By Stephen Downes
August 16, 2004

I Want MemeStreams as a Web Service
I don't care about a web service; an RSS feed would do (and do better, since I can't be bothered with all the overhead a web service entails). MemeStreams is a system whereby members rate items and where the items displayed on the front page are an aggregation of those ratings. Unfortunately, as Michael Feldstein notes, you have to be a member to take part (note well: somebody will eventually discover that ratings can be syndicated as well, allowing such systems to be distributed, as I have described in several papers). By Michael Feldstein, E-Literate, August 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ghost Sites: The Museum of E-Failure
It's like a lesson in what not to do on the web. This site features more than a thousand failed online enterprised. Sites like Book Tailor should offer a well-worn warning for those of us who follow - but strangely, doesn't seem to. Via CHI weblog elektronisch publiceren. By Steve Baldwin, May 24, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Quality Certification Framework CEL to be Presented at Online Educa Berlin
From the Online Educa news service, "The European Foundation for Management Development (Efmd) and the Swiss Centre for Innovations in Learning (SCIL) have built up a new quality certification framework for e-learning programmes. It is currently being applied, tested, and evaluated in several pilot studies, which will be introduced and analysed in a workshop led by Markus A. Wirth from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, at Online Educa Berlin." The program was actually announced at the end of June; I haven't seen discussion of it elsewhere. By Press Release, Global Learning FachNews, August 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Moving Out of the Traditional Classroom
Survey article noting the rise of non-traditional education in the United States. "New educational options -- such as charter schools, home schools and distance learning -- are gaining ground and remain a subject of debate." Lumping the three into a single category as this does, the article is a little misleading. And the usual bugbear - the isolated learner - is elicited as a criticism of the set. Another, better, report documents student satisfaction with online schools. Via ADL. By Amy Cox, CNN, August 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Do You *Really* Need an LMS?
James Farmer riffs on George Siemens's criticism of the Online Course Development: What does it cost? article. The recommendation in the report - get an LMS - is questioned. How much does an LMS cost, and is it worth it? Siemens writes, and I agree, "LMS' are most useful for an organization to monitor and track learning and for sequencing content. If that is an organization's primary view of learning, then sure, use an LMS. If, on the other hand, learning is primarily viewed as an informal dialogue, collaborative content creation, or a function of communities, then many effective tools exist. Some examples: Groove, Plone, Skype, SNA tools (like Multiply), Convea, aCollab, etc. IF you want to manage learning, use an LMS. IF you want to foster dialogue/community building, use a collaborative tool. Either option, thoughtfully implemented, can result in cost savings." By James Farmer / George Siemens, Incorporated Subversion, August 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Goodbye Groove
I've had Groove on my desktop from time to time, to give presentations and the like. It is not currently on my desktop and not likely to return, mostly for the sorts of reasons outlined in this item. Michael Feldstein follows up, extending the discussion to Sakai and OKI. "These two points sound roughly like what OKI and Sakai, respectively, are trying to do for world of course management systems. But are they going to be successful? How lightweight is OKI? (Certainly not as lightweight as RSS, is it?) Why is it necessary for OKI to be programming language-specific (i.e., it requires Java)? How easy is it, really, to write a service that plugs into Sakai via OKI?" By Martin Terre Blanche, Collaborative Learning Environments , August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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