Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
I think this post serves as a useful caution. While we are quick to cheer programs like Google Print because it opens access to content, the author warns that Google's program is about commercialism, not content. "Google is all about capturing and monetizing the eyeballs of consumers, not getting better content to students." As an example of this, notes the author, take not at the "barrage" of advertising that accompanies any Google service. So higher education leaders should encourage Google to offer "greater access to learning materials in a non-commercial format." Or, they should abandon the Google initiative (and do it themselves). I think that while a good point is raised here, what we say before Google was an even more blatantly commercial publishing in a form that posed a real barrier to online readers. Authors and higher education institutions did very little (cases like OpenCourseWare excepted) to make their content available; many even tried to cash in on it. What Google is offering is better than what we had - and while I certainly agree with the criticism of Google, I am nonetheless not willing to go back to the days where I would have to travel to a university library to access academic content. No indeed.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 22, 2023 1:48 p.m.

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