Monday, 11 March 2013

Further reading recommended by EDCMOOC tutors

On Saturday Martin asked during the Twitterchat about further reading for those who have been on edcmooc...


Some were unaware that Sian Bayne had already posted "A short reading list for continuing #edcmooc" on Feb 28th. All her suggestions are linked to make it easy.

Since then, both Hamish Macleod and Jeremy Knox have responded to the question...

More details can be found on Wikipedia for Rainbow's End and a video of Andy Clark speaking about 'Natural Born Cyborgs' can be found here on Vimeo.

Alien Chic can be found on Amazon.

A quick search reveals a YouTube video in 'Plain English' about Actor-Network Theory, plus Wikipedia has an entry for it. I haven't watched it all yet so please let me know if it is worth keeping. If you prefer to go straight to the book, it's here.

If any more tutors respond then I will add them to this post... or if you have your own suggestions, feel free to add them to comments and I will add those to the blog too :)

My #EDCMOOC artefact (along with Sandra's underneath)

I've been asked about my artefact today but I have taken it offline.  My artefact was a fake twitter account, using one of the tutors as the subject for my deception.  You can interpret this in many ways but for me the big reason for doing this was my discomfort with anonymity, the rise in identity crime, bullying and trolling and the general threat that creating a fake identity poses for the person whose identity has been taken.  In education cyber-bullying and trolling of other children is a constant problem and a cause of much misery.  

To create the account took a matter of minutes, all that was required was an email address under your control for verification and a few bits of personal information. It would be quite straightforward to create an entire digital footprint for this fake identity, it would only take a matter of hours to set up the accounts and build a profile.  A few hours for me, but the misery that it could create would take a lot longer to overcome.

As a record for my artefact I created this Storify.  It is a bit of an ego trip as I also included many of the positive comments I received.  However, the creation of it also helped me to reflect on the criticism I received, which I now consider to be fair comment and is reflected by one of my assessors.

I was also 'lucky' enough to be able to help Sandra Sinfield in the production of her artefact.  'Unfortunately', Sandra's internet connection was broken shortly after she sent me her PowerPoint. I transferred the PPT into SlideRocket, then recorded the presentation using Camtasia.  I added a couple of videos, one from Go-animate and another to demonstrate the steps for creating a stickman.  I think Sandra did a pretty good job ;)

Sandra's artefact

And the Go-animate

Friday, 8 March 2013

Report Writing Study Guide

In my last blogpost I showcased a Mindmap for sections of a report, so I thought it a good opportunity to share a related study guide I created last year.

At university Report Writing was a real problem for me.  It looks easy enough, but understanding what goes in which section, how to write an Abstract... or even knowing what an abstract was, as opposed to an Executive Summary, proved to be somewhat of a challenge initially. For a class full of freshers who were still going through the transition of 'understanding the language' of university, it turned out to be something of a barrier. The module booklet and a lecturer handout were not clear or very detailed, so we were left frustrated... not being aware there was study skills support available also compounded the misery.

So, in the end, we resorted to looking in books and on websites. Of course, this just helped to confuse us further.  Not realising that there were many different types of report or that section headings could mean slightly different things to different disciplines meant we just got ourselves into a pickle.  If I could show you some of the first reports my classmates and I did, I think after you'd stopped chuckling, you would realise we needed a bit of help.  Sadly, that help never came, but as we grew more experienced and learnt from our mistakes and poor marks, we improved. By the third and final year they were even quite polished.

A few years later and I got the opportunity to produce a few study guides for a friend and her very excellent "Essential Study Skills" book. I have mentioned the book before in an earlier post, but a good thing is always worth repeating... Anyway, having learnt a thing or two about doing assessments I really enjoyed the opportunity to make something I could share with others.

I am by no means an expert in study skills. I often find myself looking at study skills books myself, trying to work out what people mean or need, but the creation of the study guide below was a good way to focus on some of the things I had learnt and to be reminded, with fondness, the journey I went though to learn how to write reports.

I do intend to write a full and comprehensive guide to report writing, but this is still in the  development phase and has gotten quite long. This one is much shorter and I hope anyone who stumbles upon this blog will find it useful. If you have a particular learning resource (doesn't have to be about report writing) that you really love or found useful, please share it with me in the comments... or tweet the link. Thanks

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sections of a Report

Today I have been procrastinating.  The way I often do this is by playing with webtools. Yesterday I came across Spicynodes, an interactive mind-mapping tool.  It offers a free, basic service to individual users so I thought I would take advantage.

Last year I created a Report Writing study guide for a book on Study Skills. Contained within that PDF is a table and a normal mindmap that I thought I could combine using this tool. 

To create this took me about 2 hours plus tinkering time. If I was more familiar it would have taken a lot less. The result of my work is below. It looks a bit squashed in that small box, so I recommend opening it up to full screen. I would welcome feedback.

Spicynode URL:
Twitter Bird Gadget