Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Well, back to the Surf session we were offered two presentations of tools that claim to support your modelling work in Archimate: Architect by BiZZdesign and ARIS bij IDS Scheer. Although I had some trouble in following the sometimes fast pace of the demo (including all the technical, architectural issues that were considered as prior knowledge) I saw clear differences between the two. Architect gives me the impression that it delivers results that are suitable for further communication (e.g. validation purposes) with stakeholders in your organisation. It delivers flows that can rather easily elaborated. ARIS seems much more complex (although it has an impressive track record in large industries) to handle and to communicate about for non-technical people. One specific weakness in the ARIS presentation is that the current version is not capable to show the designs in Archimate modelling components yet. This will be the case in the next release (to be expected in 2008-Q1).
Personally I was also more attracted to the presentation style of BiZZdesign. Their business proposition as a lean and mean orgaisation with a clear focus is more attractive that a large multinational and more commercial approach. The IDS Scheer presentation was much more of a commercial kind, and I'm not sure whether the listeners were really waiting for this. Several colleagues indicated that Dutch Higher Education is still at the very beginning of working under architecture and were wondering whether ARIS is the right choice. According to IDS this is the right moment to step in, but I never heard an argument why. So far, I believe we made the right choice to work together with BiZZdesign for our 3TU objectives.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
For me, the summer holidays are also a period without computers and/or communication with the home base. Although the webmail facilities are convenient enough to read your mail every day, I don't do it as a sort of defense mechanism. On the one hand because I know my out-of-office assistant has informed the sender that I'm away and that a quick answer is not to be expected. On the other hand, in case there would be an (urgent) message that requires any follow up it could spoil your day and the whole relaxing atmosphere. So I usually start reading my mail after I return in the Netherlands, a few days before I get back to work. This way the number of unread messages is acceptable on my first working day, and I have the illusion that I may continue my Spanish holiday pace for a while. This is indeed an illusion.... ;-)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Everytime I am chatting with my own kids it reminds me of this column. The difference is that we know each others identity. Most of the time when I'm working my MSN account is active. Everytime one of my kids gets online I see the popup in my screen. It's a very convenient and efficient way to ask if everything is ok, if a test went ok or just to say what time i'll be home. Takes usually less than one minute and then I'll continue with my work. It's much easier than picking up the phone, dial the number, wait before someone answers (if at all) and have a talk which can easily last a couple of minutes. My kids are also used to these small MSN chats, and they have no problem that their 43-yr old father is listed between their MSN friends of their own age. I think (or should I say hope?) that they feel it's rather cool to have a dad who is using the same digital tools they do.
Oh yes, in case you worry, as far as I know Joost and his daughter did have a good talk about this and everything is ok with them.
Because of the summer holidays, the number of posts will probably be lower in the next couple of weeks.
Monday, June 11, 2007
An alphabetical overview of all conference sessions can be found here
For more impressions about the conference I would like to refer to the Sakai-NL blog at: http://sakai-nl.blogspot.com/
You will also find my contributions over there.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Another reason for writing this post comes from a completely different context. I am in more than one way involved in martial arts: Taekwondo. First, being an active taekwondoka, second being involved as a member of the board, responsible for financial and ICT issues. The latter means maintenance of our website www.tsdekker.nl, but also the communication to our members. About 75% of our members is younger than 18 years. That's one of the reasons why we tried to shift from paper-based communication to communication via our website and trough e-mail. The rationale is that young people spend a lot of time on MSN, Skype, Habbo. Hyves, etc. communicating with each other, being on-line, the homo zappiens as Wim Veen would say. Most of the time this communication is synchronous however. When we send out newsflashes by e-mail it's asynchronous. It's remarkable how few responses we get. Of course, newsflashes don't necessarily require an answer, but we have the same situation when we send out explicit questions via e-mail, such as who wants to participate in a tournament that takes places a few weeks from now. The e-mail response is less than 10%, so we have to ask them in person, or send out paper-based invitations. Is it because the e-mails aren't read or because it is considered an old medium? It seems not a standard thing to do, to open your Inbox and see if there are any new messages. Maybe it's too much business like to send out e-mail. Synchronous communication provides a social context, you can also chat about some other things if you like to, whereas e-mail is much more to the point. You want your message to be as clear as possible. In a synchronous chat you can make immediate corrections if you think that the other person didn't understand what you were writing. So, the question is whether there is some sort of communication gap between what we (40+) consider effective and efficient communication and what they (-18) like to receive. Should we be more synchronous, mingle on MSN, use Breeze for group conversations? It's an interesting thought, but maybe a little bit too far for the purposes we like to use our mail correspondence for...
Friday, June 01, 2007
This is the first paragraph of an advertisement e-mail I received - despite of my spam filter -. It reminds me of a recent discussion on a Dutch national radiostation (Radio 1) about how we are trying to prevent students from plagiarism. Nowadays we have sophisticaed software for plagiarims prevention like Ephorus or Turnitin. These tools can be integrated in our LMS solution. Every paper submitted by our students can be checked in a very short time and we receive a sort of originality report. A percentage score can give you an indication whether a paper is a suspect of plagiarism. The results of the plagiarism software are based on exhaustive searches on billions of pages, databases, e-journals and of course the papers that have been previously submitted.
However, inventive as people are we see other fraud-phenomena arising. For example, companies who offer to write your entire master thesis for 3 fo 4 thousand Euros. They give a sort of non-plagiarism guarantee (maybe even checked with the same software) and claim to have professional writers on a great variety of subjects. Until recently, there was a discussion going on whether Google should display advertisements / search results for these types of companies. Since it was decided that the search results should no longer be displayed, the turnover results of these companies has dropped by over 90%. I was wondering anyway how students who buy their master thesis would do when they have to give their final presentation, or even worse answer in-depth questions about the thesis. They don't have a clue....
For those who are really desparate: they may reply to advertisements such as written in the first paragraph of this post. This advertisement refers to nonaccredited universities, but we have also seen that it's not too difficult to buy an almost genuine diploma of an accredited university in the Netherlands for a couple hundreds of euros. These kind of practices cannot be prevented by plagiarism software. Perhaps we should strive for a central registration system in which all your credits are stored. I am pretty sure that the University of Nijmegen must have some kind of registration on the achievement of my PhD degree, but can anyone else find it? Just type in the social registration number of a person and find out what degrees are officially registered. Of course, there are a lot of (privacy) issues that we have to deal with first, but technically it shouldn't be difficult to realise.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Click here to find out more about Sakai in the Netherlands?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I'd like to close this post with two statements:
- Sakai and Sharepoint are not two interchangeable options. The products can complement each other, rather than subsitute the other.
- Sharepoint seems to relate closer to the current daily practice of publishing powerpoint slides and PDF-readers (as is done in current VLE's) which makes it an attractive alternative for e.g. Blackboard. In my opinion this will hinder true pedagogical innovation.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Haiku usually combine two (or rarely, three) different phrases, with a distinct grammatical break (kireji). These elements of the older hokku are considered by many to be essential to haiku as well, although they are not always included by modern writers of Japanese "free-form haiku" and of non-Japanese haiku. Japanese haiku are typically written as a single line, while English language haiku are traditionally separated into three lines (source: Wikipedia).
Monday, March 19, 2007
The plan is written in close collaboration with colleagues from ITBE, ELAN and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. The main objective of the plan is how to use existing (on-line) materials in a blended learning approach. A first analysis on primarily Dutch projects shows that there is already a lot of ready-to-use content (tutorials, readers, exercices, assessments) available in the math domain. In some cases these materials are available for (almost) free, so why develop new materials if a lot can be re-used? It's much more interesting to think about the pedagogical way these materials can be offered to the students. Moreover, it can save a lot of time in order to achieve some quick wins.
