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Getting ready to storyboard – course description

13 January 2015
mass of students

Students at Vietnam moratorium demonstration outside the quadrangle of Sydney University, 1971

Here are the characteristics of the course I need to storyboard for our OOC in storyboarding for learning design.

I have presented it as a ‘listicle‘. I will be teaching it in just under a month.

Course description: Higher education, its contexts and issues

Main topic: Higher education, its trends and its challenges
Duration: 30 hours – this is the orientation and issue-raising sequence for a standard course allocation of 150 hours which include doing the assignments
Target audience: academics and academic-related professional staff
Age range: 25-70
Location: online, with some optional face-to-face workshops chiefly to master some software (Mahara)
Motivation: These participants want to improve their tertiary teaching in general and perhaps address a particular problem or opportunity in their teaching situation.
Educational background: Highly qualified in their academic area of expertise and/or in vocational experience, some participants had little background in education when they commenced this program one or two years ago but going into this course they typically have already completed half of a certificate in tertiary teaching.
Digital literacy skills: can vary; a general discussion of preferences and skills is often part of the face-to-face workshop

Awaking from sleep

14 June 2014

So, more than 100 years after my last entry on this blog, I would like to return.Image.

image from: ‘Sole, luna e Talia’ : (Italian dialect fairytales)

(It has always seemed to me that Sleeping Beauty’s problem was that she had never seen a spindle before – in her artificially sheltered upbringing. Otherwise, she probably wouldn’t have pricked her finger on it.)

Thing 10 – Social bookmarking

19 January 2013
Fish eye graph

Detail from a graph of citations from one important paper (from Citeology)

The MOOC I am currently doing (from Online Learning Design Studio, the #OLDSMOOC) recommends using another social bookmarking tool, Bibsonomy. This is a great tool for the MOOC and, while I don’t think I’ve tagged anything yet, it is pleasant to use – perhaps most simply because its tight, 2-column display gives you a better sense of just how thick and integrated the resources that people are tagged for the course are.

(A purpose-built tagged bibliography is I think a great addition to a course: it would have been a  good help for me in the 5-day course I have just finished on social network analysis, to see the methodology at work in different disciplines and contexts.)

In the past I have used both Delicious and Diigo, much preferring the old Delicious, because Diigo’s annotation and highlighting features are largely wasted on me – I usually just want to not lose track of a good page, so I just tag it and move on. But I am a big Diigo user now.

Kate’s question about mobile devices was a good one: I can see Diigo has specific browsers for the different devices, and if I used a mobile device I think I would use Diigo even more, given that you can really only look at one thing at a time (on my laptop, I usually leave many tabs open while I am thinking and working through a topic: at the moment I have 30 tabs open, including this one).

And now I can close it. Thing well!

“The Cold Oak” – Thing 09

10 January 2013
"Kalte Eiche" by HaPe_Gera
“Kalte Eiche”, a photo by HaPe_Gera on Flickr.

librariansite‘s tree

Thing 07 Subscribing with RSS

14 December 2012
Positive image from a scan of a Powerhouse Museum, Tyrrell Collection, glass plate negative

Calmly reading the newspaper while the world comes to an end. From the Powerhouse collection: their photo-a-day feed ( is a pleasant Thing to subscribe to.

I’m not a very conscientious user of my RSS reader, but I don’t feel it’s a bad thing to procrastinate over.

And now, of course, with the Mayan-inspired end of the world in a week or so, I may never get my feeds to ‘read’ anyway.

Speaking of which, fellow Thing travellers may be interested in the curation tool, which does allow you to use RSS feeds as several content sources. When you follow someone in, you receive a newsletter-format page of their ‘scoops’ – items that they have captured while reading the web, or re-scooped from others, or selected from the suggestion engine – with the idea that a human can be helped to find the best articles on their particular topic of interest via both social and automatic sources. (It’s free for personal use.) I don’t use it yet, but I’m going to, if the end of the world doesn’t come before I decide on what topic I want to curate.

