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by Stephen Downes
May 17, 2010

The Edge of Authority
I have posgted some responses to questions about edupunk and authority to my Half an Hour blog. "At each stage of history, a little bit more ownership of knowledge was detached from the centralizing authority, and into the hands of the people, appearing first as the monarchy, then as the mercantile, then as the scientific, and finally as the corporate. Today, we are entering a new, fifth period of detachment, creating a new, as yet undetermined, duality against the existing central order." Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Connectivism and Transculturality
I've posted the transcript of my Connectivism and Transculturality talk delivered to Telefónica Foundation to my Half an Hour blog. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Connectivism and Transculturality
I've posted the transcript of my Connectivism and Transculturality talk delivered to Telefónica Foundation to my Half an Hour blog. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Will elite universities offer online undergraduate degrees?
I'm not sure whether Tony Bates is familiar with the Chronicle's fossilized attitude regarding e-learning, much-discussed in these pages, but it's pretty funny to read him reacting to it. "When I finished reading this article," he writes, "I wasn't sure I was living in the same world as the academics and administrators at the University of California. I think they should get out more (or maybe I should). Or maybe it's just a bad article." Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The link between e-learning and economic development
I read this item with interest, as Tony Bates describes e-learning and New Brunswick. Bates is making recommendations specifically to the University of New Brunswick, but his suggestions are more widely applicable. He recommends "Greater incorporation of ICT and other 21st century skills (e.g. independent learning, problem solving) in a wider range of programs and subject disciplines," to which I heartily agree. He also recommends "A gradual move from almost entirely face-to-face courses in first year programs to hybrid or fully distance programs in the fourth year undergraduate and graduate programs." And "Look to partnership and consortia to leverage the development of online programs on an international basis." Also good advice. Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Best of the Mobile Higher Ed Web
Really nice look at how higher ed websites are presenting themselves on mobile platforms. I really like this lucid bit of advice: "Sites are better than apps. A well designed mobile web site will serve you better and be easier to maintain than trying to keep up with several different mobile applications (even if the apps themselves are really cool)." Michael Fienen, .eduGuru, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Bloom's Taxonomy
Nice representation of Bloom's Taxonomy, an old standby in educational theory:

"Over the years, people have tried to explain learning theory in a number of ways but we keep returning to the original or slightly modified theories based upon Bloom's work," says Doug Peterson.

This makes sense to me. I recall recently, after saying that the expert 'recognizes' students achievement, being asked what I look for when I recognize someone. I started to answer and the questioner says, "well, you're just repeating Bloom's, aren't you?" And of course I was. Because pretty much as soon as you try to articulate how you recognize something, you are reduced to words and (especially) verbs, which is what Bloom's boils down to. That's why it never fails, when people are asked to describe learning. It's a taxonomy of verbs. What else would you use?

But it seems to me that the structure of Bloom's fools us into believing that the structure of language in some way reflects the structure of learning. That some types of actions have this type of learning result, and other types of action have that type of learning result. But this doesn't seem right to me. So am I going to come up with some other metric to describe learning? No - that's the trap - using a metric to describe learning. Doug Peterson, doug – off the record, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Plato's Allegory of the Cave in Second Life
Aww - we built a Plato's Cave in a MUD in 1993, so it's a blast to see one now in Second Life. "Students who learn the Cave allegory can, of course, imagine how experiences in the world are like living in ignorance, usually by projecting themselves into the lives of the prisoners that Plato paints in The Republic. For example, students who read the Cave allegory might think that until they thought about their religious faith in college courses, they were comparatively uninformed or not yet really enlightened about how rich and robust that faith could be, much like Plato's characters until they climb out of the cave and see the light." Jack Green Musselman and Jason Rosenblum, Academic Commons, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Chair of the new i-Canada Alliance, William Hutchison, calls for your Declaration of Support for global leadership through ultrafast communications
A CATA initiative is calling for government support for ultrafast communications in Canada. CATA has launched a campaign calling for support. I can certainly get behind the most of the i-Canada declaartion, which is a call for greater bandwidth, though I don't agree with the way they've piggybacked the Recommendations for Innovation Nation on top of it (which I think was underhanded). I want to be able to support fast internet without also supporting CATA's "lower taxes and more funding for corporations" approach. Press Release, CATA, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces Public Review and Conformance Certification Alliance for Learning Information Services Standards
More stuff from IMS being announced before the actual meetings (where it is 8:26 a.m. as I write). This is "the beginning of public review of the Learning Information Services (LIS) standards that provide open web services for provisioning of cohorts and grade book exchange between student systems and educational applications and learning management systems." I am a bit less sanguine about this one, because it has the potential to be as robust and as privacy-preserving as Facebook Connect. Press Release, IMS, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

More on the (post-Facebook) distributed open social network front: Diaspora. "Diaspora aims to be a distributed network, where totally separate computers connect to each other directly, will let us connect without surrendering our privacy. We call these computers ‘seeds'. A seed is owned by you, hosted by you, or on a rented server. Once it has been set up, the seed will aggregate all of your information: your facebook profile, tweets, anything. We are designing an easily extendable plugin framework for Diaspora, so that whenever newfangled content gets invented, it will be automagically integrated into every seed." You want to see a pretty clear statement of need? At Kickstarter, "4772 Backers" (including me) "$174,323 pledged of $10,000 goal." Awesome. Various Authors, Website, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces Public Final Status of Basic Learning Tools Interoperability Standard
IMS has announced the public final status of its basic Learning Tools Interoperability standard. It does this just before quarterly meetings, which start this morning, take place in Long Beach (which makes me wonder, wouldn't the members at the meeting vote on them or something? or maybe the press release anticipated a vote?). Anyhow, the announcement has been released - it's only in PDF and doesn't yet appear on the website (I checked). LTI is a good idea - "It provides a common application launch and single-sign-on framework to supplement or replace vendor-specific APIs." And it was supported through this development cycle with actual code, not just specifications, which also makes it a much more solid standard. Press Release, IMS, May 17, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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