by Stephen Downes
[Sept] 09, 2014
Reflections on community in #rhizo14 – more questions than answers
A lot of people continue to value community in courses without, I think, comprehending what community is. It's really hard to understand the nature of a community from within. "How can we know about all of the flowers that bloomed? And some of the ones that failed to thrive or died?" Most people, I think, participate in community from their own frame of reference. Bell writes, for example, of Keith Harmon thinking of "the social network involved a social contract." So he sees rules, while by contrast, Bell "didn’t see the rules that he refers to in #rhizo14 and would not really expect to see them." Or contrast this: "‘Caring’ is identified as a distinguishing feature of community," which I think characterizes Dave Cormier's view. Is it any surprise, then, that community is characterized by dichotomies - " theorist/pragmatist ‘divide’, academics/ others" -? Do we have to agree on what a community is before participating in one? I don't think so (and this probably distinguishes me from pretty much everyone else on the topic - but they'll come around). Do read this discussion thread.
Most readers will be familiar with the distinction, but if not, you may want to look at Charles Munat's new blog to read this post on just-in-time learning and just-in-case learning - JITL and JICL, or “jittle” and “jickle.” It forms one of the core arguments against traditional learning: "The problem is that most of what students “learn” with JICL they never need, and so it sits there in their brains rusting away: a waste of time, energy, and money."
Mapping brain activity at scale with cluster computing
O'Reilly published and then deleted a post by Jeremy Freeman describing this article. I'm not sure why it went down, but it was fascinating, as it described how scientists are mapping the hundreds of thousands of neurons in the brain of a larval zebrafish. Part of the focus (and the focus of the original scientific article) was on the need for large clusters of computers to perform what essentially amounts to big data analysis. But Freeman also comments (in the O'Reilly article) about the results of the analysis. "In most artificial networks, each node does essentially the same kind of thing, whereas everywhere we look in the brain we see diversity. There are hundreds or thousands of different kinds of neurons, with diverse morphologies, functions, patterns of connectivity, and forms of communication." I'm not sure if this link will continue to work but I've saved the articles for future reference.
Bootstrap 3 Less Workflow Tutorial
HelloErik Experience Design,
Responsive design, JQuery libraries, Bootstrap, HTML templates, CSS preprocessors... the world of web page design has become impressively complex. At the same time, if you're able to step lightly over these tools, it has never been easier to design complex pages that display well on any media. No single page will explain everything, but this article hits, for me, just the right note. Grammar teachers will wince in a few places, and not everything will be clear (follow the suggested links but don't gt lost in them), but the workflow described will give you a sense of the thinking behind modern web design.
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