Ideas as Corridors

Ideas as Corridors The idea that ideas are a corridor is like saying that ideas are situated in clusters; think of the corridor as being similar to a particular culture, environment or zeitgeist. New ideas, situated beyond the corridor, are resisted, and people adapt to them in the following stages: they ignore the ideas, they deny them, they reject them, they integrate them, and finally, they make the transition to the new world view. This final stage is very infrequent, and very disruptive. I like this article; it reads a lot like Kuhn in a nutshell. By George Siemens, elearnspace, October 6, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

[via OLDaily]

October 8, 2003 in Distance Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

WebLogs in and around the classroom

Weblogs are increasingly being used in education by researchers, teachers, and students. Professors are keeping research blogs, requiring students to blog, or creating course weblogs. Students are keeping course blogs or personal blogs. Scholars are studying and writing about the weblog phenomenon while keeping weblogs about weblogs.

The list is growing quickly. Here is a smattering of what is going on in and around Academia.

September 18, 2003 in Distance Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using PDFs as an online education delivery mechanism

I am currently building a web resource to teach media courses by distance learning. We are now four or five years into the distance learning structures facilitated by the Internet, and I am wondering which features will make this resource discoverable, user-friendly, and knowledge-retentive for students. It also hits the speed bump that all sites of this type hit - the conversion of diverse original media to an online delivery type.

I have decided that online delivery should be made available by screen-friendly PDF files. These have the following benefits

  • They are easily outputted from most originating file types
  • A standard template, Internet-friendly, can subsequently be applied - enabling the best design for passing on knowledge to the student
  • They are indexable by the search engines
  • They can easily be integrated into an e-commerce stream
  • Security features, such as do not edit and do not print, and password protection, can easily be integrated
  • The PDF format accepts most file-type inserts - QuickTime etc.
  • Course modules in this format can easily be share with other courses
  • The PDFs can accept JavaScript and interactivity

I am aware of the criticisms recently penned by Jakob Nielsen of the PDF format. What he should have made though, was a caveat that he was talking about print PDFs hastily repurposed for screen usage. Screen-purposed PDFs are an excellent medium for the Internet, and for teaching purposes are a much better delivery mechanism than HTML.

[Listening to: Liquid Cool - Deep Forest - (07:02)]

September 3, 2003 in Distance Education | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

IT college applicant numbers fall

Several Irish newspapers reported today that applications for college IT places in Ireland have sharply fallen. Some colleges only report three or four students have accepted their places. 100 000 are currently employed in the IT industry in Ireland - a large percentage for a small country.

Scanning the Evening Herald for job placements in computing only yields a few vacancies each week - that's why the numbers have fallen. People's perception of computing and IT as a passport to the future has taken a real hammering - if people don't see the jobs being advertised they'll move to where the jobs are being offered.

Outsourcing from these shores has become a much-talked about topic of late - thousands of jobs have been outsourced to India and Pakistan - often with the help of Enterprise Ireland monies. Here, software shops will manufacture the code at a fraction of the price of Ireland, where the wages are of course much higher.

The politicians may keep on talking about the requirement that Ireland 'remains competitive and doesn't price itself out of the market'. Let's face it, the housing costs over here alone are enough to price any worker out of the market. How much is left at the end of the day? Don't we just ask for what we can get by on? Haven't we all worked our butts off for Ireland PLC?

Rather than the workers settling for less, it is time for interventionist policy and practice to be actioned by the Irish Government. They can start by ensuring that no more Enterprise Ireland monies are siphoned off to companies outsourcing large chunks of work overseas away from indigenous Irish companies. They can continue by opening up the technology parks that are lying empty around the country to Irish companies that show promise, not just the cheque books of their multinational parents. They can start getting serious about the availability of broadband to rural areas, where we genuinely do have lower living costs, and come good on their promises of cheap Internet access for all, instead of providing lip service to the voter and fat expenses to their overpopulated advisory committees.

There is amazing talent within Ireland, and centres of excellence can be developed with the right nurturing and foresight. We can take the world on and win. Give us the starting blocks.

September 2, 2003 in Distance Education, webCulture | Permalink | Comments (0)