oeru_screenWith the launch of OER university (OERu) there is a new institution to provide a route to formal accreditation through study of free and really open educational resources in the form of free courses and materials developed by accredited universities. OERu is in competition to the University of the People a free service which tries to develop a parallel learning universe to add value to traditional delivery systems in post-secondary education.

Coordinated by the Open Education Resource Foundation (OERF), founded and headquartered at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, the OERu is an independent, not-for-profit network will offer free online university courses for students worldwide. The implementation of the OERu is a designated project of the UNESCO-Commonwealth of Learning OER Chair network. This is a nice idea and interessting approach, however it will depend on the (financial) sustainability of that learning scenario, the acceptance of the and the demand by students if this will be an alternative way of learning. However it is definitely worth trying

European MOOCs

European MOOCs

On then 26 September the European Commission launched the web portal project ‘Open Education Europa‘.

The portal is a gateway for information and research on Open Education Resources and MOOCs.

The project is part of a wider programme of digital up-skilling in schools and universities across Europe called Opening up Education.

You can also follow the project on Twitter @OpenEduEU

RESEARCH ARTICLE E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia

this book chooses to be advertised generously—multiplatform

this book chooses to be advertised generously—multiplatform

“Every entrepreneur should self-publish a book, because self-publishing is the new business card. If you want to stand out in a world of content, you need to underline your expertise. Publishing a book is not just putting your thoughts on a blog post. It’s an event. It shows your best curated thoughts and it shows customers, clients, investors, friends and lovers what the most important things on your mind are right now.” Continue Reading…

In Media Res, a project by ‘The Institute for the Future of the Book‘ put out a call for curators (here: academics, journalists, critics, media professionals and fans) to contribute to Everyday Archives. It’s due 2nd of September.

About In Media Res:
“In Media Res is dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts.

Each weekday, a different scholar curates a 30-second to 3-minute video clip/visual image slideshow accompanied by a 300-350-word impressionistic response. We use the title “curator” because, like a curator in a museum, you are repurposing a media object that already exists and providing context through your commentary, which frames the object in a particular way. The clip/comment combination are intended both to introduce the curator’s work to the larger community of scholars (as well as non-academics who frequent the site) and, hopefully, encourage feedback/discussion from that community.”

This project re-imagines established roles in creative production such as ‘the curator’ which allows to appropriate these roles and apply them to other disciplines (see Joseph Vogel on Rhizomes). And in a more applied sense it reminds me of projects such as clipkino.

“The idea of “the book” guiding design of e-books has been a commonplace, grotesquely reductive and unproductive. No single book exists, so no “idea” of “the” book could be produced in any case. The multiplicity of physical structures and graphic conventions are manifestations of activity, returned to book form as conventions because of their efficacy in guiding use. The notion of a metaphor applied to an element like a table of contents is highly misleading. This is not a metaphor at all, but a program, a set of instructions for performance. By looking to scholarly work for specific understanding of varieties of attitudes towards the book as literal space and a virtual e-space, and to artists and poets for evidence of the way the spaces of a book work, we realize that the traditional codex is also, in an important and suggestive way, already virtual. But also, that the format features of virtual spaces of e-space, electronic space, have yet to encode conventions of use within their graphical forms. As that happens, we will witness the conceptual form of virtual spaces for reading, writing, and exchange take shape in the formats that figure their functions in layout and design.” —Johanna Drucker

Inside the Kindle

Rather than the book as a service, I like to think to the book as directory: simply a .zip file containing all these different formats, possibly provided by the publishing houses or the authors themselves through their own websites. The book, not bound anymore to a software, a device, a platform or a company, will then be easily read, annotated, copy-pasted, shared and reworked. The book will return to be a user-oriented technology. – Silvio Lorusso (@silvi0l0russo) via

In his article, Books in the Age of the iPad, Craig Mod sketches a vibrant and enticing picture of a beneficial co-existence between printed and digital matter: “We will choose the best medium for our content. Should it be printed or digitized?” We might need to become more specific, at the same time we can also afford to be more exclusive.

