Badges for all

I’d been reading here and there about open badges.  Since I’m now talking to some people about a project that may use them I thought I should investigate a bit more.  In the course of the afternoon I earned two badges on badges from Purdue and several more from Mozilla on web development. As an old school html coder it’s nice to see those skills being pushed in today’s app driven wysiwyg world.

If you’re interested in what I’ve earned (or how you can earn them too), just click the badge below:


Edited to add: There are even more badges out there. Try Badge Bingo to see more options.

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Images – Copyright and Use

Photo Credit: qthomasbower
via Compfight cc

My class spent some time putting together timelines of distance education. They also searched for images to represent the events they chose to include on their timelines. Some cited their images fully, some cited them to “Google Images,” and others didn’t cite them at all. This brings up a teachable moment to talk about images, fair use, copyright, and Creative Commons licensing. I’m encouraging them to dig a bit deeper into what can and can’t legally be done with the images you find all over the web.

First off, your best rule of thumb should be to always presume that anything you find using a plain Google image search is copyrighted with all rights reserved. While you can use these images in your work as a student (cited appropriately), you likely can’t use them in your work outside class unless your work is teaching at a non-for-profit institution and even then Fair Use + the TEACH act doesn’t make it automatically okay. Once you enter the realm of a for-profit organization the doctrine of fair use is less likely to apply if regular “all rights reserved” copyright is used by the image owner. For a good overview of copyright I recommend the Columbia University Copyright Center and for updates you can follow its director Kenneth Crews on Twitter @kcrews.
The good news is, there are a lot of free Creative Commons licensed images out there. AJ George offers some suggestions on finding Creative Commons licensed images with Google. Fotor is a new-to-me free stock photo site, offers images with Creative Commons licenses and a tip sheet on citing CC licensed photos in your work. You can also search MorgueFile, everystockphoto, and Compflight to find CC licensed images that can be used for commercial and non-commercial projects.
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One drop in the ocean

Since Aaron Swartz’s death academics from around the globe have been posting their papers outside of pay walls in tribute.  Here is my small contribution.

Young, J. C. (Spring 2013, in press) Understanding transfer as personal change: Concerns, intentions, and resistance. In In L. Kaiser, J. Foley, & K. Kaminski (Eds.). Learning Transfer in Adult Education, New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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My Personal Learning Network

I had a class meeting earlier this week on tools for distance education and one of the things we talked about was the use of RSS feeds and Twitter as a source of current information on the field.  I compiled a brief selection of folks that I follow via RSS feed and/or Twitter for them and thought I’d share it here too in an effort to get this restarted.

If you’ve not used an RSS reader before but already have a gmail or other Google account I recommend Google Reader but there are several others as well as mobile readers.  If you’re not familiar with RSS you may want to watch the Common Craft Video. Here are some folks I follow. Some are DE related and some aren’t but they all are AE related in some way.

First off, if you’re not on Twitter or don’t know about following and hashtags take a look at the Common Craft video and this guide to Twitter for teachers. Here are some folks I follow on Twitter with a bit of their description about themselves.  There is some overlap from the previous list but the content is usually different.

  • @tomkuhlmann – I write the Rapid Elearning Blog where I share practical tips & tricks for building elearning courses.
  • @DataDiva – Fascinated by question: Can we quantify learning? Determined to combine learner-centered ed & informed use of data. 
  • @thiagi – Thiagi makes a living by playing games and helping others play games — to improve their performance.
  • @academicladder – Clinical Psychologist, President of Academic Ladder LLC, and founder of the Academic Writing Club
  • @kylemackie – teaching, learning and technology, social and participatory media, good design, architecture, accessibility, 
  • @hjarche – Work is learning & learning is the work. Partner at Internet Time Alliance.
  • @cammybean – learning designer with Kineo; making better eLearning throughout the world.
  • @NCLAdvocacy – To help advocates, leaders, and others who care about literacy to make a positive difference advocating for adult education and family literacy.
  • @C4LPT – Jane Hart is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT). 
  • @CatMoore – On a mission to save the world from boring corporate elearning. Creator of the action mapping ID process and the Elearning Blueprint.
  • @usablelearning – Instructional Design Geek-ette. Love brain stuff, learning, games, usability.

There are also regular Twitter chats that you may be interested in #lrnchat is normally every Thursday evening 8:30 – 10pm ET and Friday morning 9:30 – 11:00am ET.  eLearnchat is Wednesdays at 8p.  They have a live video interview with connected Twitter chat.  Some others I’ve heard of but not been to:

  • #smedu – Wednesdays at noon and 9 p.m. EST social media professionals, students, educators, and more can discuss using social media in education in this chat.
  • #edchat – Talk to a variety of educators around the world through #edchat, Tuesdays at noon and 7 p.m. EST.
  • #SAChat – Discuss student affairs with other professionals in the industry Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. CST and 6-7 p.m. CST.
  • #AcAdv – Tuesdays from 8-9 p.m. EST, you can talk to academic advisors and other colleagues about advising.
  • #IOLchat which stands for Inside Online Learning. Recent topics include “Online Learning & the Workplace” and “Preparing Students for Online Learning.” 

If you’re using something like TweetDeck or Seesmic you can save the hashtag search to make following the chat easier.

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This is not one of those posts

This is not one of those posts where I apologize for not posting for months and months.

This is also not one of those posts where I explain all the boring reasons why I haven’t posted for months and months.

This is not even one of those posts where I promise I’ll post weekly, if not daily, from now on.

This is the post where I say, no, I haven’t abandoned this space completely.  More things will appear here eventually.  Eventually may mean next month or it may mean this summer or it may mean who-knows-when.

I’m currently teaching 3 classes, overseeing one other one, project managing a project in the beta testing phase and recording almost all the audio for said project.  The dissertation is at a total standstill and I’m toying with the idea of completely revamping my reference database as my Zotero files have somehow gotten corrupted.  I’m not sure how much content any of that will generate here but at least there are things going on to write about should I have the time and the inclination.

TTFN and have a great spring semester

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It’s about the utility

How’s your Google-fu these days? If you have a question, how do you find an answer?

Better yet, how do you find an answer that you trust?

Social media is an ever-growing set of tools that allow you to build relationships with peers and with people that you may be too in awe of to ever approach in real life. That network of relationships provides insight and opportunities that you may never have known existed otherwise. It also allows you to share what you are doing to a wider audience who may be interested in collaborating, supporting, or just cheering you on.

At The Learning Generalist, Sumeet Moghe shares his thoughts on Mark Oehlert’s workshop on tools for the Social Learning Landscape. The tricky part is embedded in his suggestion that “you need to find the reasons why people will want to engage and will be interested.” Mark also mentions that it’s not information overload, it’s filter failure. Social media needs to integrate into work and build context around people’s work so it doesn’t become one more extra thing to do.

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we’ll talk of ships and sealing wax

 I’ve spent a good chunk of the weekend transcribing interviews.  I had one done previously and I now have two more complete. As I was starting a third I thought to organize my audio files and see how many I actually had to do. It turns out I only have seven usable files.


I’ve done 11 interviews.

So what happens to the other four? One early on was unusable because the person was also the chair of the department.  Due to her administrative responsibilities she simply wasn’t teaching enough too meet my criteria.

Then I had a lovely interview with a very lovely woman who turned out to be an adjunct. And that was my own fault. I didn’t check.  Looking back, I don’t think she got my standard recruitment e-mail, which would’ve screened for that. I’m actually hoping to be able to use her interview in a different project at some point after I finish my dissertation because she had some wonderful insights on related topics.

I had the interview that was eaten by Skype and that one really irks me. I haven’t had the nerve to go back to her and ask if we can re-create any of it but I will later this week.

Then I had a lovely discussion with a very enthusiastic faculty member who I can’t include because she’d been teaching blended classes. The class she was currently teaching the summer was her first completely online class. Again, we had a lovely interview and I hope to use her information for some future project, but she doesn’t meet my criteria for this one.

So I have seven. If I can re-create, with some help, the one that was eaten by Skype then I’ll have eight.  I have two more possibilities for interviews, which would put me up to 10, but I had really hoped to be done with the actual interviewing by now.

Though I have to say, having to do more is not necessarily a bad thing. As I’m transcribing the first interviews I did I’ve realized how far I’ve come in interviewing skill and in really focusing in on my topic area. The interview I did last week was so much better than the ones that I did in March.

I guess the bright spot in all of this is that I promised my chair I’d be half done with transcribing the next time I met with her, which is a week from Monday. I only have seven interviews, so I only have to have three and a half transcribed.  I’m almost done.


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about resources

I’ve been trying to find a way to incorporate the random things I find through my feed reader and other sources – preferably with the ability for me to add notes to them – into my online classes.  Yes, I could just post an announcement or send an email every time I found something interesting and applicable, but there’s no way to easily find something at a later point that way. 

In addition, this post by Harold Jarche on personal knowledge management has been nudging at me for two and a half years now.  He has a system that allows him to mine these sorts of things along with his thoughts and connections.  The problem has been that my aggregation tool (delicious) got over-run very easily with this and that and something else and I rarely took the time to go back and annotate a resource. 

It came to a head a couple of weeks ago after spring semester ended.  I realized that I had a delicious account with around 300 links in it.  And an older delicious account with around 400 different links in it left over from the point a year and a half ago when I declared “bookmark bankruptcy” and just started over fresh.  There were also over 200 starred items in my Google Reader account to deal with.  

That’s almost one. thousand. things.

** head <-> desk **

So I spent two. solid. days. doing nothing but sorting and deleting.  Then I made another new delicious account and this blog.

Today I happened to stumble on a tool called Amplify through a Twitter link and spent a bit of time playing with it.  It has a built-in ad-free widget generator that works in my course management system (though not here) and generates a feed that doesn’t look too bad.

The problem this solves for me is one of accountability.  I was throwing bookmarks willy-nilly into delicious with the intent of “doing something with them someday.”  With Amplify, I can’t post anything unless I have something to say about it that is worth asking a group of people to take the time to read.  It goes back to public writing.  How I keep from starting another pile of things-to-post-in-Amplify, I don’t know other than a fierce desire to never have to sort through that many bookmarks again.

So, the upshot of all this is that I will post (probably sporadically) to my Amplify page aptly titled “Sporadic Questions” about things I’ve read or tools I’ve found that may be useful/interesting to adult educators or students of adult education.  I will post (also probably sporadically) here about the dissertation and other general items that might be of interest to a broader audience in education, elearning, faculty development, etc.

There may be a few cat pictures but I’ll try to keep them to Fridays 🙂

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Public Thinking


After blogging for over 5 years pseudonymously I have finally started a new blog with my name on it. My plan for this blog is twofold – to share resources and my comments on them with my classes and to hold myself accountable to regularly generate (hopefully) useful and thoughtful writing.

Plus, the folks who read my other blog about knitting and cats probably aren’t that interested in my teaching and dissertation. If anyone reading this is interested in knitting and cats please let me know 🙂

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