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July 18, 2012

The Finch Report and its implications for the developing world
Richard Poynder, Open and Shut, July 18, 2012.

There has been quite a bit of discussion on open access mailing lists recently about something called the Finch Report, which was published exactly one month ago. As explained here, the report recommends governments endorse "gold OA, (where)publishers cease to charge readers to access scholarly journals (in the form of subscriptions), but instead charge authors, or their funders or institutions, to publish their papers." Meanwhile, "the institutional repository (i.e. green OA) should be relegated to the role of bit player, merely “providing access to research data and to grey literature” and assisting in digital preservation." The UK Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced he was accepting all recommendations from the Finch report, but not before Research Councils UK (RCUK) announced in its new OA policy that it would treat green OA as an equal partner to gold. This happened two days ago. Poynder writes, "Finch’s one-dimensional approach to OA appears most unfortunate," and I agree.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Mailing Lists, Great Britain, Books, Research, Subscription Services, Learning Object Repositories, Wikipedia, Open Access, Academic Publications]

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It's Time To Break Up With Break-Out Groups
Eric Hellweg, Harvard Business Review, July 18, 2012.

For the record I also hate break-out groups, especially during policy or public consultation meetings. I find that they are especially effective at dispersing and therefore silencing what may be a minority opinion before it can coalesce into something more significant. I also find that it forces people to pay attention to one or another issue, while they may in fact want to address several issues. I agree with this - "Break-out groups are intended to break up the monotony of a long meeting and get people talking to each other on key topics. These are worthy goals; break-out groups are just lousy at realizing them."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Winners Announced! – Why Open Education Matters Video Competition
Various Authors, Creative Commons, July 18, 2012.

I don't endorse the creation of competitions in open education - especially thinly veiled marketing for a commercial interest - but I know people will want to see the winning videos from the Why Open Education Matters video competition. So here they are; also, here are the other 'qualifying videos' (whatever that means).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Video, Marketing]

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Universities Reshaping Education on the Web
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, July 18, 2012.

Ongoing coverage of the MOOC revolution "This is the tsunami," said Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. "It’s all so new that everyone’s feeling their way around, but the potential upside for this experiment is so big that it’s hard for me to imagine any large research university that wouldn’t want to be involved." Remember when that was a term used only on this blog and a couple others, and nobody imagined it would be in the New York Times? See also more from Audrey Watters, the Chronicle, the Globe and Mail and this from TED. Image from CogDogBlog.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Web Logs, Paradigm Shift]

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Assembly Line
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, July 18, 2012.

While a lot of attention has been paid to MOOCs, it is definitely worth paying close attention to another type of program, the 'stackable certificate' program developed by the manufacturing industry. The main idea of the program is that students can complete it while employed, allowing them to try out working in the sector - usually thought of as undesirable employment - without having to invest in a full education ahead of time. In addition to the usual degrees, the program offers intermediary 'certificates' that can be assembled over time in support of a degree.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Without Credit
Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, July 18, 2012.

We're seeing more of this: "The University of Washington plans to offer 'enhanced' versions of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) it will develop through a partnership with Coursera... The "enhanced" versions will add a number of features designed to make them more closely resemble conventional online courses -- including more assessments, direct interaction with instructors, and the opportunity to earn a certificate that hypothetically could be redeemed for course credit. But the “enhanced” MOOCs will also come with price tags and enrollment caps." To be clear: hese are no longer MOOCs, even by today's expanded definition of the term. They are simply online courses with the usual restrictions on access imposed by universities.

Meanwhile, Coursera's courses may be in some fashion 'open', but its materials certainly aren't. As Wayne Mackintosh comments on a mailing list: "Coursera is not an OER initiative. The materials are made available under a custom copyright license which do not meet the requirements for OER. Quoting from Coursera's terms of service: 'Coursera grants you a personal, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to access and use the Sites. You may download material from the Sites only for your own personal, non-commercial use. You may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material, nor may you modify or create derivatives works of the material.'"

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Interaction, Assessment]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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