ruminators' ilk

faculty development, educational technologies, intellectual curieux, info provocations


--Blogs Illustrated
Blogs Illustrated is the first... blog ring specifically for blogs written/run by artists, illustrators and amateurs, who illustrate their blogs/lives with their own work, whether that work be created in the real world or the virtual, using their blog not just as a gallery for their work, but using their work to do the blogging.
Blogs Illustrated

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Read an excerpt from Malcom Gladwell's new book describing the part of the brain that runs our rapid decision-making system:
Imagine that I asked you to a play a very simple gambling game. In front of you, are four decks of cards--two red and two blue. Each card in those four decks either wins you a sum of money or costs you some money, and your job is to turn over cards from any of the decks, one at a time, in such a way that maximizes your winnings. What you don't know at the beginning, however, is that the red decks are a minefield. The rewards are high, but when you lose on red, you lose a lot. You can really only win by taking cards from the blue decks, which offer a nice, steady diet of $50 and $100 payoffs. The question is: how long will it take you to figure this out?
A group of scientists at the University of Iowa did this experiment a few years ago, and what they found is that after we've turned over about fifty cards, most of us start to develop a hunch about what's going on. We don't know why we prefer the blue decks. But we're pretty sure, at that point, that they are a better bet. After turning over about eighty cards, most of us have figured the game out, and can explain exactly why the first two decks are such a bad idea. This much is straightforward. We have some experiences. We think them through. We develop a theory, and then finally we put two and two together. That's the way learning works. But the Iowa scientists did something else, and this is where the strange part of the experiment begins. They hooked each gambler up to a polygraph--a lie detector machine--that measured the activity of the sweat glands that all of us have below the skin in the palms of our hands. Most sweat glands respond to temperature. But those in our palms open up in response to stress--which is why we get clammy hands when we are nervous. What the Iowa scientists found is that gamblers started generating stress responses to red decks by the tenth card, forty cards before they were able to say that they had a hunch about what was wrong with those two decks. More importantly, right around the time their palms started sweating, their behavior began to change as well. They started favoring the good decks, and taking fewer and fewer cards from A and B. In other words, the gamblers figured the game out before they figured the game out: they began making the necessary adjustments long before they were consciously aware of what adjustments they were supposed to be making.
The Iowa study is just an experiment, of course, a simple card game involving a handful of subjects and a polygraph machine. But it's a very powerful illustration of the way our minds work. Here is a situation where the stakes were high, where things were moving quickly, and where the participants had to make sense of a lot of new and confusing information in a very short time--and what does the Iowa experiment tell us? That in those moments our brain uses two very different strategies to make sense of the situation. The first is the one we're most familiar with. It's the conscious strategy. We think about what we've learned, and eventually come up with an answer. This strategy is logical and definitive. But it takes us eighty cards to get there. It's slow. It needs a lot of information. There's a second strategy, though. It operates a lot more quickly. It starts to kick in after ten cards, and it's really smart because it picks up the problem with the red decks almost immediately. It has the drawback, however, that it operates--at least at first--entirely below the surface of consciousness. It sends its messages through weirdly indirect channels, like the sweat glands on the palms of our hands. It's a system in which our brain reaches conclusions without immediately telling us that it's reaching conclusions.

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This is an online word game using current events.

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--Creative Use of PDAs at Colorado State University
Personal digital assistants, or PDAs, are not just used to keep track of appointments, addresses and phone numbers at Colorado State University. The College of Natural Resources has come up with a new and creative way to use PDAs by incorporating them into students' field work at Pingree Park, the university's mountain campus.
PDAs for Field Work

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-- Workshop on The Higher Learning Commission’s New Criteria and Assessment within the Criteria
DATE: January 31, 2005
LOCATION: Holiday Inn Select in Bloomington, MN. To contact the hotel, call (952) 854-9000.
Bring a campus group to take part in this highly interactive workshop led by the Higher Learning Commission’s Assistant Director for Accreditation Services, Dr. Karen Solomon. Sessions will explore what’s been learned from campuses using the new criteria, including an overview of self-studies and recent team visits, and assessment of student learning within the Criteria. For further details contact Cheryl Hilinski at
Cheryl Hilinski
Participants receive discounted room rate, when booking by January 12, 2005.
For more information:
--Assessment: Informing Teaching, Learning, & Institutional Change
DATE: February 18 – 19, 2005
Meaningful assessment is crucial to measuring and improving learning outcomes and achieving accreditation objectives. This conference explores assessment as a strategic tool for faculty, administrators, and student development staff to drive positive change throughout the institution. See how assessment can be an organizing force for positive change in the classroom and across your institution. Consider strategies for overcoming resistance and "closing the loop." Experience assessment best practices for yourself within the conference structure.
For more information:
--Online Workshop: Teaching at a Distance
The next offering of the online workshop - "Teaching At A Distance: fromConcept To Practice" - will begin on January 16, 2005. There are currently 9 participant "seats" available for the workshop.The online workshop is five weeks in duration (January 16 - February 19,2005), has a major foundational theme each week and examines key conceptsand ideas to support the effective use of distance education especially from the learner's perspective.Week 1 Theme ~ The Framework of Distance EducationWeek 2 Theme ~ The Learner in Distance EducationWeek 3 Theme ~ Distance Education Instructional StrategiesWeek 4 Theme ~ Implementing Distance EducationWeek 5 Theme ~ Evaluating Distance EducationFor complete information about "Teaching At A Distance: From Concept to Practice" and an online Registration Form, click on link:
Learning Associates

--Digital Preservation Management Tutorial
Read the introduction to this tutorial:
Although technology is a key element in digital preservation, we believe it isn't the greatest inhibitor - the lack of organizational will and way is. Despite the increasing evidence documenting the fragility and ubiquity of digital content, cultural repositories have been slow to respond to the need to safeguard digital heritage materials.
This tutorial and the Cornell's workshop…{was developed} to address this notable lack of institutional response. Using the entwined themes of the requisite organizational and technological infrastructure, we will address the establishment of a viable digital preservation program. At the core of the tutorial and workshop is an integrated model that combines the organizational context and technological implementation.
Digital Preservation Management
I acquired this resource from
Librarians Index to the Internet, 16 December 2004.
--The New ISBN
The New ISBN
I acquired this resource from
Librarians Index to the Internet, 16 December 2004.
--Bar Graphs
Bar graphs or bar charts are ubiquitous visual representations, but they are not always correctly used and many times we don’t get the most out of them. This site reviews their essence, properties and utilization.

--Pedagogical Uses and Applications of Online Video
This is a flash presentation on integrating video into online learning platforms.
Pedagogical Uses/Applications of Online Video
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--Technology and Long-Distance Athletes and Medicine
Professional athletes, including cyclists and distance runners, soon will have a powerful new tool to predict energy expenditure and performance during a race, thanks to a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and Saris Cycling Group of Madison. The technology also has potential medical applications, including helping to treat obese children and adults and cardiac patients.
Technology and Long-Distance Athletes

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Cell Phones as Fashion
Nokia just came out with a Hello Kitty cell phone. I want one!
Cell Phones as Fashion

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--World's Highest Road Bridge
The Millau bridge over the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains is more than 300m (984ft) high -- taller even than the country's Eiffel Tower.
British architect
Norman Foster
World's Tallest Bridge

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Ten byTen
10x10™ ('ten by ten') is an interactive exploration of the words and pictures that define the time. The result is an often moving, sometimes shocking, occasionally frivolous, but always fitting snapshot of our world. Every hour, 10x10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time. Over the course of days, months, and years, 10x10 leaves a trail of these hourly statements which, stitched together side by side, form a continuous patchwork tapestry of human life.
10x10 is ever-changing, ever-growing, quietly observing the ways in which we live. It records our wars and crises, our triumphs and tragedies, our mistakes and milestones. When we make history, or at least the headlines, 10x10 takes note and remembers.
Each hour is presented as a picture postcard window, composed of 100 different frames, each of which holds the image of a single moment in time. Clicking on a single frame allows us to peer a bit deeper into the story that lies behind the image. In this way, we can dart in and out of the news, understanding both the individual stories and the ways in which they relate to each other.
10x10 runs with no human intervention, autonomously observing what a handful of leading international news sources are saying and showing. 10x10 makes no comment on news media bias, or lack thereof. It has no politics, nor any secret agenda; it simply shows what it finds.
With no human editors and no regulation, 10x10 is open and free, raw and fresh, and consequently a unique way of following world events. In 10x10, we respond instinctively to patterns in the grid, visual indicators of relevance. When we see a frequently repeated image, we know it’s important. When we see a picture of a movie star next to a picture of dead bodies, we understand the extremes that exist in our world. Scanning a grid of pictures can be more intuitive than reading headlines, for it lets the news come to life, and everything feels a bit less distant, a bit closer to heart, and maybe, if we're lucky, gives us pause to think

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--Pale Male
Follow the adventures of "Pale Male," a daring red-tailed hawk who manages to thrive in the urban world of New York City.
PBS Nature Web site
Pale Male

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How to use a computer mouse like an expert.
iPodder is small program that runs on your computer. It's only purpose is to download audio files, usually mp3's, directly to your mp3 device. Currently iPod is supported on both Windows and Mac.
Find hundreds of podcasts (subscription-based Web audio broadcasts, often homegrown), podcasting software (much of it free), explanations of podcasting, how-tos for would-be broadcasters, popular podcasts, and much more. Maintained by a podcasting enthusiast.

--Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Classroom Teaching
Read an excerpt from this article:
Why should we feel that developing and teaching an online course would have an impact on regular class instruction? What evidence exists to suggest a sustained opportunity for pedagogical reflection is allowed through this experience? One piece of evidence - previous surveys indicate that faculty spend a great deal of time and effort on the development and teaching of online courses. In the most recent survey, for example, the most common response to the question - “How much time did you spend developing your online course?” was “More than 120 hours.” We suspected that this level of effort might offer opportunities for reflection that would have a positive impact on classroom-based instruction.
It should be pointed out that this development time is not spent alone. All faculty who participate in the SUNY Learning Network agree to participate in rigorous preparatory training, and receive ongoing support during the entire time they teach their courses, both from the trainers, multimedia instructional designers, and a faculty HelpDesk. Training begins with participation in an online all-faculty conference that mirrors the environment in which faculty will eventually instruct. Through participation in this online conference new faculty come together to experience firsthand what they and their students will do in this new learning environment. The all-faculty conference uses the same technology and interface that the new instructors will use, and provides opportunities to discuss a variety of common concerns, observe live courses, and “try out” many of the features and functions they will use in their own online courses, all from the perspective of the student.
Through this experience and through twenty hours of face-to-face training, faculty explore the idea that online instruction does not simply entail mimicking what happens in the classroom, but rather, requires a transformation: a re-conceptualization of their course and learning objectives given the options and constraints of the new learning environment. Common issues that arise include how to best create a sense of class community: an environment in which students get to know the instructor, each other, and have ample opportunities for quality interaction and feedback. In order to fully exploit the unique opportunities of online instruction faculty are encouraged to reflect on their instructional goals and then to investigate, with the help on an multimedia instructional designer (MID), how best to translate and achieve those goal online. The faculty HelpDesk provides continuous support to answer technical questions and make the technology as invisible as possible.
Online Teaching as a Catalyst

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I acquired this resource from E-Literate, 5 December 2004.
--Instructional Design Models
NEAT! Take a look.
Instructional Design Models

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--People Becoming Portals
When millions of people carry Internet connections in their pockets, the focus of communications shifts from places to individuals - with significant implications for the way we think of ourselves and the shape of our social institutions. How will education evolve?
People Becoming Portals

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This is an article by George Siemens,
elearnspace, 16 December 2004.
Electronic portfolios (also referred to as eportfolios or webfolios) are gaining recognition as a valuable tool for learners, instructors, and academic organizations. Bold proclamations laud webfolios as “higher education’s new “got to have it” tool – the show-and-tell platform of the millennium” (Cohen and Hibbitts, 2004), and as a tool that “may have the most significant effect on education since the introduction of formal schooling” (Love, McKean, and Gathercoal, 2004). Laying aside new-technology hype and enthusiasm, eportfolios can best be viewed as a reactionary response to fundamental shifts in learning, teaching, technology, and learner needs in a climate where learning is no longer perceived as confined to formal education.
Read the article:

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Cohn, E. R., Hibbitts, B. J., (2004). Beyond the Electronic Portfolio: A Lifetime Personal Web Space. Retrieved on December 10, 2004 from
Beyond the Electronic Portfolio
Love, D., McKean, G., Gathercoal P., (2004) Portfolios to Webfolios and Beyond: Levels of Maturation. Retrieved on December 10, 2004 from
Portfolios to Webfolios
--Experience-Enabling Design: An Approach to E-Learning
This useful article by L. Ravi Krishnan (, Trina Systems, India and Venkatesh Rajamanickam (, Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore, focuses on layout thinking and experience design. I am incorporating a number of their ideas in my spring classes.
Experience-Enabling Design

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--Where the Wiki Things Are
Talk about wikis.
Where the Wiki Things Are

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--Beyond the Electronic Portfolio: A Lifetime Personal Web Space
Can E-portfolios be more than high-tech resumes?
The authors of this article propose that, "every citizen, at birth, will be granted a cradle-to-grave, lifetime personal Web space that will enable connections among personal, educational, social, and business systems."
The article suggests some possible attributes of such a space.
Beyond the Electronic Portfolio

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--What Students Think About Us
This site's catch-phrase is "Where students do the grading."
Inver Hills has a grade roster on this site! Look yourself up, if you dare!
Rate My Professors

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Until next time.
Blog editor