Friday 30 May 2008

How to plan a phased pilot course in an eLearning start-up project

Third post on the collaboration between the INAS and ITM.

Future steps to take that enable a strong and successful collaboration while starting up a pilot course in eLearning.

This was a wonderful and very fruitful collaboration with a strong, small team of eLearning professionals(Mr Belarbi and Mr Karmi). It is encouraging to be able to cooperate with inspiring, motivated people that want to take action.

Our collaboratively developed action plan




  1. Choosing a course that will feature as a pilot course for the concrete start-up of the eLearning program. Essential:
    choosing a course that already exists and that is well structured (= clear learning objectives)
    choosing a very motivated SME (subject matter expert) to push the course.

Mid June 2008

Communicating the decision of which teacher and which course is choosen to serve as the content of the pilot course to the ITM consultant.

2. focussing on the target learner group

June 2008

This group must be of the same diversity or uniformity as the eventual ‘real’ learner target group

  1. Buying the necessary software based on experienced eLearning professionals and linked to the infrastructure of both learners and course developers. (open source whenever possible).

June 2008

This purchase could take some time.

  1. training weeks for the actors of INAS at ITM (we will be working with the subject matter that was choosen to be the pilot course)

End of July 2008 / August 2008

Two weeks are sufficiant in a first stage to start to learn how to develop courses, get used to the softwares involved and applying eLearning guidelines to the content at hand and implement it in the methodology of choice (constructivist).

This demands the debit (Internet connectivity) to be well adhanced by October.

  1. return of the actors of INAS for continued work and development of the pilot course.


October 2008

After the training period at ITM the pedagogical and technological team of INAS will work on the pilot course ones back in Rabat. They will work on the course during 1 up to 2 months.

During this time a group of Subject Matter Experts will be revising the first modules that were developped to make sure the content is understandable and fits the learners they were meant to address. Based on the remarks of the SME, the course will be adapted..

  1. during the period in which this pilot course is developed the ITM consultant will return to the INAS to give assistance or guidance if necessary.

October 2008

  • Evaluating the project before launching the pilot


  • Implementing changes if necessary

7. evaluation of the course by other SME before launching the course (the SME will have a look at the activities linked to the learning objectives and how much time it takes to go through the course (and work on it) in order to be able to put SIT (student investment time on it, which will hopefully enable us to put credits on these courses)

8. building a course schedule which does not surpass the 5, max 8 hours a week for the learner.

November 2008

It needs to be well balanced and looked at. The testing group of SME can take it into account while they are going through the course.

9. training the tutor that will guide the students through the course (the tutor could be the SME)

November 2008

Identifying the tutor that will guide the learners through the course (this is set in a later stage because of the lack of human resources at this moment, but maybe by then extra personal will be available. (the SME/teacher him- or herself? Might also be an option)

10. identifying the concrete group of learners that will follow the pilot course.

November 2008

Taken into account a drop out rate of 50% due to people underestimating the work load of an eLearning course and the fact that the response rate to a free pilot course might attract less motivated learners we start with a maximum of 40 participants, hoping to keep 20 – 25 learners that can give strong feedback on the pilot course.

The pilot course will be free, BUT in exchange the learners will have to respond to more evaluation questionnairs then the eventual learners.

11. if possible (resources) a meeting will be organized ante-course with all the learners. This will help them establish a sound and realistic idea of what the course will be like, and it will give necessary feedback to the tutors on the profile and skill of the learners.

December 2008

12. distribution and launching of the pilot course

December 2008

Now let's see if this is a time schedule that all parties can keep up with, it is going to be some heavy workload!

Why newbie’s doubt jumping into eLearning - INAS’ biggest concerns

During one of the afternoons of my first work visit to the INAS in Rabat, Morocco there was a meeting in which I would present the methodology of ITM and focus on eLearning. I choose to start from the concerns people in INAS had to build an informal presentation build on Q&A and nourished with examples from medical courses and methods we have build at ITM which were running on my computer. By running the examples on my computer without having to connect I could assure the participants that sending a CDRom with the courses on them would be an option for low connected areas. If the remote areas would have access to a computer with CDRom, that is.

All the participants in the meeting were in favor of eLearning.

Questions that came up (and some of them are very familiar questions that come up globally – maybe we should build a FAQ with answers that all of us professionals can use while addressing a new group of future eLearners):

  • Is Morocco, meaning specifically the technical conditions needed for eLearning, ready for eLearning?
  • Are learning results the same for face-2-face courses and TELearning courses?
  • How do we cope with the lack of non-verbal communication that some teachers use to reconstruct their lesson as they are giving it in a face-2-face environment?
  • How do we cope with the diverse connectivity issues throughout the country?
  • How can we make sure the learners are in fact the ones that do the tests/exams?
  • What can we do to avoid a feeling of loneliness with the learners when the only contact they have with their peers is through online communication?
  • Is eLearning interesting for all kinds of learning, or is it unusable for certain educational fields?

I tried to give comforting answers wherever possible, but of course engaging in eLearning has so many factors, that a lot depends on the preparation and the willingness of all the professionals involved to succeed. But as long as a small group stays motivated, it will work.

Pointers for me for future presentations on this topic:

Ask for who is learning through the computer in an informal way (to build a case that people are gaining up on their knowledge by the use of a computer anyway).

The answers I gave to the Q/A session will be posted later on. Jetlag is getting to me.

INAS, Rabat, Morocco – starting an eLearning project – the basics

ITM has a lot of South partners with whom we have what we call institutional collaborations. One of these partners is the INAS (Institute National d’Administration de Santé) in Rabat, Morocco. In the collaboration it was mentioned that an eLearning project would be build in close collaboration with ITM. So I flew to Rabat to exchange needs and possibilities on eLearning.

Morocco has a great variety of regions that have very diverse technology, connectivity wise.

INAS has gone through some changes in the last couple of years. At this moment they are understaffed for that future tasks that lie ahead which means that every professional that works there has a serious and very varied workload. At the same time the INAS just became the major players in health education throughout the nation. They need to reach out to 45000 health care workers of different levels (medical doctors, nurses, health care workers, trainers in the different clinics…) and they only have limited resources.

Educational history: Morocco is a very hierarchical country, which results in the wish of teachers wanting to track their learners in an eLearning environment. Changes in government have immediate effect on health care guidelines and human resources, which in some cases can result in a change of staff (= a loss of continuity).

Main reason to start an eLearning project at INAS: limited resources which do not allow reaching out to the large group of health care workers on a face-to-face basis.

INAS did a survey amongst their learners to see whether their learners were eager to start eLearning courses and they were. BUT most of those learners have no idea what it means to be eLearning and although most of them indicated that they would love to be able to learn at their own pace and on their own time schedule, the motivational part and the realistic framework of the learner is uncertain.

Human resources: 1 pedagogue (who is following a master on distance education), 2 IT, 7 teachers, no design people and a couple of physicians that are only working there on an interim basis. But all of which are working on different (face-2-face) projects.

Technical resources:

  • An internal server (HP with 5 HD with a capacity of 146 GB each). This server is directly linked to the server park at the Ministry of Health through a VPN, so autonomy is limited and all the internet traffic passes through the server park at the ministry. Some autonomy would be needed so the system administrator can get all the students logged in and organize all the courses. This also effects the speed of the internet access;
  • 15 computers (all with internet connection (slow broadband and unstable, it has a connectivity of 128kps for the complete institute, so if everyone is on, it slows down immediately) and Windows XP) for people from outside and for training the trainers in a face-2-face environment;
  • A videoconferencing unit, but will hear today what the compatibility is with regular computers.
  • A conference room which can be used as an aula for teaching.


  • Choosing an eLearning platform which is easy to use, low cost and allows tracking the students.
  • An affordable means to track students offline (offline player);
  • Choosing the teacher that will deliver the first online pilot course (it should be a motivated teacher, with a strong educational experience that will assure strong content and a solid didactic approach);
  • Getting a stable internet connection going (what ever type) with a strong debit;
  • Building a strategy that allows continued eLearning feedback on how to make eLearning courses: who is in charge of the content, who will look at the eLearning methodology, how will the content be updateable in a quick and sound way after the initial course is build, do the teachers use the software to build eLearning courses, or will the courses be build by an eLearning methodologist or a general tutor?...);
  • If resources allow it, adding new people to the educational team.
  • Assuring continued education even if staff changes, but this is a very difficult thing to achieve. (personal remark: if I would not be sure of my job, I am not sure if I would want to make it easier for the colleague that would be appointed after me… this is a human factor which can make continuity a difficult thing to tackle especially if there is no visible security net for those who loose their job).

It is going to be a huge job to get everything implemented, but ... every challenge is motivating, but eLearning is not a magic potion. Luckily both Mr Belarbi and Mr Karmi are great eLearning professionals to work with and Mr Maaroufi is a man with vision.

(I am the wrinkly dressed one)

Friday 23 May 2008

make your own mobile quiz and astonish your learners

The Moodle developer Adrian Nicolaiev from Brasil put me on to this astonishing and really easy mobile quiz.

So I put this application to the test. Within exactly 5 minutes I put together a mobile quiz that you can download on your mobile. Coming up with 5 questions for my 'Five question quiz' took me the longest. It is an amazing application which is really worth a try.
Look at this 5 questions quiz that took me 5 minutes to make.

If you happen to have a QRcode reader on your mobile, you can immediately scan the barcode in this post and try it out on your phone. The quiz linked to this QRcode is the 'largest city quiz', a nice quiz that immediately gives you an idea of the ease of this application.

Mobile Study provides this easy way to build mobile quizzes and to provide them to learners of any kind. You can also download the quiz to your mobile through sms, USB and immediate linkage.

And the amazing application does not stop there, it is even completely compatible with Moodle! It also has a facebook feature.

Really impressed with this. If you build some eLearning quizzes please keep me posted. I am going to think up some quizzes. Share it and push it!

Thursday 22 May 2008

my journey into social media and why I became an evangelist

Karyn Romeis is working on a dissertation exploring the impact of the use of social media on the professional practice of learning professionals. Karyn would like to know your story as well, so add to her blogpost. The questions she would like to see answered:
  • How did you get started with social media?
  • What was your introduction, and how did the journey unfold?
  • What difference has it made in your professional practice?
How did I get started with social media?

First a quick profile: Inge de Waard, working as eLearning coordinator and researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. Providing e-courses to post-graduate medical students in the field (= international and in low resource areas working on tropical diseases).

My first personal dive into social media was because I had a rough time figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and especially whether the different route I was taking (getting a new degree) was worth the energy. So I started posting on the topic (very much diary stuff) because that way I could see what blogging was all about. This was a closed blog (shy). This resulted in a podcast with a couple of other people that also started studying again. The podcast was distributed old school, which started me thinking about other ways.

The first team endeavour was when I followed Mandarin in evening school (2005). We (the students) wanted to consult each other in between classes, so I put up a team blog where all the students could post or comment on. This was an unimagined success, so much so that the school started with a complete platform adding social media features.

At this point I got a new job which was starting up an eLearning course and building a future strategy for learning ... on my own. Within my new professional environment I was the only eLearner and techy with an interest in social media. So if I wanted to know more about eLearning I could choose: reading books, getting a network going with people outside my working environment, surfing with focus to discover new knowledge. I needed to connect above all, because I was the only eLearning professional in my working environment.

I decided to do it all. Reading books was great, but I soon discovered that on the edge knowledge in this rather new area of expertise was not print ready. The books were seldom tailored to my questions (eLearning in low resource areas) . The knowledge I needed was stored in other specialists brains. So networking seemed to me to be the best way to get to the knowledge I needed. This is when I started my professional blog. This blog would be my growing archive off my knowledge (my personal knowledge track) and my business card with surplus to get active in networks.
I looked expert communities and found: SCoPE, InternetTime, College2.0 and recently LearningTown to be very informative and great places to learn what I needed to catch up on (or stay on top with).

Social media is of course all about commenting and collaborating. This simple fact means I had to write my thoughts down before posting them, which meant I thought twice before sending it. Social media helped me reflect more intense on the topics I was working on.

This reflection was an immediate benefit for the papers I wanted to write, being out there with professional content meant that other peers could see what I was working on and start building trust (if they liked what I was working on) and this meant IRL collaborations started happening. So yes, social media made and makes a big difference in my personal and professional life.

