[getting students to read]

Here is a great video I think I'll be showing all my first year undergrads. Author Jim Trelease (author of The Read-Aloud Handbook) compares reading to the process of cutting down a tree; both need to be done slowly and carefully.

Take a look:


[canada research chair in digital game studies and design]

Exciting academic employment opportunity:

Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, invites applications for a Senior (Tier I) Canada Research Chair (CRC) in the field of Game Studies, Game Design and/or Games and Learning as a joint appointment in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Faculty of Fine Arts. The goal of the CRC program (http://chairs.gc.ca/) is to ensure that Canadian universities "achieve the highest levels of research excellence to become world-class research centres in the global, knowledge-based economy.”

Concordia’s academic culture celebrates leading-edge research, creativity, and the transfer of knowledge for today’s innovation driven society. The Chair in Digital Game Studies and Design will build on Concordia’s leadership in the fields of creative expression, communication and culture, and information and communication technologies as described in our Strategic Research Plan (2008-12)

Concordia is located in one of North America’s most diverse, creative and livable cities. Many leading games companies have chosen to locate in Montreal where strategic government initiatives also support the research sector and industry.
Applicants for this position may come from any disciplinary background but must have a superior record of publication and/or research/creation in the fields of game studies and game design. The successful candidate is expected to have an outstanding and innovative research program, as well as demonstrated abilities to foster the development of broad based interdisciplinary initiatives, attract excellent graduate students and secure external funding. The successful candidate will be expected to take a leadership role in the development of the newly founded Centre for Technology, Art and Games (TAG).

The TAG initiative is leading interdisciplinary, cross-Faculty research in games studies and design at Concordia. TAG operates under the umbrella of the Hexagram Institute for Research/Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, which is the largest and most productive new media lab in Canada. For additional information on TAG and Hexagram, see
http://www.tag.hexagram.ca and http://www.hexagram.org.

The successful candidate for the CRC position in the field of Game Studies, Game Design and/or Games and Learning will be appointed (with tenure) at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor. The candidate will work with the Faculty of Arts and Science and Faculty of Fine Arts
to prepare the formal CRC nomination according to the CRC program guidelines. The university will nominate the successful candidate to the CRC Secretariat at the earliest opportunity according to the guidelines of the CRC program.

Applications should consist of a cover letter, a current curriculum vitae, copies of recent publications, a statement of teaching philosophy/interests, a statement of research achievements, and evidence of teaching effectiveness.

Candidates must also arrange to have three letters of reference sent directly to:

Chair, Game Studies and Design CRC Search Committee
Concordia University
c/o Faculty of Fine Arts
De Maisonneuve Boulevard West, EV 2.781

Montreal, Quebec,
H3G 1M8

This position, linked to the CRC appointment, will begin July 1, 2010.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. All applications should reach the Chair of the Hiring Committee no later than November 2, 2009.

All inquiries about the position should be directed to crcgames@alcor.concordia.ca

Concordia University is committed to employment equity.


[downtown edmonton on whyte ave]

I've been told that there's some great people-watching to be done on Whyte Ave in Edmonton.

This is what I spotted the other day:

Yes, that is a man, walking down the street with a snake around his neck. And yes, that's a young girl petting the snake.


I found this super article via Gerry McKiernan at Reference Notes. Have a read:

New York Times / August 19, 2009, 1:08 pm / Updated: 1:29 pm / Steve Lohr

A recent 93-page report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Department of Education, has a starchy academic title, but a most intriguing conclusion:

“On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”

The report examined the comparative research on online versus traditional classroom teaching from 1996 to 2008. Some of it was in K-12 settings, but most of the comparative studies were done in colleges and adult continuing-education programs of various kinds, from medical training to the military.

Over the 12-year span, the report found 99 studies in which there were quantitative comparisons of online and classroom performance for the same courses. The analysis for the Department of Education found that, on average, students doing some or all of the course online would rank in the 59th percentile in tested performance, compared with the average classroom student scoring in the 50th percentile.

That is a modest but statistically meaningful difference.

“The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing — it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction,” said Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International.

This hardly means that we’ll be saying good-bye to classrooms. But the report does suggest that online education could be set to expand sharply over the next few years, as evidence mounts of its value.

Until fairly recently, online education amounted to little more than electronic versions of the old-line correspondence courses. That has really changed with arrival of Web-based video, instant messaging and collaboration tools. The real promise of online education, experts say, is providing learning experiences that are more tailored to individual students than is possible in classrooms. That enables more “learning by doing,” which many students find more engaging and useful.


“We are at an inflection point in online education,” said Philip R. Regier, the dean
of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program. Mr. Regier sees things evolving fairly rapidly, accelerated by the increasing use of social networking technology. More and more, students will help and teach each other, he said. [snip]

“The technology will be used to create learning communities among students in new ways,” Mr. Regier said. “People are correct when they say online education will take things out the classroom. But they are wrong, I think, when they assume it will make learning an independent, personal activity. Learning has to occur in a community.”



Full Text Available At



[facebook and canadian privacy laws]

Time is up for Facebook to find a way to live up to Canada's privacy law after this country's privacy watchdog gave the social-networking website one month to close its "serious privacy gaps."

And if Jennifer Stoddart, Canada's privacy commissioner, isn't satisfied with Facebook's final response Monday, she has two weeks to take the California-based company to Federal Court in Ottawa to try and get a court order requiring it to change its business practices to comply with Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the country's private-sector privacy law.


The privacy probe began last year when the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa filed an 11-part complaint, alleging Facebook violated key provisions of Canada's private-sector privacy law.

In addition to an "overarching" concern relating to the "confusing" or "incomplete" way in which Facebook provides information to users about its privacy practices, Stoddart concluded Facebook's policy to indefinitely keep the personal information of people who have deactivated their accounts is contrary to the act.


But the bigger dispute over Facebook sharing personal information to companies that operate third-party applications on its site is another matter, he said.

In order to download popular games and quizzes, Facebook users must consent to share all their personal information, except their contact details. These companies, totalling nearly one million, operate in 180 countries.

Read more here: http://www.canada.com/technology/Facebook%20must%20satisfy%20Canada%20privacy%20commissioner%20Monday/1899277/story.html


[american army takes on some web 2.0 ideas]

"Join the Army, where you can edit all that you can edit.

In July, in a sharp break from tradition, the Army began encouraging its personnel — from the privates to the generals — to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life.

The program uses the same software behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and could potentially lead to hundreds of Army guides being “wikified.” The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Army’s array of colleges and research centers who have traditionally written the manuals.

“For a couple hundred years, the Army has been writing doctrine in a particular way, and for a couple months, we have been doing it online in this wiki,” said Col. Charles J. Burnett, the director of the Army’s Battle Command Knowledge System. “The only ones who could write doctrine were the select few. Now, imagine the challenge in accepting that anybody can go on the wiki and make a change — that is a big challenge, culturally.”

In recent years, collaborative projects like the Firefox Internet browser or Wikipedia pages have flourished with the growth of the Internet, showing the power of thousands of contributors pulling together.

Not surprisingly, top-down, centralized institutions have resisted such tools, fearing the loss of control that comes with empowering anyone along the chain of command to contribute.

Yet the Army seems willing to accept some loss of control. Under the three-month pilot program, the current version of each guide can be edited by anyone around the world who has been issued the ID card that allows access to the Army Internet system. About 200 other highly practical field manuals that will be renamed Army Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, or A.T.T.P., will be candidates for wikification.

As is true with Wikipedia, those changes will appear immediately on the site, though there is a team assigned to each manual to review new edits. Unlike Wikipedia, however, there will be no anonymous contributors.

Many in the Army have been suspicious about the idea, questioning if each soldier — specialist or not — should have an equal right to create doctrine, Colonel Burnett said.

“We’ve gotten the whole gamut of responses from black to white,” he said, “ ‘The best thing since sliced bread’ to ‘the craziest idea I have ever heard.’ ”

The colonel said that he was hopeful that by reaching out to the 140,000 members of the Army’s online forums, he would be tapping the kind of people who would be comfortable collaborating on the Web.

“Our motto is, ‘If you ever thought what would I do if the Army let me write doctrine, now is your chance,’ ” he said."

Read more here:


[university 2.0 approaches]

The future of the university is set to change, we all know that. But how rapidly and in what ways? Peer 2 Peer University is an example of how to "hack education" and upgrade teaching and learning especially for those who cannot afford the more traditional books, laptops and professor time. Note: the future is just beginning, there is a long way to go.

The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well.

For more information:



Unless otherwise noted, all content on the P2PU site is licensed under:

Creative Commons License


[journals: ranking and inventory]

~~ via scholarship 2.o

JournalBase *- *A Comparative International Study of Scientific Journal Databases in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (SSH)

Michèle Dassa et Christine Kosmopoulos / Cybergeo, The Electronic European Journal of Geography / Dossier publié le 25 juin 2009 / Document published on 25 June 2009 / Last updated : 17 July 2009.

Presented here for the first time in a comparative table are the contents of the databases that inventory the journals in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (SSH), of the Web of Science (published by Thomson Reuters) and of Scopus (published by Elsevier), as well as of the lists European Reference Index for Humanities (ERIH) (published by the European Science Foundation and of the French Agence pour l'Evaluation de la Recherche et de l'Enseignement Supérieur (AERES).

With some 20,000 entries, this is an almost exhaustive overview of the wealth of publications in the Social Sciences and the Humanities, at last made available in this table, adopting the same nomenclature for classing the journals according to their disciplines as the one used in 27 workstations of the European Science Foundation.

The multiple assignments reveal the multidisciplinarity of the journals, which is quite frequent in SSH, but also sometimes the incoherence of databases that have not been corrected.The research was carried out in 2008 with the financial support of the TGE Adonis of the CNRS.

An updated version will soon be presented online.The final objective of this project, which concerns the entire international community of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, is to put online, in a bilingual English/French version, the database of JournalBase in interactive mode on a collaborative platform, as well as the final report of the study, so that the decision-makers, the scientists, the experts in scientific information have access to up-to-date information, and so that they may contribute to forward movement in the reflection on these questions, through the exchange of experiences and of good working practices.

