Archive for May, 2015

Weekend Funny – Planted signs in a pet store

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Jeff Wysaski makes funny signs and places them in his local shops.  He then posts the pictures on his tumblr site  “”Obvious Plant

His efforts at his local pet shop are very funny.

obvious plant frog

obvious plant lizard

See the others here

Institutional Student blogs as PLE/ePortfolios? Maybe not.

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Usually when I see articles about blogs its about their ongoing and prolonged death, not their expansion.

“One goal for the Richmond, VA, campus was to eventually get as many of its 30,000 students as possible blogging and tweeting regularly about their schoolwork. So one of the first projects at the ALT Lab was the Connected Learning/Digital Engagement Initiative, which introduced the use of course Web pages to incorporate blogs created by students as well as other uses of social media.”

“…today, more than 7,000 blogs and Web sites have been created across courses in a wide number of academic disciplines — everything from biology and sociology to nursing, African-American studies and French.”

I like the idea that units can have an out ward facing component but the privacy and IP needs to be managed.  If it’s inward facing and just for the unit cohort I don’t see the point, Moodle covers this in a much more manageable way.

What is interesting is giving students their own WordPress blog site to use though their course.

“…eventually the goal is for students to continue to use the blogs, Web sites and social media tools as they advance through their collegiate careers. The technology will not only help students to make connections about what they’re learning, but will also function as an e-portfolio, documenting their work.”

I have a few questions, does this articulate with their units, can it be used for assessment, how public/private is it, what happens to their content when they leave?

I suppose another question is why would they use it.  If students want to create a personal professional site there are a number of options – Instagram, WordPress, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc.    They can use multiple platforms and provide a single aggregation page using something like Netvibes.

I think what might be useful is a plugin that allows private user created sites to articulate with the LMS.

Online video on the verge of becoming completely unreliable – ‘Photoshop’ for your voice

Monday, May 25th, 2015

This isn’t available yet but it’s just a matter of time.  Misinformation for the masses.

“A recording of someone saying “clean swatches” for example, could be redubbed to say some 9,000 different phrases all while fitting quite well with the way their lips originally moved. Not all 9,000 phrases make sense, of course; in fact, most of them are gibberish. You get everything from “need no pots” to the fairly creepy “like to watch you””

bad lipreading

Weekend – A time waster for your next project – Design the perfect logo.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Just add this  Acronym Generator and all the important work is done


How to Design the Perfect Business Logo (Infographic) – See more at:

More assessments should look like this!

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

“Forty-nine students in an animation class at the University of Newcastle drew Taylor Swift’s video for the song “Shake It Off.” They each were assigned to rotoscope 52 frames and give it their own style.”

taylor swift

I’m not sure what the BusEco equivalent would be?

What if blockbuster had tenure?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

This short thought experiment by Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed is interesting.

Does having secure postions make academics more complacent, or does it make them more willing to challenge the decisions in their organisations?

As always the best stuff is in the comments.

Would the academics at the University of WA have been as comfortable speaking up about the governments attempt to place a conservative “business as usual” Climate centre on the campus if they were on unreliable short term contracts like many TAFE teachers?

Social Media Literacy – willfull misunderstanding and malicious editing

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

A video of a student advisor has recently gone viral.  It shows her threatening to call security because a student is waiting to see a student advisor.  There is also posting of an email exchange which supposedly backs up the claim that this person is unreasonable.  People (with no real stake in the issue) are in a froth and as a result someone’s career is at stake.

toys pram CC BY-SA 3.0

Now this person may be at fault, but there is no actual valid evidence presented to back this up.

As someone who has had an office near an academic standards manager who regularly dealt with students who expected the world to conform to their requirements regardless of the rules and regulations (which they had chosen to ignore), I would like to know a bit more before I get out my flaming torch and pitchfork.

Judging from the comments, people have chosen a side based on their world view.  While social media provides the opportunity to widen our perceptions and understandings, in reality what often happens is it provides greater opportunities to find people who are just as ideologically hamstrung as ourselves.

“Confirmation biases impact how people gather information, but they also influence how people interpret and recall information. For example, people who support or oppose a particular issue will not only seek information that supports their beliefs, they will also interpret news stories in a way that upholds their existing ideas and remember things in a way that also reinforces these attitudes.”

Having said that, I think it’s worth at least looking for ‘good’ evidence that backs our position rather than just saying “hell yeah” to any crap bouncing around our echo chamber.

A couple of things about the video

1. There is no evidence that this is a fair representation of what actually occurred.  A few things to note.   The person pushing the record button has the option of:

  • using their calmest, most reasonable voice.
  • choosing which part of the recording best suits their position.
  • selecting the footage that shows at their target at their most unreasonable.

If I see a video showing an adult throwing all their toys out of the pram, I’ll want to see the lead up before I make a judgement.

2. Don’t try this at home.  Australian universities are government owned, and are not public spaces.

While no one gets too fussed about students taking photos of their friends around campus, if you take an image of a staff member and maliciously post it online, the university is fully entitled to take a legal swat at you and you don’t have a leg to stand on.

At Monash we have this statement in our privacy documentation.


No. You must first obtain consent from staff to use their photos for a webpage or staff notice board. Consent can be obtained at the time of taking the photo. It is important to be aware that staff may revoke consent in the future and if they do, the photo must be removed from the webpage or staff notice board.

About the email evidence.  Again it is a small (and selectively chosen?) exchange.  On it’s own it could easily be an exasperated response from a person dealing with a student who doesn’t like the answer they are getting.  Again pick you own bias.

I’m not sure what the answer is.  School curriculums  in Australia already deal with clear thinking and media analysis, but I think it needs to extend to the creation of digital media, and to the issues related to comments and re-posting.

Weekend – The ideal gift for your clever kid

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

“Plug Makey Makey GO into the USB port of your laptop and then Alligator Clip an object to the Makey Makey GO board. For example, a banana. When you touch the banana the Makey Makey GO sends the computer a keyboard or mouse message. The computer just thinks Makey Makey GO is a regular keyboard or mouse. Therefore it works with all programs and webpages, because all programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse input.”

Watch the video

makey makey

While this is a Kickstarter I think this  product will get made.  It’s a portable version of a product they already make, and they have certainly hit their target.  It’s currently $19 USD to ‘order’ one vi Kickstarter

Weekend funny – funny fliers

Saturday, May 16th, 2015


Digital Public Library gets hip with the kids – Now on Pinterest

Friday, May 15th, 2015

First the DPLA is a free fantastic resource and they are wonderful people.

“The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.”


Not content with just providing the resources, they are actively seeking to make their stuff even more accessible via platforms like Pinterest.

They also have apps including one for Historical cat pictures

cat app