By Stephen Downes
May 10, 2004

RSS News Ticker
James Farmer asked for an Edu_RSS news ticker, and I was happy to oblige (thanks to the coding work already done by the good people at BBCi) - you can find my new ticker (with instructions on how to place it on your own site) here. This was a lot more fun than cleaning my website after last weekend's hack. By James Farmer, Incorporated Subversion, May 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Very Loosely Coupled
I think Jay Cross has the right idea here - "Real-world applications require flexibility. Those of us who are too impatient to await the arrival of nano-objects that conform to the shape of a contrainer can find a better model..." Now in the elipses Jay goes on to talk about intelligent agents. I am more sceptical about intelligent agents. If we needed intelligent letters to get words, or intelligent words to get sentences, we would never have developed language. If we needed intelligent paint and paper to get paintings, we would never have developed art. Real-world applications should not require this or that sort of connection mechanism. They should require things that don't need to be connected at all, but that work together naturally when placed in the same context. By Jay Cross, Internet Time, May 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Quiz Builder
EdNA has launched a new (and free) quiz builder on its global education website. By Various Authors, EdNA, May, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Chalk, Talk and Customer Service
The Economist offers a description of, and more or less endorsement of, low-cost private education as offered by Sunny Varkey, a wealthy Dubai-based entrepreneur, through his firm, Global Education Management Systems (GEMS). It's not a pretty picture: the bare-bones education would focus only on core subjects and "good discipline, established chiefly through selection." Of course it's easy to pare costs when you don't have to consider the low-margin subjects and the more difficult students - but, of course, this is how private schools end up being a drain on the public system, cherry-picking the high-margin students and leaving the more difficult cases for the public purse (where subsequent higher than average per-student cost will then, of course, be branded as 'inefficiency'). By The Economist, The Economist, reprinted in DEOS-L, May 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Scholars and Scripts, Eyeballs and Epistemes: What it Means to Publish
These PowerPoint slides are well worth a quick view, displaying graphically as they do the increase in journal prices and the increase on open access publications and requests. Some neat discussion as well about the different publishing traditions in different disciplines. The presentation is broadly in support of open access, defines the 'Gold', 'Green' and 'White' models of open access, and suggests that we are nearing the 'tipping point' in publishing models. By Blaise Cronin, OCLC, April 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IMS/SSP Comes So Close...
David Wiley is back to doing cool things with the launch of his Open Learning Support pilot project, which adds discussion board support to half a dozen or so OpenCourseWare courses at MIT. This has led him to consider the question of social interaction specifications in IMS/SCORM, something well worth looking at. By David Wiley, autounfocus, May 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Commonwealth of Learning... continued
The latest from the Commonwealth of Learning Conference (I hope you are enjoying these): BC E-Learning Research Sites; Mimio, a poor man's version of SmartBoard; Television goes to school; Burrokeet, intended to be an open source Learning Content Management System; Helen Barrett's website on e-portfolios; an overview of andragogy; the Free Software and open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA); an AUCC study on the relation between class sizes and student satisfaction; a webcast describing John Seely Brown's Community Law; and Metclafe's Law. By Various Authors, COL, May 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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