By Stephen Downes
February 5, 2004

Correction: PubSub Offers a Neat Twist on Eating RSS Feeds
Yesterday's lead item contained just about every mistake that can happen in a single post, so here it is again today with the right attribution and the right link, with apologies to Alan. Discussion of and links to a new RSS service - "It's like searching the future." - that aggregates RSS feeds and provides topic-based feeds. By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, February 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Seb sent me the link to this quality newsletter out of Teachers@Work in New Zealand. Topics covered range from learning objects, knowledge networks and A Revolution in Knowledge Sharing. A sample from this sample newsletter: "What schools need is sophisticated technology which is intuitive and provides students with a wide range of communication tools including KLogs (knowledge blogs), chat, listServs, and discussion groups that facilitate a cascading set of discourses and dialogue (where the primary focus is on the tacit accumulation of knowledge), as well as access to predominantly explicit resource banks of learning elements, combined in a manner that facilitates individualised progression at an appropriate pace." By unknown, Teachers@Work, September, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

NYU, Admit Your Mistake
It has been a rough few weeks for NYU, cumulating with the admission that "You must consider any data file stored [on NYU's server] to be generally available, unless you take special security precautions," the e-mail read. "As search engine technology has become more sophisticated, there may be no such thing as a 'hidden' directory or file." This follows the release of private student information at least twice in the days previous. The affair has prompted an editorial calling on the university to "make a university-wide statement on the matter." When things like this happen, secrecy is probably the worst option, as those that could take steps to prevent further damage are not given the information they need to do so. Via Politechbot. By Editorial, Washington Square News, February 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Support Centers in Higher Education
Thanks, Frank, for sending me this email describing this site as "the only web site that focuses exclusively on learning support centers in higher education." The portal style website offers links and references to realted resources along with short reference pages. Readers will probably most enjoy the quotes page. By Frank L Christ, February, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Yaaar! The music pirates' manifesto.
It probably won't be long before such writing is out-and-out illegal, since it argues that the consumer's best response to digital rights technologies that strip users of their rights is to "share safely and wisely. Use P2P networks that allow you to be anonymous or hide the files you're sharing." By Annalee Newitz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SCORM and the Art of Specification Maintenance
"SCORM 1.3 is dead, long live SCORM 2004!" Thus begins CETIS's authoritative coverage of the new release, along with this interesting remark: "the first public indications of ADL's desire to hand the present SCORM 'to the community' have surfaced in last week's co-located CEN/ISSS and IEEE LTSC meeting." What's also interesting is that SCORM 2004 isn't really a new version, and that there is a widespread desire (and committment on the part of ADL) to stop making changes to it. But, as the article points out, IMS Simple Sequencing, on which the personalization features of SCORM 2004 are based, itself needs some tweaking and isn't an IEEE standard yet. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, February 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

From the announcement: "ACollab is an access standards compliant, Open Source, multi-group Web-based collaborative work environment, available free for most uses. ACollab is ideal for groups working at a distance developing documentation, collaborating on research, or writing joint papers. ACollab is available as a standalone application, and will be available as an addon for ATutor in an upcoming release." By Various Authors, February 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Barriers of Content and Context
Yes! "None of the leading social technology solutions allow users to pull information in the form of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds into a news aggregator. This is a model widely adopted by blogging solutions, and one that cries out to be integrated into social networking apps." Simplistic, unidimensional, context insensitive social networking applications (or any application, for that matter) misrepresent the potential benefit of the technology and fuel the inevitable backlash. Also: "The solution to this is likely to lie with a standard way to express relationship information, such as the FOAF (Friend of a Friend) XML approach." Yes, exactly. Via elearnspace. By Stowe Boyd, Darwin Online, January, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Promise of Online Simulations
Good overview of the role simulations can play in learning, including an account of what topics are best taught using simulations - areas where judgement skills, not facts, need to be emphasized. The author also describes features of successful simulations, including feedback and complexity. Simulations haven't been widely used, argues the author because of both technical barriers and a misunderstanding of where they should be applied. Via elearnspace. By Bjorn Billhardt, Chief Learning Officer, February, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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