E-learning Journal Recommendations?

Bound JournalsIn our white-knuckle ride through our fast-moving field, it seems we increasingly draw authority, information and inspiration from blogs and tweets and the like; while many aspects of the ‘traditional’ model of academic journal publishing have come in for criticism lately, or been called into question by developments in Open Access repositories and journals*, or advanced web search tools aimed at academics.

Nevertheless peer-reviewed and edited journals are still the places we must turn to for reports of considered, detailed, serious academic research. The VLEs and handbooks for each module on the MSc Programme abound with references to articles in academic journals about education, and the other areas touched on in our wonderfully catholic syllabus (technology, information and cognitive sciences, philosophy, etc): but I wondered whether there is anywhere a complete-ish list of journals that esteemed tutors and colleagues recommend most highly for news of cutting-edge and thought-provoking insights in the field?

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International Collaboration on Cultural Variation in Information Design

First of all, I want to emphasise that this opportunity has absolutely nothing to do with the MSc Programme itself, save that it is being hosted by a colleague from Stuttgart Media University, Frank Thissen, who is known to some of us.  Although I thought that some might be interested.  What follows is an announcement from Frank.  Anyone interested in participation should contact him directly.

Our next collaboration focuses on the role of culture specific stories, typical places and things and its  representation in information design products.

As Pierre Nora (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Nora) and Aleida Assmann stated every culture has specific places, things, heroes and stories that are important for the culture and the people to identify with, as well to present the values of the culture. Fairy tales are an example, but also buildings and places (e.g. the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Amselfeld fort he Serbs), or  heroes, persons or sometimes animals (the dragon in Chinese culture). The idea is that these cultural identification objects are present in the minds of the people and are used in information design, such as advertising, posters etc.

“As a term, cultural memory was first introduced by the German Egyptologists Jan Assmann in his book “Das kulturelle Gedächtnis”, who drew further upon Maurice Halbwachs’s theory on collective memory. Both Jan Assmann and more present-day scholars like Andreas Huyssen have identified a general interest in memory and mnemonics since the early 1980s, illustrated by phenomena as diverse as memorials and retro-culture. Some might see cultural memory as becoming more democratic, due to liberalization and the rise of new media. Others see cultural memory as remaining concentrated in the hands of corporations and states.
Because memory is not just an individual, private experience but is also part of the collective domain, cultural memory has become a topic in both historiography (Pierre Nora, Richard Terdiman) and cultural studies (e.g., Susan Stewart). These emphasize cultural memory’s process (historiography) and its implications and objects (cultural studies), respectively. Memory is a phenomenon that is directly related to the present; our perception of the past is always influenced by the present, which means that it is always changing.” (source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_memory)

The collaboration could follow the following steps:

• Each group identifies typical stories, places and persons of the own culture and present it to the other groups. (October)
• The groups look for similarities and try to find out the values and backgrounds of the own and other cultural objects. (November)
• Each group searches for information products which uses these cultural identification objects and present it to the other groups. (November / December)
We discuss, what we can learn from it and how we can use the cultural identification objectss for information design.

Our semester starts on October 4th and I can start with the group working from 13th of October. I think it will be helpful to read some texts from Nora and Assmann. A first text yo can find here: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/106.3/ah000906.html
Could yo please look for your students to find other texts in English by Pierre Nora and about cultural rememberece places and objects.
I hope that there will be also people from Mexico, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, China and Turkey in the collaboration.

Frank Thissen

A small(er) project than Google Maps: Where do we interface with Edinburgh?

I was a bit inspired by Hamish’s recent post about using Google Maps to track physical locations, both current, past, and important. It is a great idea and I love to see these types of constructs form as it helps me visualize my connections to the University of Edinburgh all the more. With a little encouragement from Hamish, I decided to post here to see if anyone was as interested as I am in where we connect to the University of Edinburgh, as in our interface to this digital culture.

Would you like to share an image of where you interface with Edinburgh? My idea here is to gather representations of where we interface with the University of Edinburgh. I am not sure we can divorce the physical elements of our engagement with the University of Edinburgh (nor would we want to) as the physical elements provide quite a bit of context, revealing quite a bit about this fairly sturdy community of inquiry.

So, to get to the point, where do you interface with Edinburgh? Where is your workstation? What equipment do you use? Are you sitting upright (I am certainly not)? These questions intrigue me as they speak quite a bit to what it means to associate with a university online. I am incredibly proud of my participation with this crowd, as an active member of the University. However, I have never been to Scotland or Edinburgh. I have only seen the University in pictures. Yet, I am a member of it, part of the community.

This is generally what my environment consists of when interfacing with Edinburgh. The view from my sofa in my apartment in Princeton.

If interested, perhaps we could post them to the Google Map that Hamish initiated. When dropping a location on the Google Map, click Rich Text and then the image icon to drop an image into the placemark. This is just an attempt to see how people engage physically with the programme. For those of us far away (physically) from Edinburgh, it is a furthering of our social community.

Enhancing Feedback – cool new shiny web resource

enhancing feedback wheel

Hi All

Folk might be interested in the shiny new website Dai Hounsell (our Online Assessment guru and the Vice Principal for Academic Enhancement) has created on enhancing feedback.

It has sections for staff and students, including:

It’s well worth a look at – especially for students interested in online assessment and course design.

Check it out at http://www.tla.ed.ac.uk/feedback/index.html



A small project

I would like to invite you all – current students, alumni and all programme team members – to participate in a small exercise to map the distribution of participants in the eLearning programme.  This is part of an ongoing interest that Jen Ross and I have in what one might call “the spirit of place” in online distance learning.

I have set up an editable Google Map instance into which I would like people – participants in the programme from all over the world – to enter information about where they are, and about their own, local, familiar environment.  You probably don’t want to geotag your exact home address, for obvious reasons, but perhaps the district in which you live and / or work, the cafés that you frequent, the bus-stop where you begin the homeward commute, and so on.  Some of us have started the ball rolling by adding some links around the School of Education campus in central Edinburgh, to give a feeling of what one might do.

The Map

The map will be publicly viewable, but editing access will be by invitation only.  So can I ask those of you who want to participate – all of you – to email me (H.A.Macleod@ed.ac.uk) with an email address associated with your Google account, and I will send you an invitation.  Once we see how this goes, I will ask Jen to link the map from the Hub main page.

I would be keen to hear from those who know about interactive mapping and who have suggestions about other things that we might do – real-time geotagging from our mobile phones perhaps.  🙂

Please join in.