Partner for More

August 19, 2011

I was cleaning my office to head off on vacation and ran across the article I wrote last year for the Continuing Higher Education Review about the work UC Berkeley ETS has done in our Opencast project and our engagement in higher education community source projects.

“Partner for More: Creating and Sustaining Collaboration to Support Campus-Based Rich Media”.

I meant to share it back then… Just shows how quickly time is moving!

2010-09-01_Partner For More Article – Mara Hancock

I love my iPad. At first, I was wary. I was “testing” it out. I wanted to see whether she would be viable. Believe me, I have used my share of devices like palm pilots and treos, all with little keyboards I carried around in my backpack to meetings. But I always slipped in my process at some point. Tired of the tool, and pulled out my little lined notebook. I have also owned a Kindle. That didn’t last long either, as the hardware seemed old school and the device so one-track minded.

Not so with my iPad. In fact, my love and respect for it has grown (probably along with the apps). I am beginning to believe that this little thin device may be well on the road to being a game changer for computing and for educational technology. Here are a few things that really work for me:

  1. So thin and light — I even got a special small timbuk2 bag (the Freestyle) to go with it. I spent all last week in L.A. at the Sakai Conference. I did both my presentations from the iPad and I left my laptop at home in Berkeley.
  2. Small apps that provide very focused functionality keep me focused. I am learning to jump quickly between them, and the good ones are starting to build more integration points.
  3. The cloud rocks. I use Evernote everyday for all my meeting notes. I can access them on my phone, my iPad, my laptop. I am never without my information and paper is printed rarely. iAnnotate also helps with this process.
  4. It is my friend. It helps me find my way, find good restaurants when and where I need them, access email on my way to the snowshoe trail in Tahoe… It is my personal assistant, connecting me to the information I need when I need it and my colleagues and more.

Also, Some apps are developing collaboration tools using bluetooth or the network to share screens and co-edit. This has many applications in the classroom. I am thinking we should buy a fleet for our new Active Learning Classroom Test Kitchen. What do you think? Can any of you share use cases for within the classroom? Love to hear from you.

Sakai Conference 2011

June 16, 2011

Wrapped up the 2011 Sakai Conference in Los Angeles today. It started on Monday with a full day Opencast Matterhorn workshop. We had a packed room to start the day and it ebbed and flowed throughout the day. Bootcamp, implementation stories, speed dating… There is an impressive small group of vendors starting to come together to support the new project: Entwine (support services in AV design and software Dev.), Epiphan (hardware), NCast (hardware), and Longsight were all there. Big Blue Button is also working on an integration with Boise State. All-in-all it was a good day and I am really excited about the work being done on this project as it moves to it’s next stage and folks start adopting it. There is an impressive 762 instances installed around the world right now!

The conference was abuzz again with the promise of Sakai OAE, as it is on the verge of it’s v1 release. I think people are only starting to become aware of how transformative that product may be for our campuses. It is not your mother’s LMS nor is it your father’s portal… (I am sure someone else has said that already).

I am proud of the ETS team at Berkeley team for being an integral part of both of these projects.

Just a quick post on the session that Josh Baron, Jenn Stringer and I held at Educause Annual. For a Friday session at 8 am, we had a pretty good crowd. Held it in a point-counter point style trying to include the audience. Each question was accompanied by a fact slide with some statistic or report finding. The slides are available on the Educause session site. Inside Higher Ed also had an article, Fans and Fears of ‘Lecture Capture’, that included some highlights from our session and several other sessions on lecture capture. We intend to write more thorough paper on the topic over the next several months.

Open code increases collaboration because…

  • it allows for peer review and and shared construction of knowledge. The code-base is the collaborative medium. Staff can grow, try things out, challenge themselves and their colleagues.
  • it allows industries to improve and build on what has gone before
  • It allows parts to be shared, not just wholes

Open source development increases collaboration because…

  • It provides a structure to come together around the design and development of a shared product
  • It engages the users in the evolution of that product
  • The conversations are not just about implementation within the constraints of the product, but about what could be

Open content increases collaboration because…

  • It allows for the shared construction of knowledge through access, reuse, and extended contexts
  • Nobody is on the outside (banging on the door or being left in the dark)
  • The content provides a platform for people to engage about ideas
  • It reaches out beyond the confines of a given group and opens us to the serendipitous engagement and discovery of the internet

Collaboration opportunities change when faced with an open environment because people think differently about the problem if they can directly impact it through their own contributions.

Open Collaboration. Really.

January 28, 2009

Open source, open content, open technologies… Open Collaboration. As many of us know, leading the transparent life is not the easy choice. That said, I strongly believe that it is worth every aspect of angst it produces. Look at Obama’s first week. Whether or not everyone agreed with the content of his message, I haven’t heard anyone complain about the process or the fact that he was saying this or doing that in p u b l i c. Some might see it as a political, ethical, or moral choice. Some see it as just plain old practical. So where do I fall?

Can I take a nebulous stance of opining that it doesn’t matter? That one follows the other? (and still have this post be meaningful?). Each might be the door we enter to get there, but after that the benefits continue to drive us to work on these projects, in this way, every day. And pretty soon it is hard to tell whether it is a value, a political point of view, or a practicality.

OK, I’ll be honest. I am writing this as I reflect on another deliverable I have on my plate: to collaborate with several trusted and brilliant colleagues on co-authoring an article exploring the merits and perspectives of “Open” in higher ed. We all participated in a collective brainstorm at the Frye Institute day-long retreat held at the 2008 Annual Educause conference. We decided to carry-forth with some practical output from the very engaging conversation we had around the table that day. We all chose  a theme that emerged from the day with which to tussle in writing (at least, that is my interpretation of the assignment!).

So, back in November, I chose to write about “how open source and open content improves our ability to collaborate both as consortia and individuals.” It sounds pretty boring to me as I re-read it now and prepare to collect my thoughts. Except when I add the concept of Open Collaboration. Really. When we talk about Open source and Open content we can see the end result, the product, as being the goal. And in many many ways it is. However, when I look at the value that these activities (yes, activities) bring to the higher ed community, to my campus, to my team, to my individual staff members, I see much more (and more gray hair). That is what I am going to have to articulate in the few paragraphs I’ll have in this article. One of my colleagues from Stanford, Jenn Stringer,  is going to talk about collaboration credits (as in carbon credits). I love this concept. But can we offset them?

So, what do you think? Help me write this article! Does Open Source and Open Content improve our ability to collaborate?

Hole-in-the-wall Project

January 26, 2009

I find the Hole-In-The-Wall project fascinating. How kids teach themselves. Dr. Sugata Mitra’s research explores how by working with a single computer with internet access groups of kids in rural communities across India self-organize to teach themselves. A little curiosity, a little opportunity, and a gateway to content and people.

The results of his work inspire me to learn more about formal vs. informal learning. I also love the fact that having a single computer and interacting as a group is the winning combination. The process of learning is exposed through the open interactions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.