In our project plan we distinguish three types of student admission:
- those who enter from the highest grade of secondary education (VWO)
- those who enter from higher vocational education (pre-master)
- those who enter from an international insitute
We now have to wait until the meeting with the board (next friday). An interesting aspect is that the plan is delivered together with a corresponding Wiki site. So, a lot of resources and links that are mentioned in the document can also be viewed in an interactive way.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Another interesting aspect is that you can actually invest money in Second Life. You can buy so called Linden dollars from your real American dollars. The exchange rate is about L$270 to one US Dollar (Wikipedia, March 7, 2007). Residents can create new goods and services, and buy and sell them in the Second Life virtual world. It's possible to buy land and build a house on it. I recently read an article in which the author suddenly became aware that he was looking into a house where someone was reading a book. He felt uncomfortable about it, feeling a voyeur, as if he was really looking into someone's home. Well if you ask me, why sit in a Second Life house to read a book??
Second Life has also emerged as one of the cutting-edge virtual classrooms for major colleges and universities, including Harvard, Pepperdine, Ball State, New York University and Delft University of Technology. Second Life fosters a welcoming atmosphere for administrators to host lectures and projects online, selling more than 100 islands for educational purposes, according to a New York Times article. The article quoted Rebecca Nesson, an instructor at Harvard who brought her Legal Studies class to Second Life in the second half of 2006. "Normally, no matter how good a distance-learning class is, an inherent distance does still exist between you and your students," she says. "Second Life has really bridged that gap. There is just more unofficial time that we spend together outside of the typical class session." Joe Sanchez, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin evaluated the use of Second Life in education in an interactive qualitative analysis, finding that once students overcome the technical and interface difficulties with Second Life, they "indicate a preference to social learning activites and find it enjoyable to interact with other avatars while learning in this space". At the University of Twente we are currently thinking about organizing (virtual) summerschools for students who want to enhance their knowledge and skills in math. Should we also bring this to Second Life (apart from the question what possibilites you have to deploy existing assignments with mathematical formulas, etc.)? I think it's interesting enough to take a closer look at. Being present at Second Life may be(come) an important unique selling point if you want to attract new students.
There is one major worry though. A Dutch professor in economic psychology stated that the Second Life economy is much more vulnerable than the economy in the real world. Companies are present on Second Life for economic, commercial reasons. They make investments and expect to gain any form of profit in the future (in money or otherwise). When they find out that their commercial objectives are not fullfilled there is a great risk that they will shut down their virtual office again, which may initiate a chain reaction.
Friday, March 02, 2007
There is an important difference between important and urgent matters. Something that is important doesn’t need to be urgent and something that’s urgent doesn’t have to be important. Before starting a task it’s a good strategy to consider what type of task it is. It can save a lot of time to choose the most efficient way of dealing with the task. The main question is to ask yourself whether the task is important and/or urgent. Depending on the two answers, this may lead to a different type of follow up:
- Important – Yes / Urgent – Yes : do it yourself
- Important – Yes / Urgent – No: plan the task, if possible ask someone else to do it
- Important – No / Urgent –Yes: ask someone else
- Important – No / Urgent – No: consider no doing the task at all (unless you have spare time)
A project manager can provide additional value to choose the right strategy, especially in case of type 1 and type 2 tasks. According to the Pareto principle 20% of the work can deliver 80% of the results, meaning that 80% of the time is lost for all kinds of trivial aspects. When you have chosen the right task strategy it is important to create the right working conditions:
Calendar: clearly make use of a calendar. What’s possible, what’s not. Reserve time for unexpected things, time for preparation, travel time, make your personal planning. When you use shared calendars in your organisation, this is even more important. Others can see that your time is set to ‘busy’, so the risk that new appointments or acitivities will be planned for you is diminished.
Planning: try to be honest about the amount of time you need for a task. Take this into account, take care of some extra time and set your priorities. Don’t underestimate this.
Phone: if possible, re-direct your calls to a secretary, don’t make longlasting phonecalls yourself and set time frames on which you’re not available
E-mail: when e-mail drops in (e.g., showing itself by a small pop-up), do not react immediately. Before you know there is another task on your table that needs to be done. This is especially bad if it is a type 1 task. When you have to concentrate on a task, shut down the e-mail and check it again after a while. An interesting filter is to create a rule to move all cc: mails to a separate folder. I have never seen Cc-mails that included type 1 or type 2 tasks. The effect on your Inbox is amazing.
Open door: beware the open door principle. Off course this creates a nice, social and open work environment, but everyone can drop in at any time, also when it’s not convenient for you. For some tasks, don’t hesitate to shut the door (as if you were in a private meeting).
Virtual office: Even better (but that depends on the work you’re doing and the HRM policy) work at home every now and then. When you have a fast broadband connection, e-mail, VPN, mobile phone, collaborative environments, and a webcam as standard facilities, it’s just a second, virtual office, only with a limited risk on disturbances. A lot of people won’t even notice, expect those who work in your immediate environment. I think it’s a pretty good estimate to say that about 50% of my work e-mails are sent from my home office. On the one hand because I work at home one day a week, on the other hand because I deal with part of my e-mails in the evening because I often leave the office at 4 PM to avoid (part) of the traffic jam. All non-urgent mails can be handled in the quiet surroundings of my home office.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The testing procedure should lead to a decision (Feb 22nd, 2007) whether or not we will migrate our production server from 2.2.0 to 2.3.1. I think it is a good thing to do, provided that backup measures are taken properly, so you can re-migrate in case of a crash. This way we will collect valuable evaluation data about the way a migration process may take place. Despite the fact that we are still in a pilot phase (no-warranties given) it's obvious that you will loose a lot of goodwill from your pilot partners, in case they would loose their work so far. It's hardly imaginable that you can convince them to built their site again.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Friday, February 09, 2007
One of the major criticisms is that everything seems to depend on these 3 days. If a child feels sick or suffers from stress (it can be a stressful experience) his score may be significantly lower than in a normal non-stressful situation. The CITO test is just a snapshot within a period of several years. An alternative test (the NIVO test) claims to take account of this problem by taking smaller tests during the whole year. This way the scores are assumed to be much more balanced, thus being a better predictor of a child's ability to perform. Another criticism that can be identified is that a relatively low CITO-score can be compensated by motivation, but also the other way around: a high score is no guarantee for success.
Personally, I have three experiences why I doubt the predictive value of the CITO test. The first experience is that I went to secondary school (pre-academic level; VWO in Dutch) having the lowest CITO score of a group of 5 peers who went to the same school. My 4 peers all dropped out, changed to lower levels of secondary education, the first one already after 6 months! I was the only one who finished the VWO level and achieved my degree. My second experience is at the University of Nijmegen. During my 1st bachelor year in psychology one of the instructors was interested to know how many of my cohort had achieved a high CITO score. The result was rather dramatic: according to the CITO test about 50% was tested for a lower level. The third experience is with my own son, who took the test 2 years ago. He achieved a score of 541 which is 3 points below the entrance level at some secondary schools at pre-academic level. Taking a closer look at his score profile, I noticed that he had a relatively low score on math, which considerably influenced his overall score. Strange, because in the past three years he used to score straight A's on math. Why not on this one CITO test day, I wondered? An additional talk between his teacher and the secondary school (a Gymnasium) he wanted to attend was needed, because normally they use the strict policy that an entrance score of 544 is required. Well, he was accepted under the condition that he could not fail his first year, otherwise he would have to move to another school. My son is halfway 2nd grade now and he is doing fine. His test scores are quite well and he is 'on schedule' to go to the 3rd grade after this summer. He's doing as least as well as some of his classmates who achieved the maximum 550 for their CITO test.
