Hey, I didnâ€™t even know you could do this! In Mac OS X, you know those little icons in the top-right menubar, stuff like the date, iChat, airport status etc, well there are loads of little utilities you can get to cram in your menubar to do cool tricks. Check out super OS X menubar items for a great list.
Please bear with me as I migrate 3+ years of weblog posts from Radio UserLand to my new WordPress weblog. Iâ€™ve managed to get the 700-odd individual posts into the new database but there are a few glitches to sort out over the weekend.
To mark John Peel Day, today I will be mostly listening to Joy Division, New Order, White Stripes and PJ Harvey as well as remembering the great man himself.
Blackboard and WebCT have announced agreement to merge with BlackBoard remaining as the brand name. In reality however, WebCT, both the company and the platform, will be stripped and incorporated into Bb. So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well for starters it will make the WebCT or Bb decision that bit easier! But pity the smaller VLE/LMS vendors who’ll now have a monster to battle. More importantly I think this merger will probably be a threat to interoperability standards.
A couple of years ago I was at the IMS Alt-i-lab meeting in San Francisco and heard two very interesting and honest presentations from the CTOs of both WebCT and BlackBoard. Effectively they were saying that BigCo vendors were cautious about embracing interoperability too vigourously because their companies have a commercial imperative to maintain their distinctiveness in the market place. Imagine if you could use WebCT one week, effortlessly switch to BlackBoard the next and so on, ‘what would be the reason for remaining loyal to any one system?’, or so they argued. While the big two vendors remained separate there was always a customer demand for the ability to at least in principle switch content from one system to the other as universities for instance feared content lock-in. With the announcement of this merger a major reason for content interoperability has probably just disappeared. Sure there remain a number of very good but much smaller systems as alternatives to the Bb/WebCT behemoth but if you were BlackBoard would you work hard to make sure your content or services were interoperable with those? Well let’s hope so, but I think this news is going to present some real challenges to the interoperability folks. There are alternatives, choose open source for example, but if you were a university where would you put your money?
The RELOAD web site is showing a link to WeLOAD or the Web based Learning Object Authoring and Delivery service. WeLoad “… is a web based editor which collects and structures Uploads, Links and Descriptions to IMS content packages in a school intranet and delivers them via browser in the way RELOAD does”. Sounds like a nice idea. It’d be handy to have a simple web service that you could give a bunch of content files/objects and get a content package in return. Such a web service would nicely integrate into a VLE or LCMS so give content packaging functionality for moving data and objects between systems. Sounds a bit like what I interpret the SPAID project is attempting to do with QTI assessment items. Pity WeLOAD is in German though.