Thursday, February 10, 2005

Open Source|Open Access

Regular readers of this blog will know that I've been a big fan of the Knowledge Media Design Institute at the University of Toronto. Today I logged into their latest webcast.

Dr. Michael Geist is talking about copyright and the internet: is there a canadian way?. Dr. Geist's is another of a series of fantastic webcasts I've enjoyed from the KMDI.

Participating in these 'casts from the other side of the country -- or anywhere with a 'net connection -- is something I continue to value greatly. I continue to get a charge out of fantastic work being done at the KMDI and thank them for making this fantastic resource publicly available.

Being able to listen to Dr. Geist's lecture, and ask him a question from Victoria (via text chat with the Moderator and the "Ask Speaker a Question" button) makes this interface an extremely valuable learning tool.

I'm especially excited that they've turned their attention to open source|open access "across the disciplines."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Victoria Film Festival blog

Still with blogging, this year's edition of the Victoria Independent Film and Video Festival has its own blog, by "Cinephile Liam Lux [who] has an all-access pass to this year's screenings and events. You can read about his daily exploits here"


Apologies to those of you who had your heart set on exploring my new blog at OISE/UT.

Seems as though the blogs aren't going to be made public for the first bit. The notion, I think, it to let course colleagues get comfortable with the interface, and making posts, before going "live" with the interface.

While I understand the concept of wanting to ease participants into the process, I think this semi-private publication detracts from what blogging is all about. Indeed, it seems to me that the whole "soapbox" notion is what blogging is all about.

Unless or until I have something to say to the world at large, then I might as well send an email.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Blog in Town

Here's a link to my latest blog Doug's Journal is part of my course work for this semester at OISE/UT.

I really like the Movable Type interface. It's one of those interfaces, if memory serves, that began life as an "open source" application and is now a commercial product.

I really like to interface, it seems very robust and notwithstanding my own difficulties in getting my "journal" off the ground (thanks again to Wendy for all the help), the interface is intuitive and has a nice clean "look and feel" with lots of whitespace and muted colours.

My first reaction is that there are more similarities than differences between the two interfaces; however, I'm looking forward to exploring, comparing and contrasting each of the blogging platforms.

I haven't exactly decided how I'll cross-reference the blogs, but I think I'll avoids merely cross-posting between the two, which seems like cheating somehow. As always, watch this space for details.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Sunday

As the football fans in the crowd know, today is "Super Sunday" the day the American Football Conference winners play the winners of the National Football Conference for the "world championship" of the NFL.

I intend on watching the game this afternoon and hope that the game is a good one. I don't really care which teams wins, as long as the score is close throughout the game and it's entertaining.

Ahead of this afternoon's tilt, I thought I'd check in to my course at OISE/UT and see what's up on the server in the way of posts. I'd wanted to look in today and catch up on the posts my colleagues had made in the last 24 hours, and then "turn the page" on this week's discussion.

Seems there'll be no access, at least currently, since I can't get a connection to the server. Of course this is a HUGE issue for online learners for a number of reasons:
  • New and beginning "users" are likely to be more "unsettled" by technical difficulties than experienced participants. When in the process of just getting comfortable with the "human-computer interface" as a learning tool and "technical issues" have the potential to alienate, or "turn off" these participants before they get started

  • Many who take these part-time, online courses at OISE/UT have a finite and distinct timeframe in which to participate in each week's discussion. This is particularly true on weekends when many schedule "school time."

  • Even experienced stakeholders of the community affected may become discouraged and become less involved in contributions to the ongoing discussions, even though they themselves are fully aware that software "upgrades" often present challenges [staff @ OISE/UT is currently upgrading/reinstalling software/servers for Knowledge Forum].

That said, my heart goes out to those who are no doubt scrambling as we speak to get the server up and running again. It's no fun to have disappointed "clients" looking to access a server that you're responsible for and can't get to work. I think it also bears noting that these types of "hiccups" are going to be "the Rule" versus "the Exception" when it comes to working and learning with technology, and that all stakeholders better be prepared to "roll with the punches."

Suffice it to say, again, that this learner would have given up on technology a long time ago if I hadn't become familiar with the workaround.