There are a large number of books on Signals and Systems and some, like the ones recommended by my colleagues last year, are considered seminal. However, they are also very expensive and available in the library in small numbers and only on short-term loan. They also take a somewhat mathematical approach to the subject.
One of my aims for the course is to attempt to make it more accessible to my students by taking an applied approach to the material. I also want to make use of Matlab and Simulink both for illustration in class but also for homework exercises and as a project. On searching the library, I was surprised to find that there are two good e-book offerings, one of which takes exactly the approach that I want to explore. These books have replaced the original texts in the reading list as Essential and Recommended reading. The original texts have been relegated to Background reading. The eBooks are free for Swansea students to use and have no limitations of the number of students who can access them at a time. They do have the disadvantage that they have to be used via web browser but that’s a small price to pay for the cost.
(The actual value of the eBooks and the restrictions on their access imposed by their licensing will be something I may need to come back to.)
The one none-free book that I’ve added to my Recommended reading list is a Schaum’s Ouline Series book on Signals and Systems. These books are full of worked examples and I’ve been a fan since I was a student myself. At £11.99 RRP (cheaper on-line) for the Signals and Systems book it’s a small price to pay for such a great revision aid.
To help me to refer to the books in the reading lists, I have tagged them with the course code and course title, the keyword Matlab if appropriate and the author & date.
In our institutional set-up, all this information is added automatically to our Blackboard sites as a Reading List menu item. It is also used by the Librarians to ensure that we have books in stock, etc. Local colleagues wanting to find out more about how the iFind Reading Lists work, should visit the iFind Reading pages on Blackboard.
This year I am taking over a module EG-247 Signals and Systems from a colleague who has moved to another institution. This is the first of a series of Blog posts with which I intend to document and reflect on the process for my own benefit but in the hope that it will be useful to others.
My first step this year was to buy a hard-backed notebook. There are some nice ones with Swansea University livery in the Campus bookshop for £4.95. I’ve added a label for the course title. I’ll use it to write down my own notes as I go through the reading and jot down my ideas for the module structure and lesson plans.
In recent times, the Blackboard company has been reaching out to its community of institutional users via a series of weekly webinars in what it calls the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS). It hosts and records these webinars on Blackboard Collaborate and then releases the recordings on the BITS Channel on YouTube.
Today, I watched episode 27 entitled Blackboard and the Online Collaborative Experience. On show was a three-week on-line course created for staff professional development by the Instructional Designers David Flora, Ericka Hollis, and Xavier Scott of Morehead State University. They demonstrated the use of Blackboard Learn’s collaborative features to get instructors to actively engage with Blackboard’s collaborative features (blog, discussion board, wiki, Blackboard Collaborate) in order to experience what it might be like for students to experience active learning through collaboration. The resulting course has also been awarded one of Blackboard’s exemplary course programme awards and you can self-enrol as a student and view the course site at ecpgallery.coursesites.com (direct link).
As my institution is still climbing the early majority part of the adoption curve, with most of my colleagues using the VLE (which is Blackboard Learn) as a complex Content Management System (CMS), running such a course here might be well worth considering.
The rest of the recorded BITS series is well worth a look and you can sign up for the upcoming live webinars as well: there’s a few good ones coming up in November including Accessibility (14th November), Assessment and Feedback (18th November) and the Flipped Classroom (9 December). They take place at either 11:00 am or 1:00 pm EST (currently 3:00 and 5:00 pm UK time). Perhaps I’ll see you there!
I’ve just upgraded to the new 3.6 release of WordPress and switched to the new default Twenty Thirteen theme. What do you think? P.S. It’s an HTML5 theme (good for case studies if you’re teaching web applications) and it works great on an iPhone!
It’s summer. And of course the world believes that academics do nothing over the summer. Well, apart from the summer resit examinations that have to be set and marked, course preparation and undergraduate project allocation that has to be done, I’d agree there isn’t much to be done. But it is a period of the year for which there can be time which can be set aside for personal self-development projects.
Ignoring the fact that I failed to follow through on my last promise to do better, I’ve decided that after surviving another year of Interesting Times (See Alleged Mandarin Curse) there are a few “tales from the chalkface” that I could usefully recount. So watch this space!
I’ll also try to reboot by 366 Crispy Things blog to provide a daily serving of goodness.
I just noticed (because I haven’t used it seriously for a while) that Google Reader has gotten rid of the “star” which I used to use to share articles that I had read with my FriendFeed and my own Crispy Feeds feed. It’s been replaced by G+ and Share with Google+ buttons. I suppose it makes sense from Google’s point of view that the default way to share from its feed reader should be through it’s own social network, and to be fair, other sharing options are still available from Google Reader via the Send to option. But even so, now I have to find out how to add my G+ feed to my other aggregators … unless some kind soul can drop me a hint in the comments.
I just noticed that the star has not gone at all, it’s just fainter and to the left hand side. Still, let the post stand, this is after all a post, and posts have been few and far between of late, and the thing about identifying the feed for my G+ is still relevant.
With my daughter now staring her own blog, I feel guilty that my blog has been silent for so long. “I’ve been busy” is some kind of excuse, I suppose, but I know that I’ll be even busier next year. Perhaps I need some inspiration. Anyone got any ideas for me?