Monday, November 17, 2008

AACIS Conference 2008: Alien-Robot-Authentication Device Not Needed.

I was glad to be able to present at the American Association of Collegiate Independent Study 2008 in St. Louis, MO hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
A session that I was most interested in attending was Troy University's Student Authentication System. I saw the beast up-close.

This little guy is plugged into a computer that a student is using for an online course and authenticates the student by scanning their thumbprint and then taking a 360 degree video or photo every few seconds while a student is taking a test to make sure it is indeed the correct student and that they are not cheating.
Some folks from MN really wanted me to confront the problems that this system brings up but
presenter Deb Gearhardt conceded and pointed most of them on my list before I had a chance.
1. Student authentication can be an issue in a face-to-face course and no intense method like the alien-robot-device above is used. the presenter shared this video.

2. Who will review all the photos and videos that the alien-robot-authentication device gathers from all tests by all students? Do faculty have time for this? No. Do they review all photos and videos? No.
3. The most important area I did speak out during the presentation was clarifying the info and language in the Higher Ed Act about this issue. Everywhere I go folks say a device like this is now required by law-not true. Thanks to Barry Dahl for his clear publication on this issue and the work done by the Instructional Learning Council Board to get clarification language into the bill.
See detailed language here, Distance Education Authentication- Just the Facts by Barry Dahl
4. The bill language also makes an important statement about student privacy: "The Conferees do not intend that institutions use or rely on any technology that interferes with the privacy of the student..." Specific examples were shared during the presentation that are violations of student privacy and this technology provides no way to protect privacy.
5. An additional cost of 150 dollars is passed on to the student for authentication device, which can only be used on ONE computer.

Affirmation: Alien-robot-authentication device is not needed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2008

What I learned: A really nice conference that involved valuable, fun learning and FUN!
My first experience of the conference, next to the registration table, was an invite to play guitar hero. It was only my 2nd time playing, afterwards I received a ribbon for my conference badge with the Rock Star label.

I was able to attend several valuable sessions on manging massive online courses, online quizing and a session hosted by D2L Felix on training methods. I also always enjoy a chance to hear Barry Dahl share on web app tools, I invariably learn something new (this time it was major clarification on how to embed items into D2L content). The Keynote speakers were excellent and actually offered thought provoking info about the current state and future of education. One highlight was a roundtable that brought the backchannel to the fore. It was chaotic, funny, distracting, insightful, and innovative--read more at Barry Dahl's Post on Backchannel at D2L Another item of high value was the ability to sit down with D2L reps and walk though a list of questions and concerns and have many of them addressed on the spot.

D2L also did a great job of letting folks have some fun by taking everyone on a tour of Graceland and other activities.
I loved Memphis, hot and humid temps are my thing in the summer and Memphis did not disappoint. Thanks D2L!

Friday, May 30, 2008

eLearning Training--Desire2Learn Faculty Training

Completed two days of putting on workshops for faculty at Central Lakes College.
Day 1-for faculty wanting to or just getting started with eLearning technologies.
Day 2 for faculty that are experienced and wanting to expand on e-learning skills.
Each session had 16 in it and all had a computer for hands-on experiences.
It went great!
Here are some comments from attendees:
"I just wanted to thank you for the training session on D2L. I found it to be very helpful and since I am teaching my first online course this fall, I feel this new version of D2L will be much better for both my students and me. Thank you for this opportunity - I look forward to further training sessions."
"I just want to say that Michael and Pam did an outstanding job yesterday with the training. It is so important for faculty to have an opportunity to receive training and have a chance to collaborate with others in online teaching and learning discussions. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in many more of these!
Michael had us learning from the moment we walked in the door until we left the classroom! The training was very well-organize and helpful.
Thanks for these opportunities!"
"Thank you for another excellent workshop yesterday! As always, this workshop was so valuable in helping me get prepared for the new version of D2L and to learn about some new technologies that I can consider using in my future classes. One of the things I value most about workshops like this is the opportunity to learn from other faculty about tools they are using effectively and creatively in their classes. Having dedicated time with other faculty to discuss these things is so appreciated.
The workshop was well paced, well organized, and superbly led by Michael and Pam! Thanks so much for a great day!"

And one that I consider to be a very high compliment -
"Some of the examples from your classes made me believe in online learning for the first time... Thanks."

I Saw the Future of Teaching

Dr. Michael Wesch from Kansas State University was the main speaker.
“A Portal to the Future of Education”
I attend many a conference and workshop about technology and teaching. Most everyone is saying the same thing: students are disenfranchised with the educational process, information is readily available, technology tools should be harnessed, etc. All are trying to make their way with these ideas myself included, Wesch's presentation was the first to really break through and harness the greater potential of technology in a complete way. The relevant, engaging, interactive learning that he is DOING made my hair stand on end. It is the type of teaching and learning that can change the world--it was learning CRANKED, (turned up on 10).
Can't go in to all of the details here in this blog post but will keep posting and expounding on it.
For a foundation connect with and acknowledge how information is Different now.
The following are the videos that launched Wesch to rockstar status on youtube.

The Machine is Us/ing Us

Information R/evolution

Monday, April 28, 2008

Music Mashups

I have always been one to enjoy a remix of a song. Hearing the variations and layers mixed in with the familiar song is a sure way to listening enjoyment.
A relatively new mix item called the mashup is king of the remix, blending two or sometimes more songs together. I first learned of this about 3 years ago (2005) from an instructor I had in grad school, from a blog post of his. Ted Gracyk teaches Philosophy for MSUM and does scholarly work related to art and music ( author of Listening to Music (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Led Zeppelin) and others.
(Check Ted's What I'm Listening To blog..always wished it had samples)
Since then the mash up has Taken off!
A couple of favorites:
Combine Star Wars music and DANCE music by DJ PartyBen

And Funky Goes to Hollywood by Dj Earworm

Monday, March 24, 2008

Outstanding Distance Learning Student (ITC)

Please take the time to click on the link below and watch this very moving presentation. I was privileged to be present at this award ceremony while attending the recent Instructional Technology Council International Conference. I will never forget it.
Pamela Himmel Accepts ITC Awards for Excellence in e-Learning, Outstanding Distance Learning Student, at e-Learning 2008 on Feb. 18, 2008
See her Video Acceptance Speech

"St. Petersburg College was honored by having one of our students chosen as the 'Online Student of the Year' at the recent international Instructional Technology Council meeting at the Tradewinds. Thanks to the good work of Jeremy Peplow, the college videographer, the nominating introduction by eCampus instructor Dr. Jennifer Lechner and Pamela Himmel's comments are captured in the enclosed video file. If you’re feeling a little tired and overwhelmed, spend the few minutes watching this video. It represents the best of what we are, and the core of what we’re about. We should all be very proud and humbled."- James Olliver, Provost, Seminole/eCampus, St. Petersburg College

Connected College

Wow! I found this exciting and inspiring-the future of college is now!
Abilene Christian U is CONNECTED. Freshmen will use an iPhone or iPod touch to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors' offices, and check their meal and account balances - among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed, said ACU Chief Information Officer Kevin Roberts

Click Here

Monday, March 10, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse 2/20/2008

We had a very clear skies for an excellent view of the total lunar eclipse but the temps were very cold. Lucky that we could observe the eclipse well from the deck sliding door without having to go outside.

I had to do a training-teaching high school teachers how to teach online (say 5 times fast) and was rushing home to view the eclipse (but not speeding in the state issued vehicle). I was driving east and actually watched the progress of the eclipse from the road.

At home, we tried taking tons of photos but changing camera setting in the dark and the -10 temps make it challenging to get a good shot. Finally the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data on this photo indicates it was captured at 9:35 pm central. Which places it at full lunar eclipse according to the following NASA timeline.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dali Museum, St. Petersburg , FL

While at the ITC conference (see prev. post) I was able to take in the Dali Museum with a new friend attending the conference. 1. Why is the largest collection of Dali work in St. Pete's ? Easy answer: "The best place to see European Art is in the beach". Long answer, the museum documents how a couple from Ohio had a Huge private collection of his work and were trying to find a home, people in St. Petersburg got it together and decided they would be the best stewards of the collection. 2. As an art teacher, I am always excited for the chance to see the actual works of art instead of the reproductions I have been looking at in books and the web. At times the disconnect from the actual work and the reproductions are more dramatic than others, Dali's is definitely one that I recommend seeing the real thing. It was great to find myself spending long spans of time looking at one work at a time, tons of amazing detail and discoverys happening that just do not translate to reproductions. 3. Biggest surprise: Dal's most famous work, Persistence of Memory is actually better in reproductions, this original was small and dark. 4. Was so happy to make the a new discovery Dali's animated collaboration with the late Walt Disney called Destino (click for video sample).
While walking to the bus stop after the museum a Surreal moment happened as a lady was giving a man haircut on a park bench.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

ITC E-Learning 2008

Best conference I have attended to date, got me in gear with Flickr, Twitter,, and mashups.

Plus being on the beach while it was 20 below in MN was not all bad either. Check out the pics at Flickr And please look me up and say hi on (microblogging/networking) my username is Goamick. Or connect with what is good on the web at my

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recently Read: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

What I learned:

1. It is not a straight forward story about guys in a ship trying to get the white whale. There is a hiatus from this plot for hundreds of pages as the author eloquently/voluminously describes every facet of whales and the whaling industry.

2. Reading, In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick helped prepare me for reading Moby Dick and kept me engaged with the novel.

3. I learned that one of my favorite movie quotes is originally from Moby Dick. (a little embarrassed that I did not know this before).
"From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee." - Moby Dick (and of course, Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan)

4. Greatest Single Sentence --that's right this is ONE sentence.

5. Very much enjoyed the retelling of the book of Jonah from a mariner's view in the early part of the book when the character Ishmael goes to a church service on the Island of Nantucket.