Daniel Staemmler

Things about eLearning, Educational Technology, and more…

Live online learning – free eBook

Live Online Learning – a facilitators guideWhile doing research on an earlier piece I came across this free eBook on this facilitator’s guide to live online learning. To be able to download your free copy you have sign up and confirm your email address for an occasional newsletter.

Here is what’s in for you:

  • Whys and wherefores
  • Planning your session
  • Communicating with voice and live video
  • Communicating using images and text
  • Sharing resources
  • Building in interactivity
  • Building up to the session
  • Facilitating the session
  • Following up

You can sign up and download the eBook by clicking here.


Filed under: eLearning, How-To,

Guide on DRM free Music Online

This subject is a little off topic from this blog but I personally like music and are interested in the subject of DRM. So here we go…

TechCrunch just published an article about Digital Right Management free music available online. All those music lovers out there who want to pay once and have the freedom to use the purchased songs the way they want this article is a good place to start.

Besides DRM free music there are a whole bunch of music blogs out there that make it easy to fill up your music collection with mash ups and other DJ mixes. In addition podcasts are a great way to check out new music or keep track of the latest tracks and developments that are out there.
Here is a list of sited that I visit every now and than to find some new music:

Please feel free to add your favorite music site that offers free and legal downloads of songs, mixes and/or mash-ups.

Filed under: How-To, Open Access / Open Content, WorldWideWeb, , , , , ,

One question easily answered: What are you doing?

Twitter LogoAfter a lot of things have been written about Twitter and it’s community that answers only one simple question: “What are you doing?” I checked this “… social networking and micro-blogging service“, that even has an entry at Wikipedia already, out. I have to admit that I have checked Twitter out a little while ago and was wondering what makes people interested in continuously post what they are doing right now. For example, are you interested who is having lunch right now. No problem. A visit at Twitterment, a Twitter search service, will reveal who is lunching right now (Source: Binaryplex.com ,Library Clips).  Okay, now the question remains what are people doing right now and where geographically wise are they doing it? The answer is out there and Twittervision.com is a pretty neat mash-up application developed by David Troy that will show what is going on in real time at the Twitter community.
Alright, and for those of you who want to ban Twitter to their Apple Macintosh computer their is the free software application Twitterrific out there (Source: Twitter Blog). If you know of a similar application for Microsoft please add a comment to this post and let other readers know about it.

What makes Twitter so popular? I think it is very simple, we are always interested in what our friends are doing. A lot of times it is “… the first thing we ask when we call someone” (Source: Read/WriteWeb).  A little snipped of text provides us with the real time information and a simple social need id fulfilled.

However, I have not decided yet for myself if I am going to use Twitter to keep my friends and readers up to date with my activities. If so you probably will see it on this blog in one of the sidebars.

Filed under: How-To, Search Engines, Social Networks, Technology, Web 2.0, , , , , , , ,

Unlimited online storage space, interested?

John Kremer, the vice president of Yahoo, announced at the end of last month that Yahoo Mail is lifting the limit of their inbox storage space. Wow, I remember quiet well that I did search for unlimited storage space for backup copies of presentations, manuscripts, photos and the occasional music file. Right now they are scattered all over the place.

However,  Asher Moses wrote in The Age an announcement about this and refers to comScore Media Metrix stating that Gmail “… has 51 million users worldwide, [and] offers 2.8GB of space; Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail offers 2 GB and has 228 million users.” What I personally didn’t know so far is, that Yahoo is the leader with 250 million users of their mail service. Which makes sense, since they have been around the longest, for 10 years to be precise.

The question remains, how long it takes for Gmail and Window’s Live Mail to catch up or offer features that convince users to use their services over the one from Yahoo Mail?

Filed under: How-To, Technology, WorldWideWeb, , , ,

TEDTalks – Hans Rosling

Did you ever wonder how to visualize your data that people understand and grasp the information easily? One man who really understands how to do that in the field of international health is professor Hans Rosling from the Swedish Karolinska Institute, who also is the “… founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life“. He gave a presentation in February 2006 at Monterey, California at TEDTalks and gave a quiet stunning example of his outstanding work and how to visualize data . To see a recording of his presentation click here. I highly recommend visit the Gapminder tool at the Google website since it “… makes it possible to search deep into Gapminder’s moving graphs visualizing world development“.

The question remains is there any tool or WebApp out there that helps you to visualize, display, share and discuss your data. Actually there is and it is called Many Eyes. I only briefly explored this tool which seems to be pretty comprehensive but easy to use. Any kind of feedback is greatly appreciated.

Last but not least there are a couple of books out there on how to visualize data. A name to mentioned in this regard is the one of Edward Tufte. Here is a list of his books at Amazon. I once went to a seminar here in San Francisco he gave and wasn’t impressed and left after lunch. However, is books are definitely worth to have a look at.

Filed under: How-To, Technology, Web 2.0, , , , , ,

Information is the Key

We certainly live in the Information Society and information is the key to make decisions in a rapidly changing world. There are tools and websites out there that can help us on how to stay on top of the information flood that we experience every day. There are web-based RSS Aggregators out there, e.g. the Google Reader (see here for a review), that enable you to bundle the news and information you are interested in. Retrieving information in this way requires you to find the websites you are interested in, find their news feed, and import it into your news reader. That works for some people quiet well for other not.
Another way to stay on top of new information is to use an email alert service like the one from informaworld. Using their service allows you to get updates on journals, books, reference works, and abstract databases from Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and Informa Healthcare. This is a great way to stay on top of latest academic research and scientific discoveries.
There is also the possibility to set up your own email alert using your own search term. With a Google account you can create alerts that will be send to you per email whenever Google discovers a new web resource that contains the phrase you are looking for.

These are some suggestions to get a grip on all the information that is out there and might be of importance to you. Feel free and add other resources that you know of and that other readers might benefit from by using the comment function of this entry.

Filed under: How-To, WorldWideWeb, , , , , , , , ,

List of Open Source eLearning Tools

Open Source tools are great and there are a lot of them out there that help you to develop eLearning modules / online courses. There are also listings and comparison tools available that go way beyond of the list I came up with in this post but more about that a little later. First of all start with some definitions of what I am talking here about.

There are Content Management Systems (CMS), Learning Management Systems (LMS) and there are Learning Conten Management Systems (LCMS). In general CMS are being used to handle huge amount of data / content on rather bigger websites. The main focus of this software application lies in his capability to handle different versions of documents, multi user workflow and last but not least to publish data / content. In contrast a LMS combines the six following features: (1) registration, (2) scheduling, (3) delivery, (4) tracking, (5) communication, and (6) testing. An LCMS is more of a hybrid of the before mentioned two systems. It combines the learner administration features of an LMS with the content creation capabilities of a CMS. For further and detailed information please go to http://www.e-learningsite.com/lmslcms/whatlms.htm.

The following list is not restricted to L(C)MS and the order is random:

  • Drupal, a CMS that includes blogging and discussion forums. I know that Drupal is used at different universities. Read more about experiences here. Drupal also undergoes evaluation at the University Duisburg Essen in Germany (site only available in German).
  • ATutor is an LCMS that states it complying with the W3C WCAG 1.0 accessibility specifications at the AA+ level and adopts IMS / SCORM content packaging specifications.
  • Moodle, which probably is the most well known LMS that is available as an open source application. I have used moodle during my job at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg to deliver online courses and at my current job here at Shanti’s L.I.F.E. Institute. The setup is not that difficult on a Apache server. I must say though that this LMS seems to be better of use in the academic area since a lot of times progress is being measured by grades.
  • Bazaar is a CMS with the intention to deliver course ware, function as a portal or any other myriad type of web based projects. More information also available at SourceForge.net.
  • Elgg is a social networking platform that brings learners together and enables people to create and share their content. To check out the functionalities of the Elgg software join Elgg.net.
  • ILIAS is an LMS developed since the end of 1997 at the University of Cologn, Germany.
  • dotLRN supports eLearning and digital communities. It has been originally developed at MIT.
  • Bodington is an open source Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) / LMS that is being developed at the Oxford University in England.
  • At UCLA ClassWeb is designed to let instructors create and control class websites.
  • COSE (Creation of Study Environments) is a VLE developed and designed at Staffordshire University.
  • CAUCUS is a web-based eLearning classroom and discussion platform.
  • Whiteboard Courseware System is targeted towards colleges and universities.
  • MimerDesk is a web-based collaborative learning and groupwork environment designed for personal management, computer-supported collaborative learning, carrying out projects, and setting up communities.
  • Sakai is a collaboration and learning environment.
  • Manhattan Virtual Classroom is an open source course management system that runs on Linux and other Unix-like systems. It is developed, designed, and used at the Western New England College.
  • Caroline is another eLearning application that is developed from teachers to teachers. What I like about this application is that it takes a pedagogical model of eLearning into consideration to support the learning process.
  • Colloquia is a Learning Management and Groupware System.
  • LAMS is a toll to design, deliver and manage online collaborative learning activities. Interested in more information?
  • Fle3 is a Learning Environment developed and designed at the University of Art and Design Helsinki.
  • NICENET’s Internet Classroom Assistant (ICA) is a free web-based learning environment for classrooms, distance learning programs, and collaborative academic projects.
  • … Please feel free to continue this list by leaving a comment at the bottom of this page.

There are a lot of websites out there that also cover this subject. Please have a look at kinoe’s list of free tools or the listing of the e-Learning Centre in the UK. Another great website to compare different L(C)MS is available at the EduTools Homepage just follow the link to Course Management System on this site. Jane Hart, a learning and performance technologist, publishes on her website a directory of free E-Learning Tools. Another list of open source course management systems is available through EdTechPost Resources.

After all these listings there is still a decision to be made if you’re in the market for an L(C)MS. Maybe you find some help by using the tools at the EduTools Homepage or you also can check out this step-by-step guide from the e-learningsite.

Filed under: eLearning, How-To, Social Networks, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zweitgeist – Web 2.0 is alive

Zweitgeist LogoDid you ever wonder who is looking at the same website you do right now? There might be a solution for you out there which is called Zweitgeist (German for second spirit). You install a piece of software on your PC (Apple Macintosh is not yet supported), choose an avatar that represents you in your second, virtual life and voailà it shows up on every website you are looking at right now. This gives you the opportunity to meet other fellow surfers on the same website and communicate with them.

The concept is sort of like the one of Second Life. The difference is the existing World Wide Web is used as the virtual world instead of some “second” world developed by a company. What I like about this Web 2.0 Application is that it allows you to get in touch with people that have similar interests as you do.

I have to admit I have not fully explored Zweitgeist since I am working on a Mac and unfortunately it is not supported for now. If you had any experience with Zweitgeist already or try it out let me know how it worked for you? It could be a cool feature for people who run a blog and can directly and live interact with their site visitors.

Filed under: How-To, Social Networks, Web 2.0, , , , , , ,

How to keep your email inbox empty?

Who doesn’t know the problem, tons of emails every day and the email inbox is filling up rapidly. Not to mention that a working spam filter is a must in these days.

I just ran across a blog entry at downloadsquad by Grant Robertson. He explains how to manage the madness of incoming mail by following five simple rules. If you have a problem to manage your incoming mail I suggest to have a look at them.

Filed under: How-To, ,


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