By Stephen Downes
September 8, 2004

Australia Bound
It has taken a lot of planning by many people, but next Monday I will jump on to an airplane and fly around the world. On the way, I will stop for a month in Australia, visiting (in order) Canberra, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney and Perth. I will be giving public talks in most of those locations. This link describes the talks I will be giving and some additional details about my trip. If you are living in Australia (and a great many OLDaily readers are) then I hope to be able to see you en route. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reusable Media... Redux
I've had some email from readers expressing concern - quite naturally - about the size of the MP3 version of my talk in Utah. After all, it's 64.5 mb, about 30 minutes to download (if you're lucky). What I would like are some suggestions. I have a Linux based web server, but no streaming media server and no money to buy one (not that I would want to anyway). I thought the MP3 would stream anyway, but apparently not (it did in my Real Media client, but the Real client expired - expired! - during my flight Tuesday, so I'm not going to recommend it to anyone). Especially not after it erased all the music I had stored on my laptop. So - any ideas for me? How can I make my audio a better experience for people living in, say. Brazil? By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, September 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Modified Preorder Tree Traversal
Luc Belliveau, who works with us as a resident computer wizard, showed me this today. It's the neatest thing - a simple way to generate a list of the parent branches in a tree from XML data stored in a normal database. Very useful when messing around with self-built XML parsers. By Gijs Van Tulder, SitePoint, April 30, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A GMail-based Blog With 1000 MB of Entries
Some of the most entertaining work on the internet these days is being done around Google's new GMail service. Give people a gigabyte of storage and an application interface and who knows what you can do! One person has turned his email account into a file server. Another person has turned his email account into blog authoring software. This discussion on Slashdot raises the question: does Google mind? Hard to say. But it's also hard to deny what's happening here as the web world unleashes its imagination. Google-based device drivers. Redundant Array of Inexpensive Google Accounts. The mind goggles. By Various Authors, Slashdot, September 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

UAE on Verge of Embracing High-tech Mode of Learning
Coverage from the two-day e-merging, e-learning conference being held at the Abu Dhabi Men's College. The UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, is reported as embracing new learning technologies. "Through e-learning, you can educate yourself in your own time and at your own pace. You don't have to leave your country to pursue your education anymore." More from Gulf News. E-Learning in the Emirates takes on a new flavour, the sign of an emerging industry, as this coverage of Hilton University shows. For more on this conference, don't miss Jay Cross's reports at Internet Time - great detail, and some wonderful photos. Cross has also set up a blog especially for the conference (and I'm pleased to welcome, possibly as a result, my first subscriber from Qatar). By Shireena Al Nowais, Gulf News, September 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

In case you missed it in my Community area, the OOPS project has launched a wiki. "It is a quick setup, still needs lots of work. Your suggestions are highly appreciated. This spin-off project upholds the same spirit and methodology as the OOPS project – volunteers adopt whatever video lecture(s) you like. All you need to do is use this wiki system to “claim” so by editing the page and filling in the appropriate blank cells. At least that is what you do now… until someone suggests a better way. Until then…. " By Various Authors, September 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Clarity Newsletter
Issue number three of the Clarity Newsletter arrived in my inbox this morning. The newsletter, sadly, fails the credibility test, asserting repeatedly its faith in "evidence-based science" (sometimes stretched to the absurd, as when having two test groups "act as control groups for each other") while making a slew of unsubstantiated (and unreferenced) assertions about learning and literacy in Canada. It may all be in the writing and the (political) posturing, though. When you (finally) find the link from the newsletter to the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network you quickly dispense with the fluff and get a chance to look at the beginnings of some really interesting - and solid - work. The listing of network projects is useful and well organized; I wish, however, that the papers were published online (because people like me really need this research) and that contributors actually added links to the links section. By Various Authors, Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network, September 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Mr. Minister, Please Protect The Public Interest
Like many European nations, Canada is under pressure to ratify the new and sterner provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) regulations. As Michael Geist writes, "U.S. broadcasters and the MPAA have actively lobbied for the creation of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations. This treaty would grant broadcasters increased powers over who may control, transmit, or record broadcast signals. The U.S. would even like to extend this power to Webcasts, which could be interpreted to cover Internet downloads." But if the Canadian government thinks ratification will take the pressure off, it is wrong. This column raises the issue of the 'broadcast flag', scheduled to take effect in the U.S. July 1 of next year. Not only could it eliminate fair use, it could also be used to monitor individual viewing habits. And in the mean time, we have the proposed Induce Act, (More)which could have the effect of making Apple responsible for illegal uses of the iPod, or TiVo responsible for illegal recording of television broadcasts (TiVo, interestingly, is reported to be making a deal with Netflix to offer movies on demand). At some point, we have to call a halt to the ever increasing reach of the copyright barons. Now is as good a time as any, this as good a place. By Michael Geist, Toronto Star, September 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Exploring the Use of Blogs as Learning Spaces in the Higher Education Sector
The authors write that "the chief purpose of this paper is to comment, critically, on the potential for blogs as 'learning spaces' for students within the higher education sector," which it does with an examination of how blogs have been used at Harvard Law School and Queensland University of Technology. Some interesting bits, including some reflection on the dearth of refereed literature about blogging (the edu-bloggers tending to put the work in their blogs instead, where it is subject to a rather more vigorous screening). "The fact of the matter is that blogging, for all intents and purposes, is a grassroots phenomenon. For this reason, academic bloggers, if they are true to their ideals, may be more concerned about spreading their message in the blogosphere than in the 'Journal of Obscure Facts'! ... blogging seems to be working in practice, but does it work in theory?" Some empirical research, which may as well be published in an academic journal, where standards are lower, since a sample of 51 self-selected people wouldn't stand a moment's scrutiny in the blogging community. By Jeremy B Williams and Joanne Jacobs, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Summer, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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