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No. 48, November 2003

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From the editor: First issue of Forum online
Based on the last print issue, 48A

Welcome to Forum online, which replaces the print publication that has existed since October of 1984. Despite the fact that I too will miss the feel of the nicely laid-out print issue in my hands, it is time to move away from print, for many reasons.

From now on, you'll be able to:

Copy and paste parts of articles to your word processor, and adapt the content to your own needs.

Search the Forum website and quickly locate articles that contain your search term. (Our search engine is elementary at this point, but will be improved.)

Receive an e-mail that lists the articles that have become available online. Click on the provided links, and immediately access the articles that interest you.

To receive an e-mail notification whenever each issue becomes available, send an e-mail to This is a one-way (from the editor to all subscribers) distribution list, not an "everybody posts" listserv. The volume of e-mails will be low. To protect you against spammers, your e-mail address will be hidden from other subscribers. After subscribing, you will have to reply to an e-mail from yahoogroups, confirming that you're a live person with a real address instead of a spammer-bot.

If you have trouble using yahoogroups, e-mail me and I will resolve your problem on an individual basis.

I will also post notification of new issues on the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC), which is now available to all authorized IB schools free of additional charge.

Access websites mentioned on the "Worth Clicking" page without having to type the URLs. You'll be able to click and go!

[Under consideration] Click on a link on the notification e-mail (or visit the Forum website) and download the entire new issue as one PDF file, rather than downloading each article separately. (What do you think about this?)

[Under construction] Access past issues of Forum. I'm delighted to say that the Forum Archives Project is well underway! The work of scanning and performing optical character recognition of issues prior to No. 43 (August 2000), begun by John Day of Springbrook High School, has received a major boost. Rick Bisset kindly suggested that Matthew Woolman, his ITGS student at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, work on the Forum Archives project. Matthew has been converting print into files at warp speed.

This cannot be a solo effort. In the spirit of our entire Forum endeavor, a team effort is essential for its success. I need you to help with the next stages. These are:

  1. Deciding which articles are worth re-publishing;
  2. Locating authors and securing permission to publish their articles on the Web;
  3. Re-editing these articles (whenever necessary, for example to adapt terminology to the current Subject Guide);
  4. Laying out the articles in HTML for publication on the Forum website.

If you are able to help with any of these, please e-mail me, stating which of the four jobs most interests you. Please write "Forum archives" on the subject line.

Issues 43 to 47 will be republished online fairly quickly. My priority right now is to set up the Forum website in Spanish.

Beyond personal advantages:

Presently, newly authorized schools have very limited access to issues of Forum published prior to their authorization. They will now be able to access these issues online.

Future TOK teachers in schools going through the authorization process need to develop a course, but didn't receive the current print issue of Forum, nor were allowed into the OCC. They will now be able to access Forum online.

The excellent peer-reviewed articles published in Forum will now be available to the public at large. I personally believe that in the past 30+ years we've developed a unique course, which our graduates appreciate even more years after they graduate from university. It's time for the world at large to become more closely acquainted with what we do, which is why Forum is being published on a public site.

Some disadvantages of Forum online:

Even if we offer, and you print out, the entire issue as one PDF file, it will not look as nice as the print issue.

Since Forum will be publicly available, we will have to be more mindful of what we publish. Some lesson plans would be rendered moot if students read the articles introducing them. Such "sensitive" information will be placed on the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC), which is accessible only to IB teachers. Thus, you will occasionally encounter, while reading an article, a link such as "[Ed.: This is detailed on the OCC]."

Important note:
If you are an IB teacher and do not yet have access to the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC), please contact your IBC.

Next project: TOK Memory Lane

In the future the earliest issues of Forum, as well as the early subject guides and teachers' guides, will be included on this website, thanks to Trevor Trumper, Sue Bastian, and John Mackenzie who are furnishing source materials. If you wish to participate in this effort to collate the history of TOK, please contact me (write "TOK memory lane" on the subject line).

I hope you enjoy this site and this issue of Forum. As always, your comments and input are welcome.

May your holidays be everything you wish for. And may you find the time to finally write up that great idea you've been using in class, and send it to us!

Lena Rotenberg
Forum editor


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Forum is jointly published online at by the International Baccalaureate Organization and Lena Rotenberg Educational Consultant, © 2000-2004. Forum is a peer-reviewed publication aiming to offer original, thoughtful articles promoting Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teaching, in a fashion that is immediately useful to teachers. It is published twice per year in English (November and May) and twice per year in Spanish (February and August). Page last modified 2 August, 2004 .