Jen suggested many (many) months ago that I post the requirements we used in the LMS RFP on github so people could use them, fork them, etc…. A starting point, so every institution doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. Considering the amount of time and effort she put into helping craft them, how can I possibly refuse? I can’t, that’s how.
Things I learned about using this set of requirements:
- WAY too many line items. When ranking responses, we got serious regression toward the mean – the numbers balanced out and the differences were de-emphasized. Pick the ones that mean the most to you. Ignore (or demote) the rest.
- Some of the items were way too specific, others, not specific enough. Yeah. Balance.
- The vendors provided great responses to all of the items. I know they must have been frustrated by the sheer number of line items, but they pushed through and provided what we needed. And now, they have responses to copy and paste as needed, so it should get easier for everyone…
I haven’t received explicit approval from The Management to share these, but they were included in a public document, so it shouldn’t be a problem… Openness and sharing and unicorns and butterflies etc…
Update: I chatted with our CIO about this, and he thought it was a great idea. Cool. Done.
I’ve been working with people on campus for a long time to try to figure out what we need to do about our campus LMS. My oldest file for the endeavour was created on July 19, 2011. Seriously. Almost 2 years ago. We did a couple rounds of campus engagement1, ran an RFP, and wrote several reports. Provincial politics, budget crises and legal processes intervened, and here we are. The decision was formalized in the RFP system this afternoon, and it’s official: the University of Calgary has selected Desire2Learn as its next learning management system.
This is good for a few reasons:
- we can finally move past “so… do we have a new LMS yet?” to “yes. now what are you going to do with it?”
- we can finally stop focusing our support efforts on “but it doesn’t work on (insert name of current browser and operating system)” and “but file uploads don’t work” etc… Yes. It works. Moving on…
- D2L is used by almost all post-secondary institutions in Calgary – the only non-D2L post sec is MRU. Almost all of the city’s K12 runs on D2L (public and catholic boards run it, and most private schools). So, lots of opportunity for collaboration and sharing of resources for support/training/development.
We’re just working on the migration plan now – I’d drafted a version assuming a decision would have been made back in January. Yeah. The timeline isn’t entirely valid anymore. So… Now that it’s final, we need to put together an adjusted implementation plan and timeline. The optimistic plan is to start with a small-scale pilot for Summer 2013 semester (which starts next month!), and start large-scale migration of courses in Fall 2013 and Winter 2014. By Spring 2014, all courses will be run in D2L2. From conversations I’ve had with Deans and instructors from many faculties, the problem is going to be turning people away from the new system in order to get on our feet before running…
Those who know me may be surprised that I’m excited about the LMS. Yes, I really am. We need to provide quality tools that are able to be used by everyone, not just those who are geeky enough to duct tape together their own DIY non-LMS environments. The LMS is important in a social justice context – we need to provide equal functionality for all instructors and students, in all faculties. The LMS lets us do that. If people want to develop their own custom tools if they feel the need, they can totally do so. But for most of the use-cases I’ve seen for custom tools,3 they won’t need to do that.
This is important because with a current LMS in place, we can stop focusing on the tool. We can stop talking about shortcomings in the tool, and focus on teaching and learning. Awesome. Let’s do that.
- focus groups, vendor demos, workshops, sandboxes, surveys, etc…
- of course, this may prove to be unrealistically optimistic, so may need to be adjusted. again.
- they were often implemented to fill perceived gaps in the previous LMS, rather than solving unique teaching-and-learning needs
An idea I first saw Tim Bray do – when he finds a bunch of interesting tabs open in his browser, he writes a “tab sweep” post to share the links, and why they’re interesting. I think it’s a good idea. So, here are a few tabs that got opened up during my lunch-hour RSS feed reading…
The full stack required to deploy stuff is surprisingly/insanely complex:
“To build your own back-end stack, you’d probably need a year and a million dollars,” said Kinvey CEO Sravish Sridhar in a recent discussion.
Reminds me of Sagan’s apple pie recipe:
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
So much for 2 guys in a garage building the next killer platform, unless they build it on top of Google/IBM/Microsoft/Amazon…
Flooding in Europe, via The Big Picture. Dang. I thought the Danube was supposed to be blue…
EdTech Magazine: These 14 BYOD Statistics Tell a Story of Opportunity and Danger. fear! danger! My son’s school has open wifi for students to bring their own stuff if they choose. Works great. Biggest problem is apparently getting kids to stop playing at lunch and… you know… go outside.
