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April 15, 2002

What Exactly is Mentored-Learning Anyway? Short article describing the concept of mentored learning, suggesting a partial taxonomy, and offering a checklist for evaluating online learning with mentoring support. By Doug Talbott, Online-Learning.Com, April, 2002.[Refer]

How Do You Like To Learn? Comparing User Preferences and Visit Length of Educational Web Sites The debate waxes and wanes on distance education lists such as DEOS as to whether individual learning styles or learning preferences have any effect on outcomes. This study, although not conclusive, leads us toward believing that they do. Certainly, learners' preferences are expressed in their selection of activity and duration of stay. "Adults are more likely to select Interactive Reference or Simulation whereas children prefer Creative Play and Role-playing Stories. The adult sites yield more straightforward cognitive information while the sites preferred by children allow more personal choice and interaction. Apparently, adults bring an intrinsic motivation to the learning experience. They know what they want to learn and they want to learn it in the most direct way. Children, on the other hand, need to be motivated. They respond positively to the opportunity for interaction and choice within a goal-based environment that offers them an extrinsic purpose." By David T. Schaller, Steven Allison-Bunnell, Minda Borun and Margaret B. Chambers, Museums and the Web 2002, April 17, 2002.[Refer]

Dirty Laundry on the Web An oil company allows readers to post uncensored - and sometimes very scathing - messages on its website. And the world doesn't end! I would not go so far as to say that this expresses the "depth of its real commitment" but it reflects a deeper understanding of how companies (including educational institutions) ought to use the web to enable real communications with the public. By David Weinberger, Darwin Magazine, April, 2002.[Refer]

Kids' Corner: Website Usability for Children Despite what Nielsen claims, adding 16 people from Isreal to the American test group does not "broaden the international applicability" of the study. That said, the findings in this report on web usability for children are notable. Most of it is expected: children prefer simple and straightforward navigation and enjoy multimedia. They don't scroll but they were willing to read instructions. Most significant, though, is the finding that children cannot distinguish between content and advertising. "On the contrary, to kids, ads are just one more content source. If a banner contains a popular character or something that looks like a cool game, they'll click it. Pokémon, here we come. (Kids clicked on Pokémon characters even though they were simply featured in banner ads for other products, rather than as links to a Pokémon site.)" This should those thinking of adding advertising to educational sites pause for thought. By Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox, April 14, 2002.[Refer]

Learning Objects This would be an unremarkable presentation about learing objects (though the short paper is clear, accurate and contains useful links) except for two things: first, it contains some examples of learning objects that really help illustrate the concept, and second, it has a couple of worksheets to help you evaluate and plan learning object design. By Sandy Mills, AliveTec, 2002.[Refer]

IEEE Copyright Transfer Export Control Compliance Form There's a bit of a flutter in the engineering and standards community as the the new Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) author submissions form is released. IEEE now requires that all its authors warrant that publication or distribution of the of the work will not violate Digital Copyright Millennium Act (the "DCMA") (sic). Most people assume they mean the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). Most of the reaction on SlashDot (http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/14/166232) and elsewhere has been negative, but as one poster comments, "They're just trying to protect themselves from lawsuits - that's all." That said, DCMA based "censorship" in IEEE journals is already being reported on PoliTechBot (http://www.politechbot.com/p-03393.html). By Unknown, IEEE, April, 2002.[Refer]

School Success in Strange Places Interesting. An Alaskan school achieves remarkable success in difficult conditions by breaking all the rules. All students are provided with a laptop. There is an emphasis on community involvement, personal health, cultural awareness and career development. Instead of measuring seat time and promoting students grade by grade, each student progresses at his or her own pace. By David S. Broder, Washington Post, April 14, 2002.[Refer]


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