Site Map

October 30, 2001

Elephants in the Living Room: The Destructive Role of Denial in Web Design We have all experienced the frustration of our beautiful web design being reduced to rubble by one of these elephants: well meaning individuals to whom usability is a luxury and sound design secondary. Recognize any of these elephants in your organization? By Bruce Tognazzini, Ask Tog, September, 2000.[Refer]

Users Decide First; Move Second This article confirms for me something that I've known intuitively for some time but have never been able to verify. Readers of websites look at the page, then decide, based on what they see, where they're going to go next. This means that drop-down or pop-up menus hinder navigation because they do not see the options available. Drop-downs and pop-ups therefore hinder usability, By Erik Ojakaar, User Interface Engineering, 2001.[Refer]

An Exploration of XML in Database Management Systems This article sheds some light on the murky subject of XML and database management systems. It assumes a certain background knowledge in XML, though it does introduce schemas and DTDs. This article is the first good summary of XPath and XQuery, languages for extracting a subset of data from an XML document. By Dare Obasanjo, 25 Hours a Day, october 29, 2001.[Refer]

Modernism and Postmodernism in Higher Education This little quiz is probably a travesty of science but it takes about two minutes and helps you identify some of the polarities of approach to online learning. I scored 112 which means that I think that the old Polys were tainted by the anachronistic academic culture of the university and that my hero is Marshall McLuhan. Yeah, OK. By Chris O'Hagan, Center for Educational Development and Media, 2001.[Refer]

Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing This came out last year but provides a useful reference point for discussions of scholarly publishing, especially in the light of some of the more recent battles over journal pricing, copyright limitations and electronic publishing. This set of principles is short, to the point, and aside from the traditional bow of prayer to the publishers, rational. By , Association of American Universities, May 10, 2000.[Refer]

The More Things Change: Teaching in an Online Classroom Here we have yet another one of those sceptical articles. The author writes, "So, is online teaching a good idea? Maybe. I can't imagine its being effective with the majority of high school students." Well, why not? It was certainly effective with the high school students I worked with. I think that the experience of this author is shaded by the difficult situation she found herself in - teaching an English teacher, for example, who writes in sentence fragments and who is preparing to teach Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" without having ever read "Hamlet." We have to be reasonable here - we can't expect online learning to repair all the disasters that the traditional system has created. By Ellen Greenblatt, Christian Science Monitor, October 30, 2001.[Refer]

How Islam Won, and Lost, the Lead in Science This has nothing to do with online learning, but it's interesting. This article gives a good (if narrowly defined) history of the rise of Islamic science. It then attempts to explain, with dubious success, the fall. I don't have all the explanations (obviously) but it seems to me that the Islamic civilization suffered from the same decline as the Romans (as depicted by Gibbon): orthodoxy from within and invasions from without. (Is there an equivalent to Gibbon on the Islamic empire? Send me a note if you have a good reference.) By Dennis Overbye, New York Times, October 30, 2001.[Refer]


Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]