S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

News from SA (supported by the National VET E-learning Strategy)

November 2011


Hi everyone,

Apologies to those of you who disapprove of my penchant for silly images and animations, [cheeky grin] but this picture so aptly portrays the aftermath of the last couple of weeks in our office! LOL One of the categories of the new National VET E-learning Strategy funding round is being managed by SA and with applications for funding pouring in, it’s been soooo busy in the run up to closing day!  Exciting though! 🙂


National VET E-learning StrategyAaah…that question has one of those annoying answers – “maybe”, “something like that”, “it depends”, etc  [chuckles] At this stage there are some very targeted programs coming up soon, and while they won’t necessarily suit everyone’s needs, it is worth keeping an eye on www.flexiblelearning.net.au for news (or ask me to add you to the SA E-learning mailing list).  I know, for example that there will soon be a call for applications for the Higher Qualification Pathways Project, and if you are interested in this one, email Allison Miller for details or to be advised when Guidelines are out.  We are also crossing all our fingers and toes (always necessary when it comes to Government funding, heh, heh) that more will be happening towards the middle of next year….so let me know if you would like some suggestions on how you might move yourself into the right spot for a successful application!


CommoncraftWhy?  Well, apart from the fact that video-creation isn’t too difficult anyway, I’m suggesting that you turn the whole thing over to your students.  How easy is that!  [grin] You might have heard of the Commoncraft Videos which are very simple ‘Plain English’ style videos.  (Their latest one focuses on Plagiarism and might be useful as a resource).  Anyway, my suggestion is to get your students to create a video to demonstrate their knowledge, instead of a boring assignment.  Here are some ready-made instructions to get them going…



Twitter! [sounds of wild applause] 🙂  This extensive list is compiled each year by Jane Hart, and the list is now finalised for 2011. She has some interesting observations such as “The list is dominated once again by free, online social tools, and proprietary content development tools continue to decline“.  The top 3 tools for learning this year have been Twitter, YouTube and Google Docs.  Check out the Best of Breed list too, where the tools are categorised neatly under headings such as Blogging, Photo-Sharing, Audio Tools etc.


Came across this list of 17 awesome sites for Moodle training videos, so thought I would pass it on.  Here is an example of one called View the Frequency of a Student’s Access to Resources – but there are heaps!



Should you have instructions at the front of your online course? Yes? No? It’s an oft-heard argument amongst developers and trainers, so I quite like the article More Than a Dozen Ways to Navigate an E-Learning Course as it provides examples and alternatives.  But then again..is that flashing Next button such a good idea?  Avoiding the Trap of Clicky-Clicky Bling-Bling argues that maybe simple is best.  What do you think?  Click on the Comment link below and let us know.


StickiesThis little tool might help to save your marriage!  How many times have you forgotten to pick up milk on the way home. [grin]   Stickies puts a little yellow post-it note on your PostItscreen where it stays until you tell it to go.  You can even set them to pop up as a reminder at a particular time.  (This little tool is just one I found on the Snapfiles website, shared by Stuart Vaughan-Williams from TAFESA).


Look like?” I can hear you say? I guess you might be thinking that they just look like lists of messages [smiles], and that’s true…but wouldn’t it be good if you could visualise the network of interactions, and identify patterns of user behaviour and actually see what was happening.  And you can…with SNAPP.  I actually love this tool and use it myself when facilitating online courses. It just sits quietly in your Bookmarks but when you are looking at a forum, click on it and the visualisations just appear!  Fabulous tool for e-facilitators.


fBulletinI’ve heard that discussion forums are soooo 2004! Well, students probably think so and I’ve been following a series of blog posts by Andrew Douche starting with Why the Facebook Group My Students Created for Themselves is Better than the Discussion Forum I Created for Them.  This has made me wonder whether the formal, mostly text-based forum message board is starting to reach the end of it’s life.  The latest blog posting is More Reasons Our Class Facebook Group Is Better Than My School Discussion Board.  If you have a cohort of students who seem to spend more time on Facebook than in your online course, why not meet them halfway and set up a Group for discussion…instructions below.


CrowdI believe there used to be agencies where you could literally ‘rent-a-crowd’, however in these days of social networking, I guess they no longer exist. [thoughtful look]  These days it’s called ‘crowdsourcing‘ which is a term used when work is outsourced to a large community via an open call.  Wikipedia is probably a great example of how to get a crowd of people to do something useful [cheeky grin], but did you know that Foot Locker used a wiki to galvanize “sneakerheads” worldwide to document the history of sneakers? Or that Facebook was used as a tool to help identify 5,000 fish species in a hurry? Australian Historic Newspapers encourages members of the public to correct/fix up/improve the text of old newspapers, and in less than 2 years over 12 million lines of text have been improved by thousands of public users. Not useful to you? [theatrical sigh]  🙂 Then how about if a group of educators all contributed to a page called Interesting Ways, adding suggestions for engaging students eg 35 Interesting Ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom.  Now THAT would be interesting…right?


BBC ConnectWell, that’s what the BBC Connect site promises!  Julie Goodburn from TAFESA pointed me to this link and I spent far too long wandering around checking out all the little videos and resources! 🙂 Seems quite good, especially for beginners.


FacebookThis is something I get asked about a lot, and I’m often surprised that people put up all sorts of stuff into Facebook and don’t ever make themselves familiar with the privacy settings!  Are you mad!!??  [smile]  To make it easy, here are 5 Facebook Privacy Settings You Must Review Now, all done with step by step instructions.  You might also be interested in 7 Best Practices For Educators Using Facebook.

Email me!I’m sure that’s enough for now, as you are probably as busy as me and don’t have much spare time either! I think we all need a nice relaxing break…roll on summer public holidays! [grin]



3 thoughts on “November 2011

  1. Hi Marlene

    On behalf of everyone who prides themselves on producing good quality videos that convey messages effectively – Video creation isn’t that hard anyway? Surely you’re kidding?

    It takes planning and knowing what your equipment does and how it works as well as skills in writing and recording a decent narrative to produce a good video. Common Craft are incredibly clever in what they do and how they do it. They only make it LOOK effortless.

    If handing the job over to your students, ensure they know what they’re doing first technically and how to produce effective narrative so they can use the medium of video to best advantage and learn valuable digital story telling skills.

    Saying something is ‘easy’ just because mobile phones, tablets and video cameras come with push here recording is not only insulting to professionals, it impoverishes the whole exercise for learners.



    • Hi Kerry,
      Thanks for your comment, and as I know you are a person well experienced with the creation of video, I appreciate your considered response. The actual topic of the paragraph was not intended to focus strongly on creating video though…the intention was to encourage trainers to look at alternatives to traditional assignments and student activities. While I most definitely agree with you that the making of professional videos is very much best left to the experts, I believe it is well within the capabilities of students to create a video which is intended only for internal class use, and which can provide an engaging alternative for demonstrating knowledge on a topic ie for an assessment.

      The instructive video provided in the Newsletter shows that video needs to be thought through, and they provide sound advice such as…break down the topic into steps…write down narration…decide on resources etc This may be enough to inspire students (and their teachers/trainers) to try something different and make learning an exciting challenge. 🙂

      I apologise if you felt that the article was insulting, as that was most certainly not the intention.

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