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by Stephen Downes
April 19, 2010

Open Course in Education Futures
The open course on the future of education offered by George Siemens and Dave Cormier has launched. Read the Introduction here. I intend to follow this course closely and will be offering numerous links and resources from the course over the next few weeks. Of course, you can't do better than to participate in the course yourself. Follow Dave Cormier's blog here and George Siemens's here. There's also a link to learn more about open decentralized courses.
Dave Cormier and George Siemens, Education Futures, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Technologies and Open Learning, ten years after the coup of MIT
Good survey article (in French; Google translation) summarizing discussions at the ADL summit. "For more information on contributions and benefits of the conference, consult the summary prepared by Dan Rehak (.pptx for presentation at #cetisrow ), the notes of discussions, blog entries and position papers prepared for the conference, and presentations prepared by members of different groups of experts invited to comment on a matter either of the conference. These presentations are linked from the agenda of the conference." Well, OK, the Google translation is marginal - but at least we can see what the post is talking about. Robert Gregoire, Blogue du GTA, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

To See How OpenID Can Work Well, Look at Stack Overflow
OpenID is still very much a work in progress. To be honest, I haven't made the leap to start using myself, mostly because I don't trust any of the OpenID providers (no, not even Google). And I really want to see it merged with OAuth. In the end, I want to provide my own ID, but we've been drifting toward branded IDs, which has its good points and bad points. This post links to Jeff Atwood's overview of OpenID on Stack Overflow. And while OpenID isn't perfect, as Atwood says, "I would rather be part of the solution than yet another brick in the wall of the problem… even if it involves a tiny bit of short-term friction." Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

STM challenges JISC over validity of latest open access advocacy
The British publishing industry is fighting back against JISC open access initiatives. They write, for example, that "The report in question, based on controversial work commissioned by JISC from Australian economist John Houghton, compelled STM, the PA and ALPSP jointly to write this letter to JISC Executive Secretary Dr Malcolm Read restating our concerns about Houghton's work and its derivatives." The publishers' letter argues that concerns about access are over-stated, and that downloading published articles is actually very inexpensive. Needless to say, the JISC list lit up in response. As Charles Oppenheim says, "We have repeatedly asked publishers who criticise the report to come up with their own models or data. They have failed to do so. If they want to criticise a scholarly report, the way to do so is to publish their own results." Michael Mabe, STM, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Keep tabs on Parliament
Congratulations to the Canadian government (yes, you Mr. Harper) for allowing And even more to the point, congratulations to Michael Mulley for making it happen. And from David Eaves, "'Parliament IT staff agreed to start sharing the Hansard, MP's bios, committee calendars and a range of other information via XML by the end of the year.' This is great news. Having this data in XML, an open interchange format, means it'll be far easier for this and other sites to use Parliamentary data, and will really lower the barrier to creating new and innovative ways of sharing information on our democratic system." It goes without saying what a valuable resource this would be for schools, especially with the XML data feeds. Michael Mulley,, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Legalize File Sharing
Eddie Schwartz, president of the Songwriters' Association of Canada, wants to legalize file sharing. To pay for the music, he recommends a voluntary surcharge to internet access provider rates. It's easy to find flaws in his proposal - most importantly, the raft of other types of content providers who would want their own fees - but if we exchanged these fees for what we currently pay for music, news, books and all other content, both producers and consumers may well end up well ahead. That said, I don't really disagree with the proposal, if it can be set up fairly. We pay a levy on some blank media now in Canada, and it has bought us our current freedom to record and download whatever we like. And the whole "no gatekeepers" think would be a boon to new artists and writers (or even old but unpopular ones, like me). Eddie Schwartz, The Mark, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

An Open Mind
I find it fascinating that the NY Times depicts open education almost exclusively in terms of the contributions of Ivy League universities. There's no denying some of the American universities - like MIT - have been major players. But most - like Harvard and Yale - have been laggards, and none of them offers genuine open learning, just access to the materials. The edupunk phenomenon is much wider than some Harvard grad who has offered two open courses online (I had done that in 1996, and many others before me) and the open online education movement is genuinely international in scope. I'm not sure whether the NY Times account is a deliberate misrepresentation of online open learning, or just the usual inward-looking navel-gazing myopia, but one would think they should do better. Via Bill St. Arnaud, who excerpts at length (useful for when the times disappears behind a paywall). Katie Hafner, NY Times, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Metadata for a collection of Networked Learning Resources
"The 'industrialist' learning objects approach has run out of steam." This was the most telling quote from Norm Friesen's presentation posted here on Docstoc (like Slideshare, but with much bigger slides, but more usability problems). Friesen contrasts IEEE-LOM with Dublin Core and notes, first of all, that the educational metadata in LOM is almost never used, and second, Dublin Core's support for RDF allows greater protability and the creation of a 'Metadata for Learning Resources' (MLR). I've been following the latter discussion on the Standards Council of Canada / ISO website (which is frustratingly hosted on the most unusable content management system in the world) and will post updates as they come available (or findable). Norm Friesen, Docstoc, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Volcano 1, Internet 0.01
The internet failed the volcano crisis, reports Weinberger, but my own experience was much better. It's true, Weinberger couldn't rebook online. Not that rebooking would have helped anyways. In my case, because I was tracking my flight online, I knew before everyone else that it had been cancelled, and so was first in line at the airport to book a flight back home. Once home, I've kept up with the crisis online, and have worked with the conference organizers to provide an online alternative to my in-person keynote scheduled to take place in Finland. So, yeah, pretty much anything works better than airline online booking. What else is new? But as for the rest of it, the internet is performing magnificently. David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, April 19, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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