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New and opinions from the world of instructional technology and new learning media

A feed by Stephen Downes


In Open Access’s Long Shadow – A view from the Humanities

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-22 20:32

This is an intelligent and very well informed discussion of the history of open access (dating to the 1800s, when 'open acess' referred to the freedom to browse the stacks in a library) and some of the points of discussion pro and con, especially from the perspective of the humanities. Though the author doesn't take a point of view, this article offers probably the best argument against open access I've seen: "the reason why open access is being pushed forward is primarily to serve the interests of the economy, and not for the benefit of the public good... this is problematic because this process takes place in a context of commercial enclosure. Scientific literature and data ought to be given out for free, while knowledge produced under patents, or subject to commercial exploitation, is exempt from the requirements of open science... that open access is undermining the value of intellectual labour and dispossessing academics of their work."


GitHub Adds LMS Integration for More Efficient Workflows

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-22 19:07

Keeping in mind that GitHub is now owned by Microsoft... "GitHub Education helps students, teachers, and schools access the tools and events they need to shape the next generation of software development." To that end, as this story reports, "GitHub announced integrations between GitHub Classroom and popular learning management systems Google Classroom, Instructure Canvas, D2L Brightspace and Moodle, enabling the automatic syncing of students from the LMS platform to GitHub Classroom." There's more in this GitHub blog post from last week.


A critique of pure learning and what artificial neural networks can learn from animal brains

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-22 16:16

There's a lot to like in this article. It looks at animal learning (including human learning from the perspective of a computer scientist, and then tries to apply the lessons learned back to artificial neural network (ANN) theory. Where the article gets interesting is where it looks deeply at just what constitutes learning, the role of experience in learning, and how (interestingly) experience shapes even innate knowledge through the long-term learning mechanism of evolution and natural selection. What are the lessons to be drawn? Pay more attention to network architecture, and look for underlying processes or skills that can be applied in multiple cognitive domains.


Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-22 15:58

I passed on this article at first, but then this week I was searching for flights and found Google providing its own travel agent service allowing you to book flights with Google ("Google will securely pass your traveller and payment details to the airline"). It was nice - Google had all my information and had pre-filled all the forms except my destination and flight selection. But should Google be able to insert its services between yourself and your search target? What would we say if, say, 'Google University' offered to book courses with selected partners to people searching 'learn philosophy'? What about job search firms? See also ZDNet, Digital Information World, Search Engine Land, SparkToro.


Handshake for All

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-21 21:55

So how's this for a way to introduce a company in an article: "Despite revelations that fraudsters have been able to create faux internships on Handshake, and students raising privacy concerns, the online service has spread to more than 800 institutions, where college career centers mainly use it to connect students to potential employers " The main point of the story is that Handshake is now available for all, but that seems to be overshadowed by the sentence discrediting the company in the first paragraph.


You Won't See Quantum Internet Coming

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-21 21:39

It might be more approrpriate to call it the quantum-proof internet, because the idea here isn't something like a quantum-computer-powered internet, but rather, an internet that uses security protocols that are resistant to quantum computers, if and when they arrive. "Today’s encryption schemes would not be secure to quantum attacks, thanks to a quantum algorithm called Shor’s algorithm... the fact that it could exist, in theory, means that it’s time for cryptographers to devise a new way to encrypt data so that we’re prepared."


It’s a Long Game After All

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-21 21:26

Reading this post feels a bit like reading one side of a conversation. David Wiley writes of responses to his recent post about the role of practice in learning, but with only four comments, and no links to other responses, we are left guessing a bit, especially about the responses that "called the discussion of practice unimaginative and accused me of underestimating the pedagogical change that OER is capable of catalyzing." Wiley's response to this criticism is to point out that "faculty can’t re-imagine their pedagogy in the context of the affordances of OER if they’re not using OER." I don't think that's strictly true; people can imagine the effects of things they're not currently doing. Indeed, they're not likely to start using OER unless they can predict at least some of the outcomes in advance.


Digital Video Advertising Glossary

Permalink - Posted on 2019-08-21 21:15

Many of these terms apply to online learning (and especially the use of video in online learning) as well. There are several dozen terms clearly defined, divided into general video terms, ad and creative type terms, metrics, technology terms, and data. You can download a printable version (11 page PDF) with nicer formatting and some images.



Permalink - Posted on 2017-05-17 17:08

OLDaily, HTML edition