By Stephen Downes
May 22, 2003

Open Content - Open Learning
Set of web pages with links for my presentation at WEM yesterday... given my health (or lack of same) it wasn't the best presentation I've ever done... after 16 hours sleep (beginning yesterday afternoon) I feel a bit better but I'm still struggling with less than perfect health, computer problems and a general malaise, the sort of ill-will you feel toward the world when your mouse dies and everything takes longer than it should and the sites won't connect and your email program won't delete the mountain of spam that is clogging your inbox... today I worked the trade show floor (there was one presentation I wanted to see, but I couldn't find it - it has been that sort of conference...) - I discovered that the Blackboard people get snippy when you talk to them about the hack and the gag order... that the main selling point for LMSs at these shows are their exclusive content libraries... whiteboards are everywhere... but this whole show could have been staged last year, or two years ago, and nobody would have raised an eyebrow... it's like the innovation has come to a complete and utter halt... is what the commercialization of e-learning means? No, it's probably just me. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Personal Webpublishing as a Reflective Conversational Tool For Self-organized Learning
On the one hand, we have all the commercial applications here (publishers, broadcasters, LMS, you know...). On the other hand, we have BlogTalk in Vienna. It's an interesting contrast - too bad I couldn't go to both. Oh well. To give you an idea of what's happening in Austria, here's Seb Fiedler's BlogTalk paper, now much revised. The abstract: "This paper suggests that personal Webpublishing technologies and practices can be conceptualized as a reflective conversational learning tool for self-organized learning. Beyond the examination of the theoretical basis for such a claim, initial ideas for specific learning environment designs on the basis of a "conversational framework" are presented." By Seb Fiedler, BlogTalk, May 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Interesting comments..
Jumping into the middle of a conversation - James Farmer quotes Lindon Parker saying, "the ground swell appears to be having little or no impact upon cheque signers... The more I look at the EduBlog space the more I think this is all falling apart through lack of interest, not on your or the other RSS/Bloggers part but on the part of the institutions that might want to implement them." There's more, but half the links aren't working from here, so you'll have to follow them for yourself. Anyhow. Who cares whether the cheque signers support this stuff? Oh, I'm sure someone will come along with 'enterprise blog' and sell it for half a million dollars, but will that prove its worth? Of course not. If the tools work for you, use them. If not, then don't. But don't peg the usefulness of a technology to financial or institutional support. That, surely, is the road to madness. By James Farmer, May 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogs - RSS - Wikis
Comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of links on these three related subjects. Includes links to background readings, examples, commercial software and hosting services. Good resource. By David Mattison, May 21, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

It's time to rebuild the Internet
I found myself nodding in agreement with a number of the suggestions offered by Ray Ozzie, the developer behind Notes and Groove. Something more dynamic, depending more on structured data, and less centralized. Email, especially, is in need of a rethink - here I am today wading throough mountains of spam, trying to find the odd item I actually want to read, and yet with no means of organizing this information. There must be a better way to do person to person communication... By Dan Farber, ZD Net, May 21, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Ivory Tower in the Real World
It bothers me that an educational system characterized by a continual declines in public funding is depicted as "real" - as though the alternative were somehow less than real. But that is the message in this PBS series - I haven't listed to the audio (it's just not an option with my connection here) but the text tells the story: "To maintain their elite statuses, schools like Michigan at Ann Arbor and Wisconsin at Madison -- the jewels in the crown of their respective state university systems -- are trying to wean themselves off of state budgets to gain more control over how they can do business." By Various Authors, NPR, May 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

W3C Aopts Patent Policy
My first reaction is that the W3C has caved to the patent people. Well, I guess that's my second reaction too. The provision allows the use of patented technology in W3C standards, but with full disclosure and on a royalty free basis. But there may be exceptions. At this point, I have to ask whether the members of the W3C have ever heard the story of the camel's nose... By Thor Olavsrud, InternetNews.Com, May 21, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

WEM Summary - Day One
I always get off the airplane with a cough and a runny nose - I am probably allergic to recycled air - and so I'm suffering today after a cross-Atlantic trip. Writing the day one summary of WEM is all I can manage for now - though for those of you who want to know, I searched for about two hours for something to put in today's newsletter, found nothing of interest, and I'm just tired of looking. Some days are just like that. Anyhow. A keynote about the European Commissions approach to learning, and five speakers at a panel on content development and the commercial content sector, and some photos too. Now I'm going to go lie down for a bit. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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