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by Stephen Downes
Nov 15, 2016

Feature Article
Open Learning in the Future
Stephen Downes, Nov 15, 2016.

My contribution to the FutureOER discussion. Formal learning will be less and less focused on resources, which will be available to everyone, and much more focused on activities. Tuition will pay for materials, environmental support and equipment, and professional assistance, often on an as-needed basis.

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Oxford University to launch first online 'Mooc' course
Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 2016/11/15

This of course is happening more than eight years after the launch of the first MOOC. One wonders why it's the cause for a news story.

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On metadata
Daniel Lemire, 2016/11/15

Daniel Lemire is exactly right in this article, and we forget it at our peril: "Most metadata is unreliable. Maintaining high-quality data is simply hard work. And even when people have good intentions, it takes more mental acuity than you might think." And the system is not set up for it. "One of the problems with metadata in the real world is that you are in an adversarial setting.... you still have to worry that they are going to lie to you."

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Aaron Perzanowski: The End of Ownership
David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, 2016/11/15

Summary of a talk on the new state of 'ownership' in the digital age. "What rights do people think they have when they ‘buy now.' Aaron and Jason did an experiment that showed that if people bought through a 'buy now' button, they thought they have the right to keep, device, lend, and give their copy. People make this mistake because they port over their real-world understanding of buying." In 20 years, will we be free to use our education as we wish, or will our knowledge of, say, calculus only be licensed for particular uses?

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YouTube has (apparently) reinstated RSS feeds
Brian Schrader, BiteofanApple, 2016/11/15

Brian Schrader writes, and I echo every word: "Well if there's something I wasn't expecting to find tonight, it was that apparently YouTube has decided to allow users to follow channels via RSS again, and unlike the last few years, this time it actually looks to be officially supported! I have no idea when this feature was added, but it's the first time I've seen it. Most articles about YouTube's RSS feeds are either hacks or from ancient history. I don't know what mad(wo)man is behind this, but I love them."

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Auckland Startup Launches Revolutionary eLearning Platform
Modlettes, 2016/11/15


I think the Modlettes product looks really interesting but it's quite expensive to get started (for me, at least) and the two-week trial doesn't really give me the capacity to try it out with a larger audience. The idea is that "any member of a user organisation can be given permission to create and upload Modlettes to their organisation’s channel, all with just a few touches on their smartphone." The authoring tool permits you to upload content, but ideally it would allow you to make the content on the fly - don't just 'upload' video, record video. For what they deliver, it's way overpriced, but the concept is good.

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Colossal, 2016/11/15


Via Quartz I came across this excellent website devoted to what is best described as folk art. But what art! Articles include a Japanese exhibit of rocks that look like faces, layered yarn portraits of South Africans, a fiery-throated hummingbird, urban geodes on the streets of L.A., Japanese candy sculptures, toilet paper rolls squished into funny faces, a 2017 letterpress lunar calendar, a metropolis of more than 600 paper sculptures, and much more. Things like this inspire people, and they should be seen.

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You’ll Know the Drones Are Coming When…
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, 2016/11/15


So, if a delivery bot using the sidewalk crosses the street at a crosswalk, does the driver have to give way and stop? This is the very relevant question asked by Tony Hirst as new technologies are forcing us to thing of devices as ethical objects. Do their rights sometimes trump ours - for example, if I am demonstrating in front of a political office and impede a sidewalk-using drone, have I committed an infraction? I've seen a few things recently depicting the AI phenomenon not as an intelligence question but as a test of ethics - for example, this article from O'Reilly, and episode 334 of Spark on CBC. Does an AI have an obligation to the truth, or to respect individual privacy, or is it waived from the limits that would constrain humans?

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Copyright 2016 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.