Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 23, 2002

Cultrural Adaptation: Necessity for Global eLearning This is a good article (trolled today by eLearningPost) arguing that at least one cause of the failure of e-learning to take hold in an international (read: non-U.S.) market is that it must be adapted to different cultures. The authors provide a nice metric for describing cultural differences in learning style and cite David Jonasson to provide theoretical support. In particular, "We learn from experiencing phenomena (objects, events, activities, and processes), interpreting these experiences based on what we already know, reasoning about them, and reflecting on the experiences and the reasoning." I agree with this observation and agree with the suggestion that elearning designers need to adapt to local conditions. By Patrick Dunn and Alessandra Marinetti, LiNE Zine, July, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Start Measuring Your eLearning Programs Now This article is a little simplistic, but the point it makes is valid: e-learning can and should be assessed. You may want to consider more interesting metrics than enrollment, completion and success, but even these have merit: if nobody even enters the course, for example, you can reliably say you have a marketing or access problem. By Josh Bersin, LiNE Zine, July, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Keeping Web Services Royalty-Free Arguing that the standards for web services should be royalty free, Tim Berners-Lee makes a point that should be obvious to all (and yet, somehow, is not): "There is a common good in making an interoperable specification," he said. "The whole explosion of the Web would not have happened if it had not been open and completely patent and royalty free." By Anne Chen, eWeek, July 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Introducing the Helix Initiative Real Networks announces the release of Helix, significant because it is the first streaming media server to be able to distribute a wide variety of media formats - or as the media says, to play any media on any device, including Real Media, Windows Media, QuickTime, MPEG 4, MP3, MPEG 2, and more. I listened to the product announcement using a Windows Media Player over a 24K connection here at Memramcook, and aside from the occasional gap, the sound was fine. The release is accompanied with the release of the Helix Media Platform and community, intended to be "the first open, comprehensive platform of digital media products and applications for any format, operating system or device." By Website, Real Networks, July 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IBM And Thomson Sign Agreement to Jointly Pursue Global E-Learning Market Last winter and through the spring, as I predicted the current decline in the e-learning market, I also predicted that a major publisher would launch a major venture, probably through acquisition of an LMS company. This may be the beginning of such a venture, though I suspect that the acquisition of IBM by Thomson is not in the cards. It's hard to see the upside for Thomson as IBM has never been able to release a breakthrough e-learning product. Maybe what we're seeing here is two pieces of a three piece pie with, say, Blackboard rounding out the mix. By Press Release, Quicken.Com News, July 23, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Talking with Terry Winograd Terry Winograd is well regarded in the fields of artificial intelligence and natural language recognition, so there is much to chew on in this interview as he talks about his impressions of the web, his new job working with Google and the future of online media. The best bit is near the end: "One of the things we're working on is a room that has wall-sized displays. If you walk into a workplace that's reasonably well funded or maybe in your home, you will see a large wall-like surface with interactive computing available on it." In my 1998 essay, The Future of Online Learning, I called these WADs (Wall Access Devices) and predicted their widespread use. I still do. By Unknown, Ubiquity, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Microcontent News Blogging Software Roundup Comprehensive discussion and description of weblogging software. Lists numerous types of blogging software (neatly sorted into a blogging software family tree) and describes the advantages and disadvantages of different types of blogging software. A valuable reference for anyone interested in blogging. By John Hiler, Microcontent News, July 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes