By Stephen Downes
July 1, 2004

Thinking About Interaction Design for Online News Delivery
Very good article, with implications obviously not limited to online journalism. "Productive interaction is a recasting of the author/designer's position in relation to the audience. Instead of laying out a linear narrative in an enveloping experience, the productive interaction designer frames an exploration of a meaning space, making sure the audience has the affordances to create their own 'take.'" It has four major components:

  • Content: Information, narrative elements, meanings and sensations as communicated in text, image, video, sound, tactile and other modes.
  • Context: The integrated presentation of content in form, decoration, attitude, organization, selection, values, and experiences.
  • Affordance: The handles that enable the audience to work with and manipulate the content and context.
  • Audience: The users as integral elements of the total system, who operate it through the affordances, and who create the final expressions.
By Philip van Allen, Online Journalism Review, July 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Democratization of Cultural Criticism
The bulk of this article is devoted to a comparison of criticism today and a half century ago, deflecting the observation that today's critics are somehow inferior to those of yore. The good bit comes in the last paragraph. "The democratization of criticism - as in the Amazon system of readers' evaluating books - is a messy affair, as democracy must be... [but] the problems of democracy demand more democracy (against the corporatization of culture), less nostalgia for a golden age that never was, and a spirit of openness to what is new and invigorating in our culture." By George Cotkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Grants More Than Offset Soaring University Tuition
The gist of this article is that university tuitions are set in such a way as to maximize grants, and that the increased tuition rates are more than offset by student aid programs. "It is a shell game, pure and simple," says King Alexander, president of Murray State University in Kentucky. But other writers are critizing the study on which the article is based. "The analysis doesn't include the more than 20 percent increase in average tuition rates for 2003 and 2004," argues Stan Jones, Indiana's higher-education commissioner. And for some, there is no benefit at all. "For the students with the most need, the net cost isn't going down. The very poor don't pay enough taxes to get a tax credit or deduction." By Dennis Cauchon, USA Today, June 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Collaboration First, Then Knowledge Management
This item has been picked up by a number of writers and seems to be worth sharing. It makes me think of a common criticism of knowledge management systems, that they are a solution in search of a problem. After all, if people simply call up a friend or fire off a fax, how does a knowledge management system helps. When collaboration moves online, however, the picture changes. "An important success factor for collaboration tools is having a seamless integration path with any content repository." Online collaboration creates a need for knowledge management, and only in the context of collaboration, therefore, does it make sense to start talking about knowledge management. By Matthew Clapp, CMS Watch, June 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Access Jeopardises Academic Publishers, Reed Chief Warns
According to the chief executive of Reed Elsevier, "The rise of open access publishing of scientific research could jeopardise the entire academic publishing industry." But if you ask me, if an industry is threatened by me sharing something I created with other people, then this industry is already on a very shaky foundation and probably doesn't merit special measures needed to prop it up. By Richard Wray, The Guardian, June 30, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning - The 21st Century Path to Success
A glowing look at the rise of e-learning is Britain, a revolution "which has helped 1.2 million people since 2000 to improve their workplace skills, boost their employability, or simply try something new." By Unsigned, OnRec.Com, June 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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