To conclude this post, the CITO score is just one predictor in a series of many other ones. The relative weight and stress that is put on these three days in February is rather silly. Primary schools are keeping track records for years, which seems much more reliable to me than the rather coincidental score on three days in a whole year. Why not spread out the CITO test over the 8th grade (e.g., one day in october, december and february)? A completely other consquence is that the 8th grade children are virtually free, starting today until the first week of september when they start their career in secondary school. Of course, they have to attend their schools the next couple of months until the end of June, but everything is already set. In the first week of March they receive their score, one or two weeks later they subscribe to the school they will attend after the summer. For some children it will be tough to start studying again after a 7-month period of freewheeling.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Mirande provides us with an interesting overview on the use of technology in education. Technology is always evolving, but only few examples have shown that technology indeed leads to a new form of education. Does it depend on the technology or do we have unrealistic expectations when a new technology arrives? The author takes us on a historic tour, starting in 1925 with the first learning machine invented by a psychologist called Sidney Pressey. Pressey was working on standardisation of tests, built several machines and did a lot of attempts to achieve acceptance for his learning machines. However, in the 30's nobody was really interested. In the early 60's the learning machines became more and more accepted. The sad thing for Pressey though was that his younger rival Skinner received all the credits. I think this is a typical example of how technology may be ahead of it's time: the technical possibilities are great, but there is no immediate need for it in education, or it takes to much effort to implement it.
The 80's can be considered the years of the rise of computer assisted instruction: i.e., not on a terminal connected to a mainframe, but on a microcomputer! This brings on a very vivid memory to myself, since this is about the period I started working with computers. I created a lot of research data files and - consecutively- a lot of SPSS-analyses on the IBM mainframe at the University of Nijmegen. Colleagues were working on one of the first IBM Personal Computer. It must have been 1985 before I started working on an IBM PC. It was the first one in the department of experimental psychology with an internal harddisk of 20Mb. Wow, that was huge! As a part of my PhD research I programmed an application in Turbo Pascal for the purpose of analysis and remedial teaching of motoric aspects of handwriting. Looking back at this and other applications the 4-E model by Betty Collis provides an excellent predictor for success: Ease of use, Effectiveness, Environment, Engagement.
In the subsequent chapters of his book Mirande takes us to the early years of the internet as we know it at this moment. Starting with Mosaic in 1993 as the first graphical internet browser. In those days I worked at OTEC at the Dutch Open University and I still remember the victory we felt when one of our programmers succeeded to run Mosaic and showed that to us. However, there was hardly any interesting content to be found. It's incredibable how the penetration of internet has grown since then: from about 7% in 1997 until well over 90% at this very moment. The internet has now become a standard tool, as much as a calculator or a television. A lot of TV commercials only mention a URL if you want to contact a vendor, whereas a few years ago the commercial also mentioned a phone number. A serious concern though is that the internet has also created new gaps: between wealthy and poor, between well educated and poorly educated, and between the young and elderly.
It was in the beginning of the internet burst that the University of Twente started their work on the development of one of the first e-learning platforms: TeleTOP, which is nowadays our campus wide e-learning facility. TeleTOP was designed from an educational background, which explains it's success and acceptance. It fulfils the needs of our instructors. Blackboard achieved a remarkable success in the global e-learning market, probably because it related so closely to the existing instructional design principles: It was not necessary to implement large changes in instructional design. Bb became an additional means to publish information (announcements, learning materials).
At the end of the 90's there was a mid-size Dutch company called SPC. They developed prototypes of an e-learning environment which was based on a communication design. MSN-like features (select your own buddies en see who's online), commenting on each other by using digital postings and the use of a discussion forum were interesting new features. Two-way interaction was the key design principle. A little bit analogous to Pressey the commercial people and consultants did a lot of presentations for prospects and during fairtrades. We organised seminars with over 100 participants, but still we did not get any further than some small pilot projects, except for one large and successful project within a Dutch financial institute. The company moved away from this market, and did not survive the economical crisis that started in 2001. Looking at the current approach of e-learning in which communication and collaborative functions are key issues, the ideas we had 8 years ago were not so bad after all. Pedagogical concepts like peer-to-peer learning, communities of practice provide a framework in which this kind of e-learning technology can fit. Blackboard has trouble in following this shift towards a two-way approach of learning. Sharepoint, It's learning, Sakai (although very different) are just a few examples that explicitly address this new way of looking at education.
