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September 26, 2012

Parthiv, Website, September 26, 2012.

This single-purpose website takes a script I wrote, makes it work really well with Bootstrap, and results in an elegant memorization tool.

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Why American Students Can’t Write: Response From A Teacher in Chile
Thomas Jerome Baker, Profesorbaker's Blog: A Bit of Everything, September 26, 2012.

Say it with me: the purpose of grammar is clarity. That's reason we add punctuation, have rules regarding pronouns, and insist on sentences having subjects and verbs. I raise this because Thomas Baker writes, "I question the phrase, 'coherent sentences', and wonder aloud if 'cohesive sentences' may have been the appropriate term, or quite likely, '“grammatically correct sentences'." This is in response to an article stating "the problems at one troubled New York high school to a simple fact: the students couldn’t write coherent sentences." Reducing grammar to a set of rules that need to be remembered trivializes grammar and (not coincidentally) makes it a lot harder to learn. Understanding that the role and purpose of grammar is to promote clarity of thought and expression turns lessons in correct sentence form into lessons in thinking and reasoning. 

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How Open Is It? - Request for Public Comment
David Knutson, SPARC, September 26, 2012.

SPARC - The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition - is asking for public comment on a document defining different degrees of openness. SPARC has long been a proponent of open access. The document being reviewed promotes the old canard that commercial reuse is somehow 'more open' than commercial-free reuse. Despite this, the document has value in defining degrees of openness related to embargos, copyrights, author posting rights, automated posting and machine readability. Moreover, it proclaims "Journals can be more open or less open, but their
degree of openness is intrinsically independent from their impact, prestige, quality of peer review, peer review methodology, sustainability, effect on tenure and promotion and article quality." The call for comments ends October 8.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Quality, Copyrights, Open Access]

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Marketing to the MOOC Masses
Steve Kolowich , Inside Higher Ed, September 26, 2012.

Elsevier is jumping onto thje MOOC bandwagon. "The academic publishing giant announcedon Tuesday that it will offer a free version of one of its textbooks this fall to students who register for Circuits & Electronics, a massive open online course (MOOC) being offered by edX." It's all about the marketing. "The version that is online on edX is a static version -- a PNG file, which is not downloadable, not manipulable and doesn’t have all the flexibility that a true full e-book does," said Dan O’Connell, a publicist for Elsevier. "So we found that actually it isn’t cutting into, and in fact it seems to be elevating, sales."

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How a Teacher Made $1 Million Selling Lesson Plans
Caroline Winter, Business Week, September 26, 2012.

The real winner in this story isn't the teacher who made a million dollars selling lesson plans (though Deanna Jump has certainly cashed in) - it's TeachersPayTeachers (TPT) founder Paul Edelman. He created the site, sold it to a publisher, bought it back again, and now has 1.1 million active members, grosses $2.5 million in sales, and has 10 employees. Most of the comments, not surprisingly, are positive. As Margaret Whisnant says, "Teachers will always have to create their own lessons, but now they can support each other by sharing their expertise, which results in more effective teaching. Nobody's taxes go up, no parents have to organize fundraisers."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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