Joseph Hardin and Amitava Mitra: Sakai and the Higher Education Community: The Road Ahead, Educause November 3, 2005
A very heavy presentation with many images and screenshots, and one that reads more like marketing than research and development, but the author makes a good case, demonstrating not only that Sakai has been widely adopted but also, and even better, that Sakai is, first of all, morphing into a community-based development effort, and second, that Sakai is looking toward service interfaces that allow local developement in PHP or Perl. I think that's pretty critical, and it gives us something to talk about, because while I have no desire to descend into the Dante's Inferno that is Java, it would be nice to be able to talk to and work with the people who already live there - especially people who begin their presentation with a Non Gag Agreement. [Tags: Research, Marketing] [Comment]

Paul Miller: Web 2.0: Building the New Library, Ariadne November 3, 2005
It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before we saw Web 2.0 morph into Library 2.0 (and I suppose I'm the last person who should be critical, hm?) but this article could have benefitted from a wider reading of the work on web 2.0 and a more modest approach than "Paul's Principles" of web 2.0. Other articles from the current issue of Ariadne are also now online. [Tags: Web 2.0] [Comment]

Amber Thomas and Andrew Rothery: Online Repositories for Learning Materials: The User Perspective, Ariadne November 3, 2005
OK, it's official. I am now siding against use cases, scenarios, and the other typical design methodologies, as instantiated in this post about learning resource repositories. Why? Because they freeze your perspective on design and development into a view of what is rather than what could be or ought to be. The use cases here, for example, limit the author's view to learning resources created by tutors or publishers, to uses consisting of 'put' and 'get', and to thinks like intellectual property rights being at the forefront of design principles. When we look like an assertion like "The benefits to users depend on how they already share their teaching content with their peers" we can see immediately not only how constraining it is, but also how false it is. As I commented somewhere recently: imagine how email would have turned out had it been designed with existing constraints in mind. [Tags: Books and eBooks, Learning Object Repositories, Copyright and Patent Issues] [Comment]

Jon Rowett: BeRT (Brockenhurst e-Registers Toolkit), CETIS Pedagogy Forum and the CETIS Enterprise SIG November 3, 2005
Presentations from the joint meeting of the CETIS Pedagogy Forum and the CETIS Enterprise SIG held October 19 are now online (thanks for the quick turnaround). Two presentations from the conference are worth special mention. In this first item, Jon Rowett discusses BERT, the Brockenhurst e-Registers Toolkit. This toolkit addresses problems that have plagued learning developers: how to work with monolithic and proprietary student information systems (SIS). BERT addresses that problem by managing such administrative functions as registration, attendance tracking, and the like in a services-oriented architecture, which means (in theory) that external applications could access these functions. Thus far the project is an idea - code has not yet appeared in the SourceForge repository or the project website, but the intent is good and it's early enough in the game that interested parties could probably have an influence on the outcome. [Tags: Learning Object Repositories, Project Based Learning, Student Record Systems, Games and Gaming] [Comment]

Mark Stubbs: Teachers and Technologists: It's Good To Talk!, CETIS Pedagogy Forum and the CETIS Enterprise SIG November 3, 2005
This presentation (PowerPoint slides) actually had me laughing out loud in parts, which is good, because it means that its central message was hitting home. presented essentially as a case study of a module redesign for blended learning, the presentation reviews some concepts and routines stimulated by the pedagogical approach (not necessarily once I would agree with, but that's beside the point) and then translates it into tech talk (slides 9 and 10). The teacher, it is suggested, needs to focus on "doing right things" while the technologist on "doing things right". Interesting perspective and a fun presentation. [Tags: Course Modules] [Comment]

Press Release: alphaTXT, ClearTXT November 3, 2005
ClearTXT is an instant messaging and SMS system that allows schools and instructors to send messages to students. It operates as a Blackboard building block, which means you need to have the LMS to make it work. Nifty idea, and schools have started using it. In what doubles as a useful public service and a savvy marketing move, ClearTXT has launched a service called alphaTXT, which will be offered free to all schools, that allows them to broadcast emergency notifications. Of course what we need to see now is a similar service that works with Moodle, Sakai and other open source applications, as well as the commercial Blackboard system. [Tags: Blackboard, Schools, Marketing, Instant Messaging, Open Source] [Comment]

Andy Carvin: Will WSIS Help Achieve a World of, Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth November 3, 2005
Presumably Canada will have representatives at the upcoming WSIS meetings in Tunis, but I have no idea who they are or what they will say (if anyone has a lead on this, please send me a note). Meanwhile, Andy Carvin, who will be attending WSIS from the United States, tackles some of the tougher issues in this longish post, issues like: "If the digital divide dissipates into a global wireless cloud, will democracy and freedom flourish?" Short answer: "Internet access rings hollow without Internet freedom." [Tags: Canada, Wireless, United States] [Comment]

Various authors: CBC Radio 3, CBC November 3, 2005
According to this article CBC Radio 3 "will operate as a 24-hour music station that plays independent Canadian artists across all genres, from rock and hip-hop to electronica and alt-country." Radio 3 will be distributed on satellite radio, which I don't care about, but if the stream is available online, that's where my computer will be tuned a good part of the day, as the Radio 3 podcast is the best thing currently coming out of my podcast player. Yes, even better than Adam Curry. [Tags: Canada, Podcasting] [Comment]

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Stephen Downes

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
National Research Council Canada

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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes