Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
August 22, 2002

NETg Courses Qualify for College Credit Who needs to go to college when you can take credit courses from Thomson publishing. This press release announces that two product lines, NETg's e-Learning and Wave Boot Camp, are eligible for college credit. According to the press release, "Upon completing an ACE-approved course, the learner receives a completion certificate that may then be submitted to a participating academic institution for requisite credits. An ACE recommendation also opens the door for corporate tuition reimbursement." This of course is the thin edge of the wedge as NETg, a Thomson subsidiary, will eventually be able to grant certificates and even degrees if it progresses along this path. By Press Release, Business Wire, August 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An Educator's Guide To Access Issues This update to a previous White Paper contains recent discussion and links in areas such as gender bias, accessibility, funding, hearing disability, and visual disability. It is part of a set of updates created by this summer's EPS 304 class at the University of Illinois. Others include credibility and evaluation, free speech and censorship, privacy, and commercialization. These information packages really are quite good and are recommended as a quick update in any of these fields. By Nicholas C. Burbules, University of Illinois, August, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Word Blogger A tool that makes blogging simple - blog from the friendly confines of MS Word. Unfortunately for the average reader, this page describing the tool and its installation is about as complex as you can get. So if you want Word Blogger, I recommend getting help. And then blogging will be fun and simple again. By Simon Fell, Radio, May 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Why the New MS Licensing Ts & Cs Are Important Written in the Register's usual snarl, this article nonetheless offers an important caution. "Microsoft may provide security related updates to the OS Components that will be automatically downloaded onto your computer. These security related updates may disable your ability to copy and/or play Secure Content and use other software on your computer." The idea here is that Windows will disable software - a media player, for example - that does not enforce Microsoft's digital rights management (DRM) system. The effect here is that the only media you could play is media that has been bought and paid for - effectively making it impossible for any one else to distribute media unencumbered by Microsoft's DRM restrictions. By John Lettice, The Register, August 21, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Three Precepts of Digital Rights Management This short article picked up by eLearningPost doesn't say a lot, but it makes one good point: "If artists want to license their works so strictly that I'm not allowed to copy it from a CD I purchase onto my MP3 player, then let them distribute it that way. And if enough of us decide not to buy those CDs, the market will force an attitude adjustment among record labels and artists. That's the way the market is supposed to work. But it won't have a chance to work if we let Congress screw up the Internet so there is one and only one way to sell to us." Now as the link above suggests, it's not just the U.S. Congress. We need to ensure that all of the products we buy and use support multiple models. By David Weinberger, Darwin Magazine, August 14, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes