Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh, Patricia!

Subject: Can you do this?
Date: Friday, July 31, 2009 08:39
Reply-To: ""
Conversation: Can you do this?

Dear Friend,

This might startle you a little as you might have seen or read about me but really don't know me in person. Well, I am Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP. A British politician and Labor Party Member of Parliament for Banking. I was the first Minister for Children appointed in a newly created post with the Department for Education and Skills and presently Minister of State in the Department for culture, Media and Sport under Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom.

I got your contact info via your country's national directory and intend introducing a project concerning charity in your country and maybe neighboring countries around you. A few months ago, I was compelled to make an over estimation during a budget and set aside the sum of Six Million Three Hundred Thousand Great Britain Pounds (6,300,000.00GBP) with the sole intention of channeling it all into charity which I am delegating you to executed on my behalf with complete supervision of my Attorney as he will also be the one in charge of securing these funds into your custody.

This transaction will result to you being paid a commission of 11% of the investment capital and the balance, distributed to charity organizations of your choice or reinvested and the net income, used for rehabilitating charity organization in and around your country through you/your agency annually for the period of five years or a little more. The last time I orchestrated this sort of Grant, the individual in Australia succeeded in successfully setting up three standard orphanage homes in less than a year. I have never been so proud of such a noble individual. I hope we would have a reoccurrence in your case. If you are willing to execute this Humanitarian Project, You must understand that I desire absolute confidentiality and professionalism on this issue. For security reasons as regards my reputation, I will not be able to communicate regularly with you; but my Attorney will take up the processing on my behalf and get these funds processed and released to you without any delay.

I don't plan on benefiting anything from this project, but will be absolutely fulfilled, if and only if you remain sincere to me on the handling of this project with utmost sincerity and confidentiality; and eventually utilize the funds for the purpose which I have explained to you above. Kindly respond urgently if you are interested as the fund have been tied down for too long, so I can equip you with the necessary details, along side my Attorney's contact information, so as to commence the transaction properly; on the other hand, if you are not, please let your intentions be known or better still, Kindly relent from replying this email.

You could get personal info. on me via my official website, but do not try contacting me via any personal information you may lay your hands upon on the internet as almost all my contact info are connected to the British House of Parliament data base except the ones I personally sent to you; as I don't want our effort and my reputation, jeopardized.

Kindly send your response to this E-mail:



Peer Pressure

Internet Ever since I've known UoL was going to roll out Blackboard 9 for the coming session, I've been thinking about using the new(ish) self and peer assessment tool for the reflective essays we plan to get students to write in the first week of our first year PLE course. As Moira commented, Marking 200 'non-core' essays certainly sounds like a deal-breaker to me, so the intention was to use peer assessment to lighten the workload and allow students to compare their work with that of their colleagues.

On Monday I got my first chance to play with the new Blackboard tool. Pretty quickly, it was clear that my plan to use it wasn't going to work. Leaving aside the fact that the finest minds in IT Services ... couldn't get it to work, there are many other problems. Stupidly, I'd been thinking in terms of group assessment, evening out some of the irregularities in marking. My bad. This is a self and peer assessment tool, not a group assessment tool (Hannah's working on that, so the feature should be available in Bb19, around the time I retire ;-). As Hannah explains so well, this is not an exercise suited to the first week of term for many reasons:
  • Latecomers and changing enrollment are problematic. This is a big problem in the first term slot that is available.

  • The two week minimum necessary for the sequential phased nature of submission then peer marking does not fit into this course with it's many, small assessed tasks - better for modules with a small number of assessed tasks.

  • The size and complexity of this cohort means that peer assessment would need more face to face support than we can give on this module.

  • It's not a time saver for staff - it's probably quicker just to mark 200 essays - but what about sharing and socially-constructed knowledge?
So I've decided that apart from the lack of fit with our PLE module, I can't face the complexity of setting and supporting this approach. But I do want students to write a reflective essay, and to be able to benefit from seeing the work of others. So the answer is to get the students to set up individual student blogs on from the outset. They will use these for reporting and reflection from the beginning, and subsequently develop them as reflective e-portfolios in semester two. And if you want a really radical idea, they could continue to use their blogs across three years of higher education - and beyond. Staff will mark the essays using a simple criterion-based marking scheme, e.g:
  • "How should the University of Leicester use information technology in science degrees?"

