Monday, November 30, 2009

Doodle for easy meeting coordination

As the organizer of many meetings with busy colleagues, life can be akin to “herding cats” when chasing down people and dates.

But Doodle, a polling tool I’ve been using of late, has made this task so much simpler. All you do is setup a Doodle poll with your dates and send participants the link. As creator of the poll, you are able to monitor responses and get the full tally on which date works best for most people. The meeting practically organizes itself. Then you have way more time to work on important matters like the agenda! I love this tool. Thanks to colleague Sylvia Currie for passing on the tip.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wordpress Multi-User

Ever dream of running hundreds of thousands of blogs with a single install of WordPress? WordPress MU, or multi-user, is designed to do exactly that.
Several post-secondary institutions in British Columbia are using WordPress MU -- UBC, UNBC, Langara, Camosun... (I've missed some, I'm sure.) What's interesting is to see WordPress MU being used for for variety of purposes. We think of it as blogging software, but in fact it is a very flexible content management system (CMS) and is being used at these institutions for developing professional e-portfolios (see UBC's Faculty of Education e-portfolios for teacher candidates), maintaining department websites (see Langara's iweb), and managing course content and discussions. In fact Clint Lalonde from Camusun has begun to document the process of piloting WordPress MU at Camosun College, and he offers this advice about referring to WordPress MU as a blogging tool:
I’ve avoided using the word blog when I refer to these sites. I’ve found that the term blog carries with it preconceived notions, both good and bad. So, in order to avoid the whole “I don’t want a blog, I want a website” circular logic wheel that I have witnessed when people talk about WP as a CMS, I have been using the term website when talking about our pilot sites.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The CUBE at BCIT uses 3D simulation technology and takes teaching and learning to new levels

From BCIT's Update Newsletter:

It’s not what it is, it’s what it does. The CUBE transforms the way instructors teach and the way students learn at BCIT. It will bring the workplace into the classroom and enrich curriculum – virtually.

Unique to BCIT, the CUBE initiative places 3D simulations of expensive, rare, and leading edge equipment into the hands of BCIT students, anytime, anywhere allowing learners to explore complex components and systems in a 3D virtual world before they touch the real thing.

Students will manipulate virtual objects from jet engines to knee joints and even disassemble, assemble, and cross-section them using computers.

With a US $1million grant from Lockheed Martin and $380,000 in software contributions from NGRAIN (Canada) Corporation, the CUBE transforms learning through the development of interactive 3D simulations which enhance the learner's experience. Watch the video to see the CUBE in action, and check out the BCIT news release for more info.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Stopwatch: Would you like to know how long it takes to load a webpage? This program will measure the time for you. Enter the URL to be measured and watch the top of the window.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Screencasting is a great way to demonstrate how to use various technologies or enhance a presentation. If you have tried screencasting in the past you know that although time consuming these a screencast can be an effective way to grab audience attention.

The site, Lifehacker, has put together a list of the five best screencasting tools. There are a couple of free tools highlighted that are definitely worth a try!

BCIT has recently developed a series of video tutorials, using Adobe Captivate, for Desire2Learn. The video tutorials were created for Instructors across the Institute and focus on how to use D2L. Check them out at: under Instructor Resources.


Active student engagement in large classes is a pedagogical topic that is a constant buzz at many meetings, workshops, and conferences. One solution to engaging students in a large class is to use Clickers. Both the Vancouver Community College and University of Victoria are introducing clickers to their institutions and Vancouver's Georgia Strait recently featured a Professor from the University of British Columbia on his use of Clickers in the class- check it out "Clickers give students incentive to go to class".

For more information about Clickers read Educause's article on "7 things you should know about clickers".

Friday, November 20, 2009


Gliffy is a fantastic tool for everything from planning how to organize the furniture in your classroom to collaboratively brainstorming and organizing ideas. Thanks to Grant Potter for introducing us to this tool during a working group meeting to rethink and redesign the Educational Technology Users Group community. Here's our spidergram (taken from this spidergram activity).
At Gliffy, we believe that communicating with visuals gets people to the same space a lot faster because a picture takes the thoughts in your head and makes them tangible.

With a tool that makes it easy to create, share, and collaborate on a wide range of diagrams, Gliffy users can communicate more clearly, boost innovation, improve decisions, and work more effectively.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Complete Guide to Google Wave

The Complete Guide to Google Wave: How to Use Google Wave: "The Complete Guide to Google Wave is a comprehensive user manual by Gina Trapani with Adam Pash.

Google Wave is a new web-based collaboration tool that's notoriously difficult to understand. This guide will help. Here you'll learn how to use Google Wave to get things done with your group. Because Wave is such a new product that's evolving quickly, this guidebook is a work in progress that will update in concert with Wave as it grows and changes. Read more about The Complete Guide to Google Wave, and follow us on Twitter for updates and Wave tips."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

How do YOU connect online?

ETUG member D'Arcy Norman is asking this question for his non-traditional assignment in a graduate level course he is taking on Technology & Society:
How do YOU connect online?
More information about the project and how to submit your contribution is available on the Connect Project site.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

International Symposium on Wikis - conference report

This is a source of current academic research from the International Symposium on Wikis. The paper titled "Herding the Cats: The Influence of Groups in Coordinating Peer Production?" (pdf) by Aniket Kittur, Bryan Pendleton, and Robert E. Kraut caught the eye of several people on the Wikieducator mailing list. Looks like some good reading.