JournalBase has been updated on the 17 July 2009. It includes the information on open access journals indexed in the DOAJ.



Full Text



[journal of community informatics: new issue]

Vol 5, No 1 (2009)

Table of Contents


Editorial: Building the Broadband Economy from the Bottom Up: A Community Informatics Approach to BB and Economic Development HTML
Michael Gurstein

Points of View

Moving Community Informatics Research Forward Abstract HTML
Aldo de Moor


Community Inquiry and Collaborative Practice: The iLabs of Paseo Boricua Abstract HTML
Ann Peterson Bishop, Bertram (Chip) C. Bruce
Assessing the geodemographics of the People's Network in public libraries in Shropshire. Abstract HTML
Adrian Oliver Barlow
The role of Social Entrepreneurs in Deploying ICTs for Youth and Community Development in South Africa Abstract HTML
Chijioke J Evoh
The Effect of Formal and Informal Social Capital on Diffusion of Wireless Encryption Practices: A longitudinal case study Abstract HTML
Sorin Adam Matei
ICTs and Community Participation: An Indicative Framework Abstract HTML
Dhanaraj Thakur

Notes from the field

Communities, Technologies and Participation: Notes from C&T 2009 Abstract HTML
Joe McCarthy


Role of ICTs in Indian Rural Communities Abstract HTML
Siriginidi Subba Rao


[blog survey: participation request]

I know very well what it's like as a ph.d researcher, trying to get first-hand responses. If you have time, consider helping out a ph.d student with his research:
My name is Ibrahim Yucel and I am a PhD candidate in the college of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. I am asking for participants in my study regarding reading internet blogs. This study is being conducted for research. Participation is completely voluntary, confidential, and there is no compensation.

Please follow the link below if you wish to participate. Thank you for your time.

Ibrahim Yucel

PhD Candidate
College of Information Sciences and Technology

Penn State University

321D IST Building

University Park, PA 16802


[cross-disciplinary multimodal art]

Marlena Novak’s work is a cross-disciplinary hybrid including HD video, animatography, interactive time-based media, digital photography, and encaustic painting (BFA, Carnegie-Mellon; MFA, Northwestern) with solo exhibitions in Berlin, Cologne, Amsterdam, Enschede and the U.S. Her encaustic-painting technique was the subject of a documentary presented on PBS and she was invited to teach a course in this medium at the Amsterdam Institute for Painting in 1996.

Read more about Marlena Novak here: http://www.creativityandcognition.com/gallery/mnovak/mnovak.htm


[journal of virtual worlds research]

An interesting edition considering the role of virtual worlds in health research:

Vol 2, No 2: 3D Virtual Worlds for Health and Healthcare

Table of Contents

Editor's Corner

Musings on the State of '3-D Virtual Worlds for Health and Healthcare' in 2009

Maria Toro-Troconis, Maged N. Kamel Boulos

Abstract | PDF

Invited Articles

Virtual Worlds in Health Care Higher Education

Constance M Johnson, Allison A Vorderstrasse, Ryan Shaw

Abstract | PDF

Peer Reviewed Research Papers

The Growth and Direction of Healthcare Support Groups in Virtual Worlds

John Robert Norris

Abstract | PDF

Development of a Virtual Reality Coping Skills Game to Prevent Post-Hospitalization Smoking Relapse in Tobacco Dependent Cancer Patients

Paul Krebs, Jack Burkhalter, Shireen Lewis, Tinesha Hendrickson, Ophelia Chiu, Paul Fearn, Wendy Perchick, Jamie Ostroff

Abstract | PDF

Does this Avatar Make Me Look Fat? Obesity and Interviewing in Second Life

Elizabeth Dean, Sarah Cook, Michael Keating, Joe Murphy

Abstract | PDF

Research Papers

Development and Evaluation of Health and Wellness Exhibits at the Jefferson Occupational Therapy Education Center in Second Life

Susan Toth-Cohen, Therese Gallagher

Abstract | PDF

Research-in-Brief Papers

Development of Virtual Patient Simulations for Medical Education

Douglas R Danforth, Mike Procter, Richard Chen, Mary Johnson, Robert Heller

Abstract | PDF

"Think Pieces"

Virtual Worlds, Collective Responses and Responsibilities in Health

Rashid M Kashani, Anne Roberts, Ray Jones, Maged N. Kamel Boulos

Abstract | PDF

Pitfalls in 3-D Virtual Worlds Health Project Evaluations: The Trap of Drug-trial-style Media Comparative Studies

Maged N. Kamel Boulos, Inocencio Maramba

Abstract | PDF

Towards a virtual doctor-patient relationship: Understanding virtual patients.

Vanessa Gamboa González

Abstract | PDF

Editor-in-Chief's Corner

Cultural Identity in Virtual Reality (VR): A Case Study of a Muslim Woman with hijab in Second Life(SL)

Methal Mohammed

Abstract | PDF

Shaping the ‘Public Sphere’ in Second Life: Architectures of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Annabel Jane Wharton

Abstract | PDF