Category Archives: Social

Horizon Report 2014 is out. Is the UofL keeping up with the trends?

If you are not familiar with the Horizon Report, it is a report on new trends, challenges and technologies in education. The New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE work together to output this report every year. They follow trending strategies, technologies, and even challenges in the education sector. Not only is the report a wealth of information, but these two groups provide a forecast about which trends or technologies will be upon us and how far away they are from appearing in our educational institutions.

You can download the report in it’s entirety here.
http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed

Below is a brief over view of the trends that were identified in the report. These trends are often looked at as future trends, but often times they are considered future trends because we are seeing the changes occur in our educational environments already. It is important to keep that in mind as we read these trends and evaluate our own institution. Identified with each key trend below are examples of what the great teaching community here at the University of Lethbridge is already doing to address some of these trends.

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Can MOOC’s Be Effective as a Multicultural Classroom?

MOOC’s have risen as a new and exciting paradigm of online education. The idea behind MOOC’s is to offer education to more people around the world at a reduced price. In fact the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the majority of professors who wished to teach or be involved in a MOOC did so for altruistic reasons. They see creating courses that can be offered around the world as a good thing that would benefit the global population. And why not see it that way?

However in a guest post by Ghanasshyam Sharma for the Chronicle, we are reminded about the cultural challenges that students of MOOC’s may face. Sharma uses a personal story to explain that wanting to educate on a global basis may be a “delusion”, and that many cultural, social, and economic factors need to be researched before MOOC’s can attempt to make education more global.

The full article from The Chronicle of Higher Education can be found here:
http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/a-mooc-delusion-why-visions-to-educate-the-world-are-absurd/32599

Taking a look at Mendeley reference manager

When researching a topic and looking up articles, I have been trying to use Endnote for the Mac platform. Although, I have heard wonderful things about this program, and have seen it work efficiently, I encountered some problems saving some references and importing information about documents I had download from sites other than the University Library. Another feature I wanted, was the ability to sync article and reference access on my iPad. This caused me to search for alternative programs or servicse. This article will focus on some of the features I am finding beneficial in the Mendeley platform.

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a cloud based, internet service that will provide users with web, desktop, and mobile platforms for managing references for research purposes. The product allows you to import PDFs and have the meta data automatically extracted into a citation manager that is built into Mendeley. Although this is a great feature of Mendeley, and probably one of the main feature of the service, there are other products that perform this same function.

So what makes Mendeley different, and why would you want to use it instead of say Endnote or Zotero?

Mendeley integrates a social aspect into their services. All the platforms that Mendeley is available on (web, desktop, mobile) allow you to make connections with other researchers, share your articles with a targeted research community, as well as gather articles from other researchers. You can form groups and connect with other researchers and discuss articles right within Mendeley’s research platform. Mendeley even suggests articles related to the articles that you currently have added to your library.

How can you get started with Mendeley?

If you are interested in trying Mendeley, you can do so by visiting http://www.mendeley.com. Signing up for an account is absolutely free, and they also offer free of charge, downloadable software for multiple platforms such as Mac, PC and iOS. Although a Android version has not been created by the company, they have released an API that has allowed third party developers to create apps for Android devices.

Is it really free?
Yes Mendeley is free. However, they do have paid plans available. These plans essentially increase your cloud storage. They also have team plans available if that is of interest to you.