hewd: csd1

(I’m going to do the rest of these with the title as the acronym for the conference, followed by the code for the presentation. just so’s you know.)

sitting in the back row so I can charge up the laptop; if I’m lucky, I’ll get up near a full charge by the end of this session. although I think I like sitting back here: lap height is much more comfortable for my wrists.

it looks like they’re holding all the sessions for each track in the same room…which means this is the room I’ll be in this afternoon. long, kinda narrow, fairly dim. I will definitely need to project. (yipes!)

difficulty of creating & maintaining web sites in higher ed

Johnny Won, senior at U Rochester
has been working on student org & dept sites, also working as consultant, private work. his slides are going on their own…must be the pointer in the next room. (that’s why I’m glad my slides are essentially incidental.)

prospective of both a student & a designer. roguerobots.com

it’s the difficulty that’s the hard part (!?)

why is it so hard? home page: has best people, best design, best photos, most professional. but not always standard, doesn’t trickle down to subsites. (duh.) it’s not easy for people technically, and design itself is challenging. the process is foreign to most people. (someday I’d like to do some research into vernacular design: why do people always do the same things with publisher, frontpage, etc.? or even email: so many colors, fonts, clip art? what does it mean?)

even on a good site, people are spending a lot of time that’s not necessary. and that’s all luck.

lots of acronyms. does anyone outside the room know what they mean? shows example of prof: he has lots of experience in his field, but doesn’t know anything about web design.

how do we make it easier? the usual answers: training, templates, assistants, CMS.

CMS: he lists WebCT as a CMS? Open source systems (Plone, Drupal, Geeklog, Typo3 — what about Veen’s complaint?)

Plone. Valid, etc. out of the box. Powerful. (but requires Zope.) simple, rss, scalable, lots of extensions. (I’ve heard good things about plone before.)

Shows normal instructor site, then lecture site with plone. (completely unreadable, btw. not that that’s necessary, but I wish he’d picked something more impressive.) RSS for assignments, which sounds hype-tastic, but might actually be a good idea.

problems: something can go horribly wrong in set up; learning curve; overkill.

blogs: hey, I’m all meta now. 🙂 examples. he doesn’t even mention existing educational blogs, which is a shame. lists some packages, incl. wordpress; I just got called out. what he doesn’t mention is that WP isn’t ideal in multiple blog environments, which most colleges would be.

shows blogs @ harvard, but doesn’t mention radio userland, which is what I thought they were using. but at least he’s finally talking about how they are already being used in education. my extra 2 cents: don’t have to use this tool in a blog-like way.

question: have there been negative feedback about the school on these blogs? long roundabout thing. (is there a policy? he should’ve prepared for that question. I like what Tim Bray posted about Sun’s policy.)

shows another example. empowers people to share their expertise. (and ain’t that what it’s all about.) but most schools aren’t doing this on a massive scale or in general.

classes need simpler tools. (what about when blackboard et al are being pushed, like with us, UWT). what if you give people simple tools? empowerment!

students need…easier ways (rss: but how many students know? outside of super-geeks. but will be in longhorn, maybe, assuming it ever comes out. I think it’s just the hot new thing, tho it’s good to offer. multiple intelligences & all that.); get more info, get a broader perspective on the professor’s knowledge.

what about communities? they already exist. (but he’s talking about the living-on-campus 4-year experience. what’s different in our environment?) but they need to be nurtured. forums: hard to set up. (again this brings up the question of … crap, my brain just lost the word.) what if it was easy?

conclusions: simplify, get better tools, build value.

it’s getting easier outside of the university. $5 isps are beating the university. (no kidding.) why can’t we just…. what happens when our students have spent a third of their life on the ‘net? (again, differences in audience: the biggest group of our students — at FS: PY is more typical straight-outta-high-school — is middle-aged people going back to school. (don’t forget, my assistant, a former student, is the same age as my mother.)

the open question at the end of this is how to evaluate all the things that are out there, because you can’t support everything.

comment from audience re: lots of frequently accessed stuff is non-official, products of learning. people out there aren’t making neat distinction between professional and amateur development.

people w/out easy tools get complaints about tools not being available; people with tools get complaints about not being able to program.

somebody from UR talks about his POV. some technical stuff is handed down from “on high” — some people who shouldn’t design want to.

question about plone, have you done it? yes. but somethings still have to be done in DW, etc. and when he graduates, no guarantee that the next person comes along will have same interest, skills?

what I see is the fundamental tension between student empowerment and CYA.

comment from a registrar: many staff underestimate how much students are using the web.

same comment from someone at a cc from this area. you have to show them (staff) what it’s going to do for them: time savings, fewer complaints, etc. (ah, the lines.)

innovateonline.info (looks interesting)

question: differences between forum & blog? forum is multi-dimensional communication, blog is one-way. (not too bad, not exactly what I’d say, but it works.)

will blogs take over normal faculty web space? no, always need for innovation. (or something. I think that for profs who have a lot to say, blogs are entirely the way to go. the important point about blogs is they require a desire, willingness & effort to communicate.)

god i’m tired. drifted out of the presentation entirely.

like the keynote: academia can lead the revolution. (sigh.)

answer from the audience (woman from UTexas): it’s not good for static stuff. *that’s* more like what I would say. (met her on the van last night, quite articulate.) he piggybacks with value of CMS because of not needing to know tags or something.