You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

Told through the hilarious adventures of a new avatar, this “how to” guide is a great read in addition to being a well written and informed intro to Second Life.

Be warned, this PDF file is a big download (about 7 MB).

SecondLife Drama

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You can file this one under the “what the hell was he thinking” category:

A flash drive with information on about 8,000 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students was lost by a mathematics professor while on vacation in Madagascar, the Corpus Christi Caller reported.

The flash drive may hold Social Security numbers and other information for students of all classifications and majors enrolled during the spring, summer, and fall of 2006, according to Marshall Collins, assistant vice president for marketing and communications at the university.

The drive was owned by Department of Mathematics Chairman Blair Sterba-Boatwright, who took it with him on a two-week vacation and discovered it was missing as he was packing to go home, Collins told the Caller.

University administrators notified via e-mail students whose information may have been compromised. A university investigation is pending and will begin early next week led by Interim Provost Robert O. Kirby.

Paul McCloskey, “TAMU Corpus Christi Prof Loses Flash Drive With 8,000 Student Records,” Campus Technology, 6/18/2007, http://www.campustechnology.com/article.aspx?aid=48635

Apparently, Sterba-Boatwright was evaluating student performance in mathematics while on vacation. First off, it was a vacation. The entire point is to NOT work.

Secondly, what possible reasoning could have justified taking that much sensitive info out of the country and then NOT returning with it?  Apparently, he thought it had been erased. Uh huh. Like 8,000 files on a flash drive isn’t noticeable when viewed on the computer while working on vacation in Madagascar.

Maybe I’m being harsh. Goodness knows that I work at odd hours and on my days off. But, and here’s the difference between us I guess, if I’m going to take the time to go to an entirely different country for two whole weeks to relax on vacation, I’m NOT going to be taking any kind of electronic devices with me, except maybe my cell phone. But that’s just me.

 Kurt Bonk’s new book is about his R2D2 (Read, Reflect, Display, and Do) model of e-learning. An interesting concept considering it works from the premise of problem solving and diversity rather than learning styles.

TravelinEdMan: A week of hyperspeed e-learning publishing: R2D2 and Beyond!!!

Intelligirl over at the Second Life Education Research blog has posted an ingenious “periodic table” that demonstrates not only the different types of visualization methods but how they all relate to one another. Too cool!

Second Life Education Research » Blog Archive » This is Brilliant! Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

I just read a very interesting article, Two Ships Passing in the Night, posted by Rick Nigol on the elearncampus.com newsletter “Breakthrough Briefing”. Basically, he compares the very different approaches to e-learning that for-profit and non-profit take.

Big business (for profit), at least in what I’ve read and seen advertised, relies heavily on technology. However, they’re big business for a reason…they don’t have a lot of time to spend on development (hopefully more GUI design rather than learning, but you never know). Therefore, they look for shortcuts and technology is one of them.

Non-profit relies on tools that will cost less but do a good job. The focus is more on learning design and the technology that supports that particular design. Open Source and free software/technology is a good solution to those needs.

And, while working for a small/medium sized for-profit corporation, we’ve used Open Source and free software to fulfill some of our needs for e-learning development. There’s lots out there. Zoho.com, Google Docs, Wikispaces are just a few that we use on a regular basis. I think, personally, that pricier learning technologies are not necessarily better. On the other hand, open source and free technology don’t have a lot of customer support (for the most part) and may not fit your needs as your development grows.

But I do believe this: learning design should come first and the technology should only be used to uphold and promote that design (form follows function).

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