Category Archives: Academics

For-Profits care too :)

(Courtesy: Amanda Osbon)

A bit off the usual tack of this blog, but this is a good story. Both my parents are retired college professors and growing up I’d occasionally hear similar stories. While this blog focuses on eLearning and few direct classroom interactions, it’s anecdotes like this – caring for students and helping provide a way for people to better themselves – that makes me personally appreciate being involved in the learning community overall.

Just hours before class was scheduled to begin, a student from our Nashville campus lost her babysitter for the evening.  She contacted Peter Powell, Nashville campus director, indicating that she would either need to skip class or bring her two-year-old son to class with her.  While kids normally are not permitted during classroom instruction, Keller Professor Joel Bunkowske (pictured) and Peter decided to allow the student to bring her son to class so that she, in turn, could attend class that evening.  At one point, the boy wanted to be held by Professor Bunkowske, who proceeded to pick him up and continue with his lesson.

Continue reading For-Profits care too 🙂

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eLearning Resources

I have a few larger subjects to write about, but the time to do so is fleeting! eLearningArticlesCloudSo thought I’d do this quickie in the interest of spreading the news…

Education Dive is a great, free resource and daily digest summarizing a variety of articles daily. “The Education Industry in 60 seconds” they say… I like their daily email – it gives me a quick overview of a variety of news articles and related items, with links to those items for a closer read. Great resource for those in the education field.

Ed Digest is similar, but it’s not free, and does focus more more academic articles and research, as opposed to general news and articles per Education Dive. However, their summary page of monthly articles provides links to the external sites and resources they discuss, which makes for a good ‘pull’ resource.

Otherwise, personal blogs are often a great resource and fun read for the occasional downtime: Continue reading eLearning Resources

Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

This has apparently been in the works for over a year, but it’s just recently popped-up on my radar as a I’ve received a browser extension warnings for a few tools…

Plugin Blocked‘NPAPI’ is the ‘Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface’ architecture used for a majority of web browser plugins – such as Quicktime, Flash, etc. It was initiated by the fine folks at Abobe in order to help integrate their PDF technology (Acrobat) with the web experience. You can read more about the history of NPAPI at Wikipedia.

Google’s Chrome browser has planned dropping support for NPAPI plugins since 2013, according to that article, due to “NPAPI’s 90s-era architecture [becoming] a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.”NPAPI support deprecated

So more recent versions of Chrome have blocked any such plugins from running without explicit permission which, to me, was fine (in the guise of a bit more secure). But now, with Chrome v42, such plugins just won’t start at all!

 

Continue reading Ay NPAPI! Chrome and eLearning Support

Do we need those stinkin’ badges? Social or Pro?

BadgesOf the various strategies embodied by the latest ‘gamification’ trends, Badging may be one that holds significant, longer-term promise. That’s not to say other gamification strategies are not also worthwhile; leaderboards, game mechanics, incentives and rewards, and even virtual environments can all be effective when implemented properly.

However, a badging strategy can have a wider purpose. Continue reading Do we need those stinkin’ badges? Social or Pro?

The State of the MOOC

random datapointsSo after a couple of years since MOOCs become a recognized eLearning strategy (and for the sake of our readers, I’ll suppose you know what generally defines a MOOC), where do they stand? Still the possible future of education? Still a developing concept? Or perhaps a failed experiment?

I’ll stand in the middle, aligning myself with ‘developing concept’, as there is promise, hype, and both encouraging and discouraging results. Continue reading The State of the MOOC

Lynda and Link get married; LynkedIn and skills training

The news that LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com (for a cool 1.5 Billion) has been full announced and increasingly expounded upon, but there’s always room for additional perspective, right?

First, congratulations and kudos to Lynda Weinman (and her team) on a great American success story; a small site started in 1995 to help teach her own college students, expanded to assist a wider audience, wrote a few books, grew the company, and sold for $1.5 billion 20 years later.
Well done!

LinkedIn’s mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.”

So I guess they’ll be updating that access with “skills training” too, moving toward a wider professional development platform than simple networking and job-seeking. Continue reading Lynda and Link get married; LynkedIn and skills training

Cloud Applications, Anecdotal Support

I’m not 100% sold on ‘cloud-based’ (SaaS, whatever-current-term) applications. Generally, I want to be able to work with my installed applications without being dependent on an internet connection. Despite the ever-rising prevalence of ‘always on’ connections, such connections DO go down…or have unusable latency, or are just saturated, or the Cloud service is unreachable, or…cloud-what

Continue reading Cloud Applications, Anecdotal Support

A worthwhile conference: 2014 ‘NEELC’

I attended the “2014 Northeast E-Learning Consortium Conference” (04/15 update: previous link dead, changed to conference agenda PDF) last week and found it refreshing. I’m unsure if ‘NEELC’ is the proper abbreviation – I don’t think it’s large enough (yet?) to have an official abbreviation. Their Facebook page (which needs to be a bit more actively maintained) notes it as the ‘NEC’ but that abbreviation is all over the web, and is  officially claimed by the  Nippon Electric Company!

So anyway, I’ll call it the NEELC for now to give it a little of its own panache. Continue reading A worthwhile conference: 2014 ‘NEELC’

Use an Open-Source or Commercial LMS?

As a technology and approach to training, the case for eLearning has pretty much been settled. Sure, there are still debates about the actual definition, ROI, and efficacy of the published courseware, and those are certainly valid concerns, but as an approach to satisfying learning requirements, eLearning continues to experience significant growth.

One part of eLearning is, of course, the actual courseware and/or hybrid approach to traditional classroom training. The other significant part is tracking and reporting on those activities. This is increasingly the role of the Learning Management System (LMS).

Some organizations appear to still be hesitant to implement an LMS for a variety of reasons; is the LMS dead already? Are commitments to rigid? Are costs to high or not containable?
Those are all certainly valid concerns.

Continue reading Use an Open-Source or Commercial LMS?

ADA/508/504 and Video Accessibility

A little old, but still highly relevant, from the November 2013 Streaming Media West conference came a session titled “Best Practices for Implementing Accessible Video Captioning” . Representatives from Dell, T-Mobile, and Google/YouTube discussed video captioning, mobile video, and video translation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) covers federal, state, and local jurisdictions, and applies to a wide range of domains, including employment, public entities, telecommunications, and places of public accommodation.

Continue reading ADA/508/504 and Video Accessibility