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by Stephen Downes
May 7, 2009

The Eight Classic Distance Education Texts
Tony Bates writes, "The Shanghai Television University - one of the largest distance teaching institutions in China - has selected eight classic distance edcuation texts for translation and publication in Chinese. The translations have been done by leading Chinese distance educators." That's great. I'd like to see them posted online - the English versions too, not just the Chinese. So we can all read them. Tony Bates, Weblog, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

More On My Dream Open Textbook Bill
David Wiley responds to comments, including one of mine. And in the comments I strive to find the fundamental disconnect between Wiley's view and my own. He replies here, leaving me with a number of points to answer (what the two of us really need to do, of course, is to sit down for a day or three and have a conversation about these issues (and then, have it transcribed and posted it as an open book)). I'd make the time. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Why Facebook Shut Down the Only Useful App It Ever Had
Facebook is going in exactly the wrong direction as it closes off RSS feeds out of Facebook accounts into the world. Scott Gilbertson writes, "we'll miss Newsfeed RSS is it provided a tantalizing glimpse of how fun Facebook could be when we really did have control over the experience." Why? He opines, "the Facebook platform and all its blustering about privacy end up looking more like a smokescreen designed to make your data available to an advertising platform that will (so the site desperately hopes) enable Facebook to one day make money." Scott Gilbertson, WebMonkey, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Error Correction
I reported here that "Blackboard's [patent] pledge does not mention its patent applications 11/298,091 (for a 3D learning environment) or 11/145,531 (for a media database)...". This report is in error. Blackboard does not own either of those patent applications. Apologies are offered for the error and any inconvenience it may have caused. Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Facebook's E-Mail Censorship Is Legally Dubious, Experts Say
Same old story. When you have a centralized service, hosted by a private company, the rules are different. "Now legal experts say Facebook may have gone too far, blocking not only links to torrents published publicly on member profile pages, but also examining private messages that might contain them, and blocking those as well." The tone of this article questions whether Facebook may have broken U.S. wiretapping law. But the more relevant question to most of us is whether Facebook ought to be interfering in our private messages at all. Ryan Singel, Wired, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Murdoch Wants to Charge People to Read What the PR Industry Spews Out
This is the key question: "80 per cent of news stories in the quality UK national newspapers are at least partly made up of recycled newswire or PR copy, according to new research." Similar trends are evident elsewhere. So why would people pay for that? Chris Bertram, Crooked Timber, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard Buys Angel
All sorts of reaction to the Blackboard purchase of Angel. Michael Feldstein is fishing for feedback and also links to the #bbplusangel Twitter thread. From Reuters: "Shares of the company fell as much as 10 percent at $29.70 in trading after the bell." Here are links to more coverage, from Inside Higher Ed, Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, Seb Schmoller, Campus Technology, Chronicle of Higher Education, Alex Reid (the digital black angel rises). Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, May 7, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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