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by Stephen Downes
March 18, 2014

The particulars of "When a Paradigm becomes a Paradogma"
Paul Kirschner, March 18, 2014

So a couple weeks ago Paul Kirschner posted an item called When a Paradigm becomes a Paradogma in which he protested that a colleague's paper was rejected from an unnamed journal on grounds that, as one reviewer said, "the research is not consistent with current theory, research, and practice in STEM fields of endeavor." Wrote Kirschner, "There are politically correct scientific paradigms and you had better be / become / look like a ‘believer’ in that paradigm or you will not be published in that journal." Now I haven't seen the article, but I have observed in the past that Kirschner is in error in matters of fact about how science is actually practiced. The way science is actually practiced is observable and knowable, and a commentator on that has an obligation to get the facts right.

Anyhow, I didn't follow up on it, because it's Kirschner. But now we have a new post where the journal is actually named - the Journal of Educational Research - and some actual correspondence: "The author of this manuscript does not grasp the meaning, purpose, or diversity of hands-on science instruction. I think the author is arguing for a return to the didactic teaching of science and an abolition of all inquiry science." Kirschner does not hold back. "What we are experiencing here is the transition from a scientific paradigm to a scientific paradogma - a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model that is so incontrovertibly true for a person or group of people that it excludes the existence and value of all other patterns or models." I'm curious to see the paper. And I've never been a fan of closed peer review. So let's see it posted openly somewhere.

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‘It’s against all principles of scientific reporting’: Thousands of medical papers cite Wikipedia, study says
Tom Blackwell, National Post, March 18, 2014

This alarmist "the world is ending" headline is typical of the National Post, but the sentiment against citing Wikipedia is far more widespread. So what's the issue? "There is no guarantee the information at any given time is, in fact, wholly accurate, and a Wikipedia entry cited by a journal paper one day may be quite different soon after, unlike a conventional article or book." This of course misrepresents how a wiki operates. References to Wikipedia cite specific dates and times viewed, and this version never changes - when someone makes a change, a completely new version of the page is created, and the old one stored as an archive. So we can indeed see exactly what was cited. Moreover, it is less likely to be wrong than a printed publication, whether it be this misleading national Post article or the uninformed academic article that was used as its source.

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When MOOC Profs Move
Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, March 18, 2014


I'm going to teach a lesson in this post. But first, let me set it up. In this article, the question of the ownership of MOOC materials is raised. Who owns the materials when faculty move to a new institution? MIT of course says "we've found the answer." Meanwhile, Cathy Davidson, who is moving from Duke to CUNY, declares this: "I own my own course content. No one at Duke (or anywhere) can teach with my videos without my permission. I can reuse my videos and course materials at CUNY, but need to acknowledge that they were produced at Duke." Now for the lesson. I am using this video to teach it. The video is, of course, a Cathy Davidson video. And I ask people teaching putative MOOCs to reconsider once again the meaning of the word 'open'.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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