Tuesday, 28 July 2009

visual tweeterings

I have recently become aware of some excellent tools that allows us to follow the tweetings of others without the need to sign up for anythng. :O)

And......... these tools also allow us to filter out the twitter wheat from the twatter chaff> Which in my view is using the web more intelligently. The first has been out for a year or more called tweetdeck. It allows you to filter and download tweets onto UR phone or PC. People who've used it report it being very good as a way at managing the avalanche of twitterings. But it requires an install- FAIL!

The next one I was told about at an online webinar with Elliot Maise recently. During the hour webinar someone told me he was using twitter to tweet about sed webinar - and I could catch them on Twitterfall. It's a website, that essentially aggreagtes tweets. Simple & effective. And agian you can apply all sort of filters to only receive the info you want. Neat.

The third one I stumbled across yesterday from a link of Paul Andrews who has an excellent wiki covering all sorts of elearning technologies, including this informative page on all things tweetery. Back to the plot >> that twitter visualiser is called http://visibletweets.com/ and looks visually stunning, with tweets updating realtime on a plain screen. Again filters can be applied to narrow the search down. Neater, like this list of other twitter apps. Some good.

Somehow Paul Andrews has managed to emebed this visable tweet into his wiki page. Looks impressive.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

a student-centered ePortfolio space?

  • Whilst on the topic of eportfolios I have just wandered over to the eportoflio page at Queen Margaret Universitywhich is choc full of case studies and a wealth of supporting resources to help staff and students use eportfolios effectively. This page really exemplifies best practice in terms of support for all users.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Capital funding for directly funded further education colleges

Capital funding for directly funded further education colleges for 2009-10: allocations for the period August 2009 to March 2010.

Just caught wind of this,

The allocations for 2009-10 are to help raise the quality of higher education (HE) learning and teaching facilities in FECs, in order to enhance the learning experience of their HE students. We expect colleges to use the funds in ways that will support their strategy for HE most effectively. The funds may be used to contribute towards:
  • investment in equipment, particularly IT-related equipment, used in learning and teaching, and in e-learning
  • replacement of premises for learning and teaching
  • refurbishment of existing teaching spaces, particularly with regard to IT-related enhancements, including improvements to internal IT networks or supporting infrastructure.

The funds should be used for HE provision and may be subject to audit in the normal way. We recognise, however, that it may be neither feasible nor desirable to construct ring-fenced boundaries between higher and further education (FE). For example, equipment may be used by both HE and FE students. So we look to colleges to adopt a pragmatic approach, whereby the primary focus of the projects is on HE even if there are links with, and spin-off benefits at the margin for, FE.

Read more > http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/circlets/2009/cl13_09/

I've taken a screen shot of the West Midlands providers whom are directly affected. Download the spreadsheet for yourself (annex A)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Harness Power of the Crowd

The recent Times essay about the silent Chinese revolt by bloggers and millions of other online activists, who have collectively managed to scupper the flaky plans by the Chinese government to implement Green Dam, really highlights the power of social/Web2.0 tools.

Green Dam was supposed to be the latest in the long line of draconian internet censorship methods instigated by the Chinese government. It was going to take the shape of essentially a piece of spyware installed on every new PC shipped. If you want an idea just how much effort and money the Chinese government has been spending on censoring the interweb , read last year's WIRED article on the great firewall of China. It's truly shocking.

So the online masses of China issued forth, and forced a change, by using blogs, forums, youtube, twitter, facebook ,etc, etc. In a similar manner to the recent uprisings in Iran, where by video footage of crowd protests were being posted up to youtube for the whole world to witness another heavy handed state, trample over its citizens bodies and opinions. This use of online networks to allow like minded people to join up, collaborate and become bigger than the sum of it's parts is very exciting. We are witnessing the use of technologies in disruptive methods we never envisaged.

When we as trainers and educators talk about the collaborative potential of Web 2.0 we cite exemplars such as Wikipedia, and the thousands of active discussion fora we visit to harness the power of those whose experience and knowledge we want to tap into.

This new "Open Source" business model sharing and outsourcing of ideas to the "crowd" has been reported in two seminal text in recent years, the first called crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe looks at this from a new business model perspective. Read more about his book and blog, and watch the trailer below:

The other recent book that discusses this use of mass collaboration and sharing is the book and wiki, Wikinomics. I've read bits of this book, and it's very interesting from a perspective of how big business are looking to use the Open Source model to research and bring new products to market using a collaborative approach. The wiki link above is the whole book, which was the platform used to edit the book. Watch one of the editors talk about the ethos that underpins wikinomics:

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A California (pipe) Dream

Two big Californian Universities are attempting to put forward plans to create a cyber-campus. Allowing online students to recieve the same level of education as F2F delivery. Tho' the article starts off with a dramatic statement about the USA's credit crisis, and how some of the most prestigious learning organsiations can hope to stay "open". So the main driver appears to be a totally misguided comprehension that online/distance learning is very much cheaper than F2F delivery!! Oh how wrong that assumption is. Just take a look at our abismal attempt in recent years in the shape of the UK EU that fell apart before it began.

If the intention was to make flexible, engaging, acessible, and collaborative learning a reality to all of us working and wanting to up skill. Or saving teenagers the daunting propsect of a a 20K debt , by allowing them to study flexibly online, then a strong business case could be made. If it's all about the money, you'll end up with excessivly poor micro chunked "courses" of a drill and practice nature. We might as well bring Dorling Kinderlsey back, and pay them to create multimedia "learning objects" for HE! Without a trace of a collaborative/active web 2.0 tool in sight. NoOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOO

Visit the link & take a time reading the comments, it's interesting stuff. Especially the comments about the impending spectre (for some) of corporate Higher Education. It wll happen.

this comment sums it up for me:

"If the primary intent is to make money, then UC is following the same path as many other failed and/or failing online programs. If the primary intent is to provide more flexibility and options to students, then the money will follow."

Thursday, 2 July 2009

New publications

Three new publications of note, out now :

  • The e-Revolution and Post-Compulsory Education: Using e-business models to deliver quality education. The full e-book is downloadable from the main JISC site:


  • The edgeless university


David Lammy Minister for Higher Education and IPR announced a new £20m open learning innovation fund for UK universities, as part of this edgeless university initiative. Listen to the podcast : http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2009/06/podcast83davidlammy.aspx
  • Effective Practice in a Digital Age


Listen to the podcast with Sarah Knight, a JISC e-Learning programme manager, shares the success of the team’s Effective Best Practice guide series.

BTW, This has a really good pedagogic planner as a guide through the case studies. An excellent idea.

£7.8 million grant --- at long last

£7.8 million grant for shared solutions to common problems in the higher education sector

Why it's taken this long to get more funding for the OU god only knows. This is excellent news for the next phase of HE and widening participation, combating credit crunch, blended learning design, engaging learning, etc, etc.. The future looks brighter for us to benefit form the OU's expertise in moving (e)learning into the 21st century.

"HEFCE today welcomed the statement by the Prime Minister on the important role played by The Open University (OU). This coincides with an announcement by HEFCE of £7.8 million of funding to enhance the OU’s national role, and is part of the celebrations of the OU’s 40th anniversary.

HEFCE is awarding the OU funding from its Strategic Development Fund (SDF). The grant will enable universities to act collaboratively to improve student retention and deliver more flexible provision in the higher education (HE) sector.

The funding will be focused on three projects, all of which will be led by the OU with its national reach: Shared Returns, a regionally based student retention initiative; SCORE, a Support Centre for Open Resources in Education; and an Academic Partnership Hub which will move the sector towards more flexible education offerings."

READ more on the HEFCE website