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by Stephen Downes
November 28, 2008

When an Economic Crisis Hits eLearning, What Do Managers Have to Say About It?
OK, first things first, we as a community have to learn not to preface everything with the phrase "In these troubled economic times..." or some such mantra. Not only is it the sort of thing where hearing it over and over makes it true, it is the sort of thing that is not helpful, because the economy has not changed materially since before the crash. This is important to understand, because what it suggests is that the loss of wealth was of wealth that did not exist in the first place - it was largely fictitious wealth created by (shyster) credit markets. Real harm will be caused, though, if we act as though nothing is of value any more. We need to, for now, continue creating, selling, producing and consuming. But we also need to retool, because our economic patterns are not sustainable. The only way out of this is to replace, in relatively short order, fictitious value with real value. We don't do that by pulling in the reins, managing conservatively, being 'fiscally prudent'. GM cannot save its way out of bankruptcy; Nortel cannot improve its $0.00 stock valuation by cutting back. We can, all of us, build an environmentally responsible, socially just, and progressive market economy based on fairness and humanity. Real value, produced by real people. To proceed in any other direction will most certainly unleash substantial and needless misery throughout what will have formerly been called "the developed world". Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Stephen Downes On Modularity (or Learning Objects)
Considers some things from my Future of Online Learning article - in this post (to which I reply) my position on the modularity of learning objects, and in this post, the idea of 'course creation kits' rather than courses. Also well worth reading from the same author is this much lengthier post on my discussion of learning communities. Robert Hughes Jr, Open2Learn, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Why's It Called Second Life When There's Nothing Alive There?
"Wandering around Second Life today is like visiting Blackpool in February; all sad empty shops, deserted car parks and the stench of loneliness - and the opportunity to buy a fake cock for two quid. Occasionally - very occasionally - you'll chance upon another depressed lump of sub-humanity, wandering aimlessly and wondering what wrong junction they had taken off the M6 motorway of their life to end up somewhere so desolate." Via Andy Powell. Paul Carr, The Guardian, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

SWORD Facebook Application and Social Deposit
What is a "social deposit"? You had to ask. "Being able to deposit from within a site such as Facebook would enable what I'm going to call the Social Deposit... the social deposit takes place within the online social surroundings of a depositor, rather than from within a repository. By doing so, the depositor can leverage the power of their social networks so that their friends and colleagues can be informed about the deposit." Bloggers, of course, have had this for a long time; in Facebook the marking of a blog post is called "posting anote", and users of Twitter, and other social networking services have long advertised their lengthier content to their friends. The only thing different about a repository is that it's a "deposit", which may be saying something. Pete Johnston, eFoundations, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard User Group Spotlight: CSBUG
Link to the Blackboard YouTube channel. "BlackboardTV is a multimedia effort to help e-Learning innovators (designers, instructors, students) visualize online teaching and learning in colleges and universities, K-12 schools, companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations." Erik Gillespie, Blackboard Blogs, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Serious Virtual Worlds
Just as we have serious games - games that are no fun - so also we have serious virtual worlds. "The aim of the report then is two-fold: to provide a context for learning practitioners and policy makers, aiding with their understanding of virtual worlds and how they can be selected and used in tertiary education; and to highlight how learners, through greater empowerment, may play a different and enriched role in the process." The appendices are where this report shines, with a good vocabulary and a detailed list of virtual world applications. Thgere are numerous examples of educational functions of virtual worlds, and it's not all about Second Life, as a second on the Croquet community demonstrates. Sara de Freitas, JISC, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

OU Goes Social with Platform
Tony Hirst writes, "Earlier this week, the OU quietly opened up its new social site - Platform - with a mailing going out today to inform students and alumni about it's availability." What follows in the post is an in-depth look at the new site. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, November 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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