The BlendEd project will be coming to a successful conclusion in Spring of 2007, with the release of its outputs and findings, after two years of work to transform the delivery of Higher National qualifications in Scottish colleges.
BlendEd is a collaborative Scottish e-learning Transformation project funded by the Scottish Funding Council, one of six million-pound projects. The BlendEd consortium, which is led by Reid Kerr College, comprises six Further Education Colleges, COLEG (Colleges Open Learning Exchange Group) and the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland S&W. The combined student populations of these colleges comprise 17% of the total FE enrolment for Scotland.
BlendEd aimed to introduce an educationally sound blended learning delivery model within HNC Social Care and HND Business/Office Admin. The essence of the approach has been to produce topic-based electronic learning materials, as discrete learning objects, for existing Higher National units, and to support staff in delivering these to learners in new and flexible ways. Key project outputs have included:
Pilot delivery of the new programmes in the partner colleges have produced excellent results, and met with positive responses from learners and teaching staff alike. In a number of the partners the BlendEd model is now being rolled out, supported by the newly appointed BLTs. Work is now going on to produce final edits of the 500+ learning objects produced by the project, before these are released to the sector.For more information about the BlendEd project contact the Project Director, David Dyet, at Reid Kerr College: <email@example.com> or visit the project website at <http://www.blend-ed.ac.uk>.
Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication  is an institution in South London offering specialist undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in design and broadcasting. The College's programmes are highly vocational, and, in common with much design education in the UK, can be described as having an "extreme social constructivist" pedagogy.
Over the last decade, both design and broadcasting have become, it could be argued, branches of computing. As the dominant means of production in design, the computer has created both new businesses (for example, website design) and new business models (off-shored, just-in-time manufacture). Similarly, broadcasting is in the process of a digital revolution from computers facilitating the production techniques of "reality TV" to YouTube .
During the same period, education in design and communications has been conservative in its use of technology. Elearning through a VLE (virtual learning environment), with its strong text orientation, is not a natural form for the highly personal, visual, tactile, and flexible activities that characterise the institution's programmes. Although the institution uses Moodle , and benefits from that application's social-constructivist leanings, many staff find the environment constricting, and alien to their teaching methods.
Many students, of course, have a substantial pre-existing online presence before coming to college, with social networking services such as MySpace, and public blogging services predominating. For students, these services typically meet needs in their personal domain, unrelated to their learning activities at College.
Faculty believe that blogging is an increasingly important tool for creative professionals to manage their reputation, and promote themselves. Of course, the prospects for the use of blogging (and indeed the technology itself) may be limited, but, we believe, the skills are an important requirement for practitioners. Thanks to funding from the JISC  through the Designs for Learning programme , we are developing model learning designs which incorporate blogging into practice-based education. Our approach emphasises, in particular, blogging as a technique for creative practitioners to connect with an "audience" in contrast to activity within a VLE, or, indeed a classroom or the studio. The project is currently piloting some designs, using an institutional blogging server running Blojsom  <http://blogs.rave.ac.uk/blojsom/blog/>, which aggregates the most recent posts. In order to validate and better understand some of the presuppostions of the project about the usefulness of social software, much of the project activity is shared on a wiki at <http://confluence.rave.ac.uk/confluence/x/eBU>, where more information is available.
Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements
European Molecular Biology Organization announces an option for author-paid open access articles in The EMBO Journal and EMBO reports
December 12, 2006 - "European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and Nature Publishing Group (NPG) are pleased to announce that from January 2007 The EMBO Journal and EMBO reports will accept open access articles, subject to payment of a publication fee."
"The journal is moving to a mixed-revenue model of subscription charges and publication fees. The open access option will be available to all authors submitting original research on or after 1 January 2007. The publication fee will be £2,000 + VAT (where applicable). Articles published with a publication fee will be clearly identified in the online and print editions of the journal with an EMBO Open logo."
"...Editors will be blind to the author's choice, avoiding any possibility of a conflict of interest during peer review and acceptance. Authors paying the publication fee will be entitled to self-archive the published version immediately on publication, in the repositories of their choice, and in any format."
For more information, please contact Allison Lang, Executive Editor, Nature Publishing Group, <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Lindsay Johnson, EMBO <email@example.com>.
