OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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June 27, 2012

Facebook: We Should Have Been Clearer on the Email Switch
Zoe Fox, Mashable, June 27, 2012.

Wow. Facebook says it could have been clearer. "The company upset many users Monday, by switching their default email addresses. Addresses most likely ending with @gmail.com or @yahoo.com were switched to @facebook.com addresses." What Facebook could have done would be to not switch default addresses. It's a lesson companies fail to learn at their peril: users want to control their own personal information. Take away that autonomy, and you lose your customers. (And that said: Facebook has peaked, Apple has peaked, Google shows signs of weakening, and the market is primed for disruption right now. Just saying. If I had any stocks (hah!) I'd be selling them.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Apple Inc., Google, Privacy Issues]

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From Islands To Ecosystem: Connecting Social, Digital + Mobile
David Armano, Logic+Emotion, June 27, 2012.

The distinction between owned, paid and earned media is a good one and will have particular application in the field of online learning (perhaps unexpectedly). An open online course, for example, may be offered by an institution (and hence, have 'owned' content) and may depend on external content or distribution 'partners' (this would constitute the 'paid' portion of the course). But the really important part is the 'earned' media - that is, the creation of websites, blog and discussion posts, social media profiles, and the like, by participants in the course. It is the 'earned' media that has been most often ignored by some of the more recent online courses, proving that while you can buy size, it is a lot more difficult to earn it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Web Logs, Online Learning]

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Identification of Conflicting Questions in the PARES System
Avgoustos Tsinakos and Ioannis Kazanidis , International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, June 27, 2012.

This is a nice paper that addresses in a comprehensive way a problem in automated quiz generation systems: "An inherent problem with generating tests by randomly selecting questions within a question bank is that there will typically be several questions that are designed to assess the learner’s knowledge on a single item." We can think of various labour-intensive ways of solving the problem - question metadata, for example - but that makes the question bank more effort than it's worth. What is needed is a conflict-detection algorithm. The results from the algorithms proposed were very good: "PARES successfully identified 93 out of the 103 questions, which corresponds to a success rate of 90.29%." This is a solid paper, probably the best in the newest issue of IRRODL.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Assessment, Metadata]

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Odyssey of the Mind: Social Networking in Cyberschool
Michael K. Barbour and Cory Plough , International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, June 27, 2012.

This article describes "one online school’s attempt to address the social aspect of their students’ experience by using social networking." It outlines transactional distance theory and describes the role of the school as an agent of socialization. In particular the paper examines "the effectiveness of a closed social network as a way to increase socialization in a full-time online school and to decrease transactional distance," and specifically, Odyssey Charter High School (hence the title). OCHS is a special case; "OCHS requires students to be on campus for four hours one day a week. Beyond those four hours, there is no opportunity for face-to-face time between students and teachers." Many of the students were 'at risk' or experienced social problems in traditional schools. The paper offers some evidence that the system was used, and suggests "it has been difficult for the staff at OCHS to imagine many of these student-led groups and discussions occurring in a public manner at a traditional high school," but it is difficult to assess the scale of the success or the percentage of students participating nor whether the system used (Ning) conferred any special advantage.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Networks, Experience, Online Learning]

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The Importance of Studying the Obvious
Duncan Watts, Harvqard Business Review, June 27, 2012.

Duncan J. Watts weighs in on Harvard Business Review about the importance of supporting the social sciences. The evidence he assays in favour of his proposal is more interesting than the proposal itself, subtly undermining the principles defining Harvard Business Review itself. To name them: "Recent research, for example, strongly suggests that most success stories, from Facebook to Shakespeare, are accidental products of randomness and cumulative advantage"; "politicians continue to pursue austerity policies based on the flawed but intuitive analogy that government debt is the same as individual debt"; "recent results about social contagion and the role of "influencers"; "what they (politicians and businesspeople) need to understand is that they cannot solve these crucial problems on their own."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Marketing]

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Power Searching with Google
Daniel Russell, Google, June 27, 2012.

Starting July 10th, Power Searching With Google isn't being called a MOOC (yet) but has many of the hallmarkls of one, including most notably attendance likely in the tens of thousands. There are six classes and three assessments, and you get a certificate for finishing. The course will use familiar Google technologies: Google Groups, Google+, and Hangouts on Air. You use your Google ID (naturally) to sign up.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google, Assessment]

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Open Access Agreements and Licenses Task Force
Various ASuithors, Confederation of Open Access Repositories, June 27, 2012.

From Alicia López Medina, COAR Executive Director: "The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) is pleased to announce the formation of the Open Access Agreements and Licenses Task Force.... (which) aims to review and assess the growing number of open access agreements being implemented between publishers and research institutions."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Books, Research, Open Access]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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