Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
October 22, 2002

NAWeb 2002 (Last Day) As NAWeb 2002 draws to a close, it appears that my blog experiment was a success. There was only one glitch - I lost about an hour's worth of summary when my computer suddenly crashed. But that was a minor problem; what was really great was the willingness of other conference participants to add to the summary (really useful when my computer was used for Hibb's presentation this morning). This entry is being typed as Allan Ellis delivers the final seminar of the conference - and from Ellis, quoting McLuhan: "People advance into the future looking backward into the past." Maybe so, but NAWeb, as always, leaves something worth looking back at and remembering. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, Octiber 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning U.S. News and World Report is publishing a special feature about online learning containing numerous articles, an online program search system, and much more. One article describes the eArmyU project, another talks about gaming in elearning, and yet another is a 'secret agent' look inside an online class. The section also includes glossaries, help getting started and a discussion forum. By Various Authors, U.S. News and World Report, October 28, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sharp Unveils Computer on Glass Display What I've been waiting for... Sharp has unveiled a screen with microprocessor circuitry applied directly onto the glass, enabling it to function like a computer. If these can be made strong enough (so they don't break when you drop them) they will be used as pads. No lids, no keys... just a clear chunk of (computational) plastic. By Edmund Klamann, InfoWorld, October 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Levels of Interactivity I have argued in the past that interactivity is multi-faceted, varying across several dimensions. So you may conclude that I would consider a one-dimensional set of 'levels of interactivity' to be just wrong - and you would be right. This link proposes one approach to such a definition: the U.S. Army (according to a post (without a link) to VNU's OLNews) uses a similar but slightly different set of levels. These lists talk about whether learners can set their own path through the material, rotate switches, or control presentation. Interaction with other humans is not mentioned in either set of lists - a serious omission, it seems to me. Defining 'interaction' with a single 'level' is, in my opinion, simply wrong. By Unknown, University of Toronto, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Turning a Profit With Higher Education A look, from an investor's point of view, at the private sector in higher education. The report is positive, listing only three risk factors: stocks could fall if the quality of the products declined, if the quality of services declined, or if the amount of student aid began to fall. I find this last very interesting. The report speaks positively about online learning and notes that both registrations and tuition fees are climbing. By Kenneth N. Gilpin, New York Times, October 20, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Disappearing Computer I talk from time to time about e-learning embedded in fishing rods, in toasters, in strawberry jam... and people sort of roll their eyes and wait for the phase to pass. This website is dedicated to the idea of embedding computers in everyday things. There's not a lot of content (but I love the graphics) but the design and overview are sound and give you a good idea of what the concept is all about. By Various Authors, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Rapid Task Analysis I saw this link to Docent Analytics on a mailing list today and considered linking, but the item was so full of sales-babble it would require a major translation. Happily, George Siemens found this article about "Rapid Task Analysis" (RTA). According to the article, RTA is "a systematic process for identifying job competencies, up front, in the design phase of e-Learning development." Which seems to me is what Docent is up to with their new product. The article is good reading, the Docent blurb is just terrible, but together they give you the picture. By Conrad Gottfredson, eLearning Developers Journal, June 25, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Judge: Disabilities Act Doesn't Cover Web A U.S. District Judge has ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to the web. She was ruling in a case where Southwest Airlines had been sued for not having an accessible website. "To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards. The plain and unambiguous language of the statute and relevant regulations does not include Internet Web sites." By Declan McCullagh, CNet, October 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes