Monday, March 31, 2008

Webinar introduces Blackboard Release 8.0

RELEASE 8.0 for the Bb Academic Suite (for people currently using the Bb Learning System Basic or Enterprise systems). This link will directly open a video/audio introduction, originally presented in a webinar on 12/17/07. Bb Support says,
"This is a comprehensive webinar recording that goes over the new benefits for this release. The run time is only 30 minutes and we would highly recommend viewing this webinar prior to upgrading to Release 8.0."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Web 2.0 Applications (MyOffice 2.0 Setup)

Stephen Downes calls this page "a fantastic collection of web 2.0 applications that effectively replace the standard desktop." A great one-stop resource for applications, organized into sections according to what they're used for, and complete with links to see/get them. Even if you're just learning what a Web 2.0 application is and want to see common examples, you'll recognize a lot of them!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Quotation Sources & Resources

Check out this new page on my website, where I gathered these links for quotations research, rather than having them scattered throughout the various other pages.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

100s of Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter: Our Recession Special says, "Every now and then, we like to make new readers aware of our extensive Podcast Library that includes 100s of cultural and educational podcasts that will make you smarter. We guarantee that. And the best part is that they’re completely free — perfect for a recession."

Resources for creating accessible online courses

My resources site has 3 pages of links about accessibility:
  • Designing for Accessibility
  • Accessibility Articles, Issues, & Information
  • Adaptive Technologies

    Here are a few recent additions to my pages:

    Accessibility tutorial for course designers: Georgia Tech Research offers this FREE online tutorial, "...comprised of 10 modules that offer information, instructional techniques, and practice labs on how to make the most common needs in distance education accessible for individuals with disabilities, and enhance the usability of online materials for all students."

    Accessibility in Distance Education ~ A Resource for Faculty in Online Teaching: "The Accessibility in Distance Education (ADE) Web site focuses on helping faculty develop accessible online learning materials for people with disabilities. It is divided into five major sections, targeting common accessibility questions."

    DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology): "DO-IT serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment."

    List-serve: Designing accessible distance learning courses: Click the link for information about how to join this list-serve. "The purpose of this list is to discuss issues related to creating accessible distance learning courses. This list fosters ongoing discussion about accessible website design, policy, and practice. It is supported by DO-IT [see link above] at the University of Washington."
  • Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Communities of Practice in Universities

    Some outcome resources from the last CPSquare Foundations Workshop are beginning to surface. This group project focuses on higher education and SCoPE is featured as a study case.

    Communities of Practice in Universities
    Barbara Berry, Karen Guldberg, Jenny Mackness, Cassandra Star

    I was interviewed by Barbara Berry where we spent some time trying to get to the enablers and disablers for the SCoPE community. Actually, it wasn't really an interview, it was more of a really interesting dialogue sharing how perceptions of value in a community can be so varied. This group project builds on a selection of comments and questions posed by Etienne Wenger during the workshop "stories campfire". One comment in particular would make a very good in- depth piece of research for SCoPE:

    Universities, paradoxically, are not always conducive to communities of practice and the kind of collective learning they thrive on. (Etienne Wenger 3 Feb 2008)

    Thanks to the vision of Ron Martiniuk and Cindy Xin of the (then) eLearning Innovation Centre, SCoPE got its start at Simon Fraser University in 2005. Through a major reorganization in the areas of instructional support, educational development, and media services, and through fiscal year-end appeals to keep SCoPE running and through several attempts to integrate SCoPE activities with the regular operations of the university, SFU has continued to host the community on a server in the Learning and Instructional Development Centre, providing technical support, graphical design, and site customization.

    SFU also supported my part-time position as Community Coordinator, and assigned a Program Director to oversee the project...until Monday, March 31st 2008 that is. With budget cuts across the board the SCoPE project just didn't make it across the fiscal border.

    After a few months of digesting this news, and negotiating a memorandum of understanding to continue to host SCoPE on a server at SFU in exchange for my continued moderating role, it's actually beginning to feel like a fresh new beginning.

    As word started to spread about the uncertain future of SCoPE it was remarkable how many members rallied 'round! My inbox is full of kind words, testimonials, and generous offers to help. Thank you thank you thank you. This affirmation caused a shift in energy from the ongoing struggle to integrate SCoPE into SFU's institutional structures to finding new ways to support the 1,500+ (always including the unknown peripheral participants) members who are finding value in the community's free and open activities, all facilitated by volunteers. Many of details still need to emerge but SCoPE will continue, without a doubt.

    Thanks, Barbara, for contributing a story about SCoPE and for CPSquare Foundations Workshop project group for making their work public.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    10 Quick Tips to Make Accessible Web Sites

    From the W3C Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative, these "ten Quick Tips summarize key concepts of accessible Web design. These tips are not complete guidelines; they are only excerpts of concepts from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0)."

    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Encyclopedia of Life

    "This is the very beginning of our exciting journey to document all species of life on Earth. Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about all life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world." Already over a million species pages available.

    Web 3.0 has long since passed Web 2.0 in Education for 2020

    A peek into the future (2020), written in present tense. Check out the diagrams; they're interesting studies / descriptions about what Web 3.0 is, what other web aspects and trends it encompasses.

    Will Web 3.0 and 4.0 Change Education?

    If you're just getting what Web 2.0 is all about, maybe these newer terms are a bit much. But check out this at article anyway, just so you know what's being referred to.

    Educator Resources from Linden Labs, the makers of Second Life

    SLED Blog: "...dedicated to the ins and outs of K-20 education using the Second Life® world. This blog is written by educators and for educators, for those who are seasoned Second Life veterans and for those just starting out, for those who are die-hards and those who are skeptics."

    Links to listserves (mailing lists) and more: "This list is for educators interested in or currently using Second Life, and we will be using it to send out information we feel is of interest to educators and academics. This list is also an opportunity for all of you to communicate with each other, to find new colleagues and to share your experiences using Second Life for education."

    SLED Calendar: A calendar of events for Educators in SL. "The 'SLEDevents in SL' calendar anticipates events in Second Life of interest to educators. The time zone of the calendar is US Pacific/ Second Life time. Second Life events are shown in blue, and planned outages in red. Events in Real Life of interest to SL educators are shown in green in the column opposite. The calendar is kept by Bruce Sommerville for the SLED listserv community."

    Facebook 2.0

    The question isn't IF, but HOW Facebook is going to figure into the field of education via social networking. Our local paper yesterday published a comment along the lines of How dare professionals like teachers belong to such a thing as Facebook, putting themselves out there for students to read about. I was incensed at this attitude because I believe teachers (and the public) still have little idea of the power of reaching out to students where they 'live' as opposed to expecting students to come into our more formal education world to seek or expand upon their knowledge. We have so much to learn from our students, and Facebook is just one place we can begin our education. If you're not in Facebook, get there! Anyway, I digress. This link is to an article that discusses the future of Facebook and other social networking locations within education, the pros and cons, various factors and concerns that need to be addressed. How can we address them if we know little about the experience? Tracy Mitrano says,
    "...learning more about those spaces—how they operate, who is on them, and most important, how to talk about their social dynamics—is recommended. Parents can do that effectively only if they educate themselves about both the technology and the sociology of the Internet. And demonizing the technology, as is suggested even by such august public organs as Frontline, with its feature “Growing Up Online,” helps no one—not the youth who will undoubtedly use the technology, not their parents who supervise them, and not their teachers who need to understand the role that this technology plays in their development."
    See also Ms. Mitrano's article, Thoughts on Facebook, April 2006 -- which is a long time ago in social networking! In that article she discusses Five Things to Think About When Using Facebook.

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    Web 2.0 Is the Future of Education

    Steve Hargadon's blog post is a good read for everyone, especially educators because he includes a very useful and interesting list of things educators can do if they agree with his premise (the title). Kind of like a 'Start Here' guide for educators who are Web 2 newbies. I like this from the list: "Digest This Thought: The Answer to Information Overload Is to Produce More Information." Steve says,
    "I believe that the read/write Web, or what we are calling Web 2.0, will culturally, socially, intellectually, and politically have a greater impact than the advent of the printing press. I believe that we cannot even begin to imagine the changes that are going to take place as the two-way nature of the Internet begins to flower, and that even those of us who have spent time imagining this future will be astounded by what happens. I'm going to identify ten trends in this regard that I think have particular importance for education and learning, and then discuss seven steps I think educators can take to make a difference during this time."
    Social Networking in Education: Another informative article from Steve. Steve includes a long link-list to social networks used in a wide variety of ways, all connected to the world of education.

    And what's even more fun (for me anyway): Today, as I seem to be becoming a Steve Hargadon groupie, I noticed in his Social Networking article that Steve is the guy who started up Classroom 2. I mentioned Classroom 2 in a post 3 days ago and put a big graphic about it on my Web 2 resources page.... though I didn't notice his name at the time.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    Way off topic (not about education)

    I couldn't resist posting this. I call it Journey by Flamingo. The creator calls it "Passage to Zhong Fu".

    Created by filmguy1105.

    "Passage to Zhong Fu was originally made for the 48 Hour Film Project in Second Life but since I work for Millions of Us, one of the sponsors of the event, our team wasn't eligible to compete. That said, making this film, for me, was never about any kind of competition. Rather it was all about having a focused opportunity to create something with a set of artistic constraints not under your control. That's the competition - one against yourself - that I'm always interested in pursuing."

    Verdi Millionsofus - Director, Producer & Editor
    Poid Mahovlich - Actor, Landscaper, Set designer, props
    duckyfresh Watanabe - Actor, Wardrobe, Props, Flamingo Trainer
    Dizzy Banjo - Music

    Damanios Thetan - Flamingo Animator
    BETLOG Hax - Volcano Sculpts
    Green Fate - Special Effects
    Sebastian Saramago - Special Effects

    A Monolith Production

    Tuesday, March 4, 2008

    FLASH media: How to embed flash and still get your page to validate

    Becky, instructor at says, "There are several approved methods for validating the insertion of Flash movies. The most well-known (and pretty much the basis for all the others) is the Satay Method. I wrote up a stripped down version of this. It also addresses some accessibility issues. You probably need to update the link for the Flash plugin -- though you could leave that alt text out, if so desired."

