Monday, October 31, 2005


Canadian FlagA brand new site this month. Out of SFU, Vancouver, BC, this is a multi-featured forum that "...brings together individuals who share an interest in education research and practice. Membership is free and open to everyone."

Blaze Media Pro

Looks like a truly all-in-one application for most things you'll need in preparing your course for the internet. Audio/Video Editing, Converter Software. It's worth a visit to their site to see its many features & capabilities. Here's an excerpt from AudioVideoSoft's Review:
"Powerhouse all-in-one multimedia software offering conversion, ripping, editing, recording, burning, playback (including full playlist and full screen video support), and much more. Powerful, yet easy to use audio, video (VCD/SVCD/DVD), and data CD/DVD burning are all fully supported. Other advanced features include video capture, video creation/joining/extraction, video editing, batch video processing, media management, audio merge, MusicID audio recognition, music lyrics search, audio tag editing, CDDB/CDDB2/FreeDB support, and more. The audio content of video files can be extracted and saved to sound files, and frames can also be extracted to images files in batch mode. Video files can also be created from still frame images and/or other videos."
Given all that, the price tag ($50 USD) isn't too bad. Free trial available.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Proof of Learning: Assessment in Serious Games

" and repurposed game technology, collectively called "serious games," have yet to be fully embraced by educators. It's not enough to declare that "games teach" and leave it at that. Teachers aren't going to hand out a game to a bunch of students and simply trust that the students have learned the material. Serious games, like every other tool of education, must be able to show that the necessary learning has occurred. Specifically, games that teach also need to be games that test. Fortunately, serious games can build on both the long history of traditional assessment methods and the interactive nature of video games to provide testing and proof of learning."

Problem Solving: Collaborative Learning Online

Elizabeth Stacey, Deakin University, offers details of her own case study on "Redesigning an online course in teaching online to suit a new courseware management system." You can hear the entire study by audio, or in text summary with select relevant sections linked within the text. "Reflecting on her learners and her experiences, Elizabeth covers areas such as her involvement as a teacher, learners taking on roles as ‘experts’ and ‘technical collaborators’ and the frustrations some learners experienced. Of particular interest were comparisons with previous experiences in terms of contribution and structure of communication.

Teaching Online

Deakin University offers a rich site that
"contains innovative cases of practice in the development and use of traditional and digital media and online environments. summaries of cases, listen to intereviews with teachers, gain access to extra resources and explore the world of online teaching and learning at Deakin."

Global Education Teaching Resources

Canadian Flag There are 18 new lesson plans on the Global Classroom website, for both elementary and secondary grades, as well as a new section on methodologies. The Global Classroom project was launched in 2003 by the BCTF (British Columbia Teachers' Federation) and the Canadian International Development Agency.
"This website contains unit plans designed for teachers, by teachers. The units explore the themes of global education across the grades and across the curriculum. The units contain all of the necessary handouts and materials to be easily utilized in the classroom setting and are consistent with the outcomes of the BC Curriculum."

The Electronic Portfolio Boom: What's it All About?

Greta Holt (see her own exemplary portfolio) says this
" a great resource to explain the use of ePortfolios. The emphasis is on the evolution of this dynamic tool that can help learners and instructors constantly maintain accomplishments, evaluate development (learning/teaching) and is used for reflection to set goals in all aspects of one's life. ...In summary an ePortfolio is associated with assessment, accreditation, reflection, student resumes, and career tracking." - BC's online portfolio solution

Canada Brent Sawatsky of Cool School says,
"It manages the BC grad requirements, creates a secure community, and is all web based and easy-to-use for students and teachers."
Note: Left column front page links to a tour and also to a web cast on CoolPortfolio done at BC Campus June /05, explaining more about CoolPortfolio.
"Although educational trends point toward the greater use of portfolios, forward-thinking teachers and administrators are overwhelmed with the challenge of managing all those portfolios. That's where we fit in! We've created an online host for your students' portfolios that takes away the management issues and allows for peer evaluation, teacher control, no advertising, secure privacy, comments, discussions, and more!"
There is an annual school fee for membership, based on numbers of students.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Course Management Systems

This Edu-Tools site has a fairly up-to-date list of systems, and contains product descriptions, reviews, and comparisons.

How to get RSS feeds into WebCT courses

Here are a few methods:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Digital Story Telling

This is a site of resource links prepared by David Brear under the categories of Articles, Assignments, Associations, Background, Definition, Digital Resources, Elements, Festivals, Guides, Links, Samples, and Workshops.

David opens with this quote: "Digital storytelling begins with the notion that in the not too distant future, sharing one's story through multiple medium of imagery, text, voice, sound, music, video and animation will be the principal hobby of the world's people." [Anonymous] Now doesn't that sound like blogging!

David Brear teaches in Coquitlam, BC, Canada and offers a site of education resources listed under a wide variety of headings.

