Mailing Number 9 - 3 January 2003Feedback on these mailings, concerning content, design, material
I ought to feature in the future, is always welcome. If you want to send
me some, please email me.
Remember that my subscribers are a varied group, so at least part of every
Mailing will for certain be irrelevant to you!
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Iraq - let the inspections work. No apology for making this the first item for 2003, despite the risks that within a few days it may seem completely dated. The MoveOn site provides a simple if low-key way to push for a just and peaceful solution in Iraq.
Public Library of Science. Some readers may have previously signed the Public Library of Science (PLoS) initiative's open letter, urging publishers to allow the research reports that have appeared in their journals to be distributed freely by independent, online public libraries of science. On 17.12.2002, PLoS announced that it has received a $9 million grant to launch a "new scientific publishing venture that will expand access to and greatly enhance the usefulness of the scientific literature". According to the excellent Infobits, PLoS will publish two new online scholarly journals Public Library of Science Biology and Public Library of Science Medicine in the second half of 2003, with both "controlled and run by scientists", retaining "all of the important features of scientific journals, including rigorous peer-review and high editorial and production standards", but employing "a new publishing model that will allow PLoS to make all published works immediately available online, with no charges for access or restrictions on subsequent redistribution or use."
Creative Commons. Several attempts have been made to create a form of licence for published content which is similar to the General Public License (GPL) under which open source software is typically issued. LeTTOL, for example, is published under the Open Content licence. On 16.12.2002 the US not-for-profit company Creative Commons, building upon earlier initiatives like Open Content, launched two projects:
The Licensing Project - which enables users to build and attach machine-readable licenses that dedicate at least some of the rights within a "copyright" to the public (this Fortnightly Mailing is covered by such a licence);
Founders' Copyright - which enables contributors to dedicate their work to the public domain after a copyright term of 14 years.
Computers not working in schools? On 26.12.2002 BBC Radio 4 broadcast its Analysis programme - a documentary presented by Frances Cairncross questioning whether Government spending on IT in schools is good use of resources. This featured MIT's Joshua Angrist, who is the co-author of an influential, hostile-to-IT article recently published in the Economic Journal, and featured in Fortnightly Mailing Number 5 under "New Research on ICT in Schools". The transcript of the documentary is worth reading, as is (less so!) the extensive and mainly US-based discussion which the piece triggered in Slashdot.
UK eUniversity (UKeU) briefing papers. UKeU has recently published two interesting 12 page briefing papers, Principles and practice in eLearning platform architecture (80 kB PDF) and Principles and practice in electronic courseware design (80 kB PDF). The latter, in Section 3.4, contains a succinct summary of "Sound pedagogical principles for eLearning".
Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The European Commission has published the first calls under FP6 for participants, such as "research centres, universities and enterprises" to apply for funding from a five billion euro budget that has been allocated under this first set of calls. FP6 is concerned with 7 thematic areas, one of which, Information society technologies, has reasonably strong emphases on e-learning, and on open source software development.
Learning Lab. Based at Wolverhampton University, the Learning Lab has just launched its new website, which is worth perusing. That said, it is surprising that an organisation which states that it has been set up to provide a centre of excellence to support all those involved in the design, development and use of learning technologies, appears to have paid rather incomplete attention to the accessibility, and general standards-conformance of its new site.
Who invented spam? I came across this wry, hopefully not defamatory, description of an early instance of unsolicited email. Dourish's site also contains other things which may make you smile.
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Last updated - 13/2/2003; © Seb Schmoller, but licensed under a
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