Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
June 21, 2002

National Educational Computing Conference Papers from this week's National Educational Computing Conference are now online. From the fifty papers posted I have selected three for today's newsletter. By Various Authors, NECC 2002, June 17-19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Using Threaded Discussions As A Discourse Support A thesis I have advanced in various discussions of online learning (including especially several presentations I did last year in Australia) is that the development of online community through discussion lists and similar communication tools stimulates deeper research and learning by students. This thesis is is tested in the study described by this paper. Though the essay prsents only qualitative and anecdotal evidence, the conclusion is drawn that the online discussion do stimulate deeper learning. By Gregory Gray, NECC 2002, June 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Systems Analysis of Learning Theory Through Causal Influence Diagrams I am a big believer in the use of diagrams to represent complex relations. This essay looks at the impact of the use of causal influence diagrams, a method for representing relationships among elements in complex systems, on the learning of complex theories of learning. The diagrams in this essay are a disaster - it may have to do with the PDF format employed (but I don't know) - but the text suggests that there can be a positive correlation. This essay could be a lot clearer - an edit would have helped - but the content is of inherent interest to learning theorists. By Ann C. Cunningham and Loraine M. Stewart, NECC 2002, June 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Best Practices in Cyberspace: Motivating the Online Learner A single study should not purport to have shown too much and this study shows the appropriate restraint as it attempts to correlate learning styles with student motivation. Data was collected over a three year period on student personality types and was correlated with student reports of the morivating effects of different course components. A nice study, nicely done, hardly conclusive, yes, but at least some evidence for the suggestion that learning styles affect learning. PDF format. By Toni Bellon and Richard Oates, NECC 2002, June 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

College Stations Alarmed as Librarian of Congress Sets Rates for Broadcasting Music Online As this story reports, the Librarian of Congress's decision regarding fees to be paid for webcast music is likely to drive most college radio stations off the internet. "A typical station that plays about 15 songs per hour and has an average of 20 online listeners might pay about $2,000 a year." That doesn't sound like much - but what radio station has 20 listeners? The rate is equivalent to charging $100 per listener, and this is a rate that even commercial radio stations would be hard pressed to meet, much less non-profit college stations. By Dan Carnevale, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes