Updated: 3/31/2004; 7:36:05 AM.
Bruce Landon's Weblog for Students
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Monday, March 22, 2004

Novell Makes More Open Source Moves [Slashdot]
9:42:21 PM      Google It!.

Faculty Development and Learning Object Technology by Patricia Ploetz. I saw this paper referenced in DistanceEducator.com's March 3, 2004 Daily News release. The author's experiences match my own; the subtitle of her paper is "Bridging the Gap." There is a very wide gap between instructional technologists' understanding and acceptance of learning objects and the understanding and acceptance that regular faculty have about these endeavors. The gap is even wider in smaller institutions that have little in the way of instructional support services. One reason that I've kept the EduResources Portal and the EduResources Weblog expanded to sites and contents beyond learning objects is that most faculty are much more receptive to courses and lesson as shareable units than to learning objects as units. JH _______ "The following paper begins with a story, the story of a lived experience that illustrates the mismatch between faculty and technology experts' understandings of learning object technology. It then takes a look at faculty perspectives, to show that moving from the traditional approach in content creation to developing learning objects requires a paradigm shift for faculty content developers. Recognizing the changes that faculty face, and understanding their insights regarding new learning technologies, gives faculty support staff an opportunity to "put on" the faculty perspective. This "putting on" activity provides technical support staff with the mental models necessary to support faculty in "bridging the gap" between traditional content development activities and the creation and development of learning object technologies." "In my experience, when faculty speak about developing educational content, they traditionally use the following terms to describe the teaching/learning environment: courses, units, lessons, lectures, readings, projects, and/or activities. Terms such as learning objects, metadata, reusability, interoperability, accessibility, granularity, durability, and economy, while meaningful in a technological arena, often have little if any meaning for faculty. When I have asked, "What do these terms mean to you?" faculty responses have included: "They make me feel like I'm in Dilbert land" or "Are we talking about education? These don't sound like education terms, or at least not ones that I'm familiar with" and "They sound like buzz words that will soon give way to new buzz words." While I admit to talking with a limited number of faculty, I sense that these responses are more representative than not, of many faculty in higher education." [EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online]
1:13:38 PM      Google It!.

What is Higher in Higher Education?. These weblog citations from Weblogs in Higher Education and the Inside Learning Web Log continue the questions that were raised in Stephen Downes' forecasts for 2004 about higher education. What is higher education adding for students that they cannot obtain through self-study or guided distance education? Unless colleges and universities add a valuable dimension of personalized teaching through extended personal contacts and guided group interactions then students who attend large institutions are essentially engaged in nothing more than self-study programs in a campus context. Higher education must offer something higher educationally than a higher price. JH _____

The professor is dead. Brian Alger speaks up about his son being victimized by a university department that offers little more than videotaped lectures to hundreds of students, instead of credible teaching. This reminds me of a similar practice at my undergraduate institution in the 1970s: a very famous man was nearing the end of his life, so the department videotaped a semester of his lectures, and after he died they continued to offer his course with graduate students doing the grading. According to the lore... [Weblogs in Higher Education] [EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online]
1:12:32 PM      .

USB Ports Just Ducky. The universal serial bus, developed as a faster, easier way to connect printers and other computing peripherals, has become the choice to power all kinds of gadgets -- blankets, noodle cookers and even a duck. [Wired News]
1:09:08 PM      Google It!.

Poweroid 1204 silent PC. Review Hear that pin drop? [The Register]
1:05:33 PM      .

Workforce Connecetions Open Source Software. I'm passing along this information about Workforce Connections from Seb's Open Research weblog. I've examined the description of Connections and found it interesting and promising as a multipurpose tool, but I've not yet tried the software. JH [Originally posted to EduResources on March 8.]

Open source knowledge sharing tools from the US government. This suite looks pretty interesting, and it's very nice to see governments releasing free software. (via Situativity)

Workforce Connections is the first tool of its kind to be licensed by the U.S. government free of charge to public and private sector organizations.

