September 15, 2006


Various authors[Edit][Delete]: D2L Counterclaim, D2L [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 6 Hits] Desire2Learn has filed its counterclaim against Blackboard in the recent lawsuit. "Blackboard's failure to disclose the Undisclosed e-Learning Products to the Patent Office was intentional and done with deceptive intent." Also, "On information and belief, Blackboard's failure to disclose the IMS Specification to the Patent Office was intentional and done with deceptive intent." [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

: , September 15, 2006
[link: Hits]

And he says it's brilliant there
There's something in the air
And sunshine everywhere, he's on the beach
I know he's changed somehow
It's in his postcards now
He's in Australia
So far out of reach
And he says it's brilliant there.
- Kirsty McColl
Some bubblegum pop I bought in London when I needed a lift...


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Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Bogota, Google Video [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] Today is a banner day. For the last four weeks, I have been working on a video recounting my experiences in Bogota. I managed to get it to upload onto Google Video today. It's not perfect - you'll spot some flaws pretty easily - and it would be nice to have edited it more, but they're right. A laptop isn't really a video editing tool. But it's what I've got. Also, this is my first video that I created and edited by myself (I used Adobe Premier Elements). I had to teach myself how to create it as I created it. Learning in action. But this is what I mean - the tools for content creation are in the hands of the people now. Anyhow, despite any flaws it may have, I'm very proud of it. I hope you enjoy it. Let it buffer for a bit; it's 30 minutes long. You can also read the transcript on my blog. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: IT Integrator's Conference, September 15, 2006
[link: 9 Hits] I am in North Sydney, as you may have guessed from the song lyrics, and I had fun today giving two talks. The first, my keynote (slides and audio) was on the topic of blogs and learning, and afforded me a nice opportunity to merge some thoughts on the role of blogs in learning with the idea of blog objects as words in a conversation. An hour later I was on the podium again, this time giving a no holds barred address on the subject of copyright, theft, and digital rights management (slides and audio). Note: I'm having trouble uploading the audio - so if it's not there, give it a bit and try again. [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: WWW Applications - Bloemfontein, September 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I had a nice time in the Free State capital of Bloemfontein, where I conducted a preconference workshop September 5 and a keynote address September 6. The workshop, E-Learning 2.0: Tools and Topics, was based on my wiki presentation, though to be honest, we hardly touched the wiki. That said, the live Skypecast worked beautifully. Here's the audio: part one (14 meg), part two (8 meg), part three (24 meg). The keynote the next day was a different matter. we made some slight changes to the Skypecast, so it became a bit of a debugging exercise. No problem, we just did it on stage while I gave my keynote. It was a bit chaotic, but a perfect example of living your learning. Here are the slides and here is audio file (39 K, sorry, it's direct from the iRiver) of the keynote. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Diddy, Half an Hour [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 25 Hits] If you haven't been following my articles on my other blog, you will want to have a look at Diddy (though as I write Blogger is suffering a spectacular server failure). I also have a few photos posted - it has been a while since I had bandwidth so photos are limited; also Microsoft Windows burped and ate all my Kruger national Park photos (the 'sort by' operation failed and the FAT was corrupted - only Windows could manage something like that). So now I'm trying to retrieve them from the flash memory cards. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly, Half an Hour [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 45 Hits] I wrote this in Johannesburg airport instead of doing work. "I am, in fact, a fairly prolific writer... part of it is a simple strategy for writing you essays and articles quickly and expertly, a strategy that allows you to plan your entire essay as you write it, and thus to allow you to make your first draft your final draft. This article describes that strategy." Enjoy - I might add some bolding and formatting, if the article needs it. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: RDA: Resource Description and Access, Joint Steering Committee [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: Hits] More evidence that people don't listen to me. (*wry grin*) I have written and spoken about the difference between syntacti standards (which are about structure and how things fit together) and semantic standard (which aRE about meanings). Syntactic standards work fine, because you're not committing yourself to an ontology, world view, religion, science or whatever. Semantic standards fair for precisely the same reason. So when someone says (as does Robina Clayphan in an email) "There is more to creating useful metadata than URIs, schemas and syntax. Rules for creating the *content* of metadata descriptions have an important role to play in ensuring consistency and interoperability," it is exactly wrong, in my opinion.