  • Maximum of 300(?) words.

  • Submit the essay via your blog before <date>.

  • Marks will be awarded as follows:

  • Range of technologies discussed: 30%

  • Personal experiences and opinions: 40%

  • Quality of writing (including clarity of expression, spelling, grammar, etc): 30%

What are the issues? Privacy versus openness? Data security? Plagiarism?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blogging Beyond Blackboard

With the imminent arrival of Blackboard 9 at UoL, users now have a choice of four blogging tools within the VLE. These are the new blog tool in Bb9, the Bb9 Journal tool, and the Learning Objects (LO) personal and course blog tools:

Blackboard blogging tools
Kudos to the UoL Blackboard team for listening to user feedback and modding Bb9 to try to ease the confusion by adding the Bb prefix to the built-in tools, however, the potential for confusion still arises. The Bb journal tool is "a self-reflective tool that allows students to post their personal reflections" that "can be assigned to each user in a group for the purposes of private communication with the instructor", and the Bb9 blog tool is "a collaborative tool that allows students to post their personal reflections ". Most excellent. However, the Bb9 blog tool can also be configured for individual or group use:

Blackboard blogging tools

I'm at a loss to know why Blackboard felt it necessary to include the bloat and confusion of two "separate" but overlapping blog tools in Bb9, but hey, it isn't my place to criticize Blackboard (oh, wait... ;-)
Similarly, the LO blog tool can be configured for individual or group use (although you have to go to two different places to configure the same tool in different ways):

Blackboard blogging tools

So not confusing at all then! Let me move on and look at the capabilities of each of these tools - but before doing that, why am interested in any of this? I use blogging tools for students in two contexts:

  1. On a first year module with approximately 200 students as a reflective e-portfolio. Last year on this module we used a wiki e-portfolio format but this proved to be confusing for students, and the chronological structure of an (individual/journal) blog framework may be better than the more free-form wiki architecture in encouraging archiving and retrieval of reflective thoughts. We also use a course blog to allow students to submit assessments which take place in distributed services, e.g. the URL of their delicious bookmarks or Google Reader Shared Items, where we want these resources to be shared across the module.

  2. On a third year module for approximately 25 students as a means for these students to demonstrate their engagement with and understanding of the subject matter (virology).

OK, so how do these tools look in practice? I haven't had chance to use the new Bb9 blog tools yet, so I may be missing something, but the functionality is very basic. The LO blog tool offers more, with an RSS feed (very useful on a module with 200 students), archive export, basic search and usage statistics (not very good), recent posts in the sidebar, etc:

Blackboard blogging tools Blackboard blogging tools
(click for larger images)

For the last two years I've used the LO blog tool for both of these modules. But each time, I've wavered over whether to use these VLE tools or use, then chickened out at the last moment and used the (closed) institutional tool. And each time I've regretted it. Why? Look at the functionality that WordPress offers:

  • Individual or group blog, public or private (free for up to 35 users, $30 per year for unlimited private users)

  • RSS everywhere (blog, comments, single page feeds)

  • Lots of useful sidebar widgets

but most importantly, the killer features:

  • Tagging for retrieval, revision and marking of content - missing in both the Bb and LO tools.

  • Student-controlled blogs which remain available after the module has finished - the only sensible solution for a reflective e-portfolio.

Now that the Bb9 course menu is easily configurable, it's even simpler than before to link to an external blog from the Bb9 sidebar. The downside is that students will have to create an account on and then report the URLs of their blogs or I'll have to enroll them on a Wordpress course blog. It's clear that the upsides outweigh this small bit of extra work.

Case closed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Special Olympics GB, Leicester 2009

Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) is the major provider of sporting opportunities for people with a learning disability and provides equality of opportunity for all our athletes regardless of ability or degree of disability.

How Carrots Facilitate Learning

Dopamine The rewards people receive during decision-making has a profound impact on learning. People who are rewarded for making correct decisions learn quickly. While the "carrot” approach may produce favourable results, little is understood about how rewards facilitate the learning process. A new research paper demonstrates that the “reward effect” not only supports the improvement of higher cognitive abilities, but also how brain function in the cortex can be enhanced. Intriguingly, they see that the reward effect can be strengthened using dopaminergic compounds. Targeted manipulation of dopamine levels, thereby enhancing the “teaching signal” in the brain, could open up new possibilities in the treatment of patients, for example, after a stroke.

Previous work has shown that if a decision leads to a successful outcome, it is registered in the brain’s reward system. The reward stimulus is then relayed to the area of the brain which was responsible for making the decision. In this way, the brain optimises its processes for improved performance each time. It was not known until now whether this mechanism also applied to functions of the somatosensory cortex, which process the skin’s sense of touch, for instance. To answer this question, the researchers designed a “game” for their subjects. Electrodes were attached to both index fingers of the subjects. In each trial, two electric currents, each with a different frequency, were successively applied to subjects’ fingers via the electrodes. Subjects had to decide whether the first or second electric current had a higher frequency. If they were correct, a monetary reward was displayed on a screen. The fact that the reward effect works when it is displayed visually had already been confirmed in an earlier study. The amount of the reward was varied from trial to trial. The result: depending on the size of the reward, the subjects were able to subsequently make the correct decision with improved accuracy. As well as the effects on higher cognitive processes which were already known, it shows that the reward effect also influences somatosensory processes. It turns out to be stronger, the higher the reward given.

The researchers were interested in the role of the neural transmitter dopamine. Therefore, subjects were divided into three groups before the experiment began. The researchers administered the dopamine-generating compound Levopoda to the first group, and the second group received the dopamine inhibitor Haloperidol. The third group were treated with a placebo as a control. The effect was clear-cut: The effect of the reward was greatest in group whose dopamine levels had been raised by Levopoda. Subjects in the placebo group also learned with each trial, albeit by less. The reward effect was totally absent in the group of subjects who received the dopamine inhibitor. Apparently, the interaction between the regions of the reward system and the somatosensory cortex are mediated by the transmitter dopamine. This discovery opens up interesting possible uses for medicine.

These findings raise the tantalising new possibility that reward manipulations in conjunction with dopaminergic drugs might be used to enhance pathologically deficient or lapsed sensory processes, analogous to how rewards can be used to shape or correct behaviour. In the future, targeted use of dopaminergic compounds could be used to aid the rehabilitation of stroke patients, for example. In theory, applications for pharmaceutical “learning boosters” are also conceivable. However, caution is needed in this. A raised dopamine level in the brain has already been identified as the cause of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, so too much is also not good, and can even be dangerous.

Influence of Dopaminergically Mediated Reward on Somatosensory Decision-Making. 2009 PLoS Biol 7(7): e1000164 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000164

Monday, July 27, 2009

The article of the future

Boffin Today I intend to continue riffing on Friday's theme of Social objects, distributed attention and aggregation, which seemed to go down like a lead balloon ;-)

I went back to the Elsevier Article 2.0 contest which ran last year (yeah, it was sponsored by Elsevier, get over it ;-) and thought some more about the winning entry, applying Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0/Semantic Web approaches to add value to article content:

  • Web 1.0 - Enriched content display and navigation:
  • Inline reference display
  • Unobtrusive paragraph-specific linking and bookmarking
  • Auto-generated table of contents
  • REST-based design - the system uses the REST architectural approach - pages are referred to by a simple URL naming scheme that leads to URLs such as "/elsevier/00012998/0036/0001/05000553/article.html#2", where the URL is structured by the ISSN, Volume, Issue and Article, and then optionally the specific paragraph within the article.
  • Accessible design
  • Uniform navigation between journals, volumes, issues and articles
  • Web 2.0 - Collaborative content creation:
  • Paragraph level granular comments
  • OpenID-based identity management
  • Authority-based comment display and filtering
  • Region-specific image annotation
  • Web 3.0 - adding factual assertions to content:
  • Paragraph and reference level assertions
  • Enhancing references with DOIs
This is quite disappointing in the sense that the gradient from 1.0 to 3.0 is the wrong way round, but I suppose it does make it more achievable, and already some progress has been made in this direction (PLoS ONE and JISCPress):

For me, the problem is that these are system/developer level innovations, so as a humble blogger, I'm still left wondering Where do I go from here?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Lord Mandy Giveth and the Lord Mandy Taketh Away

