Stephen Downes 史蒂芬·道恩斯

Knowledge, Learning, Community

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Stephen Downes,, Casselman Canada

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So you want to create an online class independent of a school


Good list of potential resources for people looking to offer classes without relying on institutional support (and especially the institutional LMS). I probably wouldn't have embedded tweets into the article, if only because their inclusion is less about the information and more about the SEO. Still, that shouldn't deter you from reading it. Image: Northeastern.

Today: Total: Bryan Alexander, 2022/05/18 [Direct Link]

Northern Post-secondary Education


Alex Usher summarizes and comments on the the final report (108 page PDF) from the Task Force on Northern Post-Secondary Education released six weeks ago. The task force "was mandated to look at ways to improve post-secondary education in northern Canada." The problems are legion, as prospective student face high costs, little to no bandwidth, a legacy of residential schooling and ongoing intergenerational traumas, overcrowding, and more. Much more (the barriers to success are summarized on pages 13 to 21). The calls to action include "recognition and use of Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being," "local delivery and access," "wrap-around support," "equitable access," and more. Usher complains, "what is missing from the report is any kind of analysis of a) what education in the North already costs, b) what any new investments to address the many obvious areas of priority need might cost or c) – and this is the big one – how various institutions in different parts of the North might work together to lower costs." Perhaps - but I think it's a bit of an ask to find ways to spend less on a system that is already seriously underfunded.

Today: Total: Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, 2022/05/18 [Direct Link]

BNH Advisor


Just because it came up in a discussion today: "BNH Advisor is a decision support tool. Advisor can be used to determine the most effective and efficient media for a given situation." The website says "Advisor preserves training integrity by quickly identifying jobs, tasks, courses, activities, lessons and objectives that can be impacted by a change to a mission, system, policy or guide." It appears to be used mostly in military contexts. Related (and co-authored by BNH and CAE): Increasing XR technology's ROI through media analysis (14 page PDF).

Today: 22 Total: 22 BNH Expert Software, 2022/05/18 [Direct Link]

Class Disrupted S3 E18: Revisiting the Promise and Potential of Charter Schools 30 Years Later


Once you get past the two authors gushing with praise for each other this is actually an interesting and in-depth discussion of the 30-year old history of charter schools. It's an innovation that has frankly not lived up to the promises that were made, especially with regard to student success, and which in many ways was co-opted to serve other agendas, but which offered room for innovation and exploration - albeit at the cost of damaging the public school system by draining resources and expertise from it.

Today: 27 Total: 27 Michael B. Horn, Diane Tavenner, The 74, 2022/05/18 [Direct Link]

The history of the internet is repeatedly reduced to the story of the singular Arpanet, but BBSs were just as important, if not more


This shorter article summarizes a longer article in Wired, which may or may not be paywalled for you, and that in turn excerpts from a book, because that's how the publicity machine works. It's a story that has been told many times before, but is worth hearing if it's new to you, and that's the story of what the internet was like before there was an internet. It's the world of bulletin board services (BBS) and communication networks like FidoNet (not the phone company). I was a part of that world, hosting my own Athabaska BBS (on MaximusBBS) and visiting other services as much as I could. There were also commercial online information services (AOL, GEnie, Prodigy, Compuserv, Delphi) that were swallowed by the internet when it became popular. But those were for people who could pay $6 per hour (plus long distance).

Today: 47 Total: 47 Danie van der Merwe, GadgeteerZA, 2022/05/18 [Direct Link]

Explainable Artificial Intelligence in education


This paper introduces "a framework, referred to as XAI-ED, that considers six key aspects in relation to explainability for studying, designing and developing educational AI tools" where explainability is presented in terms of fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics (FATE). It then illustrates the application of XAI-ED in four case studies of adaptive educational systems (AESs) that use data about students and learning processes. The framework is fairly straightforward, describing several facets of each of the six aspects, but the real value of the paper is in the case studies, where we get a good look at these four applications: RiPPLE, FUMA, AcaWriter and TeamWork Analytcis.

Today: 28 Total: 137 HassanKhosravi, et al., Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, 2022/05/17 [Direct Link]

Ethics, Analytics and the Duty of Care

This MOOC covers all applications of analytics in learning, surveys criticisms, describes ethical approaches, and examines the ethics of analytics with a view to recent ethical theory.


This paper presents an overview of connectivism, offering a connectivist account of learning and a detailed analysis of how learning occurs in networks.
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

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. Downes is a member of NRC's Research Ethics Board. He is a popular keynote speaker and has spoken in three dozen countries on six continents.

  • The Future of Online Learning 2020, April 28, 2020.

  • TSupporting Open Educational Resources, January 7, 2022.

  • The Agile Approach to Learning Design, Online Educa Berlin, December 7, 2015.

  • Your Instant Decentralized Learning Community, April 6, 2021.

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

  • LMS vs PLE, July 10, 2012.

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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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Last Updated: May 18, 2022 4:30 p.m.