Higher Education


I just got back from speaking at two conferences – one was a university faculty conference and the other a library conference from the library I used to work at.

I spoke about the findings of my Masters’ studies on generational awareness in academic libraries in South Africa twice and co-presented a paper on using e-posters to teach research methodology to honors students. (I’ll try to post both presentations today or tomorrow)

It went really well, and this morning when I read Roy Tennant’s post Thoughts on Speaking where he mentions another post on “30 Quick Tips for Speakers (now 35!)” that gives a few tips on presenting and speaking I thought I’d add my 2 c worth:

2. The power is not the point – slides are there as navigation points, not to be the content – I couldn’t agree more! the presentations that resonated with me where the ones that were text light but the presenter was knowledgeable enough not to need a text heavy slide

4. There is a high demand for people who can both provide content and deliver it effectively from stage. Some can do one of the two, most don’t do either and a select few do both. Aim to be great. Amen! Great content can get lost/spoiled if the presenter can’t deliver well. Practice untill you find your presenting voice and don’t try to imitate somebody else’s style

15. Have passion for what you’re saying. If you don’t, your audience won’t either. I experienced this in all three my presentations. Because I was passionate about my topic and thought it was really interesting the audience responded very well too and ended up asking really interesting/thought-provoking questions

20. Change your presentation every time. Update stats, bring new examples. Own the content, not repeat it. I agree with this. Even though there was only one person in audience who attended both of my solo presentation I changed some of the slides, added some videos and cartoons and made sure that it looked and felt different and new

33. Tell great stories (your own, not someone else’s), and be funny. Don’t tell jokes, but use humor. (From Ava Diamond Site / Twitter) People respond better to you as a speaker if you can humanize yourself, so I always try to use humor (even at my expense) to show that I’m just a normal 30-year-old

I like presenting not just because I like to talk so much 🙂 but because of the incredible feedback and vibes you get when presenting. It’s a chance to tell people “here’s what I did/think – what do you think about it” and that leads to some really interesting meetings and people!

name the next MAKE tool by pt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  pt

Over at the Speak Quietly blogs there is a really useful post called Online Tools Your Library Needs Now & Why.

It talks about different technologies that libraries can use to connect better to their users and gives helpful stats and implementation examples. Some of the technologies may be “old” but they can still be useful and fun to try!

  1. Text a librarian
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. iPhone App
  5. Meebo
  6. Blogger
  7. Flickr
  8. Twitter

It’s a really useful and practical post.

Need to know more about Mobile IT? Then read this EduCause report on the 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile IT.

Here are the important bits:

1. What is it?

Mobile IT both reflects and drives the convergence of applications and functionality on smaller and smaller devices. The notion of mobile IT is also tied to issues such as cloud computing and federated identity, which help enable secure access to IT tools and resources from remote locations and multiple devices.

2. How does it work?

Mobile devices use cellular networks, Wi-Fi, or both, and many have touch-screen interfaces. Operating systems vary, and support for software such as Java and Flash is mixed. Just as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all device, so too do current and emerging examples of mobile applications span a wide range.

Mobile applications can be built using device-specific toolkits, often resulting in more functionality, but applications that use browser software work on a wider range of mobile devices.

3. Who is doing it?

College and universities offer many types of information and services online, and many are good candidates for mobile IT. Aside from numerous academic uses, institutions have undertaken initiatives in areas of administration, library services, and campus life. Having a single point of convergence for these several channels of communication presents an opportunity for institutions to integrate messaging services, including emergency  notifications.

4. Why is it significant?

Ownership of cell phones is approaching ubiquity, with growing numbers of smartphones and sophisticated mobile devices. Because mobile IT is fast becoming a part of some professional practices, an institutional choice not to pursue mobility is increasingly untenable. Student expectations for mobility are rising, and mobile IT efforts are an important part of keeping an institution’s online services competitive.

