By Stephen Downes
April 2, 2004

RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators
Introduction to RSS for educators that is receiving wide praise in the blogosphere. Provides instructions not only on how to set up an RSS reader but also ideas on how to use RSS in the classroom. Available as an MS Word document or PDF. By Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, March 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Objects Summit
Video, photos and interwise archives are now available from the Learning Object Summit (that was fast work!). See the column on the left hand side of the page. By Various Authors, TeleEducation, April 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Third Pan-Canadian E-learning Workshop
Video from the CANARIE e-learning forum is now available. It's in Real Media format, so I wasn't able to view it (yes, I know there's a Real Player for Linux, but there are no instructions, and the installer didn't make it work for Firefox and I just don't have the time to mess around with it). By Canadian Learning Television , CANARIE, April 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Social Life of Echo Chambers
The capacity to personalize the web, or at the very least to locate smaller and smaller content niches on the web, has led to the sort of criticism described in this article, that "The Internet is a set of echo chambers in which people get together to talk with people who believe exactly the same thing as they do." The problem with this observation, notes the author, is that it's probably false. "The Net tends to put diverse opinions in front of us whether we want it to or not." But even more, the echo chamber hypothesis is incoherent. The idea is that being exposed to diverse viewpoints helps us make up our minds. But that's not how we do it. "Only an extreme rationalist thinks that all 'real' conversations have to be the interchange of ideas among participants with serenely open minds." I think this is essentially correct. When we really need diverse points of view in order to decide, the internet provides a wealth of opportunity. But what we mostly need - and want - is something less. Just a place to hang out and chat with friends for a while. Ain't nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all. Via elearningpost. By David Weinberger, KMWorld, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Videoconferencing Vendors Embrace H.350
If you want to look suave when discussing new videoconferencing technology, throw in a phrase like, "We will have to make sure we're up to H.350 standards with out next system" at the next board of staff meeting. What will you have just said? You will have said that you want a system that uses the new IEEE specification for storing IP video and audio contact information in a central directory. This is not a communications protocol (like, say, H.323) but rather "a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) schema that standardizes the way endpoint information such as IP address, H.323 ID aliases and associated gatekeeper domain name (such as an H.323 or SIP-based device) is stored in and retrieved from a central database." So when someone asks you, "What is H.350," you can just reply, with a toss of your head, "Oh, it's just an LDAP schema for accessing contact info." Looking like a tech guru has never been so easy. By Jason Meserve, Network World Fusion, March 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ten Years in New Media: Looking Back, Looking Forward
The topic is media, but replacing the terms with those appropriate to education we could construct a similar manifesto for online learning. By Steve Yelvington, New Media, April 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Metadata Quality in e-Learning: Garbage In Garbage Out?
Overall, a good article which challenges the idea that authors ought to be exclusively responsible for the completion of metadata. The author describes the creation of 'collaborative metadata' in which the author provides some data and an expert in classification (say) provides additional metadata. As a bonus, see my comments at the end of the article. By Sarah Currier, CETIS, April 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ISO has formally approved the MPEG Rights Expression Language (MPEG REL), formerly known as ContentGuard's XrML, the cumulation of what this short article calls an "inevitable" processs. This is by no means the end of the story, however, as the competing ODRL has also been widely adopted, including by the Open Mobile Alliance and our own eduSource project. In my view, what this development does is put into question the industry domination of the standards process, which, because of the cost of full participation, tends not to take into account non-industry points of view. ContentGuard is backed by Microsoft, which in turn was the subject of a slew of announcements this week centered around its Rights Management Server (RMS), a system which locks access to Office documents. While this article suggests that these announcements show "how disruptive a force RMS is likely to be in the burgeoning corporate DRM market," they also signify the beginning of a fault line that is going to divide those who believe in 'trusted computing' and those who believe users ought to have full control over their own content and their own computer systems, between those who believe rights reside on the side of the publisher and those who believe there ought to be a balance with the rights of consumers.. Other companies on the 'trusted computing' side of the divide include HP and Intel, who were making their own announcements this week. All of these providers are bending over backward to satisfy the entertainment provider market. I am waiting for some companies to place their bets on the open computing side of the house. Adobe won't. Apple might. The wild card? IBM. By DRM Watch Staff, DRM Watch, April 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.