By Stephen Downes
July 29, 2003

How to Create an RSS Feed With Notepad, a Web Server, and a Beer
The ultimate low-tech guide to creating your own RSS feed. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, July 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSi Copyright
I ran across this while checking out an article I found via elearningpost, an article I decided not to run here because it seems to begin half way through (I now realize that elearningpost's link has been sabotaged). The service is called RSi Copyright and its a mechanism for obtaining instant copyright clearance. It's a service similar enough to what I've described that I took notice, but as I read through it I realized I had discovered the evil twin. The "Instant Web E-print" option - which would cost $200 for this item - is essentially paid permission to link, with the statement that "If you link to the article on the publication's site without this license, you risk broken links since publishers move their content frequently." As I said, sabotage. There are other options, including a $1.00 charge to make one photocopy. If you want to send one email containing the article, that will cost you $5.00. This company is very insistent on getting every dime from readers - I wonder whether they paid any money to Creative Commons for lifting their idea and commercializing it. Nah, I thought not. By Various Authors, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Secrets of Successful Idea People
My job - quite literally, these days - is to come up with ideas. So of course I measure an article like this against my own practice. First: think outside your discipline. "Read and not only in subjects that are directly related to your profession." Yes, but don't just read (that traps you into linear thinking). But seek out things like Idea City and soak in the wisdom of a hundred disciplines. Second: "Check the fit" by evaluating the idea and, according to the article, ask, "is the idea aligned with your sphere of influence?" Piffle. If you're not allowed to do it, do it anyway. If you can't do it, convince someone who can. Never be limited by what you're allowed to do. Third: "Try to anchor the idea in as many places inside the company and with as many customers that are important to the company as possible." This is "planting seeds" and, yes, I do that. But my experience is that I have to grab them by the root and yank them out of the soil before they'll grow. Then the other seeds take notice. Fourth: "Fly under the radar... use small pilot projects to build support for idea..." That's nice if you want to build better wheels for trains. Doesn't work at all if you want to build an airplane. This article misses the most important thing of all: catch a vision, a way things could or should be, and fly with it. This article hits one and a half out of four. I hope they're not being paid to create ideas. By Theodore Kinni, HBS Working Knowledge, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How Long Does it Take? Estimation Methods for Developing E-Learning
How long does it take to build a road? A moment's reflection tells you that, in a certain sense, this is a pretty nonsensical question: it depends on the type of road you want to build and how far you want to go (it also depends on the weather, the terrain and labour negotiations). It's pretty much the same for e-learning. But that doesn't mean you can't come up with some sort of idea - otherwise we could never plan road construction projects. It's just a lot more complex than might first be assumed. This article surveys found major ways of calculating the time required: comparisons with similar projects, using formulas, bottom-up planning, and industry standards. By Karl M. Kapp, Learning Circuits, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blown Away by RSS Feeds & Blogs
Count Paul Stacey among the converts (and I guess we can expect him at the RSS talk at MERLOT next week - which, by the way, I will be attending after all). Mostly this article is a story of his own discovery of RSS, but the article is littered with useful links he encountered en route. By Paul Stacey, E-Learning, July 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intellectual Property in Education
The lessons are at the top of this article: "Intellectual Property is important... intellectual Property issues have been greatly complicated by modern technology... IP is not widely understood... The IP problem is not going to evaporate..." All four are true, and all four are well documented on this site, but the authors focus far too much on "official" sites and accounts, leaving many alternative voices silent. A token link to John Perry Barlow just doesn't cut it any more. Disappointed. Here is an alternative list of links; perhaps the authors will contemplate a Part Two and properly engage this topic. By Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Beautiful Minds
Via Kairosnews, this link points to an interesting discussion of the (possible) correlation between a teacher's looks and the evaluations given by the class. Writes the Invisible Adjunct, cynically, "Hamermesh believes that 'in a strictly economic sense,' this may not be unfair: 'If students pay more attention to good-looking instructors and thus learn more from them, then professorial beauty could have a 'productivity effect,' Hamermesh said.' I'm not quite sure what Hamermesh means by 'strictly economic.' He seems to rely on the very dubious assumption that the higher a student's evaluation of a professor, the more that student has learned." Great read. By Anonymous, Invisible Adjunct, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Elearning, By Any Other Name...
Discussion of the idea that a person could learn simply by using Google. Clark Quinnresponds, "I'm concerned that someone's going to try to push the view that a factoid dribble is an elearning solution. Which might prevent people from working to solve the tough components of the problem: context model, content model, user model." Fair enough. I clarify my position in this dialogue and several people chime in about the definition of e-learning and whether or not it is, and Jay Cross says, dead. By Clark Quinn, Learning Circuits Blog, July 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.