OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 1, 2012

What a MOOC Does
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, March 1, 2012.

Short article in which I argue - contra Clark Quinn and Tony Bates - that a MOOC should be judged on its own merits, based on what it is trying to do, rather than as an extension of what the traditional course is trying to do.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses]

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Curatr: Using Visualization Navigation for Static Content with Social and Gamification Elements
janet Clarey , Spinning the Social Web, March 1, 2012.

I still don't really like the use of the word 'curate' to talk about what we do with learning artifacts - since what we should do with them is to mutilate them beyond all recognition in a creative frenzy, which is the opposite of curation, which implies picking the very best and preserving them for posterity. Curatr allows us to do a bit more than that - "What makes it social is that I can interact with each asset – leave comments, add content, share, etc. – they become more alive that way" - which is useful in its own right. But it's when I'm slicing and dicing them that resources really become alive for me. See also John Bersin on Curatr (guess they all got the same PR).

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Creating GIS Datasets from Historic Maps
Chris Gist, Spatial Humanities, March 1, 2012.

files/images/150x150xTrolleyMap.png.pagespeed.ic.-AWBVA9v9y.png, size: 36965 bytes, type:  image/png If you've been wondering how to create those educational resources that combine historic maps with contemporary information, take a look at this article, which give you step by step instructions. Even if you don't tackle the project yourself, it's interesting to see how accessible the technology is (and you can always enjoy the fruits of your students' labours :) ).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility, Project Based Learning, Online Learning]

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Massive open online courses as new educative practice
George Siemens, elearnspace, March 1, 2012.

George Siemens has released a set of slides on the massive open online course. "In a recent interview by Tamar Lewin for NYTimes," he writes, "I stated that while you could call Udacity, Coursera, and Codeacademy examples of MOOCs (Massive open online courses), they are largely instantiations of existing educational practices. Their primary innovation is scaling. (See Jim Groom’s comments on this post…or Alan Levine’s thoughts on scaling in moocs)."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Traditional and Online Courses]

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Secure Your Browser: Add-Ons to Stop Web Tracking
Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, March 1, 2012.

Mozilla warns, "If you haven't realized it yet, companies are tracking you across most of the sites you visit daily on the web. It's quite likely that these companies know more about you than your government. Some of them might even know more about you than your best friends." They've released the useful Collusion plug-in that allows you to see the tracking that occurs when you visit different websites. Taking a look at the PrivacyScore website gives you a good sense of who is doing the most tracking - companies like Facebook, Imgur, Twitpic and Drudge Report (the top four, respectively).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Privacy Issues]

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How Leaders Lose Their Luck
Anthony K. Tjan, Harvard Business Review, March 1, 2012.

This article is cached in the usual Harvard Business Review 'leadership' dogma, but behind the facade is a set of principles for good living that would apply to any of us, not just 'leaders'. They are virtues I strive to cultivate, however imperfectly, in my own life (Harvard's list with my annotations):
- humility - or more accurately, empathy - genuine caring for others
- intellectual curiosity - the recognition of the unknown and the desire to explore it
- optimism - and more, not giving into despair, defeat and setbacks
- vulnerability - knowing what you can't do and asking for help
- authenticity - being truthful, frank and honest
- generosity - doing things because they help others, not because they'll repay you
- openness - being willing to receive as well as to share
As HBR says, "are hard to master, and can also be at odds with leadership authority." That's why we seldom see them expressed by people in positions of power, but also why we should see them more.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Leadership, Patents]

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Edging toward the fully licensed world
Doc Searls, Weblog, March 1, 2012.

Doc Searls sounds the cautionary note to the effect that as we lose our rights over the stuff we purchase, we lose the benefits an open society offers. "The wide-open computers most of us used for decades are also being marginalized now that more of our connected lives are moving to partially-open smartphones, tablets, Kindles and Nooks... By losing the free and open Internet, and free and open devices to interact with it — and even such ordinary things as physical books and music media — we reduce the full scope of both markets and civilization." Too true. Good post with numerous links.

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Designing for Decoder Glasses, Print and Web
Michael Buchmiller, CSS-Tricks, March 1, 2012.

Every day the CSS-Tricks website has one or another nifty design trick on offer. I always read them, even if I don't have time to apply them or space to pass them on. And then's there's the occasional absolute gem, like today's. Michael Buchmiller, the Creative Manager at BlueHornet, shows us how to design a web page with a secret message encoded in it - with the decoding glasses built into the design (see here). Sure, it's just a yellow-blue colour trick, but the effect is great and I can only begin to imagine how many ways it could be used for educational content - x-ray glasses, where's Waldo, Let's Make a Deal, Night Vision, and more.

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www.stopstealingdreams.com is ready to read and share
Seth Godin, Weblog, March 1, 2012.

"Higher ed," writes marketer Seth Godin, "is going to change as much in the next decade as newspapers did in the last one." It's just one of a multitude of similar sentiments contained in his manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams. The 30,000 word document is a light read - a very light read - but it's pretty good for what it is, and covers a lot of the same thoughts on education we've covered here over the years. Brainysmurf points to the major chnages Godin identifies in his article, themes that reappear throughout the document:
- "Homework during the day, lectures at night
- Open book, open note, all the time
- Access to any course, anywhere in the world
- Precise, focused instruction instead of mass, generalized instruction
- The end of multiple-choice exams
- Experience instead of test scores as a measure of achievement
- The end of compliance as an outcome
- Cooperation instead of isolation
- Amplification of outlying students, teachers, and ideas
- Transformation of the role of the teacher
- Lifelong learning, earlier work
- Death of the nearly famous college”
Like any good marketer, Godin refers only to people who are more famous, not less famous. But this is a pretty good summary of the ideas the people in the trenches have been working toward for the dast decade or so.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.