Stephen Downes works with the Digital Technologies Research Centre at the National Research Council of Canada specializing in new instructional media and personal learning technology. His degrees are in Philosophy, specializing in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has taught for the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, Grand Prairie Regional College and Assiniboine Community College. His background includes expertise in journalism and media, both as a prominent blogger and as founder of the Moncton Free Press online news cooperative.  He is one of the originators of the first Massive Open Online Course, has published frequently about online and networked learning, has authored learning management and content syndication software, and is the author of the widely read e-learning newsletter OLDaily. Through a thirty year career Downes has contributed pioneering work in the fields of online learning games, learning objects and metadata, podcasting, and open educational resources. Recent projects include:gRSShopper, a personal learning environment; E-Learning 3.0, a course on new e-learning technologies; research and development in the use of distributed ledger technology in learning applications; and research on ethics, analytics and the duty of care. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.


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Coronavirus / Covid19 quick reference kit, to take your class or conference online cheaply and in a hurry:

Creating an Online Class or Conference - Quick Tech Guide

Can universities rebuild students’ trust in data?


"After many students’ experiences this summer," writes Chris Thomson, "I hope universities will look at ways to work collaboratively to use their data ethically and with transparency while also considering lived experiences." After the auto-grading fiasco over the summer, they had better. As the article notes, this year's cohort in the UK experienced algorithms and data-driven decision-making as a potent and personal issue. And I think universities need to rebuild trust in numerous areas, not just data. They have come across this year as not caring about student well-being, as valuing tuition revenue more than public health, and as slow and reluctant to adapt to new technology. Of course, to the extent these are true they have always been true, but like so many things this year, they are being seen in a new light.

Today: Total: Chris Thomson, JISC, 2020/09/18 [Direct Link]

Unwanted Expenses for Bloggers: Instagram May Charge Fees for Links in Captions


This is another one of those cases that leaves me wondering why anyone would use the service (for the record: I don't). The story is a bit speculative, but is based on a patent application. "It seems that Instagram will allow users to add links to their posts but a pop-up will appear asking if the 'user wants to activate the link' for a fee." I put items like this into a category of "finding an alternative to advertising."

Today: Total: Sangalang Kristine, The Blog Herald, 2020/09/18 [Direct Link]

How Do You Build an API Server?


An application programming interface (API) allows one computer program to access data from another. It defines how the request is made, what authentication (if any) is required, and the format of the data. This article briefly describes how to build one using a Node.js application called Express. This is essentially server-side Javascript. The data can be accessed by a remote service or even by Javascript running on your web browser. Though the article doesn't mention it, cloud providers are offering API Gateways. These sit in between your API and the open web and offer "features such as rate limiting, authentication and key validation." This is all relevant to be because gRSShopper is based on a set of APIs, which means I (or you!) can redesign the front end anyway we want.

Today: 54 Total: 54 Anthony Heddings, Cloud Savvy IT, 2020/09/18 [Direct Link]

Finding the Silver Lining in 2020 — 10 Developments in Online and Remote Education That Make Us Hopeful


Bryan Alexander recommended this article on Twitter, and I agree that it's a nice recap of some of the silver linings from our current Covid pandemic. For example (all quoted): Internet and technology access has become a top priority in education. Remote learning ensures that students who could not physically make it to a campus on a given day (missed bus, sick family member, childcare) will have an opportunity to learn. Assessment is getting a big shakeup. Educators are being given a lot of new freedom to “explore what works”. Some kids are actually thriving in remote learning and online learning environments.

Today: 66 Total: 66 Maria Andersen, Coursetune, 2020/09/18 [Direct Link]

Apple Would Have to Share Payment Tech Under Rules Mulled by EU


Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in your phone to enable things like Apple Pay and Google Pay. It's very short range - on my Pixel 4 I have to hold the phone right up to the reader and squeeze the sides. These RFID readers are everywhere here in Canada; I haven't had cash in my wallet since March. It never occurred to me that the manufacturer would limit its use to, well, itself, but I didn't count on Apple, which won't allow any other service to use it. According to Bloomberg, the EU is mulling a requirement that would force Apple to open its platform. But Apple is lagging globally; as this report notes, it's not yet available in India. "Samsung and Google do not take a cut on the interchange fees for payments made on their NFC payments apps, but Apple does, and disallows other NFC payment apps on Apple devices." This is why I stay far far away from anything Apple.

Today: 67 Total: 67 Natalia Drozdiak, Alexander Weber, Bloomberg, 2020/09/18 [Direct Link]

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