By Stephen Downes
October 28, 2004

Enterprise Newsmastering Examples: Myst Technologies
People are beginning to see the possibilities of the Edu_RSS model of content aggregation and syndication. This item describes a number of enterprise services offered by a Colorado company called MyST-Technology that operate just as my service does. This will be a big market. It should be here in New Brunswick, and it bothers me that it isn't. Ah - if only I had a team of programmers, or commercial partners... or something. There's so much more opportunity. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, October 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

An Update from the Digital World
People on the business side of things will want to read this report from Morgan Stanley on the evolution of blogs and RSS from a financial perspective. Good, accurate assessment without the hype; I like how they used timelines to identify content niches. The report specifically recommends looking at sites like PumpAudio, which licenses music for advertising or televsion, for alternative business models, as they point out that "publishers who wanted to close off part of their content via copyright law could slow what should be a technical process akin to Google News aggregation." Nice to see the authors have done their reading. Via Unmediated. By Mary Meeker and Brian Pitz, Morgan Stanley, October, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Non-formal Learning: Mapping the Conceptual Terrain
Any paper that contains this sentence can't be all bad: "Learners used to informal learning might be pathologised within more formal educational processes." In fact, this paper isn't bad at all - after a brief introduction to the origins of informal learning in theory, the authors offer a nice list and description of a half dozen or so theories of informal learning (as distinguished from formal learning) and attempt to extract a synopsis of those views. The criteria, argue the authors, map along four dimensions: process, location and setting, purpose and content. But even the resulting sixteen types of learning could not effectively classify some particular examples. Most learning is a combination of the two. Consider, for example, the case of formalizing youth mentoring, and example on which the authors linger (perhaps a bit too much). They conclude that "Boundaries between formal, non-formal and informal learning can only be meaningfully drawn in relation to particular contexts, and for particular purposes." and "Both with regard to specific situations and more generally, it is often more helpful to examine dimensions of formality and informality, and ways in which they inter-relate with each other." Via Seblogging. By Helen Colley, Phil Hodkinson and Janice Malcolm, Learning and Skills Development Agency, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Interoperability in action - a Video Presentation
I can't view this because I don't have a Qucktime player for my Linux and my Windows machine is dead, dead, dead, but it has been getting good reviews from people who know, so I feel confident passing it along. This video from JISC "has been produced to demonstrate the important role of interoperability and standards when creating and sharing learning materials. Using tools developed as part of the X4L Programme, the demonstration involves the transportation of content via the RELOAD content packaging tool, the creation of learning objects in a digital repository and how these can be reused to enhance a teacher's learning material, through to delivering the finished object to the institutional VLE." If someone could let me know when an interoperable version of the video is available, I would be appreciative. By Various Authors, JISC, October 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Yes, You Can Build Your Own Computer!
Corrected link from yesterday. Sorry about that. By Various Authors, October, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Honey, I Shrunk the eLearning
Via George Siemens, and I agree with the observation he makes: "PDAs are second-choice devices for learning. If other options exist, they will be used first. If not, PDAs will do." He also observes that "It is interesting, however, to note the number of functions now being performed on cell phones. It's possible that the "small screen syndrome" that limits PDAs for learning will end up being a generational (not device) issue." I'm not so sure. Portability is a winner, to be sure, but I think people will opt for larger displays where possible (fortunately, they will be embedded just about everywhere). By Press Release, Engage Interactive, October 25, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Desire2Learn and MERLOT Partner
Yet another partnership agreement involving MERLOT, this one between the learning object repository and Desire2Learn, an Ontario (Canada) based provider of enterprise learning systems. As was the case with WebCT and Blackboard, the agreement allows Desire2Learn customers to search the MERLOT database along with their in-house content to obtain learning materials for course content. By Press Release, Desire2Learn, October 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

College Students Encouraged to 'Define the Line'
The new Define the Line website, announced today by the Business Software Alliance, is a condescending attempt by its backers to discourage file sharing through fear (you might get a virus) and intimidation (file sharing is stealing, stealing is a crime, ergo...) and even self-interest (file sharing costs jobs, one of which may be yours). The survey published along with the site, though (click on 'Research'), shows massive support in the student population for file sharing and attitudes ranging from indifference to support among the professors. Only the administration sides with their golf buddies the Business Software Alliance. One humerous note: when I last looked at the 'quick poll' on the site, which asks, "Do you think there are negative consequences of illegally downloading or sharing commercial software?", the 'No' side had a commanding (73 percent) lead. Vote quickly; the BSA isn't likely to leave it up for very long. By Press Rel;ease, Business Software Alliance, October 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ways To Use Weblogs in Education
Long list of ideas of how to use a blog to support learning. By Unattributed, ADE Bloggers, October 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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