daily digest

2011-06-10

Met with Vincent Kujala from Geography – they are learning about our CMS/blogs/wiki framework, and how it could help fill their needs. The project that brought their attention to us is www.watergovernance.ca.

Got a call from MedIT, letting me know that ehealth.med.ubc.ca is live. It looks great, fine work by MedIT!

Friday is a good day because we have our Idea Lab session where we use couple of hours to experiment with different ideas and present cool things that we’ve learned during the previous week. Some great products that we all enjoy daily are the result of similar approach: like Google News or Gmail. We do not have such ambitions but the concept already pay dividends – from UBC CMS mobile layer to couple of cool ideas in the pipe.

Today, I presented one that I will need more time than I have now to share here, but I’ll say that it is about fund-raising and very much based on the requests of many.

Will Engle came up with an idea of creating the crowd-sourcing UBC website. We’ve discussed the potential  – it seems this could be the way for anyone (students, initiatives, units) who has the need, ideas and or project plan but lacks knowledge, support or volunteers to get UBC’s crowd response – volunteering or expertise or why not, funding.

This could also be very helpful way to connect UBC with external communities in need.

Go Canucks, go (game 5 starting very soon)!

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daily digest

2011-06-09

morning:

Enej and Michael were figuring out the ways to improve code repository workflow. Exactly the conversation I do not enjoy, but find fascinating that they can be so engaged in to that stuff. You have to admit to yourself that you cannot have an opinion on everything every time. Perhaps on most things most of the time.

Looking for a student to help with some house-cleaning issues over the summer. The person has to love to create, enjoy arts, play instrument and be kind-hearted. And enjoy coding. All the competencies I care about.

Worked with Anne-Rae Vasquez on ideas how to transition few hundred projects from BaseCamp to ActiveCollab. Wondering if we throw CWL in front of it, would it make it THE campus’ project management tool? Seems robust enough and people love it. What’s the point of running the small install for one office if it takes (almost) the same amount of effort to have it available campus-wide? That’s how UBC Blogs, Wiki and CMS happened.

Enej and I met with Ryan Wong at the clinic today and we have worked on the course supported by Natasha Boskic. The goal is to create a course environment that resembles the evoke site in certain features.

Students will rate each others’ work and collect points that will make a part of their grade.

Number of fun challenges, it looks like we will be using CubePoints and VoteItUp plugins. The course will be closed but we will share the development and after it goes live the students’ and instructor’s feedback. It could be an interesting model for student interaction and creative take on peer evaluation.

At the clinic today we had an internal CTLT client, – Zack was working on Wiki resources for CTLT Institute and also Lina, Will, Michael and Enej helped design@UBC and  Global Help Research Program sites development.

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daily digest

2011-06-08

Busy day today – morning:

Will had arranged for a meeting with Hilde ColenbrandercIRcle Coordinator and Tara Stephens, cIRcle’s Workflow Project Librarian. It started with their need for a new website (easy) and ended up about the very hot topic for us – publications management. A bit of background:
I have already blogged (last week) and made a pretty bad screencast about how we (CTLT, PA, Arts, Forestry, MedIT) are in process of designing the new profile WP custom type that will address the creation, management and display of staff’s profile with the typical UBC unit’s or Faculty’s website.

So let’s say we’ve solved this and that we have a wonderful UBC CMS tool to manage unit’s directory (that in ideal world will talk to UBC directory), we still miss the ability for each faculty member to manage her or his publications. After learning in detail what cIRcle is all about, it seems like a natural fit. Between Hilde’s team and CMS group (most work done on this front by Renita Drakes from Forestry) we will work on building personas and wireframes and test the concept before looking into technology. And technology part should be lots of fun. In a nutshell, typical faculty member will be able to login to his or her unit or faculty website and see publication management interface; the publications will actually end up within ciRCle and should be found and visible on both sites. If paper is tagged or categorized with, say, “forest floor” it should be also automatically listed in UBC wiki, page “forest floor” under section academic papers. Will elaborate on the concept once we have something more solid.

1:00-3:00

CTLT’s learning technology group meeting followed by managers’ meetings. Lot of new work that I want to finish before I have time to think about it, so I don’t ever hear or think about it again.

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daily digest

2011-06-07

9:30-12:00

CMS group meeting – this time with Arts only, Shaffiq Rahemtulla and  Liang Shao – and banging through the issues.

Five things to cover to make sure Arts will get what they need – so in works is Arts’ access (read-only for now) to our GIT repository which has potential to allow their developers to be actively involved in developing the overall CMS platform. We are still strict about VPN pool access, and going through the process  is great for Arts in case they decide to recreate similar developing framework. Also inventoried need for few minor short-code and  theme tweaks, like before-singular theme reserved area that will assure ability for CLF sub-branding. Well caught by Shaffiq and will make fantastic addition to the theme for assuring faculty-specific CLF sub-branding.

But perhaps the most significant is the request for generalizing Wiki Embed functionality that will make possible secure and easy external database integrations from external sites. Hello Circle as true publication management tool for UBC researchers, faculties and students.

2:00-3:00

Two weeks ago, during Will’s and mine talk, Jessica Motherwell McFarlane had made a few strong arguments about the lack of desirability of university publishing spaces when compared to public ones like blogger or wordpress.com. We did try to point to some advantages of UBC own platforms (blogs, wiki, cms) such as CWL integration, hosting in Canada, university’s brand (CLF) integration, wiki audience-tailored spaces and Wiki Embed among others and so today we met. Thanks Donna Scalzo for facilitating this – we learned a lot from heavy and engaged user and as a result there will soon be a UBC version of excellent Jessica’s gender companion blog.

