Archive for December, 2011

Great visualisation for Stats lecturers

Monday, December 19th, 2011

I love this – Simple, easy to understand, good use of humour and technically very easy to create.

Why not get students to create their own as part of an assignment.


by  at Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

With our current debate around the Carbon Tax, perhaps it’s worth considering the cash value of the natural world around us and be a bit more informed about the real financial cost of not considering the green options.

putting value on nature

A good reason for teachers to upgrade to an iPad 2

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Unlike the iPad1 which relied on specific apps to work with data projectors, the iPad2 mirrors the iPad when you hook it up.  Hoorah!

Now if we can get a file manager, usb port, bulk app purchase agreement, decent educational discount, simple central account management,  SOE management system and a managed wireless upgrade process we’d have a good enterprise device.  The iPad does what it was designed to do.  It’s a very good personal device, but I think we’re trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole.  It’s time for Apple to bite the bullet and creates a PC Tablet version of the Mac Air.

Cool things about Moodle – A trick to import your layout table into another site.

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

A little while back I posted something on improving your Moodle navigation using a tricked up table.


What I couldn’t figure out is how to copy the layout table into another site without stuffing up the links.  The urls all used the original site ID number and I couldn’t figure out a generic course id wildcard.  Even our tech guru, Rasika was stumped.

I had a play with the Import function and while it imported labels, files, activities etc. it didn’t import the layout table.

So here is the trick – create the layout table in a Label. When you do an import into your other unit the label imports, and all the links are automatically reset to the new site.

I am still exploring Moodle so there may be an easier way for the end user to this.  If there is let me know.


Using Import is much better.  I’ll show you how soon.

Is the Borders collapse the canary in the mine for academic publishers?

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The collapse of the US retailer Borders is not new news.  If you want a good run down on exactly how they ballsed up their company have a listen to this ABC Book Show  podcast

The circumstances for academic publishers is different.   So is Borders the canary in the mine?  Not exactly but in a way it is.  The thrust of this article “What we should learn from the collapse of  Borders is that things can change fast.  A good track record and well established business model is no protection.  If you are moving forward by looking back you are in trouble.
The big publishers have been moving about looking for an angle.  Pearson’s Open Class is a clear sign that they see the writing on the wall, and they all provide some type of additional online resource to support their texts, but textbooks are still the major business.
A related thing that has bobbed up recently in the U.S. is the Text Book Rebellion which is pushing either a massive cut in textbook prices or a shift to free Open Texts.  It has some major student groups behind and I suspect they will vote with their feet.
Interesting times.