Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
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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 at conferences around the world.

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Stephen Downes,, Casselman Canada

Clear the way: Engaging your network without burning out


I'm not completely on board with this characterization of networks (and especially the idea of "a clear sense of shared problems and shared purpose", which to me characterizes collaboration within groups, not networks) but beyond that this article is a valuable look at working out loud - it "requires people to change habits, to take risks, to be willing to share drafts and avoid perfection. This behavior flies in the face of the old adage, 'knowledge is power', and asks for an openness we are not all accustomed to." How do we know this is working? How do we know people are interacting in a fruitful productive manner?

Today: 76 Total: 397 Christina Bowen, Naomi Joy Smith, Networkweaver, 2023/12/08 [Direct Link]

New white paper launch: Generative AI in Scholarly Communications


Another day, another AI ethics framework. This document (15 page PDF) looks at the use of AI in scholarly publishing. According to the document, "serious questions exist regarding intellectual property rights, confidentiality, privacy, and security." The current document draws from previously authored guidelines, and there are references to some of them at the end. Guidelines are provided for authors (don't use AI beyond basic assistance), editors (don't rely on AI reviews, and don't use AI for things like plagiarism checks), third-party vendors (basic AI use only), and readers (don't upload document to AI platforms). The document is quite prescriptive; while I as a reader appreciate the proposal as advice and as a perspective, I would not not defer to the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) as authoritative. They have, if you will, a vested interest in this and related issues.

Today: 72 Total: 296 Angela STM Member, STM, 2023/12/08 [Direct Link]

If Creators Suing AI Companies Over Copyright Win, It Will Further Entrench Big Tech


Here's the scenario, according to Mike Masnick: "there will be one (possibly two) giant entities who will be designated as the 'collection society' with whom AI companies will have to negotiate or to just purchase a 'training license'... but, given the enormity of the amount of content, and the structure of this kind of thing, the cost will be extremely high for the AI companies, meaning that only the biggest of big tech will be able to afford it." For my own part, I find it funny seeing the very same people who have been so supportive of open access being at the same time allowing AI projects to use that content. The only way we get open AI is to have open content.

Today: 67 Total: 287 Mike Masnick, TechDirt, 2023/12/08 [Direct Link]

Vol. 7 No. 2 (2023): Special Issue: The Games People Play: Exploring Technology Enhanced Learning Scholarship & Generative Artificial Intelligence | Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning


This is a special issue of the Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning entitled "The Games People Play: Exploring Technology Enhanced Learning Scholarship & Generative Artificial Intelligence." The title sounds like they just crammed a bunch of unrelated topics together, and in fact the issue centres almost exclusively on generative AI, though beyond that there isn't really an overarching theme. They range from position papers, such as Abby McGuire on co-authoring with chatGPT and Bonnie Stewart on what educators need to know to short reports such as Hazel Farrell's pseudo-study on student engagement (not to be missed) and Aodán Farrelly having a chat with an AI about hybrid and hyflex learning to a couple of book reviews, including a totally out of place review of a book about Flatland.

Today: 79 Total: 308 Leigh Wolf, Tom Farrelly, Orna Farrell, Fiona Concannon, Register Login Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2023/12/08 [Direct Link]

Digital Pedagogy Toolbox: Digital Literacy Outcomes


This is a brief outline of the Digital Citizenship Toolkit and its follow-up the DIY Toolkit for Digital Literacy. It advises instructors, "We recommend adding digital learning outcomes to your course learning outcomes," and suggests "drawing from B.C.'s Post-Secondary Digital Literacy Framework." The authors write, "Our DIY Toolkit for Digital Literacy serves as both a guide and a call to action for educators and students to navigate the digital landscape collaboratively with ethics and awareness."

Today: 69 Total: 302 Jessica Gemella, Anwen Burk, BCcampus, 2023/12/08 [Direct Link]

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Dec 09, 2023 12:37 p.m.

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