Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sakai and/or Sharepoint: The Sequel

There is an interesting discussion going on why Sakai and Sharepoint are currently considered the two mainstreams as possible substitutions for traditional VLE's like Blackboard, TeleTOP. Walter Brand wonders in his comment how Sakai and Sharepoint ended up as apparently two interchangeable options on many short lists. Clearly there isn't much overlap between both products in functionality. What could be the reasons? Sakai doesn't cover the needs of good content management and basically lacks the work flow posibilities. Sharepoint on the other hand has no built in tools that focusses on specific educational areas. Maybe a (more profound) reason for showing up as 'equal' opportunities may be that Sharepoint allows to continue working in the way that people are used to. In the current use of VLE's we still see too much PDF en PPT docs being published as resources in a course site. Clearly, Sharepoint provides interesting additionali functionality to this existing process: versioning, workflow support. It's possible to stay close to the existing way of using a VLE, instead of making a next step towards educational innovation. Using Sakai you are confronted with the question how to implement new pedagogical paradigms: demand driven education instead of supply driven. A Web2.0 approach (equal rights to make contributions) instead of the instructor who is virtually the only one who decides what happens in a course.
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

Sakai and/or Sharepoint

This week I submitted a post to because the topic of the post is more relevant there. So please click on the link to read it. You are kindly invited to comment on this post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Starting on

Well, I finally made a start on I was aware about it for quite a while and the advantage of having your own bookmarks available on any internet PC in the world seems obvious. The second advantage is that you can share your bookmarks with others and you can see who else has bookmarked the same URL (the social bookmarking aspect). But, as in all tasks you want to do, it's mostly just a matter of time and/or setting priorities. You have to sit down for a while, think about the tags you want to use and whether or not you like to bundle them into meaningful categories. It's important to take some time for this, which makes it easy to find your URLs once you have created a considerable list. I have made a start now with about 40 URLs, which is not very much yet, since I know of people who already have collected some 1000+ URLs. Of course, they have been using quite some time and try to add one or two new URLs every day. If I can keep that up for the rest of 2007 I could probably achieve a number of 500 URLs. For the time being it's just good to know to have a set of well used favorites online when the summer vacation will start in a few months from now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Education day

Today I am preparing a presentation for the 1st day (actually it's an afternoon) of education at our Faculty of Science and Technology, which will be held tomorrow in the Horst building of the University of Twente. The education day is organised for all teachers, mentors, instructors who are involved in the primary process of education. It's a moment of reflection and information exchange about a specific educational theme. The main theme of tomorrow is the use of ICT in Education. After a word of welcome by the dean Alfred Bliek and an overview presentation by former ITBE colleague Jan van der Veen, the rest of the afternoon will consist of two mainstreams: Best practices of ict in education within the Faculty of Science and Technology and the use of (ICT) materials within the so-called SkillsLab. "The Skillslab is a learning environment in which the authentic professional environment is simulated and fits the demands for training of diverse students (e.g. technical medicine and nursing students but also professionals of all healthcare disciplines). It supports the regular study program in the development and maintaining of skills, the planning and preparation of complex interventions. It is not only a learning environment but also a research facility in which equipment and intervention modalities can be developed and evaluated" ( My presentation will be presented as a best practice on the use of Maple TA (mathematic testing software) within the advanced technology course Introduction to Engineering I (I2E1). I am giving this presentation in my role as a project manager of the Digital University project Integrated Science Education. It was intended that Gijs Krijnen would give the presentation himself, but unfortunately he will not be in Twente this afternoon. Besides a general introduction on I2E1 I will focus on the use of diagnostic testing by means of Maple TA. One of the objectives was to 'force' students in a working mode, because they could take several Maple TA tests during a period of 4 weeks. It was possible to achieve a limited amount of bonus points that could be used to upgrade the final test score. The evaluation showed that 70% of the students (n=82) completed at least 1 Maple TA test, 45% of the students achieved a score on all Maple TA tests. Within the group of students who achieved Maple TA scores (and potential bonus points) it showed that 48% passed the final test. Without the bonus points only 31% would have passed the test. Besides activating the students, Maple TA is also considered a environment that is able to form a bridge between the math and physics domain. By exercising mathematical concepts (e.g. differentiation), it becomes easier to apply these in a physics context (e.g. Newton's Law). Although further improvements can be made, Gijs Krijnen considers Maple TA as a useful tool to improve I2E1. It's very likely that Maple TA will also be embedded I2E1 during the academic year 2007-2008. Perhaps the education day will create an enlarged interest within the faculty.