December 8, 2005


Various authors: JISC-CETIS Conference 2005, JISC - CETIS December 8, 2005
Kudos to the JISC and CETIS people who captured not only notes and slides but also audio of the presentations at the recent meeting in Edinburgh on the E-Framework. There's a lot here and you won't get through it all in one sitting (I didn't). Start with the written summary, which will give you the gist of the conference - don't forget to check out the blog postings listed at the bottom of the summary. Then, depending on your preferences, visit the plenary presentations page to listen to the audio and follow along with the slides or do the same at the repository strand presentations. If you want to save yourself the trouble of downloading all that audio, simply subscribe to the conference podcast in your favorite podcast receiver. Oh, why can't all conferences be like this? [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Learning Object Repositories, Scotland, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Podcasting, E-Framework] [Comment]

Various authors: 21st Century Learning Initiative, Canadian Council on Learning December 8, 2005
The Canadian Council on Learning has launched a new website. "This website will be an ongoing source of valuable information about the progress of the 21st Century Learning Initiative (Canada), including links to papers, slides and speeches... The site also provides an on-line forum to allow visitors to ask questions, share ideas, and post examples of activities and practices that are relevant to the Initiative." It looks nice, and does have some resources - but the font is tiny on my screen. Folks, don't use pixels to size your text - 9 pixels might look OK on an 800x600 monitor, but becomes microscopic on a 1600x1200 monitor, which is what I use. [Tags: Canada] [Comment]

Preston McAfee: Introduction to Economic Analysis December 8, 2005
I'll just quote Mike Linksvayer, who in turn quotes Preston McAfee, which I'll append with a hearty "hear! hear!": "Caltech economics professor Preston McAfee appears to be mad as hell about high journal and textbook prices, and he's doing something about it. He's published a complete Introduction to Economic Analysis textbook under a Creative Commons license. See his page about the license and high textbook prices: 'Why open source? Academics do an enormous amount of work editing journals and writing articles and now publishers have broken an implicit contract with academics, in which we gave our time and they weren't too greedy. Sometimes articles cost $20 to download, and principles books regularly sell for over $100. They issue new editions frequently to kill off the used book market, and the rapidity of new editions contributes to errors and bloat. Moreover, textbooks have gotten dumb and dumber as publishers seek to satisfy the student who prefers to learn nothing. Many have gotten so dumb ("simplified") so as to be simply incorrect. And they want $100 for this schlock? Where is the attempt to show the students what economics is actually about, and how it actually works? Why aren't we trying to teach the students more, rather than less?'" Hear! Hear! [Tags: Books and eBooks, Web Logs, Academics and Academia, Open Source] [Comment]

Eileen Gifford Fenton and Roger C. Schonfeld: The Shift Away From Print, Inside Higher Ed December 8, 2005
An examination of the implications of the shift from paper to electronic publishing for libraries and publishers, one that inexplicably completely overlooks the rise of open access publishing and that only briefly mentions blogs and repositories (and then, only as a negative). The most important implication for libraries (other than those just mentioned), it seems to me, is this: "The widespread migration from print to electronic seems likely to eliminate library ownership of new accessions, with licensing taking the place of purchase." Which changes the status of acquisitions from being an investment to being an operating cost, and which eliminates any sense that the library is gathering, preserving, or even making accessible. [Tags: Books and eBooks, Accessibility, Web Logs, Learning Object Repositories] [Comment]

Jeremy Hiebert: HeadspaceJ, HeadsPaceJ December 8, 2005
For those of you who have lost Jeremy Hiebert and miss him, he has, as he says, "committed the unforgivable sin of moving [his] blog without posting it the update in my RSS feeds. Anyhow, this link is to his new blog location, where you can also find his new Atom feed. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment]

Anita Kumar: 'Revolution' in education learning a hard reality, St. Petersburg Times December 8, 2005
Good update on the running of schools by private companies, and especially on the shifting fortunes of Edison Schools, which now manages 61,000 students at about 136 public schools - down from almost 70,000 students at 157 schools a year ago. Interestingly, "the gains in student achievement recorded so far have been largely indistinguishable from improvements seen elsewhere." And the schools themselves are run pretty much like traditional schools. [Tags: Online Learning, Schools, Edison Schools] [Comment]

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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