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by Stephen Downes
August 5, 2010 4:28 p.m.

A sustainable future for open textbooks? The Flat World Knowledge story
John Hilton III and David Wiley describe the model of Flat World Knowledge so far. "Many college students and their families are concerned about the high costs of textbooks. E–books have been proposed as one potential solution; open source textbooks have also been explored. A company called Flat World Knowledge produces and gives away open source textbooks in a way they believe to be financially sustainable. This article reports an initial study of the financial sustainability of the Flat World Knowledge open source textbook model." John Hilton III and David Wiley, First Monday, August 5, 2010 4:23 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

The current EDUCAUSE Review is a blockbuster. I'll just publish the chapter headings:

The Open Future: Openness as Catalyst for an Educational Reformation, David Wiley. "As institutions and as individuals, we seem to have forgotten the core values of education: sharing, giving, and generosity."

The Open Student: Questioning the Future of the Open Student, Vicki Davis. "Open content is not yet changing students' lives because there are questions that should be answered first."

The Open Course: Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning, and Engagement, Dave Cormier and George Siemens. "Online open courses can leverage communications technologies and open the door to learners to fully engage with the academic process."

The Open Faculty: To Share or Not to Share: Is That the Question?, Maria H. Andersen. "Open digital faculty do more than just share and participate in open resources; they transfer their approaches to the teaching space."

The Open Ed Tech: Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle, Brian Lamb and Jim Groom. "Has the wave of the open web crested? What does "open educational technology" look like, and does it stand for anything?"

The Open World: Access to Knowledge as a Foundation for an Open World, Carolina Rossini. "The right to be a creator, the right to govern and develop one's own knowledge, and the right to share with others are fundamental freedoms for the Internet age."

Also, Openness: A Core Value for Making Higher Education Great, Diana G. Oblinger. Various Authors, EDUCAUSE Review, August 5, 2010 4:20 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Language and thought
Does language influence thought, and does the way we speak influence the way we think? Well, yes, obviously. But that's because the way we do anything influences the way we think. Anything else that we did as much as we read, listen and speak would influence us as much. Photography, for example - being a habitual photographer has changed the way I look and landscapes and street scenes. I literally see them, and think about them, differently. The real question is, "Can we think of an object, or a concept if we don't know the words to use for such?" i don't know, maybe if you hum the tune I'll pick it up. There is, in my view, nothing special about language in thought except for volume. You can think in images, you can think in musical arrangements, you can think in vague formless flow charts. Henrick Oprea, Doing some thinking, August 5, 2010 4:08 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Google Wave Is Dead: Now What?
Google Wave has been discontinued after a year of being ignored. From my own perspective, while I thought the idea had potential, it seemed to me that it imported all the usability problems of Google Groups, which (especially after using flawless Yahoo Groups) I really dislike. I never understood why we would want to put all our discussion into one single (Google-hosted) thread. But maybe Ray Schroeder sums it up best: "Wave is a complex tool. Those who took the necessary time to learn the tool, found it to be especially robust and useful for many situations. Those who could only invest ten minutes in learning Wave were frustrated and confused." Karim R. Lakhani, at Harvard Business, meanwhile, thought Google's decision to shut down Wave showed "strong innovation management" following the market's indifference to the tool. Discover Magazeine offers four reasons why people didn't like Wave. Ian Paul, PC World, August 5, 2010 3:55 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Common Sense: Journal of the Edinburgh Conference of Socialist Economists
Intended to be "a journal of a wholly new type," this journal ran from 1987 to 1999, beginning as "bundle of different articles can then be stapled together and put between simple folded covers" with a circulation of a half dozen or so. The idea was to take advantage of technology, dispense with the gatekeeping functions, and publish what they wanted. Twelve years later, the editors, burnt out, called a halt to the now much more mainstream journal. Digitized and posted by Joss Winn, the journal is now reaching its objective of being read by the world. It's not necessarily the content that I celebrate here - like any other journal, there will be good stuff and bad - it's the spirit of the publishers. This is the kind of thing (complete with hand-stapled editions) I would have done had there not been an internet. Joss Winn, Website, August 5, 2010 3:42 p.m. [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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