By Stephen Downes
July 28, 2003

Just opened, Macquarie University’s E-learning Centre of Excellence (MELCOE) has embarked in its new role as the stewards of Australia's COLIS system. As CETIS's Wilbert Kraan writes, "That stewardship of the COLIS project also gives a clue about the focus of the centre: the practical and pedagogical implications of e-learning interoperability standards. Hence the fact that one of the plans with COLIS is to demonstrate the robustness of IMS specs by ripping out parts of COLIS and replacing them with equivalent new ones from different vendors." This will be a project that bears watching. Some good papers and resources have already been posted. No RSS feed, though. *grumble* By Various Authors, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Copying is Theft - And Other Legal Myths
This article takes a long time to make a small point, but it is a point well worth making. File sharing is not theft. Who says so? The U.S. Supreme Court. "So the RIAA and MPAA's claims that all 'copying' is 'stealing' are much overhyped." Most of this article deals with infringing and non infringing uses of content, and while it does not in any sense endorse the free-wheeling sharing of content, neither does it come close to the record industry's view that any sort of copying is a crime. Good article. By Mark Rasch, The Register, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Top eLearning Reference Sources
Seb remarks that I will be pleased to be cited twice in Jay Cross's list of the fifteen places he heads to first for e-learning news. The other place, of course, is Edu_Rss, which isn't really me, it's just software I wrote - and interestingly, the only completely automated system on Jay's list. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, July 27, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Tim O'Reilly interview: Digital Rights Management is a Non-starter
Digital rights management (DRM) will not succeed, argued publisher Tim O'Reilly in this interview. By DRM, though, O'Reilly means the enforcement of rights through encryption or other security. In this he's right; in the end, you have to allow the viewer to view the content, and that's your moment of weakness. There are no copy protection schemes for the brain. That doesn't mean that there will be no online sales of content - O'Reilly actually sells many products - it just means that you have to make the products cheaper and easier to buy than to copy. By mrspin, stage4, July 27, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sharing the Code
Good article discussing the range of considerations faced by college and university administrators when considering whether to deploy open source software. Though the article raises the usual issues - such as the expertise required to manage open source software - it also raises some less widely noted points, such as the strong support open source software users can get from the user community. There is a list of open source products at the end of the article, though even a little digging would have unveiled a much longer list. By Florence Olsen, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Even 'Obvious' Ideas Can Be Protected With Patents
More discussion regarding the 'business method' patents issued in our field. I know their supporters claim that they spur innovation, but really, how could this be? If Tim O'Reilly had patented 'banner ads' back in the early 90s, it would have posed a huge barrier to online commercial content, and likely derailed the development of sites like Yahoo! and even eBay. By Justin Pope, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A&M May Stop Presses in Journalism Program
See, this is why people pose long, lingering questions about the current economic model assumed by higher education institutions. "One reason Texas A&M University is proposing to eliminate its 50-year-old journalism program is because it is too popular. In the last several years, the number of students majoring in journalism has mushroomed by as much as 50 percent, contributing to high turnover and burnout among the handful of faculty members." Imagine Microsoft saying it would discontinue Windows because too many people were buying copies. Or Coca-Cola halting production of Coke because it is too popular. A business model that cannot accommodate demand is... dead. By Ron Nissimov, Houston Chronicle, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Put “Earn” in Your Learning
Some readers have commented on the fact that OLDaily doesn't cover the corporate space as much as it might. But this is that community's own doing: if you're not going to give us anything to read, how do you expect newsletters like OLDaily to cover you? For those of you in corporate space wondering how to get information out about your products and services - this is how to do it: create some engaging commentary, put it out there for free on the net, and watch the readership spread. This article presents this new company's approach to the return on investment (ROI) of e-learning. Some nice diagrams, and a good characterization of a model involving an initial course and ongoing (online) support. The paper also emphasizes performance assessments as a means of calculating e-learning ROI. Now it's not easy to capture the imagination of the online readership; there is a lot of competition and your topic has to be novel and engaging. And this article isn't quite that. But it's a start, and if the company has a unique vision it will become apparent as it posts more articles and commentaries. And it will need to spread the word about its publications. Sending me an email about it was a good start. Setting up an RSS feed would be a logical next step. Just be sure to keep it easily accessible - if you try to 'extract value' from the publication by collecting email addresses or some such thing, you'll just kill your readership - and you won't get listed in OLDaily. By D. Verne Morland, ROI Learning Services, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ARIADNE Knowledge Pool System
Looking for examples of learning object metadata (LOM) to play with? Erik Duval sends this note to IFETS: You may be interested in the LOM instances generated off the ARIADNE Knowledge Pool System, using the XML binding under development at the IEEE LTSC (http://www.cs.kuleuven.ac.be/~erikd/LOM/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ieee-ltsc-lom-xml). These instances are available at http://rubens.cs.kuleuven.ac.be:8989/ariadne/. By Erik Duval, ARIADNE, July 27, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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