Call for Manuscripts: Journal of Web Librarianship
December 12, 2006 announcement from Jody Fagan, James Madison University - "The Journal of Web Librarianship is seeking high-quality manuscripts featuring original scholarship and practical communications in the area of web librarianship. JWL will publish material related to all aspects of librarianship as practiced on the World Wide Web, including both existing and emerging roles and activities of information professionals in the Web environment. This is a new peer-reviewed journal to be published for the first time in early 2007. New authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts for consideration."
For more information, please visit the journal's web site at <http://www.lib.jmu.edu/org/jwl/>.
Kaleidoscope Launches TeLearn, the World's First International Open Archive for Research on Technology-supported Learning
December 11, 2006 - "The Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence has just launched TeLearn at <http://www.telearn.org>, the world's first internationally available Open Archive for technology-enhanced learning. TeLearn takes research results from across Europe drawn from diverse and converging disciplines such as computer, social and education sciences and puts them in one place. This contributes to one of the overarching drivers of Kaleidoscope to reduce duplication, so shaping the scientific evolution of the field...."
"...The TeLearn archive accepts material in any language, and the resources found here include not only publications, but also audio and video presentations. Users can search, browse and submit by date, author and content. Moreover, the materials uploaded to TeLearn are fixed with such specific information as date of publication, ownership and content, thereby protecting the intellectual property rights of researchers. In the longer term, TeLearn will be established as a sustainable service with necessary supporting infrastructure required to support the needs and concerns of researchers and publishers."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.noe-kaleidoscope.org/public/pub/lastnews/press/releases/
ALA Editions announces partnership with Google Book Search
Google Book Search will help ALA Editions reach users around the world
December 6, 2006 - "ALA Editions of the American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce their recent partnership with Google to offer ALA Editions content through Google Book Search. Users now will be able to preview ALA Editions titles, conduct multiple searches within the books, and browse through the available pages."
"Each ALA Editions title includes an 'About this book' page with basic bibliographic data like title, author, publication date, length and subject. Whenever books in the Google Book Search index contain content that matches user search terms, these books are returned as links under Book Results on the search results page. Links to the ALA Online Bookstore along with other online retailers make it easy for users to go from browsing to buying. Google Book Search also features links to WorldCat's free Web service where you can enter a geographic identifier such as postal code and receive a list of nearby libraries that hold the item."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2006/debember2006/ALAEditionsGooglepartner.htm>.
CrossRef to Add Hundreds of Journals from Low-income Countries
December 5, 2006 - "CrossRef, the multi-publisher linking association, announced today that it had reached agreement with three new partners to include journals from developing countries in its linking network."
"The three organizations are INASP (the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications, http://www.inasp.info), who will initially register its Nepal, Bangladesh and Vietnam Journals Online content with CrossRef; NISC (the National Inquiry Services Center, http://www.nisc.co.za/), a South African publisher of eight current journals as well as several bibliographic databases and books; and AJOL (African Journals Online, http://www.ajol.info), a not-for-profit aggregation of over 250 varied African journals. "
"'For some time CrossRef has been exploring how it could partner with publishers and journal publishing initiatives in regions of the world where scholarship and publishing are clearly under-resourced,' said Ed Pentz, CrossRef's Executive Director. 'We believe offering CrossRef's services on an affordable basis to qualified publishers in these regions and interlinking them with the global research literature will help raise the visibility of these journals and contribute to their success.'"
For more information about CrossRef, please see <http://www.crossref.org/>.
IMLS Calls for 2007 National Leadership Grant Applications
December 1, 2007 - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting grant applications to the agency's 2007 National Leadership Grant (NLG) program. The previously published deadline of February 1, 2007 has been moved to March 1, 2007.""
"Since 1998 National Leadership Grants have supported the innovative thinking that is needed to help libraries and museums meet the changing needs of the American public. They are an important investment in the future of library and museum service. In 2007, these grants will provide an opportunity to explore important research questions, develop and test new models of library and museum service, and help build digital resources."
"This year the agency is bringing back its Library and Museum Community Collaboration category. Collaboration grants provide opportunities for libraries and museums to partner with each other and with a host of other community organizations including public broadcasters, schools, universities, cultural and performing arts organizations, and health and social service providers. With this change, the three funding categories for 2007 are as follows:
"Museum applicants may request between $25,000 and $1,000,000; the range for library applicants is $50,000 to $1,000,000. In addition, collaborative planning grants of $30,000 are for the first time to enable project teams from more than one institution to work together to plan a collaborative project in any of the three categories."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.imls.gov/news/2006/120106.shtm>.
