Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
May 2, 2002

Toward a Distributed Learning Object Repository Network PowerPoint slides (1.47 megabytes) of my keynote address today at LearnTec - - in Miramichi. What this presentation includes that some of my previous postings don't are diagrams illustrating how I think a distributed learning object repository network should be structured. I have audio of this address and will post it as soon as we have our streaming media server installed. By Stephen Downes, LearnTec, May 2, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

The End of the Course as We Know It Good article that traces how the use of learning objects is redefining learning delivery, as evidenced by this perspective: "A course should fit the learner’s needs, the skills required and their learning style. This is an ideal view that I wish was more acceptable and I hope the technology and innovative methods become available to allow for this to develop. I would really value a course that recognised the exact skills I wanted, delivered them for my learning style and linked me with fellow learners for those areas where there are similarities with other courses." By Clive Sheppard, Fastrack Consulting, May, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

Online Drop Rates Revisited IO once signed up for a psychology course by distance simply for the purpose of obtaining a plastic model of a human brain. It need not be stated that I did not complete the course work. Does this constitute academic failure on my part? Hardly. And this is a part of the point made in this article: that even if the drop rate is higher in online learning than in traditional learning, the drop rate may reflect other causes than academic failure, and indeed may even exhibit greater academic maturity on the part of students (my own case, though, would be an exception). P.S. I never did get my brain. By David P. Diaz, The Technology Source, May, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

OUNL EML and standards Short overviuew article describing the Education Modelling Language (EML) standards. By Anonymous, Open University of the Netherlands, May 2, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

Outcomes of Conference Major outcomes of the Educational Modelling Language (EML) conference organized by the Open University of the Netherlands included: a mapping of the relations between EML – IMS – SCORM, a preliminary architecture for an EML design, authoring and CMS, a UML component model for this preliminary architecture, an identification of users, a prototype design for the user interface, and agreement on business models (at the next conference they will cure cancer, establish world peace and create life). In all seriousness, the EML conference appears to be a significant step forward. A follow-up will come from the IMS conference currently taking place in Boston; OLDaily will keep you posted as information becomes available. By Anonymous, Open University of the Netherlands, May 2, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

Global Universities: Sowing the Seeds of the Future, or Hanging On To The Past? The author concludes, "Universities that hang on to an elitist concept of higher education are unlikely to be those that can successfully sow the seeds of a future of mass access, providing millions of people with the intellectual and employment opportunities they are currently denied," and thereby possibly explains some of the difficulties encountered by such enterprises as Universitas 21 (documented recently in OLDaily). The argument is essetially that the very elitism that makes them "prestigious" is exactly what works against them in a global marketplace. "In a distance-learning environment, a modular, disaggregated course scheme is essential for enabling credit transfer, clear progression, student flexibility to put together the right mix of knowledge and skills, and motivation through accumulation of credits." Good article. By Chris O'Hagan, The Technology Source, May, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

NETg Creates Software Laboratories To Certify Compatibility Another entry into the standards compliance certification game as Netg - part of the Thomson Corporation - announces the creation of two labs to test compliance of their courseware with certain "preferred" learning management systems. By Press Release, Netg, April 30, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

Battle of the Online Payment Systems This is one for the business managers, a discussion of competing payment schemes on the web, looking mostly at services such as PayPal and BillPoint. There is some discussion of using peer-to-peer technology to manage online payment, an approach that I think offers more chances of success. Indeed, I would propose what might be called peer-to-peer-to-peer (P3P) that allows the vendor and purchaser to select a trusted broker dynamically. This is a decentralization of online payment, the only approach that will work over many environments. By Lou Hirsh, E-Commerce Times, April 30, 2002 [Refer][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes