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February 22, 2011 / Cameron Campbell

An inadvertant break

Hi all (the three of you still reading): the FLI team, through a combination of holidays, annual leave, conferences and the rush to get things up for summer school and semester 1 of 2011, have managed an inadvertent break from blogging.

Rest assured it’s not because we’ve given up, we just got super busy.

Coming soon: conference wrap ups, thoughts on fun, announcements about PD and a variety of other exciting things.

Also cookies.

Ok, I’m lying about that last bit, but the rest is true.

October 28, 2010 / mauricefli

mTouch some more

Last week – how the time flies – I tapped in a little in using the mobile phone app mTouch for accessing Learn (Moodle) and I thought I’d try a little more here. Both for the practice at two thumb typing and to explore more ideas.

I looked through ACCT 603 which has a significant number of readings in PDF format. These scale badly on the tiny screen and are hard on the eyes. We need to put longer texts in a format that adjusts the text layout with screen size. One upside of PDFs is that they retain graphics nicely, unlike HTML ? formatted stuff.
This could be added to the explorations of mobile learning
with IT and Moodle 2.


October 20, 2010 / Cameron Campbell

Collaboration tools

We all know that one of the ways Lincoln University has always excelled is by graduating students that are work ready, the kind of person who hits the ground running and can be slotted into a variety of roles. One of the ways we do this is through the use of case study and project-based learning activities.

A downside to these sort of activities is that they can be difficult to manage, both from a teacher as well as from a student logistics point of view. A possible way of dealing with these issues is to divide the class up into groups and then have the groups work together via the web. 

This handles the eternal group work problem of syching up many different schedules. By collaborating via he web the students are also sure thy have a full record of everything that is “said”.  From a teacher perspective you can check in to the projects as they are in progress. This means you can provide formative comments in order to help the students, helping them to stay on track. 
Here are some possible tools that you could use, with a little bit of commentary aout the tool. blogging platform without all the hassle: you can email, text, go to the site to post etc. Added bonus points that it allows you to link from it to any other social media system. Supports group blogging out of the box. Comparable to Google docs, but many many more tools/options. Specifically there is their docs ( and Projects ( Negatives are that students (and you) would have to sign up for yet another service. It’s also got a “we can do anything online” feel to it. Frankly, I find it a  touch overwhelming. 

Google docs ( While Google docs for education would be ideal, regular Docs are pretty well suited to most applications. They’ve recently beefed up the speed of their collaboration (live editing by multiple users) and are promising that it works on most mobile devices. A big factor that would recommend  this tool is that a large number of your students probably already have a Google account of some flavor. The new “shared folders” feature seems pretty amazing, and would make sharing a base document or central repository with a whole class pretty straight forward.

Wiki’s: Wikispaces offer free educational wikis. The benefit of theirs versus many others is that you can export the final document in several formats suitable for further work in Word and then for handing in as a report.  (

So there you have it a short review of some of the free tools available to use to support collaborative learning on the cloud. 



October 20, 2010 / mauricefli

Apps for Mobile

Mobile Learning Update –  Apps

I’m getting a little more confident with my iPhone, although I must confess historically I’ve not been a mobile phone user – texting is a real pain, I prefer to pay for calling people. My one finger text skills are pretty atrocious.

So the qwerty keyboard on the iPhone is a big leap up for me. I started off one finger entry, and the predictive, learning software enables me to make reasonable mistakes and by hitting the space key get a corrected entry – so the notes I take in meetings have been useful, at least as a base for review, and not a lot worse than hand written notes. As I remarked earlier, the big advantage is I can then just mail them to my computer and integrate them into other resources. And the phone fits in my pocket with not much more ‘baggage’ than a pen, etc.  Cameron has convinced me to learn two thumb entry on the key board – I think it’s working but I need more practice. I thing of how I struggled to overcome two-finger typing and here I am heading back into it!

A bit of time exploring apps ( yup, I’m becoming enculturated – ‘application’ is disappearing from my lexicon, at least in that context!) this week.


I’ve uploaded mTouch which is an app for Moodle that works pretty well from a ‘student’ perspective. It allows you to edit your profile and choose a number of appearances for your screen. Four icons along the bottom of the screen offer a choice of courses that you belong to, that having selected one of, you may then choose from the other three to go to resources, assignments or forums. On the bottom right of the screen is a link to other resources including, glossaries, upcoming events, chats, quizzes, grades, choices, databases, wikis, and all the other frequently used Moodle activities for students. There is a link to down load files to your computer if you need them or you can just open them in the iPhone if you wish.

