Friday, January 14, 2005

Reflection #2

This marks the end of the second week of CTL 1608. I've felt a little pressured this week due to the fact that I've had the readings for this week, the readings for next week, and an assignment to wade through. On top of that, I'm trying to get some discussion questions about two to next week's readings (I'm moderating discussion with Peter, a class colleague) prepared for posting.

The good news is that I just posted the assignment which I'd started as a post in this forum last month and think I've got an idea of how I'd like to approach one of the readings for next week.

Another piece of good news is that someone I've known for years (Lynn) has joined our course from the waiting list (regular readers of this forum have been subjected to sundry rants about my experiences on OISE/UT online course wait lists ;-).

Welcome to Lynn, it's exciting to have you join our course and I'm looking forward to working with you and our colleagues as we explore the theory and practice online learning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


If you're running a Windows OS machine, and you haven't checked out available updates lately (i.e., earlier today) you may want to visit the Microsoft Windows Update page and run the wizard and install any patches it recommends.

This includes those of you with computers not yet 60 days old, running XP SP2. Yet another example of overhead that doesn't seem necessary in open source environments.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


It's been a good week at school. I'm really enjoying the readings. I'm happy to report that I've already had a look at the online versions of the readings for Week 3 (aka next week). Peter and I are moderating the class discussion for the week and Peter's email got me motivated to have a look at Building vs. Borrowing and the Good the Bad and the Ugly.

With all due apologies to my buddy Paul who works for Adobe--I really don't like PDF as an application for web-based content. It bears noting that this "problem" has as much (more?) to do with browser behaviour as it does with Acrobat Reader; nonetheless, the 'net-based user will have difficulties (and from my experience they've gotten worse w/ XP) viewing PDF files online. Also note that PDF is the hands-down winner when it comes to faithful reproductions (what comes off the printer will look exactly as it does on the screen) and print jobs.

I've found an html-based version of Building vs. Borrowing

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Many Faces of Constructivism has proven more difficult to find in an HTML version due to copyright concerns. I find this ironic given the "stolen" title and the fact that article is readily available as a PDF file.

As a bonus, whilst looking for the aforementioned html, I happened across this provocative article from 2002. Are constructivism and computer-based learning environments incompatible?, by Stephen Gance.

I'm struck by two things:
  1. Gance's nod to the promise of web-based technologies (he mentions WebCT and Blackboard -- I think webKF is better)

  2. from my experience, online instructors are increasingly "going the distance" to ensure that social constructivism is indeed part of courses that do not have a "face-to-face" component.