Tweet! IFTTT tools that we would recommend

I wondered if we each had a tool that we were brave enough to recommend to the rest of the class? We are all using twitter to its death but is there something else which you feel has worked particularly well with minimum fuss? Pinterest perhaps?

My take homes are that there are some tools which don’t quite manage and need a little bit of jiggery-pokery in the code to make it work visually – Instagram, for example, posts the images at 600px width. However with my theme, the column for content is only 550px wide so the images bleed into the text on the right-hand-side column,  so I change the width to 500px. Also pocket doesn’t always post the pic but instead of leaving it blank, adds an image not found – image which I find annoying.

I found today that youtube, which is native in wordpress (if you post the link it will embed),   doesn’t work when added through ITFFF, so again a little tweak in the code fixes that.

I am obsessive about my blog being easy to read and not look messy though so maybe it’s just me but I do believe as we are posting our blogs publically on the web, we are all responsible for adhering to WWW rules of accessibility where we can and so should be making an effort to ensure any internet user who wishes to enjoy our blog content can and is not restricted because they are not able bodied.

A little bit of chat, a little bit of community building


Thanks to Linzi for organising a skype chat this week with myself, Chenee and Stuart. Apart from just how much fun it was, Chenee got to learn a new word, “sook”.

The oxford English Dictionary defines sook as:


Seriously, though, this week’s skype chat was really helpful, supportive and definitely went a long way to building community within our class.  It got me thinking about how individual we all are and how we all have different needs.  Some of us are thriving in a self-directed learning model others need a little bit of hand-holding to keep us on track and some of us just get a lot out of the student community and sharing experience and discussion with our classmates. Tying that in with the MOOCs we are all enjoying at the moment and how xMOOCs are essentially self-directed learning and therefore only students who have that ability can really make the most out of this educational tool.

I am now wondering about my classmates on my MOOC of choice, how many of them are getting the full potential educational experience from the MOOC and how many are just flitting around the edges?


Tweet! Just a chat

It has been really interesting to hear about the various assessment methods being used in the MOOCs this week with multiple choice quizzes seeming to be the most prolific.

My MOOC: Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR
from Michigan State University does have its share of multiple choice quizzes but it is one of the new styles of MOOCs where you can pay a small fee and participate in peer review assignments and a portfolio assignment at the end of the 5 courses to gain a certificate from Michigan.

I’m finding the peer review process both strange, as I’ve never participated in one before, and really helpful. I’m getting lots of great feedback on my photos which is genuinely helping me to create better photos.

I do get a feeling of a much richer experience on the MOOC for it.

The man from coursera he say YES!

The man from coursera, he say YES!


I finally got the OK to conduct my netnography on my MOOC.

I was a bit worried as it was taking so long but the lecturer in charge of the course seems to be really keen and has sent me a few emails since wishing me luck with it and hoping I’ll share any pertinent results.



my frustration at the lifestream blog ideas and my inability to force it to fit a mould I want it to be in.  Image from © 2017 Pixabay


I’m finding the weekly roundups annoying and I wonder if I’m maybe not doing this correctly. I’ve been pretty much writing a step by step “did this”, but I feel that doing that with 250 words doesn’t leave any space for thought or reflection on things and it irks me.

I feel like I want to reflect, talk, discuss more but the lifestream idea kind of gets in the way. Week 6 for me will be about trying to stretch this blog to give me more space to collect my thoughts on readings, themes and the course.

How do I have a blog (as in the standard definition of a blog with blog posts), but that is also a lifestream (as in randomly generated online clutter that wasn’t intended to be collated to represent anything) that represents my online identity as a member of this course?

Something to ponder.

Ok I’m trying out online course readings and annotation just to see if I can

Being brave and testing out new technology.

Screen shot of the first step on my journey, pdf annotation

Tags: #mscedc
February 06, 2017 at 08:45PM
Open in Evernote


Turning this week, to community, I have taken 5 minutes to breathe and consider community and education. Of course, the very easy route to take is to consider students and learning communities, but there are way more communities in education than the obvious.

I decided to think about how my course activities this week could both be digital, experiential and help me to relate to a community that I work with but am not a member of so that I can better understand their needs, wants and worries. So this week, I am trying to go fully online and I’m not printing reading material. I should add some background so that this makes sense, currently, I work as a learning technologist at the University of Edinburgh, so it is my job to support the implementation of new tools and support the faculty using them. A recent change to tools and procedures has been to move submission of assignments and the marking and feedback for those assignments to a completely digital and online format.  The decision to do this being based on feedback in the National Student Survey and a push from  EUSA the student union on behalf of students of the university. It was said that the student community wanted to move to submitting their assignments digitally to reduce the stress and expense of printing these and that they requested that their grades and feedback be returned electronically to speed up the process, reduce the chances of valuable work being lost in the vast amount of student work being processed and of course for the convenience that not all students are onsite to collect their paper feedback at the time it is released.

Although there is no doubt that the willingness of the university to make changes based on student feedback is a great thing, the student community is not the only one affected by these changes. The academic staff who grade and feedback on assignments are directly affected as are the support staff who process the submissions and deal with student queries. Both groups are being asked to modify the tried and tested procedures that they already have in place and in a very quick turnaround time, create and implement new procedures. One of which is that there will be no more printed material to read/grade. For teaching staff who may be reading and grading 100 student papers, asking them to move completely to a digital environment has implications for VDU health and safety, the convenience of offline work and changing procedure they may have been following for a lengthy career already.

As the learning technologist, I portray the positives, I’m the encouraging face who supports the people making these changes and tries to make this as painless as possible, but this doesn’t require me to move out of my comfort zone, so how can I truly understand the needs and concerns of this community? Therefore, I made the decision that for at least block 2, I will no longer be printing my readings and working offline. I will be using Adobe DC to read and annotate my readings digitally and Evernote for note taking. This means a complete change to my preferred processes and allows me to experience something close to that of the teaching community I work with.

I hope to challenge my desire to print reading material and ask is it better to read offline or is it just a comfort that I do out of habit or assumptions which are incorrect?

Will this test change how I work in the future?

Or will this digital educationalist decide sometimes, technology isn’t the best policy?

Posting for the sake of posting – is it worthwhile

This random thought came about as we were playing with IFTTT to get our blogs running, I noticed the stream of tweets which merely shared something relating to technology and wondered if we were all falling into a trap of just posting to twitter so that it was shared, but without any real reason or in-depth thought about what we were sharing?  This is pertinent to me as I blog and vlog and to me, it’s important to give thought to the content you share, have a purpose that the content aims to achieve rather than just a constant stream of randomness which could be perceived as digital muttering.