By Stephen Downes
January 11, 2005

No Issue of OLDaily Tomorrow
There will be no issue of OLDaily tomorrow, and Stephen's Web will be offline all day, as my web server receives a badly needed hardware upgrade. Yup, we're getting some serious disc space. What will do with it? Oh, the possibilities are endless... See you Thursday. By Stephen Downes, January 11, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Microsoft's Consumer Electronics Endgame
This is an important article because it paints very clearly where Microsoft is headed with its consumer electronic - and consumer content - strategy. "As consumers get more intwined with Microsoft DRM content, they will start to migrate towards more Microsoft OS devices: set-top boxes, smart phones, video gadgets, etc. Just like in the PC world, Microsoft will sit back and collect royalties on all this software." I would add, as well, that when the migration to 64-bit software comes about, as it will shortly, Microsoft will have its operating system ready and stable and there will be nothing - nothing - available as an alternative. In curling they call that 'the hammer'. By Russell Beattie, January 8, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Stop Sketching, Little Girl -- Those Paintings Are Copyrighted!
Imagine being a little girl and being rousted by museum security guards because the image you are sketching is copyright. Sure, the museum relented - but when little girls even need to worry about such things, our social consensus has become dark and twisted. By Joi Ito, January 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Your Software Rights or the Best Tools: Often a Sad Choice
One of the major reasons why I like having windows on my laptop (all my desktops are Linux) is, in addition to a wireless application that works, I can run Paint Shop Pro. The Linux alternative, the badly named GIMP software, is fairly comprehensive, but I identify with the author when he talks about the user-hostile interface. And that raises the key question: when you're in a production envrionment, when the decisions you make translate into dollars and cents (or in my case, decent issues of OLDaily), what are you willing to give up in order to support free and open software? Via Slashdot. By Jem Matzan, NewsForge, January 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Slope One Predictors for Online Rating-Based Collaborative Filtering
As the title suggests, this paper describes an algorithm for rating-based collaborative filtering. This system calculates what readers like separately from what readers dislike. Such systems play an inmportant role in content filtering, and content filtering is a more robust and efficient mechanism for content selection than is a metadata based keyword search. It is the existence of work like this that gives me confidence in the use of aggregator technologies rather than search-based technologies for learning object syndication. Via Seb Paquet. By Daniel Lemire and Anna Maclachlan, Proceedings of SIAM Data Mining, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

University Decentralization Debate to be Watched Closely
This is one of those things that's the thin edge of the wedge, a development that should be, as the headline suggests, watched closely. In general, I favour decentralization and institutional autonomy. But I have also commented that the university system is headed toward a funding crisis. Now there's no necessary connection between decentralization and the triggering of the funding crisis, but my belief is that it makes it more likely, particularly if universities find themselves unwilling or unable to meet committments regarding access, tuition or financial aid. All of that said, I still think decentralization is the way to go, for a variety of reasons. More coverage. Via University Business. By Kevin Miller, Roanoke Times, January 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

eLearning in 2000 and 2004: Two Different Pictures
According to the authors, "eLearning (in Europe) has almost completely disappeared from top-level policy speeches, both as a term suspected of having lost its impact, and - more seriously- as a significant component of educational policy." This comes four years after the onset of a significant e-learning initiative in Europe. But there was, in fact, "lack of persistence on the concept and practice of the eLearning Initiative: in fact real co-ordination of the EU intervention in this domain has been given up." The emphasis was on European competitiveness, rather than learning, and on formal institution-based learning rather than "post-initial, non-formal and informal learning, where the use of ICT may be integrated without facing a strong institutional resistance or at least inertia." Via Online Learning Update. By Policy Paper, European ODL Liaison Committee, November 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Course Management Systems: It's the Support, Stupid!
“Until you’ve had to sit and listen to irate faculty members coming to you, you won’t really understand about support.” So said Ann Watts, Instructional Design coordinator for Des Moines Area Community Colleges, at a recent Syllabus conference. The topic of discussion was open source content management, but according to the report, support isn't any better for commercial products. Scott Siddall, assistant provost for Instructional Resources at Denison University (OH), agrees. “Often, in fact, almost all of the time, proprietary vendors provide inadequate support for their products.” Via Incorporated Subversion. By Mikael Blaisdell, Campus Technology, January 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Embodied Interaction and Seduction
This is a bit disjointed - you'll probably want to read the short Guardian article first, then this extended version, both of which describe the use of the camera (or eye toy) to create 'embodied interaction' in games. Then return to the main item, which reports on the use of such devices in game-based learning by boys and girls. "The excitement and intensity for the girls seemed to revolve around the overall embodied and physical experience, rather than from the focused attention to a particular game, character, or screen event." Via Mark Oehlert. By Fiona Romeo, Foe Romeo, January 9, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ED Outlines New Tech Priorities
The U.S. Department of Education has released its latest National Education Technology Plan (NETP). The report makes seven recommendations:
- Strengthen ed-tech leadership at the state and local levels
- Consider innovative budgeting
- Improve teacher training
- Support eLearning and virtual schooling initiatives
- Encourage broadband access
- Move toward digital content; and
- Integrate data systems.
Mark Oehlert's response: "Hey look! DOE found out about the Web!" James Richardson reviews the plan and gives it a thumbs down: "you won’t find much to support that in the new tech plan, which, for all intents and purposes, seems pretty much rooted in sustaining the NCLB model for preparing a country of factory workers." By Corey Murray, eSchool News, January 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

[Refer] - send an item to your friends
[Research] - find related items
[Reflect] - post a comment about this item

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[About This NewsLetter] [OLDaily Archives] [Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2005 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.