By Stephen Downes
August 13, 2004

List Feeds
Just for fun, and in view of some recent discussion, I have created an RSS 2.0 feed for IT FORUM. I have also created a feed for DEOS-L. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, August 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Free/Open Source Software in Education
This 55 page PDF is an authoritative guide to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in education. The author describes the advantages of open source, surveys major open source tools, discusses migration to open source, and adds a section on educational open source applications. This work is not to be missed. Via Education-India. By Tan Wooi Tong, IOSN, August 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

College Tours With a Virtual Twist
It's the analogy I like. Think about how you would create a mobile digital campus tour. The old way of doing it (still widespread) involves giving people a specific route to follow and a tape or CD-ROM that is played as you follow the route. Being able to turn it on or off gives you some flexibility, but it's not much use if you don't follow the route. Contrast that with the tour technology described in this article. Using GPS, the system determines where you are and then tells you about it. It may suggest where you might go next, but nothing breaks if you follow your own path. Now I ask, which is a better model for online learning? A system that tells you where to go, or a system that responds to where you are? Now, what was that about learning design again? Via University Business. By Jack Gillum, USA Today, August 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An Overview of the Weblog Tools Market
Very good article describing the size and distribution of the weblog tools market (where a weblog tool is a system that allows you to build a weblog). Leading the way, with about half of all blogs between them, are Blogger and LiveJournal. What's very interesting are the different demographics the different systems have attracted; LiveJournal, for example, tends to attract a younger and more female client, while Moveable Type attracts a much broader range of user. By Elise Bauer, elise.com: On the Job, August 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

MPEG LA Releases DRM Reference Model 2.0
There is no doubt a lot going on behind the scenes here as the MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG LA) releases Version 2.0 of its DRM Reference Model "to create a pool of licensable patents on DRM-related technology, so that would-be DRM implementors can license relevant intellectual property.... to cover DRM implementations that conform to the Open Mobile Alliance's OMA DRM 1.0 specification" What this article - oddly - doesn't mention is that the OMA has based its work on the open source alternative, ODRL. I am also curious about how this will impact the deliberations of the IEEE-LTSC Digital Rights Expression Language subcommittee, which has been conducting its deliberations all year on the basis of the earlier version of the MPEG REL. By Bill Rosenblatt, DRM Watch, August 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

School-Based Coaching
The premise seems sound - "[Coaching] offers long-term follow-up, long-term consistency, and a sense of trust so that you can go in and be a supportive agent for the classroom teacher." But coaching programs are expensive and while there have been numerous initiatives, the research isn't there yet to prove the strategy's effectiveness or to identifybest practices. "I saw too many examples where the coaching wasn’t enough. Most of what I saw showed that coaches could help a school improve, but not alone." Via PEN Weekly Newsblast. By Alexander Russo, Harvard Education Letter, July/August 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Our Education System is Lacking Competitive Assessment
I confess that I don't understand the faith that competition always produces the best result. Cooperation often makes more sense. If you and I both want to go to Adelaide, the most efficient thing for us to do is to share a car, not to race. I think education is an area where cooperation, rather than competition, is more efficient. Competition discourages the sharing of resources. It encourages schools to fudge results and to jettison troublesome students. Yes, schools should be held accountable. And yes, marketplace approaches, such as granting maximal autonomy to schools, are worthwhile. But competition isn't the way to do it. Via EdNA. By Kevin Donnelly, Online Opinion, August 12, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Access Journals: Revenue Beyond Author Charges
The author considers alternatives to the 'author-pays' model of open access journals. Most of the suggestions are tiny steps back toward the traditional model. But he does raise a major point: "we can save significant funds if we reconsider the entire Promotion and Tenure process, with its publish-or-perish emphasis. The existing system encourages unlimited scholarly publication, and enormous numbers of editorial boards with little guarantee of quality control from many commercial operations. It is clear that at the present time there is a market for any author if they are willing to be published in a less significant journal." I agree; we don't need so many journals, certainly not with institutional archiving. While reading, don't miss this great link to the Journal Cost Update web page. Via Open Access News. By David E. Stern, Yale University Science Libraries, August 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Management Systems: Are We There Yet?
Interview with Andrew W. Mellon Foundation vice president Ira Fuchs which tackles head on the question of why learning objects have yet to be widely adopted. "All I can say," he writes, "is that technology is making it easier to package, search for, and utilize learning objects. But whether we will ever completely overcome the NIH, 'Not invented here,' obstacle, only time will tell." But, "However, a new business model will be required. The model we have today is that you buy a software black box and you get tied to it. If you want extensions, you hope that they’ll be in a future release. Further, there’s no ability to leverage the brilliant minds on all our campuses to make these systems better. We want a different model, one in which we can collaborate among our campuses on improvements." Via Timsoft. By Unknown, Syllabus, July 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.