Thursday, 28 June 2007

Ron Paul: How a Fringe Politician Took Over the Web

Internet activism at it's best?! (or worse!)

When Texas Congressman Ron Paul entered the race for next year's Republican presidential nomination, few political analysts paid much notice....

Yet despite his status among the longest of the long shots, the 71-year-old has become one of the internet's most omnipresent.


Monday, 25 June 2007

Social sites reveal class divide

Fans of MySpace and Facebook are divided by much more than which music they like, suggests a study.


Friday, 22 June 2007

What is Web 2.0?

Perhaps this should have been my first post...but better late then never...

been hearing this flying around many places and see people trying in
earnest to explain the definition...yesterday I found (and subsequently
forgot where) a great but simple definition that works well for me...

Web 2.0 are any Social Web Tools.


Has anybody got anything else that'll help?

Technorati Tags: ,

ALT-C 2007: beyond control

[Mohamed's conjecture - Anyone even vaguely interested in learning technologies (or e-learning) and working in Higher Education (yes that includes all of us) should be going to this event.Many websites warn that early booking is strongly advised as places get snapped-up quickly. Some great workshops and speakers expected. I've just booked myself on...anyone else interested??

And Oh! BTW Non-members will get one-year free subscription to ALT -

Association of Learning Technologies subject to terms and conditions.]

ALT-C 2007: Beyond Control

Learning Technology for the social network generation

Nottingham, UK,

4-6 September 2007


Library 2.0

I had a chat with Linda Butt in Library Services yesterday about the need for updating and informing academic-related staff about academic, curricula developments. This is tied into our third Pathfinder aim and is one of the most interesting developments for me, because it is about connecting and engaging people.

Anyway, she fowarded me this blog: Stephen's Lighthouse, which includes this video of education in 2020 - The video is thought-provoking, and a wake-up call for those staff who don't want to engage with technology in the learning context.

She also highlighted this Library 2.0 report. There's some great stuff going on, if we can just capture some of it...

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Greg Papadopoulos - Sun Microsystems Chief Technologist speaks about the future of technology

Have you ever been at your word processor and asked yourself why you have a save button? Why save a file at all?

[Mohamed comment - If there is a Web 2.0, and what preceded it was Web 1.0 then what about Web 3.0 or Web 10.0 for that matter]


10 Successful blogging tips

-- Richard and I were discussing that perhaps part of our strand (#1 Leaders and Managers) we would create a recipe book for "how to" and "What not to do" in a particular web 2.0 technology. I came across this article which makes interesting reading for any budding blogger.It might also perhaps provide a template of a small part of what we may need to be outputting for our work-packages...


The following guest post has been submitted by Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar

Hopefully, that title got your attention a little bit, but it’s true. I launched The Simple Dollar at the very end of October 2006. I had no pre-existing blog that I could use to drive early traffic, nor did I have any personal contacts that I could use. I also had zero advertising budget. But by June 2007, I had 12,000 RSS readers and was generating enough traffic that I had to switch hosting plans twice. How did I do it? Here are a few specific techniques that really helped me build my blog’s traffic over time.


Man faces cyber-bullying felonies

Amanda Brunzell, 23, said she is living in fear because of the actions of a man. It is a case that shows the power of the Internet and tests a relatively new law.


Risk and loss

Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media @ DMU, who works closely with our Institute of Creative Technologies mailed me this:
"For your amusement, here's an article we published at trAce in 1999 - nothing changes much does it?!
Theodore Roszak: Shakespeare Never Lost a Document to a Computer Crash"

This makes me wonder about risk in on-line environments: losing stuff; not having stuff backed-up; having stuff stolen or repurposed without agreement; on-line stalking; libel and abusive behaviour. I'd like to think we were all in this together but I get the feeling that our third work-package, tied into the student experience in Web 2.0 environments will need to be framed, in-part, by these issues...

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Is the Internet dumbing us down? - The Practical Futurist

Is the Internet dumbing us down?

New book argues that YouTube, Wikipedia and Web 2.0 will ruin our culture

Andrew Keen was one of the earliest executives in the dot-com era. In his new book, he says the Internet is dumbing down culture and undermining creativity.


Testing the limits of forum bashing: two law students sue over personal attacks

Two law school students filed a lawsuit against the administrator of a web site and 28 of the site's users last week for psychological and economic injury. The two plaintiffs, anonymously listed as Doe I and Doe II, are female students at Yale Law School and claim that the users of a third-party law school message board have consistently and regularly made such disparaging remarks about their characters that it has cost them not only their emotional wellbeing, but internships and jobs. And despite repeated requests to remove the offensive posts, the site's administrators continually refused to do so.


Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Wikis and the means of production

Now I'm no Marxist, but I am interested in concepts that impact on civil society and the ways in which it is democratised or opened-up. In Marxian terms these include ownership of the means of production, the labour theory of value and, as David Prychitko has noted, alienation from labour and society:

"Marx condemned capitalism as a system that alienates the masses. His reasoning was as follows: Although workers produce things for the market, market forces control things; workers do not. People are required to work for capitalists who have full control over the means of production and maintain power in the workplace. Work, he said, becomes degrading, monotonous, and suitable for machines rather than free, creative people."

The key concepts here that connect into our views of civil society include: control of products and ways of producing them; engaging work; and creativity. These concepts also align with developmntal views of citizen participation, and these are important to me as they are a framework for thinking about Web 2.0 developments. What does it mean to use Web 2.0 in your work? What are your politics of Web 2.0?

A few of us went to a valuable case study discussion of wikis in the classroom, lead by Marija Cubric of the University of Hertforshire Business School. Some of the key points she raised were impacted by the clear pedagogic and epistemologic focus of her wiki - its place in the curriculum, the tasks that built it, and the products of the students' labour were explicitly communicated to its users. Marija highlighted:
  • the importance of Vygotsky and social development;

  • the links between wiki-based tasks, Bloom's taxonomy of educational competencies, and the scaffolded learning opportunities that they support;

  • the critical importance of feedback in the system and for individuals;

  • student outcomes in terms of "motivation", "fun", "quality of contributions", "increased in-class interactions";

  • raised student expectations for this type of learning opportunity; and

  • the impact on assessment [peer, group, weightings etc.] and of increased contact-time.
Marija's talk was not political, but it made me think about issues I've already raised about belonging within a gamer-culture, and what it means to belong to a "community". It also made me think about ownership of the means of production, or the wiki, and its products, which in Web 2.0 environments ought to lie with the producers.

Friday, 15 June 2007


I had a chat with Chris Goldsmith in our Politics and International Relations department yesterday. As well as being a top wicket-keeper and middle-order batsman, he's one of the good-guys. Always interested in innovating [early use of and Wikis, embedding role-play and simulations], he's working with Heather [Humanities eLC] on implementing some elements of gaming cultures into next session's modules. Part of this is about student energy and engagement and "passion" within the module.

This is interesing because ahead of running a development session @ Worcester University on Wednesday I read Marc Prensky's "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning!" There are some critical messages in it about engaging with a culture that appears alien to many of us. Whereas I was brought up on single-user games like Asteroids, Defender and Pac-Man, most games are now networked, multi-player and complex and I don't play them. It is Prensky's ability to strip-back gaming beyond the graphical interface to highlight the pinciples that underpin its cultures and thereby show how those principles can be embedded within the curriculum that matter.

These principles include: instant feedback on preformance; collaborative goal-setting and achievement; intrinsic, emotive engagement in a task or set-of-tasks; testing assumptions and emerging theories; developing awareness about rules and contexts; resourcing, planning and delivering strategies; voluntary associations within communities; reviewing and modifying contexts/games/levels/content; and decision-making based upon problem-solving and prioritising. Embedding these types of principles is part-and-parcel of a Web 2.0 approach and is what Chris "The Wickie" Goldsmith is trying to work through. This approach and these principles will also underpin our professional development work-packages, because whether or not we use Web 2.0 software, we do need to deploy Web 2.0 approaches in our practice.

See also:

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Work-package one-beginnings.

This is Henry Jenkins on digital media and learning. This could be usefully used along with other clips posted here(or similar) in our beginning discussions for work-package one: that is, with staff on the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. The notion of students becoming 'de-skilled' inside the classroom is an interesting one as is the metaphor of shining a light into a dark cave to discover the contours of a new landscape.

We met today to explore how we might take work-package one further.

We have an early opportunity to engage with some of these staff (an e-learning session on June 27th (day 2 of a 3-day block) as part of the first module on the PGCertHE. We've decided that some kind of investigation into usage of and perceptions about Web 2.0 technologies prior to the session would be useful so will ask a few questions via e-mail and also ask them to engage with at least one of the technologies E.g. by accessing blogging software to write a short blog (or blogs) on a given topic.

The Jenkins clip(or similar) will be shown on Day 1 of the module with a view to promoting discussion about facilitating learning 'outside' the seminar room or lecture theatre.

Other topics we touched far we are able to link project developments with an assessment on the PGCertHE; wider current institutional requirements about e-learning and the place for Web 2.0; to sustain continued engagement outside designated e-learning development sessions.

Monday, 11 June 2007

DMU Benchmarking Blog

Our Benchmarking blog can be found at:

A tip-top review of the Ashes and its impact on our Benchmarking process.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Another Digital Resource

Well Nick you have started something now. Another resource for teacher training. Just to say that it all these resources are probably best deployed after preparing the way via discussion. For the non-technical it might be overwhelming. The point is that all this web2.0 stuff is not that hard to implement. If teachers truly want to use these tools and help their students lack of technical knowledge will not be a good enough excuse for me. That said we all need guidance (and time to learn) on these new emerging technologies.

