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November 21, 2012

e-Learning...as Easy as Pie
Ethan Allen, Allen Interactions, November 21, 2012.

Pie11.jpg, size: 176658 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I'm not sure I agree with this analogy, but it's novel and therefore at least worth sharing. E-learning, says Ethan Edwards, is like making pies. There are different models; let me quote from the article:

  • Pre-baked: The easiest path to pie and e-learning is to buy it off-the-shelf.
  • Buy the crust and filling: This takes just a litte time and effort but gives the impression that one is something of a baker.
  • Buy the crust and make your own filling: It takes a little longer, but once attempted, people find enough value in the investment to not retreat to store bought.
  • Make everything from scratch: start with whole ingredients and assembles the pie exactly as the baker wishes.

Of course very few people mill their own wheat to make flour nor harvest their own sugarcane or gro pupkins and ginger and other slices. But we get the idea that e-learning can be accessed more or less complete. Now, interestingly, says Edwards, "Regardless of where a pie-consumer is on this spectum, they tend to stay there. That is, a pie buyer doesn’t suddenly start baking pies." Maybe this is observationally true. But should it be? Pies are expensive, and off-the-shelf pies contain unhealthy processed ingredients. Making your own pie, like taking your own MOOC, is a lot harder. But perhaps the investment in time and effort is wrth it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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In Our View: Expanding Minds Online
Editorial, The Columbian, November 21, 2012.

"Whether or not somebody from Vancouver who has a love of learning can someday receive course credits from Harvard without leaving their living room remains to be seenm" says an editorial in The Columbian. "But for now, the idea of taking "Introduction to Astronomy" from Duke University, plus "Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies" from the University of Maryland, plus "A History of the World Since 1300" from Princeton University is a delicious prospect." This is the bottom line. Everything else is about models or marketing or some such detail. The main thing is the opportunity to learn for free online. That one detail trumps everything else.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Marketing]

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United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations
Various Authors, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, November 21, 2012.

A list of every city in the world, or more accurately, every location that has a port, road, rail or air terminal, plus its exact geographic location and its shipping code. Some of the lists are quite detailed, as for example the listing for Canada, while others are less so. This list is maintained by th Unted Nations. Why mention it here? It came up as an example of the sort of open data that could be used in open edcucational resources. Except - it's not open data. The UN keeps full copyright, and permission must be sought to use it. This is in order to prevent the data from being changed, to prevent people from selling it, and to prevent its misuse, for example, in the case of wars. Laudable objectives, all three, but how can we make this work with OERs? The discussion around this is on the OER-community list archives - but I can't even link to these as contents cannot be viewed by people who are not members of the list (so I can see them, but most OLDaily readers can't). Another conundrum, no doubt created with noble intentions.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Copyrights, Canada]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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