By Stephen Downes
December 9, 2003

Semantic Blogging for Bibliography Management
This is a very interesting initiative that will reward deeper investigation. The idea, as suggested in the title, is to merge blogging and the semantic web. But what does that mean? It takes blogging and "applies it to structured items with richer metadata data. The metadata would include classification of the items into one or more topic ontologies, semantic links between items ('supports', 'refutes', 'extends' etc.) as well as less formal annotations and ratings." By Dave Reynolds and Steve Cayzer, Hewlett-Packard, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Running on Autopilot
Via Seb comes this thought provoking post about the changes blogging brings to people. Notice that it's as much about reading as writing, so do take the time to follow the links. "Along comes blogging and it starts knocking holes in that wall, through which you can glimpse exquisitely tantalising thumbnails of the view on the other side; it creates links, threads that pass through those holes and start to exert a tug that’s almost physical. People, places, ideas, challenges – suddenly they’re all around in glorious technicolour and by contrast this side of the wall is grey, shabby, lifeless, dull." I live my own life in a constant state of wonder. How could you not, with the majesty that surrounds you? By Andy Borrows, Older and Growing..., December 6, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Objects Portal
I ran across this item via my referrers a few weeks ago and then forgot to run it here. Or, at least, I think I forgot. It's all blurring together. Anyhow, George covered it in his newsletter today, via CAREO, and since I've read pretty well every page on the site I can attest to its usefulness (and its fine taste in authors to cite). For the most fun, go straight to the Activities page and start your exploration from there. By Denise Nelson, Bob Megens, Kevin Pitts and Trish Lundstrom, MDDE663: Critical Issues in Distance Education Technology, November, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Peer2Peer Networking in Higher Education: New Challenges in a VI
I don't know what 'VI' stands for - 'virtual infosystem'? - and the author never bothers to define it. A sloppy beginning for an article that, though it predicts the inevitable onslaught of Peer2Peer networking throughout academic, is not overly enthusiastic about the prospect. "More file sharing P2P networkers are clogging educational systems than every before. Spam email pales in comparison to the congestion created by Napster and other P2P applications." The author also saves some criticism for open source development: "The primary objective of the open source movement is to share resources to make more stable applications. But the benefit may be lost in the campus environment. The function of sharing 'code' is a function of the lack of desire to pay for the application rather than the real desire to create better applications." Perhaps so, but I defy the author to demonstrate any real correlation between price and quality (of course, as the author of a free newsletter, I have to say that). By C.B. Crawford, XPlana, December 5, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Collaboration Changes Focus
George Siemens suggests that this article is "very important...and has many implications for elearning application developers as well (i.e. LMS)." He makes a good case. The central point is this: "The more complex learning management systems become, the less usable they will be to the average designer/learner. Integration is an over-hyped concept. It has appeal in theory, but practicalities support the value and flexibility of modularized functions." I completely agree with this. Modular development is the way to go. Let people use what they want, and toss away the rest. Let people mix and match applications. Don't integrate - communicate. By P.J. Connolly, InfoWorld, December 5, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

More E-Learning Patent Suits Expected in 2004
More on patent vultures, this time looking more closely at e-learning and in particular a company called IpLearn, a two-person operation that "offers no products or services but licenses technology for its U.S. patents covering 'foundational technologies' for the e-learning industry." You know, there was once a time when you actually had to invent something in order to obtain a patent. Now, all you need to do is hire a lawyer and surf the web looking for ideas. Vultures. By Paul Harris, Learning Circuits, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Future of the Profession Formerly Known as Training
The verdict? Murky. "In the end, it became clear that not only was there no consensus, but also that the richness of opinion mirrored the actual state of the profession: semantic chaos concealing highly organized pockets of practice. Instructors, courseware designers, competency experts, group facilitators, knowledge managers, executive coaches, career coaches, performance improvement specialists, diversity consultants, chief learning officers…they all feel they are part of the 'profession' no matter what they call themselves." But there are some trends emerging: leadership training, action learning, for example. A shift from learning in the private sector ("Private-sector organizations have absorbed about all they can take, and they’ve lost interest in their people") to learning in the public sector. By Pat Galagan, Learning Circuits, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning Standardization in Japan and Singapore: An Informal Report
Norm Friesen summarizes e-learning standards initiatives in eastern Asia following meetings with e-learning standards organizations in Asia: ALIC (Advanced Learning Infrastructure Consortium) of Japan, and the ECC (E-learning Competency Centre) of Singapore. He observes that the Japanese have developed expertise in collaborative learning while noting that in Singapore more attention is being paid to returns on the investment made in e-learning as the government shifts its focus toward biotechnology. By Norm Friesen, CanCore, December 8, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.