OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 20, 2010

The MOOC Model for Digital Practice
Alexander McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 20, 2010.

The first of the major studies to come out of PLENK 2010 is online. "Building and sustaining prosperity through Canada's current digital strengths depends on a digital ecosystem that embraces both infrastructure and the collaborative social networks enabled by that infrastructure. Prosperity in this context requires a citizenry with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to turn these factors towards creating wealth. By exploring the relationship of MOOCs to the digital economy in general and their potential roles to prepare citizens for participation in that digital economy in particular, it illustrates one particularly Canadian model of how these needs may be addressed."

"The MOOC is open and invitational. No one who wishes to participate is excluded; people negotiate the extent and nature of their participation according to their individual needs and wishes, regardless of whether those needs are defined, for example, by personal interest or workplace requirements. From a theoretical perspective, this creates a very broad form of "legitimate peripheral participation" which allows individuals to be drawn into the community of practice at whatever rate is comfortable. From a pragmatic perspective, this framework provides access to large numbers of people who might otherwise be excluded for reasons ranging from time, to geographic location, to formal prerequisites, to financial hardship."

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What's wrong with (M)OOCs?
George Siemens, elearnspace, December 20, 2010.

As George Siemens notes, "Soon to be offered MOOCs include: CCK11 (Stephen Downes/George Siemens, Learning Analytics (George Siemens/Jon Dron/Dave Cormier), Digital Storytelling (Jim Groom), Open Education (Rory McGreal/George Siemens), and Personal Learning Environments (Wendy Drexler/Chris Sessums). There are likely others" (and we'll list them on the newly launched mooc.ca.

In the meantime, we (Alec Couros, Jim Groom, George Siemens, Dave Cormier, and I) are had a discussion Monday afternoon on Elluminate to talk about our successes and failures delivering MOOCs over the last couple of years. Here's a link to the Elluminate recording. Lisa M. Lane adds to the discussion with her post, Got MOOC? following the discussion.

George Siemens writes about "what's wrong with (M)OOCs" and while he identifies some of the common criticisms - high drop out rates and declining participation, the need for technical skills, learners expressing their frustration at feeling disconnected and lost - I think that the main problem with them is that they are in fact courses, isolated islets in a sea of disconnected meaning. The people who are disconnected, unskilled and drop out are people who have spent their entire lives being given content on a platter to memorized, and we don't do it that way. I think our approach is the right approach, but that it will take time to establish as something like the norm.

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11 Ed Tech Ideas for 2011
Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed, December 20, 2010.

I'm not sure I would call this list a set of 'ideas' per se, but it does get at some of the coming tension between the more traditional non-profit domain of education and the increasing corporatization of the sector. As typified by this: "The language of the edupunk movement will be co-opted by some for-profit ed tech vendor or for-profit education provider, causing the true edupunks to re-engage in their critique of the educational industrial complex." I don't think we have ever stopped that critique, but well, you know, attention to what we're saying wanes.

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LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education
Various Authors, YouTube, December 20, 2010.

It's hard to imagine anything like this being seen in the days before the internet, as a group of gay and lesbian college presidents appear in a video to tell young people that "it gets better." This is not a trivial or incidental message to give to young people. Being young, especially if you're different, can be really hard. I know. Knowing that it can get better, that it does get better, is a lifesaving message.

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Top 10 Edu News events of 2010
Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 20, 2010.

It's hard to beat this top ten Edu News events of 2010 list from Dave Cormier:
- free is dead
- Wikileaks
- pads
- Angry Birds bringing the Tetris
- switching to Google
- Old Spice
- Pearson to get accreditation
- the end of research
- A real, honest to goodness, open textbook model
- Netflix. Yes, Netflix
Here's the Ed Tech Talk audio version of the top ten list.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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