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Effectiveness of Integrating MOOCs in Traditional Classrooms for Undergraduate Students
Maria Joseph Israel, The International Review of Research in Open, Distance Learning (IRRODL), Oct 05, 2015

This paper examines the use of MOOCs in a classroom setting (a phenomenon called 'wrapped MOOCs', though I haven't heard the expression used recently). "Students in blended MOOCs in traditional classrooms performed almost equal or slightly better than students in only face-to-face class environment, no significant evidence of negative effects for any subgroups in the hybrid model, lower levels of student satisfaction, and limited participation in discussion forums provided by MOOCs." Which seems to be a bit of a wash. But then again, the primary use of the MOOC is not deployment in a traditional classroom setting.

The 'no-tech' school where screens are off limits – even at home
Sally Weale, The Guardian, Oct 05, 2015

Doug Belshaw shared this item this week (in his newly and inappropriately named 'Thought Shrapnel' newsletter). It's a paean from the Guardian to a school that has banned all screens and electronics at home and in the classroom. The parents are concerned about the impact of technology; I would be far more concerned about the lack of it. But don't take my word for it. Belshaw also recommends "this eviscerating takedown by Laura Hilliger." She writes, "Teaching kids how to think about technology and be digital citizens is not going to become outdated. There are literacies to be explored, we have to teach people how to live and participate with new technologies. In 50 years the only thing that’s going to be outdated is the idea that you can get by in this world without some basic understandings about tech, networks, human communications."

Towards an inclusive global knowledge society
Patrick Blessinger, University World News, Oct 05, 2015

I think this assertion is correct: "a chief aim of higher education should be to cultivate higher degrees of personal agency within students. As a result, the demands placed on higher education institutions have become much more complex." The reasons for this are myriad, but stem essentially from the fact that it is not possible to identify a single set of competencies (beyond the very basics) that will ensure successful lives for graduates. The environment just changes too often and too quickly. And I agree with this: "access to and participation in meaningful lifelong educational opportunities is one of the chief human rights issues of our generation."

Receive Files into Your Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive
Tony Vincent, Learning in Hand, Oct 05, 2015

I've used this service before and will probably use it again. In a nutshell, it enables you to create a place where people can send files to our cloud storage accounts (like, say, Dropbox) without having to give out credentials to your cloud storage account. They simply send to DropItToMe and this service sends it to your cloud storage.

MOOCs: A Toolbox for Course Designers?
Jim Shimabukuro, educational technology & change, Oct 05, 2015

This makes me happy: "The most significant breakthrough is anywhere-anytime learning, which automatically eliminates the space and time barriers that traditional classrooms represent. Completely online courses already do this, but MOOCs are rattling the concrete and steel infrastructure that has defined course development in higher ed for the last century.... MOOCs are a liberating force, adding options to their palette that they couldn’t imagine just a few years ago." It comes in the context of an interview with FutureLearn CEO Jonathan Moules.

Innovation in Your Classroom
European Schoolnet, Oct 05, 2015

This is less a report and more a list of activities and resources available to teachers in Europe to foster innovation in their classrooms. The document lists a number of online courses, webinars, and teacher communities such as Scientix - "that supports the exchanges of ideas, practices and experiences essential for the teaching of STEM to be fresh, relevant and engaging."

A tumor stole every memory I had. This is what happened when it all came back
Demetri Kofinas, Quartz, Oct 05, 2015

This is an excellent article in its own right, but additionally offers an interesting glimpse into the formation and recovery of memories. What I found most interesting was that memories can be formed without their being perceived (of course, it takes a misbehaving tumour to make this happen), and additionally, that when the memories are finally rediscovered, they're "a type of freak-show journey through a wasteland of aberrant experience over which I had no control" where one memory follows another over and over until the associative trail is exhausted. I think remembering and experiencing are two sides of the same phenomenon, and this account reinforces that belief.

Here are the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2015
Jane Hart,, Oct 05, 2015

Jane Hart routinely surveys educational technologists to find their favoured toolss. This is the list for 2015 (or, at least, this version of the list for 2015). "For the 7th year running Twitter is the  No 1 tool on the list, although this year it is very closely followed by YouTube, and once again, the list is dominated by free online tools and services. I can also see some interesting new trends in the tools that are being used for both personal learning and for creating learning content and experiences for others."

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

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:

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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.

Vision Statement

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.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar

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