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by Stephen Downes
January 23, 2009

NRC PLE Project Job Opportunities
The NRC's Personal Learning Environment (PLE) project received formal approval today, and job postings have been announced. I will be managing this project.

The R&D activities will focus across two dimensions: how access to a wide variety of learning opportunities can best be managed in an online environment; and how technologies can be assembled to best provide seamless access to a large variety of educational resources and services. In essence, the scientific problem is one of designing an educational infrastructure based on future best practices and then developing an educational application that will work within that infrastructure.

The positions, which are for three years, include:
- Researcher specializing in education and pedagogy
- Researcher specializing in art, design and new media
- Researcher specializing in library and information management
- Technology specialist with an emphasis on database support
- technology specialist with an emphasis on application development

We also have two positions open for computer support staff on another project - see the full employment listing. And that's not all. We have more positions opening up in the near future as we staff additional positions and projects - I will be announcing them on this site.

2009 Horizon Report
Many people have linked to the 2009 Horizon Report, an annual publication that documents trends in educational technology (Helge Scherlund,Jeffrey R. Young, Gerry White, Derek Wenmoth, Doug Dickinson, Will Richardson, Jen Millea, Bryan Alexander, Mark van 't Hooft). My favorite link, though, is Kerrie Smith's that looks at past predictions to see how they panned out. How good have the predictions been? Smith writes, "the fact that Cloud Computing wasn't on the 2008 Horizon Report at all is interesting." I'd like to see the investigation go back a few years. Various Authors, New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Feedburner Stats Drop After Google Account Merge
I count my statistics (when I get around to it) from the access logs on my own server. One reason for this is that I know that these statistics are reliable. I know how they were generated, and can filter for misleading data (like, for example, excessive search engine traffic). Not so with services like Feedburner, which has been shocking bloggers recently with a significant drop in traffic figures after being converted to Google logins. My question: which data is right - the older, high-traffic data numbers, or the new, low-traffic data numbers. Not that Google has any (*cough* *mumble* *adwords*) motive to under-report traffic. And not that Feedburner had any (*cough* *acquired*) motive to inflate the figures. Of course, you can't know - nobody knows but Google. And that's why I read my sever logs. (p.s. I looked it up; Fryer's weblog has 614 subscribers in Google Reader alone, suggesting that the 2000 subscribers originally reported by Feedburner is more accurate than the 265 readers now being reported - OLDaily has two separate feeds totalling 2293 subscribers in Google Reader, which suggests an overall subscription rate of roughly 7000 RSS readers (compared to 4000 email readers)). Wesley Fryer, Moving At The Speed Of Creativity, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Better Than Owning
Kevin Kelly has stirred up comment - including some support - for suggesting that renting thinks like books and music will be better than owning them. "I use roads that I don't own," he writes. "For many people this type of instant universal access is better than owning. No responsibility of care, backing up, sorting, cataloging, cleaning, or storage." Well, yeah. Except that you have to keep paying the rent or you lose access. And you are powerless to prevent sudden rate increases or unreasonable terms of access. Kevin kelly, The Technium, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Does Following the News Work?
The answer to the question (as if you couldn't guess) is "no." The author explains, after reviewing news coverage of city politics over a period of time, he is unable to determine which side in the debates had the weight of evidence on its side, or whether pundits' dire predictions would "what would happen if..." ever came true. Matt Thompson, Newsless, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

12 Standard Screen Patterns
I thought this was a useful article, from a design perspective. The author outlines 12 basic web page design patterns, and offers numerous examples of each. There's also a PDF version. Theresa Neil, Designing Web Interfaces, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Dawn of Internet Radio?
I'm listening to internet radio as I type this - CBC, actually, the feed from Victoria (usually I start the day listening to Calgary or Edmonton, Victoria or Vancouver if I'm running late, because I'm not a big fan of the Current, then switch to Moncton at 2:00 p.m. - that way, I skip the terrible noonhour programming). I don't think people need search or index or portals so much (because radio listeners tend to be loyal to a channel) but rather good sound and easy access. Oh, and content we want. Tod Maffin, Inside The CBC .com, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Closure of Trdev
Note that you may need a Yahoo login to view the link, sorry. I have been a subscriber to the TRDEV mailing list for many years, almost always as a lurker. Today I received a post saying "The trdev list will close on January 27. The list's archives have been deleted and the membership database will be deleted at that time." And I am glad I didn't invest a lot of time in it. The archives have already been deleted? While it's true that the list has "never been a democracy," I share the frustration of the member who said, "I am still very surprised and disappointed by the unilateral actions by the TRDEV 'owners.'" How could they think it was appropriate to delete the archives without notice? Participants on ITForum (which shared an administrator) beware. Kobus Kruger, trdev, January 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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