By Stephen Downes
March 9, 2004

Edubabble From Ontario
Nice commentary from Jay Cross which is, if anything, too kind to the Organization for Quality Education, an organization that is, as he says, "a group of Ontario citizens up in arms over the poor quality of their public schools." Cross quite rightly criticizes this group for reliance on buzzwords, the use of straw man arguments, and unthinking aherence to a dogma. The Organization website suggests that "research worldwide shows that improvement in scholastic results comes from competition among schools, independent testing of students, and little else." This is very likely not true, and the group's position seems to be advocacy for reduced education funding and private schools rather than any increase in learning. Via George Siemens. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, March 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IDEO: Stanford Center for Interactive Learning
Most of the places I've worked - including my current location - have been really badly designed for any sort of academic work. Even new buildings seem to focus on long, narrow hallways into which people disappear into their offices. Not that I dislike offices - I do, and I wish I had one, because people need their privacy. But the design of common areas is so frequently neglected that in most places I've worked it is basically non-existent. So this link, via elearningpost, comes as a refreshing alternative, looking at the use of town and community metaphors for environmental design. Something like what we see here should inform, in a major way, our design for of the learning spaces of the future. By Various Authors, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

MITís Double-Secret Hidden Agenda
I'm not sure that the agenda - getting other universities to put their course materials online - was such a secret, but it offers a bit of a hook into this account of the OpenCourseWare project. Nothing really new here, but the article has some good quotes and reinforces some previously stated points, such as the barrier intellectual property posed to the program. By Lisa Currin, ELearn Magazine, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Jilted Entitlement
A lengthy discussion has erupted on the Invisible Adjunct over the job prospects of non-tenure track academics. The comment begins with the observation that large numbers of fully qualified people are able to obtain only temporary employment. "To put it simply: if someone is good enough to be at the front of a classroom, that person should be working for a decent living. And if someone is not good enough to merit a decent living, that person should not be in front of a classroom." I certainly agree with this, and would go further to suggest that the university system's current system of saving costs through underemployment cannot be sustained. Also worth noting is the We Could Hire God This Year thread, in which writers post their observations about a recent job ad requiring that applicants send a half hour video of one of their classes. By Anonymous, Invisible Adjunct, March 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Calendar extension for NewsGator
Not sure how this will play out, since we're mixing Outlook, a NewsGator extension, and RSS 2.0 (none of which bodes well for portability), but the discussion in the RSS community has turned to events listings. This is something that has been needed for a while, and forms another bit of glue in the semantic social network. But again, the discussion is a bit bumpy at the moment; perhaps we'll see something elegant at the end of this, though. Be sure to read the comments and referrers. By Greg Reinacker, Greg Reinacker's Weblog, February 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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