Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
September 19, 2002

A Learning Development Model For Todayís Students and Organizations After a good analysis of the changing needs of the learner, the author proposes a distance learning development model reminiscent of Archer, Garrison and Anderson's model for adopting disruptive technologies. He writes, "A pilot project like the one outlined in this document is a safe, effective way for organizations to explore and embrace the potential opportunities, will minimizing potential threats. In the process, organizations can position themselves to meet the needs of students and instructors." My only concern with pilot projects is that small scale implementations sometimes fail where large scale implementations would succeed. An online community, for example, requires a certain (large) number of members in order to be successful, and almost certainly fails with a small number of members. By George Siemens, eLearnSpace, September 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft Takes to the Air Now that the wireless revolution is well underway, Microsoft has decided that it wants a piece of it (well, all of it, but it will settle for a piece of it to start). The Redmond giant is launching a suite of Microsoft branded hardware that will let users connect their personal computers and notebooks through wireless connections using the 802.11b standard. No word on whether it will work with any non-Microsoft system. By Reuters, Globe and Mail, September 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Are Company Intranet Standards Sapping Your E-learning? Good white paper contrasting information design (as applied to, say, websites) with instructional design. The main point is here: "Jakob Nielsenís Web standards may be ideal for information transfer. They may also inform the design of transactional commerce as now conducted on the Web. But just as information is not instruction, neither are business transactions the same as learning. Usability standards that have proven their worthiness for e-commerce and other applications need to be tweaked a bit before being applied to e-learning." The link above is a direct link; you may be blocked, and if so, then follow the longer route from here. By Peter Orton and Concetta Cassarino, Brandon Hall, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

PDF for the Server OLDaily readers know already what I think of the PDF format (which isn't much). So yhou know that I would not necessarily think of an automated PDF generator as a good thing. But many sites swear by PDF and so knowing that they can be generated dynamically using the scripts described in this article is, um, a good thing. I guess. By Cameron Laird, IBM developerWorks, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Lawrence Lessig's Supreme Showdown Quick biography of copyright opponent Lawrence Lessig offered as he begins to prepare a case against the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. By Steven Levy, Wired, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Cutting Class Short article that makes a good point. The measurement of the return on investment (ROI) of e-learning by cost savings (as compared to traditional learning) is only the first and most basic level of measurement. Far more important in the long term will be a measurement of the increase in learning enabled by e-learning - a much more difficult task for accountants. By John Surmacz, Darwin, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms: 1994-2001 This detailed report provides a fascinating snapshot of internet use in U.S. primary and secondary schools. Among the findings: almost all schools are connected to the internet, the majority with a T1 or better connection. About three quarters of schools have a website, but only half allow parents or students to communicate with the school through the website. Virtually all schools use some sort of content filtering software. Three quarters of schools use some form of Windows; the rest use a Mac OS. A minority of schools loan laptops to students. Most schools allow computer access outside school hours, but almost none offer access on weekends. By Anne Kleiner and Elizabeth Farris, National Center for Education Statistics, September 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes