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March 4, 2002

Is the Information Revolution Dead? This article comparing the information revolution to technological revolutions of the past suggests that while there is no guarantee of a goldern age of internet technology, the recent collapse of the dot com industry is typical and that we should expect the information revolution to continue. The author concludes with advice designers of online learning would do well to heed: "It is not sufficient that businesses and people adapt to a new cluster of technology. The real gains come when the new technology adapts to them." Think about that the next time you decide to cram all staff into a technology training course. By W. Brian Arthur, Business 2.0, March, 2002.[Refer]

Do Not Pass Go A different take on the question of why people drop out of online courses: the number of dropouts, argues the author, doesn't matter. "I'd be appalled if the e-learning drop-out rate meant students had lost interest, or if it meant they didn't learn anything. But I'm not appalled if they dropped out because they learned what they needed to know," says Allison Rossett, professor of educational technology at San Diego State University. This is a good point, one that raises the question of whether the material should have been presented in the context of a long and involved course in the first place. By Steve Alexander , Online Learning Magazine, March, 2002.[Refer]

Drafting a Faculty Copyright Ownership Policy This article discusses the use of a university-wide copyright ownership policy that clarifies the needs and rights of institution as well as faculty, staff and students. Of course the main point of such a policy is to resolve disputes that may arise between the institution and staff, but the author suggests that the process of drafting such a policy can be a useful collaborative process. She argues that a properly drafted ownership policy should have ample input from all affected groups and should be widely publicized. By Laura N. Gasaway, The Technology Source, March - April, 2002.[Refer]

Open Knowledge and Open Source Initiatives: An Interview with MIT's Phil Long Not as detailed as it could be, but this article is nonetheless a useful discussion of MIT's open courseware and the related Open Knowledge Initiative. The article takes direct aim at the question of why people can't take the MIT content and the MIT online learning environment and say that they're offering an MIT course. Of course they're not, but why not? "An MIT education requires a combination of the content in conjunction with a faculty member and the critical element, the students, mixed together in an environment that supports inquiry and provides first-rate facilities to support the pursuit of knowledge."

When I write about MIT I always think of Jame Blish's famous Cities in Flight series... the villians of the piece were IMT - "Interstellar Master Traders" - who enforced their will by landing their city on the enemy (the worst thing a city in flight can do). It makes me wonder whether Blish had it in for MIT. Heh. By Steven W. Gilbert, The Technology Source, March - April, 2002.[Refer]

Free Electronic Journals Not quite complete but the closest thing there is, according to Freedom of Scholarship advocate Peter Suber, this portal provides listings of numerous free online academic journals. On this side of the pond, the site is a bit slow; it may be faster in Europe. By , Leiden University, .[Refer]

Napster for Scientists? This item links directly into the corrected version of the Globe and Mail article, Napster for Scientists? The original article, alleges Stevan Harnad, is written by "uninformed copy-writers coin titles in complete ignorance or disregard of content, with an eye only to catching eyes." From the article: There's a paradox here quite different than the music-industry situation, says psychologist Stevan Harnad: "I give away what I have done for free, and then I have to pay to buy it back when it is published." To read the article un-fixed, click on http://makeashorterlink.com/?S22820B7 By Steven Harnad, American Scientist E-Print Forum, March 3, 2002.[Refer]

Adobe Launches Adobe Xchange Web Site for Designers and Developers For those of you who use Adobe products you may find Adobe's newly launched online user community to be of interest. Launched last Thursday, Adobe Xchange already holds more than 4,000 files contributed by more than 180,000 members, and is part of Adobe Studio, a recently launched Web resource for users to learn tips and tricks and share ideas with other members of the design community. While its purpose is to create and trade extensions to Adobe products, if marketed well community could give Adobe a virtual lock on selling learning materials related to its products, materials created and used by community members. By Press Release, Adobe, February 28, 2002.[Refer]


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