Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Training Materials Development:Delivery Ratio

Bryan Chapman culled these from Brandon Hall surveys of real life experiences - in answer to how long does it take to develop training materials? development time: delivery "seat" time -

Ratio for each Type of learning

34:1 Instructor-Led Training (ILT), including design, lesson plans, handouts, PowerPoint slides, etc.

33:1 PowerPoint to E-Learning Conversion. Not sure why it takes less time then creating ILT, but that’s what we discovered when surveying 200 companies about this practice

220:1 Standard e-learning which includes presentation, audio, some video, test questions, and 20% interactivity

345:1 Time it takes for online learning publishers to design, create, test and package 3rd party courseware

750:1 Simulations from scratch. Creating highly interactive content


Here are the bibliographies for each, in case you want to cite these in research:

34:1 Chapman, B. and the staff of Brandon Hall Research (2007). LCMS Knowledgebase 2007: A Comparison of 30+ Enterprise Learning Content Mangement Systems [online database, no page numbers]. Published by Brandon Hall Research, Sunnyvale, CA

33:1 Chapman, B. and the staff of Brandon Hall Research (2006). PowerPoint to E-Learning Development Tools: Comparative Analysis of 20 Leading Systems. Published by Brandon Hall Research, Sunnyvale, CA, p. 20.

220:1 Chapman, B. and the staff of Brandon Hall Research (2006). PowerPoint to E-Learning Development Tools: Comparative Analysis of 20 Leading Systems. Published by Brandon Hall Research, Sunnyvale, CA, p. 20.

345:1 Private study, done for a consulting client, information was not published. No bibliographical reference.

 750:1 Chapman, B. and the staff of Brandon Hall Research (2006). Online Simulations 2006: A Knowledgebase of 100+ Simulation Development Tools and Services [online database, no page numbers]. Published by Brandon Hall Research, Sunnyvale, CA

Of course I would add two more ratios with innumerable citations:

It Depends: 1
get it Done or Else: 1

Friday, August 01, 2008

Illusionary Learning

THE DOCTOR FOX LECTURE: A PARADIGM OF EDUCATIONAL SEDUCTIONDonald H. Naftulin, M.D., John E. Ware, Jr., and Frank A. Donnelly
Journal of Medical Education, vol. 48, July 1973, p. 630-635

Abstract - On the basis of publications supporting the hypothesis that student ratings of educators depend largely on personality variables and not educational content, the authors programmed an actor to teach charismatically and non substantively on a topic about which he knew nothing. The authors hypothesized that given a sufficiently impressive lecture paradigm, even experienced educators participating in a new learning experience can be seduced into feeling satisfied that they have learned despite irrelevant, conflicting, and meaningless content conveyed by the lecturer. The hypothesis was supported when 55 subjects responded favorably at the significant level to an eight-item questionnaire concerning their attitudes toward the lecture. The study serves as an example to educators that their effectiveness must be evaluated beyond the satisfaction with which students view them and raises the possibility of training actors to give "legitimate" lectures as an innovative approach toward effective education. The authors conclude by emphasizing that student satisfaction with learning may represent little more than the illusion of having learned.

Who will change the University...You?

Yes the University model needs changing – but to what? We can all cite the problems – as articulated in Carl Wieman's recent article on New University Education Model Needed but the solution continues to evade us. Might it be that we are the wrong one’s to come up with the solution to the problem that “we” are part of and contribute to? Imrevensoo, posted a comment to Wieman’s post citing a number of insightful quotes - "We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”Albert Einstein. Perhaps the "we" who created the problems are not the "we" who can solve them. Physicist Mano Singham: "No great scientific advancement has ever been made by anyone whose thinking has remained kosher. The problem is, the intelligentsia is dominated by danger zone IQ holders (125-140), a species capable of enough reason to be useful in maintaining an accepted model, but utterly useless in formulating new ones. Good stewards make crappy iconoclasts. It takes a solid paradigm inventor to shake things up. Given some years after any old model is replaced with a better new model, the stewards defend the new model as rapidly as they defended the old one." It may well be the students who are the "solid paradigm invetors" - as it should be they will teach us what should be. We would do well to listen and help them structure the solutions.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Personal learning Environment and Evolutionary pedagogy

I just finished a presentation at ADETA 2008 on my work with virtual communities in higher learning - I'm proposing that some enitity (eg. university) develop and maintain a community of learners (a social networking space w collaborative tools) for their students and graduates (at a program level).

