Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
January 31, 2003

Windows RG Windows users and non-users alike should get a good chuckle out of Windows RG (for "Really Good"). As you use it, don't panic. It's not real! By Unknown, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

TAP TAP (if it's an acronym, I couldn't find it) is a mechanism for storing and retrieving semantic web data via the internet. Source code (in Java and Perl) and examples are provided. The TAP project is looking at specific issues involved in semantic web data exchange, including query interfaces and publishing, semantic negotiation, trust, caching and potential applications. Related to this project is Guha's RDF database. By Ramanathan Guha and Rob McCool,, Stanford University, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Metacrap: Putting the Torch to Seven Straw Men of the Meta-Utopia This article is a reprint of an item that has been around since August, 2001, but the points are worth making again. But so - importantly - are the solutions. Most of the issues involve inaccurate metadata. This is why I advocate third party metadata, that is, metadata provided by neutral and qualified observers. Doctorow also points out that "schemas aren't neutral." Agreed, and this is why we should always allow data providers to select from a number of schemas. What Doctorow argues against is essentially what I also argue against: the illusion that one standard metadata set will put an end to the ambiguity and uncertainty of information on the web. It won't happen. But we can devise ways to adapt to it, just as humans have been doing for millennia. By Cory Doctorow, E-Learning Guru, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Find an Answer in E-Learning This item is mostly a rehash of what readers have seen before (is there any other kind of rehash?) but provides three compact case studies of corporate e-learning: Home Depot, Ryders and Siemens. The lessons learned are a bit basic: use threaded discussions, provide technical support, offer e-learning in small doses. Basic, but then again, not nearly as widely applied as they could be. By Penny Lunt, Transform, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Site to Centralize E-training The U.S. government is finalizing plans to centralize e-learning provided by various government agencies under one roof. Office of Management and Budget launched the Government Online Learning Center in July of 2002 and on Wednesday launched the second phase of the program, which includes new features and enhancements to the site. By Colleen O'Hara, Federal Computer Week, January 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to Get Inside a Student's Head Though Steven Pinker's track record commands respect, he is a little off the mark in this op-ed in the New York Times. Pinker first makes the observation that educators should rely more on empirical science, and in particular, cognitive science, behavioral genetics and evolutionary and developmental psychology. Fair enough and with minor caveats I support this statement. Yet in the very next paragraph he draws on insights offered by Jay Leno in order to offer a new approach to education: "instruction at all levels in relatively new fields like economics, evolutionary biology and statistics." Now I value learning in those fields. But should such learning replace the study of a foreign language or the classics, as Pinker suggests? I have my doubts. Perhaps we should wait for the, um, empirical studies. By Steven Pinker, New York Times, January 31, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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