Archive for September, 2008

Maps on the internet

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

It used to be difficult to get good quality maps on a website – or at least long-winded and expensive finding them and purchasing a license, or clearing copyright.

In these Web 2.0 days it’s easy to get a good looking map on your website, and I’ve just done that for Vikings: raiders, traders and settlers (one of the 25+ online courses we’re running this term).

We provide simple maps with settlements marked and annotated, as well more complicated maps with tools to investigate the languages from which town names are derived, and detailed exploration of a town’s heritage of defense against the vikings 1000 years ago – still visible today!

Visit the Vikings maps pages to explore and learn about notable viking settlements through text, video and panoramic images, all linked up using the Google Maps API,, and PanoSalado.

New courses this term

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

We are just in the middle of our termly  launch period for our online courses and it is looking like we are going to hit 700 students  this term, which is really amazing considering how recently we were pleased about having 100!

Most excitingly we are launching new courses in English Poetry of the First World War, Using the Victorian Census and Vikings: raiders, traders and settlers as well as the Postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Infectious Diseases; developed in conjunction with the Medical Sciences Division here at Oxford.

The poetry course has been written by Sandie Byrne one of our most popular course authors and provides a great tie in with the exciting The Great War Archive project that our colleagues in OUCS are leading.

Developing the Victorian Census course has been an immense task, but I think we have created a great practical course to get people started with this amazing resource.  This course also provides access to for the duration of the programme  which is probably worth the course fee on its own.

For the Vikings course we have done some really innovative work with Google Maps about which we will be writing some more about soon.

Lastly with the Paediatric Infectious Disease programme we have worked closely with the  learning technologies group in Medical sciences whose expertise in e-assessment has allowed us to include some great self assessment opportunities for the students.

I think our ability to launch four such varied new courses in the space of a month is a real testament to the work of the whole team and everyone at Continuing Education and the rest of the University who has made each course possible.

Find out about Phoebe

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

In recent months we have been doing a lot more work with video content and as part of this we have recorded me giving an overview of the Phoebe tool.  This is basically the demonstration of Phoebe we usually give at the start of workshops – hopefully all you need to know to get stared using the tool.  I can’t vouch for the quality of the presenting, but if you want to get a 23 minute overview of Phoebe this is definitely the place to start. You can see me talking without the screen capture here, or the get the full version here.

Open source textbooks

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

The Commonwealth of Virginia is getting into open textbooks (with a Creative Commons license).

What has the Open Habitat project been doing?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

As phase 1 of the Open Habitat project draws to a close it is time to take stock. We have run our ‘Multi-User Virtual Environments’ pilots with Art & Design and Philosophy students, gathered our data and are a long way through the process of making sense of it. Concepts are starting to cluster and hypothesis to be tested in phase 2 are emerging. We have edited together a 3 minute video of phase 1 activity that can be viewed here to give a snapshot of activity so far.

For anyone with a little more time a 25 minute talk summarising a number of the issues/concepts arising from phase 1 can be viewed here .  As always a flow of posts which captures the thinking of the Open Habitat team meanders through