Blog Post 8.1

Reflection: My Impressions of the Digital Learning Course at EIT, NZ (so far)

The use of an online live streaming tool like Adobe Connect has been a welcome addition to the Digital Learning Course (DLT) this semester. It is the first course I’ve been in that has used this technology. While it’s primary use is to enable teaching students in various significantly separated geological locations, it also gives those who are sick or only have the one class on the day to still participate in the lecture from home.

I have been using the Virtualmv wiki for a few years now, while studying web and multimedia papers, and now DLT. At times information can be a little difficult to find, however it is encouraging to know that Michael – our lecturer – trusts us to add to and update his notes. No other lecturer I’ve had has provided this level of participation in course material – apart from adding to Glossaries.

It has been interesting to see the range of online tools that teachers today have at their fingertips, to make an interesting learning environment for their students. I feel my pre-tertiary learning would have been a lot more enjoyable if these tools had been used. In particular, having notes made available for download (eg as a PowerPoint or pdf in Moodle) or online (eg in a wiki) would have been great, so that overhead-projector and blackboard notes didn’t have to be furiously scribbled down (and sometimes missed), and the teacher could actually be listened to and questioned. Also, PowerPoint and video presentations have the potential to be more lively and captivating than overhead-projector notes.

I feel that while the first half of the course has been good to get us acquainted with the digital learning technologies available to use, the time taken to produce deliverables and the final mark weighting they hold needs to be reconsidered. The assessment carried out in the first half of the semester only contributes 25% of the final mark, leaving the second half of the semester to produce the deliverables needed for the other 75% of the final mark. My opinion is that the time taken to produce deliverables and their final mark weighting need to be more proportionate with each other.

The course material for the Digital Learning Course at EIT is available at http://www.virtualmv.com/wiki/index.php?title=Digital_Learning_Technologies/Home

Blog Post 7.1

Online Portfolios (aka e-Portfolios)

Traditional portfolios are essentially an organised showcase demonstrating skills that could be of use for future employment. E-portfolios use the Internet as the medium for the showcase.

LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) is a site commonly used by professionals to store their e-portfolios.

Mahara is an online content management system that can also be used for creating, organising and storing e-portfolios. As an EIT student, I can have access to myPortfolio (http://myportfolio.ac.nz) which is a Mahara based application. Compared to LinkedIn, Mahara is a bit restrictive as far as general access goes, as you have to log in to Mahara to see any e-portfolios. It is ideal if you want the restrictive access though.

Below is a partial screen capture of the myPortfolio dashboard:

In myPortfolio you can add personal details to your Profile, upload Files to share, create a Resume, post Journal / blog entries, and create pages to share including uploaded files. There are a variety of sharing options, including sharing with all users, a specific user / Friend or a Group of users that you belong to – you can also message your Friends and Group members like in social networking sites.

In the process of experimenting with a couple of things, I produced a page, including an uploaded image, to share with the lecturer, and uploaded a picture to place on my public profile – which acts as an avatar.

Here’s an introduction to Mahara:

Something Different

Skyrim Skit

I know this has nothing to do with DLT, but I liked this skit so much I thought I’d share it – I can totally relate to hoarding stuff in game when playing RPGs which I know I’ll never use, but store “just in case”.

http://www.collegehumor.com/e/6747386

Note: for some reason embedding the video using the given embedding code is not working – it is being converted into a link instead (not sure why – maybe an embedding restriction with either WordPress or CollegeHumor who stores the video).

Update: it seems as if you can’t embed video without the paid upgrade.

Update: thought I’d see if youtube videos embed OK, and they do – maybe they’re a special case?

Blog Post 6.1

Personal Learning Network

A keynote address by John Bohannon, found at http://www.online-educa.com/audio-video-1003, talks about how Google and Wikipedia have replaced family and friends as our goto locations for knowledge. I remember when I was younger, my first goto person for information was my mum. Now whenever I need information, I tend to search the Internet – often through Google. I myself used to be the goto person for my friends when it came to music trivia – for some reason I was music trivia sponge. While I still retain a certain amount of music trivia knowledge, I no longer actively seek to store new music trivia – this can easily be found in Wikipedia.

Our guest lecture this week dealt with Personal Learning Networks (PLNs):

Thinking about my current PLN, I have tended to stay away from online social networking – viewing it as somewhat of a waste of time. However, online social networking can actually be a vital part of a PLN – corresponding with people you ordinarily wouldn’t communicate with in the offline world. Also, as far as dealing with the mass of Internet links to online information, I have tended to push my Internet history to breaking point, and have a mass of links in my browser favourites. However, an online service like Delicious can be used instead to store these links – something I will setting up. I have not really setup an online portfolio yet, but I have been thinking for a while about setting up a profile on LinkedIn to advertise myself to potential employers – I will have to get onto this soon, as I am now nearing the end of my studies. Wikis, blogs and forums have been, and will continue to be, a big part of my PLN.

My current PLN diagram:

My Original PLN

My future PLN diagram:

Including more online social networking in my PLN will increase my base for gaining information, therefore giving me a learning edge I don’t currently have. Keeping track of important Internet links in an organised way will enable information to be extracted from the Internet quicker (instead of trolling through the browser history looking for links), also providing an increased learning edge, as more time can be spent learning.

Another PLN presentation: