Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Charter Cable Out of Service in St. Cloud

Something is gone horribly wrong again with Charter Cable. I can only get to a few websites (like Google) with almost all others resulting in a "Network Timeout" message. I can't even check my email or send a message to complain (even Yahoo.com is failing to load) - so... I decided to "say something" here. It has been down for 2 hours so far (maybe more... I only checked after I got home from work).

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Studies Suggest eLearning Advantage over Traditional Classrooms

The article "The Evidence on Online Education" posted in today's Inside Higher Ed website suggests that online learners have definite advantages over face-to-face learners.

Evidence suggests that the students in well-designed "blended" classes perform the best, followed by online students, followed by face-to-face students.

This is an improvement over past studies which have suggested "no difference" between face-to-face and online modes of delivery. The key factor appears to be the "time to study" which is more flexible using online delivery methods.

MnSCU eFolio Summit

The 2009 eFolio Summit will be held on August 5th and 6th at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

eFolio is an web-based software application which allows any resident of Minnesota to create a free, online portfolio.

The summit will cover how the eFolio site can be used in assessment of student learning, in building program pages to support accreditation, and tips and techniques for building content in the application.

The website for more information is:
2009 eFolio Summit

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

OpenOffice as substitute for Microsoft 2007

OpenOffice is a free, open source software suite which provides virtually the same productivity tools as Microsoft Office 2007. The software uses the familiar menus structures of the Microsoft 2003 Office suite. In May 2009 the OpenOffice version 3.1 was released. For students on a tight budget, this is an easy and legal way to get productivity software for completing assignments.

The "hitch" is that for best compatibility, everyone should save their documents in the 2003 "Compatibility" mode. At this time, instructors should do this anyway as not to disenfranchise students using older computer systems and software.

OpenOffice Ninja is a site with articles to help users of OpenOffice get the most utility from the software.

Inkscape - open source drawing program

Inkscape is an open source drawing program available on SourceForge.
What GIMP is to Photoshop, Inkscape is to Illustrator.

Tuxmagazine has an "Introdcution to Inkscape" (pdf) which helps new users get started.
Additional tutorials are available from Inkscape, InkscapeTutorials, and a step-by-step lesson in how to create a logo with arched text is available at Sixthings.

Inkscape is available in multiplatform (Windows, Mac OSX, Linux) and is also available in a portable version to run off a USB memory drive.
There is even a plug-in which assists in creating 2-D animation.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nursing by Cell Phone

I just heard a great program on Minnesota Public Radio (The Story - by American Public Media).

The show was an interview with Jo Holt, a student in nursing school.

She is using patients' own cell phones to record photos and detailed voice instructions for follow-up care once patients leave the hospital (especially relating to wounds and dressings). This helps the patient understand exactly how to care for their own health - providing easy and individualized patient care.

Also - this use of technology could help patients communicate back with doctors and nurses to determine if a follow-up visit is needed.

When I heard it ... it made so much sense.
It could probably extend to dental and other health professions - to help patients know "what to look for" in the follow-up care.

Here is the link:
Nursing by Cell Phone Story and Podcast

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Video Tutorial on Audacity

I've put together a 25-minute video-based learning object on how to use the free, open-source software Audacity. Audacity is a program which allows you to do audio recording and editing, and also allows you to do multi-track production (if you want to fully produce music).

The Introduction to Audacity video walks you through the install process, presents an audio-production model, and shows how to use some of the editing controls and effects available in the tool.

Audacity is multi-platform (Windows, Mac OS, Linux) and is also available in a version which runs off a USB Flash Drive, called Audacity Portable.

Monday, June 01, 2009

FREE Audio Books!

You and your students can download hundreds of audio books for free!
Finding the free books is very easy with a set of lists compiled by the site OpenCulture.com.
You also can go into iTunes and do a search on "audiobook" or "ebook" and then sort the column titled PRICE to be ascending (the free books will list first).