incidental learning

Friday, March 10, 2006

Missing Stephen Downes

Back in the mid 90's I started subscribing to listservs. I've been irritated, engaged, delighted, puzzled, bored, thoughful, curious, entranced and otherwise impacted by the ideas of people who exist only in my *internet cloud*. A few years ago one of the people who gave me great insights about being an online faculty member, Guy BenSusan, died suddenly. That night people from around the country mourned his passing in dialogue on the Internet. It was a moving and compelling experience that I will not soon forget. There's a significant loss right now in the blogosphere . . . fortunately one of silence, rather than irreversible loss. Nevertheless, Stephen Downe's hiatus is a notable gap in my life. Only once have I heard his voice, though I've read thousands of his daily messages and browsed to so many wonderful sites that he suggested. (My friends wonder how I know about so many things and its largely due to him.) A year ago I made subscribing to Stephen's OLDaily a course requirement for my NYU grad students. Some balked. I smiled when 6 months after the course was over, one of the students emailed me the following: * I just wanted to thank you for having us subscribe to OLDaily. It has been very useful, and I never would have subscribed if you hadn't required it.* I wonder if that student finds this silence is hard to fill too?


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