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March 19, 2002

Internet Filters Shouldn't Bring Religious Bias As schools increasingly turn to online resources the question of filtering inappropriate resources is inevitable. But, according to the author, some schools, by turning over filtering to private agencies, are transgressing the limits established by the various book banning cases of the last few decades. "School boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to 'prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.' Such purposes stand inescapably condemned by our precedents." Hosted on Yahoo Groups but you won't need to sign in to read it. By Nancy Willard, WWWEDU, March 18, 2002.[Refer]

What Executives Must Know About E-learning Good survey article that provides an executive level (read: simple and brief) summary of the reasons to consider e-learning and the best way to approach e-learning for the first time in a company. This article would be useful for vendors trying to sell e-learning products or services to a company for the first time. By Saul Carliner, Potomac Tech Journal, March 18, 2002.[Refer]

Deviants, Inc. On the surface this article may appear to have nothing to do with online learning. Indeed, it reads more like corporate America meeting John Stuart Mill in drag. But that's why you need to read it. The thesis of the article is the strongly worded assertion is that deviance is what leads the way to innovation, and therefore that corporations should embrace deviance. "The history of innovation proves it; corporate leaders need to accept it: The advantage always falls to the deviant, because nature -- and commerce -- hates stasis. Deviants, by definition, are individuals who don't, won't, or can't play by the rules. Their mission is to propagate their deviance, not to climb the corporate ladder. As employees -- if they can even tolerate being employees -- they tend to be insubordinate. They often appear to be unfocused. They are almost always highly individualistic, and, more often than not, they make lousy team players. They range from difficult to manage (the best-case scenario) to totally unmanageable (the default mode). They are also the greatest hope that moribund corporations have for renewing their vision, energy, innovation, and future." By Ryan Mathews and Watts Wacker, Fast Company, March, 2002.[Refer]

Hybrid Teaching Seeks to End the Divide Between Traditional and Online Instruction This discussion of blended learning - or as the Chronicle calls it, hybrid learning - is useful but is written as though the author has only just discussed online learning. Blended learning is introduced in that same eyes-wide-open style, despite the fact that it has been around for years: when WebCT was first introduced six years or so ago, for example, it designed to be used in what we would now call blended learning. That said, the article spends quite a bit of time touting the effectiveness of blended learning and gioving examples of campuses that have adopted the practice. But the article seems to confuse blended learning with a lot of other practices: reqauiring that students take a full course online isn't blended learning, for example. Nor is 'buffet style' course design intrinsic to blended learning. And blended learning isn't going to give your institution a large international market, since it does require some residency. By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 22, 2002.[Refer]

WebCT Launches Industry's Premier Academic Enterprise System, WebCT Vista Pricing is of course not mentioned in this short press release as WebCT launches its new "integrated, enterprise-class" learning management system. According to the press release, users will "have the ability to create, store, tag, reuse, manage, and share content beyond course boundaries." By Press Release, Web CT, March 18, 2002.[Refer]


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