All posts by James Clay

Administrate Athens Accounts, you can’t from home!

So there I was on leave, when I got a phone call from work, someone needed access to JORUM. Though they had an Athens account, they probably weren’t part of the staff group we have which allows access to JORUM (as JORUM is a staff only resource). So using my Athens Administrator account details I tried to login to Athens from home, only to find that I couldn’t because it was also restricted by IP address! So unfortunately the member of staff will have to wait till next week, because the other Athens administrator is also on leave (come on it is August, virtually no one is around).

Now I suppose if we had a VPN at work I could have logged into that and then I could have access. Or if I had my home IP address “added” to the list of safe IP addresses (I have done this before with other IP restricted resources). However at this point neither of those are possible, so the member of staff will have to wait a week!

Will Shibboleth solve these issues? Maybe, maybe not, as you still need to administrate accounts with Shibboleth.

A warning to all coffee lovers out there

Found this interesting article on the BBC News website.

Girl overdoses on espresso coffee – A teenager was taken to hospital after overdosing on espresso coffee.

It would appear that she had seven double espresso coffees and as a result had overdosed on caffeine!

A warning to all coffee lovers out there, I know that a lot of teachers and lecturers seem to thrive on coffee, or they can only survive through the average day in FE by drinking coffee.

It would seem that extra caution is needed where I work as we now have Starbucks coffee available in our college cafes and I quite like the off Starbucks espresso now and again .

Creating Accessible Presentations

TechDis have published the third of their accessibility essentials guides. This third guide can tell you all you need to know about creating accessible presentations in PowerPoint.

As multimedia presentations are increasingly favoured as a means of delivering lectures, the importance of making them accessible to all learners becomes crucial. Software such as PowerPoint can present barriers to some learners, but it can also support others, and this Guide to Creating Accessible Presentations can show you how.

It has four sections:

  • Using Microsoft PowerPoint Accessibly within Teaching and Learning
  • Implementing Inclusive Practice
  • Delivering Presentations Inclusively
  • Good Practice in Providing Alternative Outputs to Support Accessibility

The guide also looks at the importance of making PowerPoint components accessible for others to re-use.

Check out the guide.

12 Ways to Use Facebook Professionally

Web Worker Daily has a nice feature on how to use Facebook for business or in a professional capacity.

Let’s look at 12 ways Facebook can benefit the web worker, particularly those who are home-based. The more connected you are to your co-workers and clients without being intrusive, the better your working relationship.

Read more

I am a relatively recent convert to Facebook (more for discovering the potential of the site then for other reasons, but I have managed to make contact with some old colleagues from at-Bristol which is nice). For me there are quite a few ways in which Facebook can be used both as e-learning professionals but also to support and enhance learning.

Growing interest in Second Life, but I don’t get it!

Eduserve have published a snapshot of how FE and HE institutions are using Second Life.

It makes for informative reading and it’s interesting how quite a few places are using Second Life for a range of purposes.

I have yet to try Second Life and to be honest I don’t really get Second Life! I am not even sure if I “tried” it then I might see the potential for me.

I do however understand why it could be useful for learning activities. Some staff from Gloucestershire College have indicated how they would like to use a virtual immersive environments such as Second Life and I do see why they want to use them – a virtual court room for law courses is one example.

I can also see the benefits of having a presence in Second Life for marketing purposes, so that people in Second Life can see what you have to offer, though I wonder how many prospective students we have in Second Life that would actually result in student numbers to offset the costs of setting up a marketing activity in Second Life. I would have thought resources could be used more effectively elsewhere, even more so when you consider most of our prospective learners are under sixteen and therefore not “using” Second Life anyhow.

As for meetings and other conference style activities, maybe it is just me (and I am getting old) I would prefer a video of a presentation over an avatar giving a presentation. I don’t mind textual chat either with instant messaging or online forums, I quite like video chat (when it works).

It’s probably just me, I don’t get Second Life, but it is apparent from the Eduserve snapshot that others certainly do and seem to be trying to make the most of it.

User Experience

I am attending a very interesting presentation on user experiences. Introduced by Brian Kelly he gave an overview about the tools users use and offered reasons why institutions should not try and replicate these services but integrate and use them instead.

Brian Kelly presenting at the JISC Digitisation Conference, July 2007.

The next two speakers spoke about how the British Library and Newsfilm Online are designing their sites with the end user as the focus.

There were some interesting video clips of how the (currently unavailable) Newsfilm Online website will develop.

Attending a digital images workshop

I am currently attending a workshop on digital images at the JISC Digitisation Conference.

It is a technical briefing on capture, conversion and workflow.

Nigel Goldsmith, the TASI Technical Research Officer is talking about images, RAW format, Adobe’s Digital Negative format and JPEG2000.

Outlining many of the problems with JPEG2000 and why it isn’t widely used or supported.

It’s quite interesting.