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The 'Course' in MOOC
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, September 28, 2012.

A discussion taking place on the OER-Forum Discussion List - the proposition is that MOOCs of the connectivist ilk should not really be called 'courses' or education'. Needless to say I resist this proposition. "First, MOOCs taught us that rather than depend exclusively on "knowledgeable facilitators (instructors, TAs, field experts, etc.)," which are very expensive, a community working together can support itself.... Second, MOOCs taught us that an education - properly so-called - may be obtained in this manner, and the learning thus obtained demonstrated and recognized via the production of artifacts and actions related to the subject of the learning."

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Welcome to, home of free HTML snippets for Twitter Bootstrap
maks Surguy, Bootsnipp, September 28, 2012.

This is a gallery of web page effects you can create with the Twitter Bootstrap code (how can a company be at one so good and so bad?). I'm really developing a feel for JQuery and Bootstrap - I'm having so much fun with this, I can't wait to roll out some production stuff.

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Using gRSShopper feed filter rules
Stephen Downes, gRSShopper, September 28, 2012.

I've set up a feed filter for the next version of gRSShopper. The code isn't out yet, but I thought you might like to see the filtering rules system. I've tried to keep it as simple as possible, because I always forget stuff like this.

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Students weigh in on value of massive open online classes
Sam Hayes, Daily Collegian, September 28, 2012.

Interesting blend of forward-thinking and traditionalist inertia: "Danny Weng, a senior Management Information Systems major at UMass, said he thinks MOOCs are an “awesome” idea and wishes he could fit one into his busy schedule. 'I can’t take one at the same time as school,' he said. 'It’s just too much work.' Weng said he thinks MOOCs can help students learn about topics outside of their fields of study. But he also said he cannot see the free education system promoted by MOOCs replacing the traditional University system. 'The University is a business,' Weng said. 'There are not going to be free credits (offered at UMass) anytime soon.'" And that's the problem in a nutshell - the university is a business.

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How to Synch 32 Metronomes
Ikeguchi Lab, YouTube, September 28, 2012.

I've run the self-syncing metronopne video before, but not this one - it shows how 32 metronomes on a single flexible surface synchronize themselves sinply via feedback through the underlying medium. You can actually see the platform sway in the video. I love the lone holdout (at the right hand side) who is slowly brought over to the majority's way of doing things. Via Cynical-C.

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Assessment Interoperability Framework
various Authors, , September 28, 2012.

Rob Abel writes, "in support of the historic U.S. Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) program the U.S. Department of Education has been working with the IMS Global/SIF Association partnership on the Assessment Interoperability Framework (AIF). Via this collaboration APIP is "synching up" with the U.S. Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) initiative. This is of course very exciting because RTTA represents almost all U.S. states - and APIP will enable not only new modular assessment architectures, but also much needed accessibility features for millions of learners. We are pleased to let you know that after a year of working on the AIF, we are excited to announce that the first phase of work is ready for prototyping and logical testing."  The draft CEDS elements can be found at

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Merging Data Sets Based on Partially Matched Data Elements
Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, September 27, 2012.

This is a difficult read (especially as the code is not authored with clarity in mind) but it's a really interesting topic. At issue is how you equate data elements that are only partially matched. For example, human readers have no problem knowing that the string "S. Korea" and the string "South Korea" refer to the same country. But to a computer, this is a difficult problem. This post describes one algorithm for matching these sorts of pairs. You might think, it's just country names, do it by hand. But gRSShopper extracts author data from posts. Are "Clayton Wright" and "C.R. Wright" the same person? I have 8617 author records; I can't do it by hand. So - a difficult but significant problem.

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Coming to Voice
Kelli McGraw, , September 27, 2012.

I like this: "Coming to Voice is a collection of ‘literary videos’ from students at Sir Joseph Banks High School. The video production by Westside is 5 minutes long, and showcases an innovative layering of student stories, voices, and animation." Meanwhile, the most negative ed blog on the internet harrumphs, "Liberating students to discover the power of their voice? Sharing personal narratives? ... this impulse toward authenticity is profoundly idealistic, seductive, and wrong, writes Robert Pondiscio in The Atlantic."

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(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

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The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar