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Umberto Eco: The Virtual Imagination

"But many internet programs suggest that a story is enriched by successive contributions. … This has sometimes happened in the past without disturbing authorship. With the Commedia dell'arte, every performance was different. We cannot identify a single work due to a single author. Another example is a jazz jam session. We may believe there is a privileged performance of 'Basin Street Blues' because a recording survives. But there were as many Basin Street Blues as there were performances. ... There are books that we cannot rewrite because their function is to teach us about Necessity, and only if they are respected as they are can they provide us with such wisdom. Their repressive lesson is indispensable to reach a higher state of intellectual and moral freedom."

(Umberto Eco, 7 November 2000)



2000authorial signatureauthoritative workauthorship • Basin Street Blues • biographybooks • books-to-be-read • booksellersbookstoresCinderella • closed universe • Commedia dellarte • comprehending languagecomputers • copying machine • e-bookelectronic literatureencyclopaediaend of booksend of print • enriched by successive contributions • every performance is different • evolving formfairy talefatefolioFranz Kafkafuture of the book • god passed over • grammatical rulesheroeshypertexthypertext fiction • hypertextual programme • hypertextual structures • Immanuel Kant • infinite possibilities • infinite texts • intellectual freedom • intellectual needs • jazz jam session • Les Miserables • library catalogue • linear narrative • linearityLittle Red Riding Hoodmanuscripts • moral freedom • Napoleon Bonapartenatural language • necessity • new forms of literacy • obsolete form • open work • Penguin edition • photocopierprint on demand • printed books • printed version • privileged performance • publishing houses • publishing modelreaderly textsreading • reading process • revisionscanningselectionshift to digital • single author • specificity of print • systems and text • tailored consumer experience • texts which can be interpreted in infinite ways • theories of interpretation • tragic beauty • tragic literature • Umberto Eco • unlimited texts • utilitarian value • Victor Hugo • War and Peace • Waterloo • William Shakespeare


Simon Perkins
02 JULY 2010

Microlearning: learning from microcontent

"We understand microlearning primarily as learning from microcontent – from "small pieces, loosely joined" (Weinberger, 2002).

Microlearning as a term reflects the emerging reality of the everincreasing fragmentation of both information sources and information units used for learning, especially in fast–moving areas which see rapid development and a constantly high degree of change.

While in the past a single authoritative work (or even a single authoritative teacher) may have been all that was necessary to sufficiently acquaint oneself with a given topic of interest, this is increasingly untrue, especially as the necessity to (quickly) learn (a lot) extends into almost everyone's work life.

Books, magazine articles, a multitude of web resources (like online books, tutorials, encyclopedias, forum and weblog postings, emails and comprehensive teaching material collections as produced by MIT's OpenCourseWare project or the Connexions effort hosted at Rice University) form essential ingredients of the source mix of almost any non–institutionalized learning effort – and, increasingly, of many institutionalized efforts as well.

Fragmentation of sources has both positive and negative aspects. From a producer's standpoint, information fragments are much easier to create than larger works. Furthermore, disaggregated content – theoretically – can be re–aggregated to optimally suit an individual learner's preferences (instead of the needs of an idealized common denominator). The other side of the coin is that a significant fraction of the consolidation and organization effort is shifted towards the learner.

It will increasingly be the task of microlearning management systems to assist the learner (or group of learners) to consolidate information gleaned from such disparate sources into a coherent whole. We see personal knowledge mapping as enabled by combined wiki/weblog software as a first step in that direction."

(Christian Langreiter, Andreas Bolka, 2005)

Weinberger, D.: 2002, Small Pieces Loosely Joined. Perseus Books.

[2] Langreiter, C. and A. Bolka (2005). Snips & Spaces: Managing Microlearning. Microlearning Conference. Innsbruck, Austria.



2005authoritative workauthorshipcoherenceConnexions Consortium • consolidation • contentcontextdigital education • disaggregation • disparate sources • encyclopaediafragmentationinformation • information fragments • information in contextinstructionintegration • knowledge chunks • learnerlearninglifelong learning • magazine articles • microcontentmicrolearningmicrolearning management systemMIT • online books • online tutorialsOpen Educational Resources (OER) • OpenCourseWare project • orderingorganisationpaedagogypedagogypersonal knowledge mapping • re-aggregation • Rice Universitysnippet • sources • teachingteaching materialstraining • web resources • weblogwholewiki


Simon Perkins

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