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by Stephen Downes
February 10, 2009

Higher Education - Potential Financial Disaster for Students?
Again, this is why I have devoted work to online learning. ""The proportion of students who graduate with more than $40,000 in debt jumped sixfold during that period, to 7.7% of the 1 million grads in 2004, or 77,500 people. Most will struggle for more than a decade to work it off..." They will, during this time, defer home ownership, investing in a business, and many other things taken for granted by a person who sails through their education without the need for financing. Thomas, Open Education, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Principles of Public Service - Can We Live Up to Them?
Overall, not a bad account, and roughly the standard I hold myself to (not so much the diagram, as it implies an unwholesome subservience to the organization, which is not always in the best interests of the public). Certainly, principles like selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honest and leadership are all values that inform my own position. Though I will say that these principles are descriptive, not normative. They do not define correct behaviour, they describe it, in broad overly general strokes. Don Ledingham, Don Ledingham's Learning Log, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

College Music Site Ruckus Shuts Down
Another DRM scheme, this one marketed directly to students and universities, fails. "We're told that music that has not passed its "renew date" still works, but that music that has expired will no longer work because the DRM licensing server has apparently shut down." Bryan Alexander, Liberal Education Today, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

I've been thinking a lot about the pacing of learning lately. Pacing as thought of as the optimal speed at which learning can be undertaken. Pacing as defined by educators, pacing as defined by learners (is a preference for one or another pacing a Learning Style?). Clark Quinn's post adds to my understanding. Clark Quinn, Learnlets, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Why Are People So Gullible About Miracle Cures in Education?
I see this sort of thing come up a lot - just in today's New York Times there's an editorial pointing to quick fixes that "work". A big part of it is the way education is covered. "It seems that many journalists won't write about education unless they can find a miracle to write about." There are no miracle cures in education. Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Introducing JsonML
Interesting and useful. "JsonML (JSON Markup Language) is an application of the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data-interchange format. The purpose of JsonML is to provide a compact format for transporting XML-based data via JSON." Various Authors, Website, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Cost of Culture.Ca
A publicly funded web portal can't (and shouldn't) recover from data like this: "Minister James Moore revealed that - given the high cost of maintenance and low traffic - the portal cost $1.98 per hit to the site. Funding was stopped over the summer as part of the culture cuts." I winder where the data went. I'm sure it's useful, even if the presentation was unfortunately bloated. Michael Geist, Weblog, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

2008/9 Wikipedia Selection for Schools
Yes there will be criticisms that providing the content as a pre-selected download treats students as consumers rather than co-creaters. On the other hand, how cool is it to have a free 20 volume encyclopedia available as a free download? Various Authors, Wikipedia, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Teach Paperless
Richard Wojewodzki, a teacher of Latin and Art History at the John Carroll School, writes to tell me that he's launching a blog. He writes, "The blog is based on Wojewodzki's experience creating and running a high school classroom in which no paper is used. All of the students use tablet-PCs for note-taking and creating projects and all tests and quizzes are given via blogs and wikis. Over the course of an academic year, his students create digital portfolios that reflect their work-progress on a day-to-day basis." Richard Wojewodzki, Weblog, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Different Types of Access
This list is worth a post of its own; it's a summary from the UNESCO discussion on access to open educational resources (more will be added to the wiki page):

* Access in terms of ability and skills. (Does the end user have the right skills to access?)
* Access in terms of file formats. (Are the file formats accessible?)
* Access in terms of languages. (How well does the user speak the language of the OER?)
* Access in terms of disability. (Does the OER meet WAI accessibility criteria?)
* Access in terms of licensing. (Is the licensing suitable / CC?)
* Access in terms of local policy / attitude. (Do attitudes or policies pose barriers to using OER?)
* Access in terms of awareness. (Lack of awareness is a barrier to OER.)
* Access in terms of discovery. (If the OER is hidden, not searchable, not indexed, it's hard to find.)
* Access in terms of infrastructure (Lack of power/computers makes access hard.)
* Access in terms of internet connectivity / bandwidth (Slow connections pose a barrier to access.)
Bjoern Hassler, UNESCO, February 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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