eportfolios in Weebly

We are changing our supported platform from WordPress to Weebly. I was particularly dissatisfied with WordPress in the classes I didn’t get much time with and from the pilot project. I had originally inherited WP from my brilliant colleague Tricia Harris, now a furniture designer. And garden designer too. This was many years ago and it was chosen for reasons of privacy, extensibility, and portability. These were all valid choices but platforms and web services evolve. WP has got too large, too confusing, and too difficult for the most students. Weebly and Wix are the two most common alternatives so I set about producing a version of the eportfolio in each. My guidelines were

  • it must create a portfolio suitable for use and one that you can take and expand as you grow
  • it must be capable of being the fulcrum in your digital identity
  • it can be used for ELD, MATE, and the NF pilot project

The selection was based on what produced the best results, and seemed easiest to learn. I made a site in Weebly and have chosen this and will roll it out for the CTE/MATE RPD class next week in Cork. It’s that easy. FWIW I hated Wix.

weebly front page for PD

http://robmckenna.weebly.com/

This took me a couple of days at least and was a commitment I think I was loathe to make – changing. The delay in doing it cost me time on this project as I didn’t want to do a site I was going to change.

I now have to update this site in at least two, and realistically 3 to 5 platforms. Which if there is anything I learnt from Helen Barrett it must be that commitment.

I’m delighted I have belatedly begun to be a more capable mentor.

Advertisements

Harvard style

One of the lecturers informed us that the citation style language markup of Harvard style that his faculty recommended had disappeared from the Zotero repository. In dealing with this our old grievances about Harvard style came up again. We, and I in particular, find it irksome that there is no actual standard (unlike APA), and different faculties use different guides. I no longer fully trust the library version either. We decided to take on a project to gather together the variant guidelines, compare them in a grid, and come up with a standard that suits all the faculties as far as possible. We are then going to mark this up in citation style language for upload to the repository named as the Griffith College Harvard style to be used in Zotero and Mendeley.

There are several advantages in this:

  • students lives will be made easier we think
  • it allows us to teach without worrying about different faculties and not meeting their standards for the students
  • it is a more professional approach and look for the entire college across campuses
  • lecturers, particularly new ones, will know where they stand
  • we can do more thorough learning materials safe in the knowledge that we won’t have to add ones for new faculties
  • I can get through some of my cranky personal opinions

csl_editor

My own cranky personal opinions that I refer to mostly revolve around not putting in URLs but rather DOIs which I believe makes more sense. Some other of my suggestions aren’t going to happen (getting rid of place of publication and putting in ISBNs).

Two of us independently came up with the idea of saving APA 6th CSL out, renaming it as Griffith Harvard, and seeing if any of the lecturers noticed.

Using the CSL editor is new learning in my professional digital capacity and this relates to teaching in that we work with students on this topic throughout their time here.

 

Data mapping at AIRO

This is a real new learning post for me. I attended the data mapping QGIS training in AIRO Maynooth as I do support students doing their business plans in demographic and market information and I felt as time passed that I wasn’t offering the students as good a service as I could. In short: I was lacking professional knowledge. I do work against the notion of the teacher being the source of information but in this case I lacked¬†know how¬† of how to get that data. I was delighted to take the opportunity to attend training in AIRO. I have admired their work for years and used their web app for mapping data and watched how it developed. I did see its limitations for our students and thought as well that other faculties, in particular media and design, could benefit from a well informed data visualising proselytiser in the library. I think this is the very epitome of how we see ourselves in the profession of librarians as teachers and educators developing.

I realised as the day developed that I would firstly need to keep this up as a practice and that I already learnt what would be of use to my business students in the first hour.

But then we learnt to calibrate maps to different points on the globe, get the census divisions, join data sets, apply them to spacial parameters, map them, select colour heats and schemes, edit legends, overlay visualisations dynamically…

thumbnail_Dublin CIty Unemployment
Maps

…and many more things than I can possibly expect to become expert in. I look forward to working with this and developing it. I think it is an area we can really help students stand out in.

As always it’s interesting to be the student. Perhaps it was due to it being a corporate training event but a big pack of take home always makes students feel like they have received their dollar’s worth. I’ve always resisted that and to some extent we worked through a workbook which we then took home. I see how this is useful in the context of a single day as deeper learning is more difficult and being able to replicate exactly what you did in class with notes is most likely very useful. This approach is always going to lead to parts of the day where you are held up dealing with details that you assume which makes you lose track sometimes, lose concentration.