Various authors: MERLOT Grapevine, MERLOT October 11, 2005
MERLOT's Fall Issue of Grapevine is out. The main item concerns a new relationship between O'Reilly books and MERLOT - wonder whether the next Perl camel book is going to be peer reviewed... yeah, thought not. People who write software will recognize Safari not as a (dysfunctional) Apple browser but as a long-standing online books program run by O'Reilly (it has been, what, three years now?). So when the item says "O'Reilly and MERLOT will collaboratively develop technology tools and services to integrate access to MERLOT and O'Reilly resources to give the IT community easy access to high quality, relevant digital content" I wonder whether what is really meant is that MERLOT wants to use O'Reilly's online store. Hard to say. Scroll down in the newsletter also to read about MERLOT's Discipline Community Portals - a good idea, but they really should have thought twice about the name before they posted it on the web. Oh well, the extra traffic can't hurt - can it? [Tags: Newsletters, Apple, Books and eBooks] [Comment]

Tom Hoffman: At Long Last, A New SchoolTool Website, Tuttle SVC October 11, 2005
Tom Hoffman writes, "The all-new schooltool.org finally went live this week." Schooltool isn't educational software, but rather, software directed toward school administration, including calendars, student information, and the like. It's based on Ubuntu Linux running Plone on a Zope platform. Looks good. [Tags: Student Record Systems, Schools] [Comment]

Nova Spivack: The Metaweb October 11, 2005
Rory McGreal sends along this link with the observation that this is the diagram that partly inspired the Free Knowledge Communities initiative. The diagram obviously connects to the paper I distributed yesterday, Semantic Networks and Social Networks. [Tags: None] [Comment]

Frederick Noronha: FN'sEyeOnFLOSS, foss4us October 11, 2005
Frederick Noronha, a leading voice for open source technology in learning in India (c.f. Bytes for All) has launched a blog. [Tags: Open Source, Web Logs] [Comment]

Kaufmann-Wills group: The Facts About Open Access, Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers October 11, 2005
This is a pretty good report and appears to make a genuine effort to be even-handed and fair. It is based on a study of and comparison between hundreds of open access and commercial journals. It becomes apparent that the open access movement is young, rough around the edges, not as polished or rigorous as the commercial sector, and not as profitable. Yet, despite this, commercial publishers view open access negatively, some citing the potential for "devastating losses" (publishers of open access journals see the situation quite differently). If I had to offer any criticism of this report, it would be that the metrics are derived from traditional publishing rather than online publishing. For example, the traditional community's reliance on editing and peer review is offset in the online world by immediacy and post-publication review, factors not considered in the report. Via Seb Schmoller. [Tags: Books and eBooks] [Comment]

Doug Lederman: Easing the Copyright Challenge, Inside Higher Ed October 11, 2005
According to this story, "the Copyright Clearance Center is... integrating the copyright permission process directly into the software colleges use to build and manage online courses," specifically, Blackboard. Written like a press release, this story offers no analysis at all. At the very least, the author could have observed that copyright restrictions are being used not only to prevent file sharing, but to foster and entrench software lock-in. Will the Copyright Clearance centre offer an open source method of doing the same thing - a Drupal plug-in, say, or a Moodle module? It's doubtful - after all, what do these products have to offer the Copyright Clearance Center in return? [Tags: Open Source, Copyright and Patent Issues, Blackboard, File Sharing, Course Modules, Traditional and Online Courses] [Comment]

Scott Jaschik: Too Much Information?, Inside Higher Ed October 11, 2005
The author highlights two professors who were denied tenure at Chicago, and while careful not to link their blogs and their denial, writes a story about it. "Asked if their blogs hurt their tenure bids, Carroll and Drezner answer in nearly identical ways: They are certain that their tenure chances weren’t improved by having a blog, and while their chances might have been hurt, they don’t have any certainty about that." Which to me points to the real problem - the secrecy in which such decisions are made. If the tenure committee had some misconceptions or some prejudices about blogging - or, for that matter, any other activity - then it would make a lot more sense to get these out into the open to be addressed, either by the applicant, through modified behaviour, or by the committee, though modified judgement. Depending instead on rumour and hearsay seems, well, such a non-academic way to go. [Tags: Academics and Academia, Web Logs, Information] [Comment]

Lowell Monke: Charlotte's Webpage: Why Children Shouldn't Have the World at Their Fingertips, Orion October 11, 2005
I guess people make a living publishing articles like this, which doesn't seem really fair to me. The gist of the article is that computers harm education, mostly because they deaden childrens' encounters with the real world. The author cites what seems to be example after example - the (uncited) Fuchs and Woessman report, the cancellation of recess, the glee with which students set about hacking the school network. The idea is that children are being shown a false reality. For example, "If computers discourage a sense of belonging and the hard work needed to interact responsibly with others, they replace it with a promise of power." Or this: "the steady diet of virtual trips to the Antarctic, virtual climbs to the summit of Mount Everest, and trips into cyber-orbit that represent one technological high after another—generate only vicarious thrills. The student doesn't actually soar above the Earth, doesn't trek across icy terrain, doesn't climb a mountain." But, honestly, the author is selling us a load here. Who among us ever had the childhood depicted here? One where we were always good, stayed out of trouble, acted responsibly, and climbed Mt. Everest during recess? The author argues, "the more external power children have at their disposal, the more difficult it will be for them to develop the inner capacities to use that power wisely." I see just the opposite as being true - for after all, how can you learn to use power when you have none? [Tags: Children and Child Learning, Networks, Schools, Hackers and Hacking, Online Learning] [Comment]