All The Young (edu)Punks: Technology Changes Everything (or How I Stopped Worrying About MOOCs)
I’ve been fairly critical of the statements about technology being a panacea for all that ills higher education; it’s not and it never will be. To create a quality e-learning piece, it takes often 10 times the amount of time, and usually the same amount of cost to produce. So logically, you’ll have to use that item at least 10 times before it makes a return on your investment. If it’s a lecture that’s been professionally captured, captioned (as required by law in 2014), audio tweaked and perfected, slides intercut with video, title cards for the beginning and end, and you deliver that lecture once a year, you’ll have to wait 11 years for that to make any return. Think your video format will be out of date? How about the content itself?
via BoingBoing: How do mosquitos survive rainstorms? I always pictured them deking around like little X-wing fighters…
Stratechery – The Jobs TV Does
In fact, the only way things will change is through true disruption.
Disruption is a funny word; in most of the tech press, it has come to mean little more than “competitive,” and functionally superior products are often labeled as “disruptive.”
Disruption is so overused that it’s now meaningless. Let’s disrupt lunch. Did you see Game of Thrones this weekend? DISRUPTIVE! Etc… We need to find a better word…
via Ars Technica – New method can image single molecule, identify its atoms HOLY CRAP WE CAN SEE AND IDENTIFY INDIVIDUAL ATOMS!
Combine that with this post via BoingBoing, about a new technique to capture images of molecular bonds. Wow. Science fiction, ladies and gentlemen…
Complexity is the coward’s way out. But there is nothing simple about simplicity, and achieving it requires following three major principles: empathizing (by perceiving others’ needs and expectations), distilling (by reducing to its essence the substance of one’s offer) and clarifying (by making the offering easier to understand or use).
Predatory companies with business practices that are onerous for consumers are only too happy to hide behind the cloak of complexity. And virtually all companies and organizations are averse to change and naturally inclined to take the path of least resistance. For them, it is far easier to keep tacking on amendments and exclusions than to take a blank-slate approach that would make things clearer to customers.
I’ve really been loving running my own dropbox clone, by using owncloud running on my Hippie Hosting Co-op account. It’s (mostly) seamless and automatic, and (usually) Just Works™. It’s not as polished as Dropbox’s UI, but that’s not critical (although the status badges on files and folder badges would be nice…)
But, over the last week or 2, I’ve been noticing that owncloud on my work computer gets wedged. Digging into the status, the URL changes from my owncloud instance to something intercepted by browser-based wifi authentication. Just changing the URL in configuration doesn’t seem to solve it. I have to nuke my owncloud settings, add a new config, delete it because it insists on syncing to /clientsync rather than /, and then re-adding it manually. Then, deleting the /clientsync folder on the server. Annoying. I just need this to work.
So. I’m back to Dropbox for awhile. I don’t have time to fart around with this stuff right now. I need my file sync service to Really Just Work™. I’ll try owncloud again when I have some downtime to muck about with it.
Reclaim Project: 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
Tim Bray on blogging (yes, blogging) – it’s not dead yet. The long-form nature is obviously more appropriate than 140-char bursts for important things:
We increase and improve our body of knowledge through conversation. When this involves serious issues, those that matter, the appropriate unit is, more or less, the essay; neither very-long nor very-short form.
and that blogging has an important role in countering the BS that filters through more traditional everything-to-everyone press outlets. He refers to the “Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect“, where we see faults in press coverage of topics we’re familiar, but trust it in areas we’re not expert in. When, more likely, the quality of analysis is probably equally crappy and misleading across the board.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
Michael Crichton (2002)1
So, best to have direct access to experts in various fields. You know. Blogging. And RSS. Viva la blogosphere!
- I think. the provenance of that quote is kind of sketchy. may be a bit of truthiness, or it may be genuine. Following the attribution chain takes me to this post on Seekerblog.com that refers to a speech transcript on Crichton’s website. But the page on Crichton’s site is gone. So… I guess we just assume that the page was there, and that Crichton’s family cleaned up the site since 2008…
I was talking with a prof yesterday, about how our CIO has an IMDB page1 . We both thought that was pretty cool. Afterward, I was thinking about IMDB and how non-film people don’t have a similar common CV/project/collaboration/history listing. I mentioned this on twitter, and Boris nudged me that, yes, we actually do have that. It’s LinkedIn.
