By Stephen Downes
May 7, 2004

Projecting Quality
I am at the Manitoba Association for Distributed Learning and Training (MADLaT) Conference here in Winnipeg where I was able to catch up with my friends from the province. It's too bad this conference is so short - it would have been nice to spend more time with them. Anyhow, this link is to the slides from my presentation at the conference, a description of the use of learning object evaluations to organize the filtering of learning resources, a project NRC worked on with Mosaic Technologies over the last year or so. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Art of Blogging
George Siemens talks about blogging at the MADLat Conference, linking to this summary of his talk as well as to his notes on my talk from earlier in the day - nice. Instant reportage. By George Siemens, elearnspace, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Finding Learning Objects - Walking the Talk
Scott Leslie searches for a learning object, and finds one! But "My favourite turned out to be the last one on the first page of Google results..." Hm. By Scott Leslie, Ed Tech Post, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Why Use DRM If It Doesn't Work?
OK, I've felt like a pretty lonely voice with this argument, but somebody agrees with me: DRM isn't about the money, "it's all about the control." That's why, according to this author, DRM works for companies even if it doesn't succeed it protecting content - it provides the legimacy and support for a network in which content producers maintain legal control over the use of the material produced. "Content owners don't like fair use. If they could, they would ban every bad review, critical comment or parody. Soon-to-retire MPAA president Jack Valenti has been wont to say 'What is fair use? Fair use is not a law. There's nothing in law.' DRM is great at inhibiting fair use." By Ernest Miller, Copyfight, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Commonwealth of Learning Conference
More links from the conference: Alfred Bork's home page, including his Story About Learning and Four Fictional Views about the future of learning; fan-fiction site as an example of story-telling; a Harvard Business School site about video for entrepreneurs; Alberta Learning's Information and Communication Technology page for the K-12 sector; Uganda Bookmobile; Canada's widely regarded Community Access Program; the Africal Virtual University. By Various Authors, COL, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Optasia Announces the Release of its ELCAP Authoring Tool
Optasia, a Philadelphia based company, has announced the release of a new e-learning authoring application, an "application development tool for creating engaging, interactive, media-rich, technology-based training." By Press Release, Yahoo Finance, May 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canada Is Still No. 1 In E-Government Ranking
Canada is number one in e-government for the fourth straight year, according to this survey from Accenture. Being inside that government I am able to see some of the planning and discussions around e-government, and what I've seen suggests to me that we'll be in this position for years to come. It's important, I think, to keep in mind that e-government is more than just e-voting. It is also more than just a government website. By Eric Chabrow, Information Week, May 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS: A Learning Technology
An article about the RSS of information that gets a lot of its information from a reliable source - me. I like this bit: "Downes paints the picture of the future of learning: A 'desktop e-learning application that plugs into the learning object repository network and is able to search across a wide number of collections and retrieve exactly the learning you want in a given circumstance.'" The article also talks about some of Alan Levine's work at Maricopa and his presentation with D'Arcy Norman and Brian Lamb. Good list of resources at the end of the article. By Eva Kaplan-Leiserson, Learning Circuits, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Adapt or Die: The Strategic Role of Learning in the On-Demand Enterprise
The message of the article is essentially that "the current market economy places a premium on innovation, new business models and new ways of organizing work." It's not the first time we've seen the phrase "adapt or die" in an article - such as this item by Don Tapscott a few days ago - and thus far the choice hasn't been that stark, not even for music or news companies. But it's a trend, and companies that don't recognize that "the scarcity paradigm that undergirds most modern economic theory is reversed" have begun a slow side into oblivion. The article depicts the successful enterprise of the future as an "adaptive organisms" that can learn about, and respond to, changing conditions. This gives learning a strategic place in the organization of the future. By Tony O’Driscoll and Paula Briki, Learning Circuits, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reuters RSS
I mentioned a while ago that Reuters withdrew content from Yahoo! in order to become a stand-alone news service. The next step in this happened today as it launched a set of RSS feeds covering general news and specific areas, such as business and health. No feed for education - I've always wondered why newspapers will cover fashion but not learning. Related to this item: an update on NewsML (from May 4), another XML format supported by Reuters. By Unknown, Reuters, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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