Social media also saved me from future embarrassment: a bigger then life benefit came from using social media. At a certain point I believed some research that I was reading, it was not much, just a small slide that I picked up and that was used by a couple of renowned researchers. The statistics on this slide were faulty, but I did not know this so I posted the slide in a slideshare. On doing this one of the peers I connected to remarked that that particular slide was a fraud and he directed me to the correct statistics. This really told me a big lesson! First of all even if I read research of renowned researchers I am double checking it now more then ever, secondly peers can keep you on track big time!
Effect on others at my workplace
In my workplace people started to embrace social media depending on their character. If they were early adopters, chances would be very real that they would embrace it. If they were sceptics chances were that they would try it and reject it.

Social media is based on certain personal qualities:
  • being able to communicate clearly,
  • being tolerant towards criticism,
  • being able to find and filter/synthesize the right content,
  • being ready to open up even if that means you show your strengths and weaknesses in your professional work
  • being creative.
Some of the people at my workplace started their own team blogs, others just use one part of social media (social bookmarking is very 'in')...
It is not welcomed everywhere, but the effect of wikipedia is getting to be well known, so social media is gaining supporters.

Something that works in a lot of cases to get people into social media: show them examples from successful projects in the developing world. Or as I like to tell them when I show those success stories: "The world is becoming smaller, the developing world is more creative, so they have the future!" (I believe in decreasing the digital divide)

Knowledge is exploding social media enables scientists to keep on top of the scientific work and keep it fresh.
As Jean-Claude Bradley (an open science guru) recently remarked in a SCoPE forum: "In many fields related to rapidly evolving patterns of behavior, social
software is often the only source for relevant content because of the delays
in traditional publication. I had a situation where I submitted a paper to a
traditional publisher and by the time all the reviewer comments came in and
were addressed the article was obsolete! Luckily I had been systematically
updating my work on my blog and wiki so the information still made it out to
those who needed it."

It is a rough ride at times (time consuming, changes galore...) but I still find it very useful to construct my own knowledge, engage in lifelong learning, keeping in contact with brainy people, getting ideas analysed and commented on.

Cartoon from

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Round up fact sheet for the seminar on Social Media – Benefits for researchers

During the seminar on Social Media – Benefits for researchers I facilitated on SCoPE all the participants discussed the following topics:

Are you a social media sceptic or evangelist? Which lead to a discussion on the definition of social media. Most of the participants were partly sceptic and evangelist. The evangelists all pointed to the extras of using social media (communication, exchange of knowledge, building a network). But the sceptic part covered the height to which social media is hyped at this moment and the fact that it increases the workload and the amount of knowledge you need to organize/respond to.

To keep from becoming a sceptic it was important to get metrics going on personal social media apps (like sitemeter or cluster maps) or any feedback that shows non-commenting visitors statistics.

There was also a remark that the impact/benefits of social media are still not very clear and metrics are important. It was said that too few innovators and early adopters are actually using Web 2.0 technology to enhance existing learning behaviours (as this article concludes).

Net etiquette: where a 10 step list for net etiquette was posted addressing people that you want to enrol in a discussion forum or learners that start with adding comments in social media.

Discussion on open or closed research, we called it: research should ALWAYS be OPEN to the public at every stage!
A couple of gurus (Jean-Claude Bradley and Cameron Neylon) on open science joined this discussion and pointed out some advantages of open science.

For anyone interested in an overview of social media benefits for researchers, there is a presentation on slideshare. This presentation was the core of the online discussion some of the SCoPE participants had with WiZiQ and which was facilitated by Ignatia de Waard.

Links on topic:

The computer-supported collaborative learning page.
A European research project on pedagogically sustained learning in CoP: the Palette program for anyone interested in learning research.

Categorizing Web2.0 apps

Open science:
The open science blog openwetware .
Open knowledge share
Open science chemistry

Topics we did not cover to the full extend, but are related to the topic:
How would you subdivide social media apps with eLearning and/or research in mind?
Are teachers/coordinators using packages of social media with a distinction in the tools they offer depending on the work the learners are involved in?
How would you evaluate social media apps?

Thank you to all participants for making this a good discussion.

Monday 19 May 2008

starting a medical eLearning course for low resource settings: the Entry Questionnaire

In a couple of weeks ITM starts another eLearning course for health care workers in the field specializing in ART (AntiRetroviral Therapy). The response for this course was overwhelming and we were booked immediately. It is actually in a pilot phase (from IT perspective, the content is already full prove from years of experience). We redesigned the face-2-face course so it meets eLearning Quality standards. The coordinator of this medical eLearning course (and main tutor) is Verena Renggli who will have a heavy task in front of her.

The course will be very interesting from an eLearning point of view because it has a good mix of participants from low resource areas (ranging from Africa to South-East Asia).

Because there are so many factors to consider while starting an eLearning course for low resource areas, we opted to build an entry questionnaire beforehand to make sure we can have a good IT-idea as well. The form is posted below with 15 questions. The form is interactive, but I only posted the written document for your interest.

If any of you use similar forms and you are willing to share, I would be very happy to compare notes.

"Dear eSCART participant

Before the start of eSCART we would like to ask you to fill in this questionnaire. It will provide us with some background information which we need for the ongoing optimizing of this course. Your feedback will also enable us to provide better technical assistance (if needed).

Please take 10 min. to answer the 20 following questions.
All of these questions can have multiple answers.

Organization of your studies

1. Where do you plan to study for eSCART?
0 at work, during working hours
0 at work, after working hours
0 at home
0 in Internet café
0 other place, such as

2. How often to you plan/schedule to study for eSCART?
0 daily, for hours
0 3-4 times per week, for hours
0 1-2 times per week, for hours
0 other plan:

3. Do you have the possibility to print the learning material of eSCART?
0 yes, in the office 0 and/or at work 0 and/or at a shop/internet café 0
0 no

Technical specifications

4. What hardware do you available?
0 Desktop computer
0 Laptop
0 Mobile devices such as PDA, cellphone with screen

Size of the screen of your computer and of all of the devices you have checked (mention in either inches or cm but indicate which one):

5. Do you have audio on your computer/laptop?
0 I have speakers
0 I have a microphone
0 I have a headset to connect to the computer
0 no, I don’t have any audio

6. How do you connect to the internet in terms of connectivity?
0 broadband (ADSL, ISDN, SDSL)
0 wireless
0 with modem
0 other, please specify:

7. How long does it take you to open the following site (please check it before answering):
0 <1 min
0 1-5 min
0 5-15 min
0 >15 min
0 other, please specify:

8. Is your connection to the internet assured?
0 throughout the day
0 interrupted on daily basis
0 only assured a couple of times a week
0 other, please specify:

9. How do you judge your IT-skills?
0 I am familiar with writing text documents
0 I am familiar with excel, powerpoint
0 I can download files and save them on the computer
0 I use audiovisual software (photo software, editing software…)
0 I can install updates/software/plug-ins on my computer
0 others, please specify:

10. What website to you visit the most frequent to search for HIV/AIDS knowledge?

11. Since how many years do you work with computers?
0 <1 year
0 1-5 years
0 >5 years

12. Do you have experience in e-learning?
0 I followed an e-learning course in the past
0 I tutored an e-learning course
0 I have no experience with e-learning so far

13. What operating system (OS) do you use (depending on whether you use 1 or more computers this can be a mix of operating systems; please cross all OS you will work on, because we will provide you with plug-ins that need to be installed before using the course material)
0 Windows XP
0 Windows Vista
0 Other windows OS (e.g., 98, 2000), please specify the version:
0 OS Mac, please specify the version:
0 Linux, please specify the version:

Your work experience

14. How many years of work experience do you have?
0 <1 year
0 1-5 years
0 6-10 years
0 >10 years

15. How many years of work experience in the field of HIV/AIDS do you have?
0 <1 year
0 1-5 years
0 6-10 years
0 >10 years

Thanks a lot for filling in this questionnaire."

Friday 16 May 2008

eLearning papers, where to find them and call for paper co-writing

(Great European call for papers mentioned below)

Gathering the most relevant eLearning information, classifying it, retrieving it within an instant... I do not about you, but I keep struggling with it.

Because I am a very chaotic organizer, I do tend to have different places where I store my background information. This makes it of course even more difficult to retrieve it swiftly. I should have a tag cloud in my archive.

So ... while reading through my feeds, I found Tony Karrer's list of 100 eLearning Articles and White papers. They sure are a perfect starting point! So from now on if people ask me to give them a quick link to some papers, I just send through his great set of links. Thank you Tony!

In addition to this, I add a white paper that Clark Quin has started on mLearning. Feel free to visit his blogpost on the subject and add your ideas or thoughts.

But of course a lot of us want to be published, so take a look at eLearningPapers. eLearning Papers is a publication of, European Commission's portal for promoting the use of ICT for lifelong learning.
They have a call for papers, which has a deadline on 30 June 2008. So ... let's get together and write one!

Anyone willing to team up with me? It might be on mobile learning or social media or gender? I would like to be a co-author for this call, so let me know.

Thursday 15 May 2008

Net Etiquette: 10 easy steps to keep online knowledge exchange optimal

In a couple of weeks time another e-course is going to be launched in its pilot phase. Though we can use some of our previously constructed guidelines, it is always good to do a little update and check if the guidelines still meet their goals.

So below you will find ITM's 10 easy steps for net etiquette. Do any of you have similar lists/steps or do you have any comments, feel free to share.

Net Etiquette: 10 easy steps to keep online knowledge exchange optimal

Be courteous and considerate in what you write. Please refrain from harsh comments. Written words have the tendency to come across a bit harsher then when the same words would be spoken out loud. Different cultures or backgrounds can also result in different language nuances.

Only post relevant questions and/or answers. Keep your remarks on topic to ensure professionalism throughout the forums.

Use a clear title in your comments and answers. This will enable easy retrieval of specific topics afterwards (titles of comments are always readable) and will ease reading through discussions for your colleagues and yourself.

Be clear and concise in your written comments. Avoid general terms if possible. A lot of us are not native English speakers, which means some of our nuances can get lost in translation. Keeping it simple always helps.

Include arguments in your comments. Do not just disagree or agree with your colleague. Disagree or agree while adding well-founded arguments (facts or references rather then mere opinions) in order to give your colleague a better understanding of your train of thought.

Be tolerant with the comments you read. Do not feel threatened by the language that is used even if you feel the comment is offensive; ask the author what he or she meant specifically before jumping to conclusions.

Do not use capital letters unless for abbreviations. Capital letters are considered shouting on the Internet.

In the event a rude or threatening message is addressed to you, do not respond. Inform the tutor (if he or she has not already seen it themselves). Be the wiser person and neglect the remark or mail.

Quote only that part of the comment which is necessary to better understand your reply on a comment. This enables your colleagues to quickly relate to what you are saying/answering in accordance to the previous comment.

If a discussion is not on topic, do not answer it. In case a discussion is off topic the tutor will post it/move it to the relevant discussion forum, or will simply delete it.

‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.’

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Telemedicine in the news

Sometimes little things make you happy. Today a friend send me a link to an article that mentions one of ITM's learning tools for physicians in the field: the Telemedicine website an idea that is successfully taken shape thanks to the wonderful doctor Maria Zolfo.

Telemedicine is considered as one of the fastest growing areas of information, communication and telecommunication (ICT) applications that are used in the health sectors for services enhancement.

This is one of the initiatives highlighted at the IST-Africa 2008 conference in Windhoek where participants deliberated areas of cooperation between the European Union and African partners for the development of a robust information, science and technological landscape in Africa in various fields.

Interested in the complete article: see here.

Friday 9 May 2008

Wednesday 7 May 2008

follow up on ITC presentation about mobile projects and discussion

In follow-up of a previous mail here is the multimedia result.

Yesterday I delivered a presentation on three mobile projects through the online classroom tool WiZiQ. The presentation is now available as a recording through this WiZiQ-link. In order to view it you need to register for WiZiQ and afterwards link to the link I mentioned.

The slides of this presentation have been uploaded to Slideshare:

The WiZiQ-presentation became very lively once the introduction was given. All the participants got their questions out there and Tom Wambeke from ITCilo was a great co-moderator.
We talked about instructional design, mobile strategies, mobile research (or the pioneer stage it is in)... The presentation takes a minute to really start going but I think it is worth a look. The session lasted 75 minutes.
This presentation was part of a framework pilot that focused on Lifelong eLearning for an international audience. After hearing feedback from all the participants (Bahama's, Chicago, ...) it became clear that this pilot will know a successful follow-up.

A couple of links of topics that came up during the discussion:
Quick mobile transformation from websites into mobile sites:
standards for mobile development, you can read a blogpost on how to recode a successful html-based course into a mobile course.
How to make slides more attractive: with beyond bulletpoints.

Thanks to all the participants and Tom especially!

In relation to the SCoPE seminar on social media in research I am currently facilitating, I have planned a live session. So let’s get together and exchange ideas live on social media that is used in research, I have set up a session through WiZiQ.

After an intro of about 20 minutes in which I will give a short overview of the big outlines on social media and how it is linked to research, the floor will be completely opened to discuss possible thoughts and questions you might have. These questions can be the basis of discussion threads during the ongoing seminar in SCoPE.

The session is planned for Thursday 8 May
12 PM Halifax, Nova Scotia time = ADT;
8 AM Vancouver, British Columbia time = PDT;
5 PM Brussels, Belgium time = CEST;
If you are not sure of your time zone, you can look it up at the World Clock.

You can access the online session here.

On WiZiQ
WiZiQ is a free tool. It is an online virtual classroom and allows interactivity (audio/video and chat and 'raising hands', the last feature enables you to ask for the virtual floor. The presenter can give you the floor (= give you the possibility to say something if you have a microphone connected to your computer).

To participate in this session, you need to register for WiZiQ.
Once you are registered you can access all the sessions for free, BUT you need to be signed in to be able to open the sessions!
This session is audio/video enabled, which means you can use a headset with microphone. This will enable you to give audio comments if you ask for the floor by raising your virtual hand.

Technical tips:
  • it is a good idea to surf to the link a couple of minutes before the session starts. This allows you to test your audio/video devices.
  • Please keep in mind that you need a headset with microphone if you are planning to talk. This enhances the audio quality, open speakers give the microphones a hard time.
  • (a small side remark: if you have been using audio/video software during the day (f.e. for camtasia or captivate) and you want to link to WiZiQ, sometimes the settings are intertwined and do not function correctly. In that case you will have to log out and log in again.
Feel free to join!

Tuesday 6 May 2008

How to compare CMS and wiki's clearly within seconds

A quick note for all of you out there that are looking for the right CMS and/or wiki:

CMSmatrix: lists CMS's and makes it possible to quickly have an overview of their strengths and weaknesses.

Wikimatrix: lists wiki's and makes it possible to quickly have an overview of their strengths and weaknesses.

I really like this.

This information (together with other info and a small framework) will be fit into a document/booklet I am working on. I have been asked to make a short list of pointers for 'setting up an eLearning program in low resource areas'. Although I have not found a document relating to this, if you would know of a ready made guide for this purpose, I would really appreciate the link or info :-)

Monday 5 May 2008

Telemedicine: courses and information on a new initiative

In the near future ITM will be involved in a cooperation with the soon-to-be-build English RAFT. At this moment RAFT is a French forum focusing on Telemedicine and courses build to access in low resource settings. RAFT has weekly medical courses open to all, with a real gift for medicine. They have been providing free medical courses from as early as 2003.

Surrounding RAFT there are several discussion groups on telemedicine under the open source repository of Dgroups.

Dgroups is a starting point for fostering groups and communities in international development. They are a partnership which caters to both individuals and organisations by offering tools and services that bring people together (mainly open source tools!). Whether you are trying to support a team, a group, a network, a partnership or a community, Dgroups hope to provide you with the capacity to do this in an environment which is simple, non-commercial, respectful of privacy, and targeted at low bandwidth users in the South.

At ITM we have a telemedicine website which focuses on HIV/AIDS medical care and it is growing through the roof. Because of its success we are now in a process to make it more accessible with different devices (looking forward to that launch).

join free online seminar on Social Media benefits for Researchers

SCoPE has invited me to facilitate a seminar on Social Media - Benefits for Researchers for which I am very grateful. The seminar begins this Wednesday May 7 and runs up until May 18, 2008. If you have ideas on the topic, mail them or join!

Short description: Social media provides opportunities to socialize, read, write, collaborate, aggregate, create, synthesize, track... How do we use social media for conducting research? What are our new research questions and strategies now that we have access to social media? All the interested participants will explore how social media can benefit our roles as researchers.

This forum will open on Wednesday May 7, 2008. On Wednesday I will post threads to start the discussion. I will also post questions or remarks I frequently get.

If you have ideas of your own or ideas that could stimulate the forum, please send them to me or join the seminar (it is free, you only need to register for SCoPE - also free - and then you can join all the ongoing seminars).

SCoPE brings together individuals who share an interest in educational research and practice through online forums. It is a Canadian initiative, open to the world.