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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Eric Newcomer on the RPC/doc-literal cultural divide.
eric newcomer:
xml's effect on
distributed computing

clip length: 45 seconds

source: sys-con
Eric Newcomer's blog alerted me to his appearance on an interview panel at Sys-Con TV. In the video clip I've inserted here he notes that while all prior incarnations of distributed computing share a common RPC (remote procedure call) lineage, XML-oriented web services come from the very different tradition of text markup:
The traditional distributed computing guys, like myself, have difficulty adjusting to the difference that XML makes.
... [Jon's Radio]
8:38:16 PM    comment

Open Source E-learning - LTI Newsline. Kineo, a UK e-learning consultancy offers a free report on open source tools for e-learning: "50 ideas for Free E-learning." The report highlights open source e-learning tools and an approach to using open source tools for transforming organizations thro [Online Learning Update]
8:33:30 PM    comment

Interactive Distance Learning and Collaboration Highlighted at NCREN Community Celebration - Daily Business. News Representatives from North Carolina universities who help provide Internet, video-based distance learning, advanced computing and communications services every day to more than 500,000 students, teachers, administrators and state government workers w [Online Learning Update]
8:31:47 PM    comment

Gmail Gets RSS. [Slashdot]
1:06:43 PM    comment

Yahoo! Buys del.icio.us. [Slashdot]
12:57:51 PM    comment

The Top 10 Weirdest USB Drives Ever. [Slashdot]
11:45:35 AM    comment

Learning about blogs.

During the last EPAC-I chat, the conversation turned to blogs and their relationship to electronic portfolios. I noted that I thought a portfolio is composed, that is structured for a rhetorical purpose, but that blogs are more freeflowing, perhaps supplying assets (to use the term that some people are using for artefacts or portfolio entries) for the portfolio, but not a portfolio. Several chat participants taught me, however, that some blogs have more of a structure than I knew.

If anyone has sites where I can look to learn more about structured blogs, please post. Thanks.

[National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research blogs]
11:32:07 AM    comment

What Is a Digital Library Anymore, Anyway?.

This article from D-Lib Magazine is informative, interesting, and provocative ; the authors quickly overview past developments in d-libraries and then offer a model for developing d-libraries that will better serve users through context customization and interaction. I found that most of the criticisms that the authors apply to general purpose digital libraries could apply with equal force to currently available digital collections of learning objects (LO Repositories) and to collections of open educational resources (OERs). ______JH

"Based on a variety of calibrations1, we are now in the adolescence of digital libraries. Like any adolescence, there is reason for optimism and concern."

"This expanded view of a digital library requires new thinking about the information models on which they are based. The legacy of the union catalog in the traditional library and the sometimes myopic emphasis on search in the digital library has led to widespread use of an information model built around a metadata repository. Although many digital libraries are implemented differently, we often find that at their core they collect, index, and provide queries over a catalog of metadata records. As we describe later, this simple catalog model breaks down in the face of a more expansive view of a digital library."

"This paper describes an information model for digital libraries that intentionally moves 'beyond search and access', without ignoring those basic functions, and facilitates the creation of collaborative and contextual knowledge environments. This model is an information network overlay that represents a digital library as a graph of typed nodes, corresponding to the information units (documents, data, services, agents) within the library, and semantic edges representing the contextual relationships among those units. The information model integrates local and distributed information integrated with web services, allowing the creation of rich documents (e.g., learning objects, publications for e-science, etc.). It expresses the complex relationships among information objects, agents, services, and meta-information (such as ontologies), and thereby represents information resources in context, rather than as the result of stand-alone web access. It facilitates collaborative activities, closing the loop between users as consumers and users as contributors."

"In the age of Google, what is a digital library anymore, anyway? Just asking the question is bound to raise passions. Despite our zealous defense of the successful work of the digital library community over the past decade, the amazing success of commercial web search engines has changed the playing field. Search and access over a set of resources, while important to any digital library, are not sufficient. Digital libraries need to distinguish themselves from web search engines in the manner that they add value to web resources. This added value consists of establishing context around those resources, enriching them with new information and relationships that express the usage patterns and knowledge of the library community. The digital library then becomes a context for information collaboration and accumulation – much more than just a place to find information and access it."