Moreover, E-learning is evolving towards more wireless broadband access of rich media information and by using mobile devices. Again, we must watch out not to be too far ahead of what educators need. As Mirande concludes the penetration of the learning machine is inevitable and will further increase. It also forces educators to rethink their way of organising a curriculum, subjects and the instructional design they want to apply.
For personal reasons Marcel Mirande retired a few months before the DU was incorporated into SURF. I'd like to congratulate him on the publication of this book and I wish him the very best for the future.
Mirande, M. (2006). De onstuitbare opkomst van de leermachine: Over de precaire verhouding tussen technologie en onderwijs in de periode 1925-2005. Assen: Van Gorcum.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Looking at the contacts I have gathered so far there is only little overlap between my contacts on LinkedIn (42 at the moment) and on Hyves (31). My Hyves contacts are much more in terms of people I personally know or have a personal connection to, on LinkedIn I have contacts with people I only met one time, but that meeting was enought to discover the mutual benefit of linking our networks to each other. It's sometimes surprising to discover shared connections: you find out that you know the same person, but you didn't know that from each other. LinkedIn may be helpful to get introduced to persons you don't have direct connections with. It's easy to find out who is in your 2nd level network in LinkedIn. Well, in that case I have more than 1500 useful connections right now. I have a little problem with the 3rd level network (> 100.000 connections in my case!) : you know someone who can introduce you to a person in his/her network, but that person needs to introduce you further to someone else in his network. I wonder why he would do that? The 2nd level person doesn't know me, so why introduce me to one of his contacts? I my opinion it's just a nice figure to see, but it has no real meaning to me. I don't want to know the 4th or even 5th level (I'm sure LinkedIn is able to calculate this for you). Before you know, you 'know' all people on the planet (or at least the ones who have a LinkedIn profile).
Despite this critical reflection it's a very interesting and valuable experience to find out how these social software applications work and what the benefit is or could be. Personally I believe you should not only read about it, but work with it for yourself and see what's going on. You might also want to try MySpace.com, Second Life or create an account in online games such as Habbo, Runescape or World of Warcraft. There you can also meet friends (real ones and just virtual friends). Runescape and Habbo support Wim Veen's statement (see my previous posting) of the gift economy. Kids have no problem to give away a set of armour to a new kid on the block, although they did a lot of effort to get it themselves. In a more extreme sense I know examples of kids who just give away their account (level 74) and start all over again. Analogous to Hyves or LinkedIn you have a list of friends, with whom you share things. In this case it doesn't matter if it's a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or whatever level connection. There seems to be a basic willingness to collaborate and share.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The full presentations can be downloaded from a webpage at It's learning.
In general I was wondering why SURFdiensten offers a platform to a - as a matter of fact two - commercial software vendors: It’s learning en Microsoft. Of course everyone is free to organise meetings and presentation seminars, but should SURFdiensten organise an excellent channel into the higher education market? Why not Netschool, Blackboard or TeleTOP (just to mention some other providers). Is it a matter of influencing the market?
Anyway, It's learning seems to have chosen the momentum quite well. The Blackboard market is not as strong as it used to be and Sharepoint is more and more claiming to be a platform that can solve virtually any problem. Organisations are making new choices, some already made a next step and did choose for It's learning instead of Blackboard. Listening to the two final presentations (by Berg and Kuijpers), the integration between It's learning and Sharepoint 2007 seems to be the 'Best of Both Worlds' solution. It looked quite good (at least the screendumps did), but in my opinion It’s learning can be subsituted by any other platform that is able to communicate through webservices with one or more Sharepoint webparts. Simply stated: it should also be possible to integrate a Sakai service with a Sharepoint webpart.
