Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ada Lovelace pledge "Ms. Mayer"

Some time ago I pledged to this one: "I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same." I do to honor Ada Lovelace.

So here I go: since the first moment I set my eyes on it, I thought there was something that set it apart from the crowd. It must have been sometimes in 2000 or so. The name was catchy too, but what I most admired was the plain, simplistic look, almost too little, and yet, everything was there. Ever since I've admired the almost iconic look of it.

A couple of weeks back when visiting D&D in San Fransisco, we were drinking coffee and reading the Sunday edition of New York Times, I got across an article about Google's design. I learned that "Ms. Mayer controls the look, feel and functionality of the Internet’s most heavily trafficked search engine."

Of course, I thought, that is why the interface looks so DAM GOOD, it's a she!

The article got a few "Hyvä Suomi!" when I learned that since a kid she had admired the design of Marimekko, something that every Finnish kid from the seventies has imprinted in their brain. So, she's got Finnish ancestors too! "Hyvä Suomi!"

Apart from being the employee no: 20 and Google's first female engineer, she seems to like a good party and is comfortable on skis. Petty darn impressive! Thanks for being there!

an interesting interview on Marissa Mayer (where she wears an awful shirt, oups...)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sneak preview: SIRTEL'09

Workshop on Social Information Retrieval for Technology-Enhanced Learning (SIRTEL'08) in the International Conference on Web-based Learning (ICWL) 2009 in Aachen, Germany, August 21, 2009


Contribution Submission: June 14, 2009
Results Notification: July 13, 2009
Camera Ready Submission: July 31, 2009
Workshop date: August 21, 2009


We are delighted to welcome exciting new contributions for the 3rd SIRTEL workshop
  • Research papers
  • System Demos
  • Hands-On proposals
  • Abstracts for "Pecha Kucha"

Learning and teaching resource are available on the Web - both in terms of digital learning content and people resources (e.g. other learners, experts, tutors). They can be used to facilitate teaching and learning tasks. The remaining challenge is to develop, deploy and evaluate Social information retrieval (SIR) methods, techniques and systems that provide learners and teachers with guidance in potentially overwhelming variety of choices.

The aim of the SIRTEL’09 workshop is to look onward beyond recent achievements to discuss specific topics, emerging research issues, new trends and endeavors in SIR for TEL. The workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to present, and more importantly, to discuss the current status of research in SIR and TEL and its implications for science and teaching.

The proceedings from the last years:
- SIRTEL'07 http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-307
- SIRTEL'08 http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-382

TOPICS OF INTEREST (but not limited to):

  • Recommender systems and collaborative filtering in educational settings
  • Defining the scope, purpose and objects of social information retrieval in TEL
  • Novel ways of generating input for recommenders (explicit and implicit methods)
  • Ranking of search results to support individualised learning needs
  • Integrating SIR services in existing educational platforms
  • Folksonomies, tagging and other collaboration-based information retrieval systems
  • Social navigation processes and metaphors for searching information related to teaching and learning
  • Social networks and interactions in learning communities to facilitate information sharing and retrieval
  • Approaches to TEL metadata reflecting social ties and collaborative experiences in the field of education
  • Pedagogic decisions, recommender systems and how to contextualise recommender system to support learning processes.
  • Interoperability of SIR systems for TEL
  • Visualisation techniques in learning and teaching
  • Semantic annotation and tagging for social information retrieval purposes
  • Evaluating the performance of SIR systems in educational applications
  • Measuring the effectiveness of SIR systems in supporting learning and teaching
  • Evaluation the user satisfaction with SIR systems in supporting learning and teaching


The workshop invites several types of contributions which allow a wide level of participation:
  • Research papers (upto 8 pages)
  • System Demos (upto 2 pages)
  • Hands-On proposals (1-pager)
  • Abstract for Pecha Kucha (1-pager)

The workshop proceedings will be published as CEUR Workshop Proceedings online at http://ftp.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/Publications/CEUR-WS/. Copy rights will be reserved.

Please use the same template as the one for the main conference with details at http://www.hkws.org/events/icwl2009/submission.html. Workshop paper length is not limited.

All questions and submissions should be sent to: sirtelworkshop@gmail.com
The website with the call will be up shortly too.

• Alexander Felfernig, University of Klagenfurt, Germany
• Brandon Muramatsu, MIT, USA
• Frans van Assche, European Schoolnet (EUN), Belgium
• John Dron, Athabasca University, Canada
• Lloyd Rutledge, Open University of the Netherlands, NL
• Markus Strohmaier, Technical University of Graz, Austria
• Markus Weimer, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
• Martin Wolpers, Fraonhofer-Institut, Germany
• Miguel-Angel Sicilia, University of Alcala, Spain
• Olga Santos, UNED, Spain
• Rick D. Hangartner, MyStrands, USA
• Rosta Farzan, University of Pittsburgh, USA
• Wolfgang Reinhardt, Universität Paderborn, Germany
• Xavier Ochoa, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, Ecuador
• Yiwei Cao, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
• Zinayida Petrushyna, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

OER Creating connections: content, users, tags

I'm in the Hewlett grantees meeting now and marveling all the work that has been done in the area of Open Educational Resources. I had a chance to present some of the work here that we are doing with OER. I focused on creating connections, which I think is one of the most important things for the content. Knowing how it all is connected together is important in order to make sense of all the small pieces of separate content. Here are the slides, I give a few explanations.

The LRE is an access point to 16 content providers who make resources available to teachers in Europe and elsewhere. It's pretty much like any conventional content portal, but we have added a social tagging and bookmarking tool on top of it.

A good part of the slides show how we can make connections between pieces of content from different repositories, and how those content pieces can bring users togeher across country and language borders. In the visualisations, the little dots (nodes) are resources that are connected to other resources or users through tags and bookmarks.

Moreover, I give a few pointers to research that we have done on creating better navigation to the content, evaluating whether it is efficient or not, and also looking into the quality of tags.