Month one of one pic-a-day project

I’ve joined the 2009/365photos Flickr photo pool. This is a group of education technology folk who’ve decided to take one photograph every day for a year. It’s a great discipline and has rekindled my interest in taking photos. I’ve not been systematic about taking photos, instead I just try to capture an image that for me sums up the day, or at least a notable point in each day. Looking back over the pics for January it’s interesting how quickly I can recall each day. Previous to starting the photo documentary project I could not have told you what I was doing 3-4 weeks ago let alone last week most of the time. But now it’s easy. As I’ve never had the discipline to keep a diary, this is a nice way of recording each day.

With today being the last day of January, a bunch of us are celebrating the first milestone, and 1/12 of the way through the project. Here’s a slideshow of my pics for January. There are a few duffers in there but overall I’m pleased with my first 31 pics.

Warwick on iTunesU

My institution has just gone live on iTunesU. It’s a good site, and I know a lot of effort has gone into creating the site and its content. For example take a look at Ian Stewart’s Math Challenges. Although I am no doubt biased, Warwick’s is one of the better iTunesU sites out there.

I’m curious to know who looks at iTunesU sites and whether they find the content there useful (as opposed to simply ‘peering over the garden fence’ to have a look at what the neighbours are doing). I’ve looked at lots of iTunesU sites and viewed lots of content but I wouldn’t say I was a consumer of iTunesU content, merely curious to see what’s there. But then again I’m probably not part of the target audience.

So what is the target audience? Is it prospective students, wanting to find out what they can expect if they choose a particular educational establishment? Or current students perhaps, trawling for useful learning resources? Then again maybe iTunesU is just a digital market place, where institutions set out samples of their wares, and where turning up and being seen is as important as what you have to show (there is some shockingly awful content on some sites). Perhaps it’s all of these things, and more.

One less good aspect of iTunesU is that it seems to enforce content silos. Although it’s early days (for us) it doesn’t seem to encourage or provide a mechanism for collaboration between content providers. The platform, and I use that term loosely at least in the edtech sense of the word, is simply a smart looking aggregator of channels of content, and limited content types it has to be said, where channels are institutions rather than topics, themes or cross-institutional content areas. I will however acknowledge that the search engine in iTunes is quite good, although you apparently can’t subscribe to an RSS feed of search results but I might have missed that.

It’s hard to deny that iTunesU has an appeal to many content providers (marketing and comms departments?) as there’s a growing list of institutional members. But as for who’s using the content, I guess after a little while we’ll find out, or at least find out who’s been looking at our stuff.