Answers to questions not asked

While reading through the module 2 & 3 materials made some notes in CMap format.  Idea is to develop them over the course of the modules and reference them when designing and evaluating pitches.  Future versions will be made available at a nominal fee – actually will just post them when and if it happens (suppose will need to add version numbers).

Curious about reaction to the blog interface format.  Candidly, I find it more frustrating to use than Vista and find it affects my interest in the course – suppose that qualifies as exploratory learning.  The use of applications (i.e. a news reader) to add basic functionality to the interface attest to user unfriendliness (and still does not resolve direct access to posts or comments, direct/private communication with users)….

It may also be that patience is worn a little thin through repeated interaction with Shaw this week.  At least telephone and internet service seem stable again (the irony of telephone and online customer support when your the reason for customer support is no telephone and no internet connection).  Will peruse the 118 posts and 197 comments currently on the blog tomorrow and resume comment.  Thank you for your patience


1 davidp { 09.19.08 at 5:43 pm }

Marc … your post is not a lonely post here.

I know that three people responded earlier today because I read and archived the complete blog and its comments this afternoon. Their comments seem to have evaporated since then.

Susan Wilson, Joe Dobson and David Wees each commented – so maybe we can ask them to re-post.


2 Marc Kampschuur { 09.20.08 at 1:53 am }

I tried to edit one of my own comments and as there seems to be no edit option I thought to delete and repost but could not delete my own post so that approach was also thwarted. Odd as can edit posts but not comments.

Noticed a reference in another comment to Elluminate trumping Vista (which by transitivity would trump blog) but reason I mention it would be interesting to see a cmap structure to threads/postings/comments as they are beginning to interrelate as EVA criteria are applied and analysed to pitches.

3 Marc Kampschuur { 09.20.08 at 1:55 am }

Thinking a bit further (and again missing the edit function), perhaps the tags are meant as substitutes for cmap links.

4 Susan Wilson { 09.20.08 at 6:32 am }


I appreciate your candor, Marc, and I can certainly understand. I have been struggling with the same feelings. I was very excited about the class when we began, but now I find that I am much more interested and am participating more in the other two classes that I am taking through the Vista interface. I am torn trying to figure out if I am just not a businessperson or if it is the blog environment.

I enjoy having the alerts telling me when there are new posts and replies and I am familiar with the organization of the courses on Vista. Perhaps once familiarity occurs, I will be as happy with the blog interface.

As I write this, however, I realize that this is the first informal, conversational post that I have made. I think that I have been missing the conversations that occur in the discussion forums – the requirement to post in a public forum tends to keep posts on topic and formal.

5 Crystal Pullman { 09.20.08 at 3:34 pm }

I agree that this interface seems a bit more difficult to navigate … that isn’t quite right. It’s perhaps not as organized? (postings and comments) as it might be in Vista.

I too am finding that I forget about this course and end up concentrating on my other 3 courses (that are in Vista). I think this however is mostly because I can log in to Vista, and my three courses are right there along with links to new emails and new discussions. I read through everything there, start on modules in each of them, and forget about this course even though I keep the tab open next to the vista tab. I think it would be nice if I could put a link to this course on my main Vista page, at least then I could keep the courses together a bit better.

6 Carolann Fraenkel { 09.21.08 at 1:50 pm }

I don’t have any huge problem with the WordPress interface, except that it is unstable and excruciatingly slow. I often will read for 10 minutes in between page refreshes. I am getting good at using spaces!

On the plus side, I like that the entire course is there to see whenever I want it on the left side navigation. I think it would be easier to read if people used tags and categories more faithfully.

Personally I have never liked Vista, even a little bit.


7 David De Pieri { 09.22.08 at 6:45 am }

I too appreciate your candor Marc,

a few things,
I’d like to start using CMap instead of the recommended FreeMind (from another course) CMap seems to be more in sync with the Acad formats I’m used to. FreeMind balances on useless.

This blog interface does take getting used to. I’m a newbee to this course and can see how beneficial it would have been to have a few other MET courses, “under my belt.” There are still a few things I’m not sure about but am too much of a guy to ask for help. I can see by the way some of you speak virtually on this blog, you have a head start on me or others.

I like the Vista function where you can see directly the text you are responding to. Not a biggy here, I just create a sticky note and then copy and paste. I’ve had a few problems trying to edit posts but found my way around it, haven’t lost anything yet and lastly, using the tags properly would eliminate lots of hunting. Like Carolann mentioned.

One other thing, I now understand why David mentions, “keep posts brief and to the point.” I’m probably worst offender, but will try to change… over all, like the course!


8 Marc Kampschuur { 09.22.08 at 2:49 pm }


Interesting observation about interpersonal dynamics as well (and how affected by the interface).

I also like the course – less abstract than the others, more what is really out there, what his really happening in the field.


The organization is what I find most trouble some – no overview in terms of where are the new posts, what comments are added, how do I come back to the post/comment later…


Think you found the secret to patience – finding something to do in the meantime. Do like the complete course overview as well though have seen that in Vista as well.

