January 31, 2006


Michael Feldstein[Edit][Delete]: OK, So Stephen Downes Doesn't Like the LMOS, E-Literate [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: Hits] Michael Feldstein wasn't too happy with my post from yesterday. He writes, "I think language like 'ridiculous' and 'absurd' is unnecessarily hyperbolic... It's also not terribly collegial or respectful. And finally, it doesn't reflect a grasp of the problems we are trying to solve." The problem they are trying to solve is this: "SUNY has 64 campuses with 414,000 students... Somebody has to provision all of those courses from a server, make sure it all scales, and support all of those applications." But if you try to build one system that will automate everything for that many people, you get (in my view) an unsustainable (and very expensive) mess. I would never try to serve so many people from a great big server with a predefined architecture; indeed, I have argued at length over the years that this is exactly what shouldn't be done. Or as David Jones comments, "My main belief around why the Java/complex architecture approach will not work that well is that organisations, and especially Universities and e-learning, are non-deterministic... Technical artifacts can only ever hope to support non-deterministic activities effectively if they are able to be changed really fast... That's why I think the ateleological approach will work better." I suppose I could have been more diplomatic in expressing my view - but you know, I've been expressing the view pretty consistently for several years now, so it's not like I have't been engaged in constructive (and mostly ignored) discussion. And when I'm tired and grumpy and it's the end of a long day, well then instead of repeating what I've said before I simply say that something is absurd. (p.s. put your name on your posts, or at least somewhere in your RSS feed.) [Tags: Online Learning, Constructivism] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unknown[Edit][Delete]: CEO Speak: Brainvisa&Hurix Systems, The Learned Man! [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: Hits] Discussion of the state of e-learning in India. "The Indian companies are as competitive, creative, innovative and focused as their foreign counterparts. Right now India is shining and would continue to shine, as more and more work would flow in." Some discussion about the difficulties serving the domestic Indian market. "The traditional learning method is not an option, as we do not have that kind of infrastructure, e-learning will democraticize education in India." See, this is why I'm in this field. Don't miss the links to the full interviews at the bottom of the article. [Tags: Online Learning] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Ulises Ali Mejias[Edit][Delete]: The Blog as Dissertation Literature Review?, Ideant [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: Hits] I thought this was a pretty good paper. The premise is straightfoward: Ulises Ali Mejias argues that the posts in his blog, over the long run, constitute a literature review, as defined by Boote et al. in Scholars Before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation. I think he succeeds uiin showing that blogging satisfies the criteria, but I have to ask, is the resulting literature review a good literature review? My response? No. Consider: he includes Barabâasi but not Watt. Turkle but neither Rushkoff nor Rheingold. Habermas but not Foucault. Maybe the list would be rounded out over time, but he doesn't show that. Blogging rarely (if ever) submits to an intention, to a specific program of study; it reflects the needs and interests of the author. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Harold Jarche[Edit][Delete]: Controlling Chaos?, Jarche Consulting [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: 8 Hits] This has been sitting in my 'maybe' tray for more than a week (oh yes, I actually do have a system for selecting links). This comment deserves to be echoed: "I'm not an expert on ontologies, the semantic web, metadata or controlled vocabularies, but I've had enough conversations with enough experts to know that more control will not address our information management needs... trying to control chaos is a losing game. Instead of asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, it's time for the learning industry as a whole to shift its effort to more pragmatic solutions." [Tags: Online Learning, Metadata, Semantic Web, Ontologies, Games and Gaming] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Lanny Arvan[Edit][Delete]: They're Changing Guard (with apologies to A. A. Milne), Lanny on Learning Technology [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: Hits] There's a lot of blog coverage today of the current ELI conference, most of it by the new guard Lanny Arvan writes of, but it is interesting to look at it in the light of his reflections. "Presnky (and others at this conference) seemingly argue that there needs to be immediate response that progress is being made and that must come from external sources (moving from one level to a higher one in a video game). This I think is wrong and pernicious and will actually be quite limiting for the generation if it becomes the norm in behavior." This is a very good point. [Tags: Web Logs, Games and Gaming] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Jim Ridgway, Sean McCusker and Daniel Pead[Edit][Delete]: Literature Review of E-assessment, NESTA Futurelab [Edit][Delete] January 31, 2006
[link: Hits] Funny how things work in the blogosphere. This report has been out for more than a year (I hadn't seen it, though; I don't really follow assessment issues). It's quite well written, and packs some zingers (like: "In the worst case, to be able to invent and create something of value is taken to be a sure sign of feeble-mindedness; where as to opine on the work of others shows towering intellectual power"). Anyhow, this item was reviewed today in e-learning reviewa, covered in the Authentic Assessment Website, and finally, mentioned in Michelle's Online Learning Freakout Party Zone, which is where I saw it. Go figure. More literature reviews from Nesta (which needs an RSS feed). [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Assessment, Research] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Stephen Downes

About Me
Bio, photos, and assorted odds and ends.

You know, the ones that appear in refereed journals of Outstanding Rank.

Lectures, seminars, and keynotes in a wide variety of formats - everything from streaming video to rough notes.

All my articles, somewhere around 400 items dating from 1995.

Audio recordings of my talks recorded in MP3 format. A podcast feed is also available.

What I'm doing, where I'm doing it, and when.

Newly updated! A collection of my photographs. Suitable for downloading as desktop wallpaper.

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Stephen Downes

Copyright ďż˝ 2006 Stephen Downes
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


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