Friday 29 June 2012

What do you mean by a different browser?

If you are reading this, you are probably using Internet Explorer or Safari – these are the ‘default’ browsers that come with PCs and Apple computers.  That is, when you click on ‘Internet’, your computer runs a program that ‘Browses’ the internet.

There are alternative browsers available, the two that I recommend are:

   Google's Chrome

The image is from Wikimedia, indicating the types of browser usage on Wikimedia - and I hope that this will update to reflect current usage.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Staff development suggestions for 2012-13

I needed to do a quick written submission to a committee about staff development at my university for 2012-13 – after making a bit of it up, I trawled the net to get some more serious thoughts from the community that have been added to my list giving this:

1) Flipped classroom:
Here's a great discussion:
  ...  and not just creating content ourselves - but sourcing pre-reading on the web and getting students to actually look at it BEFORE the session.  For sources, look at the 'Find Content' section of my Prezi:
  (actually - this is worth looking at - there are some surprises in YouTube and TED - take a peek!
OERs will fit in here too.

2) Screen casting
 - including screen casting to individuals - for feedback on assignments.  Is there a free tool we could recommend?  Perhaps

3) Web 2.0 tools ( blogging,, wikis - concentrating on pedagogy) - and concerns - Facebook?

4) Blackboard Mobile - give academics a student's perspective.

5) Personal CPD - using online resources to develop ourselves (MOOCs, or any of the sources on the Prezi above)

Priorities from elsewhere:

6) Webconferencing (Collaborate?)
AND Elluminate Plan - allows you to create a session plan which saves times when running a live collaborate session as your session is planned out.

7) Presentation tools
(Prezi seems a favourite - I've seem some poor examples!?) - again, my prezi above covers suggestions here, from Prezi through Voicethread - but missed out Xtranormal (perhaps not suitable?).

Finally, how about something like virtual conference attendance - Anyone want to pay for me to go to the 5th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium?  This one:

Well, it was worth asking ...

Friday 1 June 2012

An International Standard Configuration for Teaching Computers

A constant problem for me is the length of time taken for machines at the front of teaching rooms to boot up.  At every institution that I’ve taught at boot times of more than 60 seconds are common – even longer if the kit is a little older or connections a little slower.  During such boot times I tend to mutter “Unsuitable for the purpose …” (hinting at the UK’s Sale of Goods Act 1979). 

I think what irritates me most is when I compare what we have now to what we had 20 or 30 years ago – what is the boot time of an OHP?  OK, that’s a little unfair as the PC has massive affordances over such primitive technologies, but you get my point?

So, let’s be positive and consider the following suggestions aimed at making significant time savings yet have no capital cost implications:

  1. No login; not to the machine or the network.
  2. Have the standard Office applications, Whiteboard software and Anti-virus software installed.
  3. If a member of staff needs access to the Internet, on launching a browser they need to authenticate themselves via a web interface.
  4. If someone wants to get a PowerPoint up quickly, put it on a memory stick - or use a service like SlideShare - though I'd prefer to see them download it from a VLE or similar.
  5. NOT to have any passwords on the screen savers.
  6. Screen savers set to one hour.
  7. Machines set to hibernate after 70 minutes of inactivity.

I’d be delighted if anyone wants to edit this list – perhaps someone could put it on a wiki and point us there from the comments?  Can I suggest a title: “An International Standard Configuration for Teaching Computers” – now, we might be onto something …

Kindest regards to all