Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to make a quick blog post

At Sylvia Currie's request (see the comments attached to her recent blog post, below), I've made a short slideshow tutorial on how you can QUICKLY and EASILY create a blog post here (or in any blogger.com blog).

Sorry, I couldn't get the slideshow embedded in this post. I guess blogger.com doesn't display flash (.swf) files. So...

Please click here to view the short tutorial.

If you have questions, post them to the comments box.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We're going from pink to green!

Since my last post I approached the steering committee for the British Columbia Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) with the idea of transforming this blog into a shared space where community members can continue to build on Kate's amazing resource. The response was YES! Let's do it!

We've sketched out our next steps (and questions):
  1. Brand the blog as our own with the ETUG logo / colours / URL
  2. Invite ETUG members to take on an editing role for a period of time
  3. In keeping with the PinkFlamingo tradition, continue to maintain this blog as a "resource site"
  4. Keep PinkFlamingo's Resource Site as an archive
  5. Decide if we should leave the blog at blogspot or move to another platform
  6. Showcase the blog contributors. For example in ETUG News , in the community, through twitter / at the Learn Together Collaboratory, at the annual fall and spring workshops
A couple questions have come up (expect more!):
  • Should we invite blog editors as a term commitment -- say for one month, or one year? Or should we simply invite anyone who wishes to contribute? (Think motivation here, and best ways to ensure the blog remains active.)
  • What are some ways we can make it easy for ETUG members to contribute as part of their work flow?
What are your thoughts?

Meanwhile, as we work on the details I'll make this my home base for posting resources and get started on changing settings, colour scheme, and all that. Kate has been a huge help behind the scenes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where do I fit in?

Oh my goodness. I feel so honoured to be stepping into the world of the PinkFlamingo! I've followed Kate's work for so many years, always in awe of her energy and willingness to share OPENLY. Now look. I'm posting to her blog! In fact, I've inherited her blog! There is so much history here, and so much more to add. I barely know where to begin. So how about starting by looking back. How did I get here?

My first encounter with Kate was in November, 1999. She stepped into (what do flamingos do...tip toe? dance?) the first online seminar organized through the Global Educators' Network (GEN). The seminar was called "The Virtual Professor" facilitated by Linda Harisim. I was the community coordinator, and was nervous as hell about what to expect with this new venture. Here's an excerpt from Kate's first post:
Please ask me (The Pink Flamingo!) questions if you want to ask a
Learner who can also see things from the Educator’s perspective.
I remember thinking wow! Who is this person calling herself a Pink Flamingo? She seems so interesting!

Then the next post Kate changed to a pink font, and also changed her "pen" name to PinkFlamingo. I became event more intrigued. This person has a lot of pizazz. And so much to offer! Here is Kate's response to Linda's prompt to state reasons for participating in the online seminar:

Neat, I thought. This individual really gets it. She understands the value of communities of practice. A big story follows. but the short version is that PinkFlamingo became a regular participant to GEN seminars, and shortly after this first seminar launched her resource collection. To this day the "virtual professor" section remains. I've been following along ever since.

I haven't quite figured out the details of how I will proceed from here. I have a blog where I mostly talk about and reflect on my work in online communities. I'm also in constant contact with an amazing group of people in British Columbia called the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG). We're looking for ways to share information about tools and resources related to our work. Perhaps a shared blog space for that purpose? We're all browsing, reading, testing, evaluating, critiquing on a daily basis... Imagine the benefits to sharing with a wider audience!

Whatever happens I'm committed to sustaining this amazing resource that Kate began 10 years ago. Thank you, Kate!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

changes are a-comin' (to this blog)

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm retiring from the upkeep of this blog. Very shortly you'll see changes here, the biggest of which is a brand new site author/admin, Sylvia Currie. I'm excited to see what changes she'll make here.

Sylvia will introduce herself, I'm sure (watch for the new profile), but let me just say this. I have a deep respect for all she does and she's a wonderful person as well! Since I met Sylvia many years ago (and long before that as well), she has been extremely active in the world of post-secondary online education. I know she's going to do a great job here! For a preview of some of what Sylvia is up to, see her LinkedIn profile.

