A Friend Passes

Artist, inventor, innovator, collaborator and colleague Philip V.W. Dodds passed away on Saturday morning. Please help me recognize and celebrate his accomplishments and the lives he continues to touch.

I tried to write this yesterday and just couldn’t. I truly believe the elearning community would not have SCORM as it is today without Philip’s contributions as a visionary thinker, organizer, architect and evangelist. He was a man of art and a man of science. He loved technology, yet took great pride and active participation in true and faithful restorations to his historic home. He was drawing electronic circuits on blackboards at an early age, did R&D at ARP Instruments and Kurzweil Music, and led the charge to make CD-ROMs and sound cards a standard part of personal computers through his efforts with IMA and the MPC “Multimedia PC” standards efforts in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I’d encourage you to learn more about him real soon now, courtesy of a page available through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Meantime, here is what Elliott Masie had to share about Philip in a message to the Learning Consortium:

“What are we saying to each other?”

That was a single line, spoken by the sound engineer at the end of Close Encounters of a Third Kind, as he played chords and a friendly alien spaceship played music back.

The role was played by a young sound engineer who was spotted by Steven Spielberg and given the on-screen role to be the interface between these two worlds. That man, Philip Dodds, was still young and inventing, as he passed this Saturday morning.

Philip Dodds was the Chief Architect of SCORM and the force behind sharable and reusable content. He was deeply involved in the evolution of interactive multimedia and expanding the possibilities for learning via technology.

If you use a Learning Management System, author an interactive learning module or talk about the future of Web 2.0, take a moment to thank a man who you probably never met. Philip’s work was KEY and CRITICAL to the exciting world of learning, knowledge management and collaboration that we take for granted.

Philip’s dreams were to create a global set of standards and specifications that would allow content to be searchable, reusable and expandable.

Philip, we thank you for all that you have done and we’ll keep asking that question: “What are we saying to each other?”

With respect and sadness,

Elliott Masie

P.S. wikipedia reference at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Dodds

UPDATE: I cross-posted this to the AICC News Blog, and received a comment that suggests we share our memories of Philip there. If you’d like to post a comment on this topic, please do so at the corresponding post on the AICC News Blog- The Passing of Philip V.W. Dodds.