Monday, November 06, 2006

WCET Conference

I started to post on the Faculty Source Blog, but think I need to be here really ...

From last week:
Hi All-

I'm hanging out in Portland at the WCET conference. I thought I'd bring you the conference highlights via blog.

Today's opening keynote speaker was Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia and all things wiki. He was an enthusiastic and fascinating speaker. I recommend you visit some of the wiki initiatves such as Wikia is a wiki housing discussion groups and information on a huge variety of subjects. It's not meant to be another wikipedia, but an area for a different type of discussion and writing. I visited the economics portal -- there is a lot of information there and much that would be of use and interest to students. (But, you are right Paul, not a lot under Chemistry. Economics on the other hand, has lots of stuff.)

If you haven't visisted, that's another interesting web site -- the goal is to replace the textbook with free, open-source wiki-books. As many of you know we are looking for solutions to the high cost and frequent updates of the traditional textbooks -- this site might give you an additional source for information for your students.

From wikipedia I wandered over to a session on the national repository for Online Courses. This is another initiative CCCOnline has joined. You can see some of their content on; there is more available from within the community that I can give you access to. NROC is another group looking at the social authoring model for course content development.

More updates as the week goes on....


I ended the conference with several sessions on Social Software. One by Terry Anderson of Athabasca University and Chris Lott from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, was particularly exciting. Chris's wiki from the conference is available at

Chris particiapted in two presentations, both can be reached from the WCET link on the left hand navigation bar. The links on the page lead to interesting reading material and to examples of the use of wiki's in the classroom.

Terry passed on links to social software such as, which I think may be an option for us to use as a social site for our students and faculty. An example of that can be seen at is an example of a wiki as a social space for students and faculty.

Rhonda Epper moderated a session from several publishers on their current thoughts regarding how to provide content for the future. There was a lot of discussion around our own digital content initiative as well as some publsher bashing. :^) It is clear that faculty expect the method of providing content to change, but no one is sure how to manage that change.

More thoughts soon.

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