OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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May 27, 2011

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Making The Most Of Informal Learning
Charles Jennings, David Jennings and Jane Hart, ALT, May 27, 2011.

The sound isn't the best, but it's acceptable, especially after we get past the intros from the moderators. This presentation is from Charles Jennings, David Jennings and Jane Hart on the increasing importance of informal learning, and the challenge it poses to traditional learning. Slides from the presentation are also available (here, here and here). I like the one about the chickens coming home to roost. "Do you have to have a grounding in metacognition and learning to learn skills to create your own learning? Sugata Mitra's initiatives suggest that, at least under certain conditions, you don't. Khan Academy automates the old lecture model, not interactive, low grade production values. It's like a bumble bee that the laws of aerodynamics say shouldn't be able to fly? But it does. [Do OERs offer] incremental improvements within institutions or disruptive innovation that threatens the institution?" More webinars are available online from ALT.

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Why The Situation Is Likely to Get Worse for Access Copyright (But Not Necessarily for Authors)
Michael Geist, Weblog, May 27, 2011.

Michael Geist has just completed a three-part series on Access Copyright (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, or the whole thing in one PDF). In charge of collecting royalties for authors due as a result of institutional copying, Access Copyright is becoming increasingly irrelevant and increasingly inefficient. As documented in Part Two, "Access Copyright was left with approximately $7.8 million to distribute last year, less than the $8.7 million it spent on administrative expenses." It collected $33.7 million. He offers the following suggestions:
- reduce the cost of administrative overhead
- cut back on the size of the non-profit's board, and stop paying members so much
- instead of rejecting pay-per-use licensing, shift toward it
- become more transparent
I don't know. Will we even need Access Copyright in the future? As Geist writes, "Access Copyright's problems are not necessarily an author problem. Authors will still be paid to create OERs (that is what the $2 billion is for in the U.S.) and receive growing licensing revenues from electronic access subscriptions on campuses... Moreover, the U.S. experience demonstrates there are significant licensing opportunities in the corporate market."

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ds106 at Faculty Academy
Jim Groom and Martha Burtis, bavatuesdays, May 27, 2011.

Presentation from Jim Groom and Martha Burtis to the Faculty Academy about ds106. ds106 was a type of MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), but with a difference, being first of all more rooted in a traditional university class than many other MOOCs, combining 75 people from three sections of a class, and 250 people from the wider internet (including me). Definitely worth a listen as the speakers relate not only some impressive statistics, but also a total change in the dynamics of learning (Groom describes is as "the single greatest professional experience I've ever had). And I like the predictions of the future - "What's next is what we imagine." Also, having professors doing the same assignments as the students through the class added an interesting twist - and empathy with the students.

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Freedom of Connection, Freedom of Expression: UNESCO launches new publication
William H. Dutton, Anna Dopatka, Michael Hills, Ginette Law and Victoria Nash, UNESCO, May 27, 2011.

files/images/freedom_connection_cover.jpg, size: 14888 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This new publication from UNESCO "explores the complex situation of freedom of expression on the Internet and provides a new perspective on the social and political dynamics behind the threats to expression." The book in intended to guide policymakers by developing a new framework of measures that support free expression in a digital environment. Here's the direct link to the PDF, which is a bit obscure on the announcement page. Note that though it is only 105 pages long, it took quite a while to download. It's worth the wait. Well-researched and thorough, the document is an excellent introduction to the subject and would make a welcome addition to any internet and law reading list.

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How to Shame Teenage Girls into Proper Prudeness
Choire Sicha, The Awl, May 27, 2011.

Choire Sicha comments, "Prison Island's new PSAs against teen sexting relies entirely on convincing teen girls that they'll be ashamed for sending someone 'intimate' pictures of themselves. Because of course society's totally innate values of guys being cads and girls being gossips are A-okay and just the way things are." This video makes the very good point about how one-sided are the admonishments about sharing private information on Facebook. Why is the girl who shared the content the only one being shamed and rebuked? Why isn't the message directed toward the boy who sends it to everybody in the class, or the classmates who view it and snicker? The first action may have been careless, but the latter actions are betrayals of trust, which to me are much more serious breaches of ethics.

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Plans for ICO website on changes to cookies rules
Unattributed, Information Commissioner's Office, May 27, 2011.

OK, here's how not to comply with the new EU regulations requiring permission be given before cookies are set. If you look at the screen shot (click on the image for large view) you can see the permission dialogue at the top. I did not give permission. Clicking 'continue' does nothing; it just keeps asking and asking until (I presume) you give in. But there's more. Also on the screenshot is the dialogue from my web browser, showing clearly a cookie from the website already set. The website, you ask? The UK's Information Commissioner's Office. The page describes measures they've taken to comply with the law. Heh. MIT's Technology Review suggests that the law has made the whole web illegal in Europe, which is ridiculous. As I described yesterday, you don't have to use cookies, you can provide a decent experience, even an interactive one, without cookies, and you can enable opt-in without being a pain about it. Via Metafilter.

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Karyn Romeis, Karyn's erratic learning journey, May 27, 2011.

I should never have made it to university. In grade 12, at Osgoode, I actually failed English (largely because I boycotted many of the tests). In grade 13, which as I mentioned earlier I finished via night school, my grades were good, but not great. The University of Calgary admitted me as a "non-matriculated adult" and made me take remedial math. In an environment where it's all about grades, I would be looking at a long continuation of my career in the food service industry. So I know where people like Karyn Romeis are coming from when they question the reliance on grades to fill increasingly scarce university slots. We don't gain some sort of advantage by making university admission difficult to obtain. We really don't.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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