October 1, 2006


John Houghton, Colin Steele and Peter Sheehan[Edit][Delete]: Research Communication Costs In Australia: Emerging Opportunities and Benefits, DEST [Edit][Delete] October 1, 2006
[link: 7 Hits] Study on the costs of information access in Australia. In and among the references tgo billions of dollars one finds this: "a full system of institutional repositories in Australia costing AUD 10 million a year and achieving a 100% self-archiving compliance would show: A benefit/cost ratio of 51 for the modelled impacts of open access to public sector research (i.e. the benefits are 51 times greater than the costs); A benefit/cost ratio of 30 for the modelled impacts of open access to higher education research; and A benefit/cost ratio of 4.1 for the modelled impacts of open access to ARC competitive grants funded research." Who are the lobbyists who are stalling such an initiative? How do they justify placing such a burden on the taxpayer? [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Margaret Spellings[Edit][Delete]: Let's Really Throw Open Doors to Higher Education, Houston Chronicle [Edit][Delete] October 1, 2006
[link: Hits] The title of this article attracted me (after all, our current system is built almost entirely around the idea of blocking access to poor people). But while the principles touted - accessibility, affordability and accountability - seem reasdonable, the author seems to not understand what they mean. College will not become more accessible if students are tested more in high school; how could anyone suppose that this is true? Now will it be made more affordable by simplfying the financial aid documentation, it will merely be more obviously unaffordable. And accountability is not fostered by "a voluntary, privacy-protected higher education information system that longitudinally analyzes performance." [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: GuruLib, October 1, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] New web 2.0-ish application that lets you list (and review) your books, CDs, DVDs and more. I like the listing of various types of content. Various interface irregularities - this is very early beta. Still, I liked it, and especially the potential for it to interface with, say, my iRiver. The link is to my list of stuff, which I will add to as time goes by (assuming the service works out the kinks). For those of you looking for educational uses, imagine how a remote educational application could read the GuruLib RSS feeds to learn the student's tastes and programming environment. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dariya Mukamusoni[Edit][Delete]: Distance Learning Program of Teachers' at Kigali Institute of Education: An Expository Study, IRRODL [Edit][Delete] October 1, 2006
[link: Hits] The September issue of IRRODL is out. This article describes a distance learning program in Rwanda. The location makes the article compelling, but that's it. The authors conclude, "Without clear communication, course tutors often cannot effectively facilitate the DL modules." One wonders why they felt this needed to be established. I wonder, certainly, why academic writing leaves me so dissatisfied. This needs to be examined. An entire discipline, it seems to me, is failing. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Monica Shelley, Cynthia White, Uwe Baumann and Linda Murphy[Edit][Delete]: `It's a unique role!' Perspectives on Tutor Attributes and Expertise in Distance Language Teaching, IRRODL [Edit][Delete] October 1, 2006
[link: Hits] The research in this report (n varies between 17 and 32) leads the authors to conclude that "Tutors who work within distance education differ markedly from their classroom counterparts in terms of the roles they assume, the ways in which they interact with students, and the attributes and expertise required of them." This may even be true, but I still have to ask, when are journal editors going to reject this sort of sham that passes as academic research? This is not to disparage the authors - they are simply doing what they have led to believe is the way things are done. And the program they describe is worthwhile. But the conclusions, I'm sure, could have been reached without the study - and would have been no less supported. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Elizabeth Redden[Edit][Delete]: Skype Skirmishes on Campus, Inside Higher Ed [Edit][Delete] October 1, 2006
[link: Hits] Most of the software I talk about, I comment during my talks, is banned at schools, colleges and universities. Skype is a good example of the latest item to incur the wrath of administrators, ostensibly because it eats bandwidth. I would be interested, though, to hear what sort of arguments cross the desk when university officials are meeting with telco representatives. As for the bandwidth, "Skype works over dial-up. How much of a bandwidth hog can it be if it works over dial-up?" [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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Stephen Downes

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Stephen Downes

Copyright fff,,¿f,,½ 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