Catching up a bit

Back at the hotel. The desk is exactly the wrong height for typing on this $#&$(^$@ Thinkpad "chicklet" keyboard, so this will be brief.

My battery ran out near the end of JSB's keynote. The questions at the end were very interesting, especially one concerning how the new emphasis on online community might be opening more doors to women in technology.

The Nosh-n-Network lunch group for instructional designers worked pretty well, though a couple of folks weren't able to find our table. Should've put up a sign... There was expressed a STRONG interest in having a threaded discussion at OLN for ID. Andrea, Cable, Sheryl...?

The session by fellow OLN list moderator Karen Swan on optimizing online discussions was *very* informative. Memo to self - MUST pass on this info to the faculty I work with. Likewise, Ryan Wolley's session on student peer review of writing, especially as applied to writing in the disciplines. The "conversation about quality in online learning" was a bit guarded. The reason became clear to me when Albert "Chip" Ingram asked how folks do reviews of online courses. One person volunteered, "Well, when I am asked by a faculty member to review their course...." and the room tittered with nervous, knowing laughter. It's a delicate dance we do, n'est c'est pas?

At any conference you go to, there's at least one session that you pass up but should not have. This year, it looks like I missed out on a couple - Laura Little's session on games, and Phyllis Ennist and Vandana Rola's session on learning objects. In my defense, they were both scheduled at the same time as the "Whose Tutorial" session, which I'd been specifically asked to attend.

But as Miz Scarlett said, "Tomorrow... is another day." See you then.
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Wikis & Blogs, Blogs & Wikis

Are you using blogs and wikis? How are you using them? Have they been successful?

Chad Boeninger shared his experience with blogs and wikis at Ohio University Libraries during his session, "Using Wikis and Blogs to Promote Information Literacy Skills and Library Resources."

Ohio University Libraries has a news blog and several subject specific blogs including the business blog.

Chad suggested some ways blogs can be leveraged for libraries, including:
  • dynamic content
  • using multiple authors (instead of relying on one single Webmaster to update content)
  • giving others ownership of content
  • syndication
Some cons to blogs:
  • Measurement is difficult, it's hard to tell which posts are being read
  • RSS is slow to catch on
  • authors must regularly generate content
  • organization of archives can be difficult
So what is a wiki? Chad defines it as a Web site where the content can be created and edited by a community of users. You can use wikis as research guides, see the OU Libraries Biz Wiki and of course there is the Open Doorways Wiki.

Why would you use a wiki? It's very easy to add and edit content, wikis are searchable, there's more room for content, you can organize content by categories, and they help build communities.

The challenge for using blogs and wikis is getting the intended audiences to get involved, create and edit content and leave comments. How do you deal with this challenge?

Links mentioned during this session:
*I'm not 100% sure these are the right links to the resources mentioned, if I'm wrong, please let me know.

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Reverse Benefits

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Opening quote: "Good teaching is good teaching regardless of format of delivery." I should get that one tattoed on my forehead. Or at least printed in my office. :-) That may be a new sig.

Which is right?
"Content oriented courses work online; discussion oriented courses don't."
"Discussion oriented courses work online; content oriented courses don't."

WHat do we think on these topics? More importantly, WHY?

Faculty will find a way to make their way of teaching work online.

There is a great list of resources that are part of the handout. I'll see if I can link here later. Editing posts is great. Wish I could do that with comments.

Important view: If we can separate the teaching from the context, we'll be in better shape to go either face-to-face or online. that is so key, for teaching either online or face-to-face.

He's describing a social constructivist, learner-oriented teacher who becomes more learner-centered in the f2f classroom as a result of online interaction. Maybe this means that as we begin to teach online, we become more so...that is, more like we are than we were before? And is that a good thing?

If it ain't broke, improve it!!! That was my first boss, Dr. Tony Whitmore,'s view. God rest his soul. How many of us really live by this? (anonymous comments encouraged here!).

To click or not to click

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Session regarding plagiarism and using clickers in the library to raise students' awareness about plagiarism. I've never thought about using clickers as part of library bibliographic instruction.

Reasons for plagiarism:

  • laziness

  • Lack of understanding of how to cite and how to quote

  • personal attitudes (it's not important; it's a silly requirement, unreasonable, irrelevant)

  • others get away with it (especially Jayson Blair and other unethical journalist

  • I would also like to add cultural issues. We need to teaach international students the standards and definition of cheating in the US educational system. Views of what we call plagiarism are very different in some Asian and Arab countries.

Cheating is like speeding: everybody does it, and it's no big deal if you get caught. That's an interesting view, and one that could reform our instruction and how we deal wlth plagiarism.

This session says that clickers have been in education since the early 1970's. I'd like to find out more abou that; I thought they were a very new phenomenon. I wonder if this was the Dennis type, in which students raise cards to indicate their chioce on a question. That way they don't see what each other has said, but Dennis knows at a glance which ones are doing OK and which ones are still confused.

