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December 21, 2001

Concerts to Raise Money for Battle Against Record Companies Major publishers and record labels - such as the RIAA - present themselves as fighting for the rights of creative artists. So why are some big name acts - including Elton John, No Doubt, Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks, Weezer, Dixie Chicks, Ozzy Osbourne and the Eagles - staging a series of five benefit concerts to fund a fight against the recording industry? Because artists, they say, are not getting their share of the royalties. Now this fight may be between musicians and record labels, but professors who are signing content deals with publishers ought to take note... because it's a lot harder for professors to fill concert hall with paying customers. By AP, Sacramento Bee, December 19, 2001.[Refer]

Open Source Schools Projects Work Together to Provide Alternative to Microsoft Offer You may recall that Microsoft volunteered to donate $1 billion worth of software to American schools as part of its antitrust offer. Critics contented that the offer would merely consolidate Microsoft's already considerable hold on the education market. In response to the offer, a group of open source providers is creating a "foundry" where users can find the tools and information about using open source software and curriculum in schools. The initiative came largely from Red Hat Linux's offer of free software to any school, a counter-offer to the Microsoft proposal. By Grant Gross, NewsForge, December 20, 2001.[Refer]

2001: The year the Internet Stopped Being Fun Writes the author, "I like to make the analogy of everyone receiving free satellite TV service and having it taken away and then us offering to sell them cable TV service instead." This is an interesting take - the internet was like a great party, but through the economic downturn, dot com failures and, of course, September 11, the great fin thing that was the internet is now gone, replaced by a set of cynical business propositions (and as an aside - though there will be many articles talking about how bad 2001 was, it was a very good year for me, proving that sharing information for free isn't a disaster in every case - I guess it depends on what you want to get out of it). By Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service, December 17, 2001.[Refer]

Researcher Sees a Big Role for Virtual Reality in Distance Education The Chronicle discovers virtual reality. Oh ok, maybe not that bad, but that's how this interview comes off. And it sounds like Jaron Lanier - the scientist who (the article says) coined the term 'virtual reality' - sees VR as a tool for emulating the classroom over the internet, an astonishing lack of vision that can't really be what he meant. But he does say, "If I'm in a university environment, and I see a slacker kid falling asleep in the back row, I'll challenge them. And I think that that's absolutely essential. I'm really not comfortable losing that connection." But that's not the future of VR in education, is it? Tell me not. By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 20, 2001.[Refer]

The Power of the First Person On a personal note... why is OLDaily so much better than the other online learning newsletters (oh? as there some doubt here? *grin*)? To me, the big difference is that I do more than report the news... I report my reactions and I do so in a personal way. As this article suggests. Communications on the web - and this, by the way, includes online courses - should be less formal, more intimate, because "the network of the Web is made up of hundreds of millions of individuals who email, chat, discuss, and share in the first person." By Nick Usborne, ClickZ, December 20, 2001.[Refer]


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