Access to E-Learning 3.0 and the Distributed Web

Stephen Downes has once again written an excellent summary for the work we did last week on open educational resources.

He has tweeted:
Downes  @Downes

Friday’s #el30 newsletter is now available.… If you are at all interested in the future of open educational resources, please do take the time to read the feature article.

I would support this. Here is the direct link to the feature article.

Feature Article E-Learning 3.0, Part 5 – Resources, Nov 25, 2018.

The task for this week was to create a content addressed resource. Although I found the Resources topic interesting, I failed to complete the task and discussed this in my last post. But, as I noted in the post, some of the course participants (those with more technical skills than me) have completed the task and found it quite straightforward.

Stephen himself completed the task declaring on Twitter:
Downes  @Downes

I hereby declare dat://502bdf152d00a35f9785f78d107b9037b5eca9354bcf593e7b4995f9be97a614/ (the NRC vision statement, illustrated by me) to be the first Content Addressable Resource for Education (CARE) #el30 @nrc

The irony of this has not escaped my notice. Since I did not have the skills to install the Interplanetary File System or Beaker Browser, I am not able to access or see this first Content Addressable Resource for Education (CARE) – or experience this example of the distributed web in action. Effectively, this open resource is closed to me.

This has made me think about how the distributed web will be introduced to the population at large. Presumably there will be a period of time when access will not be equal, and open will actually mean closed for a proportion of the population.

Before Stephen declared the NRC vision statement to be the first Content Addressable Resource for Education, I noticed that he asked, on Twitter, whether anyone could check it for him. Matthias Melcher responded.


Anyone out there using Beaker Browser, could you test and see whether my first ‘Content Addressable Resource for Education’ (CARE) for #el30 is accessible? (Working form home with Bell’s tiny upload pipe) dat://502bdf152d00a35f9785f78d107b9037b5eca9354bcf593e7b4995f9be97a614/

Matthias Melcher @x28de
Replying to @Downes

Yes, I see a welcome and 6 slides.

Downes  @Downes

Perfect, that’s what you should see (as well as another six slides in french from the welcome page)

I am now wondering what I am missing by not seeing these six slides. It has reminded me that when I was teaching in HE, in one of my classes there was a visually impaired student. In order for this student to follow the class we were required to make special provision for her, e.g. provide handouts and copies of all slides and notes we distributed in extra large font.

It has occurred to me that the move to E-Learning 3.0 may need to make similar provision for those who do not have the technical skills to access the distributed web, i.e. alternative provision is made at least as a temporary measure.

Update 27-11-18

With a bit of gentle pushing from Stephen, I have now succeeded installing Beaker Browser (it really was quite straight-forward when I overcame the mental block). I have also viewed Stephen’s slides, and created my own site (see comment to Stephen below). I would need to know more html to get much further! Is a good knowledge of html considered an essential digital literacy?

Source of image 

8 thoughts on “Access to E-Learning 3.0 and the Distributed Web

  1. francesbell November 26, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Thanks for this Jenny. I saw #EL30 presence before it started and decided to pass by for various reasons. I have really appreciated your (and others’) blogging that has enabled me to view/participate at a distance and really benefit from your practice and reflections.
    What is puzzling me at this time is that the technical obstacles of ostensibly liberating technologies may be excluding people who can bring important critical perspectives on those technologies. For me, an important question is about the role of the technorati in critiquing Web 2.0 If they didn’t do this, what confidence can we have in their pronouncements on Web 3.0 of EL 3.0

  2. Stephen Downes November 26, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    I understand and appreciate the concerns about technology and ease of access. I am speaking as someone who struggles with this stuff every day. At the same time, I’m trying to explore and talking about the leading edge of the field. Not everything will work.

    That said, there is a Beaker browser for the Mac. This should make it possible to view the resource by entering the dat:// address. I’m wondering why it’s not working, because I thought this was one part that would work for most people.

  3. jennymackness November 27, 2018 / 10:48 am

    Hi Frances,

    Good to know you are following E-Learning 3.0 – even if from a distance. It really is a very good course. I have surprised myself at how much I am enjoying it, despite my almost complete lack of technical competence. What I like about it is the glimpse into where we are headed and how things might change, a bit like when we joined CCK08.

    I think at this point in time, at the exploration level, it is inevitable that there will be people who cannot access the developments, and won’t even want to access them until it all becomes a bit easier, but I have no doubt that it will all become easier – just as our experience generally with computers and access to the internet has over the years.

    I am finding the course very informative and am glad to have this opportunity. I don’t think you would have the technical difficulties I am having. I know you are much more technically proficient than me 🙂

  4. jennymackness November 27, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Hi Stephen,

    Many thanks for your comment and the link. You will be pleased to hear that I have now managed to install Beaker Browser and have also managed to view your slides, so I can confirm that it is working.

    I have also managed to create a website page – dat://5dddb04e53456b8930e53a2ed3364739781bfcb218f882efe156d77dffc27c55/ – but haven’t yet succeeded in linking to a file or uploading a resource. Maybe I’ll leave that for another day!

    I very much appreciate you taking us ‘to the leading edge of the field’ and being so willing to openly share your understanding, expertise and explorations.

    Thanks for pushing me that bit further 🙂

  5. dogtrax November 27, 2018 / 11:58 am

    Big Yeah for Stephen for coming in with more guidance ..that’s how we teach out here …and learn.

  6. lou November 30, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing Jenny. I was able to complete the task, but I have been reflecting about what you wrote… “presumably there will be a period of time when access will not be equal, and open will actually mean closed for a proportion of the population”. I do not know what the best options are to eliminate (or better, prevent) that inequality of access, but I think we should consider ease of use and security.

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