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August 30, 2001

Highway Bridges and Feasts: Heidegger and Borgmann on How to Affirm Technology Really nice paper that looks at how technology changes the way we live and learn. Some excellent nuggets: the comparison between 'library culture' and 'information retrieval culture.' And: one's understanding of oneself, not as a set of skills, but as a user of skills to get along adaptably. And: a piece of technology is not epistemologically neutral; it oppens up new possibilities for experience and knowledge. And: "Freeing us from having a total fixed identity so that we may experience ourselves as multiple identities disclosing multiple worlds..." And finally: "we can build a world that promotes both local worlds and a 'community of communities' that satisfies everyone’s need for comprehensiveness." Do read this paper: it will help you see your own online course in a different light. By Hubert L. Dreyfus and Charles Spinosa, 1997? [Refer] (Link)

Football English With language learning, it isn't the number of course credits you get that determines whether you've succeeded (otherwise my 12 years of French classes would be sufficient to make be "bilingual") - language has to be practiced and used in context for fluency to be gained. That's why I like this site: it teaches people English by having them talk about soccer (i.e., football). [Refer] (Link)

Governments Push Open-Source Software Most companies creating online learning software and learning content hope to be the Microsoft of online learning. But they would do well to take note of the rising "free software laws" movement around the world. "Laws requiring the use of free or open-source software give governments 'free rein to do what they want, how they want and when they want it,' said IDC analyst Dan Kusnetzky. 'It's not just the United States government they're worried about but a single vendor exercising so much power over their government operations. A government would not like to be under so much influence from any supplier." By Paul Festa, CNet, August 29, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

Separating Students From Smut Schools in the United States must certify by October 29 that they comply with content filtering standards or they will lose technology funding. The standards focus on sites that appeal to a "a prurient interest in nudity, sex, or excretion." If it were me, I would filter sites that promote McDonalds, Disney, and Philip Morris products. By Katie Dean, Wired News, August 29, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

Amazoning The News Designers of online learning should read this article. Not because I think an online course should look like a page from Amazon.Com but because this is an example of how a traditional media should break through its traditional limitations. After viewing this article, don't you think it's absurb to simply place some text on an HTML page and call it online news? I have long said that web course designers should look at integrating content with interaction and resource bases. This is a good example of that sort of thing. By by Ellen Kampinsky, Shayne Bowman, and Chris Willis, Hypergene.net, July, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

Stop Selling, Start Educating If you think I was a bit harsh with my remark about the filtering software (above), consider: "Last year, $54 billion was spent on broadcast advertising. The average child sees 30,000 commercials a year, despite the wishes of 85 percent of parents that children's TV programs be 'commercial free.'... by law a 'noncommercial' educational service, PBS kids shows are surrounded by increasingly longer pitches for theme parks, shopping websites and fast food like McDonalds, Chuck-E-Cheese and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. The PBS children's show 'Puzzle Place' has a joint marketing agreement with Toys-R-Us, and 'Teletubbies' has such agreements with three companies, including Microsoft." By Jerold M. Starr, TomPaine.Com, August 25, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

Breaking Microsoft's e-Book Code Microsoft's eBook reader encryption software has been cracked by an anonymous programmer who, irked by the reader's restrictions, created the software for his own use. By Wade Roush, Technology Review, August 30, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

E-MBA Programs Graduate This Forbes article, citing the "polluted" reputation of distance learning, attributes the success of the University of Florida's version to the fact that it is completely integrated with the University's traditional on-campus program. Perhaps some of you may want to send an email to Florida's business program dean, John Kraft, to comment on his marketing strategy. You know, the one that depicts (everyone else's) distance learning as "polluted." By Lisa DiCarlo, Forbes.com, August 30, 2001. [Refer] (Link)

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