Showing posts from 2016

No no no, not another annual roundup and predictions for 2017 ...

Arrrrggggghhh ... I cannot bear it, as the notional year ends, our planet completes another orbit unaware of the churnalistic detritus being committed in the name of 'news'. Everyone is at it and wtf, I made the same mistake (once and once alone).

Stop the meh churnalisms - most of us wish to forget ... 2016 was officially shit. 2017 isn't looking particularly cheerful at the moment. I would rather read five reasons why Peppa Pig prefers Danish bacon. Future saying is no better, what are the next cybersecurity threats likely to be - erm, an attack on something/someone big. Again this could be an IoT enabled Peppa Pig - what are the chances?

Who is likely to croak in 2017 - your guess is as good as mine. Considering the state of some nations - the untimely demise of Peppa Pig may rally an unexpected reaction. Especially if you are under five years of age.

Now you are wondering if I am anti Peppa Pig - try watching it for more than an hour and I defy you not to wish to rip …

Periscope vs Facebook Live ... is it a grudge match?

Take the time to look through my attached slidedeck - presented at this years - SocMedHE16 conference. 

Periscope and Facebook Live both offer educators an opportunity to extend their ‘typical’ teaching and learning experience into the domains occupied by different social media paradigms. Both are live video streaming technologies – enabling individuals to broadcast live events in an (almost) real time format.

Each entrenched in affordances of their own host system – Periscope is for Twitter, as Facebook Live is for Facebook. Avoiding the obvious, it is clear that Facebook and Twitter serve different social media communities. However, with tools available to interconnect Facebook and Twitter. Live streaming Internet broadcast quality video content can transcend either platform and the behaviours of their respective communities of practice (Lave 1991) .

Teaching networking has already been accomplished using Periscope – by virtue that this platform was released a clear year ahead of Fa…

Can all opportunities be exciting ...

My inner cynic and nascent grumpy old man often sees certain job advertisements through a lens of 'so what'. The one that offers the 'exciting opportunity', is only seeking those who are 'passionate' and 'motivated', especially if they are 'enthusiastic'.
Dear recruiters and job advert copy writers ... STOP IT. You are not recruiting imbeciles, you are asking for traits that everyone wants and has in differing portions. Am I passionate ... yes, am I motivated ... 'of course', can I be enthusiastic ... 'most of the time', so long as you do not expect a sycophant.
While this article is a little dated, it does prove the point I am trying to make. I think it is time that recruiters are ... RealisticUsing more interesting adjectives (and probably more honest ones as well).
So, can all opportunities be exciting - I doubt it, however some are always more interesting than others.

Remembering the week gone ...

One of the pleasures of my job is that every week is different - I could be at home, on campus, elsewhere. Meeting some interesting souls - again, on campus, from the comfort of my home office or elsewhere.

Then someone asks - how has your week been? Great, good, wonderful etc. As you may have guessed, some then say what did you do - then brain stutters for a moment. Some weeks are so varied I am trying to recall what happened when on what day.

How does this affect others - the mind trying to recall what happened amidst the myriad week.

Remember always ... 'non est numero ludum' ...

I will leave you to translate the title - the best that Google translate can offer. After all, it is not an numbers game and nor should it be. Like a Pavlovian canine, someone rings a numbers bell and we are encouraged to respond like the poor mutts in his historic experiments.

The temptation is to follow the numbers, they actually give little satisfaction. However, the numbers when played wisely can be a source of considerable opportunity. Just don't blindly follow them or be given to their whimsical charm.

As a team - we are on a mission, where we understand the numbers. However, personally and professionally you are equally interesting if you have 4 or 400 students studying on your programmes.

Open Broadcast Studio - Desktop Transmission to Facebook Live --- It Worked!!! ...

Ok, so I am an edugeek and tonight I did a tryout of live streaming from my desktop to Facebook Live. While a little 'rough' around the edges and definitely low par in production values. It did work and wasn't difficult to produce.

Misplaced educational numberwang ...

If you are confused, Numberwang is a word (well kind off), introduced by two British comedians ridiculing some of the banal day time television quiz shows.

Do you find that organisationally devised targets have the same feel about them - a complete load of numberwang where everyone is striving to meet numbers that may have been simply plucked from mid-air.

Student numbers - recruitment, retention, achievement etc can be quantified. However, they are not easy to measure. Population variance quickly turns this into a meaningless art, especially when you are dealing with large datasets.

I have seen colleagues internally and externally break wind over a 1% shift up or down regarding all manner of measures - why is this not expected? Personally shifts of 5% are interesting, 10% worth considering and also context is everything. If you have 10 students and gain 2, 20% is worthless. However, when applied to a programme of 400 students, see a different picture.

Please - stop playing numberwan…

Loving the way we make connections ... Venns paradigm ...

Don't you love the way we make connections, personally, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. I could describe myself as a member of a range of different communities. Work, academic, personal and a mixture of all of the above.

Appearing at different conferences, I find a sub-set of the same souls appearing. National and international - different souls recurring at different venues.
They are not entirely independent, however some groups I interact with are smaller than others - forming their own parochial cliques. Others more welcoming and open to different ideas and interactions.
What Venn diagrams do you interact with?

Egads found a livecast to facebook live open source tool (with the help of a colleague) ...

A couple of days ago I crowd sourced ideas and experience from colleagues on our own corporate social media platform (Yammer). It worked - better, it was a library technician that came to my aid. Facebook were promoting all manner of commercial live streaming tools - however OBS does the job on any operating system for free.
I have already tried some scenarios, multiple cameras, desktop and window sharing. I will need to build up my experience. This I do not see as a particular challenge. My hope is that we will soon be able to offer live screencasts or alternate sessions via facebook live. With the added bonus that they can also be recorded - maybe this will become the way forward for live as well as pre-recorded television. 

Re reuse of a reused powerpoint slidedeck ...

Today I am presenting to some colleagues in a different faculty - it's ok, I have had my shots and promise to return safe and sound to the womb of my one true affiliation. Wit aside, I note that this slidedeck has undergone multiple iterations over the last two years. The topic is in demand, the venues differ - I have used it remotely more than once and face to face on a number of occasions.

The idea is evolving, yet the core deck remains the same. Each time, I alway sanity check the slides, tweak numbers and vary the first two slides, depending on my audience.

Kinda nice that the idea isn't a one hit, one deck wonder.

A big thank you to @twfeed ...

I have been an active blogger for some time, discovering around six-seven years ago that connecting my blog to twitter was simple if I used TwitterFeed. As of today, at least sometime today they are going offline and I have created a recipe on IFTTT, which does the same.

In technological terms, this has little affect on my ability to still interlink my blog to social media. However, I am appreciative of the resource TwitterFeed has offered me over the years and it is courteous to at least offer some thanks to the souls behind this technology.

Fully engaging with social media over the last eight years, I am still amazed (amused) that there are so many souls manually linking their content. Tools like TwitterFeed, IFTTT and many more make life so simple, yet they do not.

So, goodbye TwitterFeed, hopefully this will be a rare duplicated post on my Twitter account.

Nothing to say here, please move on ...

Do you get writers block, I am sure there is a similar affliction for bloggers. Maybe it is blogspot elbow, who knows. Since early September, I have come back to this blog on a number of occasions to discover that I have nothing rattling around worth sharing. Well, at least worthwhile in my terms.

Yet, someone, somewhere still loves me. The readership hasn't been astounding, yet I am getting a fair rate of hits every day.

Thank you - whomever you are, thank you very much.

Maybe I need some ideas, if you have any, do tweet or comment. I am game on for random.

MOOC (ish) free course in C++ --- any programmers would like to volunteer please share and RT ...

Cisco Systems via their Netacad (Cisco Networking Academy) programme have recently released a Programming Essentials in C++ course. I want to give it away to as many people as possible. This is entirely legitimate, nothing dodgy and part of the community spirit surrounding our status as a Cisco ASC (Academy Support Centre) within Netacad.

We need programmers, you need programmers, the world needs more programmers. This is the same for the UK, USA, UAE and any other nation that lacks a U in its name.

With this in mind, this is a call for volunteers - programmers with some C++ experience willing to act as curators/experts on the forums within this course. There will be no pay, maybe if I ever meet you I will reward you with a preferred caffeinated beverage and a cake like confection. However we can promise a sense of pride and the satisfaction that you will be helping others.

if ((interested=true) && (experience>0))


Twenty years in education ...

I never planned to be in education ... sorry, it was a series of circumstances that put me in front of a class. Having been made redundant from a network managers role in 1996, with a two very young children (4 ish and under 1 years).

 The role I went for was a perfect fit - my plan was to stick it out for no more than three years and take the time to look for a more apt role. Reality bites and you soon discover that you are being sucked beyond the event horizon of education. Spending almost twelve years in further education.

Could I get back into industry - I am too far gone and to be honest I enjoy education too much.

Discovering that I could teach, or at least hold a class of teenagers hostage for a couple of hours. Opportunities appeared, writing books, developing qualifications and other interesting projects. By the early 00's I was working on higher education programmes as well as a well known networking academy.

By 08, it was time to move on and into higher education. I ha…

Naming Routers ...

One of the pleasures bestowed when writing assignments and other assessments for any educational establishment is the freedom when designing the scenario. Having worked in a 'closed' institution, I could create any situation and assesses the students. However working for the Open University and other national entities the work I create has considerable reach ... where you are suddenly struck with the reality that anything copyrighted is out of bounds.

To solve this, I use real places, stars, planets, mythology etc. Situations that are in the public domain and not subject to any intellectual ownership. The figure below, represents a network I use for one of our ongoing assignments. Do not worry, this version is two years old and a new version has already been created.

At the moment I am using three towns and one city from my part of Somerset - I have used others, these are all quite close to each other. I know them well and having seen them again recently wonder if it is time …

Random post Brexit thought - will Google honour right to be forgotten ...

In the law of unintended consequences - will those who have applied the right to be forgotten within the jurisdiction of the UK. May suddenly discover post Brexit that their indiscretions or desire for anonymity has been cast asunder as Google revise their search indices and include them.

Some of you may at this point be scratching your heads - what is Andrew waffling on about. Not that long ago the EU (or evil empire, if you are uber Brexit) - helped all the nice people of the UK and beyond by imposing a person centred and legally binding edict on Google (as well as other search engines). That if someone wanted to be forgotten - then the search engines would have to overlook any site that references this soul, whenever a search was performed.

This isn't the removal of a site, more the removal of the potential to click through on a search when looking for the misdeeds of many souls. While I am of the view that if you wish to hide, then forget it when it comes to the Internet. Thi…

Day #7 the last specifically #brexit post ... I kinda promise ... now with added Batman reference ...

It is a promise that I am likely to break - seven days and I am still appalled. Now the Tories are fighting for the vaulted position of King Rat.

I am reminded of the scene in Batman - the Dark Night - when Pennyworth (Michael Caine) tells Wayne about the kind of person he thinks the Joker is.

The gist is that "Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn" ... after seeing Farage's behaviour at the European Parliament. You could almost superimpose Heath Ledgers Joker onto Farage and see the macabre mischief maker at work.

You could not make it up - the resemblance is uncanny.

Day #6 of #Brexit ... this post is sweary but not as you know it ...

Watched the Farage do his yah boo sucks speech at the European Parliament yesterday. What a dickweaselling cockwomble of such an order than even shitgibbons look upon him in dismay. Winding up the other nations in the name of ours - cheers mate, are you trying to piss all over any negotiations.

May I assure you that this is considered compared to my actual feelings. Someone said to me today that they voted 'leave' as members of their family died in the second world war. Many of us also voted in for exactly the same reasons - yet probably in a more rational less explicitly jingoistic manner.

Now that 3 trillion has been wiped off of the global markets - I suppose this 17 million have had some impact. In terms of pissing off every country worldwide in a unilateral manner. Us 'In' voters cannot claim such notoriety.

Still pissed off.

Day #5 of #Brexit ... nope, still ain't doing acceptance ... not yet ...

I am still so far from acceptance that it will seem that I am condemned to a Sisyphean mental loop, continually rolling by ball of anguish up the Brexit hill. In plain English – one is screwed to relive this nightmare again, again and again.
Pseud moment and rant over. I still have been unable to fathom what has taken place. Somewhere between a matrix’esque dystopian nightmare and something from Noddy in EU Toytown is taking place at national level.
Farage knows how to rabble rouse and in some ways his speech at the EU assembly was the kind of bolshie I like. Yet – he could not help go that one step too far and down scale his output within minutes.
Is this a cynical ploy to kibosh any negotiations as nationally he will not be involved at any level – instead resigned to pissing from the side lines of history. I also wonder if any of his chums have been betting on the outcome. Early reports suggest that even this outcome has caught old Nige a little unawares and he is now galloping to cat…

Day #4 of #Brexit ... why am I still so angry ... then I remember ...

I don't like doing angry, it isn't good for the soul there is always something to be annoyed by and often it is trivial. Brexit on the other hand is an entirely different matter ... I can put aside the piss poor Stabby McBackStabby of our politicians. Eventually they will emerge from their own effluent and attempt to solve the problem.

Yet for the first time in my entire 47.5 years I have the distinct feeling that we are a rudderless nation floating metaphorically to a self imposed isolationist decay.

Now we learn of racist acts - small minded feeling empowered by the political climate. I hear from migrants who have invested in the UK - fearful of their position. I hear of Brits fearful of the long term prospect economically and socially.

Some of us may have voted for the nation we wished for - I doubt we will get the future we desire.

Post #Brexit, day #3 ... preferring the sound of silence ...

I have changed our radio station to a well known digital music station - I cannot cope with the news and opinion overload. While I love my middle english radio station of preference - I know that I can get some of my preferring outputs on iPlayer for the time being.

Social media and the web still gives me the news - there is too much bile to tolerate.

I am impressed with the Scottish parliament and the SNP - as you can tell from my previous posts I was always in. It is sad that they have to do the moves they are making - yet, we have left them no choice.

Meanwhile the sense of dismay is still pervading!!!

Day #2 of Brexit ... dumbfounded of ingerlandshire ....

Words cannot describe the sense of bemusement, confusion and befuddlement one is feeling over 36 hours after the result was announced. I am dumbfounded of Ingerlandshire

Brexit ... even tho the spell check will not yet acknowledge it, it has become a proper word.

I am a big fan of democracy and will come round to the decision - like it or not. However I am somewhat dumbstruck by the rhetoric pervading social media and wider media. As well as seemingly intelligent individuals not appreciating how this decision has been seen by others.

Going back to my previous post - which on reflection I still stand by. We (as a nation) do not seem to appreciate what others will now do as a result of this decision.

While I am not a 'research' academic, my teaching reaches many students in the UK by virtue of our international alliances. These will remain yet they will struggle as we have to dodge political dogma and uncertainty for the next two or more years.

Uncertainty equals reticence - th…

Why I am #IN not #OUT and all for #REMAIN ...

So that some Brexiteer does not have an emotional aneurysm - this blog is entirely my personal and very biased opinion. If you do not like it, go somewhere else for another biased dialogue.

I am in, I have voted in, I have voted to stay, to remain part of the EU and why is very simple:

With over forty years of integration - will it be easy to financially unpick ourselves? Having chatted to an eminent economist - his words were 'this is not the best time', in fact his other words were 'it is too complicated for anyone to actually know, however the markets will decide'. Funny they have already done this and sadly it is not in our favour.You racist bastards - whoops did I use a rude word. Rhetoric that has come from both the moderate and extreme ends of the Brexit debate leaves me numb. Speaking to a very active hard working non-brit european recently - suddenly your shit is scaring them. I am scared that we are turning into the euro-racists of pre-1939. Some similarities…

The balancing act of being in a student created, curated and moderated Facebook group …

A many who follow this blog are aware, I am a bit of a busy bee when it comes to utilising social media. Apart from the obvious assumptions that I lack any form of personal life – working at a distance learning university, it is clear to me that social media is one of many essential tools for a ‘modern’ students.
I have many module team centric social media resources offering them to anyone and everyone. Yet the students want their own self-managed space. Which is their right and who am I to disagree.
Thinking back, I recall being a member of the groups being set up for the last five years. Early on it was stealth as some students saw this as a ranty space to illicitly share assignment answers and exam papers. Over the last two years the facebook groups have evolved into a mature environment, with students exchanging ideas and experiences.
Yes – there is still a bit of a OU swipe taking place – everyone needs to let off steam and there have been occasions where I would happily concur w…