He is using the CPS clickers (eInstruction) while we use the Turning Point system. I'm interested in seeing the differences. These are certainly bigger. It's more the size of my stereo remote, while the Turing Point is the size of a couple of credit cards. I've heard about the eInstruction system. If I recall correctly, it's more used in K12 settings.

It looks like it is not quite as integrated with PowerPoint as TurningPoint is. I'm not sure if this i s a plus or minus. Probably both.

This is being used in an anonymous fashion, which I think is a plus as well, especially for this topic. The signal from the clicker seems to be sent rather quickly as well. I like that they show who has answered. I'll have to double-check TP to see if we can do that too.

Do you think Clicker technology could be used effectively in one-time library instruction?
Results from the Audience: 25 yes, 1 Maybe, 0 no.

Presenters: Mike Tosko and Frank Bowe, University of Akron

John Seely Brown Interview

Download John Seely Brown Interview at ODCE '06

[Update 3/15/06: A more packaged version of this interview is posted to Learning Curve.]

Audio file - apprx. 18 minutes

Today is the first day of the ODCE 2006 conference, and we were fortunate enough to have John Seely Brown - author, consulting and former head of Xerox PARC - address the convention as our keynoter. Following the speech, Rich James of Columbus State Community College interviewed Brown with some follow-up questions about putting his ideas to work. That podcast is presented here.

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OSPILOT Presentation

This is our space to discuss the OSPILOT project. Please click on "Comments" and post your comments, questions, suggestions. I will be watching the blog and will interrupt the speakers with your questions.

The OSPILOT is online at: http://ospilot.oln.org

- Cabe

JSB and the great disconnnect

JSB has charted where we need to go to for all of us to thrive in a pervasively networked and flat world: informal situated learning, digital vernacular, peer-based communities, mentor instead of leacture, learn to be instead of learn about.

I am struck with how incredibly far this is from how many of our students experience their "schooling," especiallly in the k-12 area. In many schools, the network -- blogs, myspace, peer to peer, IM, podcasts -- is blocked or routed to low priority on the network. They are taught "standards" that all must know instead of cultivating the capcity to specialize.

Meanwhile we have no national broadband policy and a regulatory train rumbling toward the creation of a two-tiered internet.

Do wee need a serious change of course? How disruptive will this be?

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John Seely Brown: Laura's thoughts.

These are basicallly stream-of-consciousness that will be further edited later. Feel free to comment at this point.

"Do we understand the kids these days?" Have we ever? They are always connected (cell phones etc), but is that a good thing?

"I am what I create." Better than the 1980's "I am what I wear." I'm wondering if this might be a bit utopian.

Classroom as design studios: wthis is waht we're looking for hin the TLC..... MIT studo classroom..this is something I should look at when I'm in Boston to see how it's working and what we can adapt to MC.

He's talking about how this works in architecture...lots of hands-on etc....I wonder if it would work the same in other content areas such as English and history?

"These kids are natural collaborators" not the kids I had in the leadership class last semester!! They did their group projects kicking and screaming...maybe Rich is right...maybe we are looking for unicorns?? Students hated the active learning...boy I can relate to that one!!! So we need to learn how to use these studios best...not only so that students learn, but also so that they don't hate the experience.

Intresting that he's discusing the Open Source movement when I've been reading in The World is Flat about the open source movement and its influence in flattening the world. Zeitgeist? coincidence?

Multimedia Literacy at the USC with George Lucas. How we can communicate with images and more nonverbally. The digital story "Last Gasp of Air" was an excellent example of that. Mabyge I should have digital storytelling as an option in my summer class? something to think about....

Of COURSE she didn't share that with her mother! I'm surprised she shared it with anyone. her audience was herself, to work that out on her own.

*Ears pricking* Games? Cool, he's saying a good bit of what I was saying in my presentation (link to follow). I'm glad to see the focus on the MMOGs. I think this is one of the most powerful potential applications.

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John Seely Brown

just h
Before the keynote, an introduction by Chancellor Chu of the OH Board of Regents. 30% dropout rate in HS, 40% dropout in college - OH is undereducated and undercompetitive. Education is the solution.

We will need to use education in dramatically different ways. "Just in case" is untenable. Have to get out of the industrial paradigm. We need to address not how but what. OH's workers need not just skills and knowledge but attitudes and behaviors. Not just in case, beyond just in time, to just for you education.

JSB: This is a collage, not a formal talk - where is learning going in the digital age? A new landscape. Not K-16, but 8 to 80. Many of the skills we learned are obsolete or heading that way. Today's students are different, but they need to think systemically and collaboratively. Think career trajectories, not careers.

Last year China and India graduated 500,000 engineers. The US graduated 90,000. 40,000 returned to Asia. They have a passion to get ahead. They have a hunger to learn.

How do we tap the passion of today's communities of students? Need to leverage the resources of the Net to re-conceive learning. Create environments for kids to tinker, design, build collaboratively. In the digital world, tinkering has come back in a big way.

Do we understand today's digital kids? Small-screen devices with ubiquitous access to resources. But what creates meaning for them?

Ripping and remixing - open source culture, community - doing homework over IM. Friends not just next door, but worldwide.

