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by Stephen Downes
August 28, 2009


I'm just home this afternoon from my camping trip - photos here (I'll be adding over the next day or two) and a special bonus newsletter to cover 927 emails (after filtering). Stephen Downes, Flickr, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

All Things E-Learning
Michele Morgan writes to announce her new blog. "I'm a novice at blogging," she writes. "My blog is a smorgasbord of tips, advice, reviews, and thoughts on e-learning and everything associated with creating it." Michele Morgan, All Things E-Learning, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

They're coming to take your content away!
Derek Morrison on the oddness now prevailing in the online content and ebook market: "today any mass automobile manufacturer producing a vehicle, no matter how desirable, that could only be fuelled at a specific chain of garages would soon be out of business. But yet here we have just such a scenario with developers and distributors of ebooks and other vehicles attempting to impose such constraints or 'tethering'; in some cases, e.g. Apple iPhone and Apple iPod, with considerable success." But hey, such content is 'free' and 'open', isn't it? Isn't it? Derek Morrison, Auricle, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Change that prevents real change
One nice thing about George Siemens is that he relieves me of the need to write. An excellent case in point is this item. "FWK will succeed for the wrong reasons. It will succeed because it tweaks the existing model of textbooks just enough to disrupt publishers, but not enough to disrupt the industry as a whole. FWK is integrated into the system of education: authors, bookstores, faculty, and students." FWK, in other words, prevents change by introducing the minimum change necessary to adapt to new conditions without disturbing the status quo. Exactly the same sort of thought came to mind as I read this article on Google's deal with publishers to preserve book search - "the agreement designates the Authors Guild as the representative of the author subclass and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) as the representative of the publisher subclass." George Siemens, Connectivism Blog, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Intelligent Integration: Desire2Learn
I've worked quite a bit with both products, as readers know, so this is of interest to me (adjectives elided). "With... Elluminate Bridge, students can launch a synchronous session or interactive recording using Elluminate Live! directly from... Desire2Learn Learning Environment." Related: Elluminate is launching a social learning network called LearnCentral and moderated by Steve Hargadon. You can view my profile on the service at this page (which took me about 15 minutes to find after I created my account - it is not intuitive). Press Release, Elluminate, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Global Knowledge Acquires Nexient Learning
From the press release (ignore the adjectives): "Global Knowledge announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of Nexient Learning Inc., Canada's largest corporate training provider. The combination of Global Knowledge's Canadian operations with those of Nexient establishes Global Knowledge as Canada's leading provider of IT and business skills training as well as leadership business solutions." Nexient sought creditor protection last June and was flagged for sale last July. Global Knowledge is owned by New York-based investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe and based in Cary, North Carolina. Press Release, Nexient, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

A sign of things to come - this site allows schools to outsource 'technology readiness' assessments. From the promotional material: "This is a TECH LITERACY assessment for students in K-12 (BUT... college kids and workforce development folks are using it too!), specifically geared to middle schoolers. (Of course, this is important because of the NCLB requirements that urge school districts to certify that their students are technologically literate by the 8th grade.)" Various Authors, Website, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Kids' Page
If you were the CIA, how would you present yourself to kids? Through this site, now we know. "We're glad you're here to learn more about the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is an independent US government agency that provides national security 'intelligence' to key US leaders so they can make important, informed decisions. CIA employees gather intelligence (or information) in a variety of ways, not just by "spying" like you see in the movies or on TV (though we do some of that, too). On the following pages, you can read more about us, play some games, and help us solve some puzzles." Various Authors, CIA, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Definition and Selection of Key Competencies
This link was sent to me from Diego Leal as a consequence of a conversation we had after the Open Education conference. In a nutshell, it described the OECD's take on what has been an ongoing (and newly revived) interest of mine, a definition of something link critical thinking or 21st century learning (I guess there's a paper or something brewing in the back of my mind on all this). Not sure, OECD, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

McGill prof caught up in ghostwriting scandal
Another black eye for peer reviewed publications. Though the author wasn't paid, it is clear that having content written by a pharmaceutical company for publication under the professor's name has certain financial benefits, as such publications are the currency of an academic career. The author continues to maintain that the article is credible, even though the ghostwritten portion was written by DesignWrite, "a firm which, it turns out, was employed by a pharmaceutical manufacturer." Jason Magder, Montreal Gazette, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The World Is Open
Interview with Curtis J. Bonk, author of the newly released 'The World is Open' (I have a copy on my desk ready for reading). "When I compare my life as a learner in the 20th century to that of today, there are more ways to learn, vastly more people to learn with, and entirely new organizations and institutions from which to learn. This new learning world it is open at all points of the day." Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

What Should Colleges Teach?
I don't exactly agree with Stanley Fish, but I don't exactly disagree with him either. He writes, "As I learned more about the world of composition studies, I came to the conclusion that unless writing courses focus exclusively on writing they are a sham, and I advised administrators to insist that all courses listed as courses in composition teach grammar and rhetoric and nothing else." I agree that composition courses should teach composition. But I don't agree that the core of composition consists entirely of grammar and rhetoric. I would include logic and reason as constituents of such a core (among other things). Moreover, I cannot think of a better way to teach all of these - grammar, rhetoric, logic and reason - than by teaching using examples of such work, and that would require teaching (contra Fish) "everything under the Sun".
Stanley Fish, New York Times, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Feeling Out of Place
David Wiley expresses concern that the open education movement is becoming too radicalized. It is tempting to simply dismiss his extreme rhetoric ("people are rallying around and strapping bombs to their chests"?) but this is just the sort of overblown and misrepresentative reaction that made the words "liberal" and "socialism" taboo in the United States. So I don't take them lightly. Nor do I think we should attempt to institutionalize, to "find a way to begin to speak at the power table," as George Siemens suggests. I believe, and have since I began work on these issues in the early 1980s, that access to education is a fundamental right, and that a system that depends for its entire economic model on denying access to education is fundamentally flawed. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Open Scholar
"The Open Scholar is someone who makes their intellectual projects and processes digitally visible and who invites and encourages ongoing criticism of their work and secondary uses of any or all parts of it--at any stage of its development." I practice as much of my work as I can openly, making me, I guess, an open scholar. There's also an Open Scholar Facebook Group. See also: Scholarly communications must be open. Gideon Burton, Academic Evolution, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

New Tuition-Free 'University of the People' Tries to Democratize Higher Ed
Generally sceptical article from the Chronicle (what else is new?) about the University of the people, which is slated to launch in September with 178 students (out of 2000 applications) and free tuition (though costs could increase in the future, the article states). The author also managed to find a spokes-clone from the Sloan consortium who agrees that most students cannot learn by themselves. Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

AISHE-J (The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education)
Congratulations to AISHE-J (The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) which has just launched volume 1 number 1. "It is an open-access, peer-reviewed, journal of scholarly research into Teaching and Learning in Higher Education." Here's the RSS Feed. The first issue includes an article from Phil Race on assessment as learning and Kate Day on learning environments. Various Authors, Website, August 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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