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by Stephen Downes
November 14, 2008

Toolkit: Making the Case
The OpenCourseWare Consortium has released a toolkit for newcomers. "The OCW Toolkit Initiative seeks to collect in one place a portable kit of resources that have proven useful in getting OCW projects off the ground at a variety of institutions." Various Authors, OpenCourseWare Consortium, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Handheld Learning 2008
One day, this will be normal - the posting of conference papers, presentations, photos, comments, reflections, and everything else on the website (go to the home page and then click on the 'Conference' link to see a dropdown of all the coverage). And when this is normal, the value of such conferences will be enhanced because people will be able to clearly see (and because of the publicity, will see) why they should attend next year. Poor conferences, though, like poor journals, will suffer from exposure. That, too, is as it should be. So, kudos to the organizers of Handheld Learning 2008. Various Authors, Website, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Gates Foundation Will Steer Its Education Giving in a New Direction
I will say only that Barak Obama should be cautious about accepting any education plan from people who between them brought us both Windows Vista and the economic meltdown. The education politics blogosphere is all over the story, including Klonsky (and here, and here), Jacobs, Pondiscio, Noon, Stahmer, Hoffman, and eduwonkette. Both Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle focused on the Gates plan to spend more on colleges. Elizabeth Green, Gotham Schools, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Taking Stock of the First Six Months Beyond the Walls: I Had No Idea... Really...
Even when Barbara Ganley isn't sure what she wants to say, she is a pleasure to read. That's the case, I think, with this post, one of her infrequent forays into blogdom after leaving her teaching position six months ago. She captures here a theme I've seen (and encourage) in a number of other places: "Instead of sitting around waiting, for instance, for Obama to solve the world's woes (and waiting to be told what to do to help, or worse, doing what academics do - expending our energies criticizing and complaining while doing nothing), we have to engage with our communities to bring about change and help on local levels." And she's capturing the difference between 'collaboration' as academics perceive it and 'collaboration' as it works for the rest of us: "As a college teacher, I thought I was all about collaborative learning, about students taking responsibility for their learning and their lives - together - but how can you do that within an artificial environment? Within a closed environment?" Barbara Ganley, (the new) bgblogging, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Concept Worker : eLearning Technology
Tonny Karrer's review of Pink's A Whole New Mind looks at the idea of the 'concept worker', a 21st century heir to the 'information worker'. I'm a bit sceptical about that, and even more so about the basis of the book in "right-brain thinking". From the reviews: "Neuroscientific research over the last decade gives us much room for hope - rather than being locked into our current thinking habits, even as adults our brains can be re-trained to think a different way. Pink concludes the book by offering practical ideas for anyone to develop six critical right-brain capabilities: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning." Tony Karrer, Work Literacy, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Innovation in Online Higher Education
Britons working in online learning will be heartened by this report saying that their country should take the lead in the field. Heartened, at least, once the writers in the Guardian realize that Britain already has a "global Open University". Via Tony Hirst, who links to "a heads-up about the imminent publication of a set of reports to feed into a Debate on the Future of Higher Education being run out of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills." Anthea Lipsett, The Guardian, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Copyright Angst, Lust for Prestige and Cost Control: What Institutions Can Do to Ease Open Access
This is in many respects a good paper, identifying as it does key drivers and mechanisms to support open access. Some points it makes are exactly right, such as "Transferring the copyright in a publication has become a relic of the past; nowadays a 'licence to publish' is sufficient." It is, however, deficient in its narrowness of scope - it regards, for example, all open access to be of the 'author-pay' variety employed by certain journals. And it doesn't seem to envision publication processes other than through peer-reviewed journals, which limits its consideration of both distribution and calculation of impact. Leo Waaijers, Ariadne, November 14, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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