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If you use Google Reader or publish a blog or website RSS feed, then your worlkd have been turned upside down by Google's announcement it is closing Google Reader and by the weakening of RSS support on services like Blogger (and in browsere interfaces, and its outright elimination from services like Twitter and Google+). Sue Waters has a good guide for you, to help you cope. As a community, we'll have to grapple with this more deeply as time goes by. But for now, here's what you can do over the summer. I tried out one recommended resource, the Old Reader, today. "The Old Reader is designed to be a direct replacement of Google Reader." It was pretty good, though I find it interesting to note how any change of interface can feel so jarring.
I have always thought people should comment on their own site and link to or reference others. But the internet developed differently, with people (and companies) trying to draw users into theoir own sites (the better to show them advertising). Hence, the discussion list and/or comment list became a web staple. Sometimes - in places like the WELL - this worked out opretty well. Most of the time, though, unless you are activkly moderating comments, you get littered with the refuse of online activity. I recently closed comments on Half an Hour because, once I passed the million views mark, I crossed some sort of spam threshhold (which cut through Google's flimsy spam filters like a hot knife through butter). OLDaily is protected through obscurity, but even here, I have to watch what gets posted. And women tech writers face a whole range of issues I can't even bear to describe. So I am totally sympathetic with Audrey Watters shutting down comments. She can read my comments on her article here, on my site, where my comments belong, as she alway has.
Tony Hirst is feeling the same sort of discomfort with the modern Google that I am. Day after day, Google has been making announcements that make it less open and more like a content farm. It's a bunch of little thinghs, like reducing data access in spreadsheets, weakinging map export data, dropping support for CalDav (and incidentally, dropping calendar Sync), dropping support for XMPP instant messaging, and of course, its increasing distance from RSS. "It’s not just any one of these things, taken on its own merits," says Hirst, "it’s all of them taken together... 'Embrace, extend, extinguish' ... where have we heard that before?"
I totally agree with D'Arcy Norman's comments on timeline views of online course discussion metadata. And I liked the comments that came up in the dicussion after:
- the coding-data analysis may not be necessary to learn much of what can be inferred through more automatable metadata analysis...
- having better coding-data analysis tools may not be as awesome as it sounds, as there is the potential for having nasty feedback loops if the discussion analysis is available to participants during the discussion itself.
Slidesa and PDFs of Norman's presentation are available.
Ignatia reports: "Last week the University of Edinburgh released their first report on their experiences gained after having organized 6 MOOC courses via Coursera. In this 34 page report they provide insights on organizing a Coursera MOOC, the success rates, their lessons learned, and how they went about in setting up the courses." The report is practical, covering governance process, project structure, the designing and building of the MOOCs, participant demographics, activity data, and measurements of success. Interestingly, the report authors observe, "if the number of MOOCs available rises significantly, as new platform providers appear and bring with them even more MOOCs to add to those already in planning, then we would expect our overall enrolments to fall unless we are very active to compensate."
This is nice. "Whether you’re an A-level student, teacher or you’re just interested in the subject www.TheFaculties.org provides you with free, short films of university lecturers speaking on topics taken from the A-level curriculum." The materials are licensed under cReative Commons (By-NC-SA).
Actually, I think we should call it regrifting. Because like Jim Groom, when I saw Georgia Tech was charging $7000 for a new Masters in Computing Science MOOC I didn't think it was prticularly low-cost, despite the press (I guess you have to compare it with U.S.-style pricing, which would put the same program at an utterly unreasonable $40K). You also have to be admitted, of course, to be allowed to view the collection of videos and quizzes Georgia will be lining up for you. Groom points out, "You charge $7000 a year tuition with the idea you’ll have a 2-year cohort of 10,000 students. If you add that up, you get $140 million. That’s massive, especially when you’re only hiring eight new faculty to educate those 10,000 students." Related: Alastair Creelman writes, "many fear that MOOC consortia will soon reveal their true colours once they've captured the mass student base and are fearful of the way we are being won over by the lure of 'free'."
So recently the Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) provider terminated its cloud database service, giving customers a week to move their data. Being a paid customer did not help; it just gave you an extra week to prepare. So it's important as this article suggests to have a data migration plan. "What's your cloud back-up plan? Frequent data dumps?" But it also raises the question of depending on cloud hosting vendors in general. "If you had the chance to migrate your end-of-life SaaS application to an on-premises, open-source deployment, would you do it?"
Links and Resources(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)
(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)
Recent Popular Articles
The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
About Stephen Downes
Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".
At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.
Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.
Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.
I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.
Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.
This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.