By Stephen Downes
September 2, 2004

How Social is Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: Do Off-task Interactions Exist?
Today's newsletter continues with coverage from ITI in Logan, Utah. Regular link coverage will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, these summaries offer a glimpse into the conference. Please keep in mind that they are being written as the sessions are given, so expect typos, sections in italics, and so on. The firewall here at Utah State won't allow me to upload images, so you'll have to wait until next week for photos.

Interaction and communiy does not occur, either in physical space or online, merely because a space is provided. Rather, what is created a set of affordances - possibilities for interaction - and these need to be understood within a social and cultural context. This social aspect of learning is as important as the cognitive, or content based, aspect, and interactions establishing a social or cultural connection - usually dismissed as off-topic - as as important as interactions having to do with content. This is a summary of Paul Kirschner's keynote address at the ITI conference in Logan, Utah. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Supporting Social Learning Around Collections of Open Educational Content: Open Learning Support
David Wiley and Brent Lanbert presented this overview of the Open learning Support system at the ITI conference in Logan, Utah. Essentially, the system is a mechanism for attaching discussions lists to learning resources, and in particular (to this point) the resources offered by the Open Courseware initiative. What's interesting is the degree to which they have focused on developing a simple and modular discussion system. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CORDRA: ADL's Federated Content Repository Model
Summary of the ADL Content Object Repository, Discovery and Registration (or Resolution) Architecture, to be demonstrated later this fall and launched early in the new year. The idea is to create a system whereby all learning resources can be given a name and a system where these names can be resolved into physical addresses on the network. Not included in this paper (because I was talking at the time) was the exchange I had with the presenter, Dan Rehak, about the management of the system, the question of whether it breaks the internet into pieces, whether it builds authentication into the network infrastructure, whether the use of handles is the best way to locate objects, and whether the proposed system is or is not the same as RDF. These are all serious issues (in my view, at least), and while Rehak says this is a work in progress, it is also true that it will be dropped on the community as an essential fait accompli early in the new year. I will have more on all this some time in the future. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Obstacles in the Path of a Blogging Initiative
Light look at some of the obstacles faced as a fictional history professor decides to start a blogginitiative for his class. Summary of a presentation by Trey Martindale at ITI in Logan, Utah. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Principles of Resource Sharing in Online Self-Organizing Social Systems
This very enjoyable presentation looked at informal learning, as exemplified in places like Yahoo Groups, from the perspective of self-organizing systems. What results is some very useful documentation of the fact that learning, a lot of learning, does occur in these groups, and that it is managed without a central authority or even a school. This article is a summary of the presentation by Erin Brewer at the ITI conference in Logan, Utah. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This link to Opensource Opencourseware Prototype System (OOPS) is from yesterday, which I forgot to add to the article. Like the poster in the Community are, I find it is not working at the moment. Also, for an English news summary, try this link. By Various Authors, September 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Solution to Plato's Problem: The Latent Semantic Analysis Theory of the Acquisition, Induction, and Representation of Knowledge
I don't really like the term latent semantic analysis but that's about the only thing I disagree with in this paper. To me, this is an important paper, a spectacular find (thanks to a comment posted on the Semantic Web mailing list). Essentially, the author responds to the question of how we learn more than the information we receive apparently gives us grounds to learn through the use of inferences based on similarity. It is, in a word, my theory - well, of course, not my theory, but an almost exact match (but much more developed and supported) to the theory of cognition I developed in the early 90s, the theory I proposed to write a dissertation upon, the theory I have used to develop my own understanding of learning and cognition since then. Want to know where I am coming from? Read this. By Thomas K. Landauer and Susan T. Dumais , Psychological Review, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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