By Stephen Downes
April 13, 2004

Creating and Capturing New Knowledge
What is it about a community that causes it to not only produce, but also transfer, knowledge? It is certain that a community produces artifacts, codifications of the knowledge it creates look at any academic society and the first evidence of its work is the set of journal articles and other publications it produced. But belonging to (and earning membership into) such a community requires much more than merely learning the content of its discourse. It requires immersion into the practices of the community, learning, as Kuhn said, how to do the problems at the end of the chapter. By Stephen Downes, Australian Flexible Learning Community, September 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning Pure-play Vendors Under Siege, Says Frost & Sullivan
In a way this is old news, but in another, more important way, this confirms an existing trend. An analysis by Frost & Sullivan "suggests the entry of global computer giants into the e-learning market is a cause of considerable concern among existing vendors. In a bid to promote awareness of their brands and increase market share, they are pumping more money into their marketing and product development efforts." More. By Press Release, Frost & Sullivan, via Tekrati, April 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Minister Vows to Fight Music-swappers
After meeting with music industry executives this week, the Canadian Heritage Minister announces that she will lead a government offensive against file sharers, including passing legislation to ban file sharing and ratification of key WIPO agreements that would broaden music and publishing industry protection. By Keith Damsell, Globe and Mail, April 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Fighting Music Swappers
My response to the Globe and Mail article, as a letter to the editor. The debate over file sharing isn't simply a matter of protecting honest vendors against thieves. It is about whether these vendors should be able to hold a privileged position in the marketplace. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, April 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Is Google the Future of E-mail?
Good discussion of the implications and issues surrounding Google's new email service, GMail. I was interested to see the discussion about the implications for privacy in this new service, since Declan and I exchanged a few emails about this last week. The main message is this: "would-be users of Gmail or any similar service should recognize that their so-called free e-mail comes at a price." Yup. By Declan McCullagh, CNet News.Com, April 12, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

After 40 Years' Work, Gravity Experiment Will Get Off The Ground
When you watch a lifetime's work, a $700 million 40-year-old project, blast off on a rocket, you get a little nervous. But no matter what the result, I have nothing but admiration for the sort of dedication it has taken to make this project a reality. There are lessons here for students about more than just physics and astronomy. A huge OLDaily tip of the hat to Francis Everitt, and we wish him every success. By Glennda Chui, San Jose Mercury News, April 13, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Google Searches Repositories: So What Does Google Search For?
This commentary deflates the enthusiasm about Google's plan to search institutional repositories, arguing in essence that there is nothing there to search for. Could be. But part of this, responds one commentator, is that "one of the reasons there are so few archives and so few papers in them is that it was rather arbitrary for Google and OCLC to cover only DSpace archives!" And he notes, "the real OAI google is OAIster, and it contains over 3 million pearls from nearly 300 institutions." Still, it's an interesting commentary: why would Google and OCLC choose DSpace? Why not the wider OAI world? By Henk Ellermann, InBetween, April 12, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Restrictions Impeding Web-based Courses
Documentation of the results of two typical requests an instructor might make of a publisher while creating an online course. "The first was to store an electronic version of a journal article, to which we subscribe, on a secure password protected server. The second was to reproduce extracts of published material on password protected web pages and CD ROM." The results were to be predicted: "Publishers' responses were highly variable to the requests for access to published material... Considerable resource costs were incurred by the exercise." By Michele Langlois, Richard F Heller, Richard Edwards, Georgios Lyratzopoulos and John Sandars, BioMed Central, April 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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