I'm developing a series of these environments now. I see them fulfilling many roles - what I dub "evolutionary pedagogy or pedagogical multiplicy" - They can fulfill a formal learning role while the student is registered but become the informal learning network (and continued personal learning space) after graduation. I'm using Elgg as my example of the personal learning environment (or I coin Continuous learning Environment). After course/program completion students/teachers continue to be associated with the institution, their program, their teachers , their fellow graduates through this space. It is true continuous learning, and has capacity as a teaching space, a research space, a personal relective space, a resource repository of student work and an eportfolio for demonstration.

I dub it evolutionary pedagogy - example below:

Example evolutionary path – blended graduate program

1. Create informal network space and personal area
Students/teachers join the larger informal network
Post personal profile and use personal weblogs and resource repository

2. Creat bounded temporal space
Students/teacher join restricted class space((incl. groupware tools)
Course is taught within this temporal space (could link into LMS)
Continue to use personal space for reflection/e-portfolio/resources (life beyond LMS)

2. Students complete class
Temporal class activity ends - students, teachers continue within informal network space and personal space

3. Evolve into informal community development
Evolve into the continuous informal network space
In informal network social, informal learning; sharing, connecting, social capital development
Members document personal informal learning

4. Repeat 1-3 with next cohort

All within same online environment integrated with web based resources and internal/external RSS feeds.

Who should sponsor a space for a network of learners? Blackboard NG will offer a community space - but at what cost? Should a private entity like Blackboard (or Google, or Face book) be THE platform for your web based data?

I want a FREE personal learning environment, linking me to those who cross my learning path, linking me to my lifewide learning experiences - BUT I want it managed by an NGO or govt or educational institution.

Jesel Odedra of ECampusAlberta has put me onto ASN Alberta:

"Welcome to Learner Registry!
The Alberta Student Number (ASN) is the single unique identifier for all Alberta learners. Through the use of the ASN, Alberta Education and all educational institutions in Alberta will have better information to evaluate programming and emerging trends in student choices across the education system. This will lead to improved programs and services for students and improved administrative efficiency for Alberta Education."

This is a good start. With this approach we have a unique identifier, that moves with a student through informal and formal learning (theoretically) and can be used to ID a student in a social network/eportfolio for Alberta citizens.

I'm still working on the best premise for ownership of these spaces but want to see institutions maintaining some connection. I'm leaning towards smaller connected social networks, probably at the program level.School wide or province wide community - too big and without a 'focus of interest". (How to capture those not in formal learning? - aah another post.)

I am developing my PLEs at a program level - eg. family physicians rather than the medical faculty. Then it can remain small (relatively, be in control of the program area - use it for marketing, polling, keeping in touch with alumnae).

This is a concept whose time will come - it integrates so much of what is being talked about - authentic learning, documentation of learning and competence, skill management, meeting labour training goals, workforce migration,personal control of learning path and outcomes, prior learning, continouous learning, personal relfection, and more!

Rising gas prices equals rising interest in online courses

Fri Jun 13, 9:40 AM ET YaHoo News

Due to rising gas prices, online degree programs and distance learning options are skyrocketing according to a recent survey by Of those surveyed, 60 percent cited the high cost of gas as the reason for their interest in the internet education alternative.