Thanks everyone for reading, especially those who have subscribed to this blog over the years. I'm off now to have a great time running WORDS, my freelance copyediting service, posting to my brand new blog, a round tuit, and enjoying my semi-retired lifestyle.

All the best,
Kate Britt

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Evaluation Practices for Informal/Self-Paced Adult Learning

This SCoPE seminar begins Monday.

Evaluation Practices for Informal/Self-Paced Adult Learning: April 13 - May 1, 2009

William Owen, Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, University of Northern British Columbia
Caren Levine, Consultant, Etheoreal, specializing in adult learning, communities of practice, and social media

Informal learning is a key part of our personal development. It is also becoming a larger part of our working lives. But in an era of increasing accountability, we begin to question the role of evaluation for informal / self-paced adult learning...

What are existing rationales for evaluation of informal / self-paced adult learning (for the learner and the provider/developer)? What accountability do we have to learners / providers/ funders? What's different about evaluating informal learning vis a vis formal learning? What are emerging practices for evaluation informal / self-paced adult learning? What are some challenges in the field? What are the opportunities in the field?

During this 3-week online seminar, we will begin to address these and other questions as we informally learn about the role and practice of evaluation in informal learning.

About SCoPE:
SCoPE seminars are free and open to the public and are designed for busy people like you -- no registration, no obligations to participate for the full length, and no homework. :-) Read along via email, the web, or RSS. Seminars are moderated by volunteers in our community and are archived for future reference. To contribute to discussions and to customize your visits you'll need to create an account on the site. It's a quick process.

Here is a direct link to the forum with further details about this event:

Please spread the word!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

April issue of MicroSCoPE Newsletter

I posted the April issue of MicroSCoPE this morning. I find it difficult to schedule this newsletter because there are always little tidbits that should be included but aren't because I'm waiting on important details. I sometimes wonder if it would be better to dish out updates more frequently rather than squish everything into a monthly newsletter. I've probably received enough feedback that people appreciate receiving MicroSCoPE in its current format that I shouldn't change. But, as always, I'm wondering what I could be doing differently.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I want to retire; here's an offer for you

I'd like to retire from working on this blog and on its associated Educators' Resources website, http://ibritt.com/resources. Having left teaching over a year ago, I find that my focus has shifted away from the world of online education, so it's time.

I don't want to "sell" this site. It's been a non-profit, non-advertising site since day one. I've kept it up just as a service to my global colleagues in education.

Yet, if I just leave it sit here, it's going to get "stale" fairly soon.

I could take the whole site down and delete this blog, but I'd hate for my loyal readers (about 9,000 unique visitors each month!) to lose all this resource material.

So here's what I propose:

- If you're an online educator who doesn't yet have a blog, perhaps you'd like to take this one over? It's at blogger.com, so I could just give you the login and the transition would be simple.

- If you do already have a blog or resource site of education links, perhaps you'd be interested in having a copy of the pages in my site (ibritt.com/resources). You could then add my pages to your site, or just mine the pages for links to add to your own pages. Each of these would be easier if you had my files. That Resources site is a bit old-fashioned looking, having been designed when I first learned HTML 10 years ago. However, since then I've applied CSS to format it, so it would be fairly simple to restyle the pages for your own website if you're using CSS.

- If you don't have a website yet and would like to take over the pages in order to start one, we can talk about ways you could do that using my existing site pages.

- I could do a combination of the above -- give the blog to one person and the pages to another.

I don't want payment. I just want these resources to live on after I remove them from my personal ibritt.com website.

I won't give my materials to just anybody. To qualify:
- You must be involved in the field of online education.
- You must enjoy reading and collecting good information for other online educators.
- You must not use my materials for profit or in conjunction with advertising or marketing of any kind. I stand by my sole reason for creating these sites: being helpful to fellow educators. (So all you software and system marketers, don't even bother writing to me.)

To discuss further:
Write to me using the "comment" form at the end of this blog post. Comments are set to be moderated, meaning I'll get your comment in my email rather than it being posted online. Tell me about yourself and your involvement in online education. If you have an existing blog and/or website, include the link to it. I'll take some time to review everything I receive, and then I'll get back to each of you.

**NOTE TO MY READERS: After somebody takes over the pages from my site, I'll post a referral URL for a few months so that people can find where the resources have gone.