Anyway, is putting a brave face on the coming apocalypse: Unveils Newly Re-Designed Platform to Give Professionals and Business the Visibility They’ll Need to Survive in a Post-Apocalyptic Business

Thing 06 – All things Google

4 December 2012
vineyard sculpture

Inscription by Ian Marr with Guy Warren

I use Google Drive for many private and work purposes: for example, I have a folder called ‘LEO helps’, where I upload forms and other strange bits and pieces, and which contains a long document where I add tips and instructions for how to do unusual things in LEO, like inserting a table of contents or enrolling students in bulk. I share this with my colleagues, in case it is of help to them.

I also find it is more convenient to upload documents for presentation or training to Google Drive than to carry them around on a USB stick (even I can’t mislay the Internet.)

Other Google things

I agree with our Thing Commander** that it is well worth doing the Power Searching course: it is also the only MOOC that I have managed, so far, to complete, even getting a certificate. The man from Google who taught us, Daniel M Russell, a Senior Research Scientist, was so calm and friendly, while notably systematic.

For something new today I would like to find out about the other buttons on Google Scholar, and go beyond just searching within the literature.

Google Scholar

Along with many colleagues, we are at the AARE conference this week and I have been attending as many sessions on academic publishing as I can, because we are soon to launch the Australasian Journal of Learning and Teaching (our focus is emerging issues from emerging contexts, if you want to know. Pitch us a paper!)

The conference has helped me learn more about journal review processes, and the impact factor, but I can’t yet understand the Hirsch factor that underlies Google Scholar Metrics. What I do find interesting, and would like to know if we are implementing as well as we should, is Google Scholar’s information on how to get academics’ papers into its database (Inclusion guidelines for webmasters): it’s highly doable. Let’s do it!

** Or do you like this better, kabunker?

Thing 05 – Wiki

24 November 2012

Because of a shared joke, a possum is now the mascot of the Canberra Moodleposium. This photo was taken by @moodler, that is, Martin Dougiamas, when the RSPCA brought a blind possum to start Day 2 of the conference on Friday.

Our ThingMaster** asked whether wikis had had their day, or at least she directed us to read an article by Steve Kolowich on Whither the Wikis?

I would say that in my recent experience wikis are by no means dead, but are now used for projects with a shorter life, where the wiki’s attributes help a small team develop a project website effectively and collaboratively. An excellent MOOC on mobile learning that I visited used a wikispaces site as the strong foundation for its success – collaboratively developed, but chiefly authored by the main MOOC organiser, of whom I am a BIG fan, the mobiMOOC wiki clearly set out the rules and aims of the course, which ran throughout September this year.

One example where wikis have been used for academic visibility and for academic publishing, again somewhat contrary to Kolowich’s summary, could be the two wikis (crosslinked) set up by Will Rifkin and his colleagues:

  • the first is a ‘business card’ site, charting Dr Rifkin’s current and past projects: Will Rifkin, PhD
  • the second is a wiki created as part of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council research project, New Media for Science. The project finished in 2010, but the team (particularly Dr Jo Righetti) have collected and published many examples of tools, such as assignment templates and support files, which they used in encouraging science undergraduates to learn the tools they will need to communicate science when they graduate: wikis, podcasts, blogs, and videos.

So I think of wikis as a format, rather than a set of publications: the collective authoring of a great pile of knowledge, as represented by Wikipedia and by the sites that document software under development, is made possible by wikis, but they aren’t limited to these noble and somewhat rare collaborative achievements. Matthew Allen (LINK) says that ‘a wiki is what you make it to be’.

Grazia Scotellaro was persuasive, at this week’s Moodleposium, on why not to use the built-in wiki in LEO (Moodle) – one reason being that the wiki that students make is their product, which they should be able to consult and develop long after the unit finishes. If you are new to wikis, then the LEO wiki presents the challenge upfront of how to create pages; and I have had trouble using the wiki in combination with groups in LEO, so I will be interested to see if it works better in Moodle 2.3.

** ThingMistress? Leader and whipcracker? :)

Other sites I looked at while writing this:


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