OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Balliol College Record and late Christmas Cards

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Oct 2011, 14:52

The Balliol Annual Record 2010, and some late Christmas Cards, arrived on our doorstep this morning.

The Balliol Annual Record, the print version of LinkedIN or even Facebook, has had its day; it was a few months late, which hints at its demise. The news is thin, I'm in touch with College Alumni through LinkedIN in particular, Facebook a little bit  - even Friends Reunited.

Every word that I read here should be online, I dare say it is.

I shall therefore vacuum pack this issue in the belief that it has to be the last.

Not even my father in law has a word and he's been contributing for the best part of 60 years. I'll see him in a few hours time and ask about this. I'm inclined to podcast him too, I have some questions regarding the migration of his School for Leaders to an online course - or at least modules that can be enjoyed largely when and where you wish. At 85 it is staggering how engaged he is with the new technology and what it can achieve.

Looking forward to how the OU reinvents itself on 2011; I know things are afoot.

If anyone reading this has a foot in the door I'd love to come in and do what I do best - stand back, observe, contemplate, then offer ideas from a rich and variegated career.

P.S. a spellcheck that doesn't recognise Facebook as a word is due for the scrap heap. Surely the OU can tie in to the OED??

Collating evidence for H808 ECA. Interestingly, in a parallele existence, I'd say that all the criteria I meet for H08 I have duplicated in Plenck and the LinkedIN Oxford Alumni E-learning group.

What I learn from engagement with like-minded enthusiasts is already outweighing what I am learning from this course; is this par for the course?

How come I know people who will be or are more qualified than the MA ODE can offer without ever having gone through these hoops?

Meanwhile, for reasons only known to her, I have read and chewed on a book from a psychoanalyst on the dilemma and trauma of the English School boarding school boy. I was packed off age 7 years 11 months and after a few aborted Colditz-like escapes got out age 16 years and 9 months.

I've been dealing with the fallout these last 18 months. My wish?

That I'd never, never, ever been sent away to boarding school.

Forty years on I am trying to undo the damage the places did to me.

'Sausage machine' is a good term for it ... the brutal bullying without anyone to turn to is something else. And yes, I had to fag and got out because I had no desire to be put in the position as a Public School Prefect (and for a variety of other reasons, including being told I could not take Art, would have to play rugger over swimming, could play the lead in Macbeth if I cuddled the new English Teacher and would not have a girlfriend until I got to my gap year or university).

Oh, and I hated the House Master and his assistant who were clueless dimwits who could never have held down a job outside the system.

These places in the 70s still expected to churn out obedient servants for the Armed Services, or the Civil Service or the Colonial Service ... to feed the public school need for staff.

This or your Pater & Mater owned most of Northumberland or Sunderland so education would be the only little bit of suffering you needed to endure before you could be ejected as a Prefect ready to be prefectorial over your minions.

My mission for 2011? Campaign to close all public schools; the current scam whereby they retain Charitable Status if the most laughable abuse of power, quite as bad as MP's expenses as a challenge to 'the way things are done.'

Quote me.

 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Neil Anderson, Wednesday, 29 Dec 2010, 14:10)
Share post
Design Museum

Google Docs

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 9 Sep 2010, 07:08

Prompted to give Google Docs a go I find within a couple of minutes I am Google-smacked!

Overwhelmingly impressive.

e-Life transforming. e-Things will never be the same.

I've only just crept on from Word 2002 in the last few weeks, so to be hit with so much more I feel like someone who has been trying to ski on a dry-slope strapped to planks of wood who has just been let loose on an Olympic Piste in the latest Salamon gear!

My 'MyStuff' days (six months actually) are also numbered. I knew that I had to 'populate' such a resource with material to give myself something to play with, but Google Docs without any doubt, on first impressions takes what MyStuff could have been in the commercial arena and realises it.

Google Docs has translated the desiress, hopes and expectations I had for MyStuff into a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

All I want to do now is share, share, share ... and go and compare.

And write more and read more and never leave my desk again.

In fact, I may re-instigate my exercise-bike as work-station. This is a standard exercisebike with the handle bars removed. Instead I have a lectern of sorts with a keyboard sensibly covered in a plastic skin. In this way I can type and bike!

Yee-ha!

(The second term of the day, did it with heebie-jeebies an hour ago, that I have put through the OED online)

Between them, the OED online and Google Docs leave me feeling like a kid on Christmas Morning with two brilliant but quite unexpected gifts!

Yee-hoo-oo-o!

And then I put a document into Google Docs, my piece on H808 First Impressions (below) and out of curiosity had it translated into French.

OMG

Though I understand French well enough to work in the country and can speak it OK, my written French is attrocious. Has this just given me the facility to communicate at a reasonable level with written French? Its an incredible, by default personalised language learning tool if nothing else.

Perhaps I could head for France in the next couple of months after all?

On verra.

I've regained the will to live.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

H808 First Impressions. Week 1.

