By Stephen Downes
January 21, 2005

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
The January edition of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning is out; I link to four articles, beginning with this offering from George Siemens, which was covered in these pages a few weeks ago. The theory proposed - which you should read if you haven't seen it yet - "combines relevant elements of many learning theories, social structures, and technology to create a powerful theoretical construct for learning in the digital age." By George Siemens, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reconceptualisation of the Teaching and Learning Process through Computer-Mediated Frameworks
If you have ever wondered how online learning is being approached in Mauritius, this is the paper to read. The paper describes the University of Mauritius's work with the Virtual-U e-learning platform and the development of their learning object repository containing dozens of resources. Couldn't find a way to harvest metadata, though metadata is vailable for individual objects. The authors also describe the "educational ecology concept" adopted by the university. By Mohammad Issack Santally and Alain Senteni, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Assessing Student Needs in Web-Based Distance Education
This paper details a six-step process for assessing student needs in online courses: define the purpose, choose the assessment methods, develop a timeline, conduct the needs assessment, analyze the data, and match the needs with the learning environment. By Pamela A. Dupin-Bryant and Barbara A. DuCharme-Hansen, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Encouraging Creativity in Online Courses
Overview of the concept of creativity, the relation between creativity and pedagogy, and suggestions for increasing creativity in online courses. By Stephanie Clemons, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CanCore: In your Neighborhood and around the World
The startling part of this dosument isn't the brief overview of CanCore, which by now has become well known to most readers, but the list of implementations of CanCore that follows. Also available in French. By Norm Friesen, CanCore, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Spam Slams E-Mail and Even Web Use
Statistical support for an intuition I wrote about at the end of last year. "44 percent of computer users have reduced their use of e-mail and the Internet in the last 12 months." By Rob McGann, ClickZ, January 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

University of Arizona's DLearn - DSpace-based LOR
Scott Leslie points to this new learning object repository, DLearn, which runs on the DSpace content repository system. It should support metadata harvesting, but I found no link. I emailed, but they haven't replied. By Scott Leslie, Ed Tech Post, January 20, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Games That Make Leaders
More from james Paul Gee, who with two other professors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, extolled the virtues of games in learning at a seminar on Wednesday (video of the event is available on the site). "Video games let their players step into new personas and explore alternatives. Not only that, but people can try to solve problems they’re not good at yet, get immediate feedback on the consequences and try again immediately." The author of the Slashdot post where I found this comments, "My workplace is already doing this (but don't tell my boss)." By Jason Stitt and Les Chappell, Wisconsin Technology Network, January 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Planet Digital Repository
Scott Leslie writes of the PLANET Digital Repository: On the surface just another repository project, but of interest to me because it is a current project from outside of Canada that seems to have picked up the Edusource Communications Layer (ECL) developed by Marek Hatala and others as part of the Edusource project. This is the second piece of information I've had in as many weeks that Edusource isn't maybe as moribund as it's original website would lead one to believe. I guess some of the action has moved on to this eRIB site and to this eduSource Registry of Services, but still, it seems pretty unclear to me what in fact is still going on. Would love to know, though." Good question. Here's how I see it. By Scott Leslie, Ed Tech Post, January 20, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Forever Access vs. Archiving Courses: Practical Limitations of LMS Storage
What do you do with an online course after the course has finished? Archive it, obviously, but for how long? And with what sort of access? Online course providers are now facing these sorts of issues and storage space fills up, content licenses expire and the usefulness of the course itself diminishes. This presentation (PowerPoint slides) looks at some of these issues and how they were handled at Penn State University. Via EDUCAUSE. By Allan Gyorke, January, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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