Blog Pile

MERLOT: The Buzz (and the next day effect)

A little bit of echo to Brian’s analysis of our conference ending session on RSS and Learning Objects. You can find the paper there as well as a hefty 6 Mb PowerPoint (if I have time, I will at least post a MS mangled HTML version), plus there is a streaming quicktime version too.

There seemed (from the front of the room) a buzz of interest and people were at least sitting forward in their chairs instead of snoozing. Stephen took in good humour our reference to “the oracle.” And hats off for Michelle for playing the part of “Lora” and showing up to the presentation.

I really hope people can go back and start on the same discovery of the power of RSS for staying in tune first with information in their interest area, and then thinking about how it can be integrated into their online materials and/or use of learning objects (no matter what defintion you can slap on them)

I regret having to rush right out at the close of the session to try and dash to the airport for a 2:00 flight. A small tip for Vancouver Travelers- forget the pokey Airporter Bus (it was 20 minues late when I gave up) that makes a billion stops. I was able to grab a cab and get to the airport in 25 minutes (thanks to a silent but agressive driver) with a risky 2 hour window to stroll through US Customs.

But then…

Blog Pile

MERLOT: Online Faculty Development

Friday, last homestretch of the conference.

Collaborative Usability Evaluations with IDEA Online
Rachel Smith

(Comment- this is a very cool, Carl Berger “cooooool”, resource. Sign up, submit designs, and join their evaluation group. The system itself is well designed)

Asked for hand raises of faculty, staff, who designs online content or learning objects. Then… asked for who had professional training in interface design (one hand raise).

Hence reason for the IDEA Online project – a web site resource for getting feedback on interface design from any submitted site. Currently has 60 members.

Started as paper based checklist… ended up being 60 pages! Seemed more efficient to move online.

Blog Pile

MERLOT: EduBloggers Plus Beer

There was a significant drop in weblogging activity this evening, starving Stephen’s MERLOT conference feed, as D’Arcy, Scott, Brian, Greg, Stephen, Bruce, Alan (plus Michelle but she may not want her blog linked… but we know where it is ;-) downed some ales and swapped stories over at… um… what was the name of that […]

Blog Pile

MERLOT: RSS SPOTTED (film at 11)

Well, no fanfare, no big announcement, just an utterance at an earlier web services presentation, but here in its full glory, a true blue MERLOT RSS feed for… the ten newest items in physica. No secret that David Carter-Tod had an early clue- they are using his RSS News Center tool, another RSS to Javascript […]

Blog Pile

MERLOT: Federated Searches

“MERLOT Focus on: Federated Search Technologies”
Martin Konig Bastiaan

Waiting for the overview, background slides about federated searches. In a nutshell, use web services to spread search and retrieval across multiple sources.

But the three dollar (Canadian) question- will they put a URL on the screen of a MERLOT RSS feed?

Blog Pile

MERLOT: ECollaborative Online (Aussie View)

Getting ready to start the Thursday 8:00am general session, another presenation by Garry Putland from EdNA (Education Network Australia). There will be other bloggers in the room madly typing the notes, so I plan to lean back and observe…

Too bad the room is looking pretty sparse- Garry is brilliant and EdNA Online is worth seeing. Maybe too many late nights whooping it up at the Celebration of Lights fireworks last night… I could hear from outside the throngs lined up for the SkyTrain after the show were chanting “Oh Canada” endlessly.

Now it the room is filling, and on with the show.


We Would Clone MLX If….

We are flattered. David is aiming for a clone of our Maricopa Learning eXchange, and is added to the list of people requesting a copy of it.

We are not being stingy and would love to put the code out there. For the 10 years I have been web publishing, our MCLI site has and still does share all of its content, e.g Writing HTML.

To be honest, as it stands right now, the MLX is rather specialized (our use of colleges for organizing content, some of the file storage methods, LDAP hooks for creating accounts). The real problem is time and staff- the technical staff in my office is 1.5 and one is writing this right now- the bulk of the database and PHP integration development has been done by a brilliant part-time student programmer. This is Maricopa, not Michigan ;-) We just are not able to devote resources into supporting a sharable MLX as it would drain what we have available for its development.

It still sounds stingy.

What I would like to aim to do is provide a documented framework for the MLX, a downloadable version of the mySQL database structure. But someone else is going to have to sort it out for making a clone.

We will give it a try, but do not hold your breath.

Alan will no doubt correct me (and I hope he does), but the basic concept is pretty simple ￐ people fill in forms and either upload data or point to existing online resources.ᅧ

That is pretty fair for the creation process. You do not see the submission forms, the user options, the inventory tools. The RSS creation is handled by a timed (cron) script, and uses a simple RSSWriter script for output. Trackback is automatically enabled simply in the template PHP that is output for each MLX item, but there are some background things like the MovableType Standalone Trackback code. We are working on a new content rating feature as well.

Blog Pile

MERLOT: Building Communities Through Collaboration

(This blog is from memory- a browser freeze up managed to eat a half composed immediate blog entry).

First half was on the connection of MERLOT and EDUCAUSE’s NLII (National Learning Infrastructure Initiative). NLII research fellows Colleen Carmean and Patricia McGee provided the overview of NLII as the arm of the EDUCAUSE organization that looks at issues of teaching and learning, and in particular one of its themes this year on…. Learning Objects.

Part of the “building community” is the Learning Object Virtual Community of Practice (LOVCOP, love the acronym), which to be honest from this writer’s opinion, has seen little activity of community and even less practice, and is only hampered by the cumbersome and community-stifling Worktools technology. At least the “virtual” part holds up.

But that is an aside.