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February 27, 2002

Featured Genius Interview with Murray Goldberg of Silicon Chalk OK, one of the worst user interfaces I've had to deal with in some time, and because it's Flash, I can't send you a direct URL to the page I want to describe (are you reading this Macromedia?)... but I have to send you this link because it's important. The site is called Cool Genius and is worth taking a look. The article is, as the title suggests, an interview with Murray Goldberg. To read the article don't bother trying to click on the name of the article or anywhere inside the pop-up describing the article... click on the little picture on the lower left hand side of the page. Like I said... The interview is so sycophantic there must be a link between Cool Genius and Goldberg's new company, Silicon Chalk, which produces SLATE, "software developed by Silicon Chalk to enhance the educational experience for instructors and students at the post secondary level. Using wirelessly communicating notebook computers within a class or lecture setting, the final version of the software will include features designed to help improve collaboration and build a learning community. The application will provide a method for instructors to make real-time presentations to the student laptops." Sound familiar? Silicon Chalk's website is http://www.silicon-chalk.com/ and I guess with this item I've blown my chance to be next month's Featured Genius. By , , .[Refer]

Battle of the Browser Take the Online Instructors' Battle of the Browser (I use Netscape 6.2 and grumble when a site makes me use Internet Explorer). I love online polls (this one will send you the results by email, and with any luck, won't send you too much spam (because if they do, you'll hear about it in OLDaily)). By AliveTek, CoolGenius, February 21, 2002.[Refer]

Online Students Don't Fare as Well as Classroom Counterparts, Study Finds OK, here is why I don't frequently report that "this study said this" or "that study said that" - here we have a case where students in an online version of a class did more poorly than students in the in-class version. Fine, no problem. But now we have the study's author emphasizing the significant of the results. "The figures represent about a 10-percent poorer understanding of the material by the online students, Mr. Brown says. 'That is a significant difference,' he says. 'That is not a statistical artifact.'" Well - how does Mr. Brown know that his study is not the one study that is the exception when a statistical method guarantees, say, plus or minus five percent, nineteen times out of twenty? I wish that people who comment on statistics would understand that exceptions are the rule, and that such surveys should be looked at only in the aggregate, not on a case-by-case basis. Sheesh. Good job by the author, though, in placing this survey in that wider context (hey, maybe Chronicle writers are reading the occasional kind critiques in OLDaily). By Dan Carnevale, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2002.[Refer]

Is E-learning a Flop in India? This article is vague and probably more expressive of a sentiment than any particular objection. "E-learning today is facing the same dilemma and acceptance problems that other Net applications are encountering. The Net has grown at an incredible speed in the past decade mainly because of unreasonably high expectations created by Internet and dotcom enthusiasts and protagonists. In their eagerness, they created applications without really analysing and understanding the fundamentals of these applications. They did a good job of populating the Web with enormous content and faulty applications. As a result, customers experienced serious shortcomings, lacunae and inefficiencies in their (applications') delivery. The story of e-learning is no different." By Pramod Khera, India Today, February, 2002.[Refer]

Indian University Plans Dramatic Expansion of Distance Education via the Airwaves Sometimes things come in clusters... despite the pessimism expressed in the previous article today, big plans are afoot for a dramatic expansion of distance learning in India. The Indira Gandhi National Open University will establish 40 FM radio stations and set up 2,000 television satellite downlinks to its study centers, according to this report in the Chronicle. By Martha Ann Overland, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 26, 2002.[Refer]

Rocky Start in Cyber Classrooms Yet another article that blurs the distinction between charter schools and cyber schools. Thus the opponents of charter schools look for - and find - objections to online learning. Again, the debate centers around the Pennsylvania system, where more than a hundred school districts have joined in lawsuits challenging the cyber charter schools. By Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post, February 26.[Refer]


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