Comment]

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Stephen Downes

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National Research Council Canada


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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes