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by Stephen Downes
May 17, 2007

Google Timeline and Map Search Results Views
I'm back from Winnipeg and my punishment for writing a nice post about Air Canada was a miserable flight on an overcrowded tiny CRJ complete with lost luggage. Though I did get to see the end of Music and Lyrics between Winnipeg and Toronto (I guess Air Canada thinks people in Moncton are tiny and can fit in little tiny spaces while people in Winnipeg are large and need that much more room). Anyhow, this post looking at the use of Google to create timelines and maps raises some interesting educational possibilities - though I'm beginning to think that the lack of things like the lack of an RSS version of these results is indicative of a growing tendency at Google toward proprietary APIs over more standard data feeds. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Measuring Your Blog'S Outcomes and Use of Other Social Media Tools
Discussion of the idea of evaluating the effectiveness of blogs, and in particular, a set of metrics from Avinesh Kaushik:

  • "Raw Author Contribution (posts and words in post)
  • Unique Blog Readers (content consumption - Unique Visitors and Feed Subscribers)
  • Conversation Rate (measuring success in a social medium)
  • Technorati "Authority" (measuring your impact on the world!)
  • Cost (what!)
  • Return on Investment (what's in it for you/your business)"
Would this newsletter be twice as good if I wrote twice as many posts or wroite them twice as long? If I wrote about a more popular topic - educational policy, say - I would have more readers. Would that be better? Is Will Richardson better than me because he gets more comments? Am I better than you because I have a higher Technorati rank? Would it be better if I made money and spent less on my website?

Measuring "your blog's outcome" is ridiculous. It's like measuring 'friendship'. measuring 'reflective moments'. As Beth Kanter says, "numbers and data alone are almost meaningless." I don't think they get a lot more meaningful even if you add them to qualitative data. Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Not Another Account
The correct link to this article. The article I actually linked to, by accident, about censorship in Flickr was one I considered but ultimately decided to pass over. Dave Tosh, Weblog May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Speaking of Teaching
This is kind of neat - PDF back-issues of this twice-annual newsletter published by the Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University. Sometimes you want to roll your eyes - such as at the recent newsletter on "Vol. 15, No. 2- Getting more 'Teaching' out of 'Testing' and 'Grading'" and others seem like a blast from the past, such as the 1993 newsletter 'The Meeting of Minds and Machines: Teaching and Multimedia.' And others, like the 2001 newsletter on problem based learning, are well worth reading by everyone. Via Teachable Moment. Various Authors, Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community
Cory Doctorow discusses the defusing of discussion trolls. Probably the best advice is "Discussion groups are like uranium: a little pile gives off a nice, warm glow, but if the pile gets bigger, it hits critical mass and starts a deadly meltdown." I'm not sure the methods of the "troll whisperer" he describes are really the way to go. I still think the best approach is to delete the offensive comments and ban the trolls. Cory Doctorow, InformationWeek May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

OLPC On the Tube
Tim Stahmer writes, "Someone connected with One Laptop Per Child is running an unofficial video blog about the project, pulling together short movies mostly posted on YouTube." I haven't seen them, but it's a nice idea. Tim Stahmer, AssortedStuff May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

GLEF covers TeacherTube, the YouTube for educators linked from here in previous issues. No mention of reports I have been hearing recently, that TeacherTube is also being banned by some school districts. You know if you just let this sort of thing happen you will lose your freedom entirely. I'm just saying. Chris O'Neal, GLEF May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Introduction to Open Educational Resources
An open educational resource (in the form of an online course) on the use of open educational resources. It feels weird reading the content as a course (it feels a bit like reading Shakespeare or some other script from a play, not like ordinary reading). Some of the content is very U.S.-focused (like the stuff on copyright) - a broader focus would have been useful, as most target users of OERs are not Americans. This is very introductory material - if you are new to the idea of OERs this is a good resource, but you won't see a lot on the theory and development of OERs here. Judy Baker, Connexions May 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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