This is a SPLOT (Smallest Possible Learning Online Tool) that introduces SPLOTs. Here's a bunch of SPLOTs. And here's a link from Jim Groom describing how Reclaim Hosting wants to "get a series of these SPLOTs in cPanel dashboards across our shared hosting and institutional servers, not only get give folks access to these tools—although definitely that—but also in hopes people will see what’s possible and make their own SPLOTs that can in turn be shared back for others to use." More from Alan Levine.
This article describes an initiative in the UK called Blockchain for Peer Review, " a protocol where information about peer review activities (submitted by publishers) are stored on a blockchain." Although this may appear to make sense, argues David Rosenthal, "implementing it with a blockchain is effectively impossible" because of GDPR. The reason is that the proposal would store personal information about reviewers in a permanent fashion, and GDPR requires that "people must be able to demand that their personal data is rectified or deleted under many circumstances." More. But you can't unspend money after having spent it, you can't unvote after having voted in an election, and you can undo your ownership of a car after it caused an accident. And, I suspect, you can't unreview an article after it has been reviewed.
D-CENT (Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies) is "a Europe-wide project developing the next generation of open source, distributed, and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment." "The EU-funded project started in October 2013 and ended in May 2016." Here's the white paper (15 page PDF). The tools include: Decisions, to let people sign up to receive notification of recent decisions; Mooncake, an event notification system; Objective8, a policy drafting tool; Consul, a decision-making tool; Your Priorities, a citizen social networking tool; Agora Voting, a voting tool; Freecoin, a blockchain reward system; and Stonecutter, an authentication and identity management tool. You can find demos of all the tools here. Spinning off from D-Cent is Yetta, a digital currently, which launched last fall. The D-Cent Twitter feed is active.
This is a master stroke on the part of both Microsoft (which owns LinkedIn and Lynda) and eCampus Ontario. The news is that eCampus Ontario will "provide all students, instructors and staff at member institutions with access to the full suite of Lynda.com content at no cost for three years to September 21, 2020." This is a huge data-collection opportunity for Microsoft, not to mention the benefit from a million subscriptions, which if purchased individually would cost more than $250 million a year. Are we going to see off-setting savings in what the province pays for higher education? Even with a deep discount (no financial details were announced) it still adds up to a huge amount of money. But: this is something that benefits only those in Ontario who can already afford college or university tuition. I would have preferred to see the money spent on local developers who would create materials to benefit everybody.
This is a preview of a Collaboration Nation survey that will be published this summer. The preview finding being released is that educators tend to blame problems in collaboration on the student rather than on factors related to the class or the school system. "Educators may be guilty of the 'fundamental attribution error,'" write the authors. Worse, "educators tend to respond to students with anger and punishment rather than empathy and support when they believe students are to blame for their performance." They suggest that educators need to provide "explicit skill-building experiences" to support collaboration-based programs.
"It’s hard to understand why an author would still cite the preprint years after it has been formally published in a journal," writes Phil Davis. He suggests that preprints may have been retracted, corrected, or that "citing earlier versions of a paper may promote incorrect or invalid scientific work." But the real problem (in his eyes) is that "a citation to the bioRxiv is a citation that cannot be counted towards a journal’s Impact Factor and associated metrics." My response is, who cares? I will continue to cite preprints for one simple reason: when I provide a URL, I want readers to find a paper, not a subscription paywall.
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