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November, 2010

  1. @psychemedia Visualising the #jiscel10 twitter hashtag echochamber

    November 25, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    If You don’t follow Tony Hirst – @psychemedia on twitter, then you are missing some very accessible links into the world of linked data.
    I first saw Tony do a live demo of how to use linked data with yahoo pipes at a CETIS conference, and was completely astounded by how easy he made it all look. In the moment I understood with certainty and surety all that he said, but sadly as time progressed my leaky memory left me struggling to get up to speed.
    I follow his blog, and have found it forms part of my personal learning environment.
    This recent post on SPARQL is a cracking example of the clarity of the man: 

    Today he created a visualisation of the noise being generated around the #jiscel10, I know it’s not Follow Friday, but follow him:
    CC attribution: @psychemedia some rights reserved


  2. #jiscel10 – XerteFriday free online training session

    November 25, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    Those taking part in the JISC e learning conference, may be aware of the Xerte “exhibit” in the Have a Go area.

    I’ve posted before about the tool, particularly the Xerte Online Toolkits template version, and I think it has huge potential. What may not be so apparent is that Xerte is a cracking tool for creating accessible learning objects. The functions needed to add multiple access paths to components are built right in, as are personalisation tools.

    Techdis have been very supportive of the tool and worked with the University of Nottingham on these developments, and have been running regular Xerte sessions on Friday afternoons.

    This Friday the XerteFriday free online training session  is "Introducing Xerte to your organisation" and will cover the information you need to convey to specific colleagues to get buy in across the organisation; including…
    * teaching staff
    * disability support / learner support staff
    * technical teams
    * senior managers
    * staff development officers

    You can join the session  – 26th November 1pm – 1.45 pm (GMT)

  3. #jiscel10 message from Geoff – Theme 2 begins

    November 25, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    just to remind you that Theme Two of the JISC online conference opens 
    today. Theme One has closed, but is available for reading, and all 
    the live sessions have been recorded and are available for viewing.

    Today there are four live sessions:

    09.30 Keynote: How to get your innovations adopted (and change the 
    world) (Anne Miller)

    11.30 Is the future mobile? (Graham Brown-Martin)

    14.00 Sustaining innovation in curriculum delivery (Gus Cameron, 
    Marion Manton, Phil George)

    16.00 Sustaining OER innovation through collaboration and partnership 
    (Simon Thomson, Andy Beggan)

    And, of course, the forums are open for posting.

    To login, go to:

  4. #jiscel10 -Have a Go- Equality inclusion and e-learning

    November 24, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    The Equality act is now in force, and the publication of the BS8878 Web accessibility- code of practice is at hand. It seemed a prudent time to engage with the work Techdis have been undertaking to help people review their current practice.

    I’ve Had a Go at the exercise in the Techdis Online conference “exhibit”, and picked the “Learning Technologist” strand, as it aligned most closely with my current role.

    One of the key benefits of this service is that you not only reflect individually but after entering your responses you can see an anonymised summary showing how other particpants answered the same questions. This gives you privacy to reflect on current accessibility practice without feeling waves of guilt or embarrassment. This makes the service MUCH more realistic, as you can answer Truthfully, rather than providing what you perceive to be the politically correct answer.

    Whilst undertaking the survey was a bit disjointed for me, as my current role is removed from the real world of teaching and learning, there were some insights, and I’m going to work up a list of actions and improvements I can make. I’m going to have an Accessibility week on the blog from the 6th Dec, and will try and show how I’ve changed my behaviour then.




  5. #jiscel10 faster horses

    November 24, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    I’m catching up on the recorded Elluminate sessions from the conference. 

    In the session “What do students really want? (Usman Ali, Aaron Porter)” it was interesting to hear that this is the first year that student satisfaction in ICT provision in University has DECLINED, as reviewed in their annual survey.

    This picks up themes highlighted in recent review of ICT teaching in schools, which found that students on the whole were quite turned off by the way it is taught.

    What’s going on here? Surely technology is exciting, dynamic, and groovy?

    James Clay asked Usman Ali whether the dissatisfaction was because the students may know what’s best for them? In the way that Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses “ 


    I think this misses the root of the problem, because it assumes in the Ford case that what people want is to get from A to B as fast as possible.

    It may be what they want, really  is a faster horse, a living creature that they can talk to, and care for, and be involved with, but that gets there a bit quicker. The whole process may be more important than one component.

    How things are done is often far more important than what is done.

    I have in front of me a prehistoric HP pocket pc ipaq I bought in 2004.. it works, but it cannot be said to be a pleasant experience to use it, not due to speed, it is in fact quite quick, and in terms of functionality it can do a fair bit, open excel spreadsheets, word docs, IT COULD COPY AND PASTE in 2004 … However I rarely use it, choosing instead the comfort of my ipod touch.  The difference is entirely down to the user experience. I forgive my ipod for it’s shortcomings, where I’d be cursing the ipaq.

    Satisfaction and contentment are elusive, tricksy things to measure and achieve and move beyond the grasp of technologists like myself. I think the bar has been set quite high, and the expectations of the ipod generation will be tricky to meet.

    It’s going to be interesting watching.

    A clip shown in the session dwells on the perception and motivation of students, and is well worth a watch:


  6. #jiscel10 – Have a Go- hacker ethos

    November 22, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    Download this file

    It’s my birthday today, whooo hoo..

    My mum bought me a subscription to MAKE magazine, which is crammed full of things to do. Things to HAVE a GO at.

    It struck me that what’s on show in the “Have a Go” area is eminently Hackable, and fits with the MAKE ethos.

    I’ve made a start, by building a test instance of moodle where I installed the MyShowcase block, which in turn spurred me to start hacking an “Xpert attribution” moodle block. This in turn lead me  to dig out my PHP manuals, and find the notes and code snippets from old projects.

    These sort of rambles are possible because of the Open licences. Life in a closed world, is life without learning.

    My suggestion today is to get hold of some code, hack it, tweak it, love it.






  7. #jiscel10 – Have a Go- a reminder from Geoff

    November 22, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    Just a quick reminder that this is the last day of the pre-conference activities, and that Theme One opens tomorrow, when we have the four presentations from Theme One taking place within Elluminate, with the opening keynote from Keri Facer starting at 9.30 am. We strongly recommend that you check your system, particularly for Elluminate, as soon as possible, to avoid problems when Theme One starts. Guidance on doing this is given within the conference, and in the guidance sent to you with your login information.

    Today, of course, the Have-a-Go and Virtual World sessions are still open (and will remain so all week). James Clay’s blog, Letters from the Edge, is also open, and provides a wealth of useful and interesting information.

    There is also a slightly revised, downloadable, programme available from the opening page in the conference – this is more easily printable.

  8. #jiscel10 capturing the tweets, #summarizr , #twapperkeeper

    November 19, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    Twapperkeeper is a useful tool for creating an archive of tweets around an event, which can then be analysed and used by services like the Eduserv Summarizr.

    This pulls the data, fiddles with it, and chucks up as useful visualisations.

    We are only in pre-conference mode at the minute, so I fully expect to see my tweet count get buried by those True and hearty conference goers debating the conference main sessions next week.

    In the mean time, here’s the current tag cloud form the tweets using #jiscel10 hashtag.



     18th  article  asda  attribution  blogged  computer  conf  conference countdown
      delegates  design  details  edge  education  elearning  elluminate  events forward 
     future  growth  integrating  ipads  ipod  jisc  learning  life  listening  live looking 
     mobile  nov  online  phone  podcast  private  project  reading register  session 
     sl  smart  starts  using  virtual  visualising  week  worlds xpert 


    Our summarizr page is here:


  9. #Becta adopts open government license in advance of its website closure

    November 18, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    To ensure the educational community benefits from being able to re-use Becta materials, Becta has now adopted the Open Government licence (OGL).

    Becta’s website will close on January 31st 2011. The Becta website will be captured on the National Archives, although some features and functionality will no longer be operable.

    We have announced the adoption of the OGL to provide maximum time for all stakeholders and visors to benefit from the non-exclusive nature of the licence.

    Making the most of Becta’s materials

    We are advising all Becta stakeholders and beneficiaries to take advantage OGL, to search for, access, and download s materials and content from the site before it closes on January 31st 2011.

    There are some limitations around certain materials including images and video, but these do not preclude re-use in existing form. Our revised copyright statement provides more detailed guidance on the scope and limitations of Becta’s adoption of the OGL.

    Managing “in-bound” links

    Organisations linking to resources on the Becta website, need to be aware that re-directs will be applied to the National Archive only between 31st of January 2011 and March 31st 2011. These re-directs will be at site level only. Becta cannot guarantee these re-directs will continue after March 31st 2011. Becta therefore advises all with “in-bound” links to a) download and manage materials locally if possible; b) between January and March, navigate the National Archives website to establish the replacement link. If you have any queries then please  contact , which will be active until the end of January 2011. 

  10. #jiscel10 Have a Go – Xpert attribution service- guided tour

    November 18, 2010 by Robin Englebright

    This afternoon I attended a fascinating live tour in elluminate, of the Xpert attribution service.


    Pat Lockley gave a brief introduction to Open Nottingham which ran an early OER project that created 142 open resources which equates to roughly a year of teaching content.
    During their work on the BERLiN project ( it was found that clearing copyright materials was taking a disproportionate time, so a tool was created to help academics and students find openly licenced material and apply proper attribution. The idea was to make the tool able to fit simply into their existing workflow, without major changes.
    The search function uses Flickr and Wikipedia as they provided the most reliable results in terms of rights clearance; however it was decided that even with  a fair degree of confidence in the sources, they should build an attribution tool rather than copyright clearance tool.

    Project funding requires the outputs to be available for at least two years, and they align with University policy so the tool should be around for the foreseeable future.

    There were questions about how the tool could be  integrated with VLE’s, though as Nottingham uses WebCT, so Blackboard and moodle might have to wait.  Pat professed an interest in developing a WordPress plugin, and for those that can’t wait there is an API available.


    The tool is available at

    For more info on the Xpert Project follow Pat on twitter @xpert_project @patlockley

    The recording of the elluminate session will be available to #jiscel10 delegates later this afternoon, it’s well worth investing half an hour in.

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