Cuts THE reports that the UK Government has published more details of the 10,000 extra university places it will provide this autumn. In a letter to Hefce on 23 July, David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, said the priority areas for the places, which will be part-funded, are:

  • Biological and related health sciences (excluding psychology, sports science and those that are primarily practice-based)
  • Physical sciences (excluding geography)
  • Mathematical and computer science
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Economics
  • Business studies

Friday, July 24, 2009

Social objects, distributed attention and aggregation

A couple of days ago, I had what seemed like a good idea at the time. If, as Martin Weller says, <embed> is the universal acid of the web, rather than writing one of my usual text-based microbiology posts, take the image that would accompany an article and turn it into a social object for discussion.

Simples! The image is on Flickr, the Flickr page it's embedded in allows comments, so embed the Flickr page in the blog and away we go.

Except that there's no way to embed a Flickr page in another blog, other than a rather clumsy iframe. And commenting on Flickr requires registration and log in, so there's not likely to be a free flow of comments. And if people do make comments, how do I solve the problem of divided attention between sites (which occurred when I tried FriendFeed embedding recently).

So maybe a better way is:

What's this?

Please use the comments below to discuss what you can tell about this virus from the diagram.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nodes and Edges

Getting to grips with Agna:



Notes to self:
  1. Before opening Agna, think very hard about the research questions.
  2. Use BBEdit (or similar) to tidy and format data, e.g. capture from Twitter hashtag via Twitter Tag Downloader.
  3. Use BBEdit to analyze data, number of nodes (people), edges (connections, e.g. @replies).
  4. Code data in Agna (shame this isn't automated).
  5. Produce network graphs.
  6. Write paper.
  7. Retire.

Here's a thought. Deliver next year's final year module via Twitter, use Agna to award marks? ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Geeks with phones

QR code Last week I was in Bristol talking about QR codes with a bunch of smart people as part of Andy Ramsden's JISC QR project. It emerged early on that all the partners were having the same problems - buy-in to an unfamiliar technology, technical issues with phone readers, etc. After half an hour or so we got bored and started to think more about where we'd like to be with mobile technologies in five years time (reaching the conclusion that it's far from clear that QR codes will take us there, but the lessons learned along the way will be valuable anyway).

So what have you got to look forward to on the QR front in the next few months? Well, if you're a student starting at a UK university next session, it's going to be hard to avoid one of the many QR-based induction week treasure hunts coming down the pipeline :-) There will also be much fun to be had at ALT-C 2009, with talk of Golden Tickets to be won. And then there's the planned cross-institutional survey coming in the autumn, with mega tech prizes to be awarded at each participating institution.

During the day we had a "short" field trip to play with the technology at a nearby art installation, which James Clay captured on this video:

Twitter: #jiscqr

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reaping the damage of Apollo

Flight director In a perverse way, I'm slightly proud that I was one of the few people in the western world who didn't watch the Apollo 11 moon landings on TV on 20th July 1969. I would like to have done, but I was on holiday in a caravan with no TV. And yet the memory of the Apollo missions lives on.

I'm talking about middle-aged white men with crewcuts (I had a crewcut in 1969, no you can't see the photos), white shirts, pens in their pockets. I'm talking about the technocrats who controlled the flow of information in a time of scarcity. They live on, in the form of organizations who try to control technology as if it was still 1969. The men who like to say no.

Like manned space flight, they have outlived their usefulness. We each have the means to think, travel and communicate with each other how we like rather than how we are told to.
Huston, we have a problem.
As Martin Weller points out, learning is complex. messy and variable. There is no mission controller.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jing! And the dirt is gone

Jing I'm a big fan of Jing (and Barry Scott), but I learned a painful lesson yesterday:
If you delete images in the Jing history, they are deleted on Flickr via the API.
The Flickr support team has been helpful but say that the images cannot be restored because they were deleted via the API.

I guess this means that the Jing history just keeps growing longer as you use Jing. Looks like I might be using Skitch more in future.

Time is money

We all know that the effectiveness of a meeting is inversely proportional to the number of attendees and their collective salaries. How much working time do you waste in meetings, and how much does it cost your organization? Well, now you can find out using Meeting Ticker:

Meeting ticker

More importantly, how much CO2 do you burn traveling to meetings? Leaving aside the fact that I've just been ripped off again by having to pay £102 for a day return rail ticket from Leicester to Bristol (booked in advance of the day of travel - ticket guy sucked his teeth and apologized when he saw how expensive it was, but then said it was my fault because I needed to be in Bristol "so early" - 10.30 am!). Do you really need to go to that meeting or can you video conference it?