(PRWEB) June 5, 2008 --, a website focusing on online degree programs and distance learning education, had 38 percent more visitors during April-May 2008 compared to February-March 2008, after adjusting for seasonal differences. In an informal survey of site visitors, the #1 reason for being interested in an online degree was “higher gas prices,” cited by 60 percent of those responding in May 2008. Other reasons given were convenience, parking, scheduling, babysitting and the cost of classes (

In a comparable 2007 survey of visitors to, the number 1 reason for interest in an online degree was “convenience,” with gas prices not even mentioned when the top five reasons were compiled. The surveys used a fill-in-the-blanks format rather than multiple choice, to increase the reliability of respondents’ answers.

“Gas is costing people upwards of $1000 a month,” says Sheila Danzig, who runs the site. “And students are the last group who can afford that. Taking classes at home and other distance learning options allow students to avoid spending limited funds on gas and to have more time for a part-time job that helps pay the tuition bill. For the adult learner, online degree programs provide a perfect answer to a scarcity of time and resources, particularly for those who also work and have a family.”

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Edupunks sing the body electric

The blogosphere is alive with action/reaction to the labelling of learning openness and sharing as "edupunk". Rick aptly summarizes the use of edupunk - "It doesn’t just seem to be about a sense of moral outrage directed against commercialized, corporatized, institutionalized education for example; it also seems to be about sharing, openness, freedom and liberation."

brian lamb in his usual creative form cites Hoffman's stategy for free schooling - audit the class, learn for free - (and then we developed e-learning commodified the content and closed down the interaction - more on that later). Brian goes on to list what could be the tenets of "edupunkism":

"Are you troubled by how power and money are manifested in society, not to mention our classrooms and our educational institutions? Do you feel like the human race can continue as it is?

Do you think that learning is a basic human right function? Are practices that gratuitously withdraw learning into a circumscribed domain apart from the rest of the world inhumane and counter-productive?

Are you committed to practices that place as much power in the hands of individuals as possible, while making sharing and collaboration as easy as possible? How much of what we presently license out are we already able to do ourselves?

... if you are engaging those issues honestly and directly, then I want to party with you." I'm with Brian on this - and ready to share in the good times.

And time to plug the open school set up by Brian's partner Keira.

"The Sustainable Living Arts School is a rural and urban learning initiative that emphasizes bringing local folks, local knowledge and local resources together for free-of-charge, hands-on learning experiences that help us reduce our ecological footprint, increase our individual and community self-sufficiency, and build healthy community relations. We value and work towards non-commodified, non-institutional, non-credentialized, non-evaluated learning and yes-accessible, yes-joyous, yes-empowering, yes-collective learning (among other lofty goals)! Consuming less and relating more, might be one way to sum it up."

I love this! What a great piece of work. Congratulations to Keira!

Courtesy of Bava there is Junger's The Glass Bees and Sterling's intro statement to the book stating:

"Jünger perceived that industrial capitalism is a ridiculous game, so he proved remarkably good at predicting its future moves….[He] understands that technology is pursued not to accelerate progress but to intensify power. He fully understands that popular entertainment comes with a military-industrial underside."

And Blackboard 8, seeking to be part of the web 2.0 world while it locks the gates and hoards the assets of those that reside within (for short spurts of time). As bavatuesday advises us it isn't the technology, it's the people, andf the people's experiences that drive learning. And what rises from this, for me too, is am I complicit in this manifestation of technology as the learning controller?

My work in developing online cooperative learning spaces that live beyond courses, that grow organically through free and unfettered access and user controls - this is what drives my initiative - but I could be asked tomorrow to create a course for delivery on blackboard - and add a blog within that garden - and I would struggle with the weight of my knowing I am contributing nothing in that act to the learning and teaching process. In my blog I can express my edupunk desires, and in my presentations seek to provoke and awake the learn/teach community from their chains of control - but my job is as assigned, and I create another controlled space, closed environment and a little bit of me dies...till rants erupt and links arise with others who also see the ambiguity of their professional life - and also strive to be free of their chains and , well, make the world just a little brighter place, after all.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Facebook You As a Commodity

Smile! If you have a Facebook account, who's mining your data now? You are a star commodity. And that should give some pause to those professors and students (and Blackboard LMS folk) who tout Facebook as an educational delivery system, or even as a respository of student /faculty created resources. They should really give their head a shake. Third party commercial products are not where formal education should be. Wonder why? Check out the latests charges against Facebook from Canada's Privacy Commissioner:

"Facebook may say it's purely a social networking site, but it is in fact a commercial enterprise that's about sharing and using members' personal information with advertisers and third-party application developers." That's the substance of a complaint against Facebook filed with Canada's Privacy Commisioner.

