By Stephen Downes
August 31, 2005


Stephen Downes: Threads Community, Stephen's Web August 31, 2005
So anyhow, today has been a day dedicated to repairing my discussion section, also known as the Threads Community, which suffered a massive meltdown during the data transfer yesterday. Today, the Comment link should be working, the Threads link located at the top of the HTML newsletter, and things showing up where they should. I've also tightened up the styling (and you'll notice that the colours and the banner change with every issue). [Comment]

Michael Feldstein: LMOS Integration and Specialization, E-Literate August 31, 2005
Michael Feldstein has been looking at the concept of the (Web 2.0) 'Learning Management Operating System' over the course of several posts. He asks whether there need to be e-learning specific features. Two things occur to him: calendaring and grading. As to the former, it should be noted that work is already being done on a calendaring format (maybe not for JSR-168, but this strikes me as inconsequential); I discuss some of my own thoughts on this work elsewhere. Grading may require dedicated development, or it may be representable using a more generic ratings format. Anyhow, this is a good discussion, and Feldstein's thoughts on the LMOS are worth following. [Comment]

Press Release: WebCT Announces Portfolio Design Partner Initiative, Webct August 31, 2005
Not sure what's going to come of this, but WebCT's joining the whole portfolio movement is worthy of note. "WebCT... today announced the Portfolio Design Partner (PDP) initiative featuring a group of customers who will help define the scope and functionality of new ePortfolio software called the WebCT Learner Portfolio. WebCT will release the WebCT Learner Portfolio, which will be tightly integrated with their e-learning systems, next year." Wonder whether it will interoperate with Flickr. Or with DeviantArt. [Comment]

Albert Ip: Yet Another "Play and Learn" Article, Random Walk in E-Learning August 31, 2005
It was the example that caught my eye in this item. "But when he expressed frustration at not being able to revive a dilapidated industrial area, the youngster's reply astounded him: 'I think you need to lower your industrial tax rates.'" And while Albert Ip goes on to make some useful points about the effectiveness of games, I take pause at the inculcation of particular world views embodies in the game's logic. In the world of Sim City, lowering taxes is always good. Yet we want to think twice about fostering that thought, without critical reflection, in a child's mind. [Comment]

Press Release: Skype Opens its Platform to the Web, Skype August 31, 2005
This is a significant announcement, as it opens the possibility that Skype will be embedded in a wide variety of applications. For example - imagine being able to call the author for clarification from within the document where you are reading his essay. Via Howard Jarche. [Comment]

Zonk: Scientist Says Most Scientific Papers Are Wrong, Slashdot August 31, 2005
A study reveals that more than half of scientific papers are wrong and suggests "many papers may only be accurate measures of the prevailing bias among scientists." A sardonic Slashdot author wonders, "what if his paper is one of the wrong ones?" [Comment]

Bryan Alexander: New Atlantis Grapples with Gaming and Flops, Infocult: Information, Culture, Policy, Education August 31, 2005
This article deconstructs (and slices and dices and serves for dinner) a narrow view of online gaming offered by The New Atlantis's Christine Rosen. Calling the article "ostentatiously, yet uselessly learned," Bryan Alexander asks why the author quotes a 1920s Samuel McChord Crothers essay while at the same time passing over Wittgenstein and other classic texts in gaming, misreading James Paul Gee, and serving scant mention of social gaming and massive online role-playing games (MORPGs). And he ets to the crux of the matter: "There's an old, old conservative fear of cultural behavior changing without appropriate controls (for 'appropriate', read 'the speaker', or 'people the speaker likes')." Via Abject learning. [Comment]

Scott Wilson: RSS-Blog-Furl High: Reloaded, Scott's Workblog August 31, 2005
Drawing on a post from Will Richardson, Scott Wilson observes that "many teachers aren't likely to be happy with the downside of the small-pieces approach, which is cobbling together a whole range of tools," and then proceeds to map out an approach that "is primarily a piece of glueware for doing the cobbling together, while retaining most of the flexibility that the small-pieces syndication world promises." I like the approach, though I would seek greater simplicity of design (for example, at the bottom of the activities diagram, Wilson draws separate panes for sources, titles and the resource itself, which though standard for feed readers, is (in my view) needlessly cluttered). [Comment]

Dinesh C. Sharma: Study: Teachers Coming to Terms with Computers, Zdnet August 31, 2005
Results from the recent CDW-G's 2005 Teachers Talk Tech survey. "More than 85 percent--say they are trained on the Internet, word processing and e-mail software, but 27 percent say they have had little or no introduction to integrating computers into lessons." Via Edutopia. [Comment]

Projects & Collaborations
Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

About Me
Bio, photos, and assorted odds and ends.

You know, the ones that appear in refereed journals of Outstanding Rank.

Lectures, seminars, and keynotes in a wide variety of formats - everything from streaming video to rough notes.

All my articles, somewhere around 400 items dating from 1995.

Audio recordings of my talks recorded in MP3 format. A podcast feed is also available.

What I'm doing, where I'm doing it, and when.

A collection of my photographs. Suitable for downloading as desktop wallpaper.

Stephen's Web
Since 1995

About this Site
Why this site exists, what it does, and how it works.

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About the Author

Stephen Downes

Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
National Research Council Canada


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