30 March 2007

WebCT down time

Hi Folks,
“This Friday/Saturday, the WebCT Service will be unavailable, due to time needed for regular maintenance …”
Well, this may be of no consequence or care to folks asleep in Georgia.
However for some of us, this timing coincides with peak study time on Saturday morning – Welcome to the world, folks, and all the time zones around the world.

How long will this down time take? Well, you know, the technician is doing his best - working at night-time, and some Smalltown College in northern Georgia need their server re-wired because because because. This happened last Saturday in the middle of my posting up an assignment !! This weekend is the deadline for assignments to the University of West Georgia …

Now, we could use facsimile … except the antiquated one in India hasn’t been replaced for years due to no capital reinvestment, the one in Viet Nam is switched off at 5pm to save electricity costs, the digital ones in Japan keep digital copies on a hard disk and have privacy concerns …

Or we could use google – gmail, and blogspot.com !
Surely this is as good a reason as any for diversification in technology,
and for NOT relying on WebCT threaded discussions for blogging.

I had taken a natural backup precaution of printing out a page or two from the WebCT pages and had the email address of an Assistant (you did too, right ?), but sadly while I was having trouble and asking for help, no email reply has arrived back, though now at seven days later response action has been done.

Diversity Diversity Diversity.
I think through diversity, we can try to increase access, and inclusivity to education, to try to provide a level playing field to those on Georgia time as much as to those on Mongolia time. Surely access is a key issue.
How’s the technician doing there tonight/ this morning ?? Any idea how long the WebCT system will be down? Anyone care ?

All Best Wishes

Judging by your face . . .

Well folks,
Greetings !
I have noticed recently that students in online distance education are still invited (if not required) to introduce themselves, and follow others customarily in posting up a face photo or so. I want to ask why !!!
The purpose of education is to develop one's knowledge and share meanings and ideas.
Well of course I have a playboy figure, blond hair, blue eyes or whatever - but do these get me the grade A ??!!
And what judgements do others make of one's shapely figure, cheekbones, and hair colour, not to mention superb fashion sense, sportscar and bright 'marakesh' red BMW bike ? What on earth have these to do with education ?

Nigel Blake of the UK Open University advocates clearly the academic objectivity quality of distance education, to discuss ideas and attack these not the person, and avoid the subjectivity of face-to-face introductions. Ohhh these are touted by instructors as easing us into an online community of learners - let's all choose our partners and group members by their eye colour ...

We need to be alert ever more strongly in our aims to bring openness and inclusivity in education to the retarded, homeless, poor, unwashed, homeless, foreign, and so on. Let's focus on your mind not your body !

I was at college, with my office next to that of Stephen Hawking (http://www.hawking.org.uk/) at ABC university. How so much poorer would the world be if we had let first appearances colour our judgement !

I heard a rumour... that half the people posting up the beautiful blonde faces were old guys in prison trying to ensnare rich foolish guys, and that the other half were the FBI trying to catch those old guys trying to catch the teenage blondes.
What has all this got to do with education ?

Online distance education courses start off with a face-to-face session to meet and get to know each other ...
How fair is that to us old coloured folk in a wheelchair ?

All Best Wishes

29 March 2007

Reasons against autonomy . . .

Fellow Students / Teachers,
Musing out loud, if language resides in a different area of the brain from other memory, and if language learning is different from other learning, then language learning autonomy cannot be equated with learning autonomy. My current studies are in the area of autonomy, and it seems that while generally learner autonomy may be a good thing, language learner autonomy is not. And not only this, but it would also follow from adult education theory, that adult language learning autonomy must at many times be diminished in order to complete the language learning task at hand.
I don't see that we can with a broad brush say that learning autonomy is a goal of education.

Comments please . . in moderation !
All Best Wishes

27 March 2007

For Your Information ...

Hi folks,
For your information, if any of you are interested, I have a small library online at
For example, the left-side menu button can guide you to 'Definitions'
which I have collected over the years
( somewhat superseded now by google-searching on define:thisterm )
but my collection does give the various definitions by authorities in distance education
one-by-one with full lit ref - ideal for your writing that academic paper
where you may select which definition best expresses your point :)
And 3700 or so other Papers and Books.
If you need any help in getting a copy for private non-commercial use
- these are on my shelf here (maybe !) - please ask.
The 3700 are given by first-author alphabetically and year.

The RLOs are under-construction, and dozens are ready now, but how to upload large files ?

You will need to have the free Flash reader installed.
Well, talk to you all tomorrow.
All Best Wishes

25 March 2007

Bucket not in so regular a shape ...

Hi folks,
I sometimes wonder - well mostly everyday - what is worthwhile posting up in a blog. Most bloggers give a family history. Yet for educational purposes I wonder if I should just stay with what I read, studied, learnt, and reflected upon today. (For those who really want to know, I am deliberating the disadvantages of student autonomy... ... )

Well, with a bucket and spade today I moved half of the delivered mountain of 24000kg of gravel ( crushed stones ) for re-surfacing my parking area at my home. I moved to re-cycle another 2000kg of sand - all by hand of course - and rescued three little plants that had taken root ( likely seeded by fruit pips dropped by migrating or local birds ) and re-planted these carefully in my Japanese-style garden.

Now I am not sure if all this counts as educational, but even teachers should take time out and exercise a bit.
( I don't mention the hours before dawn, and just after, spent editing and answering email ... )

These points probably say a lot about my attitude to work and helping students in need.

Anyway, this may be a self-introduction of sorts : - who I am, what I do, and how I tick.
If any of you are in the area of southern Japan, you are very welcome to freely stay over, and enjoy the mountain life in this hermit-quiet corner of Japan.

Maybe in a few days I'll post up a photo or two.
All Best Wishes

24 March 2007

Still Learning...

Hi, Now I have found we should post up our banner hereabouts.
And follow the instructions fairly accurately, so here is my new Banner.
(Technologically, I hand-drew the JCSat on powerpoint Mac, transferred to Windows to make transparent, and copied back to this Mac)
Please note, in MS powerpoint the minimum banner size is height 1" or 2.54 cm, and it cannot produce a banner, say, of dimension 2cm x 20cm. You will need a Mac for that ;)
All Best Wishes

23 March 2007

Not feeling so 'genki'...

Hi, everyone,
Well one good thing about distance education is that I can continue even with a body-temperature at 38.9 C !
Influenza is widely contagious here in Japan, but one day or so in bed should sort this out... we must thank the WestGa folks for not putting you all in the the same brick-and-mortar room as me !
Talk to you tomorrow ...
All Best Wishes

21 March 2007

My earlier blog discontinued

Hi, Some of you may have found my earlier blog, but I am trying to delete that. Maybe I will find time tomorrow to go through all the various settings - but not tonight !

19 March 2007

And this is me more recently - now I 've set my mind on action !

And this is another more recent photo ... it takes time to get ready to study. Not sure if I am ready yet, but at least I am dressed!

All Best Wishes

Takes time...

Procrastination is my weak point. Here is a photo of when I started to think about beginning to study ... ... ...

All Best Wishes

Welcome !

Welcome to this new blog for the Open Education Network, to offer learning opportunities to all, especially to students and teachers in Asia. If you have any comments, please feel free to email to me directly at kawachi@open-ed.net.
All Best Wishes