Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MS Office/Word tips and tricks

Here are a few sites. Please post any others you have found especially useful. Thanks!

Carol's Corner Office: Lots of tips and tricks for MS Office here. Check out her Free Word Bytes Newsletter, as well as her subscription premium newsletter and her books.

Word for PC, Tips, Tricks, Troubleshooting: Part of the MPV website.

Word Shortcuts: A page from the above MPV site.

Useful MS Word links on Microsoft's website: MPV has compiled a handy list of links.

Word Tips by Allan Wyatt: A weekly email newsletter full of tips. The writer has also published a book of tips.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C)

"The purpose of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs, according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines. Sloan-C maintains a catalog of degree and certificate programs offered by a wide range of regionally accredited member institutions, consortia, and industry partners; provides speakers and consultants to help institutions learn about online methodologies; hosts conferences and workshops to help implement and improve online programs; publishes the Sloan-C View, the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), and annual volumes of applied research studies; and conducts research, annual surveys on online learning and forums to inform academic, government and private sector audiences. Sloan-C also offers an awards program and an effective practices database and wiki for members to share the lessons they have learned."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

CPSquare Foundations of Communities of Practice Workshop

The next Foundations of Communities of Practice Workshop starts on January 28, 2008.

In 2008 the Foundations Workshop will only be offered two times - the second starts on September 15.

If multiple members from SCoPE sign up attractive rates can be negotiated. :-)

This online workshop is EXCELLENT. I completed it fall 2004 while we were in the early stages of designing SCoPE and and still refer back to the resources and conversations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grammar and Writing

A few links to assist in the review of the basic conventions of standard English: grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and word usage.

University of Ottawa: HyperGrammar electronic grammar course: Brief reviews of the basics, from parts of speech through to building sentences and writing paragraphs.

The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Perdue: "Free writing help and teaching resources, open 24/7." Here are some of their categories: The Writing Process; Professional, Technical, and Scientific Writing; Job Search Writing; General Academic Writing; Research & Citation; ESL; Literary Analysis & Criticism; Writing in the Social Sciences; Writing in Engineering; Creative Writing; Teaching Writing. -- and each one has many sub-menu items. I can't describe it; you'll just have to check it out for yourself!

University of Victoria English Language Centre Study Zone: Index To Grammar Materials: "It includes grammar presentations, interactive practice exercises, and help pages for basic writing skills."

University of Victoria: The UVic Writer’s Guide: The site includes the topics:
- Planning, Organizing, and Presenting Essays
- Developing and Ordering Paragraphs
- Writing Clear Sentences
- Choosing and Using Words
- Acknowledging Your Sources
- Literary and Rhetorical Terms (By Category)
- Preparing Summaries
- Presenting Arguments Logically
- Knowing The Basics of Grammar

University of Toronto: Advice on Academic Writing: Includes these topics:
- Planning & Organizing
- Reading & Researching
- Using Sources
- Specific Types of Writing
- Style and Editing
- Grammar and Punctuation
- Some Answers for Writers of English as a Second Language

University of Calgary: The Basic Elements of English: Four major sections: Parts of Speech, Sentence Elements, Punctuation and Word Use. Includes Interactive exercises to help you "test your grammar skills and get immediate feedback by trying the exercises at the end of the tutorials. "

Sunday, January 20, 2008

K12 Hot Links

"The web's best educational tools - all in one place."


Like YouTube, only it's all educational videos. Also includes Groups and TeacherTube Blogs, Lesson plan videos, student lesson videos, teacher-made videos.

Quotations Book: search engine + much more

Quotations A specialized search engine for quotations on the Internet. Lost of "extras", including a Facebook app; quotes of the day by RSS or email, for mobiles, & as a Firefox extension; starter page code for iGoogle, Pageflakes, & Netvibes; a widget to put on your website or blog; widgets for Windows Vista & Macs; a daily podcast; and more.


A Firefox extension or add-on. Enables teachers to create a "trail" through several web sites for your students to follow. "Sticky notes" with the author's comments, notes, instructions, etc. are placed on any web page, along with your next and back button. This links the pages together, creating a sequential path for navigating the trail. Students need only click YOUR "next" button to proceed to the next site rather than returning to some sort of index. Visit Trailfire's homepage to sample some of the trails others have posted.

Umbraco - Course Management System

An open source CMS. Runs on Windows using Microsoft's "ASP.Net" and Internet Information Server. John Goldsmith (B.C. teacher) says:
"While installation and set-up is not exactly click & run, the program is easier to install than most other open source programs. The installation instructions are clear, concise and well illustrated so that anyone with reasonable Windows skills should be able to install and run the program. Umbraco has a nice, light "Web 2.0" feel about it and, the "icing on the cake" for many teachers is the ability to add and modify web content using MS Word. HTML skills are not needed."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Second Life Education Wiki

Contains many useful page such as Guidelines for Educators and Programs for Educators, which include Community Support, Campus:Second_Life, Educators working with Teens, and more.

Guide to Grammar and Writing

This Guides is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, a nonprofit 501 c-3 organization that supports scholarships, faculty development, and curriculum innovation.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

CPSquare Platforms for Communities of Practice

Here's a really good topic to gather around: Platforms for Communities of Practice. This "Long Live the Platform" online conference is organized by members of CPSquare.

January 14 - February 1, 2008
What's the best platform on which communities of practice can gather? There are a lot of choices and the choices seem to be multiplying. During this three-week conference we will be looking at many different platforms (new and old) through the eyes of their communities. Moodle, SCoPE's platform, will be one of many featured during the conference. Others include Q2learning, Tomoye, Web Crossing, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Ning, and Facebook. The conference cost is $100 USD but it makes more sense to just join since the conference is free for members.

For more details and to register go to:

As is the tradition at CPSquare, members who help out with the conferences may bring a guest for free. If you'd like to be my guest just send me email ( with the subject heading "Long Live the Platform". The first one to respond is in!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Nations Pedagogy for Online Learning

There was a really quick turnaround time for the BCcampus Online Program Development Fund committee. I'm thrilled that Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Kwantlen University College received funding for the joint project proposal: First Nations Pedagogy for Online Learning.

The project idea came about through my work with June Kaminski, a Kwantlen faculty member, online curriculum developer, artist, web developer, and UBC doctoral student. I'm sure I left a few items off of that list! June has been such an inspiration to me. The courses she developed and taught at NVIT, and the customization work she completed on our Moodle site, have really captured what we think about when we refer to addressing the needs of Aboriginal learners.

Here's the gist of the proposal: Online delivery of courses specifically targeting Aboriginal learners is relatively new in British Columbia and is on the increase. The question of what this means in terms of course design, instructional strategies, and building supportive learning communities, remains a challenge to many instructors. The First Nations Pedagogy resource site is the first step in addressing this issue, and our plan is to involve as many educators as possible in planning, developing content, and sustaining the site.

The project proposes to:
  1. research best practices in developing and implementing online learning opportunities for aboriginal learners,
  2. develop a resource website that will support these instructors and curriculum designers, and
  3. support dialogue and sharing of ideas across institutions and community stakeholders.
We are busy doing research, spreading the word about the project, and submitting proposals to upcoming conferences to get feedback on the initial design phase. Also, we have already scheduled a First Nations Pedagogy online seminar discussion at SCoPE, March 3 - 31, 2008, which will be facilitated by June. Oh, did I mention that June is also a great facilitator? :-)

It feels like the beginning of a great collaboration!