By Stephen Downes
October 14, 2003

The E-Learning Market: It's About the Learner, Not the Instructor!
It has been a long time coming, and the concept still hasn't penetrated class-based university online learning systems, but the re-emergence of e-learning is beginning to happen with a greater realization on the part of vendors that their client is not the instructor, but the learner. "Vendors and end-users are starting to get it right. They understand that learning is not about automating the existing instructor-led training process. It's not even about new channels for delivering content. It's about delivering the right content, at the right time, over the right channel to the right person. It's about learner-centricity." Well, yeah. But it's not just about delivering content. One step at a time, I guess. By Massood Zarrabian, eLearn Magazine, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft Office as Strip Mall
Short commentary and more links to the story I picked up last week where Microsoft is making access to Amazon available through office applications. The author asks, "Microsoft and Amazon are all about the bottom line. I ask again - do we really want educational bloggers hooking into commercial retailers or libraries?" By Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian, October 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Interview: SixApart's Degree of Weblog Integration
"We recognize that this works the way users work." That's the advantage SixApart's MoveableType is working with as it tries to develop wider business applications for the blogging software. "The three markets are marketing communications; inside the intranet it's kind of knowledge management; and then the third market is nanopublishing, and that's probably a smaller niche..." Quite so, and as usual, it is in the exchange of free content that a web technology such as this excels. By Mark Jones, InfoWorld, October 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IDC Finds Corporate Training Markets Making Steady Gains
The worst is over, according to a new report frim IDC, and the corporate eLearning market should make steady gains over the next few years, reaching $10.6 billion in the U.S. by 2007. By Press Release, PR Newswire, October 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft Plans Longhorn Client in 2005, Server in 2006
Microsoft is now expected to delay the release of it's 'Longhorn' Windows client until the end of 2005, and perhaps even as late as 2006. This takes it past the cut-off (in my opinion) for the deployment of 64-bit computing, which means (again in my opinion) that aside from a minor upgrade, Windows XP will be the last 32-bit version of Windows, and Longhorn (or whatever it's called on release), which will include 'trusted computing' components, will be released and marketed as the first major 64-bit operating system, and therefore a 'must-have'. By Paula Rooney, Internet Week, October 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Report Slams Web Personalization
This is very interesting. Althouigh personalization has been the mantra preached by consultants over the last year or more, a new report suggests that users would benefit more from better site design. "Given flexible, usable navigation and search, Web site visitors will be more satisfied with their experiences and will find fewer barriers to the profitable behavior sought by site operators. In fact, good navigation can replace personalization in most cases." According to the report, personalization is not only less effective, it is also much more costly. Moreover, personalization requires the obtaining of information from readers, something which in these spam-filled days breeds suspicion and mistrust. I think that the report has a point, but my response is more in tune with broadview's Richard Hughes: "Anything can be done badly and expensively," including personalization. By Paul Festa, CNet News.Com, October 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

U.S. Policy Restricts Scientific Publishing by Researchers in Countries Under Trade Embargo
Five countries are under current U.S. trade embargos: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan. Following investigations by the IEEE a couple of weeks ago, it turns out that these embargos include academic 'services' such as the editing of scientific papers. The U.S. government decision has embroiled the organization and raised concerns among other international organizations that they, too, will be subject to the same restrictions. What really galled members was that the IEEE simply began applying the sanctions, without protest, in 2002. "It's a breach of trust," said Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, an IEEE member, and one of the most outspoken critics of the IEEE's approach to Iranian engineers. "My principal concern was their very bad treatment of their own members." More on this item here. By Lila Guterman, Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Copyright / Copyleft
Questions are being asked about Questia's online library after one author finds her books scanned and placed behind a subscription wall without her advice or consent. The company has formed numerous partnerships with publishers who, according to the author, will offer a contract if authors complain, but for only a "slight profit". According to the author, Questia also "seems to have launched the new Tauchnitz pirated volumes in violation of copyright laws." In my own tour through Questia I found works by authors such as David Hume, who wrote in the 1700s, also behind a subscription wall (and listed as published in 1998). Questia, which bills itself as the world's largest online library, has been around for a couple of years and lists among its partners companies such as Harcourt and Innodata. Access to Questia is $US 19.95 per month. By Julia Bolton Holloway, BOAI, October 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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