5. What are the downsides?

Converting to mobile IT is
not simply a process of miniaturization, and many institutional IT staffs lack expertise in redesigning websites or applications for a mobile context. As a result, although many institutions are dipping their toes into the waters of mobile IT, best practices don’t exist to serve as a guide.

6. Where is it going?

Colleges and universities will continue to convert applications and services to mobile formats, generally at a cautious pace. Vendors will increasingly offer their products and services in mobile formats. Institutions will seek to understand how to integrate mobile IT effectively into campus culture, and development is likely to accelerate around location-based mobile IT services and the capabilities of touch interfaces.

7. What are the implications for Higher Education?

Given that mobile IT is working its way into many professional activities, colleges and universities have a responsibility to develop learning environments that model those kinds of practices. Mobile IT can develop into a specialized field of study, and some institutions already offer courses on development of mobile applications.

The Paley Center Seminars is an online video archive of the acclaimed seminar series held by The Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television & Radio) in New York and Los Angeles. Topics covered range from presidential advertising campaigns to reality shows, from writing sitcoms to the role of the media in the Middle East. The archive will include more than 300 hours of video, with new content added each year in regular updates.

Although television and journalism are the main focus of the collection, many of the seminars were based around documentaries, and so include extensive discussion of the topics covered by those documentaries, be that literature, cinema, music, opera, radio, politics, history or current events.

High-profile participants include J.J. Abrams, Madeleine Albright, Alan Alda, Robert Altman, Judd Apatow, Steven Bochco, Chris Carter, Glenn Close, Stephen Colbert, Larry David, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Larry Flynt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matt Groening, Holly Hunter, Garrison Keillor, Henry Kissinger, Michael Moore, Michael Palin, Frank Rich, Thelma Schoonmaker, David Simon, Aaron Sorkin, Jon Stewart, Joel Surnow, Kiefer Sutherland, Gore Vidal and Joss Whedon.

At the moment you can check it out for free by using the following username and password:

Username: libjournal
Password: password

Thanks to Cheryl LaGuardia who posted about this.

The Harvard College Library has digitized thousands of historical photographs, pamphlets, manuscripts, books, music scores, rare maps and other rare and unique materials. The vast majority of these images are freely available online for public access.

The easiest way to lose yourself in their collections is to Explore the Collections – they have various themes that you can chose from:

Of course my eye was caught by the Images of Colonialism – Africa and Asia and there are some great images from newspapers etc.

Thanks to Cheryl LaGuardia for alerting me on this.

Free posters? Jup, the UN Environment Programme has a series of free posters you can download (in PDF) compiled from the UNEP’s Geo Data Portal

The full-colour posters are divided into four main groups:

  1. Basic Facts posters
  2. InfoGraphics posters
  3. ISO Code posters
  4. Bubble Chart posters

The Basic Facts posters contain 9 posters covering: electricity consumption; ecosystem management; hazardous waste management; global environment treaties; forest management; carbon dioxide emissions; fisheries; waste management and recycling and electricity production

The InfoGraphics posters contain 13 posters covering: global environmental indicators; recycling rates of OECD countries; global CO2 emissions and wealth; total CO2 emissions; total final energy consumption; marine fish catch; global total and capita CO2 emissions; energy supplies and FCS forests.

The ISO Code posters contain 9 posters covering: global CO2 emissions; global water footprints; global ecological footprint; world heritage sites and energy supply per $1000 GDP (PPP)

The Bubble Chart posters contain 3 posters covering: CO2 emissions and wealth

StatPlanet is a browser-based interactive data visualization and mapping tool. You use it to create interactive thematic maps, interactive graphs, and feature-rich interactive infographics – it’s super easy to use!

It is used by UNESCO and SACMEQ, NGOs, Fortune 500 companies and government departments.

It comes with up-to-date statistics on demography, economy, education, environment & energy, gender and health, for most countries in the world. You can use it online or download it.

From the people who brings you the Horizon Reports each year, Educause has released another installment in their “7 Things You Should Know” series of guides.