Many thanks to my friends at Insync, Kassy and Jane for bringing this to my attention via the blog thoughts on live online learning.

Staff Engagment - show them this!! - Thanks Nick Allsop

Many thanks to Nick for bringing this to our attention. It is just too good to be tucked away, unlinked in the comments. So I've brought it up front, big and bold.

Apart from the creative and technical skills used to create this, the information crammed into this short video is phenomenal and the use of music, video editing and play with words i found had an emotional and motivating effect on me.

This should be used as a resource in any teacher training that we do. If you have not seen it already Enjoy!


Thursday, 7 June 2007

Second Life "land" dispute moves offline to federal courtroom

Second Life "land" dispute moves offline to federal courtroom

By Jacqui Cheng | Published: June 03, 2007 - 11:24PM CT

A virtual land dispute in Second Life will be resolved in federal court after a judge's ruling.


Lecturer Fired for Blogging

Apologies for putting seemingly negative stuff about Web 2.0 stuff. I'm certainly very positive about it, and think that after the initial teething troubles, Web 2.0 will proliferate - I also think that the pathfinder project will help somewhat with the teething stages.

Story from THES regarding a recent dismissal of an academic for blogging!

Too old for networking?

Interesting article I recently came across about a journalist in his middle ages trying to 'social-network'.It's interesting that he finds that he can't make much friends due to his age. For me it certainly dampens the idea of having such a thing for staff at DMU as most of us are past the juvenile ages....or are we?


News Items relating to the DMU Pathfinder project

Dear all,

I've been musing lately whether to start emailing round some interesting stories or articles that may interest members of the Pathfinder project, however now due to having the blog, I think this would be a great place to start posting items - I hope you all agree?

Anyway, I think I'll start here with my first posting.

Today, I found a link to the BBC Newsnight programme that discusses a little about the perils of Web 2.0.

You may view it here.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Workpackage 3

We had our first get together today on defining the workpackage for Objective 3. All went well and we managed to agree on some strategies for this objective and will each review the draft workpackage so that it can be aligned fully with the others.

On another note, I'd just like to point out that Wimbledon will be starting soon. Therefore, I have big hopes that this blog will become multi-sport and gender happy!

We're up

Okay folks, here we go. There will be cricket-based nonsense again in this blog, especially in-light of the Vaughan-Flintoff-fredalo incident and its implications for team-play/-work/-liness.

Anyway, our Pathfinder has no name. I think we need one. Email with suggestions based upon our 5 aims:

1. To build enhanced institutional knowledge of both Web 2.0 technologies and developmental strategies that support pedagogic and epistemological participation. [c.f. HEFCE e-Learning Strategy Measures of Success 1, 3, 4 and 8; Strands 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 3.1 and 4.4]

2. To implement professional development strategies for staff in Human Resources, Information Systems and Services (ISAS), and Library Services, for the integration of institutional and non-institutional virtual spaces. [c.f. HEFCE e-Learning Strategy Measures of Success 1, 6 and 8; Strands 1.1, 1.5, 3.1, 4.3 and 4.4.]

3. To deliver differentiated strategies for extending virtual spaces through social networks and user-generated content that are aligned with our e-learning networks, in order to deliver improved retention and progression. [c.f. HEFCE e-Learning Strategy Measures of Success 1 and 3; Strands 1.2, 2.1 and 3.1.]

4. To scope professional development methodologies that utilise Web2.0 technologies. [c.f. HEFCE e-Learning Strategy Measure of Success 8; Strands 1.1, 1.4 and 2.3.]

5. To create social networking links with other project teams and experts, in order to build capacity for innovative e-learning within the sector. [c.f. HEFCE e-Learning Strategy Measure of Success 5; Strands 2.3, 4.1, 6.1 and 6.2.]

We have a Project Plan, emailed off to the HEA/Glenaffric, and our first team meeting has lead to the formation of 7 work-packages with teams assigned to th production of each: deadline 22 June @ high noon. Management-by-exception and clear reporting are key for us. Essentially this means that once we agree the criteria for the work to be done, then teams take responsibility for production of relevant work-packages. Unless there are problems with scope, quality, time-scales or resources, teams have the ability to make decisions without referring to theProject Manager [me]. We will require monthly highlight reports about progress, which should be uploaded onto the project Wiki, alongside final reports etc.. If there are problems with scope, quality, time-scales or resources, which affect the workpackage then an exception report will be needed so that we can agree a contingency with the HEA.

Our Project Board will be a sub-committee of the University Learning and Teaching Committee, who will be responsible for endorsing the project, and advising on and approving progress. This group will receive termly highlight reports from the Project Manager, and will be a key vehicle for monitoring and disseminating project outputs within and without of the institution. It will meet for the first time in the next few weeks.

Don't forget that name!