By Stephen Downes
May 27, 2005

On Monday instead of the usual holiday activities I took a walking tour of Mississauga, a tour that set the frame for much of my thinking over the next few days. What I found was not a sterile suburban community struggling in the shadow of its larger neighbour but rather a rich, diverse and vibrant community, home to half a million people, a city that deserves to step forward and be recognized in its own right. These photos reflect not only the glass and towers but mostly the people and the life that I found there. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to be a Good Learner
PowerPoint Slides and MP3 Audio from my talk at This Is IT in North Bay. The title is descriptive as I survey three major characteristics of good learning behaviour - generating interactivity, making your learning content usable, and ensuring relevance. The talk was given in an airplane hanger at the local airport, a huge concrfete block building with the accoustics of, well, a huge concrete block building. So the sound quality on the audio isn't great, which is too bad. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

This Is IT
Blog notes from This Is IT, including talks by Jeff Gray on the bridge between educators and IT departments, Clarence Potvin on College Boreal's home-built LMS, Joan Vinall-Cox on free software, and this morning's keynote by Adwoa Buahene and Giselle Kovary of n-gen People Performance on the next generation learner. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, May 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Assistive Technology (AT), What Is It?
Nice post consisting mostly of links to accessibility resources, including screen readers, braille displays, screen enlargers, speech recognition and more. By James Bailey, EDUCAUSE - Assistive Technology in Higher Education, May 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Leaning on P2P Advocates
In the 'unhealthy trends' department: proponents of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking have been subject to increasing administrative legal and administrative pressure as a result of their advocacy. As Derek Morrison writes, "The 'vested interests' such as MPAA want peer-to-peer to go away because they can't control it easily..." But it seems to me that when you have to use such tactics to prevent academics from even speaking about a topic, you've already lost. By Derek Morrison, Auricle, May 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Upcoming Copyright Clash
Survey article (PDF) describing the issues and the factions surrounding the coming debate on copyright reform in Canada. This one call-out puts the debate into a nutshell: "Copyright extension effectively constitutes a massive transfer of wealth from the public to a select group of copyright holders such as Disney." The question, from where I sit, is: will the interests of the Canadian public at large be able to withstand the rather substantial lobbying power that companies like Disney hold over our politicians. I'd like to say I'm hopeful... By Michael Geist, cANADIAN lITERARY rEVIEW, jUNE, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A (Colossal) Fight Over Fair Use
The American Association of University Press has launched complaints against Google's plan to digitize scholarly texts. "Google Print for Libraries has wonderful potential, but that potential can only be realized if the program itself respects the rights of copyright owners and the underlying purpose of copyright law. It cannot legitimately claim to advance the public interest by increasing access to published information if, in the process of doing so, it jeopardizes the just rewards of authors..." We will ignore, of course, the fact that most academic authors are not paid, and those that are, receive a pittance. We will also ignore the increasing cost of academic publications and the fact that it's just not possible to search a printed book. By John Palfrey, May 24, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Outsourcing Teaching
Keep in mind that though Tech Central Station looks like a news site, it is in reality a political activist site (this has been well documented) and is therefore pushing an agenda here. That said, it is nonetheless relevant to take note of what is being proposed here: that instead of people in developing nations logging onto and studying with established western educational institutions, people in wealthier nations may log on to and study with much more affordable (and, possibly, service oriented) online institutions set up in coutries like India or China. Implausible? Why? By James D. Miller, Tech Central Station, May 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

GSM Association Rejects New DRM Patent License Terms
Just an update on the DRM conflicts taking place at the manufacturer level. In this item, the The GSM Association, a trade association representing wireless carriers, has rejected the revised MPEG-LA royalty schedule (this would license for patents held by ContentGuard and others, and has been widely opposed). Meanwhile, though, both Phillips and Real Networks have endorsed Windows DRM. Meanbwhile, a French court has declared DVD copy protection illegal. By Bill Rosenblatt, DRM Watch, May 5, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Cultivating Minds
When NRC's prwsident, Pierre Coulombe, came through our office a few weeks ago and asked what I'm doing, I replied that I am working toward an education accessible to all. That may have seemed audacious, but I am buoyed by this report released by, of all places, the International Monetary Fund. Joel E. Cohen and David E. Bloom write, "Educating all children well is not only urgent but also feasible within the next few decades." PDF. Via PEN Weekly NewsBlast. By Joel E. Cohen and David E. Bloom, International Monetary Fund, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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