I am what I create and others build on. Blurring the line between social life and academic life.

The atelier - architecture studio as a model. Work in progress is made public - the opposite of the academy. Cultural dynamic of collaborative problem-solving. Learning as enculturation into a practice. All students hear the "crit" - the master's review - of each project. Everyone hears the thinking that went into the project, sees the problem-solving process. Not learning about architecture, but how to BE an architect.

MIT - electricity and magnetism - killer course, high drop-out rate. Created a studio based on RPI's studio physics. 13 tables, 9 people per table. Lots of simulations - collaborative, hands-on experiments. Worked great in the pilot. Scaling it up, though.... test performance doubled, but the students hated it.

The faculty hadn't revamped their teaching practices. They rethought their classroom approach and the results have been dramatic - dropout rate for women dropped 80%.

Learning about is different from learning to be. Tacit, not explicit. Set in an epistemic frame - discipline-specific way of knowing.

Open Source movement has trained more computer scientists than any formal program. Writing code to be read. Enculturation to the community - reputation depends on what you create, and what you improve. (Wikipedians are another example. -cb) A form of cognitive apprenticeship.

Another example - The Decameron Web project at Brown. A scholarly discussion of scholars worldwide - as well as undergrad and graduate students - that enculturates students into the culture of Medieval Italian scholarship. New forms of peer review - post-review. What does this mean for tenure, though?

New forms of literacy - students (and teachers!)have to be able to write digital. What's the equivalent of the common grammar of film - cut, montage, flashback? Lucas - needs to be a new focus multimedia literacy. (depends on shared language, though - more on this later -cb) You can minor in MM at USC. Not teaching tools - how do you construct a visual argument? How do you communicate a complex thought?

A very powerful short video about an "underperforming" young asian woman (she "only" scored 1450 on her SAT) dealing with her shaming mother.

Now moving to games and play. Pattern-recognition, sense-making. Dealing with immense complexity, immediate feedback. Bottom-line oriented - top scores matter. If there's no learning, there's no fun. "I don't want to study Rome in school - I BUILD Rome every day in my online game, Ceasar III." A little arrogant, eh?

World of Warcraft - Serious play. 1.5 million players. There is a social life around the edge of the game. You have to build a guild in order to undertake a quest. Managing a guild is non-trivial, as players may be from anywhere in the world. Create a vision and values.

(aside - my battery is going fast, and I left my power supply at the hotel. bummer)

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Borrowing your neighbor's tools

The folks from Sinclair gave a nice presentation this morning on their process for creating resuable learning objects. What I think is special their approach is that they are creating tools or templates that can be populated with content specific to each faculty members needs. These include things like slide shows, flash cards and timelines that are built with flash or javascript. Each also meets basic accessibility requirements.

So many learning objects in the various repositories cannot be modified. While there is great material out there, sometimes it is either too much or not quite on target to meet the immediate learning objective.

Are you using or creating learning obejcts? Do you use common templates to deliver content?

Events kicking off ...

In spite of some yucky weather here in Columbus, participants are arriving in a steady stream - vendors are set up and sessions are about to begin. It's one of those exciting times at a conference like this: anticipation, high expectations, a lot of talent and planning are put to the ultimate reality test!

Our Cybercafe -sponsored by Global Government Education Solutions - is set up - so is our mobile podcasting studio. John SeelyBrown speaks at 10 - more on that later!

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Whose Tutorial?

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First session of the day. Check-in as usual went very smoothly. I was going to go to a different session, but my colleagues at the library asked me to sit in on this one on developing tutorials for information literacy. We're creating similar things.

Jen and Eric are libriarians at Miami University in SW OH. They do a lot of instruction for first-year students, as well as develop materials for instructors. Buy-in from faculty is important.


was a good start, but it gets out of date very quickly. It is also necessarily very broad in scope, so it's not very subject-specific. That limits its relevance to specific classes, even when a class has several hundred students.

The solution was to develop subject-specific tutorials. Example - Intro to Biology - Goal was to improve writing in the discipline, incorporating research and citation skills. For most students this is their first college science course, so it's a good place to introduce literature review. The online tutorial was written into the revised lab manual.

Content of the tutorial is "smart searching." Covers typical search strategies - keyword selection, Boolean logic, truncation, stop words, etc. Has five modules - Using MiamiLINK (library portal), finding journal articles, citing sources, searching the web for information, and finding books.

Modules on finding journal articles and citing sources are currently complete - the others are in progress.

Activities vary - straight instruction, games, etc., many in PDF format. There's an admin interface to make it easy to add and update material. They update announcements week-to-week to help students keep on-track with assignments.

Back-end is PHP and MySQL - text stored in a database. There are also games in Flash, animations built in Fireworks, and screencasts.

Results - traffic at the reference desk has dropped from 30-40/week to 2-3/week. Students who have questions have better questions. Faculty report that students' writing has improved, while they are spending less time teaching lit search techniques.

elearn.lib.muohio.edu/science/ODCE also see /bmz and /eas.