Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My other book in press!

February 7, 2012

Yay! I wrote this one cos I needed it myself and I had lots of info in my head that I just needed to get out. It’ll be available later in the year, published by Sage.  Not too shabby.

Bits of the blurb/preface say something like this:

“The book aims to bring together the information you need to safely, knowledgeably, and creatively integrate social media into your teaching practice. It aims to provide novices with a place to start, those who are unsure with some confidence, and the already-adept with, potentially, a more nuanced and in-depth understanding of all that makes up successful social media use in education.

It covers everything from theory and pedagogy, to everyday practice; it describes the ‘big stuff’ of blogs, wikis, social networks, and podcasting – and how those things can support longer-term classroom projects – and it details the ‘small stuff’ that can give you quick classroom wins, such as instant messaging, clippings, Twitter, mindmapping, and document sharing. But, just as importantly, an entire set of chapters is devoted to discussing the socio-cultural contexts of social media: digital literacy, ‘digital natives’, digital participation, and the ‘digital divide’ are all explored in relation to you and your students. Finally, matters relating to online risk and in-class practicalities are presented, as a way of helping you through the intricate ground of copyright, privacy and confidentiality, Terms of Service, content distribution, bandwidth quotas, backups, data control and security, and more.”

It’s this last stuff that I think is particularly important — and it’s what makes this book a bit different, imo. I’ll let you know when it’s out.

My new book published!

October 19, 2011

Well, it’s not just mine — it’s co-authored with my excellent colleague Gail Craswell, but I got your attention, hey? So exciting!

So, if you’re a graduate student wanting to improve your writing and research, this is the book for you (sales pitch, there). The second edition (I had nothing to do with the first — it’s all Gail, and she’s excellent and knows heaps and heaps) provides a lot of new material about working in online contexts — setting up blogs, wikis, e-portfolios etc., and raising your online profile. The cover looks a bit like a Red Cross first aid manual, but I like it.

Here’s the blurb:

“Writing for Academic Success is a vital practical guide for any postgraduate student. If you seek to manage your writing effectively, reduce stress, and improve your confidence and efficiency, this book is for you. The authors show you how to acquire communicative rigor in research essays, reports, book and article reviews, exam papers, research proposals, and literature reviews, through to thesis writing, posters and papers for presentation and publication.

This second edition has been fully revised to reflect the online learning explosion. The authors provide insightful new material about how to work productively in different online contexts such as with blogs and wikis, setting up an e-portfolio, and raising an online profile. They also set out a focused guide to issues unique to digital communication, and working with and across different media and technologies.

The book includes advice on common writing concerns, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary practices, a list of helpful words and phrases, and subject-specific examples of writing ranging from economics to philosophy to medicine. Writing for Academic Success is essential for graduate students both in taught courses and conducting research, and is also very useful for upper-level undergraduates.”

I’m hot on Twitter right now!

October 7, 2009

See? It says so on SlideShare! :D

MegOnTwitterThat’s my paper on digital literacy and human flourishing (pdf, 152 KB), btw. You can download it from SlideShare or access it on my papers and presentations page.

Lifeline: Web 2.0 risk analysis template

September 22, 2009

LifelineLargeI have been doing a looooot of work recently on how to keep teachers and students safe when using ‘externally hosted’ (i.e., outside of your institution) web services, such as those we find in ‘Web 2.0′. Of course, Web 2.0 allows for clearly constructivist and connectivist pedagogies, which is all good for education … BUT … There can be problems when teachers ‘go rogue’ and use external services in inappropriate or uninformed ways, thus exposing their institution, its staff or students to risks to reputation, to legal liability and other such nasties that I’m sure we would all really rather avoid.

If we accept the educational rationale for staff and students wanting to use externally hosted services in class (as opposed, or in addition, to the dreaded LMS), then we must also find safe, responsible and sustainable ways for them to do so. The issue, then, is not whether or not we should prevent staff and students from using externally hosted web services, but, rather, what procedures, processes, guidelines and recommendations we need to put in places to avoid exposure to unnecessary risk.

Some of the risks you need to consider in any assessment of external services include:

  • breaches of privacy, confidentiality and data security
  • loss of service and loss of student work
  • loss of student work
  • breach of confidentiality
  • unauthorised access to data and loss of data
  • performance problems

This might seem like a whole lot of Terrible, but it’s not, really. If you conduct a proper analysis, you will be able to find ways of managing risk to acceptable levels. After all, that is very idea of risk management: that you manage risk!

Felling overwhelmed? Well, don’t! Thankfully, Meg has done a risk analysis for you and you are free to use it as you wish :).  I have based my risk analysis template (Word, 180 KB) on the University of Edinburgh’s excellent Guidelines for Using External Web 2.0 Services and JISC infoNet’s JISC risk management infokit, both of which are released under Creative Commons licences. I’ve beefed things up a bit, so go crazy: download it, adapt it, rework it, improve it, whatever — whatever you do, use it for the greater good of employing Web 2.0 technologies to good pedagogical effect!

wordiconRisk analysis template (Word, 180 KB)

pdficon Risk analysis template (pdf, 180 KB)

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Opinion: Rethink your ideas about tech support

September 25, 2008

Target Image

One not-so-minor assignment I’ve set myself at present is to change teachers’ thinking about tech support. Just a small thing, then.

It’s true that in the past — with clunky, difficult Web 1.0 technologies — we’ve had to rely on techies to do some proper hard-core stuff for us, such as fixing bugs in software or resetting webpages that we’ve managed to bugger up, or dealing with server issues. But now, with the much more stable and reliable technologies of Web 2.0, we no longer need someone hanging off the end of a phone, dealing with the numerous problems we’ve created for ourselves.

The reason is that Web 2.0′s software-as-service (i.e., online applications such as wikis, blogs and social networks) is pretty much bulletproof: you can’t break this stuff as you could break stuff in the old days of Web One. Which in turn means we have much less need of a help desk staffed by a real-live human person, just in case.

The point is this: once you are in the world of Web 2.0, you have to shift the model of support that you’ve got in your head. Help in WebTwoLand comes in the form of googling solutions for yourself, checking out FAQs, and trawling the web to find the geek who has already solved your problem for you and kindly posted a solution in a discussion forum.

Forget phoning the help desk. Forget The Manual. Forget, even, pressing F1 (always a trepidatious proposition to start with!). Instead, search YouTube and find a video tutorial or visit a how-to site (there’s plenty of them out there). You can help yourself in this environment simply by thinking differently about tech support and how you get it.

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Woo-hoo! Meg gets a Carrick citation!

August 4, 2008

I’ve been sitting on this one for a few weeks (as have the other recipients!) but I can now tell you that I’ve been awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) teaching citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. These are national citation awards dealt out by ALTC (formerly known as the Carrick Institute) and it means I get to go to an awards ceremony in Melbourne this week … it’s just like being in the Oscars! The citation reads “For enhancing academic skills advising by engaging a new generation of digital learners in their ‘native’ digital format.” Schweeeeeet :)

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Woo-hoo!

March 21, 2008

Guess what?! Just got notice that I’ve been selected as a recipient of the ANU Vice-Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2008! Man, I’m stoked! I normally don’t blog the personal stuff, but this is a real thrill — it’s just nice to have your teaching recognised, inni :)

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