I’ve always felt… dirty, using LinkedIn. It feels a bit like an act of desperation, trying to build business connections to people to find jobs. I feel icky updating my LinkedIn profile, and adding contacts etc…
But, looking at it as just “IMDB for non-film folks,” it makes a bit more sense. So, I spun up my LinkedIn account and fed it my contacts. Which, in hindsight, included my boss. And his boss2. Oops.
No, there’s nothing dramatic behind the LinkedIn reactivation. I’m not planning on leaving the UofC. I’m not building a life raft in case things go south. Just trying it again, to see if a different context makes it feel any less slimy.3
- it’s really just a stub, with one project listed from 1999. But still, that’s pretty cool, for a CIO…
- ironically, the same CIO whose IMDB profile started this whole train of thought…
- so far, not much. still feel like I need to take a shower after spamming my contacts. sorry about the spam. seriously.
David Wiley nicely wraps up MOOCs, and why they’re important even if much of the hype is just marketing drivel spouted by elite institutions:
For a complex tangle of political reasons, “the people in power” are currently paying a tremendous amount of attention to issues relating to access to education, and the role of the cost of education in regulating that access. MOOCs have popularized and significantly advanced the conversation regarding both universal and free. The general public is beginning to believe that technology may have the near-term potential to provide a genuine solution to the problem of making education both universal and free. We can take advantage of the space MOOCs have created in the public conversation to introduce and advance the idea of truly open educational resources to people who are unfamiliar with it.
MOOCs have carried the ball a significant way down the field toward universal access to free, high quality education. We should be grateful for the work they’ve done on behalf of that goal. The primary risk we have to guard against now is someone hanging out the “Mission Accomplished” banner. MOOCs are not openly licensed, and consequently will struggle with issues of quality and will never become part of the educational infrastructure that enables truly breakthrough advances. MOOCs get us one step closer to the goal, but we need to continue advocating for true openness in order to create the space in which those advances can happen.
Exactly. MOOCs themselves aren’t the answer. I’m not even sure what the question is. But, despite mis-steps and corporate branding red herrings, we are now more open than we were before. That’s the important part. MOOCs are just a MacGuffin, a device to keep the plot moving.
As David has been saying for years: iterating toward openness.
The job posting for the position of Director, Educational Development at the new Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning was just published.
From the posting:
Within the vision for the Institute for Teaching and Learning, the EDU Director will play a key leadership role in guiding the transition of the former Teaching and Learning Centre to an integral component of a more comprehensive institute. The Director will manage and promote a collaborative spirit among all staff within the EDU and between the EDU and the University community. The Director will liaise with deans, chairs, faculty, librarians, teaching assistants, student services professionals, and students to encourage the development of research-informed learning and teaching methods, including the integration of appropriate technologies to improve learning. He/she will also lead inquiry into selected University of Calgary educational development practices for the purpose of understanding and improving the impact of initiatives. The Director will also pursue relationships with institutions in Alberta and other external organizations to advance the work of the EDU.
Tenure track faculty position, so it needs a PhD.
Yahoo! is buying Tumblr for $1.1B US. Cash, not stock paper-shuffling. Why? Marissa Mayer says:
In terms of working together, Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love. In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences. The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.
Gee. That sounds awesome. If only my blog had access to personalization technology and search infrastructure to help users discover creators and content. And, if only my blog had Yahoo’s media network and search experiences. And I was thinking just the other day, that things would be so much better, if only I could create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.
Said no one. Ever.
I’m holding out to cash in on leveraging synergistic paradigms by extending audience reach and engagement in order to drive personalization of advertising placement. That’s where the money is.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to support innovation, and to avoid feedback loops that trigger fads and unjustified hype. I figure the story usually starts with an innovation. Somebody has an idea for a process/product/tool/whatever. A few people try it out. Early adopters. People start getting excited about it. From there, I’m thinking the adoption curve takes roughly 4 different lines:
From the initial adoption curve, the line will either:
- keep going at that trajectory. exponential growth. venture capitalists drool over this. it’s also not sustainable. carrying capacities of ecosystems, etc…
- slows down a bit, but keeps (more slowly) growing. This is probably healthier. But venture capitalists aren’t as excited by it, and so the media cares less about this kind of saner adoption curve.
