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By Stephen Downes
December 20, 2002

ECAR Releases Research Studies on Enterprise Systems and Distance Learning in Higher Education The EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) has released two studies: The Promise and Performance of Enterprise Systems, and Strategies for Supporting Off-Campus Growth. I'd like to report on their contents, but I get a pop-up from Acrobat Reader saying it cannot decrypt the documents (I have Acrobat Reader 4.0 but you need Acrobat Reader 5.0 or greater (with all the encryption and security stuff that controls how I view my documents, something I'm not willing to install on my computer)). That, I think, tells me (or more accurately, warns me) about at least one possible future for enterprise e-learning. Anyhow, if you have the magic key, you can read the documents. And if you can't, send an email to EDUCAUSE asking for an unencrypted version of the report. By Various Authors, EDUCAUSE, December 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Distance Learning and Copyright How would you answer this? "Like many other institutions, mine is positioning itself in the distance learning market, and very soon the courses I teach may be offered as distance learning courses. In order to teach these courses I will be required to provide extensive written teaching material, over which the university will claim copyright. I am not happy with this situation, and find it hard to believe other academics can just accept this." It's a tough question, but I think Stevan Harnad's reply on the Digital-Copyright mailing list handles it nicely, with links and resources. By Steven Harnad, Digital-Copyright, December 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Teletubbies and Inai-Inai-baa I have watched Teletubbies a number of times and mostly cannot figure out what's going on. Half the dialog is in noises, not words. There a baby's face in the middle of the Sun. This article seeks to clarify a little by examining what about TeleTubbies and its Japanese counterpart, Inai-Inai-baa, makes good children's television. Both programs try to adapt scenes from the say-to-day experiences of infants, though interestingly "Teletubbies is totally made from the child's viewpoint while Inai-Inai-baa adopts both the child's and parent's points of view." By Mariko Tokoro, Child Research Net, November 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Off to See the Wizard Well I've seen worse theories of education. And this one, besides being really easy to remember, captures some of the essential qualities of education. Now you wouldn't think there is much in common between the Wizard of Oz and learning. But consider: "School should be more like that. Students should cross the threshold of a challenge and find on the other side, after a series of symbolic adventures, brains and heart and courage." Yeah, OK, it's hardly a practical guide. But it still piques the imagination. By Howard Good, Education Week, December 11, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ten Things to Consider about E-Learning before Spending a Dime This may be the wrong audience for this paper, but it's worth passing along if only as a reminder. As the title suggests, the article (drawn largely from some Brandon Hall reports) surveys a list of things that should be in place before a company spends money on e-learning. At the top of the list: a learning culture. By MariAn Klein, Workplace Xpert, December, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Educational Website Awards 2002 I don't typically cover prizes and awards, mainly because there are so many. But this item, which does not itself confer an award, is worth a look, providing as it does the best of the best, a list of winners from a half dozen contests including the Webby Awards educational category, Becta / The Guardian UK Education Web Site Awards and the NAWeb Awards. By Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, December 20, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes