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January 21, 2002

Connecting the Dots: Cost of Higher Education, Reduced Resources and Distance Education With a recession well upon us and government cuts to education looming, Farhad Saba predicts the "failure" of distance education due to the organizational inefficiencies in college and university programs. He writes, "Usually courses taught at a distance have the same number of students as their on-campus sections. Since distance education involves computer, telecommunication, video and other technologies it is much more expensive than the comparable on-campus course." By Farhad Saba, Distance-Educator.Com, January 21, 2002.[Refer]

Beijing Language and Culture University According to the Asian Studies WWW Monitor, relayed to me via the edresource mailing list, "BLCU, the only international univeristy in China commissioned to teach Chinese language and culture to foreign students, has launched its online programs of Chinese language and literature. All courses are based on Internet delivery." By , , .[Refer]

Kidspeak Are we ready for democracy in our public schools? We may have to be, if the owners of this newly launched website have their way. Kidspeak is dedicated toward supporting the right of freedom of speech for kids and takes on such issues as the right to watch Harry Potter. Hey, they have a point. By , , .[Refer]

Scholastic, Corp. Push Scholastic Corp., a global children?s publishing and media company, has launched a new educational imprint called Push directed at schoolchildren and their parents. The website - which has been around for a while - is styled as the "safest place on the internet" (but children are not protected from the Scholastic online store, coming soon). Do have a look at the site, though, especially the section for kids. By , , .[Refer]

New Book by Critic of Distance Education Describes Privacy Threats It's not like we haven't heard David Noble's arguments before, but the publication of his new book - mostly a collection of his essays - still brings out the critics. By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 18, 2002.[Refer]

Modeling Units of Study From a Pedagogical Perspective: The Pedagogical meta-Model Behind EML EML stands for Educational Modeling Language and it is a DTD-based learning object metadata framework based in the Netherlands. EML is designed to answer, in part, the question, "Where is the learning in e-learning?" Their answer is simple to state, but entails a significant development program: "The basic idea... is to classify, or type, the learning objects in a semantic network, derived from a pedagogical meta-model; build a containing framework expressing the relationships between the typed learning objects; and define the structure for the content and behaviour of the different types of learning objects." In other words, learning objects must function within the wider framework of the semantic web. I completely agree with this proposition, but ponder the implications: once you have finally tagged and wrapped your educational materials you will have to go through another process to identify their semantic role, to tell people what they are about. PDF format. By Rob Koper, Open Universiteit Nederland, June, 2001.[Refer]

Field Studies Done Right: Fast and Observational Jakob Nielsen could have made the same point without insulting anthropologists but his message is sound: if you design something - a course, say - then you should watch people use it to see what they do. This process - called a field study - emulates the techniques of anthropologists and hence is subject to the same cautions: you need to be careful to avoid boasing the results with your own preconceptions. By Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox, January 20, 2002.[Refer]

Synchronous Learning On the Web
Audio and video conferences have never seemed to me to be a very efficient means of providing online learning. But synchronous conferencing has its place in education, albeit not the place where we see it most often. By Stephen Downes


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