Learning Objects Campus Pack, used to provide for blogs, wikis and podcasts in Swansea University’s VLE, was updated at the same time as Blackboard. If you have one or more Learning Objects blog(s), wiki(s) or podcast(s) in your Blackboard (learning portal) module sites, they will be upgraded the first time you or your students visit them.
In one of my current projects I am publishing the results (in blog form) of the first assessment of my use of e-learning that I have ever formally tried. The majority of the questions use the Likert scale (where respondees are asked to rank their response to a statement along the scale of Strongly-agree to Strongly disagree) and I want to present the results with pie charts like this one. I could use Excel and export the charts, as gif images, for upload to my blog, but that’s not very Web 2.0! So instead I thought I’d use the Google Chart API instead. And here is an example of what can be achieved with a small bit of HTML magic.
The Google Chart API is a web service: you provide some information about the chart you want and it generates and returns a GIF image of the chart. The URL for the chart shown in this post is http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chs=350×150&chd=t:60,40&cht=p&chl=Strongly Agree|Strongly Disagree. To embed a chart in an HTML document, just use the Chart API URL as the
src attribute of an image as in:
<!-- Use of & in the src attribute to stand for the & in the URL
is not a spelling mistake!
You have to use the HTML entity in order to be able to embed &
in the URL! -->
<img alt="Sample chart"
&aongly Agree|Strongly Disagree" />
p>Clearly, some familiarity with HTML is required to fully exploit this feature, but it’s well worth a look. Plus if you have a number of similar charts to produce, as my report will, you’ll probably find copy, paste and tweek to be much quicker than anything you could do with traditional desktop tools.
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In my pursuit of procrastination (I’m supposed to be writing supplementary [summer resit] examinations) I’ve been through my feeds and am now watching Stephanie Booth’s excellent Google Tech Talk on Localization (which incidentally is a trickier problem than most English speakers realise). Whilst listening, I was following the links to Stephanie’s blog Climb to the Stars and from there to her del.icio.us link collection and discovered a useful tip. She bookmarks links to the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) record for the films that she’s seen and tags them films seen cinema , films seen dvd, etc. What an elegant, great, simply superb, absurdly simple idea! Ideal for the completist who must make sure that he’s seen every one of the 1000 films to see before you die before he dies. And it’s so easily adapted to books, recordings, rugby matches or anything else you’d want to remember.
Oh … and Stephanie’s talk on the issues of localization for web application developers is also thought provoking and well worth watching.
If you want to share URLs with your students, tag your del.icio.us bookmarks with a module code. If you publish the link to the tag, your students will get up-to-date access to your links and it’s easy for you to add more. I find it much more more flexible and convenient than the External links feature in Blackboard! You can even create an RSS feed for your links!
Here’s one I made earlier: del.icio.us/cpjobling/eg-146.