January 24, 2006


Larry Sanger[Edit][Delete]: Toward a New Expert Internet: An Open Letter to the Academic Community Online, Digital Universe [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: Hits] Tomorrow I am off to Saint John all day to talk about learning networks, so the newsletter will be a bit late. Today I lead off with an item from Larry Sanger, who is trying to start an expert-written online encyclopedia. In his new blog, Digital Universe, he writes, "My claim is that experts could be mobilized online in the way that ordinary netizens have been mobilized by Wikipedia, to work on content projects far larger and more important than an encyclopedia--and that this suggestion has revolutionary potential." [Tags: Wikipedia, Paradigm Shift, Web Logs, Newsletters, Project Based Learning, Networks] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Brent Muirhead[Edit][Delete]: Creating Concept Maps: Integrating Constructivism Principles into Online Classes, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning [Edit][Delete]International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: Hits] Am I a morally good person? It's a question I often ask myself - not because I habitually commit evil acts, but because morality is something I still don't fully understand, which in turn leads me to wonder whether what I say and do is morally right. Uncertainty is the constant companion of reflection, I guess. My moral dilemmas won't be solved by the discussion in this paper, but the framework offered by Brent Muirhead - an examination of good character - serves as a nice example for the constructivist use of concept maps in a class. Questions of ethics and morality are, I think, some of the clearest instances where learning must be, in the end, personal learning. Other articles from the current issue of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning are now online as well. [Tags: Online Learning, Constructivism, Visualization] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Michael J. Bugeja[Edit][Delete]: Facing the Facebook, Chronicle of Higher Education [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] Another anti-technology screed from the Chronicle (do they ever get tired of running these?) this time contra the Facebook, a social network with membership restricted to U.S. college students. To follow this article, everything bad happening on campus - from disengaged students to rising costs to homophobia to media manipulation - is caused by Facebook. The argument is as ridiculous as it is invalid (but shedding the principles of reason seems to be no obstacle to the professoriate these days, a phenomenon that puzzles me by its pervasiveness). Why do I think the author's "ethical concerns" (his words) are misplaced here? Perhaps it's because I obtained my degrees mostly by skipping class and learning how to think and to write at a student newspaper. Perhaps it's because I wasted years of my life playing, chatting in, and eventually designing online environments. Or perhaps it's simply because I understand a little about the principles of causation, and I know that the expression does not cause the phenomenon. Whatever the matter, I will take a few words out of my "egocasting" (his words) to call on the Chronicle to apply some sort of academic standard to its coverage. [Tags: Books and eBooks, Chat and Chat Rooms, Networks, Academics and Academia] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Charlie Demerjian[Edit][Delete]: DRM is a Complete Lie, The Inquirer [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Yet another article on DRM roughly paralleling my own (radical?) views on the topic. In a nutshell, "They protect their code in every way possible... This is all done under the guise of protecting content, but that is a lie... If you are a rival company though, you can't really violate such things and get away with it for long... So, you have to license it to play ball, or at least play music and movies. That is the true nature of DRM infections, to keep other big greedy companies out." In other words, as I've argued before, the primary purpose of digital rights technology is not to protect content, but rather, to create customer lock-in via proprietary data formats and software. [Tags: Digital Rights Management (DRM)] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Feldstein[Edit][Delete]: More Corroborating Info on Cost of Sales, E-Literate [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] Data from Jim Farmer's recent study on the cost of selling an LMS is corroborated with an observation, cited here, from Mark Carden in relation to library systems software. "I have long said that it costs the major ILS/LMS vendors an average of about US$50,000 per bid, which means that for a typical mid-sized university deal, five competing bidders will spend US$250,000 between them: and only one will win, so again that is US$250,000 per deal." [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

John Lanchester[Edit][Delete]: The Global Id, London Review of Books [Edit][Delete] January 24, 2006
[link: Hits] Good overview, with some history, of Google. Not as much on the 'global ID' as I would have liked. "On the one hand, Google is cool. On the other hand, Google has the potential to destroy the publishing industry, the newspaper business, high street retailing and our privacy. Not that it will necessarily do any of these things, but for the first time, considered soberly, these things are technologically possible." [Tags: Cool, Privacy Issues, Google] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Amanda Congdon[Edit][Delete]: Rocketboom, January 24, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] I've seen references to Rocketboom pass in front of my eyes a few times - usually when I'm on Linux and can't watch the QuickTime video - but I was near my laptop today so I took a quick look. And - surprise - it's quite good! Certainly better than what passes for news on television. [Tags: Portable Computers] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes


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