• Web/Tech

    An academic LinkedIn

    Typepad are promoting a LinkedIn widget, so I thought I’d check out the site and created a profile. If you haven’t seen it, then it’s kind of a business-oriented MySpace with a bit of FriendsReunited thrown in. They make a big play of the power of connectivity, and I can see how it would be useful for those headhunting (or likely to be headhunted), particularly in the IT industry, or those looking for venture capital. It was very US oriented obviously. I felt as though it was too business-oriented to be much use to me though (although I’m always up for a bit of consultancy if you want). But one…

  • patents,  VLE,  web 2.0

    What BB’s patent really tells you about them

    I gave the keynote at the BB users’ conference yesterday in Durham. As I have blogged before I had some reservations about this. I think it was worthwhile though – I talked about web 2.0 and some of the usual VLE topics I have covered (succession, metaphors, future directions, etc). From a BB audience perspective the key slide was one that focused on the patent where I played the YouTube movie on software patents, gave some of Michael Feldstein’s interpretations of the patent, and linked it back to the succession model. The Blackboard company representatives in the audience looked a little unhappy with this, although slightly battle weary too –…

  • Learning Design,  web 2.0

    A dash of 2.0

    I was up in London yesterday visiting Diana Laurillard to talk about their Pedagogic Planner project (which is part of the JISC D4L programme along with our own D4LD project). I was quite impressed with what they’ve done. They’ve taken a pragmatic approach which allows users to define a course using some of the standard data (e.g. learning outcomes, number of hours, etc), and then added a layer of pedagogic planning to this that builds on Diana’s conversational framework (although it could be any approach and is likely to be extended). They have framed it around a number of questions learners want answers for and then matched these with exemplars.…

  • e-learning,  patents

    I patent it

    Scott Wilson points to another ludicrous patent – this time someone’s trying to do a landgrab on community based learning. The fact that it is laughable is what’s so worrying – being blatantly stupid is no guarantee against something being accepted. I want to get these potential patents in now, so if anyone does try and patent them I can claim prior exposure: Gaming – any computer based system where the user manipulates a virtual character through a simulated world, according to rules determined by the system. The world is divided into different stages of levels which the user must demonstrate increased proficiency to gain access to. The user gains…

  • Dad,  VLE

    LAMS conference

    I had submitted a paper to the first LAMS conference in Sydney. However, it clashed with the date of my daughter’s school concert, so in an attempt to win a good dad prize I prioritised the concert. They still wanted the paper however, so I came in via Skype with James Dalziel working the powerpoint that end. At 12.15am then last night I was giving a talk while the wind howled outside in Cardiff to an audience immersed in the heat of a Sydney summer. It went quite well (I think) – I should do all my talks like this, sitting in my back room with a cup of tea…

  • web 2.0

    RSS as universal acid

    My colleague Tony Hirst has been exploring the use of RSS to deliver regular (academic) content, using FeedCycle. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about this, but Tony has been exploring these issues for a while, and it seems like the content and the technology side are converging to give him what he wants. I’m always impressed when something relatively simple like RSS that was developed for one purpose begins to have new found applications. There are some quite subtle implications to Tony’s delivery of content – for a start it allows the user to control the pace. It also provides an easy means of syndicating content, which rather reduces the concept…

  • e-learning

    I’m an academic, disintermediate me now

    In the past week I have used the word ‘disintermediation’ twice, almost without embarrassment. It may be an ugly term but it is an important concept. Admittedly these two occurrences were in academic conversations, I didn’t use it down the pub or anything, but they were in different contexts which demonstrates that it is one of those ideas that has some currency. (If you’re not sure what it means – it is the removal of intermediaries and it’s often the result of technology e.g. the word processor disintermediated typing pools). In education terms the easy to use VLE has (to an extent) disintermediated a lot instructional designers – the educator…

  • Books

    publishers not getting it

    I asked my publisher if I could make some chapters of my forthcoming book freely available on line. After a month of deliberation they have come back with a ‘no’ from the rights department (but I could link to their contents page if I wanted – gee, thanks). I sighed with the inevitability of it. They just don’t get it do they, publishers? On a purely capitalist  note putting out a few chapters is a very effective marketing ploy. People will read a couple but are unlikely to find all they want and so, my guess, will be more likely to buy the book. A slightly less direct effect is…

  • Web/Tech

    Gift finder

    This is quite neat – a gift finder, presumably based on some data mining principles. I did it for myself and my wife – it came up with some good suggestions. I must have indicated some rather whimsical, tree-hugging options at some point as some of them were a bit along the magic crystal line for my liking, but generally they were okay.

  • Books

    What does an index say about you?

    I’m currently compiling the index for my VLE book. I could have had a professional indexer do it, but that would come out of royalties, which are scant enough, so I thought I’d do it myself (there are times when academic publishing veers perilously close to vanity publishing). I figured as I knew the content it wouldn’t take me long, right? Wrong. It is an arduous process, but that aside it reveals four things: i) Why do I include some terms and not others? One is placed in the position of having to guess what readers will want to find in an index. ii) Do a search for a term…