Website – Courses

course

Website – Courses

http://kaotic-chic.ie/portalfolio/course.html

The courses page pretty much followed the design layout. The only major change was the placement and size of the iframe containing the UCAS link.

Basically what is happening on this page is that a FORM is being used to house all the options for a UCAS search. The ACTION when the user hits the search buttons is that the form is sent to the UCAS website and the search results are then displayed in the iframe. This was tricky.

I used UCAS as it is the largest database in the UK for colleges and Universities and visited their search page. I looked into how forms worked and found that every site has a command in the script that sends the queries on the form to a database that pulls the info and displays it. The idea was to break apart UCAS’s own searches and find their code. After much digging and testing I found this

action=”http://search.ucas.com/cgi-bin/hsrun/search/search/StateId/EHdEShSmmq-3rWVFa7Bi-22GTGQty-3k5r/HAHTpage/search.HsSearch.submitForm”

This is the submit action. By naming all my elements like the ones used by UCAS in my forms and including that script i could link my form to their database. This was great but had a cost. The code is only a temp one and every time you do a search a new one is generated. Because of this the code as a limited time span but this was no problem as all I had to do was plug in the new code for the show….then tonight they changed their ENTIRE site…..my action command no longer exists and I have no idea how the new one works. This is a pain but not a huge pain I guess. Or maybe I’m just in shock. As you can see from the screengrab today it worked but now its a bum code. Shall have to get my thinking cap on.

From the look of the code they have completely designed the back and front end of the site. the search is now being done using many different bits of javascript to pull the data need and presenting it. The FORM feature that I know and use is no longer in evidence. This makes it much easier for UCAS to update and change their site and means I now have a huge headache brewing.

Stay tuned on this one.

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The Self-Organizing Computer Course

Title:

The Self-Organizing Computer Course

Author:

Shimon Schocken

Scope:

Talk about the courses Schocken and his associates developed that lets student’s build a computer, piece by piece. When they offered the course online they were surprised at how many people started suing it and the results that they came up with. The course started teaching itself and was flexible to suit the individual and the group. From this he learned of the need to allow students to work outside of grading and with no fear of failing students excel in their creativity.

Intended Audience:

Teachers, students, computer scientists

Bias & Assumptions:

An understanding of computing but this isn’t needed to follow the message of the talk

Method Of Attaining Data:

His own experience in teaching and creating courses and the unexpected results of open education.

Authors Conclusions:

That in order to allow students to develop and grow you need to be providing them with a system that operates outside of grading. By allowing them to be self-motivated students will rise to the challenge and create amazing and create solutions to modern problems

Compare And Contrast:

Interesting response (and practical) to Ken Robinsons talk about schools killing creativity (TED, 2006)

Materials:

The results of his own course and examples of what students created on them.

Importance To Your Study:

From this talk I got the great quote “Grading takes the fun out of failing”. It’s a perfect saying for the idea of using Portal-Folio outside of a grading system. With this and Ken Robinson talking about the idea that the grading system is killing the creative side of people it’s a great book end for the development section.

It’s nice to see people not only talking about solutions but offering up examples too.

The Self-Organizing Computer Course

The Element: How finding your passion changes everything

Title:

The Element: How finding your passion changes everything

Author:

Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica

Scope:

Using the examples of many famous and creative people, Robinson explores and cries out for a change in the educational and business model. By focusing too much on what are seen as the higher subjects like maths many people, he argues, think that they are not talented and even stupid. Robinson calls for a change in the way people are educated in order to make this change happen and stop people from failing to live up to their potential
Through anecdotes of people like Matt Groening who have recognized their unique talents and been able to make a successful living doing what they love, Robinson argues that age and occupation are no barrier and explains how it is possible for each one of us to reach our element.

Intended Audience:

Academics, teachers anyone who wants to be inspired.

Materials:

Anecdotes and research findings

Bias & Assumptions:

While there is a lot of talk of reform there is little mention of action. However in order for action to take place someone needs to inspire people to change and Robinson is certainly doing that. While marketed as answer it really just offers examples and lets you chart your own course knowing that there are plenty who went ahead of you and succeeded

Method Of Attaining Data:

Interviews and years in educational academia

Authors Conclusions:

That a serious transformation needs to happen in education as the model that was set up only suited those who need an educated work force. We are losing out on imaginative and interesting people by using the old system. A change needs to occur.

Compare And Contrast:

Expansion on the TED talk he did in 2006 and would later follow in his 2010.

Importance To Your Study:

This is an important book as while it doesn’t offer a straight solution it does call for a change. Por-tal-Folio is a step towards that change. Its import for people to see that small steps and changes can have a huge effect and will get people thinking that there are alternatives. While it is fun to smash a system it’s better to go about changing it in small ways. It means people aren’t taken by surprise or left behind.

 

Prioritizing Web Usability

Prioritizing Web Usability

New Riders – 2006Nielsen, J., Loranger, H. (2006). Prioritizing Web Usability. Berkley: New Riders.

Main Author(s): Jakob Nielsen Ph. D HCI and founder of the Nielsen Norman Group. Hoa Loranger Ph. D Psychology. Director of the Nielsen Norman Group.

“With ten times as many sites & probably a hundred times as many pages on the web, users are getting less tolerant of difficult sites, so every design flaw means lost business. Usability has become more important than ever”

As the gods of Usability and one of the leaders in global web consultation Jakob Nielsen wrote the book in order to distil all the findings of the NNG’s user testing (10,000s of pages) into an accessible from. By highlighting critical and repeated problems in design the aim is to improve site design not only form the develop/designer approach but also from the business side too. The book updates a lot of the research that was previously done in 1994 in order to reflect the huge changes in net usage.

Primarily aimed at designers and UI/UX researchers. The book also appeals to companies and anyone
interested in how HCI effects the potential gain and lose to a site.

To avoid any bias the research was not funded by any company included in the book but through NNGs own funding. They were even very selective about who could do user testing by avoiding expert users. By appealing twenty plus years of expert opinion to test results they were able to come up with an in depth look at what works and what fails in web design and
usability.
This book is just one of the leading examples in the field of usability and Nielsen’s work from the early days of the net still stands up. By having this book close at hand you won’t fall into any of the traps of bad design and will always be reminded that Usability is key in e-commerce and web design. If you need to know why a section is included on a site you will find all you want to know in these books

RESEARCH GATHERED:

The importance of the About Us section in relation to trust. How usability is one of the most important factors in web design and that its essential to trust. In terms of an experience if you are using a site that has bad links poor loading times or confusing content your pleasure has gone out the window followed by your trust.

Bad Customer Services = lack of fate in that services

so

Bad Usability = lack of fate in that site.

EXAMPLES:

The About Us section and the importance it plays in trust.

Quotes:
”Trust and credibility are major issues on the web, where even the biggest company exists only as a few words and pictures inside a browser window”

“It is now very common for sites to include a dedicated “About Us” section. Although such areas have their own usability problems they let users know who’s behind the information they see on the site”

“Limit the number of font styles on your site and apply them consistently. People don’t trust sites that look like ransom notes”

Polaris: An Online Portfolio System for Undergraduate

AUTHOR:

Polaris: An Online Portfolio System for Undergraduate

Engineering Students  – Educause

SCOPE:

More or less a sales pitch about the Polaris system which is an ePortfolio system specifically designed for The University of Texas at Austin’s College

of Engineering. It’s an in-house ePortfolio system made available to all engineering students, who were encouraged to use it on a voluntary basis.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Engineering students, prospective students and also other educational institutes looking to implement their own ePortfolio system

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

The workings of engineering courses.

It’s a sales pitch so there is only one voice speaking very loudly about how great it is.

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

None really it’s more about the product in action and as a sales pitch its very one sided

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

Many reasons as to why it’s great but what stands out for me is    “Integration of reflection with record keeping: Designed to supplement in-class learn-by-doing activities in a project based engineering curriculum, the Polaris e-portfolio system includes significant reflective and collaborative components aimed at supporting guided student self-assessment, group interactions, and peer-based project review” Which is a similar set of outcomes to what I tend Portal-Folio to do.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

Compared to the reviews of open source systems it’s very one sided

MATERIALS:

None

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

It’s good to see what other systems are out there and what they provide. While Polaris is very insular it does address the needs of the course and seems to be very well designed and has user friendliness at the forefront. It mentions how there are many other portfolio systems but Polaris is designed with the university in mind making it much easier to use.

While it’s not exactly what I want there are some elements that are important and can be transferred across to the Portal-folio system

Such as;

Made available to all engineering students, who were encouraged to use it on a voluntary basis.

The Polaris framework includes special exercises designed to help engineering students reflect on the relevance of their course projects and experiences to their evolving sense of themselves as engineers. Something similar to the development section of the Portal-folio site.

Wizard and Web development:

When students initially log on to Polaris, they are directed to a series of pages that guide them through the process of creating the four basic

components that make up the functional portfolio: (1) a

home page, including picture, brief biography, and links to

their projects; (2) a résumé page; (3) a contact information

page; and (4) the first project page.

They can return at any time to modify or add to their portfolio. To assist students as they create their first project page, Polaris offers a series of Web pages that ask simple questions…  focuses students on information that might be included in the project description’s concluding paragraph: “What would you do differently?” “How does [the project] relate to real-world applications?” Polaris developers are encouraged by survey results that suggest students welcome the simple exercises that help them write a project abstract and are beginning to recognize that these exercises will save them time in the long run, improve the advising process, and help them articulate what they have learned at UT.

Fryer W. (2010) Online Student Portfolios: What Tools Are Best?

AUTHOR:

Fryer W. (2010) Online Student Portfolios: What Tools Are Best? Retrieved from http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2010/04/25/online-student-portfolios/ on 6th of February 2013

SCOPE:

Great article answering the questions of using Moodle as an ePortfolio system in a school. The article suggests many alternatives for Moodle and ways up the pros and cons of each.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

Schools, Students, Faculty staff, educators.

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

The workings of many systems form open source to fee paying and the American school system

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

Articles, links to sites, reviews of systems and research of others

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

That despite your budget or requirements there is a system out there for you. While there is some benefit to having a fee paying system it generally means they are abandoned once the student has left the facility which indicates they are solo for that institutes benefit and not he students. By using a more open source system you are encouraging the student to carry that portfolio with them

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

None

MATERIALS:

Links, videos examples screenshots and reviews

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

This article has linked me with all the many ways and systems people use when it comes to eportfolios. While there are many there appears to be none doing quite what I am proposing which is good 🙂 The system that is said ot be the best is Mahara as it is an open source online portfolio system that can be adapted and changed to suit the needs of the user. This is a great find and once I have done the pitch it will be my first port of call when it comes to creating a working model for the show.

As I am just selling the idea/concept of portfolio I see no need to start into something like Mahara just yet and will probably be better served in terms of the degree by developing my own experiments and examples for the pitch before adapting the work of others.

Its great to know that there is a system out there as I can use it for the show and spend my time further developing the concept and the exhibition piece.

 

 

Mahoney C. (2011) “How should teaching learning and evolve?”

AUTHOR:

Mahoney C. (2011) “How should teaching learning and assessment evolve?” Retreived from http://pearsonblueskies.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/28-pp_119-121.pdf on 6th of Febuary 2013

SCOPE:

A reaction piece the HEA report on Dimensions of Quality in third level education. The piece calls on a more standardized way of assigning a teaching qualification to those in 3rd level teaching roles such as is found in secondary schools.

“Teaching..make(s) the single biggest contribution to the student learning experience and student success”

“Gibbs found that process variables – the way institutions use their resources – make the biggest difference to educational outcomes. He picks out class size, the level of student effort and engagement, who does the teaching, and quality of feedback to students on their work as the significant and valid process indicators.”

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

Academics, Teaching staff and educational boards in the UK

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

Understanding of the educational system in the UK and of the importance of the Gibbs’s standing in that system.

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

Research and quotes.

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

As he puts it himself “In the future higher education teaching qualifications need to be reviewed as part of a package of measures that help raise the status of teaching…with 2.4 million students enrolled in UK higher education, the work that lecturers put in to supporting students’ learning is something that all of us must take more seriously and respond to appropriately as expectations from existing and future student groups rise. This is the best way of ensuring that quality is improved across higher education in the future.”

He’s calling on a level of educational teaching that can be awarded and reviewed as it is by far one of more important aspect of the students 3rd level career but academic research is more important in terms of a career for a lecturer.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

An interesting expansion of the findings in the HEA paper. Brings about an assured quality control and works to the benefit of the student.

MATERIALS:

Research and experience.

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

With heavy hitters like Gibbs and the HEA publishing papers the whole academic world reacts. These kinds of articles and reports give me a window into what is currently being discussed in that world. Its important to know what are the key things being looked at and where change is being called for so I can adapt and describe processes in the Portal-Folio system to address these issues.

In essence its all about learning the buzzwords and being able to communicate to people in the language and terms that they are hearing all the time. The more I learn from these papers, the stronger the elements in the Portal-folio are going to be and the stronger my pitch will be.

Levin S. (2011) The Independent Project White Paper

AUTHOR:

Levin S. (2011) The Independent Project White Paper, Retreived from http://www.theindependentproject.org/the-white-paper/ on  8th of February 2013

SCOPE:

Review and outlining of a project undertaken by Monument Mountain Regional High School in alternative student driven school-within-a-school. The two things the student felt were missing from many high school classrooms were engagement and mastery. He also felt that students who were engaged were often learning material that was not very intellectually valuable. The paper is the explaining and documenting of the project for further implementation by other schools.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

Schools, Students, Faculty staff, educators and media

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

The workings of American high school (not a major issue)

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

The observations of running the course and the feedback from students and staff through out. As it was a pilot scheme intended for testing and expansion the whole process was being monitored by a number of people from the beginning.

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

That overall the project was a great success with some problems as is to be expected in any pilot scheme. The students gain a wide range of knowledge and experience and were happy to be in control of what they learned through a wide range of feedback and teaching methods that they themselves implemented. Rather than being a top down approach students would ask a question at the beginning of the week, research it for the rest of the week and teach it to the rest of the group at the end of the week. The method of having them teach their findings means a far greater understanding of a subject than just regulating a fact or formula. The project has been adopted by other schools and can be seen as a growing force in an alternative education system.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

While a little one sided its a very encouraging read. In some way its the actual carrying out of the ideas of people like ken Robinson. And what’s even better is that it was a student who started it up the very revolt being called for is happening within the system. A perfect answer to the rallying cry.

MATERIALS:

Research taken while the project was in action. Explaining through examples.

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

Finding this paper and project has been a great boost. Knowing that people are undertaking different ideas and that they are successful is always great encouragement in any project.

While not directly relating to me it does give me an idea of some of the things being tried out in order to develop and change the educational system in a way that benefits the student.

A great quote from the paper is “Research by Mihalyi…..”

This is in essence what I am trying to encourage with Portal-Folio by having the students engaging  with a college outside of the school structure they are taking it on themselves to present their work and have it examined and then using that feedback to change and develop their work in a way that requires them to do act on their passions and take control of their learning.

Its also a window into what it takes to get a project running within an existing system and how you must plan for that. Its been great to see how ideas can become projects and successes.

Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. – Bandler & Grinder

AUTHOR:

Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. – Bandler & Grinder

SCOPE:

The first book that outlined the concept of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) involving human communication, linguistics, perception, cognition and psychology and ways to shift and change these fields that was radical in its time (1979). Many of these methods have now been discredited and it is largely seen as a pseudoscience by many (Norcross, 2010. “What Does Not Work? Expert Consensus on Discredited Treatments in the Addictions”

The book is about personal development and how you can go about changing your life through the methods outlined. Really it’s a collection of talks edited together into a book. By examining a person responses both verbal and nonverbal to a set of interactions and conversations you can guide them to a solution in terms of a problem in their lives. It’s a form of analyses that’s aimed at improving communication. It goes about exploring how our use of language will guide our way of thinking and reaction to those thoughts.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

Aimed a range of people but most those in the counseling and psychology world. Also aimed at the self-help market.

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

A few. There is a very loose way of explaining things in this book. While some methods will hit home and can be used as an improvement it doesn’t work completely. As a practice NLP has been largely discredited but it can work within other treatments. The problem with Frogs and Princes is that the book claims to be a sort of cure all for a range of problems without any real backing up of evidence. As a self-help book you would expect these kind of claims but as a psychological process you need to be a lot more rigorous in your claims.

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

From practice and implementing a model of their creation. A lot of it is anecdotal. There are no models or published data.

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

“With great power comes great responsibility” or words to that effect in the warning at the back of the book. The authors state that communication is a key factor in helping and encouraging people and by a process of examining the ways in which we communicate you can build on a better understanding of people and change their lives by having them focus on how they think and talk which will change what they do.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

None.

MATERIALS:

None

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

Bugger all really. What I wanted to get from this book was an understanding of the quote “No Failure, Only Feedback” which is a wonderful concept. However it was buried in a whole bunch of pseudoscience which has somewhat tainted the quote.

In essence the quote is about the idea that nothing is a failure only another step on the road to discovery and success. And in this regard the quote is a very powerful. I intend to use it as a way of explaining the importance of the experimentation processes that can be encouraged outside of the classroom and grading systems. The development section and indeed the whole Portal-Folio system is about encouraging students to take risks in a risk free environment as far as the grading system is involved.

Godin S. (2013) Eleven things organizations can learn from airports

AUTHOR:

Godin S. (2013) Eleven things organizations can learn from airports

Retrieved: 27 January 2013 from http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/01/ten-things-organizations-can-learn-from-airports-.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fsethsmainblog+%28Seth%27s+Blog%29

SCOPE:

A short blog entry on how not to run a business.

INTENDED AUDIENCE:

Business, economists and marketing

BIAS & ASSUMPTIONS:

Understanding of businesses and airports

METHOD OF ATTAINING DATA:

Observation and understanding on economics

AUTHORS CONCLUSIONS:

That an airport is a bad business model. As he puts it himself “As we see at many organizations that end up like this, the airport mistakes its market domination for a you-have-no-choice monopoly (we do have a choice, we stay home). And in pursuit of reliable, predictable outcomes, these organizations dehumanize everything, pretending it will increase profits, when it actually does exactly the opposite.”

COMPARE AND CONTRAST:

None

MATERIALS:

Experience with airports and reports from marketing research

IMPORTANCE TO YOUR STUDY:

What drew me to the article was the quote “Like colleges, airports see customers as powerless transients. Hey, you’re going to be gone tomorrow, but they’ll still be here.”

This was in keeping with some of the ideas I was having about the Portal-Folio system in so much as it was going to be a way for students to take some control over the college processes. By being in touch with a college prior to a submissions processes the student is extending that relationship at not risk to themselves. The college may still treat them as a transient customer but the length of that relationship has been extended even if just a little.

Its a great quote for illustration a point and can be used across the project.