Week Ending March 23, 2012

I’m writing this post with 1 eye closed because I have something in it and I can’t seem to get it out. I realize that has nothing to do with my weekly update, but I have a feeling that this post is going to take longer with 1 working eye.I know that I skipped my update last week. I’m not really sure why, but I did. And I’m sure you didn’t notice. If you did happen to notice, I’m sure you didn’t lose any sleep over it. Enough with the stalling, let’s get to the updates.iTunes U – Things have been moving pretty slowly with this project, which I’m not too bent out-of-shape about. We’ve been having a hard time finding out who has the admin rights to the service and until that happens, we are at a standstill. I’ve looked at and printed out the marketing information that Apple provides. It’s pretty basic and boring, but I wanted to at least make sure I’ve read through it. I’ve also realized that the documentation doesn’t apply to classes, because instructional uses of iTunes U most likely won’t be worried about marketing the service. I have our social media specialist working on tracking down the University admin for the service and until then, it’s a waiting game…WordPress – As stagnant as a flooded sidewalk after a rain, this project is going nowhere fast. We have made small updates the system to help with spam comments, but other than that, it’s pretty slow-going. The pilot users are underway and I haven’t heard from them in quite some time. My plan is to send the pilot users a survey at the end of the term about their use of the service so that we can make some modifications before letting the entire University into it. Since I haven’t heard from the users in a while, I’m hoping that means that WordPress is satisfying their needs, and not that they’ve chosen to stop using the service. As for being able to roll out WordPress to the entire institution – we are still waiting on the social media policies to be approved by University Communications and General Counsel. I’ve sent my latest thoughts/questions back to the authors and I’m hoping that the policies are approved in the near future.Video Exploration – This is a new committee working group that I’ve been asked to not only participate in, but also spearhead. Basically, a study was done in Fall 2010 that looked at the numerous tools that support video at our university. From what I’ve seen in the results of that study, there are close to 36 different technologies to support video. Talk about overload! This working group consists of people from Classroom Technology Services, Networking, University Libraries, and myself. We’ll be talking about use cases for video and ensuring that there are easy-to-use technologies that can support the use cases. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a ton about all of the technologies that we implement, but you know what they say… “fake it ’til you make it.” And that’s what I plan to do.I can’t remember any other projects that require an update at this point. If I remember something else, I’ll be sure to include it next week.Ciao!

Week of February 6, 2012 – Oops

As I write this, I came to the realization that I didn’t post last week’s reflection. Hmm, this annual goal is going to be harder than I ever anticipated—and it’s only February!! Ah well, on to this week’s update…Instructional Technology Council LogoOne of the things I have been stressing about this week is my presentation at next week’s conference. I leave on Friday for the Instructional Technology Council e-Learning Conference in Long Beach, CA. I’m very excited to go seeing as it’s been 2 years since I have been with my instructional technology colleagues. I started going in 2009 (?) when I met @cmduke and @sherrymn, who ended up becoming good friends of mine. I was still a Masters student but when I graduated, I moved to the great state of Texas to work with them. They gave me an opportunity to gain experience as an instructional designer which then allowed me to take a position here at Miami University. Since the 2009 Conference, I’ve kept in touch with a lot of colleagues, including @barrydahl, @busynessgirl, @hhwebb, and @ajwms. When I started at Miami in February of 2011, I wasn’t able to go to that year’s conference and I felt like I had really missed out. Anyways, I’m presenting with a panel of colleagues (including some of those listed above) next week at a session titled, “eLearning Digital Story Slam.” The group of us will be presenting digital storytelling using a variety of tools and methods. I decided to create my digital story around the implementation of WordPress at Miami University. I’ve created the visual aspect, but can’t decide if I want to add an audio component. I suppose I should, if nothing else because the Prezi is fairly “slow” without it. Anyway, I will most likely be using Jing to add audio to the presentation early next week. I also need to document my processes into the Google Site that we’ll be showing the conference participants. Man, I feel like I have a lot to do!!I’ve been doing some support with WordPress, mainly troubleshooting some of the complications that CELTUA has been running into with their site. It’s not too surprising, they are always making my life complicated. đŸ˜‰ I’m running into a problem with our group’s blog. There are things I want to do that I know are technically possible, but because of the limitations we’ve put on end-user access to themes and the PHP. As much as I know we need to have these guidelines, as a WordPress designer in my free time, it makes me yearning for more. I guess I’ll continue looking for free themes that might work for us…The course design projects are essentially completed from my perspective. I haven’t heard from the instructors in about 2 weeks (or more) and the last time I did, things were moving swimmingly.Our group had a “retreat” yesterday where we spent the morning talking about our vision and how to proceed with our services from this point forward. With IT Services across the university under scrutiny, many of the things we want to do and accomplish has to wait to see how our group will be changing (if at all) in the near future. 2 of the new items that I volunteered to investigate the feasibility of were 1) short podcasts (audio and video) about edtech topics, and 2) 30-minute topic-specific webinars. I think both would be fun and can be useful, however I’m not sure how to get the word out. One of the things we started talking about yesterday was marking/advertising our group and the services we provide. Since we are within the division of IT Services, it’s our (maybe just my) understanding that we have to use the official IT Services channels for advertising our events and such. I brought up the idea of creating a listserv for ALT clients to advertise webinars, seminars, workshops, etc. that we put together. The listserv could be made up of anyone that uses our services (SGIDs, course designs, 1-on-1 consultations, etc.). We didn’t come to any decisions yesterday about how to move forward with marketing strategies and I expect we’ll be talking about it in the coming weeks/months so that we can begin re-branding ourselves.Well, I think that’s all for this week. I’m hoping to set aside time on Friday morning before I leave for the airport to write a weekly update. I’m hoping for that one to include info on iTunes U at Miami University.

Week of January 23, 2012 – Not My Best Week Ever

This happens to be the first week that I could actually sit down and write a reflection. I suppose it’s for lack of trying – I’ve had “reflection/blogging” on my calendar for the last 3 weeks on Friday morning (including today) and this has been the first attempt. I’m not really sure what’s keeping me from doing so. I come into work and try to get caught up on my emails and time ends up getting away from me. If I’m going to follow through with this annual goal, I’m really going to have to start working harder at it. With that, here’s an update on what I’ve been doing this week…WordPress Project. As much as I want this project to be done, it’s far from it. There are things that we’re missing to fully promote the WordPress service. I’ve tried to reach out for updates on the missing pieces, however I’ve had no luck in getting responses. Those groups that are participating in the pilot are asking for assistance, which I completely expected, however without these missing pieces, I can’t reference support documentation that we’ve written. Essentially, without these missing pieces, my level of involvement and work is extremely high and it doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. Needless to say, I’m quite frustrated about this.Social Media FLC. This week was our first meeting of the spring term and to be honest, it wasn’t my best meeting thus far. One of the serious problems we’ve run into is teaching schedules are different than the fall (which is to be expected), and this is making scheduling our meetings to be more difficult. We have people who need to come late or leave early and because of that, we can’t have a fully engaging meeting. Aside from that problem, this month’s topics were Skype and social bookmarking and our guest speaker was Jason Abbitt. Jason is a faculty member in the Educational Psychology department at Miami University and has experience using social bookmarking in his classes. His presentation including some data that he collected about the use of social bookmarking and what he would change should he implement this learning activity again. Overall, I thought it was great information and I hope the FLC members thought the same. I’m hoping next month’s meeting goes better for me, but only time will tell. Find out more information about the Faculty Learning Community on the Exploration of Social Media in Higher Education.Course Designs. I’ve been working on 4 course designs since late fall, all of which are currently in full implementation. Overall, my work related to the design/development of the courses is over, however I still feel like I could do more. I received an email from one of the instructors late last week about creating a rubric, and to be honest, I dropped the ball. I was supposed to schedule a meeting with him to work on creating the rubric and I didn’t; I was supposed to prepare a template for said rubric that I could send him, and I didn’t. I’m fairly disappointed in myself about this and I hope things are going well in his course despite my lack of effort.On top of these projects, I was out for 1.5 days because I’ve been feeling under the weather. I’m so glad today is Friday and I hope next week is better.