Well, not just my opinion - I can't think of anyone who believes in unary meanings and essentialists semantics at all any more, except maybe Saul Kripke. And me? If I had any doubts, my reading of Derrida recently has cured me (ah, where was he when I needed him, ten or fifteen years ago?). Anyhow, this link is to "a new standard for resource description and access." but - you may ask - how will we catalogue resources without a semantic standard? That's a good question, isn't it. Begin with resource profiles, and then... ah, that's the subject for another link. [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: The Future of learning in a Networked World, September 15, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] OK, getting ready for the next amazing event, the Future of learning in a Networked World unconference in New Zealand. This main link is to the conference wiki. Also, some Maori greetings. Also, some audio on the conference. The community walk. (how the page was done). The links. The conference flyer - front and back. The discussion in the Google group. You're all welcome to join us; there will be much more! [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Charles Storch[Edit][Delete]: The Geniuses, Chicago Tribune [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 12 Hits] Just for the record, I didn't receive the call. It must be because I was on the road, or something. I have long thought something like this should replace those big job creation projects. If you apply, and have a reasonable plan, you get one government grant. Sometimes you don't even have to apply, you just get it. But that's it. If you waste it, and your company folds, that's it. You don't get another grant. I mean - why do we fund million dollar corporate, institute, or university-based research grants when the same money could allow the person the freedom to research for the rest of their lives? Me? Like Leslie Marmon Silko, I'd live off the grant and devote myself to learning and philosophy and new media. Ah... if only I had gotten that call. Hm? [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Nancy Willard[Edit][Delete]: Youth Risk Online: An Overview, Education World [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] Nancy Willard, who has been writing quality posts about related issues in discussion lists for years, is writing a series of articles on internet risks for children in Education World. The first item is a list of these risks. I think we need to look at this list fairly carefully. we need to ask, is the risk unique to the internet? Is the stress on the internet risk downplaying a real-life risk (for example, does it make children think that the risk of adult predators is higher on the internet than in the home, when the reverse is the case)? Is the risk even a risk, or is it just some sort of imposed morality (let's analyze - are teenage 'hook-ups' a real risk, or just morally frowned upon). I urge analysis before panic. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Sarah Schmidt[Edit][Delete]: E-learning Gets Legal Lessons in Battle Over Patents, Ottawa Citizen [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 7 Hits] Cute (though inaccurate) headline. In this article (printed in the Ottawa Citizen, the Hamilton Star, the Windsor Spectator, and the Edmonton Journal (among others, probably) the Blackboard patent is held up for examination and found wanting. WebCT developer Murray Goldberg makes some good points. "I think the reason there is such a fury (at universities) is they perceive Blackboard is patenting something that largely came out of academic institutions, or was significantly molded out of research at academic institutions," Goldberg says. "I thought that this area was mature enough that nobody would frankly attempt to patent it, and go and sue an existing competitor." So did I, but apparently there remains some immaturity in the field. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unattributed[Edit][Delete]: British Academy Says Copyright Hindering Scholarship, Managing Information News [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Nothing new here, at least for readers of these pages, but the news comes from a finer and finer pedigree every day. "The copyright system may in important respects be impeding, rather than stimulating, the production of new ideas and new scholarship in the humanities and social sciences." [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mara Rose Williams and Kevin Murphy[Edit][Delete]: Report: College Costs Squeeze Students, Kansas City Star [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] A fairly typical report (and one that characterized my very first published article way back in 1980). "According to U.S. Census statistics cited in the report, the nation's college students paid 42 percent more for tuition in 2005 than they paid in 2000. Tuition costs are rising at a rate that far outpaces inflation." Of course, this is "a bogus document concocted by a partisan left-wing group." Yeah. Right. Maybe we should give money to corporations instead? Yeah, that will solve the education shortage. Right? Really? I mean, read on. Am I being dogmatic and annoying? Well, perhaps. But somebody has to be. "In the 1990s, between 800,000 and 1.6 million low and moderate income high school students who were both academically qualified for and intent on attending a four-year college did not go on to earn a bachelor's degree. In this decade, the panel concludes, another 1.4 million to 2.4 million similarly situated students face the same fate." Via University Business. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Goldenberg[Edit][Delete]: Employer Investment in Workplace Learning in Canada, CCL / Canadian Policy Research Networks [Edit][Delete] September 15, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] I appreciate the efforts of the Canadian Council on Learning to look at workplace learning. However, I wish they had hired somebody who is, you know, in learning, rather than a policy wonk, to write the report. I will be quite critical, and I'm sorry about this, but reports like this really bother me, as they exhibit a policy agenda, but no particular committment toward learning.

Why does this matter? Well, look at this: "Participation rates in employer-sponsored training and firms' spending per employee have remained virtually the same in recent years." Maybe so. But what I (and others like me) am trying to do in my work is to lower costs and reduce the need for formal training. By these measures, any success I have will look like a failure. But that's not right, is it?

Or how about this: "Training works best when linked to a firm's priorities and business plan and integrated with overall management practices and firm culture." Well what is the evidence for that? What counts as 'best' in this conext - actual benefit for trainees? Or merely some sort of measurable ROI?

And again: "A 'co-financing' approach, involving firms, individuals and governments seems most effective." Effective by whose measure? I am in favour of government funding learner needs, but shouldn't the learner - and not his or her employer - be determining learning and career priorities? Or does the author cling to the (unjustified) view that employers take into account their employees' long-term career prospects when planning training? Sure, everybody stresses "partnership" - but this is an easy result to get if you ask everybody involved but the learner.

I'll say this bluntly: the way to improve learning in Canada isn't to give corporations even more money than they already have. It is to spend money on learners directly, and to allow learners - not their employers - make learning decisions. That's the best way to ensure the money isn't simply wasted on short-term company-specific profit-centred rote learning.

Indeed, one wonders, when the author was calculating employer investment in learning, whether he considered taxes paid by companies. Probably not. But if employers won't invest in learning (that benefits learners), a tax increase to fund this work would certainly increase their contribution. Even though it won't show up at all in the OECD statistics. Of course, it wouldn't... [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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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