By Stephen Downes
July 6, 2005

Spoken Alexandria Project
Launched yesterday: "The Spoken Alexandria Project is creating a free library of spoken word recordings, consisting of classics in the public domain and modern works (with permission). AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and MP3 audiobooks available for free download and redistribution." Via Rick's Café Canadien. By Various Authors, July 5, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogs @ Anywhere: High Fidelity Online Communication
Comparison between blogs and LMSs in education. "Whereas an LMS stores and presents all information on a centralised and hierarchical basis, bound within the subject and the organisation, blogs are distributed, aggregated, open and independent." However, "The application of weblogs in an education setting will, at best, have a limited impact if due consideration of these developing communication dynamics (is) ignored." By James Farmer, incorporated subversion, July 4, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canadian Council on Learning
Summary of one of those high-level meetings that happens from time to time in this country, in this case, an introductory videoconference hosted by the newly minted Canadian Council on Learning. My thoughts (I floated around the edges of the meeting and have read another, emailed but sadly not available online (I asked)), summary, echo Jarche's: "I don't want to appear too cynical but my first impressions were - It's a new organisation with a new pot of money, but the same players from other initiatives that have gone by the wayside, with the same issues and agendas as well as the same barriers." The main agreement to emerge from the meeting, it seems, is to create a "consortium of consortiums". And (of most interest to participants) Doug McLeod outlined the process for research funding. By Howard Jarche, Jarche Consulting, June 29, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Technologies of Cooperation
Howard Jaqrche points to this useful paper by Andrea Saveri, Howard Rheingold, and Kathi Vian. The bulk of the paper is a survey of emerging technologies of cooperation, for example, self-organizing mesh networks, peer-to-peer networks, or knowledge collectives. This well-written (and well designed) paper illustrates each in detail, offering examples and 'strategic principles' to guide their development. Jarche also links to a large version of a chart of the eight technologies, highlighting structure, rules, resources and more for each. Impress your peers; print this and post it on your wall. By Howard Jarche, Jarche Consulting, July 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

It's Who You Know
George Siemens has been doing some interesting work recently on networks. This (mistitled) item links us to Barry Wellman, director of an interesting rpoject called NetLab. You will want to read his connecting Community: On- and Offline. "In the old days, before the 1990s, places were largely connected -- by telephone, cars, planes and railroads. Now with the Internet (and mobile phones), people are connected." There's a lot of other prescient work here. Back to George Siemens, and this link to Chris Anderson on pre- and post filters, a concept I've talked about when discussing e-learning quality. And in another link, Siemens points to What Other People Say May Change What You See, unfortunately now locked in a NY Times archive but replicated here. By George Siemens, elearnspace, July 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Australian e-Research Agenda
Good overview with many links related to e-research and the Australian government's new consulting exercise. Personally, I've grown weary (and wary) of consulting exercises - what I have observed in practise is that power (and decisions) remain centralized. Anyhow, some interesting items - Australia has an AUD 19 billion ICT trade deficit, and one in 20 Austrialians is now working overseas. Of course, Australians probably don't like being called "human capital" any more than I do. Yes, it is all about cultural change - but Australia, like Canada, must be very careful about how that culture changes. By Catherine Howell, Ida Takes Tea, July 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OECD/Canada/Alberta Conference on E-Learning in Post-Secondary Education: Policies, Practices, and Research
Presentations are now available online from this recent conference. Some really good stuff here (and some that is disappointing). I wish conferences like this would post audio recordings or transcripts. Some of the presentations I liked include: Candace Thille on cognitively informed web-based instruction (I disagree with the analysis, but not with the intent); Don Tapscott, who in addition to his usual n-gen perspective comes out in favour of open content; John Daniel, who also advocated open content, sort of; and Jeff Zabudsky, who walks a fine line between advocating something useful and taking a traditionalist approach. The rest were, well, disappointing. It's the same old line: let's create a website, let's have a consortium, let's coordinate from the top, let's link our repositories (and what, keep the poor people out?), let's say we're "research-based" (and back it up with surveys of 31 people, half of them managers), let's attend to the 'economics' and the 'business' of learning, let's make Mongolia a "knowledge-based society", let's focus on ROI and the digital dividend, let's educate people on copyright, let's train workers. By Various Authors, OECD, July 8, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Software Patent Directive Rejected
Happy news as the European Parliament overwhelmingly rejects software patents... The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) described this decision as a "great victory for those who have campaigned to ensure that European innovation and competitiveness is protected from monopolisation of software functionalities and business methods." Much more coverage. By Ingrid Marson, ZDNet UK, July 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

LiveJournal Founder Launches OpenID System
Report on Slashdot plus commentary about the launch of a working model of the OpenID system, an "actually distributed identity system for websites that accept user comments," created at LiveJournal. Readers may recall my own explorations in this area. By Zonk, Slashdot, July 5, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS Readers: Narrowing Down Your Choices
Some good analysis giving us a good look at the use of different RSS aggregators. The results are based on FeedBurner's 1,000 largest-circulation feeds, with the impact of Yahoo default feeds removed. There's probably still some bias, then, but the results now look somewhat like my own intuiotion: Bloglines with about 20 percent leading the pack, NetNewsWire second with 10 percent, and the rest arrayed below. Via Dan Gillmor. By Brian Livingston, Datamation, July 5, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Crash Course On Complexity, Emergence and Collective Intelligence
George Siemens links to this site, a closer look at the concept of emergence. One of the best things about this item is that it links to a 1996 web page by Mitchel Resnick and Brian Silverman called Exploring Emergence. The idea of emergence is that organization appears out of the autonomous actions of smaller entities; this idea is nicely illustrated by 'The Game of Life', demonstrated on this page. The Crash Course, meanwhile, builds on this concept, identifying emergent phenomena on the web at large. By Wally Glutton, Stung Eye, October 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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