From the FAQ: "What is Workforce Connections? Workforce Connections is a set of Web-based tools that enable content managers, with no programming experience, to dynamically create and manage online content in a secure environment. Workforce Connections; is an open source custom distribution available under a general public license (GPL) by the U.S. Department of Labor, it empowers non-technical individuals to create, acquire, share and control knowledge in real-time. Users can leverage Workforce Connections to build and maintain traditional Web sites, online courses, knowledge repository, online coach, and communities of practice portals."
Apparently, installing it is a techie's job though.

[EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online]
1:02:21 PM      Google It!.

Social Networking in the Digital Age [Slashdot]
1:00:57 PM      Google It!.

Brain Controlled Tightrope Video Game Shown [Slashdot]
12:58:43 PM      Google It!.

RSS Feeds from Repository Implementation/Development Projects.


Note what I mean here are the LOR projects (not the repositories themselves, which you can find over here) that are producing RSS feeds as a way to communicate about their projects or otherwise coordinate their efforts. These include:

- D'Arcy Norman's Learning Commons Weblog (for the CAREO/APOLLO projects)
- The Resource Pool, a Eduspecs-funded test pilot of a CAREO implmentation
- R2R: Learning Design - a new initiative out of University of Calgary to implement a Learning Design tool
- APOLLO-DEV, the proper technical blog for the Apollo project at U of Calgary
- Stòr Cùram, a blog from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland on their LOR initiative, apparently employing Intrallect's Intralibrary

I haven't listed CogDogBlog in here, as Alan posts on so many other things beside the Maricopa Learning Exchange, but it's certainly not because it doesn't deserve attention. I expect I missed other's as well, or maybe have you filed somewhere else in Bloglines but still cover your feed. If you are working on an LOR implementation or development project and running a blog, I'd love to hear about it, include it on this list and follow along.

And what, you ask, about my own project... embarassingly, I am so swamped trying to meet our initial project requirements phase deadlines that we haven't created anything public to date, except this space here, which is not an official 'organ' of the project. Stay tuned for more news, though... - SWL

12:57:17 PM      Google It!.

Jython redux.

Do we need a Jython JSR?

Last May I made a blog entry on Jython that covers a lot of background material, including the idea of embedding Jython in Eclipse and web servers. BEA WebLogic already supports Jython. AFAIK, nobody has added Jython support to the main JBoss distribution yet, but someone should as Jython is being used with JBoss.

After reading about JSR 241: The Groovy Programming Language last week, I had to wonder why the authors didn't just embrace Jython instead? According to one of the advisors, the developers are certainly aware of Python and Jython, because "Python is a strong inspiration for Groovy", but the developers "wanted to re-invent".

Jython is a mature production quality language running in the JVM so it has full access to the J2SE platform and J2EE. Jython programs compile to Java class files, but you can also use the Jython interpreter to interactively manipulate Java classes at runtime. Besides Java, Jython is arguably the most popular language running in the JVM. What other dynamic language running in the JVM has several books written about it?

Sean Gallagher has written two articles on why now is such an important time for a language like Python or Jython: Java, meet Python. Python, meet Java and So what about Jython? The first article also appeared in LinuxWorld.

James Strachan, one of the spec leads for JSR 241, addresses some of the concerns over the Groovy JSR.

After reading these articles and comments I doubt we need a JSR for Jython, because Jython doesn't need to be re-specified or re-implemented, but perhaps how Jython relates to Java needs better definition within the JCP? Certainly Jython could use additional developers to keep it up-to-date with the latest implementation of Python. What Jython really needs is more recognition from Sun and IBM and some resources to keep Jython development active. Those companies should also be bundling Jython with their products, providing support through code examples and articles, and evangelizing Jython to their customers.

Related links:

[Kevin Altis' Weblog]
12:56:34 PM      Google It!.

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