I lead the Learning and Performance Support Systems program at the National Research Council, a multi-year effort to develop personal learning technology and learning analytics. I am one of the originators of the Massive Open Online Course, write about online and networked learning, have authored learning management and content syndication software, and am the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily.


  • Association of Medical Educators of Europe (AMEE) E-Learning Symposium, Glasgow, Scotland, September 6, 2015.

  • Ghent, Belgium, March 30, 2015.

  • Chang School Talks 2015, Ryerson University, February 23, 2015.

  • Hackademia, Online, to Brazil, March 16, 2015.

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How to Load a Website in Firefox’s Sidebar


For various reasons I've been looking at how to create and open sidebars, modals, and other embedded content windows. Now maybe it's true that the whole world uses mobile phones these days, but I still see desktops and laptops (not to mention tablets) as more important in the realm of online learning. And these, I think, will need to support content mixing a lot better than they do. (It reminds me of the days back in the 1980s working on my Atari computer where the main thing for me was to be able to have a split editing window so I could move content back and forth.) I keep hearing about how impossible it is but I see stuff like this drag-and-drop sidebar and I know it's not.

Today: 253 Total: 253 Lori Kaufman, How-to-Geek, 2016/05/02 [Direct Link]

Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved


Good article making a point with which I am in full agreement: new technology won't save traditional media because traditional media isn't offering content people want. Note: language warning, especially at the point where they describe the quality of existing media content. Where newspapers and television could get away with very low-quality coverage (not to mention biased coverage and outright propaganda) in the days where they were the only source of content, now they have to provide much better content in order to compete. And they're not set up to do this. "Compelling voices and stories, real and raw talent, new ideas that actually serve or delight an audience, brands that have meaning and ballast; these are things that matter in the next age of media."

Today: 227 Total: 227 Joshua Topolsky, Medium, 2016/05/02 [Direct Link]

Get Rid of Grade Levels: A Personalized Learning Recipe for Public School Districts


This is an interesting effort that is well worth following over the course of the next year. A school district in South Dakota is eliminating grades in favour of personal learning. To support this, they have developed a model incorporating alternative learning methodologies for active, collaborative and learner-driven learning. Instead of classes they have things like 'the daily dish', a meeting where learners plan their day around the on things happening in each of the studios, and 'CT Circles', "critical thinking discussion groups to help learners deepen their understanding of specific learning." I hope that when they review the outcomes they don't just look at standardized tests (which of course still presume classes and grade levels) and take a more all-encompassing look at student progress. I also hope they give it more than just a year.

Today: 239 Total: 239 Travis Lape, EdSurge, 2016/04/29 [Direct Link]

Why World of Warcraft won't let fans play their own game


This item shows the dangers of platform dependence. World of Warcraft (WoW) is a popular computer game. People buy the software, but it requires a web server to act as a platform for in-game interactions with other people. As time went by, new versions of WoW came out. Normally you could just play the older version of a game if you want, but in this case the original WoW server was shut down, making all those computer games worthless. An independent version of the server called Nostralius was set up, but the owners of WoW ordered it shut down, claiming it was piracy. So now the user have no legal way of playing their own purchased versions of the game. Sure, it's just a game. But it still represents millions of dollars of value simply obliterated because the company wants to push a new version of the software.

Today: 232 Total: 232 Lucy Schouten, Christian Science Monitor, 2016/04/29 [Direct Link]

Peer review appears to be a poor predictor of impact


I've spent a lot of time on peer review panels. Not surprisingly, the top selections have an impact, the low selections do not, but in that great area in the middle (and where all the debate occurs) "only ~1 percent of the variance in productivity could be accounted for by percentile ranking, suggesting that all of the effort currently spent in peer review has a minimal impact in stratifying meritorious applications relative to what would be expected from a random ranking." In other words, we would get the same results if we flipped a coin. I'm sure the same is the case for publication peer reviews. The full study is here.

Today: 163 Total: 665 David Kent, University Affairs, 2016/04/27 [Direct Link]

You Don't Need a Makerspace To Have a Space for Makers


Reading this article reminded me of the day my father and I built a baseball diamond on the front lawn of our ballpark-sized front lawn. Sure, he did the heavy work, but I was involved in the design and made sure there was a pole for the flag (which would fly over innumerable baseball games through the decades that followed). Not everybody needs to be a full-on design thinker the way I am - the world also needs people who do things like take measurements, check facts, and apply rigor. But everybody probably needs some, and people like me need a lot.And, as John Spencer says, "All we needed was a little freedom, some encouragement, and a few random supplies. And time. Tons and tons of time"

Today: 105 Total: 507 John Spencer, The Creative Classroom, 2016/04/29 [Direct Link]

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
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