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daily digest

2011-06-03

Second day of Etug conference

Sitting on Moodle + WordPress: Teaching Educational Technology With the Best of Both Worlds talk, really an rss talk,but what is interesting is that people seem to like even this very simple integration. Google reader as an aggregator, now imagine real campus netvibes-like portal.

Preparing for the talk that I am doing with Will and Brian.

Sitting at the Knowledge mobilization talk, and the question to audience is what do we do to enable it?

We are next.

3:00

We managed through it, thanks Brian and Will!

Now at the grand finale: Can you dig it? #DS106 Radio. Perfect ending. And we all got an icecream!

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daily digest

2011-06-02

The Etug Conference is happening, opened by one and only Alan Levine, with very engaged crowd.

I really liked Alan’s “Open Attitude” idea – no matter the technology, amount of built resources or strategic planning, if we, personally and institutionally don’t breathe and live sharing and open, everything else is just empty words.

From institutional point of view, it is an imperative to enable open, to support technologies that are truly open and reusable and get people connected. The universities still have a bit of time to do so before all important university’s communities are already connected outside of university technology framework, from facebook to linkedin.

I really liked Ryan Oakley’s “There’s so much more to crowdfunding than just money — but the money’s nice too!” talk, lot of great advices and you can actually see the result of his dream made possible!

Hmmm, this crowdfunding idea of audio tour of Nelson, made me think of other crowd thing – crowdsourcing, actually crowdnarrating, UBC or anything else that is on the map and within cellular coverage. Would be nice addition to UBC Wiki or Mark II of still non-existent UBC Maps Mark I ;)

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daily digest

2011-06-01

Spent a day on the road – trip to Nelson, for an Etug conference. Went with my son Luka and we enjoyed the spectacular, though 9 hours long drive.

Got to Prestige Lakeside hotel, unpacked and had nice dinner with Brian, Keira and Harry at Bibo’s, a very nice place where one gets easily inspired. UBC CMS tagline ideas: Give it a try and feel love! Basic love motif that we already have on UBC blogs, nicely polished by Brian!

Here is one from the road, jpeg from the camera, slightly edited:

Or see full size (7000px).

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daily digest

2011-05-31

9:30-12:30, CTLT, USB

We had our regular UBC CMS working group meeting: Renita Drakes from Forestry, Mike Ko from PA, Tony Chang from MedIT, and Shaffiq Rahemtulla, Liang Shao and Lenkyn Ostapovich from Arts ISIT.

The focus today was addressing staff profiles management within typical UBC website, led by Enej.

All groups see this as an important issue for successful presentation of faculty, staff and researcher profiles within each unit/website that should go beyond simple administrative directory idea and extend to social networking, publication management and multiple identities within different contexts. So within the four groups we are hoping to create WP plugin to address this challenge. It is great that Arts is providing their expertise as they have interfaced UBC directory before and I am looking forward to work again with John Bratlien, fantastic php programmer.

1:30

So here is the proposal, took 10 mins to record, and another 5 until it showed up on YouTube (thanks Enej!)

2:00 – 3:00

Few CTLT folks (Michelle, Marianne, Manpreet and me) had a great meeting with Nathalie Baudion, UBC senior communication strategist where we presented scope of services that CTLT provide. We also talked about higher-ed institutional (in this case UBC) needs on communication and marketing and general positioning in relation to social networking and personal publishing. The topics include universities role in providing these social tools, complementing and/or competing to external outside spaces, the role of faculties and what this means to teaching and learning experience… Great to hear that some core principles are being on the radar on the highest level: meaning of brand and sub-branding, value of expression,  how the community collective publishing can influence and enrich UBC’s global positioning and put us on the map among other points.

3:00-5:00

Working meeting with Marianne, services within CTLT – are we a service unit, in ITIL terminology, at least CTLT technology side?  If so how do you prevent scope creep? Is that called innovation?

What is more “innovation”, building frameworks that you have a clear roadmaps for and that will enable thousands to create and publish, or spending time on experimenting with new small web-apps that are very cool and may or not have an impact?
Probably both.
How do you do both? I don’t know, hire students?

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daily digest

2011-05-30

9:30-12:30, VGH

Met with Emergency Medicine group: Jim Christenson, Adam Lund and Todd Raine along with Brian Kladko, Tony Chang from MedIT, Enej and Michael.

Had a great discussion on supporting the development of the new Emergency Medicine website and associated dozen or so interest groups websites.

www.thischangedmypractice.com looks like a good model for building community around these interest groups’ websites but also to feature emergency medicine feed from that website to Emergency Medicine main site.

Tomorrow, during CMS stakeholders’ meeting we will discuss the UI for profile post-type that Faculty of Medicine, Arts and Forestry all need. The starting point will be Forestry’s own app and feedback from both Faculty of Medicine and Forestry.

1:00-3:00, CTLT, IKBLC, Fraser Room

Clinic wasn’t that busy today, Lina helped with Action Theory website, Michael was helping setting up ovarian cancer website (still in works) for VGH and Enej and I helped setting up Christina Hendricks’ PulsePress blog for her course.

3:00-5:00, CTLT, USB

Enej and I are working on the preparation for tomorrow’s meeting about User Profiles functionality in UBC CMS. It should play nicely with People List plugin that we have developed during summer Will publish findings once we have something. It starts here:

5:00 +

On the way out the door, I ran into Thomas Chung, he used to work with us for a term, about four years ago. How nice he stopped by to say hi. It is fantastic to see these talented young people succeeding: he now works for Microsoft and his latest project was migration of MSN spaces (MS’s attempt to provide blog/social networking platform) to WordPress.com. Almost equally fantastic was the number of blogs they automatically moved: when I asked him how many blogs, he replied: “Millions”.

Over 30 millions to be precise.

Can WordPress scale? Microsoft certainly thinks it can.

Thanks Thomas for stopping by and balancing out day’s share of unfantastic.

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