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by Stephen Downes
May 15, 2014

Are MOOCs Just Moneymaking Scams? Providers Challenged To Substantiate Grandiose Claims
Keith Button, Campus Technology, May 15, 2014

So the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education has launched a video and campaign against MOOCs, depicting MOOCs as schemes designed to make money. This follows the release of three working papers  last year "questioning the basic positive assumptions about online education." I will admit, Coursera, Udacity and EdX make good targets. But it doesn't make sense to tar all MOOCs (and all online learning) with the same brush. More on this item at Inside Higher Ed, Huffington Post, L.A. Times.

If the people at CFHE really want to debate the people behind MOOCs, they should debate George Siemens, Dave Cormier and myself. I for one would stand up and be counted. If they want a real debate, they should give us a call. We're not over-hyped VC-backed straw men you can knock down by citing some overblown rhetoric and fancy videos. We have a couple of decades of smart and steady advances behind us. And we have, I think, a pretty good sense of where we're going in the future, and yes, how the work we're doing with MOOCs and related technology will help provide access to learning for everyone.

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Achievement Standards Network
Achievement Standards Network, May 15, 2014


From the website: "The Achievement Standards Network ASN) provides open access to machine-readable representations of learning objectives published by education agencies and organizations including the Common Core State Standards." It was acquired by Desire2Learn last March. Right now the standards are employed in the design of learning materials. But the end-goal is to match assessments to the standards.

[Link] [Comment]

Prof. Robert Buckingham fired after criticizing Saskatchewan university plan
CBC News, May 15, 2014


It seems to me to be somewhat of an over-reaction to fire a professor and ban him from campus for life for the simple act of speaking out against the administration's plan to save money by merging three university departments (medicine, dentistry, and public health) into one. And when the professor is five weeks from retirement, it just seems vindictive. What's key here is that speaking out is being defined as insubordination, and that "everybody is expected to put the good of the whole university ahead of their own interests." Alec Couros comments, "I can barely stand to follow this story. It makes me very angry, and sad for the the University."

[Link] [Comment]

Bitnami, May 15, 2014


This is very nice. "Bitnami is an app store for server software. Install your favorite applications in your own servers or run them in the cloud. Select one app to get started or learn more about what makes Bitnami special." No, it's not free (of course). There are demo modes, but they're short-lived. For your own cloud server you'll need to enter your Amazon Web Service credentials.

For more on this, see this great post from Jim Groom outlining how he created a Ghost service. He describes how it works: "AWS provides a relatively easy way to install an application like Ghost, which has unique server dependencies, by tapping into Amazon’s marketplace of Community Images. These are searchable, virtualized packages that take care of all the server settings for a given application, enabling you to get up and running quickly and easily."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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