By Stephen Downes
July 5, 2004

(My) Three Principles of Effective Online Pedagogy
When the first principle is, "Let students do most of the work," you know you've hit a good guide. This is not tongue-in-cheek: the only way to manage an online course is to delegate many common tasks to students, such as leading web discussions, finding and discussing resources, answering each others' questions, grading and case study analysis. Other principles focus on the importance of interactivity and the importance of presence (and how to do it). Good article with a fair amount of discussion and examples complete with screen shots. Via Seb Schmoller. Other articles from the same issue of JALN are available online. By Bill Pelz, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Implementing Moodle at Bromley College
Case study of the implementation of Moodle, an open source learning management system, at Bromley College. "For the many positive reasons stated as well as ease of installation, configuration, reliability, saleability, functionality and the opportunities for integration with systems and services give me confidence in recommending Moodle." Via Seb Schmoller. By Barry Spencer, Ferl, June 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF)
A nice comment in today's Semantic Web discussion group pointing to an underlying problem: "If we want RDF-based formats to be interoperable, they can't be extensible, because inevitably some mutually incompatible extensions or vocabularies will arise, or they can't be decentralized since some authority will have to maintain this interoperability." The author, Adam Atlas (?), lays out three approaches: (1) hardcode these similarities in function into parsers, (2) create new ontologies for the express purpose of bridging these similar but incompatible formats, or (3) politely ask the vocabulary authors to add compatibility. None of these, he argues, is workable. In response, John Hardin posted this item, which is a link to a long PowerPoint the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF). Essentially this is an endorsement of option (2). It is also an extraordinarily bad idea. One wonders, if we have a UDEF, why we would need all those other datadata formats at all. But, of course, the different formats express real differences in opinion, differences that cannot merely be glossed over by a universal translater (language is, after all, culturally specific, and if the Semantic Web is about anything, it's about language). One wishes that the designers of today's Semantic Web had read their history. By Various Authors, July 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The College Quarterly
I got a note from Valerie today advising me that the latest issue of the College Quarterly is online. I link to one article from the currenmt issue and one from last fall's (their first online edition). The College Quarterly is seeking submissions. By Various Authors, July 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intellectual Property Ownership: A Minefield for Creative Academics
This article is in many ways flawed - it needs to go into more depth and be more solidly researched (to avoid errors like missing the origin of copyright law by a couple of centuuries). But it raises an issue not usually seen in similar articles, the role of copyright with respect to Aboriginal perceptions of what may be owned by individuals, as individual copyright does not (or should not - the article is unclear) extend to work based on religion, language and traditions. Of course, a similar provision should exist for the protection of all cultures; how often have we seen the common and everyday subject to a trademark, patent or copyright restriction? Something to think about. By W. Richard Bond, College Quarterly, Fall, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogtalk is now on in Vienna and a number of bloggers are there (go figure), including several aggregated by Edu_RSS, such as Roland Tanglao and Lilia Efimova. So I've set up another Edu_RSS Continuing Coverage page, a fairly simple version. I am having issues with Edu_RSS these days (the database loses connection part way through my data harvest and results are lost) so the links won't be in order and some may take a bit to get entered - but in the end, everything should be captured. By Various Authors, Stephen's Web, July 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Common Sense Assault on a Liberal Education
Speaking before a group of engineers, former Ontario Premier Mike Harris asked, "where would you be if you had studied philosophy and Latin?" Not unemployed, probably; my own formal education in philosophy turns out to be uniquely useful for an internet career. No, but the danger of a liberal education - and the reason, possibly, why some oppose funding it - is that a certain large percentage of the graduates turn out to be liberals, or worse, "the hip radical insurgent of varying Marxist, Feminist, Queer and post-colonial stripes awaiting the new dawn." By Kim Fedderson, College Quarterly, Spring, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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