Online Educational Resources

From the Illinois Online Network, a categorized site rich with resources
"dealing with various aspects of online education and the online environment in general. ION has been developing these resources since the mid 1990's... This is not a comprehensive search engine of links to online education information but rather a comprehensive collection of documents produced by ION along with some selected outside links when they are found to be exemplary to the information needed (especially in IP and Online Ed Info sections)."

World Lecture Hall

From the Center for Instructional Technologies, a unit of the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment, at The University of Texas at Austin.
"Free online course materials from around the world."

Learning Styles in Adult Education

An article from 5/23/00.
"Learning styles cannot easily be changed. On the other hand, strategies are dynamic and adaptable to situations. It is not enough to develop an awareness of one’s learning style (for the student) and an awareness of the learning styles of a population of students (for the teacher), this awareness must be translated into a zone of comfort for learning and teaching strategies, respectively."

Principles of Online Design

Developed by Florida Gulf Coast University, this document covers the topics of instructional design, interaction & feedback, instructional media, course management, and support services.
"The purpose of this document is to provide a resource to faculty who are designing online instructional materials. ...a set of principles for using technology as an instructional tool."

Handbook for Instructors on the Use of Electronic Class Discussion

"This handbook provides advice for instructors on one particular use of instructional technology-the use of electronic communication to extend class discussion beyond the time and place of class meetings. It is based on a study of several Ohio State classes that employed such electronic class discussions, recommendations of students and faculty, and advice from experts in the field. The main goal of the handbook is to help instructors use this form of technology thoughtfully and effectively, given their course goals."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Podcasting in Education

This article isn't really about how to adapt a popular technology as a way to pass on course information. It's a comprehensive look at the whole phenomenon of podcasting, along with a discussion of the reasons pro and con using it as on of the many teaching/learning technolgoies.
"For educators, the implications of Apple’s embrace of podcasting are both exciting and troubling. The development is exciting because students will have a free, easy-to-use, dual-platform (Windows and Mac) audio-content manager that will help make podcasting pervasive and effective. Even more important for educators, the new version of iTunes enables enhanced podcasts that offer a chapter function, allowing the listener to jump directly to sections within a podcast. Each of these sections can be accompanied by an image and by a clickable URL. Since one of the challenges with audio feeds has always been that of making individual parts of the feed directly accessible, encoding chapters within podcasts (as opposed to dividing the audio into tracks, each of which would need to be downloaded separately) is a very attractive feature. Why is Apple’s embrace of podcasting troubling to educators? Because this easy-to-use audiocontent manager just happens to sit inside a store that sells music."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

e-Learning Mega Glossary

At the eLearning Guru site.

Comprehensive Guide to a Professional Blog Site

"This Guide addresses about 100 individual 'how to' blogging topics and lessons, all geared to the content-focused and not occasional blogger. The Guide itself occupies 80 pages. It is all free. ... In this Guide you will find discussion of these useful topics:
  • How to choose blogging software and add-on tools
  • Taking control of the blogging process by hosting your own site
  • Getting your blog to display and perform right
  • Effective techniques for converting existing documents to your blog site HTML
  • Being efficient in posting, organizing and work-flowing to allow your diarist activities to flow naturally and productively
  • Keeping the blog site pump primed with fresh and relevant content."

Getting the Most from Online Learning

The link is to a 4 page summary of the book, which you can buy via eLearning Guru. The summary is a good article in itself so I thought it was worth linking.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Plagiarism Resource Site

"Intended as a clearinghouse for information on plagiarism, the site is especially concerned with news, developments, and resources that consider the issue in the context of undergraduate teaching and learning."

ODP - Open Directory Project: Resource Listings

"The largest human-edited directory on the web."
A categorized resource listing of over 5 million sites. Find resources FAST!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Interactive Resources for Physics Education

From the site wwwtools For Education, click the title above for a page chock full of commented links, all addressing the combined topic of Interactivity & Physics. Software, websites, books, reference materials, and more.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blackboard and WebCT Announce Plans to Merge

Well there's the original announcement at the Blackboard site, if you're one of the people who hasn't heard yet. And here's the news on WebCT's site

V2F: Easy Web Video

Convert various formats to Flash. Very easy to use, and quickly. Makes the files much smaller, so no big downloads. No confusing choices about players for your viewers -- everybody has a Flash Player these days.
"You need a tool that will take your standard video file (.avi, .mpg, .wmv, etc.) and do several things, all with the click of a button:
  • Compress the heck out of it so it plays on the web, but retains the quality level of the original file
  • Add Player Controls (Stop, Play, Fast Forward, Rewind) to the outputted video
  • Create the HTML code to paste on your web site
  • Create a file that plays right on your web site, without having to download a large file or load a player like Media Player, QuickTime, or Real Player."

Memorable Solutions: Blog Tutorial

Michael Chaffin:
"Weblogs employ a new technology which enhances the experience for both the publisher (author, in the case of weblogs) and the reader. The problem with these new websites is that many people don’t understand them, and more importantly, the power it gives them."

