By Stephen Downes
September 17, 2004

College Backs Off Wi-Fi Ban
A sign of the times - the students' own personal Wi-Fi networks were (supposedly) interfering with the university-run system, so the administrators' first reaction was to ban the student systems. Turns out, though, that they may not have the authority to do so. Expect many more stories like this, as the question of Wi-Fi network interference has not been completely solved. By Richard Shim , CNet News.Com, September 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Extending the Web With Metadata Profiles
Profiles are, in a nutshell, a neat way of embedding XML-like information in webpages, such as the information you might include describing yourself in a FOAF file. According to the author, "Common use of profiles would make it possible to express a vast array of information without having to resort to convoluted, heavily-abstracted solutions like RDF" (note that FOAF is a type of RDF document). Well, maybe. I think that the sentiments in this article are in the right place, though the implementation may need to be thought through a bit more - a lot of data is exchanged through RSS and similar XML, where the profiles approach won't work. By ubernostrum , Kuro5hin, September 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Content Conundrum
A fun dialogue in the great tradition of gentle satire looking at some of the assumptions behind the idea of reusable learning objects. "Q: So, RLOs, where will they come from? A: Good question, and one that seldom gets asked. There's tacit agreement that you and I will be creating RLOs." There's some good information behind the links - the colour is subtle so be watching for it. Also some good observations in the comments. By David Davies, David Davies' Weblog , September 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

WebCT and Online Assessment: The Best Thing Since SOAP?
By SOAP the authors mean not web services but Student Online Assessment Program. This essay looks at what may be the best thing since then, the WebCT quiz application. Nice discussion of the evolution of SOAP and a nice chart near the middle of the essay comparing SOAP with the WebCT feature. It's hard to adapt to a new system, but even after getting used to WebCT the authors found themselves facing limitations felt by many WebCT users: "When you are creating questions the first limitation you become aware of is that course assessment must be adapted to fit the WebCT question templates and there is no opportunity to create new question types or test formats to suit the unique requirements of a course." Even so, they continue to use WebCT - perhaps there is a lesson in that. Via Teaching and Developing Online. By Den Pain and Judy Le Heron, Educational Technology & Society, some time in 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Wrath of Kaa: A Letter to the Editors of The Register
David Wiley rips into the editors of the Register with an uncharacteristically - but absolutely welcome - passion. According to the Register, "there's no authority, training, or experience among the people who want to give information away and change education." This, of course, comes as a great surprise to Wiley, who demonstrates no lack of qualifications himself. A wonderful read and a side of Wiley that I'd like to see much much more often. (Noted in the comments - another open education initiatiove from India.) By David Wiley, autounfocus, September 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Student-recruitment Tactics at University of Phoenix Blasted by Feds
This is the sort of item that confirms all the fears raised by those who worried about the implications of commercial online learning. According to this article, the University of Phoenix employed pressure sales tactics in an effort to recruit students, tactics that alerted the interest of regulators and may lead to large fines. Via University Business. By Dawn Gilbertson, Arizona Republic, September 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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