OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 30, 2013

MOOCs and The Change of Higher Education
Stefan Popenici, popenici, August 30, 2013

I think people are still looking for the value proposition for learning. Case in point: "It is evident that mastering critical thinking, collaboration, presentation skills and genuine empathy require human connection, interaction and practice, and are best acquired in person, not only online. This is why we like to drink our coffee with friends – whenever possible – on a coffee shop, not on Skype." I don't think this is at all evident. Minimally, it needs to be shown. Maximally, some aspects (such as empathy) may be innate, others may be acquired through self-learning, and our desire for human contact might have nothing to do with the requirements for learning from them. Indeed, at best, we can assert only the almost tautological, 'in order to learn how to interact with humans, one must interact with humans'. But even here, one might suggest, a well-designed simulation might do the trick.

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On Learning objects and OER
Rory McGreal, Athabasca Landing, August 30, 2013

Are open educational resources (OERs) pedagogically neutral? Rory McGreal argues that they are, and in this post clarifies his position. "It is the box that is pedagogically neutral not the lesson.  Of course you can embed into the box a resource whose use is restricted to one pedagogical technique or one can embed more generalisable resources." The supposition here is that the mere fact of a resource being an OER is pedagogically neutral. But I don't agree. Open access is a pedagogical strategy, just as limited access and exclusivity are on the other side. Making content open has pedagogical implication - IMO for the better.

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Thumbs-up at a Holocaust memorial: a clear breach of selfie etiquette
Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian, August 30, 2013

In an interesting exploration of culture clash, the Guardian takes a look at the phenomenon of 'selfies' - photos taken of oneself using a mobile phone extended at arm's length - taken in inappropriate places, like a Holocaust memorial. I appreciated the historical perspective, as the author describes Victorian selfie daguerrotypes taken with dead people.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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