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by Stephen Downes
October 31, 2008

International Perspective
In this presentation by Elluminate to the e-Learning Alliance conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, I run through a fast-paced description of progress in the CCK08 online course thus far, outline my gRSShopper PLE software, and make soe remarks about the future of learning online. Presentation by Stephen Downes, eLearning Alliance Annual Conference 2008, Edinburgh, Scotland, via Elluminate, [Link]

Taking the Pulse of Key Sectors: Advanced Learning Technologies
This short presentation during a panel is a summary of trends in advanced learning technologies. I first outline it the standard way, by listing some major technologies. Then I outline the future in terms of major educational strategies. The slides cover only the last part of the talk, as the first part was completely ad libbed. Presentation by Stephen Downes, Innovation Forum, Saint John, New Brunswick, [Link]

Repository Widgets
David Gadd writes, "These web widgets are designed to be used with netvibes and iGoogle. The widgets present information from existing repository related information! services such Sherpa Romeo, ROAR, OpenDOAR and Sword." ICO3, which designed the widgets, is now seeking feedback on them. Various Authors, JISC, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Kevin Riley writes, "A new alpha version of the SCORM to Common Cartridge conversion tool (SCORM2CC) is now available for download." Versions are flying by rapidly right now, but it's a useful tool to look at, Various Authors, CodePlex, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Eleven Interesting Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom
A week ago this presentation was titled "Five Ways..." Some are good ideas - using spreadsheets to share data (such as pulse rates), for example. Others, less so. Worth noting because it highlights the limits in Google Docs - only 10 people can edit a presentation or a document at the same time, while only 50 can contribute top a spreadsheet. And... isn't the plural of 'homework' just 'homework'? Tom Barrett, Google Docs, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Two Logical Fallacies That We Must Avoid
It's always worth a post to highlight good reasoning. Here are the two fallacies: "The naturalistic fallacy... is the leap from is to ought - that is, the tendency to believe that what is natural is good; that what is, ought to be." And "The moralistic fallacy... refers to the leap from ought to is, the claim that the way things should be is the way they are. This is the tendency to believe that what is good is natural; that what ought to be, is."

Fair enough, but this doesn't follow, does it? "Scientists - real scientists - do not draw moral conclusions and implications from the empirical observations they make, and they are not guided in their observations by moral and political principles. Real scientists only care about what is, and do not at all care about what ought to be."

No, it doesn't follow. Science is concerned with what ought to be on a day to day basis - the principles of good reason, for example, of scientific methodology, and of practice and good behaviour. Satoshi Kanazawa, Psychology Today, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Repository Wishlist
Results from a survey of features desired in future repository software. "The Wishlist Winners: 1. Statistics and reporting 2. Better item/metadata management 3. Automatic generation of bibliography pages/CVs." Pete Cliff, pixelatedpete:bnab, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

We tried something different in our CCK08 course today, using to add video to our Skype call. It worked out pretty well, actually. Various Authors, Website, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Monitor Shifts From Print to Web-Based Strategy
Talk about a sea-change: the Christian Science Monitor is changing from print to a web-only format. best of luck to them. Meanwhile, the Guardian is launching full RSS feeds, making it much more attractive to feed readers. David Cook, Christian Science Monitor, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

PLAR - an Idea Whose Time has Come
The Canadian Council on Learning has released a comprehensive report on prior learning, an event I mark by citing, with approval, CEO Paul Cappon's remarks on the topic; "Too often we think of learning almost exclusively in terms of 'schooling' of one sort or another. This is a limiting attitude in a number of ways. Before there was widespread access to schools, most people learned informally through example, trial-and-error, mentoring, contact with elders and peers, and so on. We continue to gain valuable knowledge in this manner-in addition to whatever levels of formal education and training we may attain. A narrowly defined 'schooling only' response to the skills and learning challenges with which this report deals is an insufficient response to Canada's current demographic, economic and social circumstances." Paul Cappon, Canadian Council on Learning, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies)
If you are thinking of advocating an open access mandate in your own institution, you will want to refer to this list of 57 open access mandate documents and policies at various institutions around the world. It's a source of pride to see my own institution, Canada's National Research Council, listed, even if policy details aren't yet available (should be soon now). Various Authors, Eprints, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Inaugural SCORM 2.0 Workshop Jump-Starts LETSI
In the October Issue of the LETSI Newsletter there is an item on the first SCORM 2.0 conference, held October 15-17, 2008 in Pensacola, Florida. LETSI received roughly 100 position papers on SCORM 2.0, and these are available on the website, with numerous comments. There's also a set of links to blog posts and informal submissions as well. LETSI is collecting use cases, and you can add yours. Press Release, LETSI / PR newswire, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Welcome to NicNames
An idea whose time is long over due. It has never been sufficient to use strings - or even vCards - to identify authors in metadata, and I'm surprised that such methods have survived to this point. Along comes a project to address that. "NicNames can be read as 'Names in Context' and refers to the purpose of the project, which is 'to provide a means to more effectively manage author names in institutional repositories'." There is a project outline in iPaper on the website which maps the territory a bit but which doesn't go deeply into specifics. Here's what it's going to have to be, from my perspective: authors will need to be identified as URLs, where the URL will point to an XML (or some such) document containing contact information and the rest. This unique ID will (eventually, maybe years down the line, depending on how badly corporations mess up OpenID) also be the author's unique OpenID address. Stuart Hall, The NicNames Project, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Trends I Learned From Educause
Mitchell Weisburgh identifies three trends from this year's EDUCAUSE conference: first, "there is an expanding market for technology inside the classroom as postsecondary is moving away from the lecture/readings/papers/tests paradigm," second, "efforts to increase effectiveness are forcing academic, student, financial, and administration systems to share information," and third, "there is a growing need for systems that allow institutions to track the costs, life, and usage of their assets." Mitchell Weisburgh, PilotED, October 31, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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