A blog from the Learning Environments & Web Services Team
Policy around use of externally hosted services e.g. Facebook
Monday, April 7, 2008, 12:43 PM
Posted: IW: Discussion heats up around use of external web services in academia
With the extremely rapid take up of Web 2.0 services and the rise of social networking, many universities are grappling with the issue of how to manage external services such as Facebook, ELGG, MySpace, Second Life and so on. This becomes a critical issue when students and staff want to use these services as part of the teaching and learning process. Content on external sites is outside the provenance of an individual university which raises issues for assessment, validation, auditing, authentication and more. Further, there is the potential for content to suddenly become unavailable if a service provider changes access or ownership arrangements such as when a formerly open, free service becomes a commercial service.
Universities around the world are tackling this issue and seeking to develop policy responses. In Australia, ACODE (Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-Learning) are pulling together a number of local efforts and are facilitating a discussion across their members. Prior to the next ACODE workshop in June, I expect there will be a day where this will be discussed in depth. More here following that workshop.
POSTED: IW: We have made a second appointment of an Educational Resource Developer at UB. Again we have identified an outstanding graduate of UB in Catherine Duncan who completed a Bachelor of Information Technology in 2005. Most recently Cat work at Geelong College in the multimedia/programming area. Cat sees her new role at UB as an exciting opportunity to take her passion for design, multimedia and innovative learning methodologies to a new level.
POSTED: IW: We are very pleased to have appointed an Educational Resource Developer. Jaimee Berezny, a very recent graduate of UB, impressed us with her technical skills, her design skills and her enthusiasm for the position. With a strong portfolio of work completed both within her course and as a freelancer, Jaimee has all the attributes we were seeking for the role.
This position works closely with academic staff and our Learning Designer to provide support in the selection and development of various resources for use in online delivery. These typically could include illustrations, animations, quizzes and rich media (audio/video) items.
Jaimee joins us on Monday March 17. Look out for her profile on our staff profile page soon after she starts.
It is very gratifying to find an outstanding applicant among UB's own recent graduates and reinforces the quality of students and teaching to be found at UB.
POSTED: IW: Following some outstanding work from Andrew Matheson of Corporate Information Systems, our Blackboard support staff now have access to a greatly streamlined process for enrolling students into Blackboard sections. Previously, the process was an arduous line-by-line entry for each student in a list provided by teaching staff. Now, with the provision of some basic information, LEWS staff can quickly extract the lists from UBSAS and upload them as a bulk enrolment.
This will provide much more rapid turnaround for student enrolments into Blackboard sections.
Jobs should be logged through the Servicedesk in the usual way and provide the following information:
1. Blackboard Section Name
2. Unit Code
3. The campus students are based at (in UBSAS parlance, 'provider location')
4. Optimal date to add students (i.e. when most students have completed their UB enrolment process)
POSTED by Ian Wright: Two positions for Educational Resource Developers have been advertised on the UB Careers website. These positions will provide very practical assistance through their production capability for academic staff. The positions can be accessed at the UB Careers Website and were advertised on Seek and in the Ballarat Courier on Feb 2 2008.
Steve: A warm welcome to Kellie Macneil, our Learning Designer who joined us in the Learning Environments team last week. Kellie's expertise will allow us to further assist staff who wish to implement innovative techniques in their learning programs.
Following a 'LEWS' planning sesssion last Friday, we shall be introducing an upgraded website in March. The aim of the new site is to make information regarding learning technologies and the people that support them at UB more accessible. We're still in the planning stages at the moment, but watch this space...
Steve: I've put together a diagram on Gliffy.com that depicts the learning technologies we have at UB (well, at least the way I see them so far!). I must say that the number of applications I'm finding on the Internet is quite overwhelming - lots of potential there! I'll be trying to add them to this blog as I come across them in future...
Steve P: For anyone who may be interested in looking 'behind the scenes' at emerging learning applications without having to worry about installations, configurations etc. I've put together a group of latest technologies you can start and stop on your PC laptop (not for Macs, sorry!). The package doesn't install anything on your computer, but mimics the operation of a web server.
The package allows you to try out several environments:
Mahara - ePortfolio software eLGG - social networking software, useful for podcasting, as used here. tikiwiki - wiki and groupware software, as used here. Moodle LMS - alternative to Blackboard, as used here.
You can download the package and instructions here.
Well, a few interesting things have been happening as 2007 draws to a close. Our Elluminate Live! trial is now officially underway, and staff have expressed considerable enthusiasm for the potential this new tool brings following the workshop held at Mt.Helen on 9 November.
I've been doing a fair bit of research into easy methods for Higher Ed. staff to conduct podcasting (and possibly 'vodcasting') and have recently installed an application named eLLG - a social networking platform similar to MySpace and Facebook that allows users to create profiles and upload audio and video files for sharing (amongst other possibilities). I'll be running a workshop on 7 December based on this podcasting process.
I've also been looking into the wider area of social media in education and this has thrown up some sticky issues to do with privacy, copyright, and equity of access. The educational potential is great, but right now our legal team are looking into some of the implications for UB policy. The outcome will impact upon our adoption of internal and external services, and this grey area is something that many Australian Universities are currently grappling with.
During last week's eLearning Interest Group's meeting a number of issues were raised and debated, including the future landscape of learning technology. What technologies will UB be looking at five years from now? Are Learning Management Systems old-hat? Where is 'web 2.0' going? There are no simple answers to these questions, of course. But the more we think about them, the better-prepared we'll be for the future at UB.
I look forward to seeing some of you at next week's workshop and at the next eLIG meeting. Remember you can give me a call (X9797) or email (email@example.com) if you'd like to discuss anything you have in mind...