Friday, May 16, 2008

Technology Update Meeting - May 14

Brian Culver hosted another Technology Update this week. Here are the highlights:
  • Wireless: it's up and running. Woo hoo! Signage is up and it is being well received by students. There are no current plans for expanded access. It is available in some classrooms at the moment, but IT expects that as more people use the wireless network, the reach into classrooms will be reduced.
  • Help Desk: New software is being installed. Brian will request help from possible reviewers at the end of May. Let him know if you want to help.
  • CRM - Managing student data for recruitment and retention. This has been implemented.
  • Onboarding: This manages new employees as they come on board. It is in process and they are confirming data about existing employees. They expect full implementation soon.
  • Printing: New print software will be implemented to manage student printing and better functionality for staff printing. The software will enable print tracking by budget number. They are not planning to implement it on desktop computers, though the possibility is built into the software. The overall plan is to get rid of the desktop printers and have everyone use the network printers, in our move towards greater environmental responsibility.
  • Portal: There is a new project manager. They are hoping to migrate over memorial day, solving double log-in problems etc. Nothing else is changing at the moment. They will wait to successfully change servers and then will address new navigation, features, better organization, etc.
  • Summer: Summer is a very busy time for IT. They have an ambitious plan to convert networks and telephones from UWB to Cascadia. The new phones with new features will include phone log in - very helpful for associate faculty and others who might work in more than one place in the college. There will be training on the new phones, planned for early September. In the transition, any messages on the phone system will be lost.
  • Help Desk Tickets:
    • 70 - 90 open at any given time
    • Touching base on the 3/5 rule. 3 days should be a worst case scenario. If a situation cannot be solved in 3 days, you should be updated every 5 days.
    • New helpdesk software should streamline the response time and improve availability of information on the process.
  • Classroom podiums - now have help desk information and generic log ins.
  • Media Center: Supports instructional computers for instructional purposes only. Planning to staff it ourselves. Open hours is an issue; library wants it to be taken over by July 1.
  • Internet Project - will use a content management system that will allow people to update changes on they own. As a result of this anticipated change, Sandra Carlquist's position has not been filled. Some new position will be envisioned in the future.

Friday, May 2, 2008


This tool is for creating form data. It looks like Word, and you use it to create forms, like application forms, interest forms, etc. You can tie it to back end tools like Access, so the data has somewhere to go when it is submitted in the form.

The presenter is trying to demonstrate the tool. He made a quick form, but is unable, at the moment, to make it show up in the browser and he can't make it work. this is causing the audience no end of amusement - "Welcome to our world", one person called out.


We're in the third session. There were 3 choices.
  • Podcasting - cool! Darn! can't do it at Cascadia.
  • Moviemaking - cool! Darn, no server space. Can't do it at Cascadia.
  • Sharepoint - hmm. Well, we can do it at Cascadia, so here I am.

So far the speaker is pretty good.

here is a link to the PowerPoint presentation.

Web 2.0 problems

So, all is not joy and happiness when using web 2.0 in education. We can't forget:
  • privacy and FERPA
  • harassment and negativity
  • intellectual property issues
  • digital divide (not all students have access to the technology)
  • digital identity (what you put up there stays, whether you want it to or not)

More Web 2.0 - The Cloud

The cloud - the concept of having your data and applications whererver you are and application is easy.

Since we're at Microsoft, they are of course promoting Microsoft's Office Live, but they also mention Google Docs (which I use all the time). Both tools allow you to collaborate on documents (word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, etc) online. This helps to avoid the emailing of multiple versions of a document and waiting for new versions to arrive.

Tools like this allow you to step outside of the confines of Blackboard (or stay within it if you prefer) and have students work together.

Another new tool mentioned - Live Mesh - apparently just announced last week. the presenter has described this in context - office live is your worklife online, facebook, etc is your social life online, Live Mesh is your whole life online. Interesting idea. I'll have to check it out.

Web 2.0 websites

I'm looking forward to this one, hoping to learn about some new sites or maybe some better educational uses for sites that I already know about.

Ok, we're watching a very cool video about what web 2.0 is all about. It's on YouTube and I'll link it up for you. Digital Ethnography by Michael Wesch.

Examples of Web 2.0:

Camtasia Studio - Session 1

This session is being done by Jean Kent from Seattle Central Community College. I know Jean and she does a lot of technical training for the Seattle Community College district.

It ends up that I'm already pretty familiar with most of what she is saying and, though many of you reading might not be, it probably wouldn't be helpful for me to type it here. Unfortunately, we don't have very many Camtasia licenses at Cascadia at the moment. However, TechSmith, the maker of Camtasia, has a little program that you can download called Jing Project and use for free that works very similarly to Camtasia, but it limits you to 5 minutes (which is good and bad).

However, Jean has mentioned some interesting websites that I'll share with you.

Flip Video - Jean uses this to make quick videos for her students. She avoids the file size issues by uploading the videos onto YouTube (or, my suggestion, start using TeacherTube instead)

Pageflakes - allows you to collect and organize your favorite web based resources, similar to iGoogle or My Yahoo! It also has a social networking component.

2008 IT Education Futures Summit

Today, I'm at another conference, the 2008 IT Education Futures Summit. Now, I need to be clear - I'm not an IT person. While I have a decent grasp of hardware and software, I certainly couldn't make a living at it. So, I might not have originally selected this conference, but it was highly recommended by Sharon Buck, so I decided to give it a try. Plus, you can't beat free and I hear the lunch is pretty tasty.

In looking at the sessions, I saw that most of the offerings are over my head technically - Windows Server 20008, Introducing SQL and Visual Studio 2008. But there is also some stuff that is right down my alley. So, I think I'll be attending a session on Camtasia Studio, Web 2.0 and movie making.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Data inquiry: using data to tell your story

This was an interesting session. I came because part of my job is to tell the story of distance learning at Cascadia and data is an effective way of telling it. The session used an interesting hands on activity that had us moving around the room and working in groups - perfect for after lunch. However, I don't think I learned much about telling a story with data, so that was disappointing.

Building Community & Fostering Inquiry through a faculty seminar series

This concurrent session is being put on by folks at Olympic College, where I used to work. I am also interested because part of my job is to help build community with distance learning faculty and to foster inquiry about educational technology with all faculty.

4 projects were presented and the theme was assessment. The projects were good and showed some great thinking on their own teaching. I love the idea of doing something similar at Cascadia around the use of educational technology in teaching and whether it is/can achieve the outcomes it was introduced to achieve.

Wrap up of keynote

The keynote speaker is taking questions now. I don't feel much more enlightened about anything than before I came in. Maybe I'm just an education Luddite.

He did, however, recommend a couple of websites that I'll share with you.

  • Learnhub - where anyone can teach and anyone can learn
  • History Commons - many people can contribute to the telling of history
  • Slide Share - a place to share PowerPoint presentations online

Pacific Northwest Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference

Today, I'm in Spokane at the Teaching and Learning conference, together with lots of our Cascadia collegues. I'm at the keynote presentation, by George Siemens, a teaching and learning consultant.

He's talking about connectivism. He's making huge assumptions about the tech savvyness of this crowd that I don't think are quite appropriate, and I wonder if he's losing people as a result. For example, he said that he never reads a newspaper and gets all of his news from his setup in Google Reader. I'm betting most of the people here have never even heard of Google reader and don't use any other RSS aggregator either.

He's also assuming everyone is using open source content, allowing students to shape their learning, using Twitter. He's certainly talking about where education could be, but it's nowhere near there.