There is a tension between being relevant and being reputable

…or ‘how to get read on the World-Wide-Web.’

This is a presentation about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), but it is also about literacy and reputation in the age of the Internet. It is about how to understand and write well for the web so that like-minded people can learn about what you’ve got to say and be compelled to tell others about what you’ve got to say, too.

Although it’s not aimed at scholarly writing, that doesn’t matter. To Google’s crawlers, HTML source code is HTML source code, whether you publish articles about research into HIV or have something pointless to say about the latest gadget. No matter what the content is about there are literary as well as technical observations that can improve your communication and the impact of your writing.

Much of the presentation elaborates on this: “There is a tension between relevance and reputable.” It’s interesting.

History of the Internet, PICOL and CC video

Just a couple of videos which I came across by accident. Both demonstrate how well information can be communicated through animated graphics and images. The first, History of the Internet, “is an animated documentary explaining the inventions from time-sharing to filesharing, from Arpanet to Internet.” I read Where Wizards Stay Up Late this year, which is a compelling read about the same subject. I can imagine the video being used as an effective teaching resource in class with the book included on a reading list.

[vimeo 2696386]

The video looks fantastic in HD on my 24″ iMac display 🙂 One of the reasons for this is the use of the PICOL icons, which are an impressive attempt to “find a standard and reduced sign system for electronic communication.” PICOL stands for Pictorial Communication Language and the icons are CC licensed. While reading about the PICOL project, I came across a decent video introducing Creative Commons, which I hadn’t seen before. I think I’ll use it for my Thinking Aloud seminar later this month.

Anytime Anywhere Computing

Together with the ITC Department, we’ve recently begun a feasibility study which looks at related areas of the university’s ITC provision. It brings together three, originally separate proposals to look at upgrading our wireless infrastructure, provide a more flexible desktop experience through virtualisation and improve our understanding of and support for Netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices. It’s good to be working so closely with our ITC Department. So often I hear people at other institutions complain about their ITC departments being ‘brick walls’ and showing no flexibility, but fortunately I can’t say that about my experience at the University of Lincoln.

The Head of ITC sent me a link to this video today. It’s a good example of why our study is both necessary and worthwhile.

Related to this, Tony Hirst recently bookmarked this ITC syllabus for 13-14 year olds recently, which, together with the video, provides a clear indication of what’s happening in schools.

We’re working closely with the Student Council and Academics and intend to survey them on the issues raised by the study early in the new year.  We’ve started talking to vendors of desktop and application virtualisation ‘solutions’, too (the virtualisation of our server infrastructure is almost complete). We’re also lining up some visits to other institutions that have experience in these areas.

If you or your school, your FE or HE insititution has seriously considered or implemented desktop and/or application virtualisation, a full service wireless infrastructure (i.e. it matches the services on your wired network) and support Linux and XP-based Netbooks and other mobile devices, please do get in touch or leave a comment below.

Ted Talks: My ‘Lifelong Learning Strategy’

These days, I’m working my way through 300+ Ted Talks on my iPod Touch while walking to and from work, managing about three 20 minute talks a day.  It’s part of my personal ‘Lifelong Learning Strategy’ 🙂 In fact, Ted via iTunes in the palm of my hand is my ‘Virtual Learning Environment’ with the highest calibre of Lecturers you’ll ever find in your pocket. Along the way of this wandering, multidisciplinary education, some talks stand out for their poetry…

When lectures of this calibre are delivered I’m absorbed to the point of being a hazard on the footpath.