Friday, 8 June 2012

Weekly Learning Technology Digest... 15

Image from Daniele Nicolucci under a
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license
Probably the shortest working week of the year and also possibly the wettest too.  To cheer you up from the grey weathered misery, I give you a cute kitten to the right hand side... and lots of lovely learning technology goodness below.

You may thank me later!
  • The first link is Evaluating Online Courses from Michegan State University - just an excellent set of resources but tucked away towards the bottom are links to articles about curriculum design, effective online teaching etc which are well worth taking time to explore.
  • 10 Reasons why students aren't using eTextbooks appeared at and provides a neat summary of the issues as well as highlighting some points you just may not have thought about (i.e. despite their digital familiarity, today's students still grew up with books). Good article.
  • This article appeared a little while ago but 10 Tips for Better e-Learning Audio is still well worth checking out - though the tips are right at the bottom, so your scrolling finger will get a work-out too!
  • Want to know about how HE is using social media? Further Evidence of Use of Social Networks in the UK Higher Education Sector was a guest post in the always useful UK Web Focus and the trend to institutions only having 3/4 points of presence in a range of services - now, I know that the University of Sheffield has far more than this and I wonder if the question of institutional accounts is missing the point?  Unofficial / departmental and / or individual use (which tends to have pockets of activity all over in my experience) is not really picked up by this at all and I'm wondering how or if you could dig into that data at all?
  • The online open-access journal article issue rumbles on and this time 'Open access will bankrupt us, publishers’ report claims' appeared in the Times Higher Education - the full report is also available.  It's hard not to read it and think that as a report commissioned by the publishers it was always going to favour the publishers' perspective... but... read the report and see what you think.
  • The real cost of the smartphone revolution came out in The Observer at the weekend (in John Naughton's always readable column there) and it made some extremely relevant points, particularly if we're thinking about handheld devices for learning and teaching...
    'But what it means is that with every new smartphone subscription we take another tiny but discrete step towards a networked world dominated by powerful corporations that can not only "regulate" the system in their own interests, but also control the speed of technological innovation to a pace that is convenient for them rather than determined by the creativity of hackers and engineers.' (Naughton, 2012)
    ... and that's a worrying trend towards a commercially-determined future which will impact on learning.
  • I rather liked the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Tech-Leading Principals which, although this is set in the school context, this goes beyond just being a simple list and has some illustrations of what the habit looks like in action which is great.  I've linked here to the print version, however, as the other version was pretty irritating to navigate through!
  • I can't think whether I mentioned this before, but if you've seen or heard of Pinterest lately (the latest social media darling) then you might be interested in Learnist - which aims to do the same kind of visual user-curated content thing as Pinterest, but for learning and teaching resources.  
  • The last link is just a 'what's changed with Google Docs in May' thing from Google... and it's useful to keep on top of these not least because the addition of something new might just be the thing that makes you go 'actually, I could really use that with my students!', and that would be excellent!
Oh, and I just now spotted something on whether or not online aliases should be used in academic debate on the Guardian's Higher Education Network... but, to be honest it feels like old news, so read if you're intrigued and if you don't want discuss things with people using pseudonyms, then head off to Google+ where real names are the norm! 

There you have it.  A few articles to get you thinking.  A few tips.  And an article which makes you go 'is this *really* worth putting in print?'!

See you next week!


PS  The kitten was cute though, right?  :o)

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