Association for Learning Technology Online Newsletter
Issue 6 October 2006   Monday, October 30, 2006

ISSN 1748-3603

Cover Page »
Feature article
ALT-C 2006: summaries of conference themes
Blogs, buddies, wikis and wine: reviews of ALT-C 2006
Case studies
Interactive game-based learning
Rapid development of media-rich, interactive e-learning
Project updates
Federated access management
Conference reviews
EuroCALL goes virtual: from Granada to Cyberspace
ALT news
Director's report
Executive Secretary's report
News from the Netherlands
Publications from the SURF e-learning website
JISC Updates
Game On for learning
Subscribe / Remove
Privacy policy

ALT Website

ALT-N online
Past Issues
Issue 5, July 2006
July 11, 2006
Issue 4 April 2006
April 27, 2006
Issue 3, January 2006
January 30, 2006
Issue 2
October 24, 2005
Issue 1
August 5, 2005
Executive Secretary's report
News from Seb Schmoller

New organisational and sponsoring membership tariffs
We have completed the transition to the new “banded” organisational and sponsoring membership tariffs. This means that membership fees for 2007 will all fall due on 1/2/2007, which is the start of ALT’s financial year, with renewal invoices being issued towards the end of 2006. Meanwhile 8 organisations have now joined ALT for the first time, at the new, and for many organisations, substantially lower rates. You can check if your organisation is a member on the ALT web site. If you have any issues to raise regarding this, please email me.

ALT Strategy
I reported in ALT-N 54 that the Central Executive Committee has been in the process of completely revising the ALT three-year strategy. By the time you read this, the revised strategy should be accessible from the ALT home page at In future years, we expect to involve individual, organisational, and sponsoring members more closely in the process of developing the strategy, than has previously been the case.

People who play a role in ALT, and the decisions they take
We recently added to the ALT web site a page of brief biographies of members of the ALT Central Executive Committee. You can review this at: By the end of this year we will also include on the site a list of all past Trustees of ALT, as well as the memberships of each of our four main committees: Further Education, Membership Services, Research, and Publications. Alongside this, during 2007 we will start to publish the approved minutes of ALT committees.

Bob Green
You will be aware that we appointed Bob Green to cover for Marion Samler (neé O’Dea) whilst she was on maternity leave. Marion returned on 2 October, and Bob will finish with us on 13 October. I would like to place on record ALT’s and my personal thanks to Bob for stepping into the breach as he did, and making such an effective job of things. Bob is now having a very belated “gap-year” of world travel, with his partner Jan. We wish him all the very best.

Consultation responses
Over the last few months we have produced three responses to public consultations on:
· JISC 2007-2009 Strategy;
· Pursuing Excellence: QIA’s outline national Improvement Strategy for the further education system;
· the DfES consultation on the reform of higher education research assessment and funding.
All 3 responses are accessible from the ALT web site at, and if you have feedback on any of them, please email me.

Software patents
Members will be aware of the work ALT did, and in which Paul Bacsich, Chair of the ALT Publications Committee, played a key role, with Blackboard and with Desire2Learn (both of which are sponsoring members of ALT) to clarify their positions in relation to Blackboard’s US Patent Number 6988138 "for technology used for internet-based education support systems and methods". The notes of our teleconference with Matthew Small, Blackboard’s General Legal Counsel – see – have to date been accessed nearly 2000 times. Interestingly both companies point to the notes of this discussion from their web sites; and Desire2Learn references them in its initial court response to Blackboard’s patent infringement claim. Currently ALT has no policy on software patents, and over the next few months we will be deciding whether or not to develop one.

Seb Schmoller

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