OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

[Home] [Top] [Archives] [Mobile] [About] [Threads] [Options]

March 18, 2013

Chopped up or Cloned: You Choose
Barnaby Walters, March 18, 2013

The argument in a nutshell for a distributed independent web (or 'indieweb'). "The only things all these services [Facebook,  Twitter and the like] really provide is basic web hosting with some sort of social layer. Making a good social layer is difficult, but web hosting has become extremely easy and cheap." See also Lessons Diaspora Taught Me from the same author (longtime readers will know I contributed to Diaspora when it was getting started). #indieweb

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter]

Tantek Çelik, March 18, 2013

This is where it changes. Here's Tantek Çelik on an open, social web: "The answer is not to not 'only [be] relevant to geeks', but rather, reframe it as a positive, and be relevant to yourself. That is, design, architect, create, and build for yourself first, others second. If you’re not willing to run your design/code on your own site, for your primary identity on the web, day-in and day-out, why should anyone else? If you started something that way but no longer embrace it as such, start over. Go Selfdogfood or go home." See also Ben Werdmuller: "I like the POSSE: (Publish Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere) approach very much – by publishing to something I directly control and then pushing out to sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+." This is what I do (of course Google+ won't allow me to send my content in, but that's the new Google). #indieweb

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

RIP Google Reader: Don’t Scream Who Moved My Cheese, Pivot Your Reading
Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog, March 18, 2013

A lot of people have been expressing this sentiment over the last few days - Google Reader is over, it was a nice free service while it lasted, but it's done, so let's move on. Which is fair enough and quite right: non of us had any right to expect Google Reader to continue forever. But what we can complain about is an overall behaviour predicated upon an intent to essentially privatize the internet, to move us from our common open environment to one of a few closed networks. And yes, we can hardly expect Google to support our open internet - except for the fact that all along, that's what they said they were doing, and appeared to be doing, until they decided that the billions they were earning were not enough. Related: Jason Rhode explains why he's using Feedly to replace Google Reader.

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

It’s Not Just Reader: Google Kills Chrome RSS Add-On Too
Scott Gilbertson, WebMonkey, March 18, 2013

Those of you who were using Chrome because it was new and cool - well, you may want to rethink. "The company has also killed off its RSS extension for Chrome, and marked a longstanding bug requestingthat the extension become a native part of Chrome as 'Won’t Fix.' Add it all up and it certainly looks like Google wants to not just shut down an unprofitable service, but to kill off its support for RSS entirely." Why would this be, you might ask? Well, to my mind, it's precisely the same reason RSS is so attractive, especially in knowledge-based and education-based applications: it's difficult to to marketing and push media campaigns in RSS, because people can simply unsubscribe. The problem, for Google, isn't that RSS is broken - it's that it isn't broken. All those spammy Google ads are almost entirely absent from RSS, and that was a situation Google (in its new post-IPO incarnation) simply couldn't stomach. If you needed any proof of this, consider the fact that Google has pulled all ad-blocking apps from the Google Play store.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Google Chrome, Marketing, Google, RSS, Spam, Cool]

The Professors Who Make the MOOCs
Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2013

Survey of 103 people (probably most of them professors) who have designed and offered a MOOC. Interestingly, most of them who participated did so for altruistic reasons (which makes a mash of Coursera's business model) while a few - such as those who had written textbooks - did it to "protect their roost." Many of them see a positive outcome for MOOCs (though I am not at all certain the Chronicle sees this as positive): "Two-thirds believe MOOCs will drive down the cost of earning a degree from their home institutions, and an overwhelming majority believe that the free online courses will make college less expensive in general."

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

Learners Are People, Not Isolated Test-Taking Brains: Why MOOCs Both Work and Fail
Susan D. Blum, Huffington Post, March 17, 2013

Those readers who know my history know that I began online with MUDs a type on MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). I saw in them what Nick Yee saw: "achievement, social, and immersion factors." Fast-forward some twenty years and here I am working on MOOCs, which for me are based on many of the same principles as MUDs. So, when MOOC critics like Susan D. Blum cite Yee, I know where they're coming from. "Aside from the financial gains promised by a college diploma, the aspect of residential colleges that is especially compelling for many students is not the academic side of college but the same goals as Yee saw."

It's the community students benefit from, because they are immersed in the conversation, practices, beliefs and values of their discipline, whether it be the Iron Ring ceremony or the Mummers Ball. MOOCs have to be more than just online videos and the occasional discussion forum. "Those learners are people, fully engaged with multiple dimensions of their life: social, physical, pleasure-appreciating, playful." What makes MOOCs different, at least the way e do them, is first, there is a much wider range of community available to choose from, and second, participation , with all its social dimensions, is available to all people, not just the very rich who can afford to attend Blum's Notre Dame University. Image: NY Times

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Project Based Learning, Video, Discussion Lists, Academia]

The MORU as Precursor to the MOOC
Darin Hayton, March 17, 2013

So, "MOOCs are all the rage right now," writes Darin Hayton. "Academics [are] generally upset or unimpressed and disruptors generally optimistic. What intrigues me is how familiar the kook-aid tastes." I have always tried to be clear that the phenomenon of mass education was well established before MOOCs, and therefore that what makes MOOCs different, at least the way we do them, isn't the massiveness, but the network structure, which permits both scaling and interactivity. Thus I certainly acknowledge the precedence of an invention like the MORU, first mentioned in Popular Science in 1923, which is in effect the "Radio University." But I don't see MOOCs, at least the way we do them, as the latest brank of kook.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Interaction, Web Logs, Google, Networks, Experience, File Sharing, Online Learning]

Twitter users forming tribes with own language, tweet analysis shows
Jason Rodrigues, The Guardian, March 16, 2013

I have read and written variously over the years about people using artifacts as words to create their own languae of discourse within a community, such as the community of geologists or the community of tax lawyers. This articl in te Guardian reinforces that idea, describing community-specific jargon that emerges in Twitter communities. Though the article suggests this finding "seems to contradict the commonly held belief that users simply want to share everything with everyone" I've never really thought this to be the case; people want to share freely with their community. This is why copyright law is so pernicious when applied to these online communities (instead of to commercial use, to which it ought to be restricted). Copyright law intrudes right into the fabric of these communities and interrupts what are essenially private conversations. That's why people react with such anger.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Online Learning Communities, Copyrights]

This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.