December 01, 2011

elearningWatch December 2011


well this month marks a milestone for elearning Watch. It's been going now for 15 years. It was originally the LearnTech forum until 2001 when it morphed into elearning Watch. It's still distributed to many of the original movers and shakers of elearning and now reaches I don't know how many people, but the more the merrier! Vern Smith, ex Unitec in Auckland still maintains the elearnwatch site on his server in the garage. What a good man!

The past month has been a bit frantic. Having to do work for more than three days a week and driving up and down to Hamilton has meant the marrows have been a bit neglected. No matter. The Blueberries are ripening nicely and everything else is growing fast. So what's all this got to do with elearning? Nought much really except it provides contemplation time and to confirm that cucumbers are immune to Moodlemites but not snail bytes.

It's been interesting exploring the world of the competency based curriculum and assessment and how such curricula operate in real time for a wide range of disciplines. Much of the success of such a system is dependent on the rigour applied to the development of the assessment rubric or system.There is plenty of debate around whether the assessment should be pass/ fail, competent/not competent, or whether there should be levels of competency accompanied by points and marks.

I'm all for creating clear, unambiguous and authentic assessment and performance criteria, based on an accepted standard, which leaves no doubt as to whether or not the student or candidate has achieved the expected learning outcomes for the task or project.

Hi ho, it's now onto other related activities, I've just had my first day at the ICELF conference in Auckland Steve Wheeler was the principle keynote and as is Steve's want, he stirred up the audience with a view of elearning, then , now and maybe. He promoted open education resources (good lad) and pointed out that no matter what new technology is introduced , there will always be resistance form the luddites and from my view point the uptights who see their patch being threatened and or don't understand the needs of the learners let alone the academics! If you don't follow Steve, it's about time you did.

Derek Wenmouth also made a great contribution to complement what Steve presented and in his indomitable way got the old neurons buzzing again on what is already possible and no longer a dream.

Thom Cochrane got his mobility scooter on full throttle demonstrating how the world of mobile learning is here and here to stay and how effective it can be for student centered and directed learning. Tomorrow promises more innovation. I hope the promos is kept. Next stop is Hobart (first time visit) at ascilite, before Xmas provides some R&R.

This month's posting includes links to new JISCInfonet kits, assessment guides, online course development and review, an interesting and useful blog from Ethos, Open education resources,huge range of simulations, how to use google better, information literacy, an educators blog,institutional change, a call for papers, conferences and the odd one out

It remains to wish those of you who indulge it such things, a very pleasant and relaxing festive season.

1. 21st Century Information Literacy:Digital Information Fluency Model.

A very useful Website with extensive tools for information searching, taking challenges, guides and a wide range of resources. The more you look the more you can discover.

2. Get more out of Google: Tips and tricks for Students Conducting Online research. A handy little set of instructions and guides to using Google more effectively and efficiently. I know some who will benefit.

3. JISCINFONET release a new extensive collection of kits aimed at ‘Improving Organisational Efficiency’ and includes infoKits on Enterprise Architecture, Shared Services, Costing and Cloud Computing, as well as material on the technology lifecycle, advice on getting more from existing investments and a look at the technology implications of mergers and restructures. Three popular infoKits have also been upgraded.

4. Open Educational resource links for tools and resources for creating,
distributing and Re-using . Includes relevant licensing information.

A useful list of links to appellations to get you started or to explore, some you weren't aware of?

5.Developing and Reviewing Online Courses:Items for Consideration
An interesting and thought provoking article from Clayton R Wright.
ALT publishes many excellent articles and is a driving force in learning technology. Spend a few beans and join the association. Money well spent!

Enrol for the Association here:

6. VETASSESS is a very useful and comprehensive site that provides some guides and suggestions on how to conduct a range of assessments. There are a number of different templates that can easily be adapted for specific assessment regimes. Worth perusing even if just to get some ideas or support decisions.
Designing test: Observation:

and conducting assessments:

7.Bloom's Digital 'interactive' taxonomy pyramid. There's lots of stuff to explore here. Some tools you may know others are likely to be new for some. All in all a novel approach to helping to find tools which relate to Blooms Taxonomy.

8.A Model of Learning Objectives. From Iowa State University. Self explanatory and good as a reference tool for creating learning objectives:

9. Hazel Owen and the Ethos Consultancy. This New Zealand blog is always full of interesting snippets, information and links to useful resources.Hazel is a tireless advocate for sharing good resources with which she regularly populates her Website. I encourage you to sign up if what you see is what you like.

10. Interactive Simulations from University of Colorado at Boulder.
Both an educational and fascinating and vast array of simulations for those who are interested in or who have trouble understanding a whole range of science subjects. There are four different levels from elementary to University.

A superb resource well worth exploring and using. You can download the simulations or run them live. Click on your favourite subject or just spend forever perusing the lot! There are even subject information and teaching ideas files provided.

11. JISC Curriculum Design and Delivery. Sarah Knight and the JISC team from the elearning programme produce some excellent material on the associated blogs. The latest missive is no exception:

Tracks in the snow: finding and making sense of the evidence for institutional transformation. Penned by Gill Ferrell

Interesting discourse on changing institutional culture to effect institutional transformation. Worth reading as is the rest of the blog. Bookmark it for future reference and enlightenment

12. CALL for papers

From the virtualm pen of Seb Schmoller:

Digital Inclusion and Learning - the call for Papers for a Special Issue of Research in Learning Technology has been issued today(30 November) at:

This Special Issue will be guest edited by Jane Seale, Professor of Education, Plymouth University, and by Bill Dutton, Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.

13. Conferences


The 28th ascilite annual conference will be held at Wrest Point Casino,
Hobart, Australia on 4-7 December 2011. ascilite 2011 reflects on the theme
of 'Changing demands, changing directions'.

Conference details are available at:

13.2 ALT-C 2012: A confrontation with reality

The 19th international conference of the Association for Learning Technology will be held at the University of Manchester, UK, 11-13 September 2012.

Details from:

13.3 The Clayton R Wright list of conferences around the world

14. The odd one(s) out. Nowhere to hide. Ever wondered how you can be picked out in a crowd of thousands? Have a look at this Website and realize it's not easy to hide when big brother is watching. Keep increasing the magnification. Even individuals fromthe crowd at the back can be identified:

and to test your reactions after imbibing for the festive season:

That's it for this year. Return again in February 2012.
Enjoy the break


Richard Elliott
The Eternal Macademic
New Zealand

Posted by richard at December 1, 2011 06:48 AM