Thursday, March 29, 2007


I've written before about my liberal use of Wikipedia as a background source for information. After someone asked for more information about why I started writing a post detailing my reasons, and then the fine people at Google Operating System did it instead.

Ther article "Why People Link to Wikipedia" details some of the many reasons that Wikipedia is a prime resource for unbiased and useful information.

Here's number 1:

1. Wikipedia articles have a lot of content
and people like to link to pages that consist mostly of text. There's a
lot of information structured in a consistent way and that makes most
of the articles valuable.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Friday, March 23, 2007


My favourite VLE is starting to get even more coverage in the press. This article on ZDNet shows just how far Moodle has come.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On the Implementation of an LMS or LCMS

The eLearning Guild is an American organisation (or organization as they would have it) that promotes eLearning, its uses and applications.

As part of this they have produced, in collaboration with Adobe, a free e-book on the subject.

While it's too fragmented to read well it's still a useful resource for anyone involved in implementing these systems.

While you're there check out the other e-books they have available.

Monday, March 12, 2007

SQA and e-Learning

You can say want you want about the SQA (insert your own joke here) but they have always seen the potential of e-learning, e-assessment and e-portfolios. In fact for a small country we are remarkably advanced in introducing these things into the day-to-day learning environment.

If you're interested in the SQA's current thinking (and you should be) they've produced a new document outlining their vision for the next five years and more. You can read the PDF document at this link:

SQA E-Assessment Vision Strategy

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Veracity of On-Line Sources

When creating my various e-learning packages I frequently include links to background information. More often than not those links go to Wikipedia.

I've found that for straight technical subjects (like, picking an example purely at random, a description of the 802.11 wireless standard) Wikipedia is peerless.

Where I would be less keen to use it is on subjective subjects. Two items have come together today that remind me exactly why that is.

The first, and most though-provoking, is the news that an editor on Wikipedia faked his credentials; including awarding himself a fake doctorate in religion. I'm not concerned that the editor did not have formal academic qualifications, many of the most knowledgable people in all sorts of fields have knowledge gained from long years of study but have never been near an academic institution. Instead my concern is that people with personal axes to grind will use Wikipedia to promote their own viewpoints, rather than writing authoritatively and dispassionately.

Which brings me to the second piece of news. Some radical American right-wing neo-conservatives have started Conservapedia to present their own, uniquely twisted, view of world affairs. At heart this means that everything good is American, Christian and right-wing and everything bad is European, non-Christian and liberal.

This led to an amusing exchange on the BBC's Today programme (yes, Conservapedia, it does have an extra me at the end) between representatives from the two organisations. For Wikipedia the goal is an authoratitive, neutral representation of information. The Conservapedia spokesman on the other hand seemed unable to graps the idea of neutrality, continually complaining that pro-American and pro-Christian articles had been edited or removed altogether. Not forgetting one of the most heinous allegations against Wikipedia, it sometimes uses non-American spelling!

So, do we want Wikipedia where everyone is equal at the potential expense of articles that don't know what they're talking about, or Conservapedia where no-one is equal and no-one knows what they're talking about? Let's just say that I won't be referencing Conservapedia any time soon.

UPDATE: Looks like Conservapedia has a new, extra, URL. Welcome to Moronopedia.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Software for Virtual Teams

The bonus, and the drawback, of creating e-learning is that it is quite common to be nowhere near the other members of your team when you are working together.

Most people have an idea of the various tools that are available for virtual working but Read/Write Web has just come up with an article on software for virtual teams that covers them all.

It is comprehensive, at least for a week until the next big thing comes out.