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by Stephen Downes
June 19, 2014

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
Government of Canada, June 19, 2014

Canada's new anti-spam legislation comes into effect July 1 and if you're like me you've already been receiving messages from mailing list providers requesting that you provide "express written consent" to receive the email messages. You won't be getting one from me for this newsletter for several reasons: first, the newsletter is non-commercial, send, you expressed consent when you subscribed (nobody has ever been 'added' to the OLDaily mailing list; if you don't ask for it, you don't get it), and third, there is a ridiculously easy one-click unsubscribe at the bottom of every newsletter. But if you are involved in sending commercial emails in Canada or to Canadians, you may want to consult the provisions of our new law.

[Link] [Comment]

Borrowing Against the Future: The Hidden Costs of Financing U.S. Higher Education
Charlie Eaton, Cyrus Dioun, Daniela García Santibáñez Godoy, Adam Goldstein, Jacob Habinek, Robert Osley-Thomas, The Center for Culture, Organizations, and Politic, , June 19, 2014


A large part of the imperative for a rethink of the university system is the impact of the costs of that system on society at large. On a personal level, this is represented by the student loan payments that dogged me well into my 40s. But the drain on society is even larger. As George Siemens tweets, quoting from this report, "The largest 15 for-profits [universities] received between 66% and 94% of their revenue from the federal government." Combine this with the fact that they preferentially serve the well-connected and well-to-do, and with the enormous cost of the system as a whole, and you have a mandate for change. That's what this report is about.

[Link] [Comment]

Learner at the Center of a Networked World
Various authors, The Aspen Institute, June 19, 2014

According to the prefix, "This report sets forth a vision that stems from the premise that the learner needs to be at the center of novel approaches and innovative learning networks." It identifies a pervasive probllem, the "silos" that make a learner-centered system difficult to implement. Here are their recommendations (abridged):

  • Redesign learning environments to empower learners to learn any time, any place.
  • Enhance the ability of educators to support and guide learners in a networked learning environment.
  • Build an infrastructure that will connect all students in all of the places they learn.
  • Support the maximum feasible degree of interoperability across learning networks.
  • Adopt policies to incorporate digital, media and social-emotional literacies as basic skills for living and learning in the digital age.
  • Create Trusted Environments for Learning.

Well here's the good news. This is exactly what our Learning and Performance Support Systems (LPSS) program is doing here at the National Research Council. I talk more about it here. We are staffed, well into the development process, and identifying partners for projects and collaborative research.

[Link] [Comment]

Inquiry Guided Learning Projects for the Development of Critical Thinking in the College Classroom: A pilot study
Danielle C Bentley, Collected Essays on Learning, June 19, 2014

I think that the teaching of critical research is important, though frankly I think it should be taught much earlier than this college-level class in which it is applied. In this paper, a project is described wherein dental hygiene students are put into groups, asked to select a scientific problem to solve, and given the task of researching then presenting the results. I do wonder what body of literature they employed; the paper refers to the 'scientific literature', but if they're searching only journal articles they're not being thorough. I would also want to read more on how they learned "the skills required to properly critique information in the scientific community."

[Link] [Comment]

Learning Task Inventories (LTIs). Exploration of Optimal Conditions to Help Students Develop, Improve and Sustain Good Study and Learning Practices
Stephen MacNeil, Eileen Wood, Lucia Zivcakova, Robyn Glover, Patrick Smith, Collected Essays on Learning, Teaching, June 19, 2014


According to this paper, "LTIs are chapter-by-chapter lists of detailed learning tasks students are expected to master during the course." The paper describes the employment and use of LTIs during an introductory Organic Chemistry I course at Wilfrid Laurier University and investigates "optimal conditions
for implementation of LTIs." The largest impact seemed to be obtained when LTIs helped students determine what they did or did not know. LTIs are an internal Wilfrid Laurier tool, and I wish there was more information or reference to information describing the nature and structure of LTIs, and how they differ from learnring objects and/or competences.

[Link] [Comment]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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