I’ve convinced myself that I need to write a blog post today, or I’ll feel bad for the rest of the year. My last post was a month ago, which to me seems far too long! I’ve jotted down a few ideas for posts over that time and I’ll get to them soon – but for now it’s just a matter of getting some words and thoughts down so I can sleep tonight. In between weekend chores, watching the Olympics, and catching up with what’s happening to my friends via Twitter, I haven’t spent any time preparing or thinking about this post so, here we go (might have to rely of some ‘stream of consciousness’?, or how’s this for an idea? As this blog is about my observations and reflections, I think I might write about some of the more significant aspects of my work that I’ve experienced over the last month. Hope you find it interesting and maybe even useful…
I attended a workshop on e-Assessment by Geoffrey Crisp who presented as a part of his ALTC fellowship project. We were given a good overview of assessment and how you might create new possibilities for immersion and activity using e-assessment as well as enhancing social interaction (through using a wiki) and even adding value to learning by doing something other assessment can’t do. You can visit his website, register as a user, and check out the resources available.
The university where I work has three campuses and I regularly travel between the one I’m based on (Geelong @ Waurn Ponds) to our main campus in Melbourne. This is usually a 75 to 90 minute commute and I try to hitch a ride with someone who’s driving a university vehicle (to keep one extra car off the road and for the opportunity to talk on the way). Because there’s quite a few people traveling on a daily basis, the university has undertaken a trial for three months of running a bus (12 seater) between the two campuses. I’ve used it a couple of times since inception, and I think that it might catch on. There’s always the opportunity to meet and chat with people from other areas of the university, but the IT people have installed a mobile wireless internet connection on board (this is the cool part). There’s a wireless router (connected to 7.2 NextG card) so everyone with a wireless laptop connection can connect into the uni network while zipping up the highway. There were four of us checking email (me also keeping an eye on my Twitter friends) earlier this week, and after a day of meetings it’s nice to get some of that correspondence out of the way before getting home. There are plans to also provide a couple of laptops on the bus for those who don’t have them, and they are also going to provide a couple of IP telephone handsets so we can call the office over the network instead of using mobile phones. Apparently the cost of maintaining this mobile wireless connection annually (excluding the card and router) would only be around $600 as part of our telco contract. Cheap! All we need now is an AC power supply to plug in the laptops in case batteries run out – and maybe even an espresso machine.
I also managed (with a couple of colleagues) to get a paper written and submitted (by the end of July) for peer review for the ASCILITE Conference at the end of the year. Don’t understand why there’s such a long lead time but I understand that there will probably be well over 200 papers submitted.
I partcipated in the The Knowledge Bank online conference 2008 which was focused on Web 2.0 in education: what it is, how it’s being used today and its potential to radically change education. The event was facilitated through Elluminate (sessions were recorded and available from the website), featured live blogging and is supported by a wiki. It was a great (learning) experience to be part of a group of nearly 200 people from all over the world listening to a range of speakers/presenters. The event was well managed and with a few moderators and presenters (with their slides) went more smoothly than I thought it might. It was fun to hear school bells ringing in the background as teachers participated live (and included their students!). Nice to experience what’s possible.
I’m also on a group providing feedback and support to the implementation project for a learning repository for the university. We’ve been discussing project scope and milestones, metadata, workflow, digital objects, permissions, and training etc. Will be nice to have this available by the end of the year.
I also attended a training session/workshop on using our new powerlink for Blackboard/Vista that enables us to create a Drupal/SMF and/or a Mediawiki installation in our units/courses that integrates within the system. This will be a good enhancement to the LMS ad provide opportunities for some authentic collaboration between students, particularly those studying off-campus/remotely.
I also attended a couple (brown bag) lunch time seminars; ‘multiple choice questions – cultural, linguistic and item writing factors’, and ‘designing, facilitating and assessing group assignments’.
Well, that’s most of the exciting stuff (I’ve probably missed a few things) and looking back reasonably interesting. As second semester settles down I’ll be writing more reflectively on these experiences.