So how do you really feel about Vista? 🙂


We should not expect a pitch on FreeMind from you then?

Perhaps we will be offered the latitude to selection or a mindmap application of choice. The examples posted on the blog (i.e. and look suspiciously much like they were prepared in CMap…

If you’re feeling brave you may ask how come the instructors use one application and ask us to use another.

Cheers, Marc

9 davidp { 09.22.08 at 3:37 pm }

Actually, we suggest CMap at the beginning of Mod2 …

Not sure where this confusion arises.


10 Joe Dobson { 09.22.08 at 7:19 pm }

OK – seems like my initial post on this a couple days back disappeared.

My initial comment here was about the layout of the blog for this course. I like the way the course content is on the left index – it’s easy to follow, and similarly the tags can be helpful. That said, I really don’t like the long scrolling pages of posts on the various modules. They seem to get out of control and navigating backwards sets the page back at the top which can be frustrating. It would be a lot easier to get around if there were headings to click on for each topic or some such way to make it easier to work through posts from others.

This said, clearly a lot of work has gone into the course in this environment and there are some positives to the set up. I also suspect that the fact it’s open on the net is a new dynamic for both instructors and students.


11 Mary Burgess { 09.22.08 at 7:49 pm }

Being a virgo, I don’t like the fact that it feels so disorganized. That is not to say I’d prefer Vista, because I’m a Moodle lover – ours has a nice little dropdown menu on the left side with all the course elements in it and a breadcrumb trail that makes it easy to see where you are. But… the blog in the latest version of Moodle sucks, plain and simple, and as a blog, this software is great.

I think I’m a bit overwhelmed when I come to the front page of this site and there are lots of huge posts there. It’s kind of intimidating frankly, and it makes me not want to post, I just end up reading what everyone else is saying.

12 David De Pieri { 09.22.08 at 8:33 pm }

No confusion David P – we’re talking about instructors from different courses… my comment was based on my 511 course recommending Free Mind.

I have a strong back ground in Computer Assisted Drafting and found Free Mind to be weak.

Remember also folks, General Discussions which is 25 posts is just adding Announcement (9) and Q’s and A’s (16) together for a total of 25. Same with Module Discussions. Add Mod 1, 2, 3, 4, and you should end up with close to 120 posts between the 4.
(Providing no one posts while I type this and they probably have.)
I use the old paper and pencil technique, record the post area, record the name of the post inside it and then the comment number to that post. Takes a few seconds to write, but so far, quicker that ripping through the pages of material here. I get my daughter to transcribe to word doc. I pay her.

Mary, don’t be intimidated, I don’t think half my stuff gets read… get your cat to write your posts for you… 🙂 That is a cat isn’t it.

13 David De Pieri { 09.22.08 at 11:11 pm }

Oops, my apologies folks. I thought General discussions were the combination of Announcements and Q’s and A’s – looking closer I realize their not.

14 D.B. { 09.24.08 at 9:04 pm }

I’m coming at this course as a ‘lurker’ since I have not been able to participate in it until this point of time for reasons beyond the scope of the post. So as a result, my reaction is a consequence to reading and seeing this course over a period of a few days as I attempt to get up to speed.

• this course seems to be more ‘flat-file’ than ‘hierarchical’ so it does require a fair amount of tabbed-browsing, viewing separate windows, posts and whatnot. This ain’t WebCT/D2L/Vista/whatnot.

• most blogs I have seen tend to be author-oriented and discussions take place in the comment section like this. BUT we’re also a multiverse of authors here too. No formal strictures like the Vista sandbox makes reading and separation of details from commentary a bit difficult.

•the most disconcerting part in reading and catching up is the dynamic nature of the web page environment which changes as people post. I don’t find it WordPress in this mode to be as easy to navigate as other sites just because so much can change (i.e. the centre-column) and that makes it hard to track and keep mental note of what it is that I am reading and the purpose of that particular session on the net.

15 Bruce Spencer { 09.26.08 at 8:44 am }

A couple of things…

First – In terms of navigating, there’s definitely something to be said about breadcrumbs

Second – the Tags component of this platform reminds me of the extra security level that’s typically required for new accounts (jumbled and difficult to read)

Third – we shouldn’t loose site of the fact that we’re using a weblog, thus probably shouldn’t be comparing it to Vista or WebCT as they’re not the same.

Fourth– Vista is the easier of the two but it too has issues

Fifth – While it isn’t perfect, that’s okay because nothing ever is.

Sixth – Relax and just enjoy the experience, learn what you can from it and apply them both as best you can.

16 nancy castonguay { 10.05.08 at 8:48 am }

Given the fact that I am taking 4 MET courses at onces, organization is crucial. I find it extremely discouraging, navigating in this environment… even though I did take Carolann’s suggestion and now have all posts and comments feeding through my iGoogle page. Nevertheless… having to come on this page almost feels like I am having to drive out of town to get the work done… For the most part, once I post something, I never see it again…

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