Another CIPPIC grievance is that user's privacy settings in Facebook are automatically set to share the most information when a new account is created. Younger Facebook users, or less Web-savvy users may never think to change these, and are unknowingly sharing their information with the world, according to Harley Finkelstein, one of the law students that worked on the document. “Facebook calls them privacy settings, but we've come to discover these are actually publicity settings,” he says. “Social networking and privacy don't necessarily go hand in hand.”

See this video (tried to insert it but Blogger isn't cooperating) -

Friday, May 16, 2008

BB and Facebook - the control of learning

Oh, no - this is all wrong... Blackboard believes our students want to add social networking to their learning experience. Well yes, I agree. Bb thinks that this can be acvhieved by integrating our Blackboard experience with Facebook. What!!!?

“Let’s face it,” the app’s introduction page says. “You would live on Facebook if you could. Imagine a world where you could manage your entire life from Facebook — it’s not that far off!”
But there’s one exception: “You have to access a different system to get your course information and you don’t always know when something new has been posted or assigned, so it’s difficult for you to stay on top of your studies. We get it. That’s why Blackboard is offering Blackboard Sync™, an application that delivers course information and updates from Blackboard to you inside Facebook.”

What are we after in any educational environment we develop? Security, privacy, permanence - these should not be sacrificed in search of convenience, data and profile portability. We can have it all - we just have to look beyond the proprietary systems - elgg integrates w Blackboard and Moodle - open ID can give us the profile portability - why go to bed with proprietary systems?

Facebook owns your data, covets your connections, mines your profile and postings, and Blackboard confines your learning and harbours your artefacts. Educational institutions need to start taking responsibility for student lifelong learning - create and host personal learning environments that include social networking, collaborative tools and link to any learning mgmt system - then a student has a life wide space to post, share, socialize and throughout their life they can access their artefacts and connections.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Everyone wants to own me (data)

Item 1:
The Alumni Association at a Canadian University is offering a life time email account in cooperation with Google mail. maybe a note of caution is usefule here - Note that Google mail's terms of agreement include a statement of ownership:

11. Content licence from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this licence shall permit Google to take these actions.
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above licence.

So, Google wants to own me, my data and what about my security...

Item 2:

My Space, Facebook and now Google have announced a desire to be the central node for your personal profile and friends list, and allow you to move from social network to social network...

" Social networking site Facebook is following rival MySpace's lead by letting users transfer their personal profiles to other websites. Facebook will implement a system that allows its 70 million users to copy pictures, personal information and other customized applications established on its site to other websites without additional effort.
Users' privacy settings on Facebook will also remain in effect on external websites.
"We believe the next evolution of data portability is about much more than data," wrote Dave Morin on the social networking site's developer blog. "It's about giving users the ability to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up to date and always protected by their privacy settings."
Facebook's larger rival, MySpace, made a similar announcement on Tuesday. The social networking site, which has 120 million users, said it will allow users to move their profiles and media to partner websites, which so far include Yahoo Inc., eBay Inc., Photobucket and Twitter.
One of Facebook's initial partners will be news-ranking site Morin said Facebook will add more partners.

Ok here's my two cents:
I want data portability. I want to have an openID. I want to move in and out of various social networks - freely. I want a central homebase where my web identity lives. What I don't want is someone owning my data, my connections and my networking activity. Will any proprietary service alow me this freedom? No. is there another service available? No - not yet. We need a non-profit foundation to step in and act as the central hub for social network users - this is especially necessary in the educational arena as we move to lifelong learning and the development and maintenance of electronic portfolios - where will these perosnal learning maps reside? They certainly can't reside alongside the Google life long e-mail, nor should they reside on any proprietary learning management system.

We have a battle on our hands to ensure our web life remains (becomes) within our control.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Blackboard and facebook Integrator

"CourseFeed phishes for information - CourseFeed is a security breach." Do students want to connect academic and personal social networks? Do Institutions want to connect with a proprietary system that "owns" the data and mines the data? Security breaches, confidentiality ocncerns, data ownership, access to licensed resource material - headaches galore.

Why not create your own centrally maintained social network using a tool like Elgg?

Still, here is what CourseFeed sells...

I'm a little late to the game here - and missed this one. Coursefeed (facebook app site) connects "you with your classmates and connects you to your school's online course content system. Browse your courses, post messages to the class, share notes – all without ever leaving Facebook. CourseFeed (product site) also alerts you when your professor posts announcements, tests, or content to your course. And you’ll get alerts when classmates post to the course wall and share notes."

Without an online content system:
* Course Wall
* File storage for Course Notes, etc.
* Course feed display of what's new posted by others.
* Connect with others in the course.
* Profile display to let friends know when you're in class.

With an online content system:
* See everyone in your course – guaranteed accurate course roster.
* View all online course materials without leaving Facebook
* Course feed shows when professor posts announcements, files, etc. to your course.
* View all announcements, new or old, in the announcements area.
* One-click access into your school's online content system and auto-navigation that takes you right to the item.

Here's who owns CourseFeed...

Coursefeed is a free product from ClassTop, a proprietary content management and communication tool that synchronizes with major learning management systems. ClassTop is “a quick and easy way for instructors who are teaching multiple sections of one course to upload data into those courses all at one time.” With Blackboard, adding items to multiple courses involves logging on repeatedly to add items to each course. With ClassTop, only one login is required; instructors drag and drop files to place them. The files are synchronized with the LMS all at once at the end of the session. teachers can also make changes offline and have them uploaded when they connect online.

Here's one sad story...

"In order for CourseFeed to work with Wesleyan's network to access Blackboard and send notifications over Facebook, it needed user's usernames and passwords. When students added the application to their Facebook profiles, they had to give out this information, which put them in direct violation with Nebraska Wesleyan University policy and compromised their NWU accounts.Not only did CourseFeed use account information to send out Blackboard notifications, but it also accessed Blackboard accounts to send messages in students' names to their classmates, inviting them to add the application as well. It was these email messages and submitted complaints about them that first alerted Computer Services to the dilemma.Students also sent CourseFeed complaints to Facebook who then contacted ClassTop who, in turn, dutifully contacted Computer Services to work with them in finding a solution to the infringement of student accounts. Computer Services first blocked ClassTop's access to Blackboard and ClassTop also blocked students from accessing the CourseFeed application via Facebook. Next, Computer Services collected information on which accounts had been compromised and proceeded to change their passwords. Students were notified of this change through duplicate hard-copy letters sent to their mailboxes and home addresses; they were also informed through a notice that was posted on the NWU website. It is important to note that ClassTop's intent was not to create a malicious program that would infiltrate NWU's network. " But, it did.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

CorpWatch : Stop the Walled Garden!

Not my text - but my intent - worthy of reposting.

