By Stephen Downes
June 16, 2003

Idea City
Tomorrow morning I'm off to Toronto for the Idea City conference. Because of the ecclectic nature of Idea City, I'm not sure what my newsletters will look like. But I'm looking forward to the diversity of speakers and topics - it's so important to look beyond your own field for news ideas and inspiration. By Various Authors, June 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Best Practices - eduSource Canada
Interesting to see this blogger's-eye perspective of a session more or less about eduSource in this live blog of a talk by eduSource member Mike Mattson. What surprise me a bit (not so much because we've had many conversations) is the role played by RSS in this account of the project. But as Mike says (as reported by Sarah), "eduSource infrastructure supports 3 types of users: federated search; individuals via peer-to-peer (selective publishing); harvested - intense debate between the three, only made sense once it got scratched out and people saw it could work together." Yup, some tough meetings. This is only one of the six sessions nicely blogged by Sarah Lohnes at the New Media Consortium Conference over the weeked. By Sarah Lohnes, Xplana, June 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web Services Basics
If you are still not sure what web services are, exactly, this book chapter may help fill some of the void. Some good overall explanation, and even better, a host of examples. PDF format, which gave me no end of grief. By Anne Thomas Manes, May 16, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Backlash Brews Over Rising Cost of College
This is a crisis that has been long in the making, as colleges and universities invariably respond to any business problem (rising expenses, declining enrollments, losing football teams) with tuition increases. The crisis, of course, will appear to arise 'out of the blue' to university administrations when a measure much like the one described in this article inevitably comes to pass. "Talk is cheap and legislation has been toothless. A 25 percent increase in tuition and fees is not reasonable, it is scandalous. And we can no longer sit idly by and accept such increases as the natural course of things." Eventually, lawmakers will discover the magic formula: remove the institutions' monopoly over the granting of credentials. By Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, June 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

InfoWorld Trials RSS-Based Advertising
As users of Edu_RSS know, RSS spam is already a problem. So this announcement that InfoWorld is the "first" to plant advertisements in its RSS feeds is a bit of a problem (I doubt that they're first - NewsTrolls ran RSS feeds for its Cafe Press gear ages ago), but we'll leave that aside). Fortunately, aggregators can simply decline to harvest from troublesome feeds (I have already kicked out several sites from Edu_RSS and they can filter the links they aggregate (coming soon), but I can see it now, the ongoing battle between aggregators and those who wish to slip their message through the filters. *sigh* By Jonathan Angel, Ad Week, June 11, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Today's Lesson, Sponsored By...
What I have to ask is, what are people thinking when they have Dunkin Donuts sponsor a school party, Oscar Mayer sponsor a student singing contest (of the corporate jingle), or Angel Soft toilet paper give prizes to students for community service? We want children to be receptive to the information they receive in school - that's the whole point, isn't it? - and these companies pay what amounts to a pittance for exclusive access to this receptivity. The vast bulk of this article is devoted to describing and defending the school activity sponsorships, but what the story should contain is some sort of analysis of how these companies are being given a direct pipeline into the students' subconscious. The only sensible paragraph in this entire article: "It's a very dangerous thing for a corporation to have this kind of presence in school," said advertising critic Jean Kilbourne. Children are more susceptible in school, she said, because they tend to believe that what they learn there is valid. So a commercial message in schools, no matter how subtle, "gives an aura of responsibility and truth," Kilbourne said. By Caroline E. Mayer, Washington Post, June 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Maine School Gives Students Own Laptops
Wrap-up and overview od the Maine laptop program, with some statistics and examples. The program appears to have drawn glowing reviews from all concerned and there appears to be a stong committment to continue the program in the future. By AP, CNN, June 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Enterprise Learning
A lot of fascinating discussion in this report from the E-Learning Forum's session on Enterprise Learning. Representatives from the largest Silicon Valley e-learning companies got together to discuss the state of the industry. The word of the day is "best of breed." The comments are... mixed. The best insight was from Click2Learn's Ashwani Sirohi: "User collaboration and personalization will be key." By Jay Cross, Internet Time, June 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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