Tag Archives: VLE

bookmarks for February 17th, 2010 through February 18th, 2010

bookmarks for February 14th, 2010

bookmarks for November 6th, 2009 through November 12th, 2009

  • The Millennial Muddle: How Stereotyping Students Became an Industry – Student Affairs – The Chronicle of Higher Education – A close and thorough look at three or four ways of analyzing and grouping students. Opens up a general critique of the method and those who base their assumptions and actions on the results. Valuable for FYC.

    ""There's this expectation that your No. 1 job is to pander to this exotic alien consumer," says Mr. Vaidhyanathan, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. "At that point, you cease being a teacher and you are simply selling yourself to an audience that might not be interested in buying.""

    says Mr. Vaidhyanathan. "Generational thinking is just a benign form of bigotry, in which you flatten out diversity. This is debilitating to the job of trying to work with young people."

    "Some folks are using this as a template and a cookbook," Mr. Bonner says of Millennials descriptions. "It makes it very difficult to see and understand variations because people who don't fit the recipe may be viewed as outliers. That anesthetizes nuances." – (fyc socialpractices social_learning teaching students_as_customers )

  • An absolutely riveting online course: Nine principles for excellence in web-based teaching – V good overview article, mainly because it mentions, if not develops, implications and human requirements for each of the principles. Beneath it all: Excellent DE courses depend on excellent teachers.

    This article explores excellence in web-based teaching. Drawing on the views of experts in the field and the perspective of their own years of experience, the authors compiled a list of 9 principles to provide direction in the search for online excellence. The principles include: the online world is a medium unto itself; sense of community and social presence are essential to online excellence; in the online world, content is a verb; great online courses are defined by teaching, not technology. The list is not intended to be an exclusive set of principles or a comprehensive guide to online teaching. Rather it is a collection of important ideas and suggestions for teaching excellence in the online world. – (DE ple vle onlinelearning OU OpenUniversity )

bookmarks for April 17th through May 26th

A catch-up post while reactivating postalicious.

some notes on using the iPhone as a notes reader that ends in paper inertia

What I’d like to do

Make docs and some images available from a desktop and laptop to iPhone for reference and for use in classes. These are mainly rtf notes, but I’d also like to access to pdfs for articles.

I keep my course and research notes in DevonThink. They get into DT in a number of different ways, but I work on them mainly in DT.

Ways to go about it

  • Use an online notetaker like Evernote. Problem: Files aren’t available without network.
  • Use a wiki. Problem: Can be hard to read in a browser, doesn’t handle pdf, and see above.
  • Well, use a wiki and Instapaper. Store the notes on a wiki, then then read it on the phone with Instapaper. Problem: Need to remember to hit the page with Instapaper twice: Once to store the page, and a second time before class to store it on the phone, in case the network goes down.
  • Use a utility to transfer files from desktop to iPhone. Problem: Sometimes the file is on my desktop, sometimes on a laptop. Issue: I’d rather not run Yet Another Client on the desktop to make files available. Using a browser is only slightly less clunky.
  • Print everything out.

I’ve eliminated a few utilities that I’ve tried (DataCase, Air Sharing, NoteBooks), which seems to leave me with two options.

OneDisk. Accesses iDisk files and folders. Needs MobileMe. Clear interface, landscape view. Can email files from the app. No luck reading a Numbers page, but it’s supposed to. The pdf reader is as good as any. Can set bookmarks and create folders.

Briefcase. VPN, I think. Uploads and downloads from phone to computer via Bonjour. No desktop utility needed. Can access any folder on the computer. Interface similar to that of OneDisk. Landscape view. Reads the usual suspects.

In both cases, getting files onto the phone requires some planning – nothing major, but planning akin to – and no less hassle than – printing out the notes. Planning means forgetting.

Using OneDisk, files have to be uploaded to iDisk from the computer, and then downloaded to the phone. Upload times can be a longish for larger documents. Upload now; download later.

With Briefcase, files have to be loaded directly to the phone using the phone near the desktop. Transfer now. Read later.

From a step back, the whole idea of moving notes to the phone for reference in class seems about the same as printing stuff out.

Even worse. The problem isn’t just in transferring stuff but reading it. Unless they are formatted with screen reading in mind, notes are difficult to read on a mobile device. Pdfs are just too difficult to read on a small screen. Pdf is for paper. My best luck so far has been with some rtfs – using 14 pt Helvetica, which is what I use when I print out the notes.

What I need – when going from desktop to phone top – is an app that will reformat .doc and .rtf files for reading on the phone.

And that might lead back to Instapaper. It’s the formatting and the local storage that help.

Then there’s the consideration of going the other way: from the phone to the desktop.

Makes me want to just make a paper notebook (video) -but my handwriting is unreadable and, well … Paper, that just defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it.

