By Stephen Downes
May 12, 2005

Dutch Academics Declare Research Free-for-all
Three cheers for the Dutch! As the Register reports, "Scientists from all major Dutch universities officially launched a website on Tuesday where all their research material can be accessed for free. Interested parties can get hold of a total of 47,000 digital documents from 16 institutions the Digital Academic Repositories. No other nation in the world offers such easy access to its complete academic research output in digital form, the researchers claim. Obviously, commercial publishers are not amused." Personally, I don't care whether they are amused. I just went through a process where it took more time to clear copyright forms to publish a paper than it did to actually write the paper. A waste of my time and your money. My recommendations to the National Research Council that we set up an eprints repository (made again at a meeting just last week) continue, meanwhile, to go unheeded. By Jan Libbenga, The Register, May 11, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Anticipating Autopoiesis: Personal Construct Psychology and Self-Organizing Systems
Seb Fiedler hits on a nice article that draws out some implications of the psychological theory of constructivism, a theory which holds, essentially, that our understanding of the world is a creative act. "There is no event which could be called 'stark reality' because there is no event which we cannot reconstrue alternately." What's important is how we undertake this process (c.f. my remarks on similarity, below). We are self-organizing systems "a closed network of productions of components that through their interactions constitute the network of productions that produce them." Why is this important? Well, as Fiedler remarks, it has direct implications on the practice of teaching: "There is no linear causality that can dictate changes in another's system. Mistakenly believing that there is such causality often leads to teacher/instructor/facilitator hostility toward the student/learner/participant". Moreover, it is worth noting that the Praxis listed at the bottom of the example mirrors almost exactly the principles of educational gaming described by people like James Paul Gee. Of course - it doesn't have to be a game - that's just one way to do it. My own view is that these principles should be instantiated in real world applications - which leads us to an underlying theory of workflow learning. By Vincent Kenny, Self-Organisation in Psychotherapy, in 1989 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Role of Metaphor in Interaction Design
I think metaphor is the foundation of human reason (more accurately, I think similarity is the foundation of human reason). So it should be no surprise that I would be interested in Dan Saffer's essay on the role of metaphor in interaction design. It's a Master's Thesis, but don't let that dissuade you from reading; it is a breezy read, well written and informative. I particularly enjoyed the section on criticisms of metaphor in interaction design and I found the guidelines on the usage of metaphor to be accurate and informative. elearningpost also points us to Saffer's blog, which I have added to my aggregator. PDF. By Dan Saffer, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Just announced: "IST-EC 2 (Information Societies Technologies Europe-Canada) is a joint Canada-Europe project whose objective is to connect the European and Canadian research communities in key areas of the Information Society Technologies (IST)... Under the project, Canadian and European research and technology developers from both the public and private sectors (university, research centers or SME’s), can search for joint projects in which to participate on the basis of mutual benefits." There is an e-learning component to the project, which described in full on the web page. Various funding opportunities are available. Via CANARIE. By Announcement, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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