- plateaus. the early adopters are basically the entire market for the thing. this is not necessarily a bad thing. early adopters need things, too…
- fizzles out. see Google Wave. Early adoption curve looked like it was going to Change The World™ – but… yeah.
Why does this matter? Because the media (and the traditional media now takes its cues from the online technical “media” sources1 ). Because anything that doesn’t conform to the insane exponential growth curve is deemed a failure by the media, and we let that happen.
What does this mean, specifically for educational technology innovation? I don’t know. But this is the pattern that has repeated itself for decades now. We need to work with innovators, to cultivate meaningful innovation, and not get distracted by the “media” and the press release republishing – especially as we move through Corporate Keynote Season…
- who, in turn, take their cues from press releases published by companies that can afford media agents
Clint responds to Audrey’s decision to nuke comments from Hack Education. I agree – it’s unfortunate that douchebags on the internet1 feel that they can abuse people while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.
It’s Audrey’s decision to nuke comments – and I fully support her in whatever she decides to do – but I hate that she was pushed to it by misogynistic assholes spewing vitriol and hate. That’s not OK. Nobody should feel threatened or devalued or hated for what they write. Nobody should feel like they need to withdraw because some vocal assholes throw bile at them.
I don’t stand for it in The Real World. I don’t stand for it online. It’s simply not OK to treat people that way.
I completely support Audrey in her decision to nuke comments. Her writing is some of the most important stuff in ed tech at the moment, and we need it. We need more of it. And we need Audrey to be able to do her work without having to waste cycles thinking about misogynistic asshole ranters in the comment threads.
She’s not silencing anyone, or crushing freedom of speech. If you have something to say, misogynistic asshole commenters, man the fuck up and create your own blog. Own what you say. Put your name on it. Don’t hide in the comment section of the blog of someone who is working hard to keep education from sliding into corporate solutioneering hell.
- they are also douchebags in The Real World, but don’t get to hide behind anonymous internet comments in meatspace
I gave a presentation at the University of Calgary’s Collaboration for Learning conference today, on some of the visualizations I built as part of my thesis research. I made a point of avoiding talking about the thesis itself, but presented some of the key visualizations of metadata and coding data. I also made a point of only having enough slides to last for no more than half of the allotted time, in order to ensure enough awkward silence to hopefully prompt an active discussion. Kind of worked, almost.
The presentation was intended to show what kind of information can be gleaned from examining the system-generated or -inferred metadata (title, date, author, wordcount, etc…), and contrasting that with what can be learned by “cracking open” the posts and conducting a latent semantic analysis using a coding template. The conference theme was “collaboration for learning” – so I was trying to take a slightly different angle, to see if it was possible to show what collaboration might look like by analysing online discussions.
Some of the points I made during the setup:
- normalizing online discussion data across platforms is hard, labour-intensive, and not likely to be done by anyone who isn’t a desperate grad student trying to finish a research project before running out of time in their MSc program…
- looking at the metadata can be surprisingly enlightening – especially when mapped in a timeline view. Why on earth don’t more online discussion analyses use timeline views rather than coarse aggregations at the week/month/semester level?
- pretty pictures are impressive, but often don’t actually tell you anything. I’m looking at you, Wordle.
Some of the points that came up in discussion:
- the coding-data analysis may not be necessary to learn much of what can be inferred through more automatable metadata analysis, especially when combined with sources of data (like, radically, talking to the participants…)
- having better coding-data analysis tools may not be as awesome as it sounds, as there is the potential for having nasty feedback loops if the discussion analysis is available to participants during the discussion itself.
So. This happened. Your move, Bowie.
I’ve been thinking about how to better support innovation on campus, and realized that there is a strong bell curve describing the drive to innovate in teaching practices in a population of instructors (and, likely, students), something like:
The “mavericks” are the ones that will explore, experiment and push the boundaries no matter what the institution does. The “quiet majority” are where most instructors are – they work hard at what they do, but don’t have the resources (time, funds, people, etc…) to try many new things. The “resisters” are the often-vocal ones who push back against change for various reasons.
It seems as though much of the usual support for innovation at an institution is aimed at the group of “mavericks” – find the rock-star instructors who are doing cool stuff. Give them resources, and let them push harder to see where they wind up. This is great, and essential, but feels a bit like slapping your logo on a Formula 1 race car and then marvelling at how fast you are.
The “resisters” is another focus – if only we can convince them that change is good, or will make their lives better, they will see the light and butterflies and unicorns etc… Supporting this group is important, but devoting a disproportionate amount of effort isn’t helpful. Many of them would resist even if you peer them with a dedicated support staff with an unlimited budget.
The “quiet majority” is where the action is. These people do most of the heavy lifting of teaching at an institution. They work hard, and they care. What I’m interested in is how do we work with the “mavericks” to find useful innovations, and also work with this “quiet majority” to find ways to incorporate innovative practices at a larger scale to improve teaching and learning across the institution.
What does that look like? I’m not exactly sure. But I think the key is in providing access to institutional resources to help the “mavericks” amplify what they can do, while finding/building platforms to enable everyone to take advantage of meaningful innovations in practices and tools. And, it has to be evidence-based – try new things, figure out what really works, what doesn’t, what’s sustainable, what’s extensible, etc… and work to develop appropriate innovations.
Also, for this to be effective, it can’t be just about technology, or just about pedagogy, or just about institutional resources. This is where the campus really needs to come together and incorporate everything in one place. An community centre for innovation and research. That’s where the magic will happen…
Now, of course, it’s very subjective; there are going to be exceptions to everything I’m going to say, and I’m just saying that so no one thinks I’m talking about them. I want to be clear: The idea of cinema as I’m defining it is not on the radar in the studios. This is not a conversation anybody’s having; it’s not a word you would ever want to use in a meeting. Speaking of meetings, the meetings have gotten pretty weird. There are fewer and fewer executives who are in the business because they love movies. There are fewer and fewer executives that know movies. So it can become a very strange situation. I mean, I know how to drive a car, but I wouldn’t presume to sit in a meeting with an engineer and tell him how to build one, and that’s kind of what you feel like when you’re in these meetings. You’ve got people who don’t know movies and don’t watch movies for pleasure deciding what movie you’re going to be allowed to make. That’s one reason studio movies aren’t better than they are, and that’s one reason that cinema, as I’m defining it, is shrinking.
Well, how does a studio decide what movies get made? One thing they take into consideration is the foreign market, obviously. It’s become very big. So that means, you know, things that travel best are going to be action-adventure, science fiction, fantasy, spectacle, some animation thrown in there. Obviously the bigger the budget, the more people this thing is going to have to appeal to, the more homogenized it’s got to be, the more simplified it’s got to be. So things like cultural specificity and narrative complexity, and, god forbid, ambiguity, those become real obstacles to the success of the film here and abroad.
and, on a studio that passed on a likely-to-be-successful project because it didn’t fit their standard operating model:
They were afraid it would fail, when they fail doing the other thing all the time. Maybe they were afraid it was going to work.
Sound familiar? Sounds an awful lot like the new neo-industrial era of online education. Education being saved not by the people that devote their lives to the craft, but to the executives and investors and accountants that have scrutinized cost/benefit analyses and determined that education is worth being saved. So, it’s not just education that is afflicted with this pattern – it’s a symptom of our larger cultural fear of risk and avoidance of failure.
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.
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.
Yes there has been a great rebranding and co-option of the concept of the MOOC over the last couple of years. The near-instant response from the elites, almost unprecedented in my experience, is a recognition of the deeply subversive intent and design of the original MOOCs (which they would like very much to erase from history).
So, how does the institutional response to MOOCs compare to other educational technology and/or pedagogical advancements? How many of the following innovations/initiatives have drawn a similarly-scaled response from institutions, warranting millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours devoted to their pursuit?
- Learning Objects (and Learning Object Repositories)
- Web 2.0
- Open Education Resources
- Individual publishing platforms (blogging etc…)
- Collaborative publishing platforms (wikis etc…)
- Badges and open credentials
- Cable TV in the Classroom
Those things, and many others, never really bubbled above the level of “let’s present something at a conference and wonder why nobody understands how awesome this stuff is!” (admittedly, some of it turned out to be less-than-awesome, but there hasn’t been the level of critique and introspection by institutions pushing MOOCs). Yes, some of those ideas took off on some scale, but none had anywhere near the level of frenzied institutional mouth-foaming enthusiasm – support was largely on the level of small projects or individual instructors, rather than Presidential Committees and Senatorial Task Forces.
Why are MOOCs different?
It’s not the technology – despite elite institutions building custom platforms to enable their vision of MOOCishness, the tools have been here for years.
It’s not the availability or ease of access to content. Open Education Resources, open textbooks, Creative Commons, wikibooks, etc… have been available for years. They’ve been useful and interesting, but haven’t gained anywhere near a sizeable fraction of the attention that MOOCs have attracted.
I think Stephen nailed it – MOOCs have gone big because institutions see the subversive power of them, and need to control the genie before it’s fully let out of the bottle. Maybe, through creative and selective cultivation, the genie can be defused, or the bottle recast, to eliminate the threat to the status quo, or at least to allow the elite institutions to maintain their position at the top of the food chain.
While many innovations have had at least the potential to disrupt the practices of education, MOOCs are the first (or at least the biggest) innovation to challenge the business of education. Follow the money.
- I really wish Stephen was using a more robust blogging platform, so I could link to a category or tag for the posts. they’re linked at the bottom of this post, though
- he’s not really a jerkface. which is why I hate him so much.
- no. I don’t hate him. dude’s got talent. and he’s nice. jerkface.
- I may just shutter this blog and set up a redirect to point to Followers of the Apocalypse, to save everyone some time… maybe some form of round robin redirector, to randomly send people to the awesomeness at Kernohan’s blog, or Downes’ Half an Hour blog, or Abject, or Bavatuesdays, Hack Education, or any of a long list of people who are kicking ass lately…
The video below captures some of the discussion. So much goodness in it. We haven’t lost the open web. We can (continue to) choose to build it. Yes, there are silos and commodifcation and icky corporate stuff that would be easy to rail against, but what if we just let go of that and (continue to) build the web we want and need? Yeah. Let’s (continue to) do that… That’s what Boone’s Project Reclaim is all about. That’s what I do on a tiny, insignificant, human scale. That’s why I publish my own stuff here – I’ve built this site up exactly how I want it, to support my ability to be as open as I choose, without relying on others to enable (or decide not to) me.
It’s not about protesting against silos or corporate activity streams. Freedom means people get to choose how they manage their digital artifacts (including delegation of that responsibility to third parties). It’s about doing what I think is right, and feeling good about that. That’s all I can do.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what UMW does with their Domain of One’s Own project – and hoping to do more of that kind of thing here on our campus. Some pretty amazing things can happen if you enable and encourage individual students and instructors to build their own stuff…
on shared values and culture:
There was a time when it was meaningful thing to say that you’re a blogger. It was distinctive. Now being introduced as a blogger “is a little bit like being introduced as an emailer.” “No one’s a Facebooker.” The idea that there was a culture with shared values has been dismantled.
on metadata and intentional sharing:
A decade ago, metadata was all the rage among the geeks. You could tag, geo-tag, or machine-tag Flickr photos. Flickr is from the old community. That’s why you can still do Creative Commons searches at Flickr. But you can’t on Instagram. They don’t care about metadata. From an end-user point of view, RSS is out of favor. The new companies are not investing in creating metadata to make their work discoverable and shareable.
on lock-in and the impact of corporate control over discourse platforms:
We have “given up on standard formats.” “Those of us who cared about this stuff…have lost,” overall. Very few apps support standard formats, with jpg and html as exceptions. Likes and follows, etc., all use undocumented proprietary formats. The most dramatic shift: we’ve lost the expectation that they would be interoperable. The Web was built out of interoperability. “This went away with almost no public discourse about the implications of it.”
on streams, and the algorithmic control of conversation flow:
Our arrogance keeps us thinking that the Web is still about pages. Nope. The percentage of time we spend online looking at streams is rapidly increasing. It is already dominant. This is important because these streams are controlled access. The host controls how we experience the content. “This is part of how they’re controlling the conversation.”
on the lack of historical context:
We count on 23 yr olds to (build websites/apps/tools), but they were in 5th grade when the environment was open.
First. Dang. That makes me feel old. But, how can we expect the people that are building the current and next generations of things to have learned from history, when they weren’t around to experience it to know how important this is, or how it can be done differently?
I’m not sure that we’ve lost the web. Yes, the open web is marginalized, and the corporate streams are predominant. But, it’s not over. Eventually, Facebook will fall – my gut says they’ll do something colossally stupid with the new Facebook Home android thing with constant tracking of users, and may (finally) attract significant attention and oversight. And then, people will likely withdraw. And eventually come back to wanting to control their own content and activities rather than unthinkingly relying on “free” corporate streams…