by Stephen Downes
Apr 11, 2017
I spent a good part of the day investigating progressive web apps (PWA). These are the result of a model proposed by Google back in 2015 that merges web browser applications with mobile applications. The idea is that you write the same code for everything, and this code is progressive (runs on any platform), responsive (resizes for different windows), discoverable, and more. Here's a guide from Google on building your first PWA. Here's a selection of PWAs. And the tweet from Bryan ✻llendyke that set me off: "The way to create a decentralized learning record store IS to create an lmsless university via a PWA." Well yeah.
This report (280 page PDF) (if you don't have time to read it have a machine read it for you) addresses Canada's investment in research and development and is known colloquially as the Naylor Report. It doesn't cover internal Government of Canada science (like, say, the National Research Council), but rather, the money the government spends on research outside the government (for example, as supported by the funding councils). The key recommendation is found in the introduction: "The cumulative base increase would move annual spending in steady-state across the four agencies and closely related entities from approximately $3.5 billion to $4.8 billion." And htis is a recommendation that looks especially good to me: "The Government of Canada should rapidly increase its investment in independent investigator-led research to redress the imbalance caused by differential investments favouring priority-driven research over the past decade." More coverage: CBC, Globe and Mail, McLeans, Ottawa Citizen, Science Magazine, Nature.
Good post from Ellen Wagner that is at once a history of successive programs from EDUCAUSE and the Gates Foundation on student advising and support services (variously the PAR, iPASS and IPAS) and at the same time a rumination on the concept of 'student success' itself. The software (and there are more than 100 offerings now) is part help-desk and part analytics, and is intended to help guide students to their ultimate objectives. "We are going to wonder how we managed to live without platforms that help visualize patterns, red-flag student risks before they become problems," she writes, but at the same time, the innovation here is not in the creation of the tools, but in the use of them to support students. Image: Ellen Wagner.
The headline is a little over the top but the article describes a determined attempt on the part of a number of companies to create a multi-tier internet where you have to pay extra for things like messaging. Part of this, readers may recall, was Facebook's attempt to create a proprietary 'internet lite'. As All Indian Backchod put it, "These corporations tried to define Net Neutrality as everyone being able to access some things on the internet. In fact, Net Neutrality is about everyone being able to access everything on the internet." Good read, good videos, bu someone directly involved in the campaign.
This is an excellent post responding to the idea that fake news is recent, isolated, and easily fixed with media literacy. In fact, fake news is just one part of "an entire landscape of neglect and corruption" and those teaching media literacy "are not necessarily in a position to actually supply it." Instead, "colleges and libraries have ceded control to content publishers, who impose their hierarchical understanding of information on passive consumers, leaving institutions to only exhibit and protect the information."
The 'duopoly' in question is Facebook and Google, and arguably these two platforms have a firm hold on platform traffic. This article points out that this is not a good deal for publishers. Bloomber's Media CEO Justin Smith Smith cited a recent study from Digital Content Next showing "only 14 percent of some publishers’ revenues were coming from distributed content." How, then do publishers succeed? Quartz has a good model. "Quartz’s model from the beginning has been to never accept a banner ad or an IAB standard unit." Also, "If you’re producing content that someone else is also producing, you have to stop right away and rethink your approach. Create content that no one else is producing."
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