Landing : Athabascau University


  • A practical guide for researchers wishing to make use of the social web in a professional academic context. Given the intent to offer an introduction as to why social media should matter to the academic research community, it provides quite a good...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark Teens unlikely to be harmed by moderate digital screen use January 24, 2017 - 4:56pm
    @Steve - not so much, although that is probably something to factor into any study. I mean that it is not important that it is an e-reader, but it is important how it is designed. There are way more current and possible designs for e-readers than...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark Teens unlikely to be harmed by moderate digital screen use January 23, 2017 - 5:10pm
    @Steve - indeed, light source and brightness makes a lot of difference.  I am still pondering whether the side-lit (reflective) light of a Kindle Voyage is any better than a backlit tablet. On the whole, I think it is. It feels more...
  • A thoughtful piece from danah boyd on how difficult it is to avoid self-segregation in online (as well as physical) communities: in simplistic terms, that we tend to gravitate to those we see as like us, away from those that seem different, and that...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked post-reality fictoid-facts January 21, 2017 - 12:57pm
    Satirists are mostly flummoxed by Trump, because there's no absurdity they can dream up that is more absurd than the evil orange turd itself, and that is not out-trumped by some yet more appalling and improbable excrescence oozing from its tiny...
  • An article from Barbara Fister about the role and biases of large providers like Google and Facebook in curating, sorting, filtering their content, usefully contrasted with academic librarians' closely related but importantly different roles. Unlike...
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark jwz: Instagram Hates The Internet in the group COMP 650: Social Computing January 19, 2017 - 2:29pm
    ps - for a glimpse of one alternative approach, it might be worth checking out which is open, non-commercial, and free as in speech as well as in beer.
  • Jon Dron commented on a bookmark jwz: Instagram Hates The Internet in the group COMP 650: Social Computing January 19, 2017 - 2:24pm
    Sigh - more fragmentation. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. After dropping its extremely unpopular attempt to tie YouTube comments to Google+ accounts I am a little surprised that Google is attempting something that appears to be...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked CFP: E-Learn - AACE in the group Teaching and Learning at Athabasca January 17, 2017 - 11:02am
    October 17-20, 2017, Vancouver BC. Papers and proposals due June 10. There may well be a second call after that, but don't count on it. If you attend only one conference this year, make it this one! In my humble opinion this is the best...
  • The results of quite a large study (120,000 participants) appear to show that 'digital' screen time, on average, correlates with increased well-being in teenagers up to a certain point, after which the correlation is, on average, mildly negative...
    • "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it!"

      Do you mean that the way an e-reader device is used in the environment will be a more important consideration for comfortability (i.e., eye strain) than what e-reader device is used?

      Steve Swettenham January 24, 2017 - 2:58pm

    • @Steve - not so much, although that is probably something to factor into any study. I mean that it is not important that it is an e-reader, but it is important how it is designed.

      There are way more current and possible designs for e-readers than for p-readers (notwithstanding - or perhaps because of  - thousands of years of evolution) and, if any of the design factors make a difference (and I am sure most do), it is always possible to design them differently. It's significantly more complex than that, too, because of the rich interplay between design elements.

      It's exactly the same issue as comparing e-learning and p-learning and expecting to find some universal qualitative difference in learning. It's a bit like saying all paintings are better than all drawings, or all blues music is better than all classical music. Makes no sense. We can probably fairly reliably find out how one particular design configuration compares with one other design configuration, and we can probably find out that some things (e.g. shining 100 lumens of light directly into someone's eyes) are (almost) always a bad idea for at least some kinds of activity, and we might even be able to discern some generalizable patterns that have held in the past but, unless they have held 100% of the time across all contexts, there is no reason to suppose that, given our capacity to alter the design, they will hold in the future. Of course, if we do find something is a universal problem, then the next step is to look for a solution. But it is no more sensible to investigate whether learning (or reading, or art) is better (or worse) with or without electronic media than it is to investigate whether it is better (or worse) with or without glue.

      Jon Dron January 24, 2017 - 4:56pm

    • Based on your noting that there is a difference between direct and indirect light to the eye, would it be useful to research human interactions to visual displays?  In example, a cinema display of reflected light is a different interface to the eyes, from a digital display screen of the same size (your flashlight note). The majority of humans (with 1B+ smartphones) have adapted to digital displays. This adaptation to non-natural/virtual direct light has no biophysical change? or has exposure to such technologies been too short in our species timeline (or human lifetime) to investigate?

      Steve Swettenham January 25, 2017 - 3:03am

  • Jon Dron bookmarked Smart Social Media Automation in the group COMP 650: Social Computing January 15, 2017 - 3:01pm
    One of a number of services, tools and plugins to enable syndication of content to and from various social media. As far as I can tell this is, in some ways, not quite as smart as something like Known, inasmuch as (from a cursory glance) it seems to...
  • As Cory Doctorow notes, why this headline should single out Japanese girls as being particularly at risk - and that this is the appeal of it - is much more disturbing than the fact that someone figured out how to lift fingerprints that can...
    • Interesting but not so easy. And a few links away from there is the old news. I can say that if Bruce Schneier doesn't talk about it we don't need to worry Wink

      Viorel Tabara January 15, 2017 - 1:44pm

    • Well, at least it's easier than replicating a retinal scan.

      Gerald Ardito January 15, 2017 - 2:15pm

    • Interesting. This is a related free webinar:

      Register for Jan. 25 ACM-SIGAI Panel on Ethics in A.I with Joanna Bryson, ACM Fellows Michael Wooldridge and Stuart Wilson

      You are receiving this email because you registered for a previous ACM Learning Webinar. As such, we consider you a Webinar VIP.

      If you haven't done so yet, register for the next free ACM Learning Webinar, "Panel and Town Hall: Big Thoughts and Big Questions about Ethics in Artificial Intelligence," presented on Wednesday, January 25 at 12 pm ET. The panelists include Joanna Bryson, Associate Professor at the University of Bath; Stuart Russell, Professor at UC Berkeley and Adjunct Professor at UC San Francisco; and Michael Wooldridge, Professor at the University of Oxford. Moderating the discussion will be Nicholas Mattei, Research Staff Member at the IBM TJ Watson Research Laboratory and Rosemary Paradis, Principal Research Engineer at Leidos Health and Life Sciences.

      (If you'd like to attend but can't make it to the virtual event, register now to receive a recording of the webinar when it becomes available.)

      Note: You can stream this and all ACM Learning Webinars on your mobile device, including smartphones and tablets.

      There has been a torrent of news, announcements, and discussions in the last year about the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) and the impact AI can and may have on society. Thinkers and groups from all corners have entered the discussion: from multiple statements by the White House about artificial intelligence and the future of work and the economy; to new academic and research centers for ethics in artificial intelligence at Oxford and the Allen Institute; to large corporations forming the Partnership for AI. We sit down with 4 panelists to discuss what's hot, what they see on the horizon, and to answer your questions. Interested students should also consider submitting their thoughts to the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies where they can win cash and chats with leading AI researchers. More details are available at

      To submit questions before the day of the panel please visit

      Duration: 60 minutes (including audience Q&A)

      Joanna J. BrysonAssociate Professor at the University of Bath; ACM and AAAI Fellow 
      Joanna is a transdisciplinary researcher on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence. Her research covers topics ranging from artificial intelligence, through autonomy and robot ethics, and on to human cooperation. She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago (AB) and Edinburgh (MPhil), and Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh (MSc) and MIT (ScD). She has additional professional research experience with Oxford, Harvard, and LEGO; technology experience in Chicago's financial industry, and experience in international organization management consultancy. Bryson is presently a Reader (associate professor) at the University of Bath, where in April she will be running Society with AI (AISB 2017, CFPs due in January and February). She is also currently an affiliate of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy.

      Stuart RussellProfessor at UC Berkeley and Adjunct Professor at UC San Francisco; ACM Fellow, AAAI Fellow, and AAAS Fellow 
      Stuart received his B.A. with first-class honours in physics from Oxford University in 1982 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford in 1986. He then joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he is Professor (and formerly Chair) of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and holder of the Smith-Zadeh Chair in Engineering. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery at UC San Francisco and Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum's Council on AI and Robotics. He is a recipient of the Presidential Young Investigator Award of the National Science Foundation, the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, the World Technology Award (Policy category), the Mitchell Prize of the American Statistical Association and the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, and Outstanding Educator Awards from both ACM and AAAI. In 1998, he gave the Forsythe Memorial Lectures at Stanford University and from 2012 to 2014 he held the Chaire Blaise Pascal in Paris. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research covers a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence including machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, knowledge representation, planning, real-time decision making, multitarget tracking, computer vision, computational physiology, global seismic monitoring, and philosophical foundations. His books include The Use of Knowledge in Analogy and InductionDo the Right Thing: Studies in Limited Rationality (with Eric Wefald), and Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (with Peter Norvig). 
      Michael WooldridgeProfessor at University of Oxford; ACM, AAI, EURAI, AISB, BCS Fellow 
      Michael is the Head of Department and Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Fellow at Hertford College. He joined Oxford in 2012; before this he was for 12 years a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Liverpool. Michael’s main research interests are in the use of formal techniques of one kind or another for reasoning about multiagent systems. He is particularly interested in the computational aspects of rational action in systems composed of multiple self-interested computational systems. His current research is at the intersection of logic, computational complexity, and game theory. He has published more than 300 articles in the theory and practice of autonomous agents and multiagent systems. 

