A lazy Reykjavik


Sun, 06 Oct 2002

An Older Gallery.

Putting the images of my sister up yesterday reminded me of an old image-gallery from my visit home to Iceland this August that I have lying around.

It’s alright.

Sat, 05 Oct 2002

Some Images

Here are some pictures from my visit to my sister in Wales. Documentation as to how the campus living is for her.

My sister Jenny

My sister Jenny

Her kitchen

Her room

Her room

Tue, 01 Oct 2002

Online Teaching Materials

Big news in the education arena; MIT’s OpenCourseWare has been opened: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html

It’s goals are (according to the website):

“1. Provide free, searchable, coherent access to MIT’s course materials for educators in the non-profit sector, students, and individual learners around the world.”

“2. Create an efficient, standards-based model that other universities may emulate to publish their own course materials.”

The origin of this project comes from MIT’s initial efforts to leverage the internet for their courses. It turned out that education specialized Content Management Programs (such as Blackboard) were too problematic to be effective.

The solution?

Give it all away for free.

This makes a lot of sense.

It promotes:
Students and educators can use the course materials to judge the quality of the courses that produced the materials thus helping them decide whether to apply or collaborate with those courses.

It improves:
The fact that these materials will be read and used all over the world means that any weak points will be found quickly and efficiently, which should result in higher quality course materials.

It gives access:
Students are lazy. They don’t want to remember usernames or passwords. There have been several examples at the University of the West of England (the original Introduction to Digital Media module, for example) where high-quality course materials have been placed behind a barricade of “secure” webpages and passwords. The end result was that relatively few, if any students used the materials and that it was barricaded from UWE students in other courses.

Referring an undergraduate student interested in leveraging interactive media to a couple of choice introductory lectures in an Interactive Media module would make life easier for a large number of UWE lecturers.

I’d like to see us try and leverage the same ideas at the courses we teach at UWE. Not to try anything at the same scale as MIT’s project, merely endeavour to record our lectures and course materials in an accessible form and save them for a time when UWE will provide its lecturers with webspace and bandwidth.

UWE doesn’t need to design a webpage infrastructure. We’re digital media people, we’ll design the webpages ourselves.

UWE doesn’t need to implement studio-equipped lecture halls. Our course has enough sound expertise to be able to record lectures with a portable minidisc machine and encode it for digital distribution.

And UWE doesn’t need to implement Blackboard and train us all to use it. Simply give us webspace and bandwidth and we’ll leverage that on our own.

We are teaching digital media, you know. We’re supposed to be the experts at this stuff.


About this Journal.

My name is Baldur Bjarnason and this is my annal, journal or blog, depending on which word you find the prettiest.

Personally, I think that the word blog is an abuse of the English language and displays most native speakers’ utter disregard for the health and beauty of the English language.

I prefer the word “journal”, although “annal” is an interesting option.

The Latin origin of “annal” makes it a much more international word and ties nicely in with what these online journals are called in Icelandic: “annáll”.

The word “journal” also suffers from connotations related to it being used described staid and peer-reviewed academic journals.

But on the other hand “annal” isn’t exactly the pinnacle of casual language.

So the purpose of this journal, or annal is to help me organize my PhD research (which is taking place in Bristol and the University of the West of England).

Here, I intend to:

Record my thoughts and ideas regarding digital and interactive media and storytelling.

Publish initial research notes.

Publish and try to distribute the practical projects necessary for the research project.

And generally practice my writing.

Sort of a digital project file.

This is not a new idea, quite a few researchers and writers have turned to online journals to organize their research notes and thoughts.

It makes sense to do so. The tools developed for online journals are designed to make it easy to organise and publish your thoughts and ideas.

And god knows that academics need any help they can get in that arena.

Clifton, Bristol.