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by Stephen Downes
January 26, 2010

Distance Learning / Distance Education
I've been waiting for Steve Wheeler to finish his series on the history and impact of distance education, but that might not actually every happen. So I'll link here to David Hopkins's really excellent summary of the first eleven parts (yes, eleven). As a bonus, there's a link to his presentation on PLEs. David Hopkins, eLearning Blog // Don't Waste Your Time, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Classics – iPhone App of the Week
For goodness sake, if you want to read classics on your Apple, use Gutenberg and read all of them. Don't spend money for an 'app' that will give you access to only 23 of them! And if you write an e-learning blog, don't recommend such an app. James Clay, e-Learning Stuff, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Facebook Adds Pickpocketing Feature to its iPhone app
I'm not sure about this, but there's a lot of buzz about Facebook grabbing contact lists. "Syncing grants Facebook full access to your address book. If you already sync your Gmail contacts with your iPhone address book, that means you will also be handing over the email addresses and names of everyone you have ever emailed." It bought Friendfeed last fall in what appears to be a data-grab. Gerrit Visser, SmartMobs, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Scented Webinars
You wouldn't think scented webinars are possible but this post describes how they'd work. Well, yes, you have to get the scents by mail (or from your local pharmacy). Well worth the effort, though. "Implications for learning? Gosh, a ton. Quality control at food companies and coffee companies, detecting dangerous smells (chemicals, etc.), and well, some downright gross medical stuff." Janet Clarey, Workplace Learning Today, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

A process for growing a new venture
Tom Haskins goes well beyond his usual 4-paragraph tidbit in an interesting look at business development. It "follows a logical progression from a new idea to a venture operating one year out," looking at the things you need to do at each stage, and warning of the pitfalls by the side of the road. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Case Study plus Land Mines: How not to make a simulation

There are different ways to set up a simulation. One of the most intuitive - creating a 'right path' with a series of 'wrong answer' alternatives is, argues Clark Aldrich, the wrong way. "Students who go through these 'simulation-like' experiences are just as depressed and overwhelmed, and they forget content just as quickly, as if they had simply gone through the original, traditional linear written text." The appeal of a simulation is that it can create a more complex, less defined experience, more like real life. One way to obtain this is to create a matrix as seen above. Yes, there is a 'best' result (so it's still a bit of fiction) but there are numerous responses that are better than the worst. Clark Aldrich, On Simulations and Serious Games, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Net Work Learning article
Harold Jarche's full 'Net Work Learning' article is available online. "The traditional command and control organizational pyramid is getting much more porous. Workers are dropping out of the bottom of industrial organizations, either literally or figuratively, and are doing it on their own. 'It' meaning working, learning, creating and collaborating. The Internet has enabled a do-it-yourself revolution with far-reaching implications." Harold Jarche, Weblog, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday's Web Site
Newsday's paid content rollout: 35 subscribers. Yes, that's right. 35 subscribers. "In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site,, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?" John Koblin, New York Observer, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Most Important Question
So last night I posted a short item called 'The Most Important Question," in response to a query asking me what questions need to be researched in education and learning technology. I responded, "There's only one: under what conditions can a learner manage his or her own learning?" Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Surgeons practice on virtual brain
Remember that old saw about not wanting your brain surgeon to have used e-learning? This neurosurgery simulator, developed by NRC researchers, might become part of the required regimen for aspiring neurosurgeons. You might end up saying in the future that you would not want a doctor performing brain surgery on you unless they had used e-learning. Unattributed, National Research Council Canada, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Public Domain Manifesto
"What is in the Public Domain must remain in the Public Domain." This is one of the principles in a new manifesto on the public domain by Communia, a European network that addresses public domain issues. "Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception," the authors assert. I have long agreed with this assessment (and its corollary, that locks on content ought to be the exception, and not the rule). Various Authors, Communia, January 26, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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