By Stephen Downes
March 15, 2004

Quebec City
Photos from a couple of days of wandering around this city, a city that is (as you will see) a jewel even in wintery March weather. I am here for the next few days for the RIMA IECF conference. You enjoy while I try to repair my brand new Referrers system, which functioned beautifully... until it was overwhelmed with links to more than 60,000 pages (essentially tripling the demand overnight) and hundreds of thousands of database requests per hour... By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, March 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning By Design: James Paul Gee at RIMA ICEF
James Paul Gee , author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, treated those of us at the RIMA ICEM conference in Quebec City today to a lucid and convincing argument illustrating how today's computer games embody better learning than most schools. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, March 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Emerging Trends in E-Learning
PowerPoint slides from my presentation today at RIMA IECF - not a whole lot of text, but I move through five concepts: learning objects, object repositories, content syndication, social software, and learning environments, demonstrating a progression through these five concepts to the learning systems of the next ten years or so. The presentation was recorded, so I hope to provide an audio track some time in the future. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, March 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Levy On China
Jonathon Levy provides an interesting analysis of e-learning opportunities in China, Will China Become the Center of E-Learning? I have never been to China so there are parts of it I cannot verify. However, it strikes me as being accurate in broad strokes, though I suspect that there are numerous smaller points that could be questioned. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, March 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Starbucks Tunes In to Digital Music
This is a great example of the use of content to sell products of a more durable - or should I say, delicious - nature. Starbucks has announced the launch of a program to provide free access to online music while you are in their locations. The company also expects to sell some of these tunes - but I expect that people will in time get a free song with their Latte - after all, a cup of coffee is worth much more than a song, especially at Starbucks. Stamp your Starbucks card - and after 20 coffees, get a free album. What could be simpler? Now if educational content vendors were thinking ahead, they'd be packaging 'coffees of the world' learning material to give Starbucks customers something to read along with their tunes. By Stanley Holmes, Business Week, March 11, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Black Arts of the Science Mags
In a nutshell, "the web is ending scientific publishing's stranglehold." This news report follows from recent hearings in the U.K. regarding the current scientific publishing market. The picture that emerged is that publishers are using their effective monopolies to require institutions to purchase large bundles of content they do not want. It also emerged that this model is enormously profitable, with companies like Elsevier posting 40 percent increases in profits last year. But as an undercurrent, the scientific community is beginning to revolt and new means of content distribution may cut out the publishers entirely. About time. By Simon Caulkin, The Observer, March 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The On-Demand World is Finally Coming
Interesting talk that highlights not only the scale of the BBC's online offering, but also the important role that the publicly owned broadcasting service plays in ensuring that people are not left behind in the rush toward broadband. Get this: "BBC.co.uk does not offer e-mail, e-commerce, or e-dating: ours is a pure content related offering and yet we reach almost half the entire UK internet population each month according to BMRB data and only a quarter of this consumption is news related." It is with considerable interest that I await develops in the BBC's personalized content initiatives. By Press Release, BBC, March 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Dr. Carty Video
The e-Learning group in Moncton says good-by to outgoing NRC president Dr. Art Carty. 8 megabyte MPG video. By Various Authors, March 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Archives Initiative Service Providers Part III: General
Another good examination of OAI resource repositories, including diagrams of system configurations and specific examples. The author describes the CILEA Open Archives Platform, ePrints UK, NDLTD Union Catalog (Electronic Thesis/Dissertation OAI Union Catalog bases At OCLC), OAIster and Public Knowledge Project Archives Harvester. By Gerry McKiernan, Library Hi Tech News, Spring, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

eScholars of the World, Unite! The University of California Revolutionizes Publishing Paradigm
The University of California is by no means the first to consider institutional e-prints archives (despite what the headline suggests) but its size makes it among the more important to do so. "The eScholarship Repository, a project of CDL's eScholarship initiative that launched in April 2002, offers faculty a central location for depositing any research or scholarly output deemed appropriate by their participating UC research unit, center, or academic department. Scholars may upload their work at no cost; users may download that work free of charge." For a university this size, the savings are potentially enormous and the benefits immediately available. By Marla Misek, E-Content, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Yahoo vs Google
Now that Yahoo doesn't use Google as its search engine, the results have begun to diverge - leading to the usefulness of this comparison engine. Looking at the links, you can see the much greater influence of blogs on Google. It also appears that while Google prefers folk music (Lara Downes), Yahoo prefers rock (Asia - Geoff Downes). Via Internet Time. By Various Authors, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Welcome to ...ReferralWeb
Nothing new under the sun. This is an interesting system, though I am didappointed not to have found my name among the 'trusted experts' that can be found. The idea is that the "system lets you search and explore social networks - the networks of friends, colleagues, and co-workers - that exist on the WWW. It lets you find trusted information from trusted experts, who are likely to help because they are friends of your friends!" There's a lot that's good about this system, but I'm still a little sceptical - to get into the system, you have to be a 'member of the club', and for the system to be reliable, you have to have savoury friends. So unlike me. Via elearningpost. By Henry Kautz and Bart Selman, September 14, 2000 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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