The new one is “7 Things You Should Know about Next Generation Presentation Tools” and discusses:

New kinds of electronic tools are emerging that allow instructors to craft presentations that more closely reflect new approaches to teaching and learning. For instance, many of these tools allow collaboration between multiple authors, and some use nonlinear branching or sequencing so that class discussion can guide the presentation. Presentation tools based on new models of representing information also encourage instructors to rethink learning activities in ways that can improve learning.

The 2 page document discusses:

  1. What is it?
  2. Who’s doing it?
  3. How does it work?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?

Thanks to the iLibrarian for alerting me to this!

QR Codes are not new – a few of the South African libraries have used them in their marketing campaigns for a year or two now and although I’ve always thought they have major potential in South Africa (and especially at an ODL institution) I’ve never had the time to really investigate them.

Now it seems I might not have to as David Hopkins from the eLearning Blog: Don’t waste your time is looking into QR Codes and will write posts about it!

In the meantime, here is what QR codes are all about:

Introduction to QR Codes

QR Codes and Mobile Phones

Digitizd listed 15 Must-have-web applications for college students, and though they posted it a while back I was made aware of the list by The Centered Librarian, and I agree that the list is well worth reposting.
So here are the 15 web applications that college students must have:

Posti.ca – Students who love sticky notes will also love Posti.ca. It can be used to create and place digital notes around the web that can be accessed from any computer. Sticky notes can also be sent via Twitter and iGoogle and may be shared with anyone–even people who do not have a Posti.ca account.

Adobe Buzzword – Buzzword is a word processor that works in a web browser instead of on your desktop. This Adobe beta site can be used to create documents, collaborate with others, and track changes from anywhere.

Creative Pro Office – Creative Pro Office is a free suite of web-based office management tools. Features include an office dashboard, project manager, time tracker, calendar, and expense tracking. Creative Pro Office was designed for independent professionals and small tech teams, but it would useful to any student who wants to boost productivity.

Whiteboard – With this free web app, students can collaborate on documents from anywhere and view changes in a snap. Whiteboard allows users write, collaborate, and compare in real time without fear of losing information.

Bubbl.us – This free web app allows students to turn ideas into color-coded mind maps. Bubble.us is the perfect tool for brainstorming with visual aids.

PromoOnline – PromoOnline is a free way to create PDF documents without having to install software. With a few simple steps, you can create a PDF version of any file.

BibMe – BibMe is a free bibliography maker for students who want to create a fast bibliography or works cited page in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian format. You can enter the required information in yourself or use the search feature to find books, articles, websites, or films.

ThinkFold – Students needing an easy way to work on group projects may find what they need in ThinkFold. This free web-based tool allows users to create documents, add images, and make changes–all in real time.

Awesome Highlighter – AwesomeHighlighter takes some of the confusion out of online research by allowing students to highlight the important parts of a web page and transform it into a less wieldy link.

FlashcardExchange – Easily the world’s largest online flashcard library, FlashcardExchange can be used to create and study flashcards online. Students who don’t have time to create their own flashcards can use ready-made cards created by other people.

Mindpicnic – Using Mindpicnic is like using learning software without the download. Visitors can choose from a wide range of Mindpicnic courses and begin learning as soon as they sign up for a free account.

NoteMesh – Created by students, NoteMesh in a free online service for university students who want to collaborate on a set of notes for a particular class. NoteMesh creates an easy-to-use wiki that can be updated by anyone in the group.

CollegeRuled – CollegeRuled can be used to create a color-coded class schedule, classroom message boards, to-do lists, and much more. Schedules can be linked to from a Facebook profile and accessed from any computer.

NetVibes – Netvibes is a handy app that brings all of your favorite blogs, email accounts, social networks, video providers, and more to one place–great for students who visit the same sites each day.

Walletproof – The beta version of Walletproof is a great online tool for students who need help with their finances. It can be used to set budgets and track expenses. Walletproof will also make budget recommendations and help you find money saving deals shared by other users.

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