Posted by: marggran | November 11, 2010

Adding Videos to your WordPress Blog

When exploring how to add short videos to one’s WordPress site, I found the following:

WordPress has an additional tool VideoPress (a pay to use tool) that can be found at:
http://en.support.wordpress.com/videopress/
which allows one to upload and store videos into the media gallery.  These can then be inserted directly into a WordPress blog.

Videos that aree stored on YouTube will have the appropriate embed code available for one to insert such a video into your WordPress blog.  The following video demonstrates how to embed such a video into your blog.

Posted by: marggran | October 20, 2010

Moodle Updates

At the Moodle Meetup held in Adelaide in early September, Julian Ridden aka Moodle Man, gave us an overview of some of the new features that will be available in Moodle 2.

These include new enhancements such as:

  • a new text editor to replace the current one, which will among other things, recognise Word documents and remove the embedded HTML code that currently requires manually removing
  • a new centralised file repository – centralised to each institution or instance of Moodle rather than to each module
  • a means to link to files that are stored in external repositories such as Google, Flikr, YouTube and others
  • an further integration with Mahara
  • the ability to provide conditionals for both linear and adaptive flow of activities
  • many more…

It is planned to also provide support for the integration of the popular Book module, which is not currently part of the default Moodle, but is heavily used by Moodle developers.

The MasterClass also provided some great ideas for using many of the current features of Moodle to make both the content and activities much more user-friendly and learner-centred.  As  result, we have been able to update our current Innovations Project Pilot Course to incorporate an easier navigation system and more user-friendly links to content and activities.

A later day’s workshop and hints provided by Stephan Schmidt from the SA Framework showed our CTC group some shortcuts to creating useful templates and pages for current Moodle courses we are developing.

Stephan also introduced us to the Group feature, which needs further looking into, as this could be a great organisational tool for large and dispersed classes (both in time and location), all accessing the same material.

Posted by: marggran | September 16, 2010

Cloud Computing

A recent Educause publication Embracing the Cloud – Six Ways to Look at the Shift to Cloud Computing discusses many of the issues associated with cloud computing with examples of usage from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

It describes cloud computing as a means of enabling users to utilise IT and web services without needing knowledge, expertise or control over the technology involved in using these tools or services.

It goes on to describe how NJIT are utilising such services as Google, Moodle and Mahara in delivering email, learning management and e-portfolio services to their students at a greatly reduced cost to that previously offered.

For business and educational services there are many advantages to exploring the use of cloud computing services to support their own operations.  Some simple examples include the use of:

  • externally hosted email services
  • web-based shared calendars and contact managers
  • externally hosted backup services and document storage services
  • more….

Future business operations are sure to make further use of cloud computing as a means to controlling costs and operations of IT services.

Posted by: marggran | August 16, 2010

E-Portfolios Supporting RPL

Research undertaken on behalf of the Australian Flexible Learning  Framework investigated the use of e-portfolio systems to support the gaining of formal recognition of existing skills through RPL processes in the VET sector.

Key findings from this report E-portfolios for RPL Assessment include:

  • Digital evidence can be easily captured, uploaded, organised and identified on a dynamic and ongoing basis within an e-portfolio environment.
  • E-portfolios support ongoing dialogue between RPL candidates and assessors, allowing assessors to view and provide advice on evidence as it is generated.
  • E-portfolios are particularly useful where geographical or time differences prohibit face-to-face or real-time communication or validation of evidence.
  • E-portfolios have many benefits beyond the RPL process, including: building a skills profile; supporting identified gap training; and managing workplace performance, through recognising, rewarding and reclassifying employees.

A summary of some of the recommendations of this report include:

  • Investigating the benefits of generating ‘live’ workplace or work ready evidence, through capturing an individual’s job tasks via audio recording, video recording or point of view devices
  • Providing professional development and support resources to enable e-portfolio usage in the RPL process. This research identified that e-portfolios can provide an effective mechanism to support COAG’s RPL initiative,aimed at building RPL quality and good practice for VET.

The Cemons project was developed to implement this use of e-portfolios as a tool in recording and gathering evidence of achievement in the workplace by hairdressing apprentices and trainees using Point of View (POV) camera and recording devices.  Cemons Skills Centre staff are also developing and providing professional development support for their workplace assessors in the use of these tools to support both the RPL and ongoing assessment of their students.

Posted by: marggran | August 8, 2010

E-Portfolios

A simple description for an e-portfolio as provided by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Framework) is:

“An e-portfolio is a learner-driven collection of digital objects demonstrating experiences, achievements and evidence of learning. E-portfolios provide learners with a structured way of recording their learning experiences and work history. E-portfolios can be developed quickly and easily in the workplace to capture live evidence through the use of mobile phones and point-of-view devices, and can include a range of digital evidence such as audio, video, photographs and blogs.”