New open access agreement for Oxford Journals and National Library of Medicine
November 28, 2006 - "Oxford Journals today announced a new agreement with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that will allow all content published as open access under its Oxford Open model to be available from PubMed Central."
"The agreement makes it easier for authors publishing with Oxford Journals to meet the requirements of their funding bodies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who request all NIH-funded content to be deposited into PubMed Central within 12 months of online publication."
"Previously, authors who chose to participate in the Oxford Open initiative were entitled to self-archive a post-print of their accepted manuscript and/or the final published version of their article into an institutional or central repository. The new agreement means that all content published under Oxford Open will be immediately deposited into PubMed Central by Oxford Journals directly. Oxford Journals has published almost 2000 open access articles in 2006 through its Oxford Open models, including optional open access for 49 journals, and full open access with Nucleic Acids Research."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.oxfordjournals.org/news/2006/
Successful bids totalling £5.5m announced
November 26, 2006 - "JISC today announced the successful bids under the first round of funding of its capital programme. Representing an investment of nearly £5.5m, the 27 projects are being funded under the e-learning, e-infrastructure and repositories and preservation strands of the programme. "
" The first call under the programme which represents a total investment of some £81m over three years was issued in April of this year in response to which nearly 100 bids were received. A second call is currently issued, totalling around £15m of further funding...."
"...A separate call under the digitisation strand of the programme was issued in April and the successful projects under this £5.5m strand will be announced in due course. "
For more information, please see <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2006/11/news_capital_funding.aspx>.
Nature launches a free science recruitment service
22 November 2006 - "A revolutionary free scientific recruitment initiative has been launched under the new brand of naturejobs.com by Nature magazine, the premier science journal."
"Naturejobs.com becomes the first job board specializing in scientific recruitment to offer free online postings in a move that is certain to cause waves within the industry. Academic and industrial recruiters searching for talented scientists will now be able to post single job adverts online through naturejobs.com for free and take advantage of the 1.5 million page impressions and 200,000 unique users on naturejobs.com every month. A wide range of additional paid online options are also unveiled that offer advertisers the opportunity to increase the visibility of their job adverts on naturejobs.com. The new services include contextual advertising options that harness the power of nature.com and its 30 million page impressions per month."
For more information, please contact: Melissa Hayles, Marketing Manager, Naturejobs, Nature Publishing Group, London, T: +44 (0)20 7843 4928 E: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
LITA scholarships available in library and information science
November 21, 2006 - "The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is pleased to announce that applications are being accepted for three scholarships as follows:
"The scholarships are designed to encourage the entry of qualified persons into the library automation field. The committees seek those planning to follow a career in library and information technology who: demonstrate potential leadership; hold a strong commitment to the use of automated systems in libraries; and, for the minority scholarships, are qualified members of a principal minority group (American Indian or Alaskan native, Asian or Pacific Islander, African-American, or Hispanic)."
"Candidates should illustrate their qualifications for the scholarships with a statement indicating the nature of their library experience, letters of reference, and a personal statement of the applicant's view of what he or she can bring to the profession, with particular emphasis on experiences that indicate potential for leadership and commitment to library automation. Economic need is considered when all other criteria are equal. Winners must have been accepted to an ALA accredited MLS Program. Application forms and instructions are available online at www.ala.org/scholarships. All applications, references, transcripts and other documents must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2007 for consideration."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.ala.org/ala/pressreleases2006/november2006/LITAscholarships.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon Research Shows Laptops in Classrooms Isolate Students
Study Finds Laptops Give Students Greater Flexibility, But Don't Improve Performance
November 20, 2006 - "In a two-year study of sophomore classes in Carnegie Mellon University's School of Design, researchers in the university's Office of Technology for Education and the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence have found that the use of laptops significantly changed students' work habits, but not always for the better."
"The study was designed to investigate how students use laptops inside and outside the classroom and how these practices enrich or diminish their university experience. The School of Design was chosen for the study because of the central role computers play in many aspects of its students' work, its similarity to other computer-intensive departments and faculty interested in investigating the advantages and disadvantages of a school-wide laptop policy...."
"All students were given laptops for their classroom and personal use for either one semester or a full academic year. Multiple measures, including classroom observation, student interviews, surveys and work logs as well as student design processes and products were collected to provide a rich source of both qualitative and quantitative data. These data points were also collected from students without laptops during the first semester of the study. "
For more information, including a list of findings, please see the full press release at <http://www.cmu.edu/news/archive/2006/november/Nov.%2020%20-%20Laptop%20Study.shtml>. A draft of the report can be found at <http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/LaptopStudyReport-2006.pdf>.
University of Virginia joins leading research libraries in partnership with Google to increase discovery of knowledge and to offer library books to global audience
November 14, 2006 - "The University of Virginia and Google today announced U.Va. as the ninth partner in the international Google Books Library Project, joining Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, the University of Michigan, and other leading research libraries in the collaborative effort to make their vast resources more accessible."
"The Google project digitizes books from major libraries around the world and makes them searchable on Google Book Search. Hundreds of thousands of selected books from the University Library's collections will be digitized by Google and made searchable."
"Google will digitize selected portions of the Library's great collections of American history, literature, and humanities works, and incorporate them into the Book Search Project"
"Book Search was specifically designed to comply with copyright law. Anyone will be able to freely view, browse and read U.Va.'s books in the public domain. For books protected by copyright, scholars will be able to discover relevant books via key-word searches, and they will get basic background (such as the book's title and the author's name), at most a few lines of text related to their search, and information about where they can buy or borrow a book. If publishers or authors don't want to have their books digitized, they can be excluded."
For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.lib.virginia.edu/press/uvagoogle/>.
Searching for musical treasure: how to find the formula for a hit single
OMRAS2: Online Music Recognition and Searching 2.0
November 14, 2006 - "Where are the good songs in that two million song on-line music store? Are undiscovered works by Handel, Vivaldi or Purcell hidden among the items in a digitised score collection? Is there a mathematical formula for hit singles?"
"These are just some of the questions researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, and Goldsmiths, University of London, are hoping to answer with their new research project, OMRAS2. With a value of some £2.5m, OMRAS2 is the first 'Large Grant' announced by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The grant will employ 12 people and involve partnership with four other universities...."
"...The core scientific research will be on computational and mathematical methods to enable rapid searching and browsing of very large collections of scores and recorded music. But one of the motivations for OMRAS2 is not only to do scientific research on music, but to enable music academics (musicologists) and others to use the tools and knowledge that the scientists provide. "
"OMRAS2 will also look at how music and information about music (like CD insert booklets) will be enjoyed at home - not just downloading, but searching, recommending, and browsing."
For more information, please contact Siân Halkyard, <email@example.com> or Professor Mark Sandler, <firstname.lastname@example.org> Queen Mary, University of London, or Dr Michael Casey, <email@example.com>, Goldsmiths College London
The Digital Preservation Coalition announces a call for entries for the third Digital Preservation Award
November 13, 2006 announcement from Nadia Semple: "The Digital Preservation Coalition is delighted to announce the call for entries for the third Digital Preservation Award."
"Are you completing an exceptional digital preservation project? If so, why not apply for the Digital Preservation Award, worth £5000. "
"This is the eleventh anniversary of the Conservation Awards, sponsored by Sir Paul McCartney, and is the third year to include the prestigious Digital Preservation Award, which recognises the many new initiatives being carried out by museums, libraries, galleries and archives in the challenging field of digital preservation."
"The Awards will be presented at the British Museum on the 27th of September 2007. Short-listed applicants attract significant publicity, and receive a certificate recognising their achievement at the presentation event."
"To be eligible for the Digital Preservation Award, a project must demonstrate leadership and advancement in digital preservation which will benefit the UK. It must focus on preserving digital materials (whether "born digital" or digitised copies), rather than on the use of digitisation as a preservation reformatting tool. Only projects that have been completed by 31 March 2007 will be considered for the Award. Applicants from overseas are welcomed, providing that the project can demonstrate benefit to the UK. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2007."
"To apply for the Digital Preservation Award online, please complete the DPA/07 application form on the Conservation Awards website: http://www.conservationawards.org.uk/index.php?option=com_philaform&Itemid=15&form_id=6"
"Queries about the Digital Preservation Award should be directed to Carol Jackson, Administration Manager, Digital Preservation Coalition, by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or by tel. no. 01904 435 362. Further information about the Conservation Awards is available on the website: http://www.conservationawards.org.uk/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1."
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