    Designing Kick Butt Quality Online Courses

    [you can log in to this FREE course, hosted inside Blackboard. Username bbworld07, password bbworld07]
    "How do you create courses that capture students' attention and direct them through the learning process? How do you merge clean, accessible design with sound pedagogical principles? This workshop provides tools and resources you can use to up the quality of your online courses and improve the online experience for your learners."

    The Worksheet Library

    "Worksheet Library was developed and is maintained by veteran elementary teachers who have over 50 years of classroom experience. ...We develop each worksheet of our site with the goal of making it clear and simple. We want to help you reduce your planning time and spend more quality time with your students. ... our worksheets are preformatted and ready to use in your classroom. Once you find the exact worksheet you need, it is ready to print. We also provide a simple answer key for any worksheet that needs one."

    Moodle Resources

    I've just added this new page to my Resources site. I grabbed and collated all my Moodle entries from other pages so they're now in a single location. Several new resource links added today, too.


    "Wetpaint powers websites that tap the power of collaborative thinking. The heart of the Wetpaint advantage is its ability to allow anyone — especially those without technical skill — to create and contribute to websites written for and by those who share a passion or interest. To do this, Wetpaint combines the best aspects of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks so anyone can click and type on the web."

    What Makes a Successful Online Student?

    "The online students of today consist primarily of working people who are trying to better their opportunities. This however is changing, as more and more young and older people become aware of the online model. The traditional school will never go away, but the virtual classroom is a significant player in today’s educational community. Corporations are using the online model to train technical professionals while private and public universities redefine the world as their markets. The market for students is expanding rapidly. In general, the online student should possess the following qualities..."

    Internet Acronym Server

    I like their sub-title: Searching for the Meaning of L.I.F.E. since 1988. "We've been collecting acronyms from all over the Internet for the best part of two decades."

    Planning a course ~ 3 step approach

    from Cornell University. "A 2 page handout (pdf) that quickly addresses the 3 main steps in planning an online course using MOODLE. This is a very broad brush document that indicates an approach to planning."

    Preparing Teachers to Teach Online

    by Greg Kearsley & Robert Blomeyer. A version of this paper appeared in Educational Technology magazine, Jan/Feb 2004.

    Educational Wikis (EduWikis)

    "This site aims to answer one question: How can I use wikis in education?" Explore their "comprehensive list of existing educational wikis that we can learn from".

    Classroom 2.0

    "The social networking site for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education." Lots of great stuff here, including news, forums, resources, groups, and the Classroom 2.0 Wiki.

    Web 2.0 in Education

    Steve Hargadon's wikispace. "Web 2.0 Is Critical to the Future of Education." "The Internet-based software programs that are generally referred to as 'Web 2.0' may have been perceived, as recently as last Spring, as the latest pet technology of the educational uber-geek or the conference presenter. However, Web 2.0 programs are rapidly becoming tools of choice for a growing body of classroom educators, who are discovering that they provide compelling teaching and learning opportunities."

    How I use wikis in the classroom

    Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki A. Davis. "I have two primary uses: classroom organization and classroom content....The wiki is my hub. I guess you could say, I have a wiki-centric classroom." While you're there, check out the rest of her Cool Cat Teacher website. I enjoy her writing style. Lots of interesting sections, articles, etc.

    Canadian Intellectual Property Office

    Canadian siteA big section about copyright. Intellectual property links. Sections about patents, trade-marks, industrial design, service standards. Printable forms, publications, newsroom.

    Technical / computer definitions, terms, glossaries, cheat sheets, product demos, white papers, blogs, and more. Definitions for thousands of the most current IT-related words. As well as a search box, "all of's words have been grouped into a series of categories and subcategories for easier browsing. This aids in searching for words about a specific topic or area of interest."

    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    Wiki Charters

    "A WikiCharter is a set of guidelines to ensure productive interaction between members of your wiki community. Here are five guidelines from the Sony Ericsson Developer World wiki provided by wiki evangelist, Stewart Mader."

    List of 20 Education Blogs

    Greg Ritter's Blog Habit post in educate/innovate explains: "I've decided to share a list of some of the educational technology blogs that make up part of my daily fix. What follows, in no particular order, are twenty of the best education blogs as judged by . . . well, me. It's a totally subjective list and it's by no means exhaustive, but all of these authors post regularly and all of them have introduced me to great new ideas at one point or another. But if you should get hooked yourself, you can't say I didn't warn you. ;-)"

    How to add YouTube videos to Blackboard course

    Not just to your Blackboard course, but to any webpage.

    YouTube - BlackboardTV Channel

    "BlackboardTV (or 'BbTV') helps e-Learning innovators -- designers, instructors, students -- visualize online teaching and learning. The education and technology videos collected in the playlists on this channel enable users throughout the global Blackboard community to see, and learn from, e-Learning innovations in K-12 schools, higher education institutions and organizations."

    See also YouTube BlackboardK12.