By Stephen Downes
November 26, 2003

I Saw God and I Killed It
To do the impossible. This is the objective a group of almost 200 gameplayers on Everquest set themselves a week ago, and they succeeded. But the lesson is deeper: the first time they tried, Sony (which runs Everquest) changed the rules of the game. Writes the author to Sony, "They thought of something you didn't, something legal by the rules of the game you set forward, and you meddled. In the parlance of the world you created: 'shame & ridicule'." So what's the lesson here? I'm not sure exactly how to phrase it, but I do know it's important. "The point is on that first magical evening when warriors rode off to battle the supreme, you meddled." Sometimes, I think, you just have to let things be, give up control, and let the players kill God. By Andrew Phelps, Corante, November 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Education and Training 2010
Via (and in the words of) ETV: "A new website dedicated to the implementation of 'Education and Training 2010', the education and training contribution to the Lisbon strategy, has been set up. 'Education and Training 2010' integrates all actions in the fields of education and training at European level, including vocational education and training (the 'Copenhagen process'). As well, the 'Bologna process', initiated in 1999, is crucial in the development of the European Higher Education Area. Both contribute actively to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives and are therefore closely linked to the 'Education and Training 2010' work programme." The site doesn't display properly in Galeon or Firebird. Tsk. By Various Authors, November, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CoP Theory Overview
Via Column Two, here is a link to a visual representation of the concept of communities of practice. Interesting, though I don't think I would have gone with an oak tree as a metaphor. By Christopher M. Johnson, November, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Trends for Distance Education: Getting the Big Picture for the Coming Decade
Distance-Educator.com carried this new inclusion to ERIC, though it might have been more appropriate to link to the original version from 1991. As it stands, this is a good paper that could have, with some judicious editing, become a very good paper, but the addition of five additional authors in the ERIC version seems if anything to have weakened, rather than improved, the writing (and it is certainly odd to see the now 6-person collective speaking in the first person singular). The reference, in particular, attributed almost at random: why would the authors not cite anyone (David Noble comes to mind) regarding controversial statements about the commodification of education, yet credit the deep insight that the web "gives information access to users who are physically remote from resources" to Ryder (1995)? Odd. By Brent Wilson, et.al., ERIC, November, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Artistic Freedom Voucher: Internet Age Alternative to Copyrights
David Wiley blogged this interesting proposal, an artictic freedom voucher (AFV) which would allow taxpayers to designate $100 to the artist of their choice, on condition that the artist, in turn, be ineligible for copyright protection for a significant period of time. It's an interesting approach fraught with difficulties (an artist, for example, who only earns a couple of hundred dollars from the program would nonetheless be forbidden from earning money commercially). And, of course, non-artistic artists (for example, people who write nonfiction or educational materials, such as myself) would clamour for a share. The paper is, though, a recognition that public support for the arts might be a better way to go in the digital age than the current commercial copyright regime, especially as increasingly repressive tactics are required to preserve the industry's state supported monopoly. By Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, November 5, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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