Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 19, 2002

JPEG Patent Claim Sparks Concern In what is being called an "ambush" a Texas company is claiming ownership of the popular JPEG digital image format and says it will demand royalties from all users of the format. Developers are angry and I don't blame them. Keeping a patent (assuming it is real, which appears not to be in question) essentially secret while millions of developers do the work to adapt and employ the technology is an underhanded business tactic, one that should not be recognized by the courts. It is, in my books, nothing more than larceny and should be treated as such. By Joanna Glasner, Wired News, July 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Preliminary Look at the Structural Differences of Higher Educational Classroom Communities in Traditional and ALN Courses This discussion of the creation of community in the online classroom as compared to the traditional classroom is of most interest because of its use of the Sense of Classroom Community Index (SCCI). According to the article, "The SCCI was used to measure sense of classroom community. It consists of a self-report questionnaire of 40 items, ten items each for the subscales of spirit, trust, interaction, and learning." Numerous references to the SCCI are provided. The author found no difference in the overall sense of community between the two classrooms, but numerous differences in different dimensions of community. By A. Alfred P. Rovai, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, July, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Education Poised for Significant Growth In Canada It's hard to believe there could be more after all the growth we've had in this nation, but according to this pollster online learning is about to grow significantly in Canada. According tot he study, "59% of Canadian Internet users are likely to take an online course in the future, if they were looking to further their education. This high level of interest is apparent across all demographic and regional categories. Already, 26% have searched the Internet for online courses, and just over one-in-ten have either taken an online course (8%), or have taken an in-person course that includes a significant online component (7%)." A link to the full press release is provided. By Unknown, The Net, July 12, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Teacher Training: Too Much or Not Enough? A recent issue surfacing in the U.S. schol system is whether teachers are spending too much time learning methodology and not enough on subject matter learning. This article covers an aspect of that debate. By Jay Mathews, Washington Post, July 9, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Report on the Open Meeting of the CEN/ISSS Learning Technologies Though written with Canadian interests - and particularly CanCore - in mind, this document is nonetheless a useful review of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Information Society Standardization System (ISSS) meeting on learning technologies held in early July in Belgium. The author highlights the committee's support for the use of CanCore in Europe and describes some of their future work including especially work on learning object metadata (LOM) binding model to concrete technologies, so that interoperable LOM tools can be developed. The report is in MS-Word .doc format. More information about the meeting may be found at By Rory McGreal, Stephen's Web, July 18, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes