By Stephen Downes
October 20, 2003

NAWeb 03
I am NAWeb 2003 in Fredericton, New Briunswick, and like last year I have created a blog which is being added to by people here at the conference. In addition to the papers described below, I have summarized talks by Silicon Chalk's Murray Goldberg and Princeton's Howard Strauss. By Various Authors, NAWeb, October 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The USA's Public Broadcasting Service - Online Educational Resources
Web Tools newsletter continues it's look on public education broadcasting, this week with coverage of the United States in general and PBS in particular. By Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, October 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Developing Online From Simplicity toward Complexity
The web is, as numerous commentators have pointed out, non-linear in design. But most courses are taught in a linear manner. This creates an incongruity, but at the same time, suggests the non-linear design of online courses. The theoretical basis behind this kind of course design, argues the author, may be found in complexity theory. "Curriculum, he (Iannone) states, should be flexible, open, disruptive, uncertain and unpredictable and should accept tension, anxiety and problem creating as the norm." The second half of the paper described a course designed according to this model. "Students thus had to be more active in ‘picking and choosing’ their learning approaches. They had more choice about what they learnt, but more importantly, how they learnt it. Students would be encouraged to jump from activities to facts or skills as required. Students were encouraged to identify their own goals; goals that were challenging for them personally." Great stuff - and the non-linear PowerPoint presentation used to present the talk at NAWeb was a refreshing change, something I will adopt for future talks. By Renata Phelps, NAWeb, October 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Informal Learning: A Sound Investment
In another useful article, Jay Cross outlines the investment case for informal learning. He writes, "Informal learning is effective because it is personal. The individual calls the shots. The learner is responsible. It’s real. How different from formal learning, which is imposed by someone else. Workers are pulled to informal learning; formal learning is pushed at them." By Jay Cross, Chief Learning Officer, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Whole Equals Much More than The Sum of Its Parts
Nice paper delivered today at NAWeb describing the collaborative process involved in the launch of the Alberta Teachers of Psychology (AToP) and plans for the Great Canadian Psychology Web Site. Though it comes out less in the paper than in the presentation, the project has been successful in enlisting the support of publishers to provide content. By Connie K. Varnhagen, NAWeb, October 19, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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