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by Stephen Downes
August 10, 2009

Stephen Downes & David Wiley in Dialogue
So in the course of one of our debates a few months ago I remarked to David Wiley that he didn't simply disagree with me, he didn't simply misunderstand what I was saying, but it was actually perceptual, that he didn't see what I was seeing. And I suggested, not expecting for a moment that anything would come of it, that we should spend an entire day discussing these issues and trsnacribing the conversation as a book. To my surprise, he agreed, and suggested meeting in Vancouver at the OpenEd conference. Well, I wasn't planning to be in Vancouver (I was planning to be on vacation in the forests of New Brunswick) but given this remarkable opportunity I changed my plans and will be in the forests next week, as I am in Vancouver this week and will be meeting with Wiley tomorrow for the entire day.

As well, it turns out, other people are interested in our conversation, enough so that a former courtroom at the Vancouver Art Gallery has been booked and a sign-up sheet created. Here's the link with the schedule and plan (all times Pacific Time). I can't imagine people will want to sit through this all day. But I will be there and David will be there. And there are plans to stream the conversation (audio? video? I don't know) online. I will post updates on my Twitter account (reload this page to stay up to date, or follow Downes on Twitter).

OK, some more OpenEd links. As mentioned, here's the page for the OpenEd twitter feed. Note that I plan to monitor this feed during the discussion tomorrow. Here are the Flickr photos from the conference. Tony Hirst has created a screencast showing how to aggregate the Twitter feeds. Lisa Harris has set up a NetVibes page aggregating a bunch of conference items. Christina Geith has started an OER Timeline. There's also an OnCore Blueprint preconbference, also on the 11th.

No guarantee of a newsletter tomorrow, but I will make an audio recording of the entire day and will posted it as soon as I can, and as I said, will announce any info ation I get about streaming on my Downes Twitter account. Various Authors, OpenEd 2009, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Open Educational Resources and the University Library Website
Is the university library actively subverting the movement toward opn educational resources? One could argue that it has significant incentive to do so. And one could argue, based on evidence presented here, that it is in fact doing so. "If anyone using an academic library website can't easily search educational resources in that context, what does that say about the status of those resources in the eyes of the Library?" We cannot, I argue, expect support for open educational resources from institutions dedicated to their elimination. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Open Educational Resources
Here's a challenge for you. From this page, which advertises UNESCO's publication, Open Educational Resources (linked from Stephen Carson as a demonstration of "how the economics of open publication can work), find the link to the free downloadable version. Can't find it? neither could I. One of the points 'll be making tomorrow is that it doesn't much help having a free version (or an open license) if the only way to get something is to buy a paper copy. Susan d'Antoni and Catriona Savage, UNESCO Publishing, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Obama Course-Giveaway Backlash?
Barack Obama announced plans to spend $500-million on freely available Web-based courses and some professors who should know better are acting like private health insurance companies facing the Armageddon of public health care. "It's unethical to allow a student to have access to courses and not provide a support system that allows them to have success," Ms. Gibson (Chere Gibson, a University of Wisconsin at Madison professor emerita) said. Really? Unethical? As compared to the system's current practice of barring admission to all those unable to pony up tens of thousands of dollars cash (or lucky enough to be connected enough to get a scholarship)?

It's unlikely the Chronicle will be anywhere near this week's Open Education conference, but if it were, it would find that a great of good could be done with $500 million. And at least a part of my remarks tomorrow will be directed toward the proposition that it is the existing system that is the one of the greatest barriers to the provision of real open education in this society and around the world. Related: Carnegie Mellon's Open learning initiative. And related: has open education crossed the chasm? Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

10 Tips on how to think like a designer
Nice list of principles that could be applied to anything from art to education, and as usual I ask myself whether my work on this site follows the principles. All in all, I'd say it fares rather well. Here they are:
- embrace constraints (like, say, a 100 or so word limit on posts)
- practice restraint (when I could really just add item after item after...)
- adopt the beginner's mind (because I know many readers are new to this stuff)
- check your ego at the door (what do people want - and need - from this newsletter?)
- focus on the experience of the design (what will it feel like to follow the link - engaging? challenging? pointless?)
- become a master story-teller (because each item is a lesson in itself)
- think communication not decoration (and make the language clear, not florid)
- obsess about ideas and not tools (because ideas unite issue to issue and create a theme)
- clarify your intention (and be clear about why items are chosen)
- sharpen your vision & curiosity and learn from the lessons around you
- learn all the "rules" and know when and why to break them (including, for example, the 100 word rule. heh) Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Rewriting An AP Story Just To Show We Can
This item is fun because it dissects a news story to illustrate how easily it can be rewritten without violating copyright (contrary to AP's claims that the story cannot be rewritten). What really caught my eye, however, was how the facts in the rewritten story were referenced. Now that is an expectation for my items here or my articles, but let's face it, traditional journalists do not reveal where their facts come from (which is why they get away with inserting so many non-facts). It would be interesting to see news and especially magazine journalists held to the standards set by, well, bloggers like me. Or academic and educational writers in general. Michael Masnick, Techdirt, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Facebook Paid Nearly $50 Million for FriendFeed
Funny that Facebook would buy Friendfeed, since it basically does what Facebook does. I read this as Facebook spending $50M to eliminate some competition. Me, I'm annoyed, because now Facebook has those account IDs that I very deliberately did not provide to Facebook. Meanwhile, Facebook launches a real-time search. Not that I'm going to be depending on Facebook for this, because it remains a black hole website - content goes in, but never comes out. More from Monkeybites. Adam Ostrow, Mashable, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Get Ready to Participate: Crowdsourcing and Governance
I have been reading War and Peace, one of the themes of which is that history is created through the individual pursuits of millions of individuals acting in their own interests, and not through the will of leaders and generals. I happen to agree with that, which gives me a different perspective on exercises like this execise in crowdsourcing. The suggestion is that the wisdom of the crowd can somehow be orchestrated, or led, or managed like a trained seal. I don't think so, and I think that such projects express a misunderstanding of collective intelligence. Henry Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca/Fan, August 10, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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