OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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March 26, 2013

What Happens After You Sell Your Startup
Choire Sicha, The Awl, March 26, 2013

I can't resist passing this along, because it underlines my own cynicism about the software development environment we have collectively created: "This Tumblr is just hypnotic: Our Incredible Journey collects the deadly combination of "We've been acquired, now our company will be amazing!" with the inevitable "We've suspended service to focus on Google/Facebook/Yahoo's core products" announcements. (via)" Related: what Google Reader's shutdown tells us about web apps (in a nutshell: make sucre you have an exit strategy).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Yahoo!, Google]

MOOC provider EdX goes open source – with an interesting choice of licence
Scott Wilson, OSS Watch, March 26, 2013

It's well-known that EdX recently open-sourced its MOOC software. Less well known is the unusual license it chose to do so: the Affero GPL. The core of the license ensures that any application service providers who use EdX and make improvements to the code will have to contribute those imporvements to the code base, thus ensuring that the creators of EdX have access to any improvements made to EdX.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Source]

“Like”-able Content: Spread Your Message with Third-Party Metadata
Clinton Forry, A List Apart, March 26, 2013

This is a look at some of the third-party metadata that can be attached to content. In this case, 'third-party' refers to the source of the metadata schema, it being a third party such as Facebook or Twitter, specifically Facebook’s Open Graph protocol and Twitter Cards. Both of these provide a reliable set of metadata for image previews, video players, and the like, when pages are passed along using a Facebook or Twitter 'share' button. Of course other services can use them too, instead of randomly scraping a page for previews (which is what gRSShopper currently does). This article in A List Apart doesn't just describe the formats, it gives numerous examples and in-depth advice on how to use them.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter, Schemas, Books, Video, Semantic Web, RSS, Metadata]

Gender Through Comic Books
Christina Blanch, Canvas Network, March 26, 2013

Frank Lowney sent me this link which raises the question of what exactly some universities and course providers mean when they use the word 'open', as in 'Massive Open Online Course'. It sounds good: "Interviews with the comic industry's biggest names such as Terry Moore, Brian K Vaughan, Mark Waid, as well as others address questions of gender representations and constructions involving both men and women." But you have to invest a significant amount of cash to read the online comic books hyped offered through the Comixology online store. If you have to pay to play like this, the course is not open, no matter what the proponents claim.

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

False frontiers
Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, March 26, 2013

I'm not so intersted in the 'false frontiers' aspect of this post (which asserts the boundaries "are blurring between formal and informal learning") as I am the statement off the start, to wit: "Collaboration is where two or more people work together to achieve a common objective. In education, the common objective is usually to learn specific content, skills or competencies within defined areas." the definition is correct, but the depiction of 'shared objective' is not. For something to be an objective, it must have a subject. An objective is not simply 'to learn P' but rather 'for me to learn P'. When two students work together 'to learn P' they do not have a common objective; they are each trying to learn themselves, and they have found a point of cooperation in the commonality of learning material (what this does to Wheeler's thesis about false frontiers I'll leave to the reader to deduce).

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

A Shared Story
Stephen Collis, Happy Steve, March 26, 2013

Stephen Collis could have expended many more words in this sparse post to make the point, but he is on the right track. The advice is as follows: "Every problem is a people problem, every space is a people-space. Beware my temptation to construct an illusory simpler world that operates by forms, templates, emails, rules, lesson plans, the bizarre fictions called 'outcomes', timetables, compliance, deadlines and data." But the idea that we understand the world by recognition rather than buy induction (rather than by counting or measuring) is I think a correct one. Does this become a shared story? Well no - while we all see the same images in a Bev Doolittle piece, we see different things in the real world. That creates, not a shared vision, but the necessity to avoid the illusion of one.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Wikipedia]

It’s MOOAs, Not MOOCs, That Will Transform Higher Education
Laurie Essig, The Chronicle: The Conversation, March 26, 2013

The article is tongue-in-cheek and meant as a reductio, but let's analyze the implications. In the Chronicle (where else?) Laurie Essig writes, "MOOAs are the perfect solution to the rising cost of higher education. We take superstar administrators and let them administer tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of faculty at a time. The Ivy League and Nescac colleges could pool their upper management as could, say, Midwestern state colleges." OK, fine, completely unreasonable, right? Leaving aside the Lee Iacocca phenomenon, how could a single administrator manage thousands of staff? Just as in a MOOC: they would have to stop micro-managing, empower staff to make their own decisions, and create a distributed mode of administration. One wonders whether this form of management wouldn't be better for staff than existing management.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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