Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
September 25, 2002

Anaheim (2) More photographs from Online Learning 2002 in Anaheim. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 25, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Learning 2002 VNU's conference summary page. The photo section proves one more time that it's better to select a few high quality images than to drown readers with a deluge of podium shots. Oh well. I received by email yesterday a summary in the VNU newsletter, but I can't find it on the site. Some webcasts of "popular" sessions are available (I wonder - did they video them all then select the ones with the best evaluations? of course not - they pre-selected the ones they would film and decided at that time that these were the "popular" sessions). By Various Authors, VNU, September 25, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Unified Field for Online Learning Summary of A Unified Field for Online Learning, presented by Jonathon D. Levy of the Harvard School of Business. "We are using a model that no longer works. It's a model that says learning occurs at some specified time, that some individual will put it all together in a package for us, and that we go out and obtain this package. But there is not enough time to capture all this knowledge. We have to think about a new way of making knowledge available to people." By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 25, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Distance Learning is Convenient, Cost Effective and Is Growing Distance learning isn't nearly as traumatic as had been feared, students get used to technical issues and "voices from the sky," and as a consequence distance education offerings "will continue to grow because of their convenience, cost savings." This according to a study conducted at Ball State University and released this week. By Press Release, Ball State University, September 23, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ready or Not--PDAs in the Classroom This article trumpets the arrival of PDAs in the classroom and asserts that "they will continue to get smaller, cheaper and better" (PDAs, that is, not classrooms). I'm not so sure. PDAs are at about minimum size (though they could be thinner) - people don't like looking at a 1 x 1 screen. And PDAs are already awkward to use. I don't think they're great classroom tools - ultra-slim tablets seem more likely. That said, so long as PDAs remain the only means of communication while the instructor is lecturing, they will have a future as diversions. But I am less convinced that you will be able to teach with them. By Jay Dominick, Syllabus, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Learning Spaces: Smart Learners, Not Smart Classrooms According to the author, "Turning our classrooms into spaces resembling Hollywood studios is just throwing great quantities of money at this issue instead of addressing the really difficult problems that need to be solved to improve learning." Instead, he argues, "We need smart learners, not smart classrooms; and smart classrooms are not enough to get us there." Agreed. But are instructors willing to let learners be smart? By Howard Strauss, Syllabus, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes