Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Proposed Changes to PR7145

The proposed changes are being heard in the EdTech Committee, and arose in response to ACCJC’s increased scrutiny of DE programs, as well as the district’s interest in mitigating FERPA exposure. While those are valid concerns, I believe that some of the proposed changes are a cause for concern.

The proposed changes:
1.2 “Authorized platforms” means the communications technology authorized by the Los Rios Community College District as appropriate for the conduct of Distance Education.
2.2 All distance education courses shall utilize authorized platforms. The use of platforms not authorized by the Los Rios Community College District is prohibited.

In my view, mandating the use of authorized platforms – in LRCCD’s case, the Learning Management System, or LMS – is problematic for a variety of reasons, including:

1. Though the LMS (authorized platform) certainly has a place in distance education, it is one of many possible tools that can be used to teach in a DE modality. Very often, the metaphor of “place” is invoked in discussions of the LMS. “Faculty can be told that they have to teach in Classroom A, so it follows that they can be told they have to teach DE in this or that authorized platform,” so the argument goes. The problem, as I see it, is that the LMS is not just a “place” to do distance ed, but a limited and proscribed selection of tools – chat, discussion boards, etc. – that dictates a “way” to do DE. It follows that limiting faculty to an authorized platform is not just telling them where to teach, but how to teach.

2. With limited resources, LRCCD can never hope to keep up with the state-of-the-art when it comes to online tools that enable faculty to provide rich and interactive instruction. Given the lengthy decision making and adoption cycles in Los Rios, any “authorized platform” is likely to be behind the curve from the moment of adoption.

3. Progressive distance educators throughout the country (and indeed the world) are making increasing use of social media tools, learning networks, and the rich toolset available on the open web – see projects like A Domain of One’s Own, DS106, OER, Thought Vectors, etc. Using an array of web and mobile tools, students can interact with the world outside of the institution, develop and maintain digital identities that follow them through their academic careers, and take ownership of their learning. The LMS is a walled garden, within which it is often difficult to do many of the things that will prepare our students to be successful in the world outside of our institution.

TL;DR Mandating a set of tools limits academic freedom and stifles innovation


Fall Flex 2014

Here’s a link to the Tech. Trends presentation slides:

I’ll post a link to the LRCCD DE survey data as soon as the research office gives to go-ahead.

Online Educators Roundup 05.02.14

A link to the #adventurecast:

A link to Presentain:

Outstanding questions:

Archive – where does the archive go, and what are the permissions?
Twitter – does the tweet link to the slide, or the presentation?
Freemium – what are the limitations, and can one load the system up with content and then pay later?
All of these are probably easily answered by the community! :)


A few months ago, I wrote a proposal to equip three faculty members – myself, and professors Fowler (CIS) and Pittman (Geosciences) with Glass for the purposes of instructional R&D.    After a bunch of budget and purchasing contortions, the units were ordered and arrived just yesterday.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

  • Google Wallet is the only way to pay for the devices, and this made purchasing relatively difficult.  With the help of folks in Business Services locally and Purchasing at the DO, we were able to make it happen.
  • Glass won’t work with our college wireless networks.  To use WiFi, glass needs a simple network + passcode, and our networks around here require much more than that.  We’re working to see if IT can get some easier-to-access R&D wireless network going.
  • It seems to be way more difficult for folks who wear glasses to find the visual sweet spot.  Not so for those without glasses, or for those with contacts.  I’m a glasses wearer, so I need to make an appointment to get prescription lenses for my Glass frames.
  • I’m stymied by the network issue, and have only been able to use the device at home.  As such, I’ve only done basic things – “Okay, Glass – Google such and such,” and “Okay Glass – send a message to so and so.”  That sort of thing.
  • People are excited about it, as it’s something many have seen or heard about in the news.

More to follow…

Ok, Glass...

Online Educators Recap 11.16.12

Path – Mobile social networking

Ingress – Google’s Alternate Reality Game

MentorMob – Curate playlists

Popcorn Maker – Mozilla’s new content creation thang



It’s a Marathon AND a Sprint – Epic 24-Hour EdTech Jam This Friday @ Noon

Additional details here.

Epic 24-Hour EdTech Jam 2012!

Epic 24-Hour EdTech Jam 2012Join colleagues from across the district for an Epic 24 Hour EdTech Jam.  Pick an edtech project that you’ve never been able to find the time for – learn a new tool or technology, convert an onground course to hybrid or online, create audio/video lessons or OER resources – and commit to working it out in an all night grueling marathon of innovation, creativity, and productivity.  Embrace adversity!

November 2 – 3, noon to noon NONSTOP
FLC Innovation Center (FL1-130)

Wear comfortable clothes.
Bring your own device.*
Come prepared to work on a weighty project.
If you need Zack’s help with anything, let him know ahead of time – he’ll try and help you out.

*A limited number of desktops/laptops/netbooks will be available, if you don’t have your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

FLC Online Educators Roundup

QR Code Generator –

FLC Robotics Club

Dan Ross and I are co-advisers of the newly-chartered FLC Robotics Club. It’s a long story, but the club met today, and we got the Parallax Quadrover working. Nice.

More photos… – Quadcopters and Geospatial Imaging

I got the blog up and running for a new project that Jason Pittman (Geosciences) and I are working on. and @DoLookDown on Twitter

The project will help FLC students develop technical geospatial analysis skills and learn contemporary applications of geospatial imaging, and the images will be used for spatial analysis; evaluating landscape changes, hazard analyses, and investigating rural and urban development.

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