By Stephen Downes
July 31, 2003

Design, Standards and Reusability
In order to use a learning design with a set of objects, the learning design must specify the objects to be used, and if the objects to be used are specified, then the learning design is not reusable. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, July 31, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

VET Learning Object Repository
Australia is moving ahead very quickly with learning objects and this Green Paper - undated except for the year - looks at the need to establish eductaion and training guidelines for learning objects and poses a series of questions related to the design and implementation of such a system. The document is a great read even if you are not Australian, since in addition to looking at the Australian context it provides a strong overview of many of the approaches and issues generally. By Various Authors, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Blogging Process
Via Seb, this item is a detailed and pretty accurate look at the blogging process. The diagram will grab your eye and focus your attention, but read the commentary too. Note the time estimates. "I budget 75 minutes/day for reading (the steps in red), 60 minutes/day for writing (green), 15 minutes/day for promotion (blue), and, on the weekend, 60 minutes/week for blog community activities." This is pretty close to what I spend, though I do more realing (especially of email, such as mailing lists and subscriptions) and spend less time writing. I don't have a 'to do' list (which explains why I always miss deadlines). I do check referrers and blog megadexes (such as Technorati or Feedster) to see what people are saying, but I don't promote my blog and I don't send email to A-listers (because I live in this wonderful deluded little world in which I am one - Heh). By Dave Pollard, How to Save the World, July 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RDF: Ready for Prime Time
After RSS, we will be hearing a lot about RDF (first we will hear many more long debates about whether RSS should be expressed in RDF, but never mind that). If you need an off the cuff understanding of RDF, think of it this way: XML is a way to ascribe properties to objects, while RDF is a way to make statements about objects. Note that this is a very loose characterization. Anyhow, this article responds to the demand for tools and examples of how RDF is used. RDF is still for the technically advanced, but it won't be long now for the rest of us. Oh, and since this article doesn't really say what RDF actually is, if you want some background, you might want to have a look at my paper, Resource Descriptions. By Shelley Powers, XML.com, July 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Look at Recent User Level Activity in the RSS World
The point of this interesting survey is to look at RSS adoption in the corporate and consulting community. Thus we see technology analyst firms, such as Forrester and Jupiter Research, using the format, as well as publishers, magazines and businesses. Writes the author, "Perhaps what's notable here is the shift in focus to actually thinking about increasing the value to customers." The item concludes with some links to speculation about the future and long term impact of RSS. Good article, many links. By James V McGee, McGee's Musings, July 25, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Study Shows Kids Who Use Net Get Better Grades, Scores
I have seen this result elsewhere, including a major British study. "Low-income children who spend a good deal of time on the Web do slightly better in school than children who don't." Not everything improves, though. "Researchers didn't find appreciable difference in students' math scores." What's interesting about this study is that the students' use of the internet was open ended. "Jackson said the kids, whose average age was 13 1/2, spent some of their time looking at pornography, playing online games and downloading music. But their biggest uses of the Internet, she said, were for researching school projects or hobbies and interests." By Cox News Service, AZCentral, July 28, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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