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January 24, 2002

OU Attracting More Young People According to a press release distributed by Britain's Open University, the number of young people studying at a distance is increasing rapidly. What's interesting isn't the number of people, it's the reasons they give. They find it cheaper, according to the release, they want to start working right away, and they find the university a bad place to study. "Some of our students have come to the OU having tried studying at other universities, where they have found the lifestyle, including the lack of a strong work ethic that some of them perceive, not for them." The Guardian also covered this item, lifting the text almost word for word from the news release. Tsk, tsk. At least call someone and get another opinion. Neither the article nor the press release (which is in MS Word format, another no-no) provided a link to the study itself (which couldn't be found on the OU website either). By Lee Elliot Major, The Guardian, January 22, 2002.[Refer]

Flexible Learning Leaders If you are in Australia especially, you will want to have a look at the reports posted by 30 flexible learning leaders from across the country. Though the quality of these reports varies, most are complete and a number offer interesting and useful observations. Also included are descriptions links to many individuals, projects and conference papers and proceedings across Australia and around the world. You can also download the whole lot in MS Word format. By some unsung compiler, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, January, 2002.[Refer]

Gorilla Warfare "Big names from outside the training world are lining up to become the 800-pound gorilla in the e-learning market," suggests this article. And what follows is an interesting survey of the interest and efforts generated from four different sectors: the consulting sector, the resource planning sector, tech firms and retailers. Nobody has found the key yet, but the summer of 2002 should see some winners begin to emerge, according to the article. And the likely winners will be "companies like Siebel and Oracle and Microsoft buying the LMS vendors." I agree that consolidation will come later this year, but I see the purchases coming from a sector not even considered in this article: the publishing industry. Why? Because it is important to stop thinking as an LMS as software and start thinking of it as a content distribution system. Viewed that way, the publishers must begin acquiring - or they will be beholden to companies like Siebel, Oracle and Microsoft for their existence. You make the call. By David Raths, E-Learning Magazine, January, 2002.[Refer]

LearnKey Signs Agreement With RealNetworks Online learning meets streaming video. Just another 'strategic alliance' meeting (one of dozens that hit the press release tabs every day), but this one is more interesting than usual: LearnKey has signed an agreement to deliver learning material through Real Media. If you have been playing with RealOne (reviewed in OLDaily a few weeks ago) you'll know that the media player very nicely integrates a system for paid media content. So LearnKey might be onto something here. By Press Release, LearnKey, January 23, 2002.[Refer]

Buy Notebooks, Not Desktops Good advice for schools considering hardware purchases. Desktop computers don't move around, but students and instructors do. And notebooks today are relatively inexpensive and powerful enought to handle just about any computing need. The only major hitch? Microsoft Outlook doesn't travel well (hey, I'm not making this up, it's in the article). By David Berlind, ZDNet Tech Update, January 23, 2002.[Refer]

Survey of America's Youth Shows Importance of Job Shadowing In Making Realistic Career Choices In some of my articles and seminars I have talked about the way online learning will help students conduct their learning in environments outside the school. This poll, conducted for Junior Achievement, shows the usefulness of that approach. "Students had unrealistic expectations in regards to finding their ideal job, salary potential and likelihood of getting their chosen career," writes the author, but job shadowing "acquaints them with the world of work through on-the-job experiences and a carefully crafted school curriculum that ties academics to the workplace throughout the year." By Press Release, Job Shadow Coalition, January 24, 2002.[Refer]


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