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October 14, 2013

Supporting a Distributed Online Course
Stephen Downes, October 14, 2013, Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training ITHET 2013 , Antalya, Turkey

In this presentation I summarize the major elements of a massive open online course, with an emphasis on openness, then I outline and describe the gRSShopper application used to develop and deploy the cMOOCs we have run. The presentation as a result emphasizes the differences between CMOOCs and xMOOCs. Finally, I talk a bit about technologies that will impact the development of MOOCs in the future, such as personal learning, authentication, and the personal cloud.

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Antalya, Turkey
Stephen Downes, Flickr, October 14, 2013

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Five Myths about MOOCs
James G. Mazoué, EDUCAUSE Review, October 13, 2013

Normally the organization of an article into a list and the use of 'myths' in the title would be sure signs to steer away from what looks like churnalism. But this article is a serious and well-reasoned defense of MOOCs against some of the common fallacious arguments against them. Critics would do well to give it a read.

"Those in the anti-MOOC camp who are opposed to this model should provide well-reasoned arguments based on educational research, not more rhetoric about the imagined dangers of MOOCs as agents of educational imperialism. Mischaracterizing MOOCs as pawns in the service of a neoliberal political agenda distorts the legitimacy of the challenge that MOOCs pose to conventional practices and misrepresents their potential as catalysts of pedagogical innovation. By deflecting attention away from a serious discussion of their own agenda's merits, those who frame MOOCs in terms of socioeconomic class warfare are not serving their own cause well. Neither smug self-confidence nor playing the victim card will stave off a research agenda that is hot on the trail of understanding the conditions that more effectively enable learning."

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Seeking a Path toward Open Access for Books
Joseph Esposito, The Scholarly Kitchen, October 12, 2013

While we may have reached a way to support open access articles, writes Joseph Esposito, the case of longer items like books is more difficult: author fees would be unreasonable, yet the cost of producing them and hosting them is high. It's the same sort of problem that exists for MOOCs, which is why business writers are sceptical of them. This post points to an initiative created by Eric Hellman called Unglue.it - the URL is the same as the company name. " A Web community is built around Unglue.it, which proposes books that it would like to see OA....  Publishers (or the estates of authors) respond to these nominations and offer to make some titles available on the site.  The community then switches to crowdfunding mode, attempting to chip in enough money to release the copyright." It doesn't matter whether this idea works or not - what matters is that it is pointing the way to a wider world of open content.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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