Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
November 12, 2002

Design and Reusability of Learning Objects in an Academic Context: A New Economy of Education? The text of my talk today in Milan (actually much more, because I had less time than I had words, though with judicious pacing it all worked out OK). This paper combines bits you may have seen already - a survey of availble types of learning object repositories, an outrline of the problems and issues, an overview of the major design principles, and then a description of a distributed learning object repository network. This paper is in draft form, which means I reserve the right to modify it or abandon it, as appropriate. Nonetheless, it is a synthesis of many of the ideas I've had over the last year and so has the makings of a major paper. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, November 12, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Design and Reusability... PowerPoint slides from my talk. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, November 12, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

What's Info Got to Do With It? A classic example of what Gilbert Ryle called a category error. The author writes, "I'm on the Web all day. Do you know how much time I spend dealing with information? On a good day, none. I'm reading, writing, talking with people I know and am getting to know, checking my e-mail, avoiding work. Information is the last thing on my mind." That's like somebody saying, "I see all these buildings and people, but where is the university in all this?" All of these interactions online involve the exchange of information. Otherwise they would be pointless drones of noise. By David Weinberger, Darwin Magazine, November 6, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ontology Building: A Survey of Editing Tools This article doesn't really provide a grid-based comparison, but offers a useful overview of the topic, including descriptions of types of ontologies and potential applications. These tools help build documents as described by the W3C (listed below). By Michael Denny, XML.Com, November 6, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

1037091106 Released last week, the web ontology language (OWL) is "a language for defining Web ontologies and their associated knowledge bases. Ontology is a term borrowed from philosophy that refers to the science of describing the kinds of entities in the world and how they are related. In OWL, an ontology is a set of definitions of classes and properties, and constraints on the way those classes and properties can be employed." Ontologies have been around for a while and this document is the latest update on the concept. Ontologies will be useful in defining types or classifications of learning objects, and their use is anticipated in such documents as IEEE-LOM and IMS. By Michael K. Smith,, W3C, November 4, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Elearning Adoption & Marketing Another fine article from George Siemen's 'course with no content,' this article looks at the question of how to get people to take your online course. The article considers Jay Cross's work on the subject and looks at wants and needs from both employer and learner perspectives as well as adoption in a university context. What emerges is that adoption is about more than just getting people to take your course, and it's about more than just technology, it's about offering people something they need. By George Siemens, elearnspace, November 11, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes