Category Archives: Images

Prior learning – what’s up with that?

You may have heard a lot of buzz about colleges responding to the need to provide credit for prior learning experiences – like work experience or informal learning.  The idea is that these real-world experiences that students (mostly adult learners) have had should be looked on as skill development and information acquisition and application – just like college classes.  It seems to make sense, so why is there all this controversy surrounding it?

Anything that makes major changes in the way the educational system works is often controversial when first proposed.  In the new world of education that we’re moving towards, perhaps it won’t be so foreign.

Check out these links and gather your own conclusions:

College Credit Without College from Inside Higher Ed

Check out this article on Prior Learning Assessment from Wikipedia

This is American Council on Education’s page on PLA.

This article – also from Higher Ed – focuses on MOOCs and college credit.

This study, reported on by the CollegeBoard, shares how a new study reveals students with PLA do much better in college.

Heard of edupunks?  This link takes you to a free download for “The Edupunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential.”

Or, if you want a cool new visual way to check out these links, check out the board I created for it with even more resources HERE.

Signing off from one edupunk to another – Sasha

Love Pintrest? Try Learnist!

screenshot of learnistSo I have been trying to get an invite to Learnist’s Beta for WEEKS and finally got it this weekend!  I feel like I just got an invite to the best party of the season!  And I immediately started posting learning.  So simple, and frankly I prefer the functionality to Pintrest already.  Vastly.

Check out their website HERE.

The implications for this are really endless.  Think Pintrest, but more seamless, and focused on education – all topics, of course, and all ages and types of learners.  I just started and already found a ton of cool stuff.  I think I’ve found a new favorite!

Now if Diigo and Learnist could somehow get together and have a technology child, that would be the best tool ever.  (If it could have import/export to Dropbox, all my dreams would come true!)


Has a hero been bumped from your list with one too many movie reboots?

Consider Jane McGonigal as a replacement!

Jane McGonigalThis innovative heroine champions the use of gaming to actually IMPROVE the real world!  Think of her as the cheerleader who will save the world!  (That works on multiple levels – think back to the now defunct TV show Heroes.)

I’ve posted her TED talk, and just began reading her new book – “Reality is Broken:  Why games make us better and how they can change the world.”

Favorite quotes so far from the book include:

“Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out that almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.”

There’s a whole bunch of actual research to back this up.  But blog entries aren’t exactly known for their ability to cite research and do a thorough literature review, so definitely check out her book for that.

“…extreme emotional activation is the primary reason why today’s most successful computer and video games are so addictive and mood-boosting.  When we’re in a concentrated state of optimistic engagement, it suddenly becomes biologically more possible for us to think positive thoughts, to make social connections, and to build personal strengths.  We are actively conditioning our minds and bodies to be happier.”

I was with Pat Stansberry  (shout out to faculty extraordinaire at Metro Campus, who shared her interview on Steven Colbert with me,) watching her talk about gaming when her book was mentioned, popped on my Cuyahoga County Public Library App on my iPad, found her book as an ePUB, downloaded it and started reading it.  If I think about conceptually what those activities would have entailed when I was in college back in the day, it would have taken me at least a couple of hours to accomplish the same thing…

So check out her work!  And maybe get a fresh new hero while you’re at it!

Let the games begin:) – Sasha

(Drumroll….) Service Pack 8 for Blackboard is coming!

Service Pack 8 is the first in a series of small feature updates and patches which the Office of eLearning and Innovation will install within the existing ITS maintenance schedule.

Service Pack 8 update will take place on May 18th.  Blackboard will be unavailable from 5:00 AM to 7:00 AM.

What’s New with this Update?

  • Test timing that automatically stops the test!
  • Automatic grade updates when a test question is changed!
  • Streamlined navigation between courses!

Stay tuned for more exciting enhancements to Blackboard over the course of the year!  Check out the Faculty Blackboard Page for updates on future enhancements!

CourseSites Opening for Free PD

course sites by Blackboard banner

In what appears to be a continuing interest in capitalizing on the Open Educational Resources bandwagon, Blackboard is now offering free highlighted courses through CourseSites – their free, hosted version of Blackboard Learn that lets any teacher anywhere to create up to 5 free courses.

The first course to be offered in this series is entitled “Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success.”  Very cool concept.  Application?  To be determined.  Let us know if you check out this free course and have any interesting insights to share-and-share-alike! (Ah, Creative Commons Licensing Humor.)

Google Apps for Education wrapped up in a pretty virtual conference bow!

Google Air ImagesWhat are you doing May 2nd from 12PM – 10 PM?  Why participating in virtual sessions in Google’s Educational Technology    conference via Google hangouts, of course!

Check out the full explanation, titles of sessions and directions on how to participate HERE!

There are sessions on everything from deploying Google Apps for education for an institution, to integrating YouTube in the classroom, to managing digital portfolios!

I’ll be checking it out myself in MCC 112 – look for an open invitation to join me for some virtual sessions from 12 noon – 3 PM on May 2nd!

– Your Friendly Neighborhood NextGen Learning Friends – Sasha

Mobile App Development Tools

smartphone with tri-c appsInterested in building your own app?  There are free mobile app development tools that are easy-to-use – called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get.)  With simple visual interfaces, they allow non-programmers to build mobile apps easily.  If you’re considering building your own app, check these out:

MIT App Inventor

  • Android only
  • “Creating an App Inventor app begins in your browser, where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone.”
  • Success story:




  • App outputs for native iPhone and Adnroid, self-publishing, HTML5 cross-platform.
  • “We designed iBuildApp features so you could benefit from using easy-to-understand and convenient tools when building or updating your applications. Your application users will benefit from simplicity and quick load time.  Creating your own app with iBuildApp takes only a few minutes and absolutely FREE. Your followers will see your name and icon in the App Store, they can download your app on their mobile device, while backstage you have a powerful content management system to update the app “on the fly”, any time, as often as you would like.”

Interested in more general resources about mobile app development?  Check out these links:

Wikipedia entry:

W3C’s Info on The Web and Mobile Devices:

Presentation on Cross-Platform Mobile Development:


Blackboard buys Moodlerooms – inconceivable!

moodle rooms logoIn a stunning announcement, Blackboard has purchased two of Moodle’s primary partners (both for-profit companies who shared their profits for the continued development of the free, open source Learning Management System (LMS) known as Moodle.)  Apparently, Moodle’s founder is ok with it, as shared in this post in Wired Campus from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Have there been a polar shift?  Is there a  disturbance in the force?  Apparently not.  Blackboard announced this along with their new Open Source Services Group – hosting and consulting services to go along with using Moodle.  


Open Education Week Recap

open education week logoDid you participate in Open Education Week?

The first ever Open Education Week took place from March 5 – 10, and presentations and discussions are now being shared on the website for the event.  Check out the full site for all the details on the great work that went down, and how you can become a part of this positive movement in the future.

Need some sites to search for Open Educational Resources (OER)?  Check out this diigo bookmark list of great sites to get started.