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March 16, 2002

Maintaining the Delicate Balance: Distance Learning, Higher Education Accreditation, and the Politics of Self-Regulation Looks at some of the "delicate" issues surrounding distance learning, accreditation and self-regulation. Raises some familiar issues, such as the problem of fraud in federal funding for distance programs, the reliability of accreditation for quality control in distance learning, and the question of whether wider government controls are needed. The best reading is in the appendices, where the authors tackle the issue of what constitutes quality in distance learning. HTML page linking to a PDF file. By Judith S. Eaton, EDUCAUSE, March, 2002.[Refer]

Thomson Signs Agreement with Cardean University to Offer Online M.B.A. Degree The Thomson Corporation has taken another major step in its quiet campaign to be the leading provider of online learning by signing an exclusive distribution agreement with Cardean University courses to corporate clients. It's an MBA, which means they're still cherry-picking, but expect a wider range of offerings to follow this initial foray. Cardean is probably more familiar to people under the name of its founding company, UNext, a company that collaborates with name universities to market their online learning content. By Press Release, Thomson Enterprise Learning, March 13, 2002.[Refer]

Any Teachers on Slashdot? Like the typical Slashdot item, this discussion wanders a bit (but then, it wouldn't be Slashdot if it didn't), but this item generally revolves around the idea of teachers using technology and especially non-standard (read: non-Windows) technology such as Star Office. Some good discussion, some flames... because this discussion is still new, it's a bit hard to say where it will end up, though. By Cliff, SlashDot, March 15, 2002.[Refer]

NY Judge Narrows Terms in BT Internet Patent Case Web development companies - and especially Prodigy - are breathing a little easier today after a British judge narrowed british telecom's claim of a patent on the hyperlink. Additionally, "several legal experts said that BT's failure to assert its patent in the 13 years since the claim was officially granted means that it would likely forego any back payments even if it won the case. Under U.S. patent law revised in the 1990s, BT's patent stands to expire in 2006." By Eric Auchard, Reuters, march 14, 2002.[Refer]

Schools Find Time for File-Swapping Although they reacted at first with an iron fist, prohibiting Napster and all other forms of file sharing, universities are now relenting despite the legal risks. "Students are essentially our customers, and we need to try to make them happy," said Russell Taylor, director of academic computing and information systems at Lees-McRae College, in Banner Elk, N.C. "Music and movies are out there to download, so rather than take a hard-and-fast line to block it...we decided it would be best to let it continue, but to limit it down until such a time it does become illegal." By Gwendolyn Mariano , ZD Net News, March 14, 2002.[Refer]

Taking Distance Out of Education Overview of work in Nigeria leading up to this month's Course Materials Development Meeting holding in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital. Working with staff from the Commonwealth of Learning, Nigherian participated in an intensive e-learning development and design workshop. The remainder of this month will be devoted to course writing, content editing, scripting and preparation of audio, video, television, CD-Rom and web-based materials. By the end of the project (though probably not by the end of the month) 183 courses will be written and 235 others adapted "in 54 programmes carefully chosen to kick-start the re-establishment of the National Open University in Lagos." By This Day, allAfrica.Com, March 13, 2002.[Refer]


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