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by Stephen Downes
September 2, 2008

Google Chrome
The big announcement for today is the launch of Google Chrome - at least, it's supposed to happen today, though as of this writing I'm still waiting. I'll have much more coverage and commentary when it actually comes out. What we have in the meantime is this comic-style description of what Chrome will do, drawn by Scott McLeod. Here's Google's announcement of the comic, which was originally "leaked" to a few influential bloggers. Scott McLeod, Google, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Quebec Government Sued for Buying Microsoft Software
The Quebec government has been sued for buying Microsoft software. "Government buyers are using an exception in provincial law that allows them to buy directly from a proprietary vendor when there are no options available, but Facil said that loophole is being abused..." Peter Nowak, CBC News, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

ResearchBlogging.Org V2 Is Officially Launched!
On the one hand I support their effort to highlight serious blogging about real research, as opposed to press clippings and press releases. But on the other hand, I disagree that the only blogging worth the name is of 'peer reviewed research' - that is, of work published in a (commercial) journal. It's not about where it was published (though Seed, the major sponsor, might disagree) but whether it adopts an appropriate scientific stance - a basis in experience, open process, testable conclusions. Peer review is neither necessary nor sufficient, and anything called "research blogging" would, if it were honest, admit that. Dave Munger, Cognitive Daily, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Ed2Go Is NOT Higher Education
Barry Dahl launches n attach on Ed2Go, a provider of 'turnkey college courses' that are offered by accredited institutions. "They aren't college courses. They aren't OUR courses. They aren't taught by our faculty. They aren't developed and vetted by us. Their web services aren't supported by us. The assessments aren't created and evaluated by us. Student successes (and failures) aren't determined by us."

But he's going to have to come up with more than that. Most college courses in the world were not produced by Lake Superior College. That doesn't make them bad, much less 'not college courses'. And Ed2Go has been widely adopted - a quick Google search finds information on Ed2Go courses at Selkirk College, at Keyano College, at Northern Lights College, at NAIT. These are all respected Canadian colleges; are they all in error? I'm not saying that there isn't a case against Ed2Go to be made, but I am saying that it hasn't been made. Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The Cambridge Companion to Carnap
I studied Carnap off and on during my graduate studies, and always regarded him as a positive influence. He pays a significant role in the development of Kuhn's and Quine's thought, and parallels people like Wittgenstein, Ramsay and Neurath. Though Carnap is a positivist, he warns against "the absolutistic view according to which we are said to search for an absolute reality whose nature is assumed as fixed independently of the language chosen for its description." Semantics, as the author of this review notes, has taken just this turn that Carnap felt should be avoided. Reviewed by Gregory Lavers, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Online Learning and the Evaluation of Group Processes
This is a short paper but well worth reading. After a short introduction to learning community approaches and to network analysis theory, the author looks at the use of network analysis to evaluate collaborative practices in a classroom. He finds that network analysis can identify a student who isn't participating, and can also identify those who are doing the most to build on the knowledge of other students. This is simple, quantitative stuff, but you can see how this sort of approach could be used to gain a more sophisticated understanding of an individual's participation in a community. Via Giorgio Bertini. Here are More titles from the Collaborative Knowledge Building Group. D.N. Phillip, Rivista italiana di tecnologia cultura e formazione, September 2, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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