By Stephen Downes
January 10, 2005

Renaissance Prospects
Douglas Rushkoff "tries to picture connectedness and ecology as a base for a second Renaissance ("a rebirth of old ideas in a new context") as a deconstruction of the first Renaissance, the one that created (wo)man and economy" (Thomas N. Burg). I like Rushkoff a lot, and this 45 minute lecture doesn't disappoint. I miss his books - I can't buy them here (my local Chapters is well into a process of dumbing down its book collection, eliminating anything challnging or useful from its shelves). (I'm listening to it now as I type - gosh, I like Rushkoff!) The MP3 is here. "The old context, the one we can't get out of, is seeing our world as an economy instead of seeing our world as an ecology." And "The market might not be the best model.. to love our families" (think of the 'opportunity cost' of marriage). By Douglas Rushkoff, IT Conversations, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Importance of Being Permanent
Article touting the importance of permanent locations for online content, a dictum not followed by many nespapers and magazines (the focus of the article) but also educational staff and students, who must forge from scratch a new web identity every time they switch instititions. Having faced this myself twice in two years, I obtained my now permanent downes.ca address - but even so, my present employer insists that I use its official URL for web pages and email addresses - an address that it changed a year ago, wiping itself off Google and making my (minimal supply of) business cards obsolete. I think that companies and institutions need to recognize that a URL or email address is a person's identity, not part of a marketing program. By Simon Waldman, PressThink, January 7, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Rapid E-Learning: A Growing Trend
"In a study of Fortune 500 companies conducted by Larstan Business Reports, 85 percent said they planned to expand the role of e-learning. More important, over 80 percent of respondents said that rapid e-learning strategies would make a significant contribution to the training initiatives in their companies... REL uses tools and processes that decrease development time dramatically. Traditional courseware development timelines are measured in terms of months whereas REL timelines are measured in terms of days and weeks." By Dianne Archibald, Learning Circuits, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning in the UK
A survey of e-learning in the U.K. shows that while it has become an essential part of the learning landsape, the CD-ROM remains the dominant delivery vehicle and that student attitudes remain a major obstacle. I applaud the honesty of the author, who reports "Just over 100 responses were received and these will be biased towards those with an interest in e-learning." Of course I say while in the same breath wondering about the reliability of the results. By Martyn Sloman, Learning Circuits, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

MPEG LA Issues First Collective DRM Patent License
A coalition of digital rights management (DRM) patent holders called MPEG-LA (Licensing Austority), including ContentGuard and Digitrust, has announced the first round of licenses for DRM technology. "The license, which is still tentative as the individual IP holders involved finalize their agreement, is intended to cover implementations of OMA [Open Mobile Alliance] DRM 1.0 for mobile devices and content services. Royalty terms have been made public and set at US $1.00 per mobile device and one percent of any revenue that a service provider makes from a content-related transaction." I fail to see how the 'inventors' of these patents contribute anything to a song as, say, the artist does, but hey, that's how the royalties are set up. By Bill Rosenblatt, DRM Watch, January 6, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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