By Stephen Downes
May 4, 2004

Translate This Blog: Now Available in 12 Languages
Following Andy Carvin's lead I have placed links at the top of OLDaily offering translations using Altavista's Bablefish translator. And like Carvin, I now need to ask readers: are these translations useful? Readable? Or are they really bad? Is there a way I could improve the translations? If they are sufficicient to allow people of other languages to read OLDaily I will continue with this. Otherwise, I guess I'll wait until the service improves. By Andy Carvin, Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth, May 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online author and journalist J.D. Lasica has embarked on a novel project, the authoring of his new book on the underground internet using a wiki. What this means is that readers may not only browse through his book as it is being written, they can edit it and make changes themselves. The result is a product far different from what one person could achieve alone (when the popup asks for your user name and password, just click 'cancel' to get into the site). I am tempted to try using a wiki to write a book - what do you think? By J.D. Lasica, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Metadata Based Search and Browse Functionality on the NSW Office of Fair Trading Intranet
Useful brief article describing how this government office set up its metadata based materials search system using AGLS, a set of descriptive elements looking exactly like Dublin Core. By Unknown, NSW Office of Fair Trading, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

2004 Virtual Conferences
The Commonwealth of Learning virtual conference titled 'Latest Developments' has started and I have been watching the introductory messages flow for the last day or so (in other words, it's not too late to join the discussion). Talk has turned very quickly to free educational resources, with a number of interesting sites being listed: The Free Curricula Project aims to do as its name suggests, though none are yet available; the WikiBooks project is a novel attempt to create textbooks using wikis; the Burrokeet project aims to "facilitate the collection and distribution of materials in multiple formats (CD, Web, print etc.)"; and the Forum for Cultural and Human Development is a development agency based in Bangladesh. By Rory McGreal, Commonwealth of Learning, May 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Here is a How to Topic Maps, Sir!
The author's main point is this: "Topic Maps are not as complicated nor difficult as many believe. There are objects that points to objects that points to objects. Objects are of certain types, and given a certain number of types behaving in a certain way, we call that a Topic Map." That's probably why I don't get excited about them; it's just different terminology used to express an older concept. That said, I like the way this article maps it out and relates topic maps to database design and object construction in PHP. Good stuff. Via elearningpost. By Alexander Johannesen, Shelter.nu, May 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Instructional Design for Flow in Online Teaching
This isn't a bad article and the advice is reasonable, if bland, consisting of practical tips to effective course design. This isn't about the mechanics of how to design a course, but rather, the cultuvation of effective work habits. But, as I say, bland. The author, for example, advises that designers "avoid distractions" by thinking in a "quiet place, such as a library or café" - but such places drive me to distraction because there isn't enough of an information surround - the advice should really be, find a place where you are comfortable in order to think (which, for me, is a crowded pub, a busy street café, walking around...). The recommendation that designers have a comfortable office is a great one - but instead of the photos of family and framed diplomas I would prefer prints of my Vienna pictures, old telescopes and astrolabes. I think the main message is, or should be, find and define your own space and working style. Via elearningpost. By Sandra C. Ceraulo, elearn Magazine, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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