Many of today's new dot-com corporations,like Facebook and LinkedIn, make money by building "walled gardens" and programs that cond­uct "data mining" to take advantage of casual users surfing the web who are signing up in their millions for the numerou­s popular "free" social network sites. ­(Facebook refuses to reveal its profits but is rumored to be worth $15 billion.)
(A walled garden refers to a media strategy that compels users to one stay on their service. Data mining is the practice of collecting large amounts of personal information on website users by the site itself.)
­While Apple's iPhone unabashedly locks users into using AT&T cell phone service, sometimes the strategies are more subtle. FaceBook, the popular social network site, restricts the functionality of their site so that it is easy to remain on, while making external linking and emailing difficult. LinkedIn, another social network site, doesn't allow users to delete their profile without contacting customer service.
All of these tactics seek to make it easier for companies to collect information on individuals, with the sole purpose of creating consumer profiles for targeted advertising. The reason is simple: they make their money from the advertisers who will pay to get a captive audience (the kind they were once guaranteed on newspapers and TV) who might buy their products.
It is possible that these companies will soon sell their inventions for vast profits in the same way that YouTube and MySpace did, by taking advantage of ordinary people who would probably not pay for their services unless they were completely free. But activists say that the the Web has enormous potential to be a digital commons, if we assert our rights to use it for purposes other than buying and selling.
An activist group named has put together a video that they are using to promote their "It's Our Web" campaign. The video, which spoofs the Transformers, is pretty entertaining, and manages to fit some complicated ideas about Internet user freedom into an accessible format. The underlying message of the video is a good one: the Internet is a medium that is best if it remains free. Restricting access to information is a taboo among Wikipedians, Slashdotters, bloggers and Gnubies alike because the free flow of information is what has driven the collective production responsible for the Web as we know it. ­­

Thursday, February 14, 2008

SproutBuilder - Widget is You

SproutBuilder: You've Got to See This Drag and Drop Widget Maker - ReadWriteWeb:
"The product is a drag-and-drop Flash authoring tool built on Adobe's Flex. SproutBuilder lets you build very sophisticated, multi-page widgets with media, analytics and more"

This has great applications in marketing and learning development. This is a simple widget maker with great opportunity - let's say I want to create a learning object, embed an RSS feed to my wbeiste/institution and have it posted throughout the web, and when I make change they flow out to all locations at anytime?

Keep a watch on this service.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Elgg 1.0 Build your own SNS

Elgg won't ship with any features. Why not? Elgg 1.0 won't ship with any end-user features; think of it as a social application engine that can power all kinds of different sites and applications.

Who are "we" to tell you what features you need? The original Elgg codebase came with profiles, a blog, a file repository, communities and an RSS aggregator. The classic Elgg will still be supported.

That's good -serving two audiences (shell for programmers; classic for out of the box non-programmers) and ultimately allowing free form development.

I think Elgg has a lot of potential - I have a number of Elgg sites running now - from a community of practice to research spaces to course and program delivery spaces. It is a many splendoured thing, with multiple applications and a capacity to evolve as your "users" evolve from students to researchers to professionals.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Tip in appreciation of posting

Tipjoy CrunchBase Company Profile

Now this is interesting - Tipjoy is a widget you can put on your blog where folks can "tip" you if they find your posting of particular value. Tipjoy will keep a record of those tips and when and IF the tipper decides to put real value behing their tipping gestures - each click of the “tip this” button sends bloggers a small fixed amount set by the tipper (10 cents is the default). 96% of tip amount goes to the blogger (2% goes toward PayPal fees and Tipjoy takes a 2% service fee).

Bloggers currently have two options for “withdrawing” their tips. They can either donate tips to charity or “buy” an Amazon gift card.

An interesting slice of human psychology - if I click a tip, will I feel obligated to follow through with my gesture? I'm a litle leary of putting this widget on my blog - mainly because I'm not here seeking remuneration for my postings - others linking to and or commenting on is my compensation.

Anti-social networking

Just because you are part of a social network doesn't mean you want to be social. And maybe you do want to socialize but do so without sharing personal information. There are times you might want to engage in a conversation but keep your identity confidential. No, not just when you want to be represented someone you are not (like a dating service) but when anonymity keeps the interaction flowing.

One such request came through a listserve that I am part of where the individual is seeking a 'white brand" social networking software that can ensure anonymity yet promote social interaction.

He wants to develop an invitation only community that allowa participants to enage in discussion under "Chatham House Rules" environment. Under these rules, "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held ... participants are free to use the informationreceived, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s),nor that of any other participant, may be revealed." The idea is to allowfor frank, in-depth discussions without concerns of having such remarks attributed to individuals and/or making their way into the press.(

Now elgg can accomodate this - to a degree - through the user access controls and the ability to create anonymous profiles. I'm interested in how this can happen and have offered to assist this poster. I'll let you know if more comes of this.

List of “White Label” (Applications you can Rebrand) Social Networking Platforms

List of “White Label” (Applications you can Rebrand) Social Networking Platforms

Jeremiah Owyang has an extensive list (continuously updated thanks to a barrage of responses) of scoial networking software that can be use to create your own "white label" network. I note that one respondent advised him to add elgg - so I don't have to - also that Ben Werdmuller responded as well touting elgg.

Also see this techcrunch posting where Mark Hendrickson took Jeremiah's initial research and created a review of 34 of these toolsets (alas elgg was not among them).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Repress U: Homeland Security Campus

AlterNet: Seven Steps to a Homeland Security Campus

Personal tasers with an MP3 (in red, pink and even leopard print designs), mining student records, scholarships and curriculum for homeland security, watching foreign students/faculty (hidden camera surveillance and watchlists), target dissidents, armaments to campus security, privatize security - these are the steps being used to create Repress U - the new university for today's climate of fear. So much for open learning, open education and the pursuit of knowledge.

Friday, January 11, 2008

making Social Sites Social

Further to Facebook cease and desist to Robert Scoble's scraping of his own data in Facebook -

1. Facebook doesn't play well with others.
Facebook Open Like A Granite Wall Compiler from
"As we’ve been repeating over an over again, Facebook doesn’t have an API. Flickr has an API, has an API, but Facebook doesn’t and that they would take legal action against code that allows what any self-respecting API is designed to do — import and export data — further demonstrates that Facebook just doesn’t get it."

2. We social members of innumerable social networks need an open social network protocol:
Content access controls - the ability to make some content visible to everyone and at the same time reserve other parts of content only for those visitors I’ve designated as “friends.”
Cross-interaction for existing Social Networks - Why can't I have all my social networks connected? Need: Incorporate your existing data while providing a way to define new friends without resorting to any specific social networking site.

3. Those connections I've made, that profile, those addresses, that content - it has no value unless I own it and can access it anywhere, anytime, across the web. So social networks! Be truly social. Play fair. Be nice. Share. Promote data portability.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Facebook as Hotel California

As the eagles song Hotel California says - "You can checkout any time you like,But you can never leave!" Like so many services - proprietary services - like Google, yahoo, Facebook, etc. - they want us in but we can't get out - unless they say so - and they keep our luggage ! And they can, arbitrarily, as discovered by Robert Scoble - lock us out and just delete our account and data.

This should be a flag for all those educators espousing the use of third party social networks like Facebook in education. Alternatives, like Elgg, allow universities or educational foundations to run their own social networks, and not be prey to the whims of proprietary systems. As Robert also discovered the open ownership of our data and the portability thereof should be of prime concern! We are visitors to these sites, not seeking to become an inhabitant that is treated like a chattel. We own our ID and must be able to port our data whenever and wherever we want - see these principles espoused by the dataportability movement.

As Stephen Downes cites Steve O'hear " "the resistance of Facebook, MySpace, Google and most of the leading players in the user data space to offer easy data portability (I can't even backup my gmail with a simple one-click) is based on an old fashioned notion that lock-in is the best way to protect a strong market position." The whole promise of social software and open source was NOT to be locked in - that's why many of us in ed tech find the proprietary Learning Managment System as so much less than the grazing commons of the personal learning environment (PLE).

As a side note I am on Facebook and am also involved in an effort to search out our family roots. I found others on Facebook with the same surname and was sending them a message of introduction and inviting them to our surname site. The Facebook robots warned me that I was "spamming" and shoud desist. So much for a social site.