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All about Moodle  (November 9th, 2005)
As I was visiting Glasgow, I decided I would try to make my visit worth while. So I made an appointment with the GUIDE team at the University of Glasgow.
I was met by a very friendly and helpful team who managed to help me out of a lot of prejudices and pre set ideas I have heard flying about about moodle. My primary reason to visit the University of Glasgow e-learing support team was my (I'll be honest) astonishment at the fact that this large university appeared to be quite committed to Moodle as their VLE. I would like to thank Howard Miller and David Scotson sincerely for their time.
I will not dwell on everything we discussed during this very interesting meeting, but there were a number of things this visit has taught me. Many of these things I knew of course (duh ;-) but they placed them in a much better perspective:
  1. Moodle offers you a lot of freedom. Think for example about guest accounts.
  2. Moodle is still best used at a lower level, so why not install lots of instances... One server has proven enough to run them. I was very pleased to hear that in New Zealand there is an institute working on the up-scaling of Moodle, In my opinion this will be a very important step in the direction Moodle will develop in...
  3. If you want to enjoy Moodle, invest in development. Only then do you have a say in what happens in Moodle. So either invest in your own staff or hire others to do the designing and programming for you.
  4. Moodle and SAKAI still seem very distinct. Of course they have been set up using completely different methods.
  5. Don't worry about patching security issues on 41 installations, they simply are not an issue....
So all in all a very interesting visit. It was great to see how the University of Glasgow is taking on e-learning. I hope I can go back some time soon to see how they are getting on.
Back in Glasgow  (November 9th, 2005)
I have just spent a very short weekend trip visiting Glasgow. It was great! Karien's first contact with Scottish weather actually contained sunshine ;-)

It was especially relaxed because we were staying in a hotel only two blocks down from the one I stayed in in April. So it was the same inner circle on the Clockwork Orange... see the pic. And yes, it really is this small
Peije's first rugby match  (October 29th, 2005)
What an event: Peije played his first rugby match! They played three great games and won all three. In the end they really got into it and were quite aggressive (but all of course in a sporting manner: this is not footie).

They won:
9-2, 11-4, 15-1
(One point is one try, conversions are a little too complicated for the little-uns ;-)
WebCT merged into Blackboard?  (October 26th, 2005)
Now the dust is starting to settle and the hysterics are dying down, people at the uni (Utrecht University, Netherlands) are starting to read the fine print...
This is quite an interesting development for a university using both and pledging to make a decision on 1 VLE on a short term... So what does this mean in practice? Especially for the reknownly indecisive faculty/department in the middle. Three guesses: sorry will earn you no points.
How how will we take future developments into account? I have a great numbers of ideas on this matter but I am not sure it is wise to vent them here at this time. Anybody that knows me well will now what my opinion on the two VLE's was to start with and will also know what my ideas are for the way forward...

For all those interested in what the other specialists think about this matter:
Visit what Stephen Downes is registering on his weblog.
Weblogs around the world  (October 26th, 2005)
Just by building a weblog my curiosity was started. I have been asking around and there are so many weblogs out there. Especially, and probably not surprisingly, in the field of Education and ICT.

So to get others inspired (and to get the link in a place where I can never lose it ;-) ) a link to Stephen Downes website.
Happy reading...
Is LAMS the be all, end all?  (October 26th, 2005)
The great thing about LAMS in my opinion is that it uses the learning process as the basis and allows the teacher to design their course with the preferred teaching methods in mind, rather than being put in front of a shop window full of interesting but not always transparent tools. To name but a few: Selective availibilty, Content module, Media Library Collection, Glossary, Safe Assignment, etc...

The question I posed in my weblog earlier concerns not the teacher designing the course, but a student wanting to learn something. What if you could offer a student centred VLE? The student can enter the VLE and choose how he wants to learn the subject matter, in what order, using which tools.... It is perhaps a bewildering thought: where does it leave the teacher/designer? Maybe it is an extreme example of constructivism. Maybe it is so extreme that it is unfeasible? Has anybody tried?

So, to conclude my ramblings: I will definitely give LAMS a good looking over, and I will keep my eyes open for the student centred VLE (even if it is just a academic excercise).
A great week in the UK  (October 24th, 2005)
We have just returned from a great week in England visiting the family, but also relaxing. The definitive highlight of this week was the quiet footpath all the way to the bottom of the white cliffs. At the bottom a quiet cove and a very small shingle beach, with nobody else around. We will not give away the secret where this is, if somebody really wants to know, just ask.

I have spent years looking for this path so I won't give it up easily. And for all paleontologists: it has been the site of a very small but interesting find... Probably just something for specialists only ;-)

And someday we will return for low tide...

Besides all this enjoyment there was one sad note, but that only went to show that England is a country like any other, with fortunately friendly but also less friendly people...
Prize for reading out loud  (October 15th, 2005)
We are quite proud of our daughter. She just won the prize as the best reader of all 5/6 groups... Specially selected by a jury of kids from these classes.
She has always been an avid reader, but she is also turning out to be an expressive personality too...
Marriage Han  (October 15th, 2005)
After all those years Han has married again. And what a setting! He chose the island of Vlieland to celebrate the wedding. It was great weather and it is always great to be in Vlieland, enjoying the land and sea scape.
It is a bit strange to encounter a whole new collection of inlaw's though.... And that coming from your father of all people.
Scary witches  (October 5th, 2005)
I now have two really scary kids. One is a witch and the other a magician... Up to his usual tricks ;-)
Fortunately neither are in to black magic.
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