Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
August 28, 2002

Lancaster Team Present Evaluation Engine for E-learning Resource Brokerage Platform Interesting for two reasons: first, because it offers and answer to the timeless question of how online resources are to be evaluated. Second, because this evaluation is done in the context of a universal brokerage platform for learning resources, a European service that aims to become a very large learning object repository. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, August 23, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Students go Buy the Book On the Net The publishers will want to put a stop to this. Students are discovering that old textbooks - obsoleted by new editions, undervalued by used bookstores, and useful only as firewood - sell well on the net. The net also turns out to be a lot cheaper than the university bookstore. I'm just waiting for some exec to claim that all this textbook trading is immoral and wrong. By Janet Kornblum, USA Today, August 28, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

10 Million in U.S. Surf Wireless: Survey As my use of my wireless LAN at home reaches the status of "ordinary" (this newsletter is being composed over it), this survey shows that about 10 million Americans "surf wireless." Given the dedicated (and expensive) nature of most wireless connections, though, it is very unlikely that they are merely surfing. "5 million of the 19.1 million users of handheld computers and 5.8 million of the 67.2 million U.S. mobile users have wireless Internet access." By Reuters, Globe and Mail, August 28, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Campus Cards: The Power of Plastic In a development that was probably inevitable, campus ID cards are becoming e-cards, used not only to show Campus Security outside the pub at 2:30 a.m. but now also to purchase textbooks and other student-specific services. By Jean Marie Angelo, University Business, August, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Measuring the ROI of E-Learning This article introduces three cases (available via links) showing how companies or institutions were able to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of e-learning. Not that this is the only measure that matters (though in some sectors it is). The value of e-learning, of course, comes when you link the training solution to the business goals of the company. Not that this is the only value (though in some sectors it is). By Sarah Fister Gale, Workforce, August, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Virtual Degrees Virtually Tough The flavour of this story is that while an online degree is as good as its offline counterpart, employers and institutes like the American Bar Association are not recognizing them. Cheeres to UMUC, though, which doesn't distinguish on its diplomas whether the work was complete on or offline. By Julia Scheeres, Wired News, August 28, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Aggie Aggie is a news aggregator: it is a desktop application that downloads the latest news and displays it in a webpage. Aggie is .Net compliant and certified (whatever that means) open source. By Various Authour, August, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Back To School Though it rambles a bit, this is a good summation of the dicciculties universities have had trying to develop the right (i.e., profitable) approach to online learning. The lesson is that universities have to go beyond merely putting classes online. They also have to watch development costs (even $15,000 per course is too much). But the article is upbeat overall about the future of online learning and suggests that the future is probably a blended learning model as practiced by The University of Phoenix. By Rob Terry, Washington Post, August 27, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes