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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. Through a thirty-five 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. 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.


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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

    Reusing Educational Assets


    Tony Hirst revisits this concept in the context of a potential internal Open University project and finds that the same old questions resurface once again. "A question I keep coming back to, time after time after time after time after time, is the question of what assets are actually reusable?" And the answer is, it's not things that are easy to create (like, say, 500 words of text), but things that are hard to create, like good glossary items, images and diagrams, equations, and the like. But sometimes the effort to create reusability is greater than the effort it replaces. Creating (or fixing) resource metadata to make it discoverable, for example, is time-consuming. Finally, he notes, the resources need to be editable (easy for text, harder for images).

    Today: 9 Total: 27 Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, 2021/09/06 [Direct Link]

    Re-imagining Wittgenstein’s Hut at Skjolden


    Wittgenstein resonates with me. So when I encountered the phrase "Walk criss-cross over the landscape" attributed to him in a Twitter tagline I felt compelled to go looking for it. It's a paraphrase, as it turns out, but the search unearthed this gem, a description of a trek to find Wittgenstein's hut in the Norwegian wilderness, and an attempt to unravel aspects of his thinking in the process. They both speak to me. From the

    Today: 32 Total: 241 Mark Rikey, Thinking Place, 2021/09/03 [Direct Link]

    Yet Analytics announces new Open Source LRS


    According to the announcement, "it is time for a new open source LRS purpose-built from the ground up to reflect what has developed as best practice and business need in the enterprise learning and training domain." Additionally, "SQL LRS will integrate via Yet’s xAPI Reporting templates to the common business intelligence platforms including Google Data Studio, Kibana, Power BI, and Tableau." Release is expected at the end of September.

    Today: 32 Total: 158 Yet Analytics, 2021/09/03 [Direct Link]

    The Cult of Quality Matters


    Jesse Stommel and Martha Burtis argue that "stock, prescriptive models for online learning exacerbate problematic power dynamics and structural inequities, and they deny students, faculty, and staff the agency necessary for the work of education." They make a good case, and what they argue is probably true. I would argue, though, that the argument against quality metrics should go further. First, it's not clear that the metrics employed are conducive to quality. Second, the detail and complexity of the metrics create barriers against the creation of new works. Third, a focus on the quality of resources distracts from other matters, such as access to resources.

    Today: 36 Total: 176 Jesse Stommel, Martha Burtis, Hybrid Pedagogy, 2021/09/03 [Direct Link]

    Eternal Change for No Energy: A Time Crystal Finally Made Real


    Absolutely the best headline to appear while I was on my break had to do with the development of time crystals. It's an outgrowth from the concept of spin glass (another delicious invention) wherein the material cycles through several stable states without consuming any energy. "It has order and perfect stability despite being in an excited and evolving state." Anyhow, a Google team created one on a quantum processor that "employs a time-reversal protocol", and another team reports having created one in a diamond. Now I admit, this news has nothing to do with online learning. But it's an example of the sort of thing it's useful to keep an eye on, just in case.

    Today: 35 Total: 147 Natalie Wolchover, Quanta, 2021/09/03 [Direct Link]



    These people spammed me asking for a link to a course review on one of my posts. Not gonna happen. But I am going to link to their main site, as it's an instance of what I've been expecting for some time - an independent ranking of online courses, based on user feedback, from multiple providers. Now the ranking process needs considering: it's based on what they say are "18 factors, including freshness, student feedback and content diversity." But we don't see all those individual rankings. And many (if not most) of the courses don't have scores at all (like this one). So this site has a long way to go before being anything useful.

    Today: 34 Total: 162 2021/09/03 [Direct Link]

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