(Thanks to Ray Schroeder for identifying this resource in his [Online Learning Update].)

[EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online]
10:38:22 AM    comment

Worthwhile Read - Scott Berkun's Project Mgmt and other wisdom.


I came across this blog via a post from Christopher Sessum (another worthwhile subscription, I'd add), who pointed to an essay titled 'Why smart people defend bad ideas.' It REALLY struck home (for better or worse I am more and more trying to be brutally honest in my personal assessments) and led me to subscribe and read some of Mr. Berkun's other posts. And so far I haven't come across a single post that hasn't rocked my brain in some way or another. In fact there is almost too much good stuff (I kind of depend on some dreck in trying to track 180+ blogs, which is where my subscriptions are at these days.) Not 'Ed Tech' focused, but 'Highly recommended' anyways! - SWL

8:42:25 AM    comment

Potty-mouth your way to the center of attention.

A few months ago, Jon Stewart opened the eyes of his Daily Show audience when he interviewed the author of the book On Bullshit. Viewers accustomed to hearing the familiar bleep when Stewart enters foul-mouth mode were surprised to find that the word came through completely uncensored. Stewart himself reveled in his new freedom, repeating the word “bullshit” dozens of times over the course of the interview. It was difficult not to notice the word every time he spoke it.

Adam K. Anderson of the University of Toronto, who specializes in studying attention, wondered if negative words like “bullshit” were more likely to attract our notice even during times when we’re normally distracted. He designed a version of the attentional blink paradigm to include three types of words: neutral (bread, branch), negative (blood, beaten), and negative-arousing (bitch, bastard). The words were rated by a panel of volunteers for negative value and arousal to ensure that the categories were accurate.

Attentional blink research has found that when people view a series of words presented rapidly and try to identify two words that are different from the rest (e.g. a different color or meaning from the other words in the series), they fail to recall the second word if it is displayed during a short span (about 200 to 500 milliseconds) after the first one. In Anderson’s version of the task, participants had to recall the two green words in a list of black words, displayed slide-show fashion for a tenth of a second each. The first green word was neutral, and the second green word was either neutral, negative, or negative-arousing. Here are his results:

When the second green word was neutral, the standard result for attentional blink occured: when the second word was displayed immediately after the first, recall was relatively accurate, but if it was two to four places after the first, recall suffered, before finally increasing above 90 percent accuracy after seven or so places. Negative words showed less attentional blink, and for negative-arousing words, the effect was nearly absent. So despite the fact that we usually don’t notice distinctive words when they are displayed so soon after another, we do notice taboo words in the same circumstances.

But is it the fact that these words are negative that causes us to notice them, or is it arousal? Anderson generated a new set of words in three new categories: neutral (crowbar, square), positive (champ, sweet), and positive-arousing (condom, sensual). This time, he modified the attentional blink task — instead of noticing two green words, participants had to identify a first “word” that was just a sequence of letters (LLLLLLLLL, VVVVVVVVV) colored white, along with the second green word, chosen from the neutral, positive, and positive-arousing lists. The other words in the list were displayed in different (non-green or white) colors. Here are the results:

Because the task was modified, the data follows a different pattern. When the green word immediately followed the set of white letters, accuracy was the worst. Accuracy steadily improved until the fourth position, when it topped out near 90 percent. But otherwise, the results followed a similar pattern to the negative words: less attentional blink for positive words, and almost none for positive-arousing words.

So though we do notice negative-arousing words like Jon Stewart’s favorite, “bullshit,” more often than neutral words, we also notice positive words. Positive or negative, arousing words are the most noticeable of all. So what causes us to notice these words? Anderson has some answers, but they’ll have to wait until the next Cognitive Daily post. Come back next week and read all about it!

Anderson, A.K. (2005). Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134(2), 258-281.

[Cognitive Daily]
12:03:49 AM    comment

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