Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
October 25, 2002

Hollywood Targets Workplace Song-swapping As part of its persistent campaign to eliminate music file trading, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is calling on corporations to prevent their employees from using such services as Kazaa and Gnutella, threatening them with legal action should they fail to comply. This of course is a continuation of their previous camapaign aimed at colleges and universities, and just as in the previous case, calls for punitive action even in the complete lack of any evidence of wrongdoing. What next? Should corporations also shut down email because employees could use it to trade files? How about IRC? FTP? Heck, let's just shut down the whole internet; it's such an inconvenience to sellers of $25 pieces of plastic. By Reuters, USA Today, October 25, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Arts & Letters Daily: The Reprise The Chronicle of Higher Education gets into weblogging. Sort of. After Arts and letters Daily shut down a few weeks ago and went up for auction it was purchased by the Chronicle and will continue to be edited by founder and editor Denis Dutton, a philosophy professor in New Zealand. By Denis Dutton, October 24, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Developing Digital Collections: Do We Know What We're Doing? I think that the author has a good point, though I don't see it as leading (as he appears to) back to the world of paper-based collections. The author observes that professors, to some degree, and students, to an even greater degree, are turning more frequently to online sources. While he describes his evidence as anecdotal, we have seen more concrete evidence of this on OLDaily. The concern, writes the author, is that material is becoming lost, partially because it is not available in electronic format, and partially because of the transient status of online collections. These are indeed concerns, but returning to print won't solve them. Creating a much more open publishing environment, though, will. By James H. Sweetland, Library Link, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to Build Product Simulations with Flash MX Don't be thrown off by the title. This article has a firm focus on using simulations for learning. And in addition to giving readers an idea of what can be done with MX, it dives into the guts and tells you how to do it. If this is marketing (and it may well be, since it seems to be plugging a book), it is the kind of marketing I like. Great content, clearly explained, with compelling examples. By Jonathan Kaye, David Castillo, and Emily Castillo, FlashSim, October, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Moving Past Time as the Criteria At first I tried to convince people to think of time as a unit of information. That didn't work. More recently I have been urging people to abandon time altogether as a measurement of instruction. An hour of reading, say, for one person is very different from an hour of reading for another. Now this article proposes a replacement for time, the Capabilities-Based Educational Equivalency (CBEE) Units model. As the authors write, "While allowing time and location to vary across courses and degrees, the CBEE Units approach permits the valid and useful comparison of student achievement by holding student capabilities relatively constant." By Ryan Watkins and Charles Schlosser, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Fall, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Recombo Interesting. This is a product that converts MS-Word and Powerpoint documents to SCORM compliancy. George Siemens, who trolled this, quotes from the site, "Convertor for Word makes it as fast and easy to get validated SCORM content, as it is to make a .pdf. Specifications such as SCORM ensure we have common rules to get content divided, described and delivered and Convertor for Word makes applying the standards fast and easy." I wonder whether it could help me create a SCORM compliant version of OLDaily. By Various Authors, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes