Brett Lucas is the Learning Technologist and Website Developer at the English Subject Centre.
The Student Experience of E-learning and E-resources
What exactly are the next generation of students like? Have you had enough ‘PowerPoint puff’… would you like to uncover the truth? Two fascinating reports have recently been released which debunk many of the myths about technology-enhanced teaching and provide some important food for thought. The JISC Student Expectations Study, published in September 2007, looked at current
provision levels at school/college and student expectations of ICT provision at university.
The second report, commissioned by the British Library and JISC, and published in January 2008, entitled Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future, looks at how the specialist researchers are likely to access and interact with resources in 5–10 years’ time.
There is an interesting podcast to accompany the report too
19th-Century Newspapers Resource Launched
A new resource is available free of charge to all higher education and further education institutions courtesy of the JISC. It offers national, regional and local 19th century British newspapers, taken directly from the holdings of the British Library. The collection contains over two million from 48 titles and unlocks extensive newspaper content which is invaluable for the researching and studying of 19th-century history.
Two Fascinating Must-see Plenaries
If you weren’t able to come to Renewals, the Subject Centre’s 2007 conference last year, then you certainly missed the interesting plenary sessions by Alan Liu (Knowledge 2.0?: The University and Web 2.0) and Richard Miller (Reading in Slow Motion: The Humanities and the Work of the Moment). Fortunately, you can view the lectures in the Subject Centre’s mediaplayer …
• What Every Student Should Know About Researching Online
by David Munger and Shireen Campbell
Publisher: Pearson, 2007 ISBN: 978-0321445315
• Internet Research Skills by Niall O Dochartaigh Publisher: Sage 2007 ISBN: 978-1412911139
Can you see the educational potential of social networking tools for your students or year groups? … or would you like to set one up for your staff or research colleague or even as an alternative to a website for a forthcoming conference? Ning is an online service that enables you to set up your very own network complete with personal pages, forums, video and photo sharing, etc.
If you would like to understand social networking a little better then navigate to this JISC document:
Web 2.0 and Social Software: An Introduction
This web-based tool enables you to build up your favourite online video collections from around the web (a browser plug-in enables you to save directly when you find web video you like) … organise them and then play your videos wherever you want to share them with your students by embedding them in a web page, class blog, Facebook, Myspace etc.
Imagine you had the ability to upload an image or video to a webspace for your students to access and annotate by posting their responses to it, all viewable by everyone else who has access. Sound interesting? Voicethread is quite simply an amazing tool and one that has enormous potential. The software allows you to weave conversations around images, documents and videos. These conversations need not just be text; they can be video or audio messages presented via a webcam/headphones. The visual layout is great and the outputs can be embedded in other web pages beyond the site itself. The creators have even set-up a site specifically for those with institutional software difficulties! Follow ‘Browse’ on the home page for lots of examples of how to use it http://voicethread.com/ or the educational version http://ed.voicethread.com/
Quivic is a quick video converter – get it? Anyway, this useful piece of software allows you to download video from YouTube and convert it for playback on a PC, iPod, mobile phone or PSP. A demo is available with limited function (30 seconds only) but £10 buys you the program. No need to worry about the web connection anymore!
90+ Online Photography Tools and Resources
The site names speaks for itself … definitely everything you ever wanted to know …
Darik’s Boot and Nuke
This free resource will completely wipe your hard drive … so this is a good way of preventing identity theft and an essential tool if you are replacing old kit and don’t fancy taking a hammer to your hard drive! It’s also useful for comprehensively cleaning your system of viruses and spyware
Focus on …
Open Educational Resources
Putting together online courses can be very time-consuming but it is well worth the effort. Until fairly recently, if you were looking for inspiration it has been difficult to find inspiring examples of online taught courses from other institutions because of password restrictions. Now, thanks to the rise and rise of ‘Open Courseware Initiatives’ (OCI) more and more e-learning materials are being placed online for anyone to peruse, download and use. OCI has been pioneered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Have a look and check out their English literature offerings at http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Literature/index.htm. The UK has recently joined the party with several high-profile launches, including the resources at the Open University’s OpenLearn (http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/) and Nottingham’s nascent Unow (http://unow.nottingham.ac.uk/).
Other bits and bobs …
What is a Tiny URL?
The URLs that you see on this page were generated by a free utility which takes long URLs and resizes them for you. Access the utility yourself at http://tinyurl.co.uk
• Where possible I try to recommend software that is
open source, free of charge, copyright cleared,
shareware or freeware.
• All URLs on this page were last accessed in February 2008.
• You can access all the links on this page directly in the online version of the Newsletter.