Thursday, January 27, 2005

Theory and Practice of Online Learning

Athabasca University offers a 2004 handbook on a Creative Commons license.
"a wonderfully perceptive and complete guide to the theory and practice of online learning." Sir John Daniel, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO
Anderson, T. and F. Elloumi, Eds. (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca, Athabasca University.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Webconference & web-presence

In a meeting with Erik Duval last week, he introduced me and my colleagues to two interesting tools that are being developed at the Centre for New Media at the Open University in the UK. These tools are being developed in support of e-learning activiteis. Both tools are developed in Flash, and are therefore platform-independent. All you need is a recent browser, Flash-player 7 (or higher), and a webcam, microphone and speakers/headphones.
  • Hexagon is a web-presence tool that allows a number of (international) users to be in virtual rooms and see who else is present.
  • Flashmeeting is a full-fletched web-meeting tool, that combines audio/video-conferencing, with text-chat, URL-sharing and voting options. One can also choose to have the web-meeting recorded, and then have it stored on a server for later playback.
Neat stuff.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Predictions for 2005

Always nice to read what specialists predict for the coming year:

- Last year Stephen Downes was tempted into predictions for 2004: "2004: the turning point"
- Recently, he reviewed his predictions in "2004 in the rear view mirror"

- Also this year, he attempts a prediction, albeit in the Lisa Neal's column in eLearn magazine

- A Dutch-language prediction for 2005 can be found in Wilfred Rubens' weblog: "Hoe zal e-learning zich in 2005 ontwikkelen?"

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

About blogging and RSS

In the Elise course, I have learned about (we)blogging, Wiki and RSS as possibly interesting technologies for e-learning.

Since that course module, I have installed Mozilla's Firefox as my default browser, partly because it is non-Microsoft and it allows 'tabbed' browsing, but mainly because it integrates RSS-functionailty in the form of 'Live bookmarks'. This means that the 10 most recent RSS-feeds are available from a pull-down menu.

I have also replaced Netscape Messenger by Mozilla's Thunderbird, for similar reasons. The RSS-feeds in Thunderbird are treated like e-mails, which allows one to store them locally, search them, and use them as a personal knowledge base.

The advantage of RSS - dubbed by some as the 'Next killer app for education' - has the advantage that each individual Internet-user can subscribe to content that he is interested in, without having to go look for it. For example, I keep track of what is happening at my old university, what is happening in my region of the country, etc. Even commercial information aggregation services, such as My Yahoo! now allow one to add RSS feeds to your personal pages, thus allowing you to keep track of your information, even when you're using a public computer.

(We)blogging is a technology (or a service) that allows you to write your personal online diary. You can use a weblog to share personal thoughts, poetry, pictures (so-called photo-blogs) or even audio (so-called podcasting). Even serious media, such as the quality newspaper 'De Standaard' have a weblog. There is quite some interest for the educational use of weblogging, for example for student portfolios.

(We)blogging and RSS are often combined, thus allowing one to keep track of people's personal thoughts or interesting discoveries. A landmark in this area is Stephen Downes's site.

Well, that's it for now.

Monday, January 03, 2005


First of all: Best wishes for 2005!

Spent a large part of the past few days further developing my network within the LinkedIn environment. LinkedIn is an online service that allows you to connect to people that you know, have worked with or are working with. The larger your 'virtual' network becomes, the more opportunities you have of finding people who are doing relevant work (either in research, consultancy or implementation) that could be of interest to you.
Check it out! It's free.