Reclaiming My Digital Identity

After deleting my Yahoo accounts and thinking about the stuff that’s gathered all around the web – I think it’s time to reclaim my stuff. So I made  a list of all the places I consume/create things on the web:

  • Faceboook – how I connect to family and friends, manage a band page
  • Flickr – still have some photos there
  • Tumblr – Hamilton Punk and Hardcore visual archive
  • Picasa/Google Photos – have quite a few photos from my phone
  • Instagram – yeah, photos here too
  • Twitter – my edtech tweets
  • Google+ – not really but some stuff there
  • various message boards – music, music and more music
  • LinkedIn – work related
  • PebblePad – ePortfolio
  • Trello – abandoned workflow/project management
  • Vimeo – portfolio related videos
  • YouTube – portfolio, music (two separate accounts), general watching (yes, a third account for stuff I’ve watched)
  • Discogs – record collection
  • Google Drive/Docs – three different accounts for three reasons (work, personal/travel, music)
  • Dropbox – filesharing
  • Diigo – bookmarks 
  • The Old Reader – RSS
  • Netvibes – RSS

Some of those make sense to reclaim (photos for sure), some don’t because the purpose is to leverage their platforms to communicate. The ones in italics make some sense to reclaim to me. The one benefit is that the storage for stuff out there, is paid for by someone else. However I’m thinking about how a website reflects one’s identity and maybe it’s time for a more holistic version of what I am, who I am.

Happy New Year

In the past I’ve looked at previous posts about what I think will happen, and reflect on those ideas. It’s not that I don’t think reflection is valuable, it’s just that I’m not that interested in navel gazing (hell, I can see my navel getting bigger by day).

This year, I’ll outline some of the projects I’m currently involved with and will try to write about this year.

Work Projects

So for work, I’m working on two large-ish projects. One is a Productivity and Innovation Grant funded project lead by the University of Guelph, around learning outcomes in D2L. What the project encapsulates is ensuring there’s alignment between course, program and ultimately University related outcomes – and the reporting that D2L will suggests where there are holes in the alignment. It seems like it will improve the Analytics/Insights tool greatly with global reporting options – which is something I’ve struggled with greatly.

The other, is around Learning Portfolios. The department that I’m embedded with has gotten some funding from the University to advance Learning Portfolios (the ePortfolio tool in D2L) on campus and it’s looking like we will be responsible for this area from here on out. I think that some improvements to the way the tool works by D2L will only help the adoption of the tool – however there’s still some major hurdles that have to be overcome before there’s widespread adoption. That’s not to say that adoption and use hasn’t grown greatly, it has – just the impact of the use so far has not produced enough of a ripple to spread campus-wide. That’s our job in year two. I’m putting in a Fusion 2014 proposal to co-present one of the really interesting stories from first semester that ties blended learning, learning portfolios and helping students reflect (in this case on career choices).

Personal Projects

Other than the banal things like redo the bathroom and visit more places, I’m putting out a record with my one band and releasing another record with my other band. Not very exciting unless you like hardcore punk.

While this is work-related, I want to put together a rubrics repository (like Rubistar, but much more focused on local courses, and local sharing) that has a series of rubrics saved covering higher education courses that the University teaches. This way, it gathers together some of the best work that faculty have done, recognizes them, allows them to set sharing permissions, and ultimately, choose to export as PDF or into D2L. This is a big project, and really not on anyone’s timeline, but I want it to happen. It’ll have to be open source, and to that end, maybe it doesn’t just spit into D2L but into Blackboard or other systems too. The first iteration will of course work with our system (D2L) and then maybe we can branch out.

I’d love to help update the Feed2JS codebase to get it WCAG 2.0 compliant.  I’d also love to blog more.

RSS is the Most Important Web 2.0 Tool (for Privacy)

RSS is the most important web 2.0 tool because it respects your privacy. When you pull information from another user – they know much less about you than when you read it on their website. They can’t set cookies.

When you read at a distance through RSS, at your convenience, your information isn’t given to the server you’re reading it on via cookie – no time or date stamp, no location rough estimate via IP, no browser information, no information about whether your using a mobile device or not – in fact most of that is irrelevant. It’s about the content of your post. You can choose to interact by posting a comment, which then can give the owner of the feed a bit of information should they want to.

It’s like standing in the square, yelling into a megaphone, announcing some great feat. Some will just listen, some may yell back in opposition, some will walk away. This is how the web should work.

This brief post was inspired by several, but most recently this post at O’Reilly Media about RSS decentralization and Dave Winer’s brilliant but underused RSS Cloud.

RSS Feeds Into A Widget for D2L

Part of my previous (and current) job was (is) to document and describe how to accomplish tasks in our LMS, Desire2Learn. However, there’s lots of things that I learned from others, but have since forgotten the original source, and moreover, can’t find a simple answer for what I used to know. Networked learning indeed. So, the next few posts (hopefully at a more regular interval) will have links to resources that I should know how to do, and push to document locally in PDF format with nice screenshots and everything.

I can’t believe I didn’t document this, nor kept a copy of the process for this, but The Clever Sheep has already done it via video, so I’ll link here: – there’s a primer on RSS and what it means, which is not entirely useful for my purposes. Typically my usage is in response to a question like: How do I get an RSS feed into my course? I like to use PDFs to document things – people tend to need to see pictures, and like to print out instructions to have next to them as they do the task. Usually my PDFs get spit out as a response to a question I’ve had more than once, and as such, they get the benefit of many iterations of feedback on the writing and how functional the instructions are.

We’re upgraded to 9.4.1 of the D2L Learning Environment, but will be going to Version 10 soon. From my preliminary investigation of version 10 (thanks Matt Teskey and D2L for the early access) the process doesn’t change and pre-existing RSS Feed widgets import into the new course just fine – nothing breaks.

I would also have to acknowledge the great work that Alan Levine did with Feed2Js, and Barry Dahl who’s presentation on Web 2.0 in the LMS was the starting point for where I’ve gone in the last four years.  So here’s my gift back – How to Embed a RSS feed in a D2L Homepage Widget (PDF). Bonus offer: if you would like to edit the original document, I’ll be glad to share that too, drop a comment and I’ll get in touch directly.