By Stephen Downes
August 29, 2003

Personal and Collaborative Publishing: Facilitating the Advancement of Online Communication and Expression Within a University
PCP "is the system by which an individual or group of individuals can simply own and publish to a web space." The most straightforward example of PCP is the weblog, but many other examples (such as wikis) exist. This article is an analysis of the phenomenon, and especially the manner in which people interact using PCP. After describing PCPs, whis short paper provides several examples showing how PCP can facilitate communication in a university. I like this paper, but honestly, I prefer the raw blog entry from which it was spawned. By James Farmer, James Farmer's Radio Weblog, August 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Cut-and-Paste, Turn It In -- You Call That Cheating?
According to this article, "Nearly 40 percent of college students have plagiarized papers by using the cut-and-paste function on their computers to lift text from the Internet, according to a new nationwide cheating study." The definition of plagiarism (apparently) used is "by either paraphrasing or copying a few sentences of material off the Internet without citing the source." It should be no surprise that "Business majors admitted to the most cheating, with 63 percent saying they cheated at least once in the last year." Interestingly, the report takes care not to blame the internet for the cheating. "If students did not have computers, they would find some other way to cheat, McCabe said." (Note: this article has a sort of log-in screen, but if you just click 'Outside The US' you are taken straight in...) By Kelly Heyboer, New Jersey Star-Ledger, August 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Dollar Benefits of E-Learning
The evidence is this: "We launched a complex product a year ago, and we found that sales folks who'd completed all four e-learning modules had sold 25 units in a 30 day period while those who hadn't averaged 17 units in the same period of time." Sales folk? Oh well. Anyhow, by "those that dan't" do they mean "didn't receive elearning" or "didn't receive any learning at all?" The latter would certainly explain the difference. But it also raises the question: was the cost of providing the learning greater than the net earnings from the increased sales? Ah, but this article doesn't say. And I so ask: what good is an article that fails even the slightest scrutiny? By Demir Barlas, Line 56, August 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Iron Fist, The Invisible Hand, And The Battle For The Soul of Open Source
Bruce Sterling warns, "The denizens of Open Cultures want their connected collectivism to liberate the world from regulations, markets, and intellectual property. But what if victory only clears the way for corruption of their beloved culture?" But aside from the limp observation that a gangster won't be receiving any money for recording an average album, I don't see the grim consequences here. Where is the corruption: the previous, royalty-driven world would have made sure the gangsters were paid. Sterling writes, "When I listen to Ceca, I have to wonder what dark passions and ancient evils have been held in check by the grim totalitarianism of the profit motive. We may yet find out." Well, yeah. But compared to what the profit motive has historically unleashed, I don't think we have much to worry about. By Bruce Sterling, Wired, September, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The EU Fight Against Yuck ePatents
More coverage, with links to several articles and discussion (of varying quality) following. Many sites shut down this week to protest the pending legislation, which would give Europe U.S.-style technology patents, more than 600 sites in all. Update: the decision has been postponed. By Lawrence Lessig, Lessig Blog, August 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS to replace email? Nah.
Jon Udell expresses doubt that RSS will replace email. His mail argument is that his current combination of spam filters work fine (though his email account is groaning under the volume). "It would be nuts," he writes, "to throw out the SMTP baby with the spam bathwater," though some tweaking (to verify that the sender is allow to send from that address) amy be needed. I don't agree, and here's why. In general, it seems to me, technologies that allow other people to put content into your space are unstable. On the other hand, technologies that allow you to get what you want from remote locations have been much more successful. SMTP is a put-type technology, while RSS is a get-type technology. It doesn't mean that RSS will replace email. But something will. By Jon Udell, Jon Udell's Weblog, August 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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