By Stephen Downes
November 20, 2004

Global Learn Day
This eighth annual round-the-world tour of audio messages and talks runs on Sunday, the 21st. John Hibbs, the organizer, is nervous because I'll be calling in my segment from the airport in Vancouver just before my flight. Have no fear, John - I'll be calling in. By Various Authors, November 21, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Lecture: Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue: Technology, Politics, and the Fight to Control Digital Media
Unmediated summarizes: "The video of my Princeton President's Lecture, "Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue: Technology, Politics, and the Fight to Control Digital Media" is now online. The lecture, which lasts about an hour, is a layperson's introduction to the technology/copyright wars. I gave it on October 12. The first six minutes of the video consists entirely of introductions, which can safely be skipped." Links to RealMedia audio files. By Edward W. Felten, Unmediated, November 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Small World Phenomenon
Good short article with references and links to a concept I mention from time to time, small worlds networks. Via Open Artifact. By Various Authors, Wikipedia, November, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sun Plans Patent Protection for Open-Source Solaris
When I gave a talk about open source in Moncton last week, I was asked about the legal risks of open source. After all, Linux doesn't come with any protection against patent lawsuits. I mumbled something about assuming your own risk. But on reflection, it seems to me that what this represents is not an issue but a business opportunity - providing legal shelter for large corporations wanting - but afraid to - use open source. It's an advantage that was not lost on Sun. The company recently announced that it would make its Solaris operating system - a flavour of Unix, very similar to Linux - available for free. But as this article notes, it is offering the product with patent protection, so users need not fear lawsuits. Now that's turning a problem into an advantage. By Stephen Shankland, ZDNet, November 18, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Introduction to XML Events
If you thought you understood XML, that's about to change. This article describes XML events. "Events is a W3C Recommendation that allows declarative attachment of a behavior -- which can be a predefined bundle of actions defined in XML or a more general call to a scripting language -- to a specific element." Related to this is another W3C recommendation, Object Oriented XML. I think that what we're seeing is XML becomming not just a description language, but also a platform neutral programming language. By Micah Dubinko, IBM Developer Works, November 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning Adventures Beyond the LMS
I soimetimes feel pretty lonely in my criticism of the LMS approach to education, but my observation is that there is a groundswell of opinion looking for something more. Opinion such as is expressed in this article. "Given the marketing muscle behind the major LMS developers and their complete dominance of the e-learning space, it's hardly surprising that many people see an LMS as "the solution" to their future learning needs...In fact, an LMS is often the albatross around the neck of progress in technology-enhanced learning." Via elearnspace. By Godfrey Parkin, Parkin's Lot, November 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning Company Receives $200,000 from Fund
This counts more as local news, but Fredericton's LabMentors has, to my eye, an innovative product - "hands-on elearning labs" such as, for example, a fully functional network server for computer administration students. So the news of their funding is good. By Unknown, NB Telegraph-Journal, November 19, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I haven't tried this out myself but it comes recommended. "Alice is a neat tool for teaching programming that uses a 'story-telling-in-3D' approach. It is simple to use (all drag & drop), yet fairly sophisticated in what it can do. Definitely worth a look - even if you don't think you know how to program." Windows only. Via Pete MacKay. By Various Authors, November, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Google Scholar vs. Real Scholarship
The funny thing about this article is that an almost identical spate of articles appeared after the launch of Google news. Google news vs. real journalism. But like the critics of online journalism, the author seems more intent that students read books in person than any real failing of Google. His main criticism - that not all articles are available - is hardly Google's fault; the search engine is hardly able to break the hold of subscription based publication services by itself. Do read the comments, which offer a welcome relief from the reactionary flavour of the article. By Andrew Goodman , Traffick, November 18, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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