By Stephen Downes
October 2, 2003

The Digital Media Manifesto
This interesting document kept me working late today. Organized by the founder of MPEG, Leonardo Chiariglione, a group composed of a number of DRM experts drafted a document intended to end the DRM "stalemate" currently stalling the digital content industry. I'm dissatisfied with the final document, as it incorporates a proposal to monitor compliance with, ahem, "business rules." Look, it's like photo radar and keystroke monitoring: people don't want 'Big brother' watching their every action to make sure they comply with the rules (goodness knows, there's enough latitude on the provider side of the equation). The system won't work until the business rules (and the business models) themselves are rethought, but this proposal doesn't address that. So-called content consumers do not want (sharply delineated) "rights" - they want freedom - the freedom to access, the freedom to share, the freedom to create, the freedom to publish. If you don't get this, you don't get the internet. And you don't get DRM peace. By Leonardo Chiariglione, September 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Directions for Future Research in On-line Distance Education
More detailed study of the range of research into online learning currently being conducted with an eye toward the identification of future trends. The author writes, " The above review of research in on-line learning shows that the Web support interactive, cost-effective, easy to access and user-friendly learning. However, Web-based distance instruction can be done well or poorly. Developers should investigate these different types of learning and the factors related in designing for learning." By Alaa Sadik, Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Issues and challenges for Non Formal Education
Interesting snapshop of non-formal education in India, and in particular Jammu & Kashmir (located in the northern part of India, bordering Pakistan, Afganistan and China). Provided for free, the classes, offered through correspondance and radio, have been increasing in popularity. Issues remain, such as the scheduling of radio counselling anmd the delivery of learning materials. By Renu Nanda, Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Electronic Databases and Google: How do we Promote Quality?
Peter Suber points to this discussion: "With libraries paying more and more each year in subscription fees for on-line databases, what are librarians doing to drive traffic to these resources rather than to Google and the web?" If it were up to me, universities and research organizations would cease buying books and periodicals, spending the money instead to fund online access of their own materials. That way, everybody would gain access to everything, and the overall cost would drop sharply. But would librarians actively work against public access by supporting these online databases instead? There isn't a lot of discussion on this thread, but the issue is well worth a few moments' thought. By Blake, LISNews, September 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Australian Public Broadcasters - Educational Resources
A bit of a departure for WWWTools this week as they look at the state of the debate surrounding the role of Australian public broadcasters in education. As readers Down Under will know, in August Australian Broadcasting cancelled 'Behind the News', a weekly summary of events accompanied with printed and online learning materials. The protests soon followed. The bulk of this Web Tools article is devoted to bringing to light ABC's online educational resources. The only thing really missing in this article is some sense of context: the pressure on ABC's educational services is not isolated. Just consider, for example, the ongoing campaign to force the BBC out of learning, documented in these pages. The supposition is that the provision of educational resources is not the proper role of a public broadcaster, but what's the alternative? This? By Graeme Daniel and Kevin Cox, Web Tools Newsletter, October 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Star Series
Via elearningpost comes this interesting site consisting of monthly discussions with knowledge management 'stars'. As Maish summarizes, "Dave (Snowden) was cornered on his use of complex language to describe his version of KM! The last conversation was with Victor Newman, author of The Knowledge Activist's Handbook - Tales from the Knowledge Trenches . Here Victor defends his Super Knowledge Declaration - the deliberate management of knowledge to deliver specific outcomes." By Jerry Ash, Association of Knowledge, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Radio Community Health Education Proves Effective
The most effective distance learning technology in Zambia, according to this article, is radio. This is especially the case for Neighborhood Health Committees (NHCs), which "help explain and convince their fellow community members understand available health services and also know their role in the health reform programme." By By Saphira Nachizya And Lamba Simpito, allAfrica.com, September 29, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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