By Stephen Downes
September 22, 2003

Canadian Metadata Forum - Summary
Summary notes from the dozen or more excellent presentations from this weekend's Canadian Metadata Forum in Ottawa. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Questions and Possibilities: The Four-Dimensional Future of Metadata
Slides from my summary presentation at the Canadian Metadata Forum. "Creating metadata standards is the act of defining all possible worlds within a space... Posing questions is the act of articulating those possibilities that we can comprehend... But what of the possibilities we cannot comprehend? They exist in four dimensions…" By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Objects: Contexts and Connections
I would have preferred to link to individual articles, but the publishers have chosen to distribute this book, consisting of about a dozen articles as a single 1.1 megabye PDF file. Oh well. It's worth the time to download, though: there is some good and important writing here. David Wiley, for example, offers an excellent paper outlining the differentes between the 'learning objects' approach to online learning and the 'learning communities' approach - and while one might expect him (and me) to argue for the former, in fact he (and I) argue for the latter, community centered approach. I especially like Wiley's four dimensions of distinction between the two approaches: in the indexing and discovery of resources, the way resources are combined, the way resources are used, and the way they are evaluated. With only the most minor of quibbles, I would endorse this paper as a whole. In another paper, Michael Halm offers an engaging description of standards emerging 'beyond the LOM', though I wish he had looked beyond IMS for inspiration. Michele Lamberson and Brian Lamb offer a good discussion of content management systems and 'silos', arguing that the CMS can function as a platform as well as a storage facility. All in all, this is an important book. Take the time and give it a good read. By Catherine M. Gynn and Stephen R. Acker, eds., Learning Objects: Contexts and Connections, September, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Remote Participation in Inquiry Learning
As this article introduces the subject, "the tools used to facilitate remote observation and participation have been adapted to the task of delivering learning across the entire spectrum of educational endeavour." What follows is an extensive survey of these tools with, as usual, numerous links. By Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, September 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Model for Self-Paced Technology-Based Training
Good article that articulates the major elements of a self-paced traning module. The 'bottom line' advice is well known and useful: provide frequent opportunities for self-assessment, provide a table of contents and navigation aids, enable a print option, provide numerous examples, definitions and an organizer. By Jackie Dobrovolny, Learning Circuits, September 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Lead Balloons, Stone Canoes, and Learning Styles
This paper says a great deal of what I would like to say on the subject of learning styles, and draws essentially the same conclusion I have drawn with respect to online learning. "The ascendant practice today is an e-learning model built around a traditional classroom presentation—one that seems to equate information transfer with knowledge assimilation—highly scalable, but not individualized.... The promise of the Internet lies less in the reach it affords—the scalability of Webcasts and textbooks saved as HTML—and more in the possibilities of multipoint communications that may help build communities of practice and other cohorts of learners." The major models of next generation will revolve around these communities, and the promise of learning objects will be realized only when we learn how to integrate content with community, as opposed to streaming or delivering content on a mass basis. By Frank L. Greenagel, Learning Circuits, September 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Email v. RSS
This is one of these quiet discussions that could go somewhere. Right now, the focus is on explaining why RSS won't replace email. But I don't think the option has been completely explored. Stay tuned to this: and expect major changes in the email space over the next few years. By Greg Ritter, Ten Reasons Why, September 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Yahoo IM Update Shuts Out Third Parties
Like Microsoft before it, Yahoo! is planning to disable third party access to its instant messaging software. The major victims will be those who use software such as Trillian to use multiple instant messaging solutions. See, this is why we need open standards. By Matt Hines, CNet News.Com, September 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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