By Stephen Downes
June 22, 2004

National Education Computing Conference
The National Education Computing Conference is on now, and is getting a fair amount of blog coverage. You can follow it using Edu_RSS - just click on this link (amount of time taken to set this up for you: five seconds... value of a conference aggregator: priceless). By Various Authors, Stephen's Web, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OK, first of all: it's the author's initials (though perhaps an unfortunate choice of names). That said, this is really neat: an open-source cross-platform HTML textarea text formatter that works with ASP, Cold Fusion, PHP, Java and more. Great stuff! By Frederico Caldeira Knabben, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Q&A With MIT's Nicholas Negroponte
George Siemens passes on this link to a conversation with MIT futurist Nicholas Negroponte. He obviously doesn't read my website. "Standards are often used to protect the incumbent or a domestic market," he says. "China is doing this at the moment, to its own peril." I think he should look closer to home when making such observations about the role of standards in international commerce. Still, spome bits are right. Like this: "innovation comes from those who stand to lose the least from it." And his observations about the state of innovation in the United States should be raising alarm bells. By Stephen Baker, Business Week, June 21. 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Mixing Morals With Education?
The take on this news article is that colleges and universities ought to be teaching students morality, and that institutions are somehow lacking when they say things like, "ollectively we are silent on the issue of morality." Of course there is a big difference - glossed over in the discussion - between teaching students about morality in general and teaching them to adhere to a specific set of morals. Nobody argues that universities should not - or do not - teach the former. But the latter? Well, I suppose I could try to persuade professors to pass on my own sense of morality to students - but I'm not very likely to succeed, nor would I agree to teaching someone else's moral values. That's where the proposal to make colleges and universities teach (particular) moral values founders - which moral values should be taught? Better to give students the tools they need to make their own choices, and leave the indoctrination out of education. By Peter Steinfels, New York Times, June 19, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Encouraging Interaction in Online Classes
The new issue of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning is out. I feature two articles, beginning with this survey article by issue editor Brent Muirhead. Probably the best bit is at the end as Muirhead describes some current issues and avenues for further research. By Brent Muirhead, IJITDL, June 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

IP Telephony Cookbook
Now online, "the IP Telephony Cookbook was developed as the final deliverable of the TERENA IP Telephony project as a reference document for setting up IP Telephony solutions at university campuses and NRENs." Most people aren't going to want to read this document, but it is required reading for system administrators (so forward this link their way). Basically, it's a nuts and bolts manual describing how to set up an IP telephony (or VoIP) service in a college or university environment. It also points to regulatory issues and lists some European projects. By Various Authors, Trans European Research and Educational Networking Association, March, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Welcome to TextChoice
This is pretty interesting. The announcement of this Thomson product, TextChoice2, carried in University Business, notes that it "features a digital database of content that teachers and professors can use to create customized materials." The interface is unfortunately quite slow and it's not really user-friendly, but if you dig a bit what you'll find is that they divided up their texts into 10 or 12 page chunks, which you can select and arrange into your own 'custom text'. In theory you can view the text before you add it, but I had no success despite a diligent attempt to register. The service is obviously directed toward teachers, and of course does not include any non-Thomson content (or content RSS feeds). It reminds me of what newspapers thought they could get away with as 'customization' in 1996. Still, it's a step forward - still waiting for the publishers to get a clue, though. By Various Authors, Thomson, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Educational Semantic Web
The discussion areas for this online book, The Educational Semantic Web, are now online. By Terry Anderson and Denise Whitelock, eds., JIME, June 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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