More Video Resources


2 more sources of video online:

The University Channel makes videos of academic lectures and events from all over the world available to the public. It is a place where academics can air their ideas and present research in a full-length, uncut format. The focus is on public and international affairs. This project is an initiative of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, but includes other university members and partners.

Did you miss CBS' 60 Minutes this past week? You can watch video from past shows online at 60minutes.yahoo.com. The segments are annoyingly chopped up, so to watch an entire piece you may have to click several links or let the video run and watch a lead-in commercial over & over. This is the price you pay for free.


Trying to Get a Second Life?


In Second Life you create a digital self (an avatar) so that you can walk, run, fly, dance your way through an ever-changing 3D landscape. You can chat and socialize with others from all over the "real" world as well as the world of SL.

You can build homes, skyscrapers, vehicles, a chair - practically anything. It looks like a videogame, but it's not one.

By the time you read this entry, there will probably be 5 millions residents there. And they are spending real money.

It was developed by Linden Lab, a company founded in 1999 out of San Francisco. They provide the technology, but residents build the world.

In the beginning, it required a credit card account to join in, but not anymore. You pick your SL name. The first name is whatever you like & the last name can be selected from a drop-down menu. You once you enter, you have "relatives." You'll need a date of birth and an email address. Join here.

You will have to download the application and install it on your computer (works with Windows and a Mac, but I've heard it's smoother on Windows).

Then it's time to explore. Like some old computer game, you can use the arrows on your keyboard to start walking. You start out on "Welcome Island". There's some info there about how to change your appearance, how to move around, interact with objects and IM people. My favorite part is flying. I've wanted to fly over houses since childhood and now I can.

Click and you can take a screenshot for your memory book.

I'm really behind on this whole SL world. I've been collecting bookmarks and articles but I only recently actually created an account and started actually flying around.

The learning curve for using SL was steep for me. Especially since I am not a gamer, it was not intuitive. In a few hours I could do basic moves: click rather blindly on places on the SL map, navigate buildings without crashing into walls, sit at a bar.

Still, without adding my credit card to the mix, I'm still walking around in clothing that reeks "newbie" and without possessions. Stranger in a strange land.

Linden Labs recently decided to open the source code for the Second Life client. It will be interesting to see what comes of that. Users may build an improved graphical engine themselves.

To find out the news from SL, many people turn to New World Notes at http://nwn.blogs.com

What about educational uses?

“Top 20 Educational Locations in Second Life”: is a wiki article from SimTeach, “a place for university instructional designers, faculty and administrators to find information and to share their own experiences designing, teaching and administering classes in immersive environments.” SLurls (SL URLs or direct links to locations) are provided. A good place to start your exploration.

There's information at the Second Life Education Wiki.

The New Media Consortium is deeply involved - check out their own SL Campus Observer and watch a short video.

Teen Second Life is an international place for residents 13-17. There are some Linden Lab staff (Linden Liaisons) there to try to keep it a safe place. I've read that an occasional teacher is brought in for "special educational projects" but I have no further information on that.

Karine Joly wrote about “Should your institution hold virtual open houses in Second Life?” last summer.

DanielleAnd I recently saw a presentation by Danielle Mirliss & Heidi Trotta from Seton Hall University about teaching teamwork in SL for a course in Industrial & Organizational Psychology.

SL is being used in classes and colleges, marketers, businesses are getting in there too.

There are virtual conferences in SL.

How about a SL open house for your campus?

If you're catching up on Second Life, you might try these 3 overviews:

The NY TimesSelect Free


Heather Huey from NJIT's Van Houten Library sent me a reminder (via Facebook!) that while I can access The New York Times for free through the NJIT library, I might want to take advantage of a new service.

The New York Times is opening TimesSelect for free to students and faculty who register from a .edu address.

TimesSelect is NYTimes.com's paid offering that provides exclusive access to 22 columnists of The Times and the International Herald Tribune as well as an array of other services, including access to the Times' archives, advance previews of various sections and tools for tracking and storing news and information.

Current student subscribers will receive pro-rated refunds for their previously paid subscriptions.

College students & faculty interested in registering for free TimesSelect subscriptions should go to http://www.nytimes.com/university for more information.

Moodle at NJIT

My presentation today at the NJEDge.Net Faculty Best Practices Showcase is titled "Moodle: A Free Learning Management System (Free - like free kittens)"

The title is playing off the idea that free software isn't really free - unless you don't have the accountants put anything on the books for the support and implementation of an open source project. Open source is all about support and community.

Like other universities, NJIT feels that it is in our best interest to explore some of the available open source course management systems that are alternatives to commercial products such as WebCT.

The instructional technology team at NJIT first began to look at Moodle (and initially Sakai) during the fall 2005 semester and looked at pilot programs at other schools. Seventeen NJIT faculty ran test courses during the spring and summer of 2006. A formal pilot program using Moodle was instituted this past fall with 24 courses. Participants included current users of WebCT and faculty who were new to using any type of learning management system and for online courses and face-to-face or hybrid courses. This semester we have 12 courses running, and 20 courses and organization sites in development.

My PowerPoint from today is viewable online at my Slideshare site.

What interested me about Moodle back in 2005?

  1. that it was an open source LMS/CMS software
  2. how it might be used in eLearning
  3. whether it might be a viable alternative to a commercial product and if it actually is such alternative
  4. how hard would it be to move courses & faculty over to it from WebCT.
  5. the constructivist philosophy behind it and in the creation of the software.

From the Moodle.org site:

[Constructivism] maintains that people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environment.

Everything you read, see, hear, feel, and touch is tested against your prior knowledge and if it is viable within your mental world, may form new knowledge you carry with you. Knowledge is strengthened if you can use it successfully in your wider environment. You are not just a memory bank passively absorbing information, nor can knowledge be "transmitted" to you just by reading something or listening to someone.

This is not to say you can't learn anything from reading a web page or watching a lecture, obviously you can, it's just pointing out that there is more interpretation going on than a transfer of information from one brain to another.

Some colleges using Moodle to check out:

K-12

Moodle seems like a great fit for K-12 districts with limited budgets and IT staffs, but a desire to use an online learning environment (probably NOT for fully online courses as much as "web enhanced" or blended courses).

I'm impressed that the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia (a new high school developed in partnership with The Franklin Institute) uses an inquiry-based science, technology, mathematics and (you don't see this in too many high schools) entrepreneurship curriculum. So they are using a lot of project-based learning, inquiry, research, and collaboration - and this is their Moodle site.

And right around my own area here in north NJ, we have Montclair Kimberley Academy who puts our Moodle pilot to shame. They have every class K through 12 in Moodle courses.

I'd be interested to read your comments on Moodle and share links to other schools (K-20) using Moodle.

Public Radio Podcast Directory


I am a big fan of public radio (and that means more than just NPR, as great as NPR is).

If you are also a fan, you should know about this public radio podcast directory.

It lists hundreds of public radio programs that are available as recorded podcasts. Each program has a podcast logo feed link and you can follow the links to listen to one online, or more properly SUBSCRIBE by using that link (copy-and-paste the feed link) in a podcasting program such as iTunes or Juice (formerly called iPodder).

For New Bloggers


I've been working with some faculty who want to get into blogging, so I have been getting together some links and articles for the newbie blogger.

One to look at is Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool? from the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review.

It includes a brief glossary of blogging jargon like Skins = the pre-designed templates that give the blog a certain look (CSS for those who don't want to know about CSS) and post scheduling = in some blog software, a feature that allows you to write posts and schedule them to be published at some point in the future - the equivalent of the release feature in a CMS. I'm typing this on 3/16 but setting it to publish itself five minutes into 3/19.

It also looks at some of the blogging tools (services) available like the free Blogger and WordPress, and commercial services like TypePad and Movable Type.

Technorati is the place most bloggers (and non-bloggers) go to search blogs, but Google's Beta Blog Search is also a good place to look.

I have done some meta-blogging here on Serendipity35 on topics like college blogs, blogs in education and academia.

And Cranky Geek, John C. Dvorak, has a post on how to read a blog that's a useful guide.