Google Chat allows you to do this, in your browser, for free, but in my experience many people prefer to use Skype (also free for online conferencing, voice, video chat and file transfer). Some institutions with a backward IT policy try to prevent people using Skype, preferring them to be away from the institution and harm the environment.

If you're at the University of Leicester and you need to use Skype on campus for academic purposes, you can email and get permission to use it. Fight climate change and make the Univerity of Leicester a greener organization.

I dare you!

Update: More on Skype at UoL

Monday, July 13, 2009

Final Report - Personal Learning Environments and Personal Development Planning

Final Report - Personal Learning Environments and Personal Development Planning

Final Report 1. Title of project Personal Learning Environments and Personal Development Planning 2. Project director/s Alan Cann1, Jon Scott1, Jo Badge1, Richard Mobbs2, Steve Rooney3 3. Department(s)/Unit(s) 1 School of Biological Sciences, 2IT Services, 3Student Support and Development Service 4. Keywords Personal learning environments, virtual learning environments, personal development planning, ePortfolios 5. Abstract The aim of this project was to develop an institutional exemplar of a personal and shared virtual space for students' learning, research and networking using Web 2.0 technologies independent of any institutional services. This will provide users with the skills to maintain such environments as the major component of their personal development planning (PDP) and as part of a lifelong learning agenda. The space was built around a range of freely available Web 2.0 tools and services, complemented by the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and other student support information repositories. 6. Pedagogic Background to the Project University of Leicester students are transients within our system, usually staying for three or four years full-time study, possibly longer if they are studying part-time or move on to post-graduate training. What they learn is relevant to their lifelong learning skills and future career progression and, as such, students will benefit from having continued access to a virtual study network based on their undergraduate and career experience. Resources for their formal learning not only originate from their university teachers but also from informal virtual sources of various kinds (e.g., comments by members of the public on a fieldwork photo uploaded onto a photosharing site such as Flickr, information from the student union, etc). Integrating formal and informal sources into a symbiotic whole to benefit the students is a worthwhile objective in its own right. At present, the School of Biological Sciences implements PDP as a paper-based exercise, supported by the personal tutor system, which students are encouraged but not compelled to take part in. This exercise terminates when, or frequently before, students graduate, so there is no guaranteed benefit in terms of lifelong learning. To complement this application, we submitted an application for funding to the HEA Subject Centre for Biosciences to introduce all first year Biological Sciences students to the concept of a PLE at the very start of their university career. Their progress and engagement was monitored and encouraged by regular summative assessment of individual e-portfolios. In the pilot project, we will use the personal tutor system to assess what proportion of second and third year students continue to maintain their eportfolio to document the development of their PLE as part of the School PDP programme without the lever of formal assessment. This information will be used in subsequent years to decide strategies to roll out the programme to all students throughout their degrees. This NTI project complemented an external grant award which was made and sought to use the experience within the School of Biological Sciences could be used as a model to roll out similar approaches across the whole University.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Who are the Trojans?

trojan Following on from my previous two posts, I'm still thinking about strategies in which social media can be used to advance open science.

An idea that we talked about some time ago (in a teaching rather than a research context) was to identify and invest in (groom) a few Trojans. Ideally, we could identify one per department, work hard at supporting them, then wait for peer-peer transmission of the sharing is good meme?

So the question is - who are the Trojans? My feeling is that they are probably not the younger academics - highly risk averse and too focused on outputs to experiment. So we need to find ways of putting out tasty bait and waiting for bites...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Enzyme Club

Restriction enzyme There was some discussion on Twitter yesterday about molecular biology reagents and kits, etc. I started to tweet this, then realized it was more of a blog post than a tweet.

