OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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by Stephen Downes
May 20, 2014

Launch of the Open Policy Network
Open Policy Network, May 20, 2014

The Open Policy Network has now officially launched. Here's their version of open: "we’re announcing our first project, the Institute for Open Leadership. Through a weeklong summit with experts, accepted fellows will get hands-on guidance to develop a capstone project for implementation in their organization or institution." You can join the network but you must "support the Guiding Principles and Work Plan", "participate in the OPN email listserv and share information," and "attend monthly strategy/planning conference calls." It's like joining the Kiwanas Club! Anyhow, here is more information and endorsements from Creative Commons, SPARC, CETIS, OERu.

[Link] [Comment]

Let's Stop Confusing Cooperation and Teamwork with Collaboration
Jesse Lyn Stoner, Seapoint Center, May 20, 2014

Short article with clear useful definitions and which looks at the impact of distance on cooperation and collaboration. The impact on cooperation is clear, from this study: "virtual distance had significant influences on trust, goal clarity and OCB and indirectly influenced innovation and success." But simply moving people to the same place will not impact collaboration (contra Marissa Mayer). "Collaboration is working together to create something new in support of a shared vision. The key points are that is is not an individual effort." True. But is this? "Collaborative leadership is based on respect, trust and the wise use of power. Leaders must be willing to let go of control."

[Link] [Comment]

Amazing Starling Flocks Are Flying Avalanches
Brandon Keim, Wired, May 20, 2014


I'm giving a talk on MOOC research on Friday, and while I've previously documented my thoughts on research methods (or the lack of same) the question nonetheless occurred to me, "how do you research chaotic systems like MOOCs?" Analytics aren't really useful, as numbers and quantities are essentially meaningless. Then I wondered, how do scientists research murmurations? These are flocks of songbirds that act as one fluid whole, like a network.

I'm still looking into it, but here are some things. This post gives the overview. "The secret lies in the same systems that apply to anything on the cusp of a shift, like snow before an avalanche, where the velocity of one bird affects the velocity of the rest. It is called 'scale-free correlation' and every shift of the murmuration is called a critical transition." Here's the paper. The topic is also covered by MNN, which makes the mechanics clear. "Each bird is actually reacting to the birds nearest to it, that the movement is the result of a series of short-range reactions... one bird's movement only affects its seven closest neighbors. So one bird affects its seven closest neighbors, and each of those neighbors' movements affect their closest seven neighbors and on through the flock."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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