      He is an ACM Fellow, an AAAI Fellow, a EURAI Fellow, an AISB Fellow, a BCS Fellow, and a member of Academia Europaea. In 2006, he was the recipient of the ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award. In 1997, he founded AgentLink, the EC-funded European Network of Excellence in the area of agent-based computing. He is the President of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI); was the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems; an associate editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR); an associate editor of Artificial Intelligence journal and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied LogicJournal of Logic and ComputationJournal of Applied Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Intelligence.

      Nicholas MatteiResearch Staff Member in the Cognitive Computing Group the IBM TJ Watson Research Laboratory 
      Nicholas is a Research Staff Member in the Cognitive Computing Group the IBM TJ Watson Research Laboratory. He serves as an ACM SIGAI Ethics Officer and is a co-orgnizer for the ACM SIGAI Student Essay Contest on the Responsible Use of AI Technologies Please consider submitting for prizes! His research is in artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications; largely motivated by problems that require a blend of techniques to develop systems and algorithms that support decision making for autonomous agents and/or humans. Most of his projects leverage theory, data, and experiment to create novel algorithms, mechanisms, and systems that enable and support individual and group decision making. He is the founder and maintainer of A Library for Preferences. He has worked at Data61/CISRO, NICTA, NASA, and the University of Kentucky.

      Rosemary ParadisPrincipal Research Engineer at Leidos Health and Life Sciences; SIGAI Treasurer 
      Rosemary Paradis is a Principal Research Engineer for Leidos Health and Life Sciences out of Gaithersburg, MD. Her current work as a data scientist for Big Data analytics includes building models in computational linguistics and natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. She has an M.S. in Computer Science from Union College, and a Ph.D. in Computational Intelligence from Binghamton University. Dr. Paradis has a number of patents and publications in the area of recognition algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Previous work at Lockheed Martin included the design and development of machine learning algorithms and managing the Core Recognition and Identification technology development for the USPS, the Royal Mail, and the Sweden Post Office. Dr. Paradis has held positions at General Electric, IBM, and also was a professor at Hartwick College, Ithaca College and Rochester Institute of Technology. She is currently the Secretary/Treasurer for the ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI).



      Oscar Lin January 15, 2017 - 3:01pm

  • Jon Dron bookmarked Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation January 14, 2017 - 11:59am
    A short article from Lisa Legault that summarizes self-determination theory (SDT) and its findings very succinctly and clearly. It's especially effective at highlighting the way the spectrum of extrinsic-to-intrinsic motivation works (including the...
    • Jon,

      Thanks for sharing this article. It was great to see such a succinct discussion of the topic and research.

      I am in the midst of creating a syllabus for a course i am teaching in the next semester on Educational Psychology. I am going to add this reading to the courrse.

      By the way, the course is going to be self-directed and take place in Pace Commons (my Elgg site).



      Gerald Ardito January 15, 2017 - 2:13pm

  • Jon Dron has created a new Pinboard Three posts about time January 13, 2017 - 1:50pm
    Three posts about time
    Three posts about time The three articles presented on this page are closely related blog posts that I have made on the topic of time and its costs over the past couple of years. My calculations are likely quite a bit off - you'll see that the...
  • An increasingly significant distance and online learning conference that is typically attended by many of the great and good in learning technology and distance ed research. Theme: Diversity Matters Location: Jönköping,...
  • Sad news for the world of bridge, about which I know almost nothing apart from what Sandra Landy, several-times world and European bridge champion, occasionally shared with me, and sad news for me. I learned today that she died last week, at the age...
    • Jon,

      This is a beautiful tribute to your mentor. Thanks so much for sharing it.

      Your writing put me in mind of my mentor at Pace, also named Sandra. It is amazing to see how we are shaped and influenced by the people in our networks. And how their sense of things gets tranferred and interalized by us, the mentees.


      Gerald Ardito January 11, 2017 - 5:18pm

  • Yochai Benkler's seminal paper from 2002, introducing themes later explored in greater depth in the Wealth of Networks (very highly recommended, albeit very long indeed). In this shorter and earlier paper, he outlines his central notion of a third...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked TEL MOOC from Athabasca University January 9, 2017 - 12:03pm
    Starts today... Course Description Teachers who want to learn more about teaching with technology will find this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Introduction to Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL), informative and engaging. Using...
  • Jon Dron bookmarked DeepDyve - Your Personal Research Library January 6, 2017 - 7:29pm
    'Like Spotify for academic articles', the slogan says. It gives access to a claimed 10,000 paywalled academic journals for $40USD/month ($30/month for a year). The site correctly claims that you can therefore get a whole year's access to all...
  • A nice one-minute summary of Alfie Kohn's case against grades at There's a great deal more Kohn has to say on the subject that is worth reading, such as at
    • It's time for a change. And not only grades, but the choice of learning. Lots to learn from homeschooled kids and their parents.

      Viorel Tabara January 7, 2017 - 5:28pm