"In my day" i.e. when I started my PhD back in 197<cough>, the first few weeks were spent joining the Enzyme Club. This encompassed all the biomedical researchers at the University of Leicester. Each new student would prepare a batch enzyme for recombinant DNA work. In my case, I made Hsu I (an isoschizomer of Hae III but allegedly easier to prepare). Since it was years ago, I can't remember how many litres of the organism I grew up, but I remember very clearly doing the first assay on two litres of crude extract, and figuring out I was holding £40 million pounds worth of enzyme at the then current market prices. The first affinity column cut it down to £15 million, and a quick gel filtration to couple of millions pounds worth - still pretty good for two weeks work, especially when you remember that two million pounds was enough to buy you a house back in the 1970s!

Why did the Enzyme Club exist? Because these reagents were scarce in the 1970s, and rationed both by price and availability. Only a few years before, the only way to get hold of any of these enzymes was to make your own. This type of open science made sense. Why did the Enzyme Club cease to exist? Gradually, it became clear that the batch of enzyme I made wasn't very good. It had a persistent exonuclease activity which meant it was fine for restriction analysis but rubbish for cloning, and it went off very quickly in storage, so that after three months there wasn't much activity left. And although I've always been a rubbish protein chemist, that was a pretty common experience. Gradually, the companies dropped their prices and improved both the quality and availability of commercial enzymes. The day came when the Enzyme Club didn't make sense any more, and it quietly died. It's probably still moldering in the back of a coldroom over in the MSB.

So boys and girls, this is a story of the economics of open science, which made sense in response to scarce resources. When the availability of enzymes was limiting, this open approach made sense. When time became limiting, we all retreated back into our laboratories and got on with whatever we needed to do to get a PhD. The moral of this story is that open science pops up it's head when times are hard and resources are scarce, but retreats quickly as the balance changes.

So what are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


You may have heard there was a fuss over a paper entitled Perspectives of UK Vice-Chancellors on Leading Universities in a Knowledge-Based Economy which appeared briefly on the web site of the journal Higher Education Quarterly, then vanished. It contains quotes from ten different university vice-chancellors. Some of the comments caused quite a stir when they were quoted anonymously in an article of the Times Higher Education.
I think that universities need to be real about the world in which they inhabit and they need to be real in thinking how they are a business. They are in business with higher education at their heart. They are into marketing themselves, competitiveness and global market challenges (R. Burgess, University of Leicester).

Vice chancellors have to help colleagues to understand the nature of the competitive educational market, to shift thinking in how the institution needs to be managed, to raise aspirations about what the institution can achieve and to formulate a strategic vision that people are willing to implement (R. Burgess, University of Leicester).

Changing perceptions in the university involves getting people to start thinking about major issues by looking at the data on the institution (R. Burgess, University of Leicester).

Whatever the others may have said, it seems to me that Bob's on the money here. Hard times are coming. Hats off to him.

End of term report

Report card At the beginning of the year I set myself a resolution:

At the risk of appearing smug, I'd give myself a pretty good report so far. So in the spirit of Gifted and Talented, I'm going to set myself an additional challenge:

Go after the twossers

Since the failure of Small Worlds, I've been pondering the way forward in promoting social media for scientific researchers. One possibility is to concede that "social media isn't for everyone" and simply talk to the receptive part of the audience. The problem with this approach is that as these technologies continue to gain traction, it will simply create a digital underclass, so the problem has to be tackled head on.

Although Martin Weller's post Arguments for social media engagement was not directly about the scientific research community, his list of responses to the objectors is highly relevant:
  • The argument of recognition
  • The argument of simplicity
  • The argument of benefit
  • The argument of imperative
It's an interesting list, but for most of the hardcore lab researchers I talk to, it's still going to be a very hard sell. Recognition? Impact factors. Simplicity? Not enough hours in the day. Benefit? Always managed without it, danger of revealing "secret" data. Imperative? I can make this argument with regard to teaching - how can you ask students to keep a reflective portfolio if you don't - but it's harder with researchers.

This is the task I've set myself in the run-up to Science Online London.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Jo talked about our work on Personal Learning Environments at the HEA Annual conference in Manchester on 30 June 2009.

You may have seen something similar before ;-)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I told you so

Remember this?

Not so funny now, is it? ;-)

Why Feedback Doesn't Work

Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn't Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science

Summary: Emotions rather than logic lead to better decisions. Each of us sees the world differently, with a wide range of views about everything, and hence direct actions do not create the desired results. All the data in the world won't change someone's mind.