OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 31, 2011

Highlights from the Learning Technologies conference
Cathy Moore, Making Change, January 31, 2011.

Cathy Moore summarizes the Learning Tehcnologies conference recently held in London and links to four other bloggers' overviews, plus video, plus some discussion. The best bit is about the conference vendors. "Are vendors clueless?" she asks. "The vendors at the conference appeared to focus on content delivery, while several speakers emphasized providing realistic experiences that build decision-making skills or sharing knowledge with social tools. This apparent disconnect between the 'upstairs' speakers and 'downstairs' vendors inspired some discussion at the conference."

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On broadcasting to radio #ds106
D'Arcy Norman, D'Arcy Norman dot net, January 31, 2011.

"The Radio #ds106 phenomenon has totally changed how I think of social presence in a course experience. There is something magic (and yet not magic) about a bunch of people coming together to play and collaborate in various forms, just for... giggles. It's awesome in so many ways. It's also a little like living in science fiction." That's how I feel about the whole course radio thing too, and I don't even have an iPhone, so I haven't even done the mobile thing. Language warning for one word in the post.

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Why usage based billing will hurt online education (and other interesting things)
D'Arcy Norman, D'Arcy Norman dot net, January 31, 2011.

I think it's a given that usage-based billing will hurt online education. But it's still worth pointing out, because the politicians who approve such thing don't take these ancillary costs into account when they run the numbers. "The real move here," writes D'Arcy, "is for the ISPs trying to kill Netflix to protect their video-on-demand streaming video services." Yup. "What does this mean for education? Most courses now have online components – videos to watch online, videos to publish by students, applications to download. Now, students will have to monitor their monthly bandwidth usage to decide if they can fully participate, or if they'll risk publishing a contribution and take a potential hit on their monthly bill." Our ISPs will have to be told that there are other agencies - like schools and universities, private broadcasters and friends and neighbors - who want to stream audio and video. They have to give up their monopoly on this.

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If We Ditch The LMS, What Else Could We Re-think?
Matt Crosslin, EduGeek Journal, January 31, 2011.

I like the way this author thinks. Not so much because of the link to Rockmelt, a web browser that looks like Chrome and integrates social media. But because of where our thinking can go if we leave the LMS behind, "all of the collaborative desktop sharing tools that exist out there and what would happen to them when desktops give way to cloud computing..."

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Best and Worst Design: 50 University Websites From 50 States
Joshua Johnson, Design Shack, January 30, 2011.

This site is mostly a set of screen shots of really bad university home page web design, but it's still oddly compelling the way a train wreck is oddly compelling. The author writes, " in my experience the major problem is the same that leads to most poor corporate design: Design by Committee. Two heads may be better than one, but ten to twenty heads gets you an ugly website. As aesthetic decisions become subject to bureaucracy, inner-office politics and groupthink, the quality of the finished product decreases exponentially." Via Tony Bates. See alsothis post on why universities have such lousy web sites, and, of course, the XKCD cartoon on university web sites. Me, I don't think it's the committees per se, but more, a hypersensitivity common to most institutions over managing their image online.

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Building Personal Learning Environments by using and mixing ICT tools in a professional way
Linda Castañeda and Javier Soto, Digital Education Review, January 30, 2011.

Good article analyzing student perspectives on PLEs, the process of PLE formation, and the use of PLEs in an educational setting. "At the end we tried to give to our students some mechanisms and tools to develop their own PLE in the future. This is only a step. We think they already have a PLE - in fact everybody connected has one - nevertheless in order to manage it efficiently and to enrich it, it is vital to be aware of it and start to consciously build it." More articles from a special issue of Digital Education Review (English and Spanish) on Personal Learning Environments.

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OERs, capitalism and social totality
Richard Hall, DMU Learning Exchanges, January 30, 2011.

Joss Winn offers one rebuttal to David Wiley's capitalist analysis of OERs and Richard Hall hammers the point home. It's an unwrapping of some of the simple fictions that comprise the capitalist myth, including the idea that we get what we pay for (in fact, we get less than we pay for; the rest is profit) and the idea that that capitalism is the same as market economy. The two articles demonstrate part of the problem of the socialist position, though: I defy anyone to aver that they are easy reads, with clearly elucidated refutations of Wiley's position. Capitalism offers easy fictions, socialism offers difficult analysis, and therein lies the explanation for capitalism's ascendancy.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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