Gardens of Discussion: What Makes Online Communities Work?

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I’ve been contemplating online communities lately — specifically, that I don’t know what comprises the magic that makes one community tick and another one fail, despite the fact that I’ve participated in many different communities online over the last twenty years. I can tell you that the magic of a successful, vibrant community comes from […]

Adventures in Tech: Video Hosting with WMApps

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It’s always nice to discover something that you need right in your own backyard.  I was poking around the Web and on the same day found out that there was a product called “Google Video for Education” and that the product was discontinued. Why discontinue such a valuable and needed service? Well, I found that […]

Adventures in Tech: Sharing an iPad in a Video Teleconference

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I was worried at first when asked to research the problem: how to share the screen of an Apple iPad within an Adobe Connect meeting. Screen sharing using an app is not just unavailable, but prevented by the iPad’s basic design. But then I had a glimmer of an idea, and thus of hope: AirPlay.

Video Collaboration: What’s on the Menu at W&M?

You can do more than just meet via telephone at W&M these days. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

When there are many software products that do similar things it can be a little confusing to choose one. Like a neophyte oenophile looking at a wine list, one might be tempted to make an arbitrary choice just to move things along — and wind up with a snootful of inappropriate complexity and a character that doesn’t suit the meal. So, without further ado (or beating this metaphor to death), here’s a sampler of the computer video conferencing and collaborating products in use at the College, somewhat arranged in order of complexity.

Secure Digital Media? Forgeddaboudit.

Are guys like this trying to get at your digital media when you don't want them to?

Once your media is on a screen you don’t control, you don’t control it anymore! So what do you do with your video and audio files you want to share but still want to keep secure, that is, prevent someone else from downloading?

Universal Design for Learning: A Great Lens for E-Learning

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It’s interesting where inspiration comes from sometimes. This last semester I took a graduate class at the School of Education called The Academic Life. Unlike the articles we read on e-learning, which were largely descriptive, one article in particular grabbed my imagination unexpectedly: Robbin Zeff’s “Universal Design Across the Curriculum” (New Directions for Higher Education, no. 137, Spring 2007).

Just a Little Apocalyptic Prognostication on a Tuesday Morning

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In light of the Harvard email-snooping flap, I had originally thought about writing on digital privacy, except that a news item on the Chronicle’s website caught my eye this morning and got me to thinking about the apocalypse. Well, not the literal apocalypse–just an educational one. Maybe “epochal change” or “paradigm shift” would be better terms.

Adventures in the Walled Garden: Notes on My New iPad

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So here I am, late to the party, with a shiny new iPad. At least, my iPad use is less than rote, and I do not (yet?) consider it to be an integral part of my person — a good time to note a few observations while I can still be rational about it.

The Scout’s Guide to Video Teleconferencing

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“I have an important teleconference tomorrow at 9 a.m. Can you come by at 8:30 to get me set up? No, I’ve never used this system before.” That’s the phone call of my nightmares. Because, as I say to everyone who will listen, video teleconferencing is about 5% technology and 95% best practices. And the best best practice is practice — in the environment where the event will take place, under similar circumstances.

E-Learning According to Time Magazine

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I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the “issues” coverage offered in Time’s recent cover article on online education, especially given its attention-seeking headline “College is Dead. Long Live College!” I really didn’t expect it to have as much information as it did that would be of real interest to educators and .edu geeks in general. However the author, Amanda Ripley, took the time to enroll in a few MOOC-style classes, and some of the things that struck her are the same ones I’ve been thinking about when it comes to producing e-learning. In this post, read about a few highlights that struck me as particularly pertinent.