On Blockchain Disrupting Higher Education

Martin Weller wrote a response to The Chronicle’s (paywalled) piece by Richard DeMillo on blockchain disrupting education. Martin’s right in pointing out that many of the hoped-for disruptions are actually possible using existing technologies and practices (eportfolios, badges, etc.) without “disruption” needed. Martin has written about disruption before. Blockchain will certainly be used in higher education. It will transform how some things are designed and run. In the same way that relational databases have - Moodle (or even MOOCs 1) wouldn’t have been possible without MySQL. Blackboard wouldn’t have been possible without Oracle (or whatever SQL engine it runs on). Relational databases transformed how courses were offered by higher education institutions, without disrupting the institutions themselves. ...

December 5, 2019 · 2 min

Downes on lectures

The point of a lecture isn't to teach. It's to reify, rehearse, assemble and celebrate. via Stephen's Web. Stephen ended his post linking to Tony's blog post with what appears to be a throwaway line. It's not. This is where the tension is centred when it comes to teaching. Lectures aren't teaching, but have been used as a proxy for teaching because how else are you going to make sure 300 students get the appropriate number of contact hours?...

July 29, 2014 · 1 min

The Norman Prize, 2013

Tony Bates, on acknowledging being the recipient of the 2013 Downes Prize, suggests that someone needs to bestow a similar honour on Stephen. I concur. So, the inaugural Norman Prize is hereby awarded to Stephen Downes. I've been lucky enough to know Stephen for over a decade - first meeting him as part of the Edusource national learning object repository project back in 2001(?!). Even back then, Stephen had ideas that were years ahead of where everyone else was....

December 31, 2013 · 2 min

on disabling adblock in my browsers

Clint mentioned that he’d disabled adblock, and gave his reasoning. Stephen somewhat disagrees. Here’s my take: I have been running adblockers as browser extensions, CSS overrides, and .htaccess filters for years now. It’s not bulletproof, but it sure takes care of most of the ads. The web is a much less tacky place with these tools in place. But, in my role as a lowly edtech geek, I’ve been bitten by this before....

December 24, 2013 · 2 min

on unprecedented institutional response to moocs

Stephen Downes observed that the response from elite institutions to MOOCs has been essentially instantaneous - and unprecedented in both immediacy and scale of the response. That entire post is great, as is the rest of his coverage of the EDUCAUSE MOOC conference1. The money shot, on response to MOOCs: MOOCs were not designed to serve the missions of the elite colleges and universities. They were designed to undermine them, and make those missions obsolete....

April 14, 2013 · 3 min

Openness and Corporate Paywalls

[George posted a quick note](http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2010/08/29/openness-but-only-if-its-closed/) about how an interview he gave for an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education was published. Behind a paywall. The Chronicle took an interview, freely given by everyone (except, I assume, for the paid interviewer and editor?), on the topic of openness in education, and decided to lock it behind a mechanism constructed to block access to it. I'm not going to link to The Chronicle article (or, more accurately, anything on The Chronicle, ever), so here's a screenshot of the short snippet of the article that they publish "...

August 29, 2010 · 1 min

irrational objection to the wild, wide open?

[Stephen responds](http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=52960) to my previous [post on classblogs](https://darcynorman.net/2010/07/22/on-private-classblogs-vs-the-wild-wide-open/): > My first reaction (as I'm sure it is for many) is that we shouldn't compel them to do anything. But when you ask the question in the context of formal education, you begin to see how ridiculous it is. Is there anything in education that isn't compelled? Participation is enforced to the age of 18, college and university courses typically have requirements for graduation....

July 26, 2010 · 3 min

Downes (2005). E-learning 2.0

Downes, S. (2005). E-learning 2.0. eLearn Magazine. pp. 1-6 In a nutshell, what was happening was that the Web was shifting from being a medium, in which information was transmitted and consumed, into being a platform, in which content was created, shared, remixed, repurposed, and passed along. And what people were doing with the Web was not merely reading books, listening to the radio or watching TV, but having a conversation, with a vocabulary consisting not just of words but of images, video, multimedia and whatever they could get their hands on....

March 21, 2010 · 2 min