By Stephen Downes
March 18, 2004

Splashing in Ponds and Pools
Survey article about POOL, the peer to peer learning object sharing system. POOL becomes more important these days because of its affiliation with the eduSource porject. "Perhaps the most important lesson is that it is quite feasible to let informal P2P networks interoperate with more centralised and professionaly administered repositories, without all parts of the network having to talk the same protocol at all times for all purposes." eduSource, which will be staging an online launch event at the end of the month (full details in OLDaily tomorrow), connects with POOL as well as with more established institutional repositories. George Siemens, who used POOL but couldn't find the respources he needs (these were pre-eduSource days), notes, "The paradox of repositories is that most people want to use them, not contribute to them." The evidence doesn't bear this out. Look at CLOE's example: people have contributed, but in only one case was a resource re-used. I think that re-use will be harder to generate than content creation. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, March 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Superbloggers and the Future of Big Media
A panel at a media conference reports that newspapers, as we know them, are dead, and that television is not far behind. As the author of this article, blogged by George Siemens, notes, "While it might take some time for the TV to die, it's on the same path as the newspaper. The cause? News is free. The connection between the newspaper and TV models -- to the dot-coms that also provide free things supported by advertising -- is incredibly obvious." The future of journalism and of televsion is also the future of education. Now what should be stressed is that while the institutions may disappear, the need, and the people who fill the need, do not. "Where the bloggers shouldn't be able to compete is on "perspective" and experienced talent." By Rob Enderle, TechNewsWorld, March 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Roboceptionist
Syllabus brings us this report about Valerie, the roboceptionist, at Carnegie Mellon, " one of the world's first robot receptionists. The school described the machine as 'a woman with lots of attitude and many stories to tell. Professionally attired, she sits in a specially designed reception booth ...turning her brilliant blue gaze on everyone who passes by ... I you ask the right questions, she'll tell you about her life, her psychiatrist, heraspirations to be a lounge singer and how much she hates to date vacuum cleaners.'" By Various Authors, Carnegie Mellon, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Top Medical and Scientific Societies Commit to Providing Free Access to Research
Jeremy sent me this good news from the U.S.: "Representatives from the nation's leading not-for-profit medical/scientific societies and publishers have announced their commitment to providing free access and wide dissemination of published research findings." More. By Donna Krupa, Medical News Today, March 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Weak Online Economics Threaten Quality of All Journalism, Pew Study Finds
A new report asserts that changes in journalism caused by the internet constitute "an epochal transformation, as momentous probably as the invention of the telegraph or television." Readers are attracted to online news for three major reasons: "News can arrive continuously and be accessed anytime, the choice of news providers online is much greater than in print or traditional broadcast, and most online news is free." But the lack of good business models, warns the report, poses a threat to quality. By Vin Crosbie, Online Journalism Review, March 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

China's Software Schools Evolve
China is embraking on a plan to dramatically expand its software development capacity with a plan to build 35 new software colleges. The schools, whic focus on practical experience and internships, are being developed with the cooperation of major software companies; "students work in state-of-the-art labs funded by IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Motorola, Oracle, Intel and other U.S. technology firms eager to attract graduates." You may also want to see this related article on Microsoft's investments in China. By Kristi Heim, San Jose Mercury News, March 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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