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by Stephen Downes
September 1, 2009

Toronto Copyright Townhall: Canadian Record Industry Mobilizes In Panic, Everyone Loses Out
Good coverage of a very unbalanced Toronto forum on copyright reform in Canada. "It wasn't argument. It was the language of moral panics. The Canadian record industry was demanding to be lied to, to be told that more restrictive copyright laws will save their business. Though fewer and fewer people can convincingly tell the lie, they seemed perfectly capable of convincing each other that restrictive copyright legislation might somehow stop the market from changing (even with a decade of hindsight on the DMCA). It's tragic, because hard working people who love music and love working for artists are losing their jobs, but the industry continues to block the sort of innovations that could provide it with a way forward. A lawyer described the music industry as a "copyright industry," even though most artists and companies who are figuring out how to make money in the digital economy are successful despite copyright -- not because of it.
Blaise Alleyne, TechDirt, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Back to School: Peer 2 Peer University and the Future of Education (an interview)
The publicity mill for Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU) continues apace, with this (sponsored?) spot in the Creative Commons Blog. Check this out for a softball question: "P2PU has been getting a ton of attention lately. Courses are set to start on the 9th! What are you hoping to gain from these first six weeks? What are you most excited about?"
Jane Park, Creative Commons, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

From the ashes of education comes cyber-learning
You know, in the wake of the fiasco that is coverage of the health care debate in the United States (and even here in Canada), I am left wondering how accurate - if at all accurate - coverage of educational issues is from the same sources. In this light, I'll simply cite this item:

"In the wake of declining enrollment, possible bankruptcy, and the worst drop out rates in the nation, Detroit Public Schools, along with rest of the nation's public school systems, educators and lawmakers are in for a rude awakening: the factory school model of education has died. What has arisen from the ashes is Westwood Cyber High School of Westwood Community Schools of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. The visionary pioneer of this cyber-learning inititative is Executive Director, Glen Taylor, who has proudly partnered with Inclusion Trust out of the United Kindgdom. The U.K. 'Not School' program, a 100% virtual learning experience, has been operational for about 9 years with a 97% completion rate."

Also, related, from South Africa, is this: "The governance of a public school is entrusted to a democratically elected governing body which stands in a position of trust to the school... Beverly Tran, Examiner, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Nothing More Important in my Life Than Blogging
My experience is pretty much the same. "What matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you are going to say. How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something." And nothing beats the sheer discipline of writing posts like this over a period of ten years or more. Tony Karrer , eLearning Technology, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

A new chapter
Skype is being spun off eBay to become an independent company once again. I see this as good news. "The new investors will buy approximately 65% of Skype, with eBay continuing to own 35%, in a deal valuing Skype at $2.75 billion US" Josh Silverman, Skype, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The 10 Bona Fide Best Sites for Sharpening Your Critical Thinking Skills
More resources related to critical thinking. Related: Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills. J.T. Cobb, Mission To Learn, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Come, now...
David Wiley responds to my comment on instructional design. "There are many parenthetical caveats in this statement, but it is still wrong." I state my position more clearly in the comments. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Updating Web Sites with Google Spreadsheets
This is pretty cool. It would be nice to be able to do this without storing our data on Google, though. Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, September 1, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Apprenticeship New Brunswick: A Proposed Governance Structure
I am generally supportive of the recommendations on apprenticeship made to the New Brunswick government, with one major reservation. The report authors, who focused (without a real defense) on the Saskatchewan system, write, "Over and over again, both present and past employees of the Saskatchewan Commission emphasized that it is 'critical' that government appoint only those persons selected by industry in order to maintain the support and confidence of industry in their apprenticeship program." I disagree with this. There must be at least some representatives on the Board to protect the interests of the students, and to represent the wider needs of government and society. The release invites comments to the government. RJ Consulting, Government of New Brunswick, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Crisis and Hope
Oh I know, many of you don't want to read Chomsky. I'm linking to him anyway, even if the link appears off-topic (it isn't), because he is fundamentally correct. "That means tearing down an enormous edifice of delusions about markets, free trade, and democracy that has been assiduously constructed over many years and to overcome the marginalization and atomization of the public so that they can become 'participants,' not mere 'spectators of action,' as progressive democratic theoreticians have prescribed. Of all of the crises that afflict us, the growing democratic deficit may be the most severe." Noam Chomsky, Boston Review, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

European wiki on virtual campuses - globally
From the Re.ViCa website: "Re.ViCa has been making an inventory and carrying out a systematic review of cross-institutional Virtual Campus initiatives of the past decade within higher education at European, national and regional levels." Here is the virtual campus wiki itself. If you're wondering what counts as a 'virtual campus', here is a definition "as a limited and demarcated concept, which is expressed by drawing its boundary." Tony Bates, who links to the resource, is also an advisory committee member. Tony Bates, Weblog, August 31, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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