Digital Tattoo: What’s Yours?

UBC's Digital Tattoo Project


Digital Tattoo: What’s Yours? I’m really happy to say that I had a hand in the learning design for this project and it’s near completion now.  It’s a self-guided tutorial, built in WordPress with a focus on digital literacy (at least a beginning).  And the work of the students on this project was nothing short of amazing – especially considering they came in pretty new to the whole concept of digital literacy!

A bog shout out to: Seth Tee (design work and WP “tweaker”), Andre Malan, Liana Popa and Elizabeth Walker (content authors) and colleague Sheryl Adam (UBC Librarian, project lead and an awesome guide).  Thanks to Novak Rogic (web visionary), Brian Lamb (for spreading the word), Margot Bell (student supporter extraordinaire) and our whole project team (C.J., Carol and company) for providing the bones to this piece and the sharp eye to the details (thanks Ramona)!

If you’re interested in the learning design piece, here are the broad strokes:

  • various pathways to get started with the tutorial: based on current behavior (self assessment); following the design of the site OR clicking on a topic of interest.
  • each topic uses guiding questions, case study (or videoclip), key considerations and self assessment questions
  • progress through the tutorial is tracked as self assessment questions are completed.
  • polls are related to each topic and are included for fun and to offer a low stakes way to participate

So, please, have a look…leave your comments, share a useful link….

all for now


Digital Literacy, Stress and Summer

What do these things have in common you ask?  It’s all about “what I did on my summer non-vacation!”.

UBC's Digital Tattoo Project


Project 1:  Digital Tattoo:  This is basically a self-guided tutorial all about digital literacy for students.

Still a work in progress but getting close. My role was learning design and student wrangler on the web design and content development.

Project 2: LEAP: We Help You Learn.  This is an ongoing project – an academic support site for students using “web 2.0” approaches for aggregating, sharing and distributing content. This summer, my role was in supporting my excellent student colleagues Andre Malan and our LEAP student team in a small redesign and in the development of some new quizzes, including one aimed at assessing thinking patterns called “Are You a Stress-a-holic?”

LEAP _ We Help You Learn

LEAP _ We Help You Learn

What did I learn?

  • students have a great capacity for learning complex things quickly and making them work. They need support, guidance and mentorship from us, though.  Sometimes, we get so impressed with their levels of competence, we let them take the reigns before they’re ready…(still thinking about this).
  • design by committee is a nightmare unless done well.  Agreement on process upfront is important.
  • the details are critical and often overlooked (or assumed to be simple)
  • working with diverse project teams (including students and staff) is energizing, frustrating (at times), alot of fun and requires much patience and a good sense of humor.

All for now, off to Italy in a few days!

I like visual maps…

I think better when I can draw it out. Over the years I have used, become addicted to (and probably annoyed people) with my Omnigraffle project design maps.  Here are a few examples of the kinds of maps I have used with colleagues and students in the early development of a highly collaborative project involving social software (beta tools mainly), many partners and various objectives.

Project Overview LEAP DevelopmentSupporting Technologies

I also use NovaMind Faculty Development concept mapping and free tools like  and Gliffy.

The essential features for me are:

  •  easy to use and flexible (with features like: drag, drop, move, hide)
  • exportable to different formats
  • shareable: which is only possible with Omnigraffle and Novamind if other collaborators have the software installed – however the web based tools only require an account sign up (easy and straight forward).

I find that the mind mapping tools are most useful when brainstorming about the various pieces/ perspectives related to a single concept or theme.  The other visual mapping tools (like Gliffy or Omnigraffle) tend to be most useful in looking at relationships between things/themes/components.

Social software: student workshop

My colleague (Novak Rogic) and I were asked to share what we know with a group a summer students and their full time colleagues involved in student development projects this summer. Admittedly, I am the surface user of social software (trying out a variety of things and playing with a few until they stick). Novak is a sophisticated user and understands the back end of the connections between various tools in a way that I may never….

It was fun, I love working with this energetic group. Here’s our presentation wiki (which students contributed to)…