By Stephen Downes
July 21, 2004

New 12m Programme to Support Regional e-Learning Networks
Britain's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has announced a Distributed e-Learning programme that is intended to establish links between schools, colleges and universities to encourage progression into higher education. What they're after is probably an effect like that documented in a report in the Kansas City Star wherein a 15 year-old inner city high school student was able to connect with, and be inspired by, university-level studies (this latter link worked for me once then demanded a registration when I returned later in the day, so download it as soon as you see it if you think you';ll be returning to it). By P Pothen, Joint Information Systems Committee , July 21, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Oracle, Macromedia Partner on E-learning
The bigs are getting together on e-learning as this press release-type article announces a collaboration between Macromedia and Oracle "to ease rollouts of corporate e-learning initiatives." It's a good fit; Macromedia is known for front-end interfaces, while Oracle is known for back-end power. By Joanne Cummings, Publish, July 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

8 Tips for Administrators Using Handheld Computers
Pretty good article describing how school administrators can use handhelds with internet access to maximize their efficiency during or between meetings or while on duties that take them away from their desks. The article doesn't really get into the fact that you really have to train yourself into these habits; if you do not normally check your messages during lulls in meetings, having a handheld won't make it suddenly happen. It also occured to me that, especially for those large urban schools, having photo-recognition would be useful. Focus your camera on the student and the handheld displays the student's name and info. Nothing about this feature (it's probably more than a few years in the future) in the article, though. By Miguel Guhlin, Miguel Guhlin's Web Site, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Complete Guide to Isometric Pixel Art
I don't know whether you'll ever use this in your online course, but you might. This complete guide is a very nice exploration of a topic that doesn't get much coverage outside media design classes. Well worth a read, if only to see how they create those little icons and displays in computer games. By Not attributed, RhysD.com, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Bundled Journals: From Big Deals to Fair Deals
Interesting presentation (in PowerPoint) from a pre-conference to LIBER's 2004 Annual General Confernce held in St Petersburg recently. The author surveys the impact of the practice of bundling by major journal publishers - this practice involves selling electronic access to a large number of journals for a single price, but typically requires a multi-year deal and restrictions against cancelling individual journals. The weaknesses of this approach are a lack of choice for the library, as smaller publishers are squeezed out by the majors as they consume more and more of the library budget. The author proposes a system of 'fair deals' as an alternative, which would allow libraries to purchase journal collections from a mixed bag of publishers. Better, sure, but it's not open access. Other presentations from the same pre-conference are also available. Via Peter Scott's Library Blog. By Heather Joseph, LIBER 2004, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Guide to Handheld Computing in K-12 Schools
Summary of a report on the use of handhelds in learning; the full report (which I haven't seen) is available for purchase. I know that some school divisions in Canada are planning pilot projects with handhelds. Me, I'm sceptical about the long-term use of handhelds, since the displays are too small, but hey, I could be wrong. Another concern is whether software will be produced for the devices, since in many cases a special edition is required. By Unknown, Consortium for School Networking, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Information and Communication Technology
Recommended on WWWEDU today was this resource offered by the Alberta government describing the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) curriculum in Alberta schools. The kit provides programs of study, examples, classroom assessment tools, and more. By Various Authors, Government of Alberta, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Self-archiving: Institutional Repositories
Something government funding agencies and foundations in other nations (including my own) should look at: the possibility of tying research funding to the provision of publications in an open access eprints archive. The idea was broached by a U.K. Parliamentary report released yesterday, which noted that there is not currently sufficient incentive for authors to take the time to place their materials into such archives. The report also contains some interesting discussion of the role of publishers in all this, along with links to numerous newspaper clippings. Via BOAI. By Select Committee on Science and Technology, UK Parliament, July 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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