Pictures from the family trip to Florida

Tue Oct 16 15:16:55 2018 EST (-0500 GMT)

We had a great 5 full days at Disney World Florida and then a full day (two nights) at Cape Canaveral/Kennedy Space Center.

Disney World Florida 2018

Kennedy Space Center

First Blog Post of 2018

Mon Jan 8 8:56:15 2018 EST (-0500 GMT)

The new year effectively starts in September for anyone working in Education (in Europe and NA), for me that’s never been more true then this year as I transition from Brock University to University of Toronto.

I started working on the University of Toronto’s project to transition from a Blackboard 9.1 based system, The Portal, at the end of October. When I took the one year job and secured leave from Brock University I didn’t know what platform the University of Toronto had selected, but I had hoped it was Canvas and was relieved when it was finally confirmed. Now titled Quercus, the University of Toronto’s new Canvas-based teaching and learning environment, has been introduced to all U of T instructors and 3000+ students.

Canvas Cloud Comes To Canada

First UBC then a few months later, U of T adopted Canvas hosted by Instructure on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure in Montreal. I feel that this will be the start of conquests for Canvas in Canada similar to what’s occurred over the last five years in the United States. SFU an OCADu and others in Canada had self-hosted the community version of Canvas for a while, but this is the start of a cloud-based option hosted in Canada.

As many Canadian insituations make big cloud transitions across all of their IT services I welcome another LMS option that can be selected based on pedagogical and feature-based decisions, not otherwise important legal concerns.

If you’re wondering, I still feel that there’s a lot of value in the equivalent budget spent on Sakai and strong pedagogical support. In any case, the ability for the LMS to integrate other relevant platforms and the sum of all those parts is how everyone now measures the component of the LMS: the toolbox approach.

Real New Year, Real Challenges

Trip to NYC 2016

Tue Jun 7 22:28:29 2016 EST (-0500 GMT)

NYC 2016

A great trip with the family to New York City in the spring. One highlight was renting a rowboat in Central Park. The kids were great travellers, and we all enjoyed our trains, plains and busses trip via Toronto city centre airport on Porter.

Some of my picture of New York City are posted on flckr.

More pictures with the kids at mattclare.ca/gallery (ask and you’re in).

Catching up to Dick Tracy

Wed Feb 3 23:00:52 2016 EST (-0500 GMT)

Wikipedia on Pebble TimeTonight as we got ready for bed my 5 year old had a question for me about the Northwest Passage. He’s a Stan Rogers fan and a rail fan and wanted to know the difference between the Ontario Northlander rail service and the Northwest Passage.

I tried to explain about the Franklin Expedition, but I realized as I explained it that Franklin is also a turtle in Canadian children’s story series. So I tried to also explain that Franklin was the captain’s last name, and the horrible thing that happend to him and his crew was over 150 years ago and all the ways we travel today are much safer. But, I didn’t think there was too much of a distinction made between the two Franklins and that time line was a guess.

A good question for Siri (we ask her a lot of things) but we’re in PJs (no pockets). It occurred to ask the Wikipedia app on my Pebble smart watch, and sure enough, my watch Bluetooth’ed its way to my phone, on to Wikipedia, and returned a summary of the Franklin Expedition.

That was pretty cool.

It’s the kind of thing Google Now and Siri can easily do (and the Apple Watch), but there was something even cooler with the the answer coming from something strapped to my wrist that’s there when I do the dishes or change the tires on my car. The largest general reference work ever strapped to my wrist, and nowhere near as precious of anything else I’d accessed it from before.

Definitely one of those “the future is now” moments.

An App Store for Web-Based Instruction

Tue May 27 0:21:00 2014 EST (-0500 GMT)

LTI Connections from LMS to other nodes
Do what you do best, and link to the rest. A lesson of the web learnt quickly by those who’s success depends on being creative online.

The latest released version of Sakai, version 2.9.3, improves on the existing features that allows for the connection of Sakai courses to external tools. The forthcoming version of Sakai, Sakai 10, takes this provision even further.

The biggest improvement is institutionalizing the configuration process to allow approved external tools to appear as peers to Sakai’s own tools when instructors choose what they would like to add to their course site, especially in Sakai 10.

The Sakai tool and the specification that supports the connection is the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification.

Presently, in the Brock University context, instructors need to know that the Brock University service, web-based tool or Publisher they are interested in integrating into their course: exists, supports LTI specification and that Isaak/Sakai can be connected through LTI. The instructor then must contact administrators to have the connection added to his/her course. The connection is only made once the proposed integration has met Brock University’s technical and privacy standards. This new model of pre-approved tools and their listing alongside other Sakai tools now only requires the instructors interest – prompted from any source, including students previous experience.

This ability to add tools alongside Sakai’s current listing of possible tools also provides an opportunity for university services to tightly integrate with courses in addition to making instructors aware that they exist.

The following posting discusses (in too much depth at times) the current status, the Sakai tool and LTI specification, examples of tools that could be integrated and a framework for the selection of tools to be added to this “App Store for Instructors”.