Selecting ‘course topics’ suggests you will be taken to the menu block, but in fact you are taken to the Zero Section of your Moodle page and a list of resources and activities. This is a pain if you are looking to see how these activities relate to learning objectives and related resources for the unit of work or topic you are doing.  In our courses at Lincoln University we are encouraging people to move towards topic based structures that use topic and single section formating in Moodle so that learner get a comprehensive and integrated visual map of how the course works. mTouch defeats this pretty nicely, so in my opinion is a very useful mobile application but not able to stand alone as a Moodle resource.  To add Spice, I talked with Jason about this and in some course one gets a full list of sections, and in others not – something for us to work on but perhaps needing more consistency from mTouch.

Overall a useful app that I need to explore more


PS – I’ve struggled getting images rto upload to this article – screen shots taken with Grab and saved as jpegs don’t get accepted for upload – suggestions?

October 13, 2010 / mauricefli

Lincoln Student Assignments Promote Alliance Review

Meat Industry ‘re-think’ to follow LU Management Students’ suggestions


Alliance CEO, Owen Poole (photo from Nz Farmer's Weekly)


Alliance Group CEO, Owen Poole, says ideas raised in student assignments from MGMT 340 will promote a review of the meat industry’s practices. The issue of whether or not you need to be a shareholder to supply the co-op, for example, has been addressed before but ideas raised by LU students in the Agribusiness Strategic Management course will make Alliance think again says Owen. While the idea has risks, he says, ‘it’s worth a re-think.”

Blended learning practitioner Nic Lees has had some very positive feedback from the Alliance Group CEO after passing on five students assignments for comment. MGMT 340 students have made strategic change in the meat industry one of the focuses of their study this semester with news links and lively forum discussions on the course Learn page, visits to freezing works and participation in farmer seminars on how to restructure the industry this year. The mix of online and face-to-face activities has produced good results for Nic.


MGMT 340 Lecturer Nic Lees


‘Well Considered”

Back in July Owen Poole addressed the class on the challenges facing sheep, beef and deer farmers. Owen offered to give students feedback on their first big assignment for the course –  to look at what opportunities exist to create a new model for the industry and what shape and form should the new model take in order to create significant commercial gains on a sustainable and enduring basis for all stakeholders. And he’s been impressed with the results. Student ideas on aggregation of wool and sheep meat opportunities, multiple lambing and ovine dairying are worthwhile says the co-op leader. “I thought the assignments I sighted were well-considered and articulate in presentation – well done.”
This week Nic shared Owen’s feedback to their suggestions with students, prompting further lively in-class discussion.



October 11, 2010 / mauricefli

Mobile Learning Practice

Reflections on Mobile tools in a learning context.

Today , 8 Oct 2010, I took my iPhone to the Mgnt 340 Field trip to Darfield and a seminar on resuscitating the beef and sheep industry by a group called Farm IQ. About 30 students and Nic Lees went along.

During the day I talked to a number of students and got some positive feedback on our contributions to Mgnt 340, I thought about recording these but as it was the first time I’d met the group I didn’t.

I did take some photos of the students and the seminar as some short video clips of them interacting with other participants in the seminar. One particular interaction involved an animated discussion between a woman and some of the students. I posted these into a forum in the course Learn page with an invitation for the students to add their comments.

I also sent a couple of the photos and a video clip to Cam while the seminar was in progress as a trial. There was potential there for him to question or comment and for these comments to be added into the seminar.

During the talks I also took notes on the talks given and later sent these to Nic as well as down loading them. They have the potential to contribute to further discussion in the class.

It was more first day with this tool and I’m sure I could do more with more practice – Twitter etc., I was the only one doing this, clearly with more students interacting with cell phones the potential would increase

Students from Mgnt 340 engage with one of the farm industry participants at the Farm IQ seminar on reforming the sheep and beef industry in New Zealand.



I initially posted this to the FLI Basecamp wiki Friday, 8 October. After a discussion with Cam this morning, Oct 11, I’ve decided to shift this to the FLI WordPress blog.

September 27, 2010 / helenfli


I know Monday’s not my day to blog, but I just found this ( Interesting huh?

So now I’m curious – is this phenomen specific to the applicationa of a test or is it that the test represents a device that means the learner has to quickly ‘stuff’ the information into memory?   If learners were asked questions that require them to reflect on the material, would that do the same thing? Something along the lines of :

What did you learn today that was new?

What would you like to know more about/What questions do you have?

What did you not understand/need further explanation/examples/exercises?

Both the test and repsonses to the reflective questions would have to be handed in.

The idea of adding a test at the end of the learning session may work in the teacher’s favour.  If the article is correct, you should be able to reduce teaching time!  Anyone up for trialling this?


Any thoughts on that?