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Capture Anything on Your Screen

April 10, 2015

Windows includes a free, easy to use utility to capture an image of anything your desktop: Snipping Tool. It allows you to snip a rectangular section of the screen or even draw a freehand outline that you can then annotate, save, or e-mail right from the Snipping Tool window. Read More →

Writing Matters Topic #2: Pluralization

April 7, 2015

These are our English pluralization rules:

  1. For nouns ending in a consonant, add the letter s to make the noun plural (e.g., books).
  2. For nouns ending in ch, x, s, and s-like sounds, add es (e.g., witches).
  3. For items ending in y, change the y to an i and add es (e.g., supplies).
  4. For some nouns, use the irregular plural form (e.g., children).
  5. For Latin and Greek nouns, use their respective plural forms (e.g., syllabi).
  6. For acronyms, add an s (e.g., NGOs).
  7. For years, add an s (e.g., the 1980s).
  8. For credentials, add an s (e.g., PhDs)
  9. For profession acronyms, add an s (e.g., MDs)
  10. For single alphabet letters, use an apostrophe  + s (e.g., She got four A’s and two B’s.)
  11. For reference to plural words, use an apostrophe + s (e.g., The sentence has too many and’s.)

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Colleague and LEARN Enrolment Times

March 30, 2015

Colleague is Red River Colleges SIS. It does many things in the College that handle day to day duties such as handle budgeting, assign students to courses and programs and many other tasks. LEARN takes advantage of this and uses some of the data from Colleague to build Course Offerings and handle all of the enrolments automatically to LEARN. Below is a list of the times users are actively enrolled in their courses: Read More →

Quizzes with Video. Lockdown Browser Considerations

March 26, 2015

We recently foScreen Shot 2015-03-17 at 14.54.09und an issue when taking a quiz with the Lockdown Browser. An Instructor brought to our attention that a particular quiz was freezing when a student would attempt to save their answer. We later found out that the issue was more specific to how the video was being used in the quiz. Read More →

Proper Attribution

March 25, 2015

Free download icon from earlier post on where to find Copyright-free images still begs the question, “How does one give proper credit for public-domain (like the one on the left) or Creative Commons images culled from the Web?” The answer is largely dependent on the source. One unobtrusive way is to simply hyperlink the image to its source and include a download notice in its Title attrribute. What follows are a few simple guidelines and examples.
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Image Confusion – Where to Find Images That Don’t Infringe Copyright

March 24, 2015

"No Photos" sign

There is still much confusion since the passing of the most recent Copyright Modernization Act and a related Supreme Court ruling of 2012. RRC’s policies have been updated, and articles such as Michael Geist’s or Meera Nair’s give good analyses of how Canada has moved from a Fair Dealing to more of a Fair Use model. But note that Fair Dealing in Canada, even in education, “does not infringe copyright” only if the work or other subject-matter is not “commercially available”. Bottom line, you can’t just copy anything, even if it’s for educational purposes (see section 29.4[3]). Read More →

Kan’t ban

March 21, 2015

Injecting Agile into Group Projects (part 4)

"Kanban Yoda", by G.Dugas, is a derivative of "Do or do not... there is no try" by Christopher Michel, both licensed under CC BY.

“Kanban Yoda”, by G.Dugas, is a derivative of “Do or do not… there is no try” by Christopher Michel. Both works licensed under CC BY.

The Kanban board can be a terrific Agile tool for managing group tasks. Unfortunately, many student projects are ill suited to group work. Sometimes they cannot be easily broken down into discrete tasks or, when they are, take more effort to complete than if done by a single person. Or dependencies are so strong that one task can hold up everything else until it has been completed, causing backlogs. In such cases, even a Kanban board can’t help.

I believe that an assignment must include a balance of the following key elements to be considered a legitimate group project:

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March 21, 2015

Injecting Agile into Group Projects (part 3)

photo credit: <a href="">Shunting</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

cropped photo: Shunting via photopin (license)

Collaboration can be a powerful catalyst:

Two heads are better than one.”
Many hands make light work.”
No manager ever won no ballgames.”

But optimum group performance is a function of how adaptable its members are in the face of unforeseen challenges, how smoothly they can adapt to change. So we move to the fourth pillar of our Group Project Agile Manifesto: responding to change over following a plan.  Read More →

Writing Matters Topic #1: The Subordinate Clause

March 19, 2015

Subordinate or dependent clauses are ones that cannot stand alone. Compare with main or independent clauses, which are clauses that can stand alone. To understand this fully, you need to know the following:

Subordinate Clause Word Cloud

  1. A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate.
  2. A subject is the part of the clause indicating what or who performs the action or what the clause is about.
  3. A predicate is the part of the clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject.
  4. A complex sentence includes a subordinate clause and an independent clause.
  5. A subordinate conjunction is a word that begins the subordinate clause and makes that clause weaker than (i.e., reducing the importance of the independent clause).

Now, let’s look at some examples.

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March 13, 2015

Injecting Agile into Group Projects (part 2)

image of Leaning Tower of PisaToyota logoWith its roots in lean thinking as pioneered by Toyota, the Agile Manifesto expresses a project management philosophy and values that have underpinned software development for the last 30+ years. In my opinion, a few simple changes to that canon make it just as applicable to a wide variety of other group endeavours, from e-Learning development to, as in my case, students in a group project environment:

Group Project Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software Application over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration Clear expectations over contract grade negotiations
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while we do value the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

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