By Stephen Downes
August 10, 2004

Random Walk in E-Learning
Well-known e-learning researcher Albert Ip has given in to the inevitable ;) and launched a blog. He writes, "Why I start a blog? Well quite difficult to answer this one. Partly because I feel I like to join the bloggers, partly as a mechanism to market my wares and partly as a record of my personal journey in eLearning. Anyway, it has to have a start." Absolutely right; I've known and read Albert for many years and he has a fantastic contribution to make to the blogosphere. By Albert Ip, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A derivative of CanCore, OnCore is a learning object metadata (LOM) application profile developed by TV Ontario, an educational access network "to catalogue its video resources in relation to the Ontario Curriculum." By Various Authors, TV Ontario, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

There's One Born Every Minute
Brief report about eReader's offer of 250 public domain ebooks for $995 (for $1,495 you can get 500 titles). The author points out, quite rightly, that you can obtain these titles for free online at the Gutenberg Project. And he offers a most useful link to Gutenberg's proof a page project, a system where you compare the optical character recognition with the original scan and many any corrections necessary. Via Kairosnews. By Ernest Miller, Corante Copyfight, August 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Impact on Students of Flexible Teaching & Learning - Quantitative Report
This item popped up in my DLORN Ticker this morning, via EdNA, and while most definitely not a learning object (properly so-called), it is a useful and well-structured study of student reactions to flexible learning in Tasmania. Conducted by telephone interviews with more than a thousand students, this survey reports a general satisfaction with flexible learning and a recognition of its benefits (a fair sample said flexible learning offered opportunities that would not otherwise have been available, and a good number in the north and north-west (relatively isolated regions of Tasmania) said that it increased interaction). MS Word document. By Enterprise Marketing & Research Services Pty. Ltd, The University of Tasmania, November, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Word Circle
Open source online learning community software (in PHP). Pretty basic functionality, allowing instructors to add thoughts, calendar items, discussions and files. That said, the foundation seems firm and the code could easily be expanded to do more. Code is available at Sourceforge. By Matt Reider, August 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Why Radio Sets Are in Much Demand Every Sunday in Some of Southern India’s Villages
John Hibbs sends this item about educational radio in sourthern India. What is most significant, "volunteers, from the community itself are being trained on producing the content, points out Dr Thiagarajan Ramasamy of MSSRF. Very soon, the community itself will become the provider of information and information gatherers to produce the programmes." The story also directs readers to this article on One-World TV and to the Open Knowledge Network. By Geeta Sharma, OneWorld South Asia, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Some people are saying that Blinkx is the next Google. I downloaded and installed the application this morening, and despite some usability issues, found that it does as promised: it searches both my personal files and the web in a single pass. No sign of the embedded application features, though, possibly because I'm using Firefox. Still, there's a lot of promise in this application, and Google will certainly be forced to respond. The implications for learning are understood by Blinkx programmers, too; take a look at the animated introduction to Blinkx on the home page to see a learning-specific example. By Various Authors, Blinkx, August, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

First Look at MSN Blogs
Robert Scoble, of Microsoft fame, offers readers a glimpse at his still empty blog (in Japanese) at what is being called 'MSN Spaces' and has it taken apart line by line in this critical article. While the author has some praise for MSN's RSS output, the critique of the HTML - authored in Microsoft's typically gibbled style - is scathing, and deservedly so. By Phil Ringnalda, phil ringnalda dot com, August 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Access All Areas
Summary report on the push toward open access publishing with an emphasis on Europe. An interesting statistic to note: 41% of scientific papers originate in Europe, compared with 31% in America (not sure whether that latter figure includes Canada). The focus of the article is on governments' increasing - and quite reasonable - displeasure about paying skyrocketing fees to access materials they paid to produce in the first place. By Unknown, The Economist, August 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Blueprint for Better Copyright Law
Criticism of a recent initiative by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) that would have ISPs terminate Canadian internet accounts where users are suspected of file sharing activities. Not only is the proposal bereft of anything like due process, as the author points out the American experience shows that numerous mistakes in take-down orders are common and that innocent third parties would be impacted. The author also notes that internet access is a vital service to Canadians, used not only to surf the web but also to access government services, including (the most popular use among Canadians) health care services. By Michael Geist, Toronto Star, August 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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