OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

September 17, 2010

Not the Institutional Web Server
My resources are also on my personal website, not the institutional web server. There are some very good reasons for this. Stephen Downes, September 17, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

World University Rankings: A reality based on a fraud
Tony Bates, Weblog, September 17, 2010.

Tony Bates has had a look at the world university rankings and he is not happy. "I am still seething with outrage at the methodology used by the THES World University Rankings," he writes. "These university rankings are the equivalent of a Ponzi scheme." How so? The rankings are based on a survey of 'leading scholars'. What makes them 'leading scholars'? "How many of these scholars were chosen from the institutions ultimately ranked in the top 10-30, or in last year's top 10-30?" asks Bates. It's a good question. See also How much does teaching count in university ratings?

This excellent chart from Aledander Russo's This Week in Education demonstrates what a shell game institutional rankings have become.
files/images/ratings.png, size: 304728 bytes, type:  image/png

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

With Open Source Lectures, Who Needs So Many Lecturers?
Charlie Lowe, Kairosnews, September 17, 2010.

Charlie Lowe asks the question that has to be asked. "At the same time, for those professors who just deliver lecturers in their F2F classes without any real interactive component, I wonder? Why couldn't an institution syndicate lectures from another institution, and hire some TAs to run small discussion/Q&A sessions and do the grading? There are still a lot of talking heads out there giving lectures in higher education. Beware, such teachers, you might be making yourself irrelevant if that's the only value you bring to a course, other than being a grader. Some lecturers must necessarily be better than others."

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Approaches To Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted In The Cloud
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, September 17, 2010.

files/images/ukoln.jpg, size: 14133 bytes, type:  image/jpeg The list of blogs at the top of this post is the appetizer. The main course is the link to this paper by Marieke Guy discussing UKOLN's policies regarding preserving professional blogs hosted by third-party (or 'cloud') services. It's a good paper, though I think it's interesting that it approaches the issue very much from the institutional point of view, rather than the blog author's point of view. That said, the list of best practices (part 7, at the end of the paper) is well worth reading. And there's a set of slides, also by Marieke Guy.
Approaches to Archiving Professional Blogs Hosted in the Cloud
View more presentations from Marieke Guy.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Millions at Stake in Education Copyright Battle
Michael Geist, Weblog, September 17, 2010.

files/images/img_geist.gif, size: 8104 bytes, type:  image/gif Michael Geist covers the campaign by Access Copyright to charge higher education students $45 per student for copyright clearance - up from $3.38. "The proposal has fuelled enormous concern within the education community," he writes, "both for its approach on core copyright issues and for the demands to increase fees at a time when many believe they should be going down rather than up." He points out that there is an "increasing shift away from the copyright collective licence for both ordinary copying and course-packs," and specifically:
- many students are still required to purchase both paper and electronic texts in their classes
- libraries have cut their acquisitions budget and begin migrating toward electronic databases
- open access publishing now represents about 20 percent of the world's peer-reviewed journals, and preprint services such as arXiv.org provides open access to hundreds of thousands of articles
- fair dealing ensures that there is no compensation required for "research, private study, news reporting, criticism, and review"

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Narrative Engines and Personal Identity
Keith Lyons, Clyde Street, September 17, 2010.

files/images/4037088957_31c11545c8_m.jpg, size: 31544 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Via Keith Lyons I learn of The Scholarly Kitchen, another of these fantastic resources I feel like the last person in the world to discover. In this particular case, in addition to the post Lyons cites, on the idea of self as the center of technology, I find post after post worth passing along:

- Privatizing Peer Review - The PubCred Proposal, which proposes that reviewers earn 'creds' they must accumulated in order to publish a paper, and its companion piece, When Solutions Take On a Life of Their Own/. Of course, if you really wanted to "privatize" peer reviews, publishers would pay peer reviewers real money - but that's not likely to ever happen.

- Starting From the Mobile Web - An Argument for Rethinking Deployments to Reach People - links to and embeds a great presentation arguing that web design should begin for mobile applications, and work out, something that was directly relevant to me as I redesigned this newsletter.

- Why the Open Access Financial Model Will Continue to Transmogrify, which looks at the economics of open access publishing and makes the telling point that though digital publishing may appear to be cheap or even free, publication is only the beginning of costs - such as bandwidth and electricity - that never end. This is just the sort of thing MIT is considering as it looks to make money from distance learning (and not, we are told (at least for now) its Open Courseware library).

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Diaspora Unveils its Open Social Code
Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, September 17, 2010.

files/images/diaspora.jpg, size: 12816 bytes, type:  image/jpeg So the long awaited alternative to Facebook has released its source code and the verdict seems to be: more work needed. The project announcement is here and you can get the code directly here. And the developers themselves admit there's more work needed. "We know there are security holes and bugs, and your data is not yet fully exportable." Other reviewers were much less kind. Dan Goodin, in the Register, writes, "hackers began identifying flaws they said could seriously compromise the security of those who used it. Among other things, the mistakes make it possible to hijack accounts, friend users without their permission, and delete their photos." More from Download Squad.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

NDPR John Christman, The Politics of Persons: Individual Autonomy and Socio-historical Selves
Michael Schefczyk, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, September 17, 2010.

I rank 'autonomy' as one of the four essential principles for successful networks (the others are diversity, openness, and interaction). But what is this 'autonomy' of which I speak? And is it compatible with communitarian values, or the imperatives that result from membership in certain social or cultural groups? I would not claim that this book offers the answers, but as this review of John Christman's The Politics of Persons: Individual Autonomy and Socio-historical Selves shows, it provides good insight into the sorts of questions that can be asked. Of particular relevance, I would say, are limitations on autonomy improved by one's nature - whether one is bound by gravity, whether one is limited by certain possible neural states, whether one is constrained by gender - and whether these natural constraints also have a social and cultural dimension, and to what degree that dimension is authoritative.

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Effective Assessment in a Digital Age
Various Authors, JISC, September 17, 2010.

files/images/digiassess.ashx.gif, size: 29719 bytes, type:  image/gif What does effective assessment look like in the digital age? This post links to a guide to technology-enhanced assessment and feedback (PDF, 64 pages) as well as a podcast. There's a lot of good stuff here, including for example an articulation of four major perspectives on assessment: associative, constructivist, social constructivist, and situative (see the diagram below). This is an excellent report, full of examples, case studies, and practical guides. More case studies are available here, including for example assessing my own professional performance. The podcast is the latest in the series of JISC podcasts.
files/images/assessment.jpg, size: 139161 bytes, type:  image/jpeg

[Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.