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by Stephen Downes
February 19, 2009

Design by Committee Vs Design by Community (Things We Learned From the Drupal.Org Project)
I think this is a really good article for people who are designing educational products or applications. There's the old adage that more heads are better, and that's true. But there's a big difference between designing by committee and designing by community. The big difference between the two is that in the latter, you don't have to accept everything everybody says. This allows your design to be consistent and to reflect genuinely important features, rather than the predilections of individual committee members you are not allowed to ignore. Leisa Reichelt, Disambiguity, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Next Big Thing: Covering Online Education
(Post starts three items down.) According to this post from the Educational Writers Association, "it if you want to understand one of the fastest growing trends in American education, here's a new imperative: Sit in front of the computer." Yes, the educational writing community has discovered our field, one it considers "often invisible to education reporters." So should we expect a slew of new readers going to the source to find out what's really happening online. Nope. They will be going to the Sloan Consortium and something called the International Association for K-12 Online Learning's fact sheet. Willful indirection from the EWA, perhaps? Via Alexander Russo. Linda Perlstein, National Educational Writers Association, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Access2OER/Your Solutions
The discussion at the UNESCO forum on open educational resources has stalled. During this second week participants have been asked to submit examples and models of successful practice in providing open access. I know there are stories out there: I've covered them here. WikiEducator. OpenCourseWare. David Wiley's Open Courses. The K-12 Online Conference. Ed Tech talk. And dozens and dozens more. But all they've received thus far is my submission, a link from Teemu Leinonen, global grid for learning, and something submitted by the moderator, the RECOUP model. That's it. It's unfortunate. Please take a few minutes and write a submission. If you want, you can use the Template for OER Success Stories and write a paragraph for each item. Then send it in, either to the discussion list, to the moderator, or to me - I'll pass them along. We are the open access community, and we need to speak up now. Various Authors, UNESCO, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Post-Secondary Education in Canada: Meeting Our Needs?
OK, what you should read first is this executive summary. Now read the statement from the president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning. There's a real disconnect there: the former tells a story of underfunding and economic disparity, while the latter says that what governments and students really need is more information. When we have sea-change happening in the economy, when almost 30 percent of working-age people want to enroll but can't because of economic concerns, then - respectfully - the problem is not one of lack of information, but rather, lack of support. The data say so clearly; now what we need is to hear it from the people. Various Authors, Canadian Council on Learning, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Linked Out
From now on, I would like people linking to this site to use the form OLDaily, the best source of ed tech news on the web. Ridiculous? I agree. But a company faced with a mounting lawsuit in Chicago this week caved to a law firm demanding to be able to dictate how links to its site were expressed. The suit is just one example of the way trademark law, like copyrights and patent law (and yes, I know they're all different) are used to stifle legitimate discourse and dissent. Or, as in the case where a company is demanding ownership over the term netbook, to benefit from value it had nothing to do with creating. Via Comsumerist via Dan Gillmor. Wendy Davis, Slate, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Alberta University Takes Academic Cue From Video Games
Newspaper coverage of Athabasca University's new virtual learning centre and its work on systems like Second Life. Some nice quotes from AVP Rory McGreal on games in learning: "What they do is they grab the students, they hold their attention, and the students learn." What's interesting about this article is the way the author needed to check with some source from a name university south of the border, apparently selecting at random "Vladlen Koltun, a computer science professor at Standford (sic) University" to make a comment. Shannon Montgomery, Globe and Mail, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wittgenstein and Reason
The writing in this review isn't sharp but the content is interesting. We don't act in a merely pragmatic way; our ceremonies and rites are not intended merely to cause certain results, our utterances are not intended merely to communicate ideas. The underlying idea here is that human activity (including communication, religion and ceremony) isn't merely rule-following and rationality. The book reviewed is a collection of essays that revolve around this point, seen from various perspectives. Reviewed by Daniel D. Hutto, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, February 19, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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