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October 23, 2001

Representations and Perceived Information Architecture (PIA) If software deisgners start reading Jerry Fodor, who knows what will result? This interesting little piece talks about various ways of representing information and hits on the idea of having users draw pictures of the website being tested as they perceive it. Nifty. And I really like the concept of 'perceived information architecture.' By John S. Rhodes, WebWord, October 22, 2001.[Refer]

Build Skill with A-Learning Another day, another theory. Today's entry is 'a-learning,' which puts the focus on skills rather than on education (OK, hint to the author: the 'e' in 'e-learning does not stand for 'education'). I'm a big supporter of using online learning for skills, which is why I'm listing this article, but I don't think we need a separate branch of theory in order to do it. I think the definition of 'a-learning' depends more on an unfairly narrow construal of 'e-learning' than it does any radical departure from what the field is up to now. By Thomas Reed and Laura M. Francis, Learning Circuits, October, 2001.[Refer]

World's First E-university Sets Up Global Base in Singapore I think the good folks at Walden University - which has been around for a long time now, and even has alumni - would be a bit miffed at U21's scandalous claim. And it's not even like U21 (aka Universitas 21) has started offering classes - the first one is set for 2003. But this release is gaining wide (and uncritical) circulation. Thomson Learning and its fifteen university partners are obviously staking a claim. Or, as some would say, claim-jumping. A responsible press would call them on it. By Lee Siew Hoon, ChannelNewsAsia, October 22, 2001.[Refer]

E-Learning Needs Work This article - which leads with the conclusion that the author will "stick with his ring-binder for the time being" - looks like a typically uninformed criticism of online learning, but it is useful to look at the two sidebar articles or some background. One, Education Online, describes some of the preliminary work being done at two New Zealand institutions. The other, Studying Online Proves to Be Tough Assignment, is more telling, detailing a sorry case of off-the-shelf courseware and indifferent tutorial support. It also doesn't help that the article cites as a main source Universitas 21, which isn't even offering classes yet. We want to be sympathetic here. I wish there were some way of effectively promoting the really useful work being done - such as yesterdays's NAWeb Award winning projects - rather than have journalists rely on the slipshod and the incomplete for their information. By Neil Porten, The New Zealand Herald, October 23, 2001.[Refer]

Going Offline in Class Gets Students on Task What we have here is another example of the lesson that you can't simply introduce technology to education without changing anything else you are doing. Consequently, we see a school banning the use of laptops while the teachers are lecturing (which is most of the time). Of course, the spin in this article is entirely different, giving us a "back-to-basics" lesson instead. By Tracey Drury, Business First, October 22, 2001.[Refer]

UK IMS Content Packaging and Management The UK IMS Content Packaging and Management project, which focuses on courseware reuse and interoperability, has produced an online tutorial on learning content development and Java editor software for editing/packaging lessons into IMS packages interoperable with other learning management systems. By Boon Kee Low, University of Edinburgh, October 23, 2001.[Refer]

From the writing with jet lag department: I inserted the wrong link for an item in yesterday's newsletter. Here is the correct link for Kids Gauge Air Quality, from the Detroit News.


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