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Anyone in the world
I was contacted by a company for part-time consultancy but the HOD School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, did not allow it!! Does SUPA really promote University and Industry partnership?

Research Fellow
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by Karon McBride - Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 2:45 PM
Anyone in the world

Just where are institutions going with e-learning? chaired by Terry Mayes

This was primarily about the HEFCE Benchmarking and Pathfinder initiatives but a surprising number of examples came from Scotland or Wales rather than England.

The conclusion was that benchmarking and then finding sustainable ways forward is a successful strategy.

Veronica Adamson at Glenaffric would be a good person to talk to if we were to take this approach to developing a SUPA e-learning development strategy.

The benchmarking methodology du jour is OHBE.

Search for the Scottish Transformation Programme.

Key points: develop course design methodologies and lead rather than direct. Learning technology professionals provide leadership and bring together pedagogy and e-learning technologies. The relationship is complex and not for beginners. Look at the big picture. Go for sustainability beyond the end of the funding period. Avoid rapid creation of bags of innovation that result in little change in the long run.

In the SUPA context, benchmarking by theme may be a useful way in.

Empowerment of users to make use of existing online materials is more successful than internal development of resources.
[ Modified: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 2:45 PM ]
Anyone in the world

Extending the Scope of Learning Objects with XML by Bill Tait (COLMSCT, OU).

Used XML to allow tutors to customise text and pictures in Flash learning objects. But this looks very like control to me, in a conference called 'Beyond Control.'

Worth considering. Would allow lecturers to make a German version of their favourite learning object, for example, or for a SUPA slideshow display template to be reused by different themes.


Community Dimensions of LO Repositories by Peter Douglas, Intrallect.

Not a lot to say about this because the dimensions suggested didn't fit our users. Served as a good intro to the next speaker...


Connecting Learning Object Repositories by Charles Duncan @ intrallect

This may have something to offer us. Their commercial repository product is intraLibrary and I have all the bumpf but we'll have to move past the 'SUPA learning materials = notes and slides' stage first. Of more immediate interest is the free SRU client and JISC's forthcoming LO publishing tool, SWORD. Also, search for PerX.

I went to talk to Peter and Charles afterwards. They are based in Linlithgow. They used to work for geophys in the JCMB when geophys was still part of physics.

[ Modified: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 8:52 PM ]
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by Karon McBride - Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 8:25 PM
Anyone in the world
... here is a link to David and Keith's blog:
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by Karon McBride - Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 2:01 PM
Anyone in the world
The Keynote speaker this morning was Michelle Selinger of Cisco Systems. The title of her talk was "You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps," which is a cool title. The essence was the idea that lifelong learning is not a smooth progression atm because there are wide gaps between learning technology usage between, for example, school and university or between formal learning and informal learning. The global perspective was interesting but had, to my mind, a bias towards a western view of learning with Cisco "giving" learning to what the speaker insisted on calling the 'South' which was weird considering she is just off to live in Australia. But the title was cool, as was the use of Elluminate to broadcast the talk and give the remote audience a chance to ask questions. cool

Thefour themes this year are Learning and internationalism, Learning technology for the social networking generation, Large scale implementation and Designing learning spaces. I'll try to sample a bit of each one, although the design of learning spaces is probably going to grab most of my attention.
[ Modified: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 2:05 PM ]
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by Sean Farrell - Friday, 1 June 2007, 1:34 AM
Anyone in the world
I had been taking a quick look through some of the ways to import and export course material from moodle to other learning systems.

Managed a quick moodle backup of one course form 1.6 and imported into 1.8, but I don't see an obvious way to export the type of courses that we have built so far.

We have been asked to consider whether we can reuse the nanophotonics course in the HW VLE (blackboard). This leads quickly into the world of packages of learning objects and the SCORM and IMS standards.

plus some commercial options

Interestingly the material produced by eXe seem to have more in common with the Moodle Lesson activity, than our existing SUPA couses. More like a collection of text, graphics, questions, animations, links.
[ Modified: Friday, 1 June 2007, 3:00 AM ]
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by Sean Farrell - Sunday, 27 May 2007, 11:23 PM
Anyone in the world
The RSS feeds for the blogs did not seem to work in Moodle 1.8. I was hoping to try out tracking blogs and things using a feed reader, initially for blog posts, and later for tracking all kinds of changes in subscribed courses.

Tried triggering the crontab a couple of times without any luck. Found a system wide setting to allow world readable blog postings. This doesn't change our normal blog posts - they are still draft and private by default, and can be changed to 'site level' to keep them private to SUPA.

Don't worry blog posts are not included in the external RSS feeds, until you choose to publish to 'anyone in the world'
[ Modified: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 11:07 AM ]
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by Sean Farrell - Thursday, 24 May 2007, 11:10 PM
Anyone in the world
Just a quick though - why have I not been blogging my way through the last few months? I was worried it just a distraction from work - but thinking and looking carefully at what we have been employed to do in SUPA, it seems that a proportion of the work is meant to include on researching, informing and advising colleagues about learning technology. So I would like to do something about this: start to write some little bits through the blog, and perhaps work up a couple of them into longer bits of writing or talks. An interesting random way to talk about things of interest is an ad hoc presentation site, developed by Mathew Brindley, The site takes a username, and shows off the last 20 sites that you bookmarked, and carefully times it to only show each site for 20seconds. Talking fast, and working to an unforgiving countdown timer on screen seems to be a nice is a way to finish your presentation on time.
[ Modified: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 12:59 AM ]
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by Sean Farrell - Thursday, 24 May 2007, 10:42 PM
Anyone in the world
It is rapidly approaching the end of the first acadeic year that I've been working with SUPA. Interesting times, and perhaps a useful point to look back on what has happened so far and to start to look forward to the next year.

Looking forwards over the next few months I will be working with Karon and David to deliver a new server as a platform to run all of the electronic services that we provide, and to develop and extend a pair of courses in Nanophotonics and Nanophysics into interesting distance learning courses. We then quickly move on to the support of staff who will be working to adapt and deliver courses for a set of students across Scotland using the SUPA video conference facilities and my.supa, our learning environment.
[ Modified: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 1:00 AM ]