OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 1, 2011

LMS for Sale - But Probably Not D2L
Barry Dahl, Desire2Blog, March 1, 2011.

So Barry Dahl is asking the question, "what LMS company is for sale?" Here are the specs: "a private North American based technology firm", "a leading provider of Learning Management System (LMS) technology with prestigious clients", "on average an annual growth rate of 40% and earned just over $5.8 million in 2009", and "Approximately 4 million registered users of its learning management system." Nah, it's got to be a hoax, right? It could be anybody!

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OER, Toothbrushes, and Value
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, March 1, 2011.

David Wiley compares the distribution of OERs to the distribution of toothbrushes. "The analogy highlights the fact that each individual who encounters OER must still choose to engage in actions made possible by this increased capacity." Well maybe. Of course, a comprehensive evaluation program would cost more than the toothbrushes themselves, especially when you have to take into account the many other factors - fluoridation, sugar consumption, genetics - implicated in dental health. You don't have to evaluate everything you do. If the government wants to go evaluate the impact of something, let it focus on the improved economy, health or education it gets for new F35 fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, let OERs be like toothbrushes - we distribute them without a whole lot of fuss and overhead because (a) they're not harmful, (b) they're dirt cheap, and (c) we know that, if people use them, they will be helpful.

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Plans for an Ontario Online Institute move forward
Tony Bates, e-learning and distance education resources, March 1, 2011.

files/images/Ontario.jpg, size: 29387 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Tony Bates reports on the launch of a new Ontario Online Institute and the appointment of Maxim Jean-Louis as its director. Ontario has a solid record of success in online learning (see also: Ontario Learn and Ontario edubloggers). And Jean-Louis is perfectly positioned, coming from years of experience with Contact North. Citing numerous submissions from stakeholders, Bates reports "there already seems to be a high level of consensus among stakeholders on the form and function of the Institute. All argue that a large, new central institution offering its own credentials should be avoided, and that the focus of the Institute should be to add value at a system level to the wide range of services already offered by the individual institutions."

Bates also looks at what Ontario can learn from B.C. success such as BC Campus. Paul Stacey, who has been with BC Campus for years, offers a comprehensive overview of the project. Bates summarizes:
- Setting aside a relatively small amount of money each year to address gaps in the system and to encourage collaboration can have a very big pay-off
- Central funding with conditions enables the development of a wide range of sharable open educational resources.
- Collaboration between institutions enables students to access a wider range of credentials across the whole province
- Collaborative programming has been helped tremendously by a comprehensive system of pre-agreed credit transfers between institutions.

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files/images/drund.jpg, size: 36119 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
Drund Gives Devs & Users All-in-One Tool for Connected Devices
Jolie O'Dell, Mashable, March 1, 2011.

Drund is one of the first of a new wave of application development environments, based on a web operating system, and though that, enabling a single cross-platform devlopment environment for applications. Running on Windows and Mac as well as mobile platforms such as iOS and Android, Drund connects to online services using OAuth and uses online file support (and of course connects to services such as Box and DropBox). More benefits and developers info.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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