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 13:16

H808 First Impressions

Someone’s been busy over the summer recess. smile

There are several noticeable differences:

In addition to the tutor there is a technical expert (Hi Helen) ‘embedded’ in the course to take a proactive role ensuring that none of us get the hebegebes with the technology. Even the basic functioning of the OU platform and its myriad of tools, attributes, quirks and foibles, can be daunting or at least irksome for the IT proficient. I doubt I am alone when I find at times I ‘just don’t get it’ when all it needs is someone to look over my shoulder and say, ‘try pressing that,’ or you’ve missed out a letter, or ‘there’s a really easy way to do that.’ I am at that stage where I am tripped up by a single letter of HTML code ... only to find that I don't need to be reading or trying to read code, if I understood how to use the e-tools being offered. Curiously this role may do more to bring students from the different tutor groups together than the mere offering of forums for this purpose ... a cafe where there is no coffee. mixed

The tutor is around a lot. (Hi Trevor).

(I have not lurked around other tutor groups to see what is going on, so perhaps we can have a pow-wow on this or what I read in an article on e-learning, a 'tribal meeting; which I suppose is a meeting of department heads, or vice-chancellors i.e. the chiefs?).

This may just be a start of course thing, but I sense a wind change that is going beyond the basic set-up to support collaboration elucidated by Salmon regarding e-moderating. My prediction is that the call-centre like support, online and on the phone, that is offered corporate e-learners and e-trainers may become something that H.E. institutions need to provide, populated by undergraduates (2nd years as it were), as well as graduates, not just the traditional PhD student as part time tutor and lecturer ... as well as Senior Tutors.

I’d like the occasional host guest or a heavy hitter too, the participation of those who wrote the module, designed the course or whose work is most often cited.

The title 'H808 Environment Map' is an unnecessarily disingenuous term for a fantastic, indispensable guide. This isn't a map, it is 'The Lonely Planets' map, plan and guide pocket book for H808. It should be on the inside cover of what is the H808 Course Book. It should be wall-paper on the homepage i.e. you go nowhere and try nothing until you have consumed it. I'm going to print it off, laminate it and put it on my desktop, the tabletop wooden one i.e. extract it from its binary code and give it form on paper.

Something’s been refreshed in the OU Library.

My first impression would be to say from a design point of viewit has been ‘Google-ised,’ i.e, its appearance has been cleared up and simplified. Is it that designers and programmers in time can prioritise their choice of tools and offer in a more clinical way the tools they know users will need as they progress through their search rather than offering a High Street DIY store cornucopia of e-tic-tacs and e-tools that may or may not be required and probably do little more than scare and confuse in equal measure.

The resources and supplementary reading have all been accessed within the last couple of months and the links work.

In H807 it was a bugbear, not overly regular, but frequent enough, to find that links did not work so documents were not found speedily. The sifting out of redundant papers and reports (their points of view have been superseded by the technology and actual practice rather than the conjecture and hyperbole of some academics and commentators) as well as the checking and fixing of links is important. It is a considerable frustration, though understandable, that published version of books.

Not overly burdensom or keen to read two study-related books over the summer (July/August) Weller’s Virtual Learning Environments(2007) and Conole and Oliver's (eds) Contemporary perspectives in e-learning Research (2007), that very few of the links to URLS given to follow up references work (very few, may be none!) and then seeking them through the OU library doesn’t always prove successful either, no fault of the library, but links into this amorphous universe that is Cyberspace leaves some e-references wanting. And being who I am I want these references as qualifying and verifying is part of the ‘bonding process’ that this student requires to feel thoroughly engaged with the material.

Might I suggest that putting an URL for an article or blog comment into a print-published book is about as lasting as putting a sparkler in a birthday cake - by the time you want to eat the cake the sparkler has burnt out.

I like the new 'tick box' alongside the study planner to help mark off your progress.

Happy Days, Exciting Days in OU Land

P.S. Did you know you have access to the Oxford English Dictionaryonline as an OU Student. This is like being invited to Versailles during the reign of the Sun King. Brilliant. Except it can't help me with 'hebe-gebe.' A term used by my family, or a Geordie term for feeling a bit nervous, gets the goose-bumps up, a tad scary in a Ghost Train ride kind of way?

P.P.S. Just learnt a few tricks to search for a word in the OED and found 'heebie-jeebie.'  A feeling of discomfort, apprehension, or depression; the ‘jitters’; delirium tremens; also, formerly, a type of dance. (OED) Far from being my native Geordie, it is 1920s New York American.

6.00am and I've learnt something new already! approve

9/9/10 is going to be a fun day.

8/9/10 was magic.

I wonder why? thoughtful

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

E-words and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 26 Aug 2010, 13:20

I've just negotiated my way into the OED online dictionary and have had my mind exploded.

Amazing. Thrilled. Delighted.

My quest is to share views on the word 'activity' and whether its reversioning to 'e-tivity' is justified beyond some kind of quasi-academic brand-speak to sell a book and a concept.

'Activity' is first cited in 1530. Kicked off-line in 2001.

Let's campaign to support these words rather than having them digitised into oblivion.

Let's use our booted heels to hack the 'e-' barnacle from words that deserve better. That stand alone. That have a meaning that is only diminished by adding 'e-'.

Let's ditch the unnecessary e-attachments.

Meanwhile, I'm off to lose myself in the OED where words are nutured like rare beasties kept alive, breeding and happy in a Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Permalink
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5331441