Any other ideas?

Other links


yancey and writing in the 21st century

studio photoKathleen Black Yancey in her recent NCTE report Writing in the 21st Century (pdf) touched a chord for mobile teaching of writing.

Yancey sketches a 19th and 20th century history of writing in America, and mentions the changing spaces of composing, from pen and ink, to pencil, to ballpoint, to typewriter, to stand-alone PC, to networked PC/camera.

Here, she centers on a few observations that take me into mobile learning and mobile learning software.

  • Our current model(s) of composing are located largely in print, and it’s a model that culminates in publication. When composers blog as a form of invention or prewriting, rather than as a form of publication (which I did in composing this text: see kbyancey@wordpress.org ), what does that do to our print-based model(s) of composing that universally culminate in publication?
  • […]
  • How do we define a composing practice that is interlaced and interwoven with email, text-messaging, and web-browsing? As Mark Poster observes, composing at the screen today isn’t composing alone: it’s composing in the company of others. How does that change our model(s) of composing?
  • How does access to the vast amount and kinds of resources on the web alter our model(s)?

Composing is ubiquitous, Yancey claims in a statement designed to redefine the teaching of composing from K – 12 on. And so sites of composing are open for teaching and learning on the fly. But on the fly doesn’t mean without pedagogy. It means that because we can’t control the environment for composing or teaching composing, we need a strong, well-grounded pedagogy

I’m all for saying goodbye to the print-based aims and means of composing, but people are still heavily invested in it. It’s safe, known, bounded, academic. I watch students draft and edit in Word then paste a finished version into the wiki for presentation. They love that grammar checker, spelling checker, and word count; they love that double spacing; they love that paper. They love it because they have developed writing practices suited to paper from working with paper – like interlinear editing – and have yet to become deft at online and networked versions of those practices.

Anyway, a few points for mobile teaching and learning, starting from Yancey:

  • Where in a composing process based on paper (the model students bring with them) would a second or third person enter – and how? By IM, txt, email, comment? a look over the shoulder? Where in the process is the trial balloon of posting ideas and chunks to a blog or wiki for feedback from others? What does the text look like at that point? It might be ThreadMode on a wiki, or something less structured, or (yikes) something more structured. (Going to articulated sentences too early in the process make it difficult to rip them down to restructure.)
  • What has to be unlearned or challenged as the site of composing changes?
  • Look to how txt poetry has been composed for a start, and look to how people compose txts. The other morning, I watched a woman compose and send a 3 line txt msg on her qwerty phone between ordering, paying for, waiting for a coffee. On other mornings, when the coffee line was long, I composed and snapped a pic, annotated it with a note – about waiting in line – and posted it to Brightkite for whoever was looking in. What’s the process engaged there? What’s the exigence?
  • Composing goes on between other activites in the same composing space. Even as I compose this blog post, I’m doing some directory maintenance on a server, flipping between composing in ecto and deleting files in Transmit – and still having time on my hands while wait. Not two writing tasks, but two tasks. Walking and chewing gum.
  • To teach composing open to mobile learning, we may have to start with writing that stays online, that is not meant for print. Change the ends – the delivery – and the means might have to change.
  • Look at the physical, social, and cognitive activities that people engage and draw on when composing in the interlaced social space – composing in the company of others – to develop a model of composing. Start with the environs.

And then consider what a mobile course in 21st century composing might look like.

weblog projects starting up

Mr Blue Sky.jpgProjects for Weblogs and Wikis will be starting up this coming weekend. Proposals are due today, approved Friday, with any requested revisions due Monday. And in keeping with student projects, I need to start one of my own.

I’ll post regularly for the next eight weeks on Twitter, Brightkite, Tumblr, Flickr and mobile learning. There are a few blogs to monitor, blogs that have posted and are regularly posting on micro-blogging, virtual learning environments, and mobile learning

I also have a set of notes in a courses database to draw on and bring in. But one of the first steps is going to be a more thorough search of Twitter/Brightkite projects and VLEs..

Interest in Twitter is a no-brainer. But I’m also interested in the way Brightkite ties micro-blogging to physical place and how it encourages posting images of place. In a similar vein, Tumblr facilitates quick collections of images, quotes, sound, and video without the drive to comment on the material; it also allows following of friends . Flckr, too, is a collection pool that, with tagging and following, becomes a resource.

Move access to these platforms to mobile phones and we have the possibility of mobile learning.

I’m not interested in Facebook. As it become more ridden with apps and advertising, it loses its focus for teaching and learning. A messy VLE.

A title for this project? Try Hunting and Gathering Materials for Mobile Teaching and Learning. Staid? Yep. But here’s a video. A little slow paced, but it makes a solid point in the final shot, and the soundtrack is ELO. ELO on VLE. WTF. Jeff Lind and ex-partner.