By Stephen Downes
December 31, 2003

How Boring is the E-Learning Market
Reflections from an e-learning conference held recently in Britain. Cynical reflections. "The industry stages very predictable events where: publishers argue that there should be more emphasis on e-learning content; software companies argue that there should be more emphasis on tools; and learning theorists want to see more collaboration between learners and more attention on 'pedagogy' in general." Yup. Some glimmer of hope: "Donald Clarke was brave enough to challenge some of the emerging e-learning orthodoxies, arguing that 'giving teachers new e-learning tools is not going to solve the problems affecting dropout in education' and that adult learners like to learn free from the trappings of teachers and institutions." By David Jennings, al.chem'i.cal, December 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Actionable Sense, Networks and Purpose
Interesting item, based on the concept that "meaning and full extension of skills (and self, too) occur within the social context of a project that has a contextual and social purpose - an objective to focus the deployment of skills. Then we have actionable sense." This idea is used to defined the development of 'ad hoc networks' that collect those skills within an organization that can meet the stated objective. It's a good model for organizational organization, but cautions are warranted: not every action on the part of a member of an organization needs to make actionable sense. Some things should be undertaken without a specific objective in mind. Otherwise, the capacities of members of the network will never grow. By Spike Hall, Spike Hall's RU Weblog, December 31, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

101 Ways to Save the Internet
Good fun, a light read, and some good sense. By Paul Boutin, Wired, January, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Algebra of RSS Feeds
Useful first steps toward defining a notation for the manipulation of the contents of RSS feeds, including accounts of feed splitting, splicing, subtracting and more. In the comments I have added to the termninology and offered formal definitions for each term in a type of basic predicate calculus for feeds. By JDJ News Desk, Linux World, December 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Roadmap to Redesign
We can forgive, I guess, the Center for Academic Transformation for its use of a now clichéd phrase in its title. The point of the plan is to test a new model "that partners experienced, successful institutions with new institutions and relies upon best practices and learning materials with a proven track record in particular disciplines." Guidelines for participation, reports Carol A. Twigg in an email, will be published on February 1, 2004. By Various Authors, Center for Academic Transformation, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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