OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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October 20, 2011

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Stephen Downes, Flickr, October 20, 2011.

I'm in Barcelona. Photos here.

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A Cataract in my Future
Alec Komarnitsky, Website, October 20, 2011.

So anyhow, I came back from the optometrist Monday with some unpleasant news - my right eye has degraded rapidly in the last couple of years, basically exactly the same diagnosis this guy got in 2010. I can correct for now - but not back to 20-20. So the cataract operation he had is probably in my short term future. So it helps a lot reading this and especially how well it seemed to have gone. It's funny - I had just followed him because of some of his photography. And now, this. People don't know how much they can help others when they do something like this, but they do it - and it really helps. To me this tells me more about online learning than all the textbooks and journal articles in the world.

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Making 'Research in Learning Technology' Open Access
Seb Schmoller, ALT Open Access Repository, October 18, 2011.

Seb Schmoller has just posted a set of slides about the recent effort to make ALT's Research in Learning Technology an open access journal. It's pretty much what you would expect, but there is one slide sufficiently noteworthy to share: the difference between closed access readers and open access readers, illustrated above (open access highlighted with the red arrow). What a difference one month makes!

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Group Design Project: Rate Three Candy Bars In Order
Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks, October 18, 2011.

I'm less interested in the design problem and rather more interested in TinkerBin, the place where people are supposed to put their solutions. TinkerBin is a great little web-based applications that gives you a space to enter your HTML, CSS and Javascript, and view the results right away. Here's a sample. Here's another (these are hard to find, as there's no index). Tinkerbin is by no means alone. See also this example from JSFiddle. There's also JSBin. Here are several more sandboxes.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Tests and Testing]

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Responsive Open Learning Environments
Various Authors, Website, October 16, 2011.

This is a very interesting project and might actually be an instantiation of the Personal Learning Environment that held so much promise a couple of years ago. "ROLE stands for Responsive Open Learning Environments and seeks to put learners in the position to build their own technology enhanced learning environment based on their needs and preferences."

It has a lot in common with the Plearn project we developed in-house at NRC (and then were not allowed to release). For example:
- widget bundles correspond to our concept of scaffolds.
- ROLE-tools are like our third party applications.
- There's anaytics.

And the role project has components we were not allowed to provide in Plearn:
- a website. A demo with feedback.
- Partners and an advisory board.
- Groups for discussions.
- Software Development information and open source
- ROLE Widget Competition and Developer Camp.

There is evidence here of actual business development and the recruitment of a substantial partner and use base. There's a lesson here for managers: if you keep everything hidden to protect your IP, then most of the time, you have no product at all, because you have no user community and no applications. Do I sound bitter? Anyhow, I wish ROLE the best and can't wait to start working with the software.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Google, Experience, Personal Learning Environment]

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The Conceptual Structure of IMS Learning Design Does Not Impede Its Use for Authoring
Michael Derntl, Susanne Neumann, David Griffiths and Petra Oberhuemer, RWTH Aachen Preprints, October 16, 2011.

The discussion regarding the applicability of learning design (LD) continues apace. As the authors observe, "Much current IMS LD research seems to accept the assumption that a key barrier to adoption is the specification’s conceptual complexity impeding the authoring process." Because it's so hard to use, people are less likely to use it. This is a position Guillaume Durand and I argued. So the authors conducted a small empirical study to test this assumption. "Study participants were asked to transform a given textual design description into an IMS LD unit of learning using (a) paper snippets representing IMS LD elements and (b) authoring software." It's interesting to note that nobody worked with raw LD code. Probably a good thing. "The results show that teachers with little or no previous IMS LD knowledge were able to solve a design task that required the use of all IMS LD elements at levels A and B." But how useful is this study? As the authors acknowledge, "most participants had a high technology affinity regarding their teaching backgrounds."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, IMS Project]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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