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By Stephen Downes
February 17, 2003

IMS Open Technical Forum Today's newsletter is significantly early because in about ten minutes I will be getting on a plane and flying to Vancouver for the IMS Open Technical Forum. Newsletters for the rest of the week will be late as I will be on Pacific time, four hours later than usual. The title of my talk is the deliciously vague, "No, Really, This Is What We Want." Now, if you were to have the change to tell IMS - the body largely responsible for learning objects - what you want, what would you tell them? This is your chance: send me a note using the [Reflect] link and let me - and IMS - know what's on your mind. By Various Authors, IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc., February 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Quotes Screensaver I've had this screensaver running for the last couple of weeks and I'm still not tired of reading the more than 400 quotes that flash by. Look for the download button at the middle left of the page. By Various Authors, eTrafficSolutions, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

At the Online Library Is this what we should be doing: "building large digital resources that require a keen understanding of complex licensing and copyright agreements with publishers?" This, in part, is the new role for libraries described in this article. Why is this all necessary, when we have the internet? Well, in part because, "You canít do [deep scholarly research] through Google, because it does not have proprietary databases that are designed and licensed for academic libraries." Well quite right. And moreover, "A lot of online services we provide are very costly, and the vendors are interested in making a profit, and every year they ask for more money for the databases." This isn't the author's point, but I have to ask, is this really the best use of our money? By George Lorenzo, Educational Pathways, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Google Buys Pyra: Blogging Goes Big-Time "Google, which runs the Web's premier search site, has purchased Pyra Labs, a San Francisco company that created some of the earliest technology for writing weblogs, the increasingly popular personal and opinion journals.... Just three and a half years old, Pyra's Blogger software has 1.1 million registered users, Williams said. He estimated that about 200,000 of them are actively running weblogs. Pyra charges for some higher-capability services not available in the base configuration, but most of its registered users don't pay." By Dan Gillmor, SiliconValley.Com, February 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Supercourse The Supercourse is an online repository of more than 1000 free online lectures on epidemiology, prevention and public health. It boasts more than 9000 faculty members from 134 countries. It also provides these lectures on the Supercourse CD, which they will mail you to put on your library computer. By Various Authors, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Visual Interpretation of the Table of Elements What is a chemical element? The symboloc representations - H for hydrogen, He for helium, and so on - suggest the name of the element, but otherwise convey no further information. This dazzling presentation represents each element with a visual interpretation evoking our common understanding of the element - the Sun for helium, airplane and foil for aluminium. It's a fascinating employment of image as content, and more than that, is fun to look at and explore. By Various Authors, ChemSoc, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Paradox of the Best Network The principle supported in this short item is that "The best network is the hardest one to make money running." By "the best network" the authors mean an network that "delivers bits in the largest volumes at the fastest speeds," is open to innovation, and closes off the fewest futures. The paradox exists because as a network becomes better, individual components become stupider, and as components become stupider, connectivity becomes a commodity. Networks should not be optimized for specific services. As software engineers say, "Today's optimization is tomorrow's bottleneck." The services should live at the edge of the network, interacting through the network with each other, rather than defining features of the network. By David Isenberg and David Weinberger, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Emerging Trends in Post-Secondary Education - The View to 2012 The point of this comprehensive series of slides is to demonstrate that there is a huge market for online learning waiting just around the corner, a market that has already begun to see the mergence of some major players, such as the University of Phoenix and the Apollo group, but which because of a virtually limitless demand will see an even greater increase. This slide is characterized by an almost endless array of data and statistics identifying and highlighting aspects of this growing market, including opportunities and demand in the developing world, the increasing demand for learning in the corporate sector, and even the market for post-secondary education in the western world. By Michael T. Moe, ThinkEquity, December 9, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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