Friday, July 31, 2009

You looked better on MySpace - aka pointing out the obvious

I was reading a recent article on First Monday the other day (abstract and link bellow) that seems to point out the obvious. In my early days on the internet in the late 90s I spent a lot of time on IRC chat rooms, Yahoo chat rooms, meeting people on ICQ and other related services. It was pretty cool to meet people from other countries and get to talk to them about their daily lives. Many times we also exchanged photographs much like old-school pen pals.

In some occasions people looked better online, and in other cases people looked better in a face-to-face meeting. It all depended on the photograph. While the article was interesting, I really don't get why people feel deceived by profile photos. Yes there is the stylistic element, but in our society I've noticed that we try to be picture perfect (aka photoshop perfect) and that just isn't reality. In a society where people feel pressured to look like supermodels, the photographic style will reflect that tendency. I think it's a bit disingenuous to call it a deception.

The article is not super long and it does have some photography samples. Go have a read :-)

This paper examines Social Network Site (SNS) users’ criticism of a popular style of SNS profile picture referred to as “MySpace Angles.” Reactions to this style of portraiture label the display of these photographs “deceptive,” alleging that MySpace Angles fool users into believing that the subject is more attractive than they actually are. This case study approach utilizes a close reading analysis of the MySpace Angle commentary, revealing three main themes in users’ critique of MySpace Angles: 1) users who post these photographs are conforming to a social trend at the expense of their individuality; 2) the presentation of these photographs is narcissistic; and, 3) these photographs purposefully conceal the body. This case study displays a shift in the conception of deception online; on the social Web populated by SNSs, theories of deception and authenticity are called into question as users are increasingly anchored to their bodies and expected to effortlessly present an online self mirroring the off-line self.

Link: click here

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Instructional Fail

Well here's some near-the-end-of-the-month humor for you.

One of the things that I remember doing in my Introduction to Instructional Design class was looking at products (mostly toys) and without instructions figuring out what they do, and designing instruction for them. We would design instruction that would let the parent know in simple terms how to operate the toy so that they could show their kid.

This image came through my RSS reader a few days ago and reminded me of those early days in Instructional Design.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kirkpatrick's 4 levels of Evaluation - the overview

Not much to say today. I just came across this presentation which looked rather interesting. Since I am taking a course this fall that deals with Kirkpatrick and his levels, I thought I should post this presentation on the topic that looked rather interesting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Proving a negative

I had a chuckle when I read this comic strip the other day.

It brought back memories of my undergraduate mathematical logic class. The weird thing was that most things that I found logical seemed to not be valid mathematic proofs of logic.

Oh well...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On Language Death

I posted this on my Google shared items about a month ago, but I found it so powerful that it deserves a separate posting here as well.

I was reading this blog post about a researcher that was recording the language of a people. This language is going the way of the dodo so the researcher wanted to preserve it.

In showing the natives what he intends to do, and giving them examples of languages no longer spoken because the last speaker of a language died, it energized the locals to probably revitalize their language.

I know that I am probably losing a lot of the essence here, but for me this was quite a powerful story!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't discount the old school tech just yet...

I came across this article (or blog post?) from a fellow Greek a while back.

The topic is "Why Tablet PCs are better". Of course the natural questions is: better than what?

When it comes to instructional technology I think that a lot of people go for what's new and shiny and forget that there is existing (or old school as I like to call it) technology that does the job right, and work without electricity! (Good for those instances that you want to go all Socratic on your students and teach class in the open Green!)

In any case, while I do agree with the author that there are some definite advantages to working with newer tech in the classroom, it's important to diversify your materials and not focus on one technology.

One thing that stood out is this:

I can archive and share my presentation after class - Many teachers report that they create a "master file" of their lesson plans, and present from a copy so they can annotate and save it for post-class distribution. This has an interesting effect of changing student note-taking - they start to shift from "transcribers" to "thinkers".

Honestly, in all classes that I've taken where the professor just hands out his notes (and/or PowerPoint slides) after class (or worse before!) there is little incentive to pay attention in class. Yes it's nice to shift from transcription to thinking, however transcribing from the board is not necessary. This is a process of becoming a student. As an undergraduate I wrote down everything, even the most mundane things. As I became an more experienced student I only noted things of interest, and references to go back and read follow up articles.

Even in transcribing there is a mental process occurring that helps knowledge settle (if you do it mindfully of course). So just giving out notes does not necessarily help students become better thinkers.

my 2 cents

Friday, July 17, 2009

Twitter search in plain English

Now you've probably seen this already, but in case you have not here's another great commonCraft video.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Disaggregation of Higher Education

I came across this presentation a while back, but I did not have the opportunity until recently to go through it. It's a great presentation and I wish that they also had the audio of the presentation to go with it because it seems like a great topic.

I particularly liked slides 100 to 109 where institutions of higher education are likened to the recording instutry ;-) I also liked slide 95 with the character classes - a little D&D humor there :-)

When you have a moment, and you are a higher education profession, have a look at it, if you haven't already

Monday, July 13, 2009

Someone has a case of the Mondays!

Well OK, not really. I don't know if this story transpired on a Monday - it was just a catchy title :-)

Anyway, I had heard of this story about a student accused of copyright infringement and possibly academic dishonesty for posting his own code online! I did not know much of the story until I read the whole story on Inside Higher Ed. If you haven't seen it, go have a quick read - it IS pretty ridiculous.

Basically there is a student in a data structures class (aaaahh, brings back fond memories) and after an assignment was due and everyone had submitted their answers to the professor he posted his answers to the web. The professor went bananas and tried to assert that he had copyright over the answers and that the student was committing academic dishonesty for posting the answers.

This guy is pretty stupid (too many years in front of a CRT?)

If I write my own code - you don't have copyright.

If I post the answers after the assignement is due, I am not helping anyone cheat.

On another note, anyone who's taken a data structures class knows that there are only a finite ways of completing a data structure assignment. There are many examples of data structure code on the internet that students could find and modify if they wanted to cheat.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Map of Social Networks

One of the "in" things today is to try to use social networks for everything including marketing, advertising, social mobilization and yes even teaching. I came across this graphic a while back showing which social networks are prevalent in which countries.

This is quite interesting, but it only gives you which networks are most popular based on goodle trends and alexa at one point in time. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice visualization, but I think that some people might use this as sure proof that they should use one network over another when the better approach, in my opinion, is diversification :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Theories of Instructional Design

I came across this presentation a while back - pretty interesting.

If you've never taken any instructional design courses before, it's work the attention. If you have, it's a nice review :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

The MBA Oath

ROFL. OK, maybe I am a bit cynical here but this story on NRP about the MBA Oath that some Harvard MBAs took made me laugh out loud.

They have a website (who doesn't?) and here's the oath:

As a manager, my purpose is to serve the greater good by bringing people and resources together to create value that no single individual can create alone. Therefore I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. I recognize my decisions can have far-reaching consequences that affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my enterprise, today and in the future. As I reconcile the interests of different constituencies, I will face choices that are not easy for me and others.

Therefore I promise:

  • I will act with utmost integrity and pursue my work in an ethical manner.

  • I will safeguard the interests of my shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society in which we operate.

  • I will manage my enterprise in good faith, guarding against decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.

  • I will understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct and that of my enterprise.

  • I will take responsibility for my actions, and I will represent the performance and risks of my enterprise accurately and honestly.

  • I will develop both myself and other managers under my supervision so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.

  • I will strive to create sustainable economic, social, and environmental prosperity worldwide.

  • I will be accountable to my peers and they will be accountable to me for living by this oath.

This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

I thought it was important to have the whole thing here. While I do agree with the principle of this Oath, there is nothing backing it up. If someone breaks the Oath will they be disbarred from being Managers? What's the repercussion of breaking the oath? Lawyers and Doctors have a board to answer to. MBAs/managers do not.

This brings back memories of my ethics classes. Interesting stuff. I definitely subscribe to the idea. It's just that people need to be held accountable, to be certified like doctors and lawyers and to have some power over them. Otherwise this is just an idealistic exercise that will potentially go out the window as soon as the going gets tough.

OK, enough old man cynicism for one day :-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Twitter in the classroom (part deux?)

I must admit that I was skeptical before I first saw this, but when I thought about it more, the idea of using hashtags in a survey class (an intro class that a lot of people have to take) is interesting.