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Slidecasts to be (killed) Discontinued

Slideshare

After the turn of the year, on February 7, Slideshare announced through its blog that slidecasts are going to be discontinued. Slidecasts are presentations uploaded to Slideshare that are synched to a MP3 audio file. While it’s relatively easy to create a slidecast, it may be seen as a niche practice, as some preparation and technical expertise is needed to do it, let alone the fact that Slideshare must be a niche social media site. For example, I used to do the presentation either with Powerpoint or Keynote and then record and edit its corresponding audio with Audacity or Soundforge. Hence, I suppose that only a limited number of Slideshare users have actually created this type of resource.

However, any way I see this decision from Slideshare, I call it a mistake similar to that of Google with its Google Reader (RIP), when they attempted to destroy RSS and the blogosphere to favor a lesser service/technology such as Google+. Of course, this decision is theirs to make, as it’s their service and, like me, most users are likely to use a free account. Even so, I can’t help but think that users of social media sites should have some stake in these types of decisions. I think this particular action from Slideshare is wrong because:

  • Slidecasts have way more views than the presentations without audio: although my presentations have a quite low profile compared to those of other users, my normal  presentations use to have hundreds of views while my slidecasts have thousands of them. I believe that is that shows the impact this advanced function may have. I think while static presentations are decentlly viewed, the amount of views slidecasts get show that they were a powerful type of media, not offered by any other social media site. This takes me to my other argument why this is a mistake.
  • Slidecasts are (were) one of the best and unique Slideshare features, if not the most unique. I understand that by killing it they might be killing the service altogether.

For me the most unsettling part of Slideshare’s announcement is that they state they are going to focus their energy instead “on building new and innovative ways for our users to share presentations”. I don’t want to be skeptic about innovating in social media but I wonder, is that even possible from the point of view of Slideshare, or is this just a sad excuse? You can already share presentations with your other social sites and embed any presentation on any site with an html string.

Since February 28 you’re not able to create new slidecasts. You have until April 30 to download yours and not lose them. What options do we have to cover this absence? By now, I’m thinking of downloading the existing slidecasts I have and uploading them to YouTube and doing future ones using Camtasia or Captivate, although as you may be guessing after reading this post, I’m not very comfortable with the idea of giving more of my content to Google. In any case, I would recommend that you check out Slideshare blog and take a look at the post and the comments. Take a stand, if you liked slidecasts.

Venezuelan proverbs: Uncertainty

There are moments in our existence when we find ourselves hopelessly at a crossroad. In these moments common sense or any kind of clairvoyance is useless to know what will happen. Moments that fill with uncertainty because we don’t often have the power to influence on the development of different situations, and on occasions one way or another depend on the good or bad will of third parties. However, we can find comfort by saying: “The sun will rise and we’ll see, said the blind man”.

Los números de 2013

Los duendes de las estadísticas de WordPress.com prepararon un informe sobre el año 2013 de este blog.

Aquí hay un extracto:

Un teleférico de San Francisco puede contener 60 personas. Este blog fue visto por 440 veces en 2013. Si el blog fue un teleférico, se necesitarían alrededor de 7 viajes para llevar tantas personas.

Haz click para ver el reporte completo.

Articles for the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL)

ECIL 2013

The first European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) took place on 22-25 October 2013, in Istambul, Turkey. I proposed two papers for this conference and I had the opportunity to get both accepted. It was great to have two papers selected among the quite impressive sample from Iberoamerican works, Alejandro Uribe Tirado counted 23 contribbutions, in a conference with an European focus. Athough I could not attend the conference, both these papers were presented by my coauthors and they got published by Springer in the conference proceedings. In the following paragraphs you will find the information of both articles and some bullet points about them.

1. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Lau, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Participatory action research and information literacy: Revising an old new hope for research and practice. Worldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 48-53.

  • Slides available!
  • Tracks and rebuilds a research agenda integrating information literacy with participative methodologies (E.g. action research).
  • It deals with some topics that are also dealt with on my own PhD research, although on a meta level
  • Develops and presents a questionnaire for worldwide experts that is being answered at this moment. You can still answer this questionnaire and share it with your colleagues!
  • It studies the future contributions of this perspectives for the advance of information literacy
  • Sheila Webber wrote a nice post about this research on her blog, thanks!

2. Machin-Mastromatteo, J., Virkus, S. (2013). Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills:  A Mutual Shaping Perspective for Information Literacy Research and PracticeWorldwide Commonalities and Challenges in Information Literacy Research and Practice: Communications in Computer and Information Science, 397, pp. 380-385.

  • Slides available!
  • It’s part of my PhD research, it integrates social media in a learning experience, discovering the role of information literacy in such integration.
  • The research and methodological framework ‘Doing Online Relearning through Information Skills’ is presented.
  • It advances a conceptual, epistemological and methodological understanding that is important for online learning activities.
  • This particular article discusses the conceptual idea of mututal shaping in this research

International Colloquium on Alternative Models of Learning and Access

Coloquio

On September 19, 2013, CETYS Universidad hosted the International Colloquium ‘Higher Education: Alternative Models of Learning and Access’ and I had the opportunity of moderating its second panel ‘How to successfully swim in learning new schemes Info – skills, MOOCs, ICT and other technologies’. I dedicated some words of introduction to this interesting topic from my perspective as a librarian and as an academic and I also presented the panel’s speakers: Alison Hicks and Jesús Lau.

I wanted to share with you some of my notes of introduction to this session:

  • Although my background is in Library and Information Science, I have been interested in technology and education since I graduated from my bachelor studies on Librarianship, as you may see if you read this blog. I have not been able to study or use Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), although they are perhaps one of the most important conceptual and technological innovations regarding alternative models of education.
  • MOOCs are massive, imagine having hundreds or thousand of students; they are open, as they follow the philosophy of openness; and they are online, after all they are courses, online courses.
  • MOOCs are quite interesting as an alternative model, as they may provide universal access to the university, which might have lost its way regarding its uni prefix.
  • I see that MOOCs have plenty of opportunities and challenges for those teaching them and learning from them, some of them have to do with the competences individuals must develop to deal with them, to develop a strong discipline when it comes to study and for managing one’s own time.
  • Information and digital literacies play a very important role when dealing with MOOCs as well as processes of academic certification and rigor, which acquire a new and perhaps more demanding dimension because MOOCs differ a great deal from classic courses.
  • I believe MOOCs must be oriented and grounded on research and problem solving assignments, and that takes a very special academic to lead them. A special type of course needs special teachers and special students and they can be taught special competences for dealing with them. Training would involve various university departments, such as research, the academia, and the university libraries.
  • It is interesting to point out the importance of the focus of this panel, where we have two librarians as guest speakers, Jesús Lau and Alison Hicks, as well as myself, the Learning and Information Development Librarian of CETYS Universidad, having the honor of introducing the topic in discussion and our distinguished guests. I believe that this configuration of speakers is quite a statement from CETYS’ part, because it means that libraries and librarians must be integrated as part of the engine of educational innovations. One clear path to follow is through information and digital literacies but we must question and enhance libraries’ role in breaking educational ground.

You can take a look at the whole session, which was recorded. I also prepared a Spanish/English bibliography on MOOCs, higher education and skills for this Colloquium.

Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2: Now With New Kickstand!

kickstandThis is a parody (of course) of a post with the same title via Slashdot

Venezuelan proverbs: dealing with the contempt from those who don’t know you

This Venezuela proverb came to mind many months ago, while we were living in a far and inhospitable country of the far south of Latin America and it was time to write it down here.

In my homeland, we use to say this proverb, “no one can say you didn’t dance” when we have to deal with other people underestimating us or showing us contempt, usually at a professional level. These negative attitudes toward us may be motivated because they don’t know anything about us (nor they want to), because of jealousy, selfpreservation instinct or even envy of our features. What “you danced” refers to all experiences and knowledge that we have gathered along the way, no matter if they are empirical or formal. For example, if anyone underestimates our expertice (which we have) at the moment of applying for a job and the result is that we are discarded for a mere whim instead of an objective assessment, we should not despair, because we know that we know, we know that we are capable and we can prove it, because no one can say you didn’t dance!

Original: “Nadie te quita lo bailao”

English equivalent: “No one can say you didn’t dance”

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