By Stephen Downes
January 23, 2004

Google Unveils Rival to Friendster
Google has sort of quietly launched / not launched a social networking service called Orkut. I tried to sign up, but you have to be invited by some who is already a member of the network. All I can say is that I hope it has at least one member already, otherwise this will be the world's most useless social networking application. By Anonymous, January 23, 2004 4:39 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Government Searches for National E-learning Agenda
Scott Leslie culls two bits of coverage of last week's PanCanadian e-Learning Forum. This first item is survey article with a generally positive tone. The emphasis is on a proposed national strategy, an idea that is gathering steam here in Canada. "There's much activity going on across the country, but there is no national strategy which we're all working towards," said Margles. "There's a lot of good stuff going on, and we may be able to leverage that better if we work a bit more closely at it." (Susan Margles is the director general for policy, planning and promotion in the Information Highway Applications Branch of Industry Canada.) I am less enthusiastic about a national strategy because national strategies usually mean a narrowing of focus and a decision to specialize. I think that 'picking a winner', creating a e-learning version of the CanadArm, would be a mistake. But I will have to write at length on this. When I get an hour or so. By Jeff Jedras, ITBusiness, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The One Percent Solution
Good summary of the PanCanadian forum from Paul Stacey (and it's not behind a login barrier - good stuff! - now let's work on that RSS feed). He writes, "for me one of the biggest takeaways was the call for a one percent solution. One percent of all Canadian expenditures on education should be put toward learning research. You simply can't have e-economy without e-learning and the sooner we act in a Pan-Canadian fashion with a long term (at least 10 years) strategy backed by significant dollars the better." By Paul Stacey, E-Learning for the BC Tech Industry , January 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Scholars and Scoundrels
On the one hand, as this article notes, the tranditional universities sometimes act like a cartel when it comes to accrediting online and distance learning universities. On the other hand, there are a lot of fishy institutions out there. So how do you decide whether a school schould be accredited? By Larry Wills, Las Vegas Mercury, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Mythical e-Learning Hour
This item has been getting good circulation in the blogging community. In a nutshell: learning should not be measured in terms of time, because that is a measure of activity, not outcome. Quite right. By Bill Brandon, eLearning Entrepreneur, January 19, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

T and D Blog
George Siemens points to this new blog from Training & Development magazine. As he and others point out, the blog really needs an RSS feed, which though Blogger doesn't support it, could easily be provided using RSSify. The blog is off to a bit of a bumpy start, linking to telekenesis and brains of steel, the pop psychology version of learning technology. Heck, they may as well link to this and call it mind reading, or this, and call it dream weaving. By Various Authors, January, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Trends in Collaboration
This 25 minute presentation will take you, well, 25 minutes to get through (audio presentations completely negate the advantage of speed reading), but it's a sampling of the best of Jay Cross. The best take-away bit is on slide 36: "The world is getting more complex, and complexity means that you can't just be a specialist. It's no longer good enough to be an expert in your own field but not recognize what's going on in other fields. Cross talks about informal learning, neural (and other) networks, blogs, RSS, social software and collaboration. This is great stuff; book a half hour, get a coffee, put your feet up and have a listen. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, January 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

European E-skills Newsletter
Cedefop has launched the first edition of the European e-skills newsletter. Unfortunately, the newsletter is available only as a PDF file, which defeats the whole purpose of launching a newsletter. How can you link to files? Where is the RSS feed? There is some good content in the newsletter, but it's basically inaccessible. If you're launching a newsletter, don't do this! By Various Authors, Cedefop, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Industry Standard Is Latest Dot.Com-Era Publication to Try a Comeback
Back in the heyday, the Industry Standard was one of my favorite online pubs, along with Wired, Red Herring and Business 2.0. One by one, they all died, of course, or became subscription-only shadows of their former selves. But now, with a blog, the Standard, at least, edges back into life. Red Herring, also, is back in a web-only format. And Business 2.0 is still out there, albeit locking its contents from public view. By Mark Glaser, Online Journalism Review, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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