OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 18, 2013

U.K.-Led MOOCs Alliance, FutureLearn, Launches First Batch Of 20 Free Courses As It Chases Coursera Et Al
Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch, September 18, 2013

I received my FutureLearn beta invitation yesterday and signed up for a couple of courses. These include one on building a mobile web app and another on the "shallowness" of human psychology. The premise of this post is that FutureLearn is playing catch-up, but I really don't think that's an issue. All things considered, nobody has a very large lead in MOOCs, and it's the first inning of a very long season.

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Why coffee farmers need tablets: What we can learn from Colombia’s digital economy strategy
Karim Kanji, IT Business, September 18, 2013

I've been to Colombia five or six times in the last 8 years and have therefore been a very small part of their digital economy strategy. Poverty is still a pressing issue in Colombia, of course, but overall I have seen and agree with the contention in this post that the provision of access to technology reduces poverty. As Colombian Minister of Information Technologies and Communications Diego Molano said, "With technology we will have access to services like education and even tele-medicine. This in turn leads to more job creation... For example, we are sending 4500 tablets to public schools in one native village  which will be pre-loaded with seven aboriginal languages. These people will have the same opportunity to access knowledge from across the world." Good interview, but I wish it were more detailed and more in-depth. See also Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Bogota. "Successful award-winning digital startups include Brainz, NDIteravision (a Canadian-Colombian partnership), Efecto Studios, Below The Game, Gara Entertainment, Higuera Studios, Audio Ninja, 360 Digital, and Real Fun Learning."

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California’s Community Colleges Shift to Creative Commons Licenses
Hannah Winston, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 17, 2013

The Chronicle reports that "The board that governs California’s 112 community colleges has started requiring that courses, research, and other work paid for by the system chancellor’s office be made available free to all users under Creative Commons “attribution” licenses. While the system will retain the copyright on the materials, other users will be able to take advantage of them as long as the originators are properly credited." Before trhis requirement, the college system kept all rights reserved for itself. "As we move down a pathway forward on distance-learning education, and open education as well, it just made sense," said Barry A. Russell, vice chancellor for academic affairs.

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De Gruyter’s Sven Fund on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?
Richard Poynder, Open and Shut?, September 17, 2013


Interesting interview with Sven Fund, CEO of Berlin-based scholarly publisher De Gruyter, though to be sure, the most inbteresting part of the article is in the lengthy introduction (longer, I think, than the actual interview). Fund is challenged on a number of points related to open access, including whether De Gruyter has lobbied against it (he says they haven't), whether double-dipping (wherein a publisher collects fees to publish an open access article, then collects subscription fvees nonetheless) is a problem (he says it is negligible), and the prevalence of sentiment among reserachers for open access and against publishers.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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