OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 10, 2011

Some basic assumptions about e-learning challenged
Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, March 10, 2011.

I echo Tony Bates's assertion that the Journal of Distance Education's policy of 'publish when ready' is "admirable". And now that they have RSS feeds I've subscribed to them (they're indexed next to the other edubloggers).

The current post refers to E-Learning: Confusing Terminology, Research Gaps and Inherent Challenges by Sarah Guri-Rosenblit and Begoña Gros. The article "should be required reading for proponents of open educational resources," argues Bates, because "The authors take a strong, empirically-based research approach that challenges for instance the assumption that students will become self-learners merely by providing excellent content." Maybe so, but a careful reader should be able to find the gaps in the argument. Nobody is saying people start learning all by themselves, not even the authors vaguely cited (Candy, 2004; Dede, 2005; Oblinger, 2003; Veen, 2005) as proponents of this view). What students can do without teachers is not properly documented; bare assertions of failure (eg., "Very few, if any, independent students benefitted from the MIT materials.") are unsubstantiated. Etc. So all you self-learners out there, don't just read this paper uncritically; be sure to map the claim rebutted to the evidence placed against it.

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Thought bubbles: object-oriented emergence
Alex Reid, Digital Digs, March 10, 2011.

If you're still struggling with the concept of emergence, this series linked to by Alex Reid is a good place to start. Reid takes it a step further by thinking of emergence as it relates to soap bubbles, thought bubbles and more. "While we [might] look at the soap bubble as a continuous whole, it really isn't. Instead it is a series of local tensions and relations. The whole, as Morton puts it, exists only as a sensual object. We perceive wholes where there are really holes."

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RockMelt, the Facebook-powered Web browser, enters public beta
Lee Matthews, Download Squad, March 10, 2011.

Rockmelt is a very very elegant piece of work, combining into the browser some of the things people have been clamouring for some time now, most specifically not only immediate access to friends to chat with, but also built-in browser-based authentication. The only downside is that the browser keeps you logged in, all the time, to your Facebook account. It's basically mIDm, except it uses the Facebook account to authenticate instead of your own account. Oh, but did I say it's elegant? Try it out and test the search form - now this is the way search should work. So - am I using it? No; I will not go quietly into the walled garden, no matter how sweet the candy. But, you know, millions will. Rockmelt is Chrome based, so if your site works on Chrome, it will work on Rockmelt.

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Making Business Sense of Social Media and Social Networking – Is Blogging Dead?
Luis Suarez, E L S U A, March 10, 2011.

Is blogging dead? Here's Luis Suarez: "No! Blogging is not dead! It wasn't in 2007 and it won't be in 2011, nor in 2015! At least, for yours truly. I still see lots of value on corporate blogging, whether internal or external, and I am happy to see I am not the only one either. Blogging is here to stay, whether some people like it or not. Get used to it. Move on…" And the remainder of this longish blog post is a compendium of resources on blogging, a great starting point about the topic.

Here's my own trio of starter posts on blogging:
- How to be Heard, on starting a blog
- Educational Blogging, on blogs in schools
- Principles for Evaulating Websites, on how to read blogs

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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