Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The HvA is also recording lectures...

And yet another article on the success of recording lectures. This is a report (in Dutch) of the findings at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Amsterdam Professional University). One thing that struck me is that in the fourth sentence organisational issues are classed before pedagogical issues. This for me does give the impression that the focus is changing on how recorded lectures are being regarded. They are being regarded as less of a pedagogical novelty and much more a facility which can be implemented a lot more broadly (as the TU Delft advertised lately).

Asus Mini notebook: an interesting inbetween

I am a very loyal user of a Palm TX, but it is simply to small for writing and browsing. On the other hand, lugging a notebook about is a pain (for my right shoulder mainly). So I was fascinated to see that Asus is working hard on the Eee notebook. What makes it interesting for me:
- Very portable
- Cheap
- Does the basics when I am on the move (reading and writing emails, checking feeds, writing blog, writing out matters)

Of course it is not a full blown PC. I was interested to see they are planning to drop it in the educational market. If you see what we expect our students to do, it may well be too limited (statistical analysis is one thing it will not (yet) do. On the other hand: if you see what our students want to do it is probably quite suitable: to be connected and share at all times through messenger or videocall through skype, type out basic reports, browse and watch Youtube and connect with iPod.
I think I am going to give it a try when it comes out here in The Netherlands. Many vids ar already available at Youtube. Here's one to give you an idea.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Which VLE for Utrecht?

The latest news scoop is that the advice for the next VLE at Utrecht should be appearing soon (by December). I have heard the buzz going round in The Netherlands that we are having serious problems. I am pleased to say this certainly does not concern Blackboard. We are running this on a local server and it is running extremely satisfactorily. As far as WebCT is concerned, all those interested can read the article in our university magazine.

For me this situation does raise a number of questions as to what is truly important in a tool for the support of teaching and learning. I have noticed that some are engrossed by visions of a myriad of pedagogical models and features. I would like to take a step back and concentrate on the basics: what teachers and students need is a system which is reliable and easy to use. I have heard arguments that all systems should answer to these basic requirements, but I have sadly seen many examples to the contrary. I also feel that the large majority of teaching staff are not looking for a system that will do absolutely everything, but rather a straightforward system that will let them do exactly what they want to do quickly and easily. If we are trying to look for an efficient use of ICT in higher education, this is a very basic place to start.

For now we are waiting on the advice...