By Stephen Downes
August 13, 2003

Free Access vs. Open Access
An editorial published a couple of weeks ago at PubMed Central has caused a flare-up in the open access community. Titled Free access is not open access, the editorial pointed out that while authors may elect (for a fee) to offer free access, "The publisher, the American Physiological Society, retains copyright, and the printed article still requires a subscription fee." In response, commentator Steven Harnad observes that "not necessarily, in theory; but in reality and in practise, *all* of the growing body of research today that is free-access is also open-access." Consequently, "There is no free-access literature straining to move from free-access to open-access anywhere in sight at the moment." By Stevan Harnad, September98 Forum, August 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How I Would Implement Weblogs in Business
I think the key question is: would anybody be this honest in a business setting: "Using a Weblog, I could chronicle the daily activities, learnings, experiences and developments of the community. As the community grew and interest spread, the Weblog could have become the best single resource for understanding the internal workings of the community, why it works, what we'd learned, what the manager does, what the members think, etc." No, probably not. The author's suggestions for an external weblog would be equally challenging. "Create a rule: No editing of Weblog posts by Executives. The company has to trust the person enough to let them be themselves and write in their own style. If you edit- you're missing the point." See, I'm not sure blogs will succeed in a corporate environment because I don't think corporations can change their culture enought to make them work. But I could be wrong. By Lee LeFever, commoncraft, August, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Digital Optimist
"A journalist by trade," George Lorenzo reports on trends he observed while conducting research for an article on e-learning. Most of what he reports is consistent with my own observations, and a few of his points are worth noting. For example, "Eportfolios is a hot topic with big implications that can change the way student learning is assessed." Watch for some portfolio tools (they will look a lot like blog tools) over the next few months. By George Lorenzo, Educational Pathways, August, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

What’s Your Problem?
Subtitled, "Increasing Student Motivation and Quality of Participation in Discussions through Problem-Based Learning," this article is a breezy overview of problem based learning and learner centered design. By Jennifer Gurrie, elearnspace, August 8, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Let's Tie the Digital Knot
This article is five years old but it is fundamentally right and well worth repeating in the context of the current debate about teachers' use of technology. In particular, as was commented to me yesterday, "most virtual classrooms and computer facilitated learning looks to education like the horseless carriage looked to the old buggies - cosmetically different." I agree. Read this: "No, Doctor Professor, the boot is on the other foot. It is your established curriculum and your concept of School that were dictated by technology — the pre-twentieth century technology of writing, printing, and calculating. The real offer of digital technology is liberation from the consequences of having been restricted by these primitive tools!" And more: "Think about a world in which there is: No such thing as fourth grade, because age segregation has gone the way of other arbitrary divisions of people. No such thing as a classroom, because learning happens in a variety of settings. And no such thing as curriculum, because the idea that everyone should have the same knowledge has come to be seen as totalitarian." By Seymour Papert, Technos Quarterly, Winter, 1998 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Who's Watching the Class? Webcams in Schools Raise Privacy Issue
Everyone else must live under video surveillance, argues this article, so why shouldn't school children? "It helps honest people be more honest," says district Superintendent Larry Drawdy. What I wonder is whether any research has been done on the social and cultural impact of constant video surveillance of school age children. It seems to me that it would have an effect, and not necessarily a good one. By Greg Toppo, USA Today, August 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

For those of you following the pending closure of many ERIC services in the U.S., more information is available today about the face of the new ERIC. Worth noting: "Acting as a private citizen, Dr. Lawrence Rudner, currently Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, intends to maintain free access to the online journal, Practical Assessment, Evaluation, & Research, and selected other resources," at http://www.edresearch.org/ By Zhifen Cheng, ERIC, August 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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