The various devices (here with a particular focus on the iPad/tablet) not only support general reading but also inform new ways of thinking about reading and design all together. “We potentially gain edgier, riskier books in digital form, born from a lower barrier-to-entry to publish. New modes of storytelling. Less environmental impact. A rise in importance of editors. And a marked increase in the quality of things that do get printed.”

book and ipad

So what is to be lost? According to Craig: “We are losing the paperback book, disposable books that were printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity.” Good riddance, he says.

And how to find the right medium for your content? “Ask yourself, “Is your work disposable?” For me, in asking myself this, I only see one obvious ruleset: Formless Content goes digital. Definite Content gets divided between the iPad and printing.” This might be a little too simplistic, but let’s do look at the content. First, Craig divides content into formless (without well-defined form) and definite (with well-defined form) content. Generally he revives the equation that form has to follow content.


To be more specific: “Formless Content can be reflowed into different formats and not lose any intrinsic meaning. It’s content divorced from layout. Most novels and works of non-fiction are Formless. […] Content with form — Definite Content — is almost totally the opposite of Formless Content. Most texts composed with images, charts, graphs or poetry fall under this umbrella. It may be reflowable, but depending on how it’s reflowed, inherent meaning and quality of the text may shift.

In the context of the book as an object, the key difference between Formless and Definite Content is the interaction between the content and the page. Formless Content doesn’t see the page or its boundaries. Whereas Definite Content is not only aware of the page, but embraces it. It edits, shifts and resizes itself to fit the page. In a sense, Definite Content approaches the page as a canvas — something with dimensions and limitations — and leverages these attributes to both elevate the object and the content to a more complete whole. Put very simply, Formless Content is unaware of the container. Definite Content embraces the container as a canvas. Formless content is usually only text. Definite content usually has some visual elements along with text.”

"The true value of an object lies in what it says, not its mere existence. And in the case of a book, that value is intrinsically connected with content."

“The true value of an object lies in what it says, not its mere existence. And in the case of a book, that value is intrinsically connected with content.”

“Unlike computer screens, the experience of reading on a Kindle or iPhone (or iPad, one can assume) mimics this familiar maternal embrace. The text is closer to us, the orientation more comfortable. And the seemingly insignificant fact that we touch the text actually plays a very key role in furthering the intimacy of the experience.”

There is intimacy and emotion and then there is device specificity: He urges us to think of various media specifically and not merely transfer an experience to another medium. It might not work or be counterproductive to the actual potential of each device: “Take something as fundamental as pages, for example. The metaphor of flipping pages already feels boring and forced on the iPhone. I suspect it will feel even more so on the iPad. The flow of content no longer has to be chunked into ‘page’ sized bites. One simplistic re-imagining of book layout would be to place chapters on the horizontal plane with content on a fluid vertical plane. In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to think similarly about the iPad. Let’s not. The canvas of the iPad must be considered in a way that acknowledge the physical boundaries of the device, while also embracing the effective limitlessness of space just beyond those edges.”

For the full article go here.
Consider your content
Consider the medium

Software often arrives with promises to provide efficient solutions to decision-making, oversight and planning, but then proceeds to exacerbate existing problems within various regimes of work. Certainly, in the context of the university, there is a widely felt urgency to somehow manage the flood of new information management systems, archival technologies, visualization tools, social media platforms and other cloud-based commercial services in the already complex and overcrowded domains of intellectual work. The situation is frustrating, yet seemingly inescapable: how to keep up with ‘the digital,’ let alone utilize new devices and applications in critical and progressive ways, given the already considerable demands on time and resources? Technical systems and re-skilling have, of course, been a staple of scholarly life, allowing for new modes of textual production, epistemological inquiry, the generation of concepts and the pursuit of speculative aesthetics. However, there is arguably something distinct about the historical present, when networking is understood as an individual investment, when the use of personalized services relies on the expropriation of user-data, and when disposable technologies are experienced with their inevitable obsolescence already built-in. Continue Reading…

When looking for the future of publishing, look for concepts (sideways):
“Gangnam Style is being remixed and appropriated all over the planet. Reminds me of a wonderful recent piece by Tod Machover in which he talks about his daughter and her friends remixing as the principal way of sharing things they love. Visions of the future.
Here are three of my favorites.”blogpost