Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Dec 31, 2016

Every year at this time I award the Downes Prize to the most-read post of those I've posted some time in the previous 365 days. This year that means any one of 1288 total posts from hundreds of authors around the world. The award is intended to be an objective measure, not based on popularity contests, campaigns, or any other such thing, but reflective of actual interest in the item on the part of OLDaily readers..

Without further ado,

This year's Downes Prize is awarded to:


Michael Caulfield, for New Directions in Open Education published in Hapgood, Oct 10, 2016 


In 2016 we stopped talking about the technology for a bit and started talking about the implications of it. It was a good conversation to have. It relates to many of the themes of the year - the commercialization of MOOCs, the rise of fake news, life and living in the cloud, and the the meaning of learning and our place in it. Caulfield's article, a keynote given at Metropolitan State’s TLTS conference in Denver, CO., touches all of these things and more.

In the process, Caulfield delivers an incisive look not only at the future of open learning, but also of the nature and objectives of open learning itself. Open learning is not just the redistribution of a Yale lesson or a Stanford MOOC. But why not? It's based in "the human core of open," he explains. It's based in the students' individual needs for belonging, relevance, and diversity of experience. Replaying an open lecture doesn't contribute to these: in fact, in some ways, it undermines them. Through concepts such as loosely coupled classrooms and choral explanations, Caulfield positions open educational resources not only as enabling access to learning, but also enabling a new pedagogy.

This is a genuine and deep contribution to the field, well-recognized by readers of OLDaily, and hence, recognized with this year's Downes Prize.



Honourable Mentions:


The empty brain - Robert Epstein, Aeon, May 18, 2016


Teaching and Learning in a “Post-truth” World - Andrew Campbell, Canadian Education Association (CEA), Nov 03, 2016


6 Reasons Platforms Fail - Marshall W. Van AlstyneGeoffrey G. ParkerSangeet Paul Choudary, Harvard Business Review, Mar 31, 2016


Theories for Learning with Emerging Technologies - Terry Anderson, Emergence, Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations, Jun 06, 2016 


How Google And Others Are Plotting The Revenge Of The Web App - Jared Newman, Fast Company, Sept 10, 2016 


So You Want to Learn Physics... - Susan J. Fowler, Oct 17, 2016


Sci-Hub, LibGen, and Total Information Awareness - Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, Mar 21, 2016


The jobs of the future – and two skills you need to get them - Simon Torkington, World Economic Forum, Sept 11, 2016 


Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy - Trebor Scholz, Rosa Luxemberg Siftung, Jan 17, 2016


Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources - Michele Molnar, Ed Week, Feb 15, 2016 


How to Learn Effectively in Medical School: Test Yourself, Learn Actively, and Repeat in Intervals - Marc Augustin, PubMed Central | Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, Jan 20, 2016 


A Genuine Science Of Learning - Keith Devlin, Edge, Dec 29, 2016


Meet the Robin Hood of Science - Simon Oxenham, CC BY, Feb 11, 2016


Micro-Barriers Loom Large for First-Generation Students - Eric Johnson, Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 01, 2016



Previous Winners


In 2015, the Downes Prize was awarded to Alaa A. AlDahdouh, António J. Osório and Susana Caires for Understanding knowledge network, learning and connectivism published in theInternational Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.


In 2014, the Downes Prize was awarded to Matt Bower, Gregor Kennedy, Barney Dalgarno, Mark J. W. Lee, Jacqueline Kenney for Blended Synchronous Learning Handbook


In 2013, the Downes Prize was awarded to Tony Bates for Discussing design models for hybrid/blended learning and the impact on the campus


In 2012, the prize was awarded to Clayton R. Wright, for his series of posts annotating educational technology conferences.


In 2011, the prize was awarded to the Consortium for School Networking for  Acceptable Use Policies in Web 2.0 & Mobile Era.


In 2010, the prize was awarded to JISC for Effective Assessment in a Digital Age.


Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 7:42 p.m.