Brief review of things discussed at the December meet

The last meet generated a lot of interesting chat and ideas. Here’s a flavour of the kind of topics that were bounced around:

Kelly Page (@drkellypage , see: spent some time telling us about the wiki based learning activities she’s been doing with students to promote collaborative working. This naturally dovetailed with a topic that is of interest to Mike Johnson (@agentjohnson –  see: He’s in the early stages of investigating ways of automating peer generated feedback in online collaborative tasks. It’s early days, but there’s something very appealing about this approach – take a look at his CEQ related post.

There was also a fair bit of chit chat about ‘digital literacy’ and what it means for different people (for starters read ‘Thriving in the 21st century: Learning literacies for the digital age’). Do staff and students in different subject areas and disciplines understand it in the same way? In what way is different or the same as ‘Information Literacy’ or ‘Media Literacy’? (see: New media and literacies: Amateurs vs. professionals) – and most importantly, how can we go about improving the embedding of such knowledge and skills in courses and curricular across the University. I for one, would really enjoy revisiting this topic, in particular with regard to the Employability agenda being pushed by WAG.

Sara Nicholas (@sarahnicholas) described the work she’s been doing with fellow librarian Susan Smith on the design and development of a forthcoming workshop entitled ‘The Connected Researcher’, which is all about enabling researchers to engage through social media and technologies to establish better networking and collaboration. Some of the more intriguing things discussed were the notions of ‘digital identity’ and ‘digital footprint’ and the how and why a researcher might want to take greater control over these.

There was the usual exchange of what’s new on the iPhone and iPad . For me personally, Dropbox‘s traction continues to grow with clever interfacing to applications across all platforms. A good example of this is Trunk Notes. A fairly simple and straightforward personal wiki that automatically stores its content in plain text on Dropbox. Very useful because allows adding and editing content regardless of where I am. I’m deciding whether to move all my notes into this wiki. I’ve been a long time fan of concept mapping and I’m desperate to see a good tool developed for the iPad. IThere are signs of steps being made towards that with applications like Popplet. I can’t say it’s won me over yet, but I need to give it some more time and test out it’s export/import capability with more thoroughbred tools like Cmap.

The next ThoughtGrazing Social Media Cafe is scheduled for 1-4pm Wednesday 12th January in the usual place – the lounge of the Posgraduate Centre above the Students Union on Plas-y-Parc. All welcome, join us for a coffee and chat about anything to do with social and technology and media.

4 Replies to “Brief review of things discussed at the December meet”

  1. Thanks for that Ceri – and Joe for flagging it via twitter…
    I’ve had a look and it does seem interesting although I am interested in applications specifically related to the ‘equity’ side of CEQ. Not sure how much cross-over there really is… myshowcase seems to be angling at e-portfolio type applications.
    Ceri, I am very curious though about what problems Oracle dependency throws up… Can you say more? I guess the usual suspects crop up… time, money, complexity, sustainability… I am concerned about the mid/long-term sustainability of any fringe OSS.

    1. Mike, I don’t want to “bash” Oracle, but while they have plenty of time and money, so far they’re not doing well at maintaining the communities around their open source stuff.

      Since the Sun acquisition completed in February 2010 we’ve seen each of (off the top of my head, there are probably more) OpenSolaris, Apache Harmony, Hudson, OpenSSO, OpenOffice and Grid Engine either fork, fold or go completely closed-source and I can think of quite a long list of projects that are likely to follow suit (JXTA looking like it will be next).

      Essentially, if you can’t see how Oracle will make ONE MILLION DOLLARS! out of a project then you should consider that there’s a likelihood that it will cease to exist in its current form.

      Note that the fact that most of the projects above have managed – with degrees of success that remain to be seen – to fork at all should be seen as some testament to the durability of open source, where the law allows for such a move to be taken.

      The onus is really on the consumer to ensure that they investigate the actual ownership of code as well as just the license when selecting “free” software. In which vein, note that MyShowcase is under the Affero GPL and therefore any use of it would require the source code (including local changes) to be made available to all.

  2. Many thanks for taking the time to explain Ceri. There are certainly risks out there. I keep sniffing around and CEQ does not seem to be having much uptake… I’d like to think that a project around CEQ could ‘cut and run’ once we’ve done some work with it. If the code stays good for a year, that might be enough to get useful data to start to answer some of the questions a system like CEQ allows us to pose…

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