Mastering ‘Views’ in Drupal

Posted on April 30th, 2009 in Learning tech by Kirsty

Well, after making myself dizzy with learning how to customise the arrangement of information on Drupal to support a new group area, I think I’ve got it!

Rough schematicHere was the whiteboard assisted plan. If you go to the live page, you will see it has changed a bit. One aspect I hadn’t appreciated before was the functionality that groups brought to the party – anything attached to a group magically appears in the feed. Making separate areas for blog posts, pages and discussion forums not necessary. It may still be useful to consider highlighting the discussion posts.

We have 6 Elearning Innovation Projects at our institute this year and now each project has a project area (group in Drupal speak) within which they can have their own forum discussions, blog posts, pages of information.

All groups feed into one master “Elearning Innovations” Page at

This info can either be direct in the site or brought in from outside – see example at where we brought in the feed from the Micro Business team’s edublogs blog and mix it up with content from the site.

I’ve used views to create blocks of info that either appear on the sidebars or in the content of the page.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been reviewing the content of our general elearning support pages (home: ) and making notes of what has to be done.

Still on the to-do list:

- re-jig the Elearning Processes area – this is the area needing the most content work.

- look at displays of information pulled in from elsewhere. Now I understand how the news aggregator and external feeds and views and blocks work together I think I can get what I want.

- Kick off forums for our Resource Development Advisor Community of Practice

- Have a nap.


Let me know what else should go on the to-do list…

Update: Just snaffled for our shared project area.

Flavours of Elearning

Posted on April 15th, 2009 in Polytechnic by Kirsty

This year we have quite a variety of flavours of elearning in the Elearning Innovations projects from the Tasmanian Polytechnic. Thinking in terms of icecream we have:

Not-so-Rocky-Road: ePortfolios – focussing more on the journey than the end point, more about learning process than learning product.

Choc-Chip: Info Literacy – workplace scenarios are the bursts of flavour in this Learn 23 Things inspired project

Macadamia Dream: MeInTassie wiki – for newly arrived migrants learning English, a digital campus approach (to borrow from this document on Designing Elearning

Chocollo (Chocolate icecream for when you’re not really having icecream): eTag Learning for nursing students – a simulated workplace where learning is embedded into the objects, bringing Stephen Downes’ idea of a jam jar teaching you into reality (scroll down to the paragraph headed “embedding”Watermelon and mango sorbet

With Sprinkles & Toppings : Learners will film each other performing tasks, review the footage as part of the learning process. DIY learning resources for immediate consumption.

Toffee Swirl: not just plain vanilla, this online course (the only one flagged to use an LMS hence the vanilla base) combines asynschronous and synchronous learning opportunities, blended to perfection.

Why am I hungry?

Preparing Casestudies

Posted on April 9th, 2009 in Polytechnic by Kirsty
Flickr CC-BY Margaret Anne Clarke

Flickr CC-BY Margaret Anne Clarke

At the Getting Started workshop for the 2009 Tasmanian Elearning Innovations projects at Campbelltown yesterday, Darren Lewin-Hill joined us via Skype to provide some pointers on preparing casestudies.

Darren suggested we use a series of questions to frame our casestudy development.

  1. Why did you become involved in this Elearning Innovation Project?
  2. Why did you choose to use elearning?
  3. What challenges were you hoping to address?
  4. What are the different roles within the project team?
  5. What process did you use for selecting the technology you used? How did this fit with existing systems?
  6. What level of engagement have learners had in the project?
  7. If you had to do it again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?
  8. What was the web of relationships around the project? What did they contribute to the project outcomes?

And I would add these questions too…

  1. What did the evaulation tell you about the success of the project?
  2. How will you take the outcomes of this project forward?
  3. How long did the project take you? Was this more or less time than originally estimated?
  4. What skill sets would another team need to achieve a similar project?
  5. Would you recommend other teaching areas adopt your outputs and processes? How would you suggest they approach it?