Mailing Number 6 - 15 November 2002
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Flash (again). Is Flash becoming useable? Will Flash
drive HTML away? Jacob Nielsen, whose business made a "strategic
partnership" with Macromedia in June 2002, says that many of
the accessibility defects of Flash have been overcome in Flash MX
(the current version of the product), though he remains critical about
the gratuitous way in which Flash is used on many sites. See this
updated version of Nielsen's Flash:
99% bad. The "new" way in which Flash is being used
is on internet-based applications, rather than to animate pages. Compare,
for example, this demonstration hotel
booking system, in which the entire interface is on one screen,
including credit-card payment, with a "typical" laborious
HTML-based booking system. Macromedia, to its credit, is also taking
accessibility much more seriously: see the accessibility
area of Macromedia's website. (Thanks to Dick Moore for showing
Sloan-C "Five Pillars of Quality Online Education" report.
Useful short report summarising key features of effective asynchronous
online learning just issued by the Sloan Consortium (LeTTOL is a Sloan-C
accredited course), accessible
as a PDF file. Draws on an extensive and growing range of "good
GCSE English Online - final evaluation.
University of Sheffield's final evaluation of The Sheffield College's outstandingly successful online GCSE English Course has been published. Download it as a Word file.
(Expensive) reviews of individual learning management systems.
The US e-learning commentator Brandon Hall publishes an annual evaluation
of ~75 learning management systems. Brandon Hall is now selling these
reviews on a product-by-product
basis, at $140 per shot. Possibly worth the money if you are close
to making a purchase decision.
A longish list of links mainly about Learning Objects. Find
below a dozen or so resources about learning objects and standardization, which may be
useful to you if like me you find you must now get to grips with this
aspect of e-learning. I have amended and annotated the list from a
similar one which I found through George Siemens elearnspace.
In most cases I have included the full URL.
- Learning technology standardization (.pdf) - excellent,
terse, policy-astute, June 2002 overview of the rationale
behind learning technology standardisation, by Peter Sloep
- The Instructional Use of Learning Objects - online
version of probably seminal book about learning objects, by David
Wiley and others http://www.reusability.org/read/.
Hopefully the pejorative acronym CAI i.e. "clip-art instruction",
- A Primer on Learning Objects - http://www.learningcircuits.org/mar2000/primer.html
- March 2000, optimistic, article by Warren Longmire on an American
Society for Training and Development (ASTD) website.
- (Learning) Objects of Desire: Promise and Practicality -
- April 2002, clear, fairly cautious exposition of the "learning object promise" by Lori Mortimer, on an ASTD website.
- Do You Really Need Reusability? Article
in elearning magazine arguing that reusability comes at a
price, and may harmfully draw resources away from design for learning
and towards design for reuse.
- Where Have all the Legos Gone? - http://www.bluemissile.com/articles/instruct_legos.htm.
Sceptical article arguing that elearning standards create a barrier
to innovation and good training design.
- Being Objective - (Part 1) http://www.internettime.com/blog/archives/000357.html
and (Part 2) - http://www.internettime.com/blog/archives/000358.html.
Reports from a September 2002 US Learning Object Symposium aimed
at "defining new directions in learning object design".
- ADL Website - from which to keep tabs on the "Sharable Content Object Reference Model" (SCORM).
- SCORM Odyssey - an article
by Bill Shackelford of University of Wisconsin described by
ASTD as showing how to "weather the storm about SCORM". (Note:
link was broken when I last visited it.)
- Making Sense of Learning Specifications (.pdf) - a
if over-optimistic, overview from the Masie Centre.
- Learning Technology Standards: The Inflection Point of the
New Learning and Knowledge Economy? - a visually very crowded
slideshow presentation from Wayne Hodkins, who is "Strategic Futurist Director" (sic) for Autodesk, a major developer of computer aided design software. (May not run on older browsers or Macs.)
- Learning Objects - extended 3
part essay about learning objects by Stephen Downes, who is Senior Researcher in e-learning at the Canadian National Research Council's Institute for Information Technology.
Gordon Bennett. I never realised the origins of the expression
till I came across a newspaper article and this entry in a Dictionary
of Slang. What caught my eye was that whilst behaving throughout
his life in the crazy way that gave the slang term its meaning, Gordon-Bennett
jr. managed to edit the relatively enlightened New York Herald for
nearly 50 years until his death in 1914, mainly by cable from his
301 foot yacht based in Europe: an early teleworker - which is the
weak justification for including this item in this mailing.
elgooG. Try this mirror-image
parody of Google, which seems to be visible in most browsers even if it is not 100% functional in all of them. Apparently it could be used to perform searches
with Google from China, before the recent block on access was lifted.
Takes a bit of getting used to.
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Last updated - 20/11/2002; © Seb Schmoller
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