Friday, April 13, 2007

Psiphon - creating cracks in the wall

To add to my previous posting on Psiphon here's an entry from Scott Leslie's blog that give further info:

"Psiphon, developed by the Citizen’s Lab at U of T, allows individuals to form social networks that proxy web traffic in a way that no central censor will ever keep up with. See an illustration here that helps explain it. Instead of just a few central proxy server sites that authorities can block themselves, this turns any machine with an IP address into a potential proxy, but unlike more anonymous p2p approaches this works through the idea of small trusted networks. "

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Whose 'Pedia is best?

Wikipedia a force for good? Nonsense, says a co-founder-News-Tech & Web-TimesOnline

The British education secretary, speaking to educators, suggested that the internet as “an incredible force for good in education” for teachers and pupils, singling out Wikipedia for praise. Larry Sanger, one of the founders of Wikipedia counters this claim suggesting that the website’s integrity is in question. Sanger left Wikipedia, and two weeks ago launched an online encyclopaedia called, which he said would be monitored and edited by academics and experts as well as accepting public contributions.

But our options don't stop there - if you're distressed by the liberal bias in Wikipedia and want to make sure that you're only confronted by conservative factsl, turn to Conservapedia... which has this entry about Harry Potter:

The English "public" schools Hogwarts resembles are Protestant institutions; but at Hogwarts, chapel is conspicuously absent. A failure to mention Christianity, combined with the presence of wizardry, have led some to wonder whether Rowling is substituting paganism for Christianity.

Luckily the education secretary didn't mention Conservapedia as "an incredible force for good in education."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Open CourseWare - Open University

LearningSpace - OpenLearn LearningSpace - The Open University

Finally - shared learning content that is structured and pedagogically sound. Unlike the disjointed, unstructured mash of MIT's Open CourseWare project this is what sharable open learning resources is about. Open University's offerings include pedagogically sound preparation, activities and assessment. Open Learning offers complete "lesson plans" complete with interactive multimedia.

Can a University really refuse to offer online courses?

learning technology: Can a University really refuse to offer online courses?

This posting by a fellow blogger deserves restatement -

"Is it really possible for an institution of higher learning to refuse to offer or stop offering online courses to its students? Baylor University has taken that position and will no longer offer any online courses.

At first glance, that seems ludicrous and downright unbelievable; what is the leadership at Baylor thinking?

Many institutions, 2-year and 4-year, are literally and still rushing to the web to create and offer online courses; it often increases enrollment for the institution and scheduling flexibility for learners. However, most institutions are and will continue to struggle with the quality issue. Well . . . issues. What does a quality course look like once developed? What constitutes a quality online learning experience? What resources are necessary to develop a quality online course? Can faculty - trained in their content areas - create quality online courses? What sort of and how much training do they need to do so?

Faculty are good at what they do in the classroom, but delivering the same type of quality learning experience in the online environment - no matter how much administrators and faculty may insist otherwise - is a different animal. Teaching online requires using new technologies to develop materials, to present content in a meaningful, accessible and usable manner, and to interact with learners. The pace is fast and furious - from listservs to discussions to wikis to blogs to other social networking tools; and most institutions expect faculty to keep up with that fast pace. And, keeping up isn't as easy as many faculty and administrators would like to think. Emerging from graduate programs over the last five years are educational professionals that have spent their entire academic careers focused on the cognitive impact of technology, and that group is struggling to keep up with the pace. How can we reasonably expect faculty with terminal degrees in English, Mathematics, Political Science etc to keep up with a field - other than their own - that is moving that quickly when those trained in the field are struggling to keep up? Ultimately, a decision, like Baylor's, to focus on what the institution can unquestionably continue to do well, is not a bad one; that's much more desirable than joining a race that can not be won or even sustained . . ."

I agree with what is said here - if an institution is going to offer distance based courses - they MUST build and maintain the instructional and design and evaluations skills necessary to build and maintain the distance learning. Too many institutions are moving into alternative delivery and just adding more resposnibility and expectations on a Faculty that often hasn't even been taught how to teach, let alone how to design learning materials.

Main Page - AcademicBlogs

Main Page - AcademicBlogs

This website provides a community developed, wiki-style listing of academically related web logs (blogs). The Chronicle of Higher education published an article about that provides background information and general commentary about the site.