How to Get Into Blogs, 101

"The purpose of this post is to give the many people who still haven't gotten into blogs - i.e. not my regular readers - a simple, step by step example of how to dip a toe in the blogging waters."

Friday, October 14, 2005

IMS Learning Design Resources

This site is for anyone working with or evaluating IMS Learning Design, or similar specifications. The public areas of this site provide resources for understanding and working with IMS Learning Design.

Learning Design Specification: IMS

IMS Global Learning Consortium provides details about the IMS Specifications we're hearing so much about these days.
"The IMS Learning Design specification supports the use of a wide range of pedagogies in online learning. Rather than attempting to capture the specifics of many pedagogies, it does this by providing a generic and flexible language. This language is designed to enable many different pedagogies to be expressed. The approach has the advantage over alternatives in that only one set of learning design and runtime tools then need to be implemented in order to support the desired wide range of pedagogies. The language was originally developed at the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL), after extensive examination and comparison of a wide range of pedagogical approaches and their associated learning activities, and several iterations of the developing language to obtain a good balance between generality and pedagogic expressiveness."

Recognising Learning: Educational and pedagogic issues in e-Portfolios

A paper presented by Graham Attwell at the e-Portfolio conference in Cambridge at the end of October/05.
"It is argued that insufficient attention has been paid to the pedagogy of e-portfolio development and that existing applications and implementations tend to be overly dominated by the requirements of assessment. The paper looks at the different pedagogic processes involved in the development of an e-portfolio. It considers the competences required for developing and maintaining an e-portfolio. The final section considers the challenges in developing e-portfolio applications."

Student Achievement ~ What Should We Really Be Measuring?

Canadian Flag From Lessons in Learning, a publication from Canadian Council on Learning.
"How much and how well are our children learning in school? Do they have the skills to succeed in tomorrow’s world? Are they prepared to meet the prerequisites of pursuing further education, to face the demands of the labour market and to become active citizens of our society? Parents, students, employers, and the general public all want the answer to these questions, and governments and educators have designed a range of tools for monitoring and reporting learning outcomes and performance to measure the success of our learning systems. ...An understanding of a variety of measures of success is necessary for all education partners – from parents and students to government decision makers – to determine what is working and what needs improvement. Assessment of results provides an opportunity for jurisdictions to compare strategies with each other and with other countries. They are the basis for improvement in education at all levels of the system."

Sunday, October 9, 2005

WebCT CE4.1 Orientations

Terrie McAloney (BCcampus) has put together orientations to WebCT CE4.1 for both instructors and students. (Terrie posted this to a BC Online Communities forum with the note: "Please forward to any interested faculty or students for their use.")

  • Faculty Orientation: This is an orientation to all the tools of WebCT from the designer/faculty perspective. You can search and print documents on all the tools in WebCT. ID and password are both FacultyWebCT

  • Student Orientation: ID and password are both StudentWebCT

Saturday, October 8, 2005


"Award winning multi-platform PC Remote Control software offering an unrivalled range of standard features. ...Use this class leading training software solution to Instruct, Monitor and Collaborate with your networked Students. Control + Monitor Student PCs, create Instant Student Surveys, design and send Custom Tests, monitor Web + Internet activity and conduct class forums."
A colleague/mentor, Bernie Kirkey, says:
"In my proctored exams, where I might have up to 80 students writing at one time, I use NetSupport to handle most of the problems [with cheating]. It allows remote monitoring of student displays, web blocking, and application blocking to help me control what's happening at each desk."

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Open Workbench - FREE Project Management Tool

Complete Desktop Project Planning and Scheduling. Apparently targeted at the business world, this could be a fantastic tool to introduce to your students for group project management.
"Open Workbench is an open source Windows-based desktop application that provides robust project scheduling and management functionality. ...All projects proceed through a series of tasks (or stages) during their lifecycle. By using Open Workbench, these critical tasks or stages become more manageable, making projects more likely to succeed. Open Workbench enables project managers to create work breakdown structures with tasks and milestones, set baselines, schedule project plans with dependencies, assign resources to tasks, schedule work on tasks over a period of time, adjust the schedule as actual work is recorded, link master and subprojects and schedule resources across them, and conduct earned value analysis."

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Pink Flamingos

A brief tribute to my site's mascot -- a little history and perspective on the Pink Flamingo. From a site called Useless Information: Stuff You Never Needed To Know But Your Life Would Be Incomplete Without, here's the TRUE story of the familiar plastic bird. "So Tacky, Yet So Cool". Let's hear a big squawking honk for Don Featherstone!

Educational Software Awards 2004-2005

"Criteria for evaluating educational software may vary considerably - items which look impressive from a marketing point of view may prove to be less than stellar in the classroom, if elements of educational design have not been properly implemented. In this edition of WWWTools for Education, we present various rationales for running awards and views on the characteristics of good educational software, and look at some winners from the 2005-2005 awards cycle."