OLDaily

By Stephen Downes
June 14, 2005

Paradigms in E-Learning
Short post I sent to DEOS-L last week in response to Farhad Saba's contention on that list that "e-learning is not a paradigm." I respond that there is a distinct discipline I call 'online learning' and that the evidence that it is indeed a distinct discipline is overwhelming. My post outlines what I think that paradigm looks like and offers an argument to show that it is distinct. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, June 9, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Yellow Arrow
If the inventors of CueCat had had 'public service' in mind, rather than 'advertising medium', this is what they might have come up with (and instead of being offline, they would have seen their technology attached to every mobile phone in the world and a wealth of site based resources proliferate - though it's not too late; there's still no reason why photo-phones can't double as scanners with the right (CueCat?) technology). Of course, in the future, we will see these big yellow sticky notes replaced with RFID chips (some official, others less so). Anyhow, this site is a neat glimpse into the merging of the physical world with the virtual. By Rik Abel, June 14, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers
The legal bits in this useful guide are intended for American readers, so if you are blogging elsewhere your mileage may vary. Nonetheless, the EFF has offered a valuable contribution useful to all bloggers as it offers a great summary of the issues and suggests recourses when the blog and the law tangle (and this will happen if you blog long enough). By Various Authors, EFF, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Source in Education - Something Has Got to Change
James farmer takes a more conciliatory tone after his anti-WebCT rant last week, but he doesn't back down on the open source issue (nor should he). He writes, "I contend that our universities, schools and other educational institutions are wasting enormous amounts of money and making huge mistakes using commercial software where open source software could do as good as or better a job." I agree with this, especially when public institutions pay for this software (and educational content generally) though taxpayer contributions. He continues, "I despise the way education is turning into a cash cow for vendors. We should be spending what little money we have on teachers, genuinely valuable resources and teaching and learning." By James Farmer, incorporated subversion, June 14, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The International Comparative Study of Higher Education: Lessons from the Contemplation of How Others Might See Us
Although a couple of years old, this was just posted in the EDUCAUSE reosurce library and is worth a quick read. The title, though, is a misnomer - my reading is that it has little to do with how others view the U.S. system and is rather a depiction of how Americans see themselves. Which is still worth reading, though you have to smile and be nice when you read statements like this: "Nowhere else in the world can a 25-year-old with a baccalaureate in English and history decide she wants to be a physician and have a chance at entering medical school." I would like to see the phrase "Nowhere else in the world..." banned from the vocabulary, as the claim that follows is almost universally false. By D. Bruce Johnstone, EDUCAUSE, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Dan Atkins on CLEAR
This new blog is exactly the sort of thing we like to see in this space as Dan Atkins mixes his expertise, his considerable experience and positions working with NSF and OECD to provide a unique and insightful perspective. He links not only to his own talks but also summarizes interesting talks by others. Clearly written and rounded out with news and views, this blog offers valuable insight. By Dan Atkins, Dan Atkins on CLEAR, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Computer Geek's History of the Internet
Because you can never have enough history. "Not the complete history but just the cool stuff." Point form, not too long, many links to the origins of the technologies we know and love today. Via Alec Couros. By the owner of WBG, White Hat Black Hat Gray Hat, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Are You a Prosumer?
The subject has come up in recent weeks (as it always does) about how to pay people to produce content. I argue (as I always do) that you don't need to pay people, that given time and resources, they will do it themselves. This article is about the 'prosumer' - the person who actually invests substantial sums of money (to buy, say, digital cameras or audio recording equipment) in order to create. Prosumers don't create in order to make money - many (probably most) offer their content for free. What they want are the tools - preferably the best tools possible - to help them create, and a place to share their work. This is where future business opportunities in e-learning lie - not in providing content, but in helping the new prosumer create content. By Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe, June 13, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Welcome to the Home Page of Dr. T.B. Rajashekar
Tarikere Basappa Rajashekar, one of the true heroes of the open access movement, was killed in a road accident near Bangalore on 3 June 2005. Subbiah Arunachalam and N. Balakrishnan write a tribute. By T.B. Rajashekar, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Survival Strategies for Academic Publishing
Good analysis of the problems facing university presses. The author notes that the bottom has fallen out of the monograph market, and that hence these presses are in difficult financial straits. The decline in library purchases is a part of this, but the larger part is that students have stopped buying the books. "They regard prices as too high and are inventing all sorts of ways to avoid doing the one thing they are supposed to do, which is to buy the books. They are borrowing books, sharing books, going online to shop around for the cheapest books they can find, and so on. Enterprising jobbers are importing cheaper foreign editions and undercutting the sales of American editions." Good analysis, but the proposed solutions - print fewer books, and charge more for them - are not convincing. Raising prices in a market that already thinks (with justification) that it is getting fleeced is not a forward-thinking strategy. By John B. Thompson, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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