Some highlights I heard from the other presenters? Prof. Wim Veen (known from the concept of Homo Zappiens) reflected on the meaning of social networking for education. Web 2.0, the read-write web or any other categoryname for applications such as Hyves, Flickr, etc. make it very easy to share information with others. Learning has become a process of externalisation instead of internalisation. Sharing information (also by means of this blog for example) forces you to rethink and reflect on what you want to share. Externalisation may provide you with feedback to be used for improving yourself. At this moment one might speak of a remarkable gift economy (look at the way Wikipedia has been established and how the improvement process goes). Sharing of knowledge has become the leading paradigm.
The consequence for the materials which are shared is that these become more and more raw media components: small units, but flexible to integrate with the right tools. Availability of well integrated ICT, peers and feedback processes, but also available support are considered important prerequisites for Homo Zappiens.
Other presentations focused (Halleen, NTNU Trondheim) on the so far traditional use of a VLE (distribution of ppt and word files), which makes a VLE rather expensive. Publication of large PDF's is not done and focus should be set to rich media and mobile learning. Both Prison (Erasmus MC) and Tarenskeen (HU) include student orientation as the main learning paradigm, which explains their choice to use It's learning instead of Blackboard, which is primarily instructor driven. The remarkable thing in both presentations is that It's learning is used in relatively small part of the organisation, whereas e.g. Erasmus University still uses Blackboard as their default VLE. At HU It's learning is restricted to the faculty of computer sciences. The other parts of HU use Bb and/or Sharepoint. A recent achievement by the board to reduce the number of VLE-like applications in favour of only Bb or Sharepoint was blocked by students (about 110). They wrote a petition in favour of keeping It's learning. HU now focuses on the integration between Sharepoint and It's learning, which will further weaken the position of Bb.
I think it's good to see that organisations (now) recognize that Sharepoint is not a one size fitts all solution. On the one hand, it has very good functions for document sharing, workflow management and it can support collaborative work. On the other hand there is a lack of essential functions which would make it a real VLE. Think for example about the process of development, deployment and submission of assignments.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
In summary, you need three steps to download from YouTube and to play files on a local or mobile device such as an iPod or Pocket PC:
1. Paste the URL of your favorite YouTube video on the Javimoya page.
2. Convert the FLV file to any format you like using SUPER.
3. Copy your output file to the device you want.
If you only want to keep FLV files and use an FLV player on your local computer, then you should install the FLV player from the Javimoya page instead of step 2 and 3.
Monday, January 08, 2007
The next step would be to install a converter which can create e.g. mp4 or avi output-videofiles from an FLV inputfile. I've tried a free demo version of Replay Converter which enables you to make 90sec. conversions. The full version of the program costs $29,95. The quality of the output file can be selected, but of course the filesize grows quickly when you require a high quality video. The mp4 output can be played with Windows Media Player and simply synchronized with a Pocket Pc running Windows Mobile. So the end of the experiment was that we were able to play a YouTube video on a Pocket PC. The mp4 also runs on iTunes, which makes it simple to Synchronize it with an iPod. A quick search on Download.com shows a lot of FLV converters. However, only very few of them are available as freeware. Next thing to do is to try one of these programs. I'll let you know what I found out, next time I write on my weblog.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Why upgrade this quickly you might ask? Why not wait and see if any serious problems occur with other bloggers. Well the reason was simple and necessary at the same time. Being a co-author of a teamblog I needed to upgrade my existing blogger account, because the teamblog was migrated just this morning. I could not contribute anymore, unless I migrated my account too. While performing the migration process, I noticed that the blogs that I own myself were migrated at the same time. I must say, that's rather convenient, because all my blog data are now migrated to the new blogger in one process. So, the first achievement of 2007 is a success! The next is to get an overview of all the mails and the things that were going on when I left the office two weeks ago. It's for sure now that this is a much bigger challenge than the blogger migration I just described.