A great deal of research and activity during the last three years has centred around the use of e-portfolios to support learner activity, especially in the VET sector.  A wealth of resources directly related to this activist is to be found on the Framework’s E-Portfolio Business Activity website.

The eportfolios Australia Conference will be held in Melbourne of 3-4 November 2010.

I have submitted a proposal to showcase 2 examples of the use of Mahara as an e-portfolio tool:

  • the activities being undertaken by Cemons Skills Centre in using Mahara to develop student portfolios of work undertaken in the workplace
  • the activities associated with the Australian Computer Society’s PICT Program as part of the professional internship undertaken by post-graduate international IT students in preparation for placement in the Australian workforce.

Future blogs in this space will bring together information and resources in preparation for this presentation.

Posted by: marggran | August 8, 2010

Security Online

Most of us are worried by the possibility of someone ‘hacking into’ our computer system or obtaining sensitive information from our computers and online activities.  Here are a few practices that one can employ to protect online security and personal information.

  • DO ensure that you have you have Virus Protection and Firewall Software installed, and that this is regularly updated.  Most reputable software has an automatic updating facility that checks for updated when you log your computer into the internet.
  • DO NOT open emails or attachments from unknown sources – one of the most common ways for malware to infect your computer is via email attachments, usually purporting to offer you some benefit.
  • DO NOT send personal information, such as banking details by email.  Legitimate banks or financial institutions do not ask you for such details via email.
  • DO regularly scan your system for viruses and harmful programs.
  • DO protect you wireless network with a password.  As wireless networks become more common, it is easy for an unprotected network to be easily accessed and you valuable data load be misused, or your system be hacked into and valuable information retrieved from it.
  • DO protect your online accounts with strong password.  Depending on the value of the information and sites, this password needs to be secure and regularly updated.  A strong password will generally be made up of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  You should secure your password information where you can readily access it, but not where an malcontent may readily find it.
  • DO NOT stay logged into online locations from a public place.  Be careful about accessing your valuable online sites, such as your bank, form a public place or open wireless connection, and do log out once you have finished using such a service.
  • DO backup your valuable data regularly to portable media.  For valuable commercial data, a portable hard-drive which can be secured, is better that a USB flash drive.  If you keep your valuable data in a laptop, do password protect your laptop and ensure that valuable data is backed up and stored elsewhere.
Posted by: marggran | April 14, 2010

Mahara

Mahara is an open source e_portfolio tool that is being widely used as a repository and testing ground for the implementation of e_portfolios to support learning, assessment and the development of life-long learning.

The VET SA site has provided a linked (single sign-in) pilot website for users of both Moodle and Mahara over the past few years.  Mahara users have used this site to pilot the use of e_portfolios and as a site for implementation of several of the Framework e-Portfolio projects.

Mahara is now updating its integration with Moodle so that Assessment Views and e-Portfolio artefacts can be directly linked to Moodle and added to a student’s assessment items within this LMS.

Information related to this comes from Mark Dreshler’s blog post:

www.markdrechsler.com/?p=144

and relates to integration between Moodle 1.9 and Mahara.

This would be a valuable integration tool to use when the ACS Education Moodle is upgrades, as a direct integration could be achieved for this topic in the PICT module.

Posted by: marggran | December 7, 2009

Accounting in the Clouds

I have been introduced to this online Accounting Software program called saasu
www.saasu.com which allows for collaborative use of this accounting program to manage your business accounting.  There is a free version allowing up to 20 transactions per month – worth testing to see how it might operate.

By using this online accounting system, multiple users can access this from anywhere.  No more having to upgrade regularly, and backing up is a thing of the past.

Question:  how reliable is a cloud solution for backing up your data?

Posted by: marggran | November 21, 2009

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009

This posting from Stephen Downes Weekly Newsletter showed me how to directly link this Slideshare object from Jane Hart’s blog
View more documents from Jane Hart.
Posted by: marggran | November 8, 2009

Tumby Bay Seminar

On 4 November, my colleague Janene Piip and I facilitated a seminar at Tumby Bay to introduce a group to a series of Web 2.0 tools which they might use for business and personal usage.  Of the tools displayed, Skype was found to be the most popular with most saying that they could see value in using this VOIP tool to contact both family, friends and business associates.

The group has completed a survey using Survey Monkey to experience how a survey tools can easily  provide feedback and market information in a timely manner.

Discussion around the use of email indicated that many still do not know how to use this universal tool effectively for both communication, networking and marketting.  This will be a target for future workshops in the local area.

Resources used at this Seminar:

Web 2 Tools for Business

How_to_download_Skype_2009

How_to_Organise_a_Meeting_2009

How_to_create_a_Survey_using_Survey_Monkey

Google_docs_2009

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