By Stephen Downes
August 3, 2004

Metadata for Synchronous and Asynchronous Collaborative Learning Environments
This paper "considers the use of... communication and collaboration technologies in educational settings and software systems.... [and] identifies specifiable uniformities in the structural and behavioural characteristics of these systems, and then uses these uniformities as a basis for its proposed data or metadata model." This is an important first step in consideration of one of the areas of metadata not well established by learning object and associated metadata: collaboration. This paper, and the next, should give the guardians of IMS and IEEE-LOM some pause for thought. By Yasuhisa Tamura, Norm Friesen, Toshio Okamoto and Rory McGreal, August 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

International LOM Survey: Report
Important survey of actual learning object metadata instances received from ARIADNE Project (EU), the LTSN (UK), Metalab (France), CELTS (China) and CAREO (Canada). The upshot of the findings are ironically revealed in a limitation the data imposed on the study itself: though a much larger survey was planned, it proved to be impossible to analyse the contents through automated means - this from data which is specifically intended to be machine-readable! The study showed that most of the fields in IEEE-LOM are not used and that some fields, such as those requiring vCard data, were particularly problematic. MS-Word document. By Norm Friesen, July 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Review of Learning Through Experience: Troubling Orthodoxies and Intersecting Questions
Short review of Tara Fenwick's Learning Through Experience: Troubling Orthodoxies and Intersecting Questions. "It would seem important to take Fenwick's advice seriously," writes the reviewer. "We should stop our focus on 'learning as a rational exercise' and pay much greater attention to the 'fundamental dimensions of bodily, psychic, cultural, and social engagements.'" Some discussion with which I am in agreement about the fall of the logical positivist paradigm - a development the news of which has yet to reach some administrative offices. But the pull-back from Positivism is not a license for "anything goes," and in particular, not the contentalist philosophers against which Positivists, quite rightly, railed. MS Word document. By Norm Friesen, August 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

News Maps
Interesting application that takes top stories linked to by bloggers and sorts them according to their popularity, then displays them as a map on a web page. "The Hive Group's Honeycomb algorithm organizes news headlines by source. Size and Color information indicate article age and popularity (described below). You can easily filter and rearrange you results to view articles that meet certain criteria, or that contain certain text." By Various Authors, NewsIsFree, August 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online College Degree Brings Down Tulane Business Instructor
What really bugs me about a story like this is that the headline should read "Fake college degree brings down Tulane business instructor." The fact that it was offered "online" means nothing more than that the purchase was made online - but that hardly makes it an "online degree." Via DEC Daily News. By Associated Press, KATC, August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Internet Radio, Without Drudgery
Automatic personalization is the wave of the future. What do I mean by automatic personalization? Well take a look at this article about Last.fm. This is an internet radio station that scans your computer for music files you already own, and then constructs a unique radio station based on that information. Personalization, notes the article, without the drudgery. By Daniel Terdiman, Wired News, August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Latest E-Learning Research in Europe Middle East and Africa
Summary of "the latest piece of research by SkillSoft to identify the perceptions of e-learning amongst over 200 employees, within organisations across EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa)." Some good pie charts illustrating motivation to learn and what learners like about e-learning. By Paul Gledhill, AME Info, August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RDF Calendar to Ical
Still on the subject of RSS and calendars... this page is written in Japanese, but there are short summaries in English as well as RDF code. It describes an RDF version of iCalendar (aka iCal), the non-XML calendar format standard. This allows for a translation from iCal to RDF and back. Some useful links in this page: Event Sherpa, an iCal tool; RDFical-a-matic, a form that generates a simple RDFical data using Javascript; SherpaFind, a calendar aggregator; a web version of ical2rdf.pl by Dan Connolly along with a sample RSS+RDFical file as well as its XSLT converted iCal data. See also Tim Berners-Lee, A quick look at iCalendar and the Internet Calendaring and Scheduling Core Object Specification (iCalendar). By Masahide Kanzaki, The Web Kanzaki, January 31, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSSCalendar - getting there
Some valid observations regarding the RSS calendar covered here yesterday - yes, they're doing it, which is good, but the copyright and trademark notices all over the place are a concern, and it would be nice to have events listings after they've happened. By Martin Terre Blanche, Collaborative Learning Environments, August 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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