Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
March 26, 2003

Barriers to Distance Education I'm still in Toronto and though the Marriott here has high speed (yay!) I'm using my back-up laptop (long story) with no mouse, so things are still slow... I return home tomorrow, so expect a longer issue with a fair bit of catch-up (plan ahead, reserve some time - heh). For those of you who can't wait, here is a page of studies performed by Zane L. Berge on the area of barriers to distance education. Berge is one of the masters, so if this issue concerns you, you've found an authoritative source. By Zane L. Berge, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Internet Law Program--Yochai Benkler and Larry Lessig on Current Legal Controversies in the US Nice discussion between Lawrence Lessig and Yochai Benkler on current debates in copyright. As he becomes more experienced in the debates, Lessig is becoming more sensitive to the issue of how the selection of words such as 'property' influences our perception of the debate. "IP should be limited by fair use. IP is not real property. We live in a culture that cannot make this distinction. This is an infection that is spreading around the world." We see this a lot. What's the difference between the words "collaboration" and "cooperation"? A world of difference. In meetings (such as the ones I have been attending the last few days here in Toronto) I frequently express concern about such minor differences. But on a single word can rest a lifetime of futile argumentation and debate, as the copyright issues show us. By Various Authors, Corante, March, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web Services: Promises and Compromises Web services is one thing that will make anyone's eyes glaze over if they are not directly involved in the computing technology side of things (and sometimes even if they are). But decision makers should consider reading this article. It does add to the alphabet soup, sadly unavoidable, but it provides a level headed discussion of the places web services can be introduced and offers implementation guidelines. The article is several pages long, so be sure to look for the smallish 'next page' links at the bottom of the page. By Ali Arsanjani, Brent Hailpern, Joanne Martin and Peri Tarr, Queue, March, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Repository in a Box This link is mostly a reminder for myself: I need to spend much more time here to evaluate whether it is what it appears to be after a quick read. "Repository in a Box is a software package for creating WWW metadata repositories. Metadata is information that describes reusable objects, such as software. RIB allows the user to enter metadata into a user friendly java applet which then sends the information to a RIB server via HTTP. The information is then stored in an SQL database where it is automatically made available in a fully functional web site (catalog, search page, etc)." Now I would add a harvesting capacity, and I would store the data in a native XML database. But the designers here clearly have the right idea. By Various Authors, National HPCC Data Exchange, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Factors in the Design of Experimental Graphic Displays Really nice article arguing that the arrangement of graphical elements in an illustration can significantly affect recall, and further. The author identifies three major dimensions of graphical organization, those involving perceptual, congnitive and constructivist factors, and argues that confounding those factors may have had an impact on previous studies of graphical organization. The argument is interesting, the reasoning elegant. If you are involved in graphical design, this paper is work a read (though you will will agree with me that a two column format is really inappropriate for web reading). By William A. Kealy , IT Forum, March 26, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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