Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 5, 2002

Affective Interaction and Memes in Online Learning Environments This item will give you something knotty to think about over the weekend. This interesting - and yet puzzling - website describes a study designed to look at the relation between memes and learning. The idea of the study, as expressed by the author, involves "looking beyond IT solutions such as 'virtual' environments and 'intelligent' machines, towards an online education model which might be affect-centred rather than content-centred - and the idea that the answers might lie, not in the medium, the technology or the 'virtual' spaces, but in the minds of the users of the online systems - that there must be a conceptual framework which could facilitate this process." There is something deeply right about this line of thinking and a lot of what the author is proposing here forms a backdrop for my own discussions of online learning. A tough, engaging piece of research - put the coffee on and prepare to linger (note: the user interface is very difficult - you have to click on the yellow box *twice* in a given section to get the detailed discussion). By John Laurie, University of Wollongong, June, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis The cynic would say that the journals on this site mean that honesty has finally come to science. I'm not so extreme, but I do recognize the need for more balance in the literature and thus welcome the launch of Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis and its sister publication, the Index of Null Effects and Replication Failures. Finally, a place to publish your experimental results even when they don't show anything. By Various Authors, Reysen Group, June, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Why Aren't We Collaborating? The point of this article is to examine the question of why people aren't collaborating online. But I challenge that assumption. I spend a good chunk of every day reading and writing email to people around the world. This, to me, counts as collaboration. Why must we assume, as the author does, that collaborating online means buying expensive collaboration software? The business case for this software is not nearly as clear as the author assumes: if a good email will do the trick, why schedule a multipoint internet conference. Let's use common sense here. By David Weinberger, Darwin Online, July 2, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Technology Costing Methodology Project How much does educational technology cost? It's hard to say, but this new tool may help put a number on these investments. The project is a costing analysis tool for schools to use to analyze the costs of instructional approaches that make heavy use of technology, and to compare cost data for different instructional approaches. By Various Authors, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes