Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Weekly PhD Report 49

Things done last week:

Unfortunately not much dedicated PhD work got done last week apart from some interesting encounters with researchers and practitioners attending the same event as I did, e.g. EduExchange in the NL http://eduexchange.kennisnet.nl/ and Eminent http://eminent.eun.org.

A few interesting leads I gathered: Networks seems to be popping up everywhere. Of course, not on the official agenda, but during the coffee brake discussions and dinner, etc. Many prominent e-learning researchers and practitioners dig the idea of bottom-up approach, thus social network analyses and social recommendations are being mentioned more and more.

Some interesting people I talked with:

  • OUNL seems to be working also on social recommendation in the context of peer tutoring and a new EU project called tenCompetences. If interested check http://dspace.ou.nl/ for names such as R.Kopper, P.Slop and C.Tattersall.

  • Had a chat with The Open University UK researcher R.mcCormick about how LOs are used by people and some ideas of looking at different links between the users and usage. This was interesting as I've thought about making similar analysis of the use of LOs once I get my experiment going with Ning.com.
    • I thought it would be interesting in looking for hubs (influential people) in distribution of LOs through social recommendations and social/collaborative browsing. McCormick suggested that if any are found, it would be interesting to classify different types of connections that there are in this type of social network. That could help us better understand the nature of take-up of some LOs and some not, etc.

  • Ulla Gjorling from UNI-C had done a study on the localisation of LOs within a project called eColors lead by EUN. They also made some recommendations for the ease of localisation. One of the outcomes was that producers rarely think about localisation, but it should be thought of while at the design and production phase, not later. Examples, translating some Flash files is labor intensive, but much easier if the text is inserted in an xml-file instead of within.
    • This made me think that FOSS approach for ease of localisation should be adapted also for LOs, keep text separate from the code. Also, eColors talked about special localisation expertiece centers in Europe. They could use some SourceForge type of tools to make their job easier. This probably will be further investigate in a future project to enhance cross-boarder collaboration of LOs.
  • Chatted up with James Simon from SUN who told me about SUN's involvement in Hypercomputing (not super computing anymore?..). They are about to build one with Japanese AMD and wish to get up on the ranking about the fastest computers. Cool to know people like that! I also mulled over my PhD work a bit with him to get some validation for the idea. He seem to think it was important.

  • Quality of learning resources seems to be popping up in every country in Europe. The leading work is done by BECTA, UK and the National Board of Education in Finland (both about to finalise: see insight.eun.org/dossiers).
    • Also, Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy (INDIRE), Slovakia have work in planned/in progress. A lot of synergies can be picked up and one plan is to make a peer review process of UK and Fi work to see what aspects of work can be transfered to European level, and what is laterally transferable from one country to another.

  • Galvin Conor from UCD Dublin sat next to me during dinner. We talked about academic research, PhDs, Summer Schools and such. He recommended me one Summer School, but I seem to have forgotten it. We also talked about networks and how ideas spread out. Too bad that I can't recite all the important things that were said, but the Eifel tower cruise on a boat was great!

Voila quoi, that was my week.

Things to do:

- Work on the bookchapter on "An overview of Leanring Object Repositories"

- Work on the abstract for the book on social retrieval mechanism.

- as usual

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