Archive for May, 2007

Another browser add-on that leverages the page you are viewing

May 25, 2007

Via a page on the Facebook API I found BlogRovr. Like the Wikalong FireFox plugin, which adds a wiki to the page you are browsing, and MyStickies, which adds context sensitive sticky notes to the page, BlogRovr, sends the URL of the page you are viewing to a service that lets you know about blog posts that reference your current page. Rather than starting by reading the blog and finding pages, you find that people have commented on pages as you surf. Each BlogRovr uses sets up a profile of blogs that they want Rovr to examine for them. It makes me wonder if someone has made a plugin that takes the URL of your page and goes against, alerting you to pages that have been tagged there. Seems like this might be interesting.
The common thread here is that your browser is sending the URL of your page to a third party for each page you are surfing, and its linked to your identity. The power this gives you is also Big Brother and Big Marketer’s dream come true, so I am conflicted about it. As the myStickies folks note, its also a hog of server resources, checking all your URLs against their DB.

On the other hand, RSS aggregation can bring you more stuff than you want to read, or stuff to read when you are not ready to need the information. Wikalong and Rover approaches are more “just in time,” and I think the Rovr model is appealing because its looking into sources I think I want to read.

Lessons from a Cabbage Farmer for Flu Pandemic-bound Educators

May 11, 2007

In Out of the Cabbage Patch, Gary Brown says, “The metaphor embedded in that name—course management system—is perhaps the best indicator that a tool with the potential to crack open educational space and time constraints now provides mostly powerful leverage for the reigning dominance of in-the-box thinking—thinking that fails to leverage the social and burgeoning technological aptitudes of learners, fails to harness the power of collaborative learning and peer critiques, systems thinking, and global awareness, and most important, fails to cultivate learners’ pro-social instincts that ultimately make learning interesting. Subsequently, we educators find ourselves acting much like the farmer, clutching our red pens and cursing the piles of half-baked student papers as if they were rotting cabbages.” (EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 42, no. 3 (May/June 2007): 80–81).

Two reasons to post this item. First, to note how it relates to my recent thinking about how the university should address its pandemic flu planning, and to recognize Steve Spaeth’s Viral Dissemination idea and get Gary’s work into my feed.

WSU ePortfolio Contest and Showcase (2007)

May 2, 2007

ePortfolio Showcase
In the spring 2007 semester, the Office of Undergraduate Education sponsored a WSU-wide ePortfolio contest to encourage the exploration/expansion of the concept of eportfolios for learning. Scholarship awards were given to those participants whose portfolios demonstrated the most effective ways of capturing and communicating learning growth.

This project had several aims, exercising SharePoint 2003 as a platform for creating a portfolio, collecting samples of portfolios by WSU students to show to faculty, and involving faculty judges as a mechanism of advancing their thinking about the potentials of the medium.

The results are an interesting collection of portfolios, narrowly focused, to broad and sprawling. They contain a broad selection of media, and take a range of approaches to capturing evidence of learning growth. You can read the showcase summary, but unfortunately because of limitations in SharePoint publishing, as of right now, the portfolios require WSU login. We hope this will change.