Blogfolio Blogging Presentation: Links

Here are all of the websites that JW and I gathered for our “Blogfolio” presentation.

Sites that were featured in the presentation:

The Zerolon

The Zerolon by Zeroll:

  • Made of aircraft aluminum
  • Hard anodized, fused Teflon finish
  • Cuts waste up to 20%
  • Self-defrosting fluid in handle for quick load, fast release
  • Unique one-piece design
  • No moving parts
  • Comfortable in right or left hand

Anecdotal information shows that the “Original Zeroll and the Zerolon have increased profits for businesses for almost 65 years.”

Zeroll Zerolon Ice Cream Scoop

This is the first ice cream scoop that I’ve owned that came with its own instruction manual. My last scoop, a Pampered Chef ice cream dipper, was incinerated in the dishwasher.

The Zerolon should last until the year 3,056 where it will be discovered and revered as a cultural artifact.

“The Original Zeroll one piece design created a hollow handle for the Zeroll defrosting fluid that transfers hand heat through the aluminum handle to the unique scooping bowl. This helps the scoop cut through ice cream for easier dipping from bulk ice cream cartons.”

The Zeroll Company

Web Science Research Initiative

“The Web Science Research Initiative will allow researchers to take the web seriously as an object of scientific inquiry, with the goal of helping to foster the web’s growth and fulfill its great potential as a powerful tool for humanity.”

MIT and University of Southampton launch World Wide Web research collaboration:
Continue reading Web Science Research Initiative

Cyber Communities – Emerging Issues Summit

PaperClip Communications is sponsoring a technology summit on Cyber Communities at the University of Tampa in January. I’ll be presenting two sessions on student development theory and the positive aspects of online communities/social networking sites. I’m charged with bringing a positive spin to the summit. I have two hours to educate participants that sites like Facebook and MySpace can add value to a student’s collegiate experience.

The irony of my PaperClip presentation is that they contacted me after they read this post. In the post I expressed my concerns regarding the vilification of technology within student affairs.

Continue reading Cyber Communities – Emerging Issues Summit

Google SMS for Weather Forecast

Wendy and I are constantly wondering what the weather forecast will be for Corvallis. I’ve known about Google’s SMS (Short Messaging Service) for a while but I’ve never used it…until today. Google has a website where you can “send” test text messages to try out the service. It’s amazing.

What’s the weather like in Corvallis right now? Send a text message to “46645” (GOOGL) with “weather 97331” as your message. Google will send a text message to your cell phone in about 2 seconds.

Google SMS can send text messages on a variety of topics including movies (Death of a President 97330), restaurants (Thai 97330), and text translation (t ancestry to German).

According to Google, geschlecht is German for ancestry.

Star Wars at the OMSI

At the OMSI, Star Wars is.

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination combines costumes and props from all six Star Wars films with real-world technologies, video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers, and two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test speeders and robots. Visitors will explore prototypes, learn about the engineers and designers who are creating new technologies, and discover intriguing similarities between how scientists and filmmakers think.

It made me laugh when I read this: “Masks and weapons (including prop blasters or lightsabers) are not permitted inside the exhibit.”

“Experience a full-size cockpit replica of Episode IV’s Millennium Falcon!”
I wonder if it will do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?

Keeping Track of Higher Education

Diverse is the website for Diverse Issues in Higher Education. I subscribe to the magazine and enjoy a daily dose of e-news from Diverse. I’m not sure if the daily e-mail can be accessed without a subscription to the magazine…

Academic Impressions and University Business serve up 2 of the best daily e-mails on higher education news. They offer similar stories with slightly different slants.

Continue reading Keeping Track of Higher Education

Fix Firefox 2.0

Firefox 2.0 is now available for download from Mozilla. This is old news for most early adopters but I thought I write about it for the non-early-adopter crowd. One of the things that I love about Firefox is tabbed browsing. I can open up 45 tabs within one Firefox window. That many tabs can suck the ram out of my computer like an Anne Rice vampire but I am hooked on Firefox. It is infinity (+1) times better than Internet Explorer.

Continue reading Fix Firefox 2.0

Blogfolio at the NASPA Western Regional

JW and I will be presenting “Blogs and Student Learning: Making Meaning and Connections through Graduate Student Portfolios” at the 2006 NASPA Western Regional Conference in San Francisco next month. We’ll be using my “blogfolio” as an example of how blogs can be used in higher education graduate programs to facilitate learning in multiple contexts.

The conference will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Union Square. I’m excited about presenting with JW. She’s been a terrific advisor and mentor to me. I wonder if she’ll mind if I place a sign that says “Eric Stoller, available for hire” on my chest… I could become a freelance student affairs techie and create blogs for colleges and universities…

Program Abstract:

Participants are invited to engage in dialogue about the use of blogs (web logs) as a unique student learning experience. Presenters will briefly discuss the phenomenon of blogs and then share examples of student blogs created as the capstone experience within Oregon State University’s student affairs master’s program. Presenters will facilitate conversation around the challenges and opportunities in using blogs and ways in which student affairs professionals may utilize blogs beyond the classroom to serve students better.

According to a program reviewer:

This well-prepared proposal effectively conveys the presenters’ knowledge, practices, and enthusiasm. The presentation has the tremendous potential of starting a blogging epidemic among faculty members and student affairs practitioners who strive to improve student learning.

I’ve never started an epidemic before. No pressure…

A history of web projects

The official title of my OSU Graduate Assistantship is “Student Affairs Web Specialist.” Here are a few of the projects that I have worked on since I arrived in Corvallis in 2004.

OSU Admissions old
When I first started my assistantship at OSU, the Admissions web site looked like this:

old admissions design

The site was in need of an overhaul. The first few months of my assistantship were spent fighting fires. Various issues would arise that would need taking care of, and a complete overhaul of the Admissions web site would not happen for a long time.

OSU International Admissions
The primary project that I was assigned to was managing the re-design of the International Admissions web site (the version that is currently up is a progression from last year’s design.).

old international design

The International Admissions web site was re-designed using web standards and user feedback. The site was easy to navigate and loaded quickly due to its css-based layout.

admissions international design

The re-designed International Admissions web site received positive reviews from the OSU community and from several external audiences.

Eric Stoller’s Blog
Initially, the ESB was used to house my technology workshop lessons/links. The focus shifted when I decided that the blog could serve as my portfolio for CSSA as well as a personal journal. I blogged about life, school, and work. Eventually, my social justice posts became the primary focus of the blog. I think this is probably due to the fact that my passion for social justice came to the forefront of my life while I was in the midst of a life changing experience. I built the blog using WordPress. The theme was a free theme that I shaped to my own devices. I’ve added plugins for subscribers and recent comments/posts. The flexibility of a css-based design has allowed me to change colors, font sizes, etc. The php include construction of WordPress enabled me to add search functionality and comment functionality to posts/pages where it did not normally appear by default.

Eric Stoller's blog screenshot

I have had quite the experience with the blog. It is personal. It is professional. It is a portfolio.

OSU Precollege
I was given this project as a quick and easy web re-design. The folks over at OSU Precollege needed a web presence that reflected a consistent look and feel of the overall OSU web. I utilized a template from OSU Publications and created a basic web site.

OSU Precollege web page design

The biggest challenge with this project was the lack of “client” communication. The site was created by yours truly in a design vacuum. It’s not usually the way I would like to work. I prefer a collaborative process in which stakeholder involvement drives the project. The previous Precollege site had not been updated for a long time, and I fear that the current site design will exist for far to long. Unfortunately, I think this reflects the belief that as long as a site is online it is functioning. I believe this creates a static, cob web ridden presence that does not involve the actual users of the site.

OSU Success
This site was designed by an external vendor but I had a large role in the accessibility and usability of the site. The site was initially constructed in a format that was deemed to be boring for its intended audience. First-year students need a site that encourages participation as well as incentives for return visits.

OSU Success

I learned a lot about working with an external vendor on this project. There was a lot of planning, communicating, designing, and thinking that went into this project. The final project was accessible as well as standards compliant. The student response was very favorable and the site differed from similar sites.

A blog was created to compliment the student OSU Success site. Students were selected from the orientation staff and trained in the art of blogging. Site statistics showed that we did not have the best results with regards to visitors. However, I believe that the blog was a great experience for the student writers as well as for the students who read it.

OSU Success Blog


OSU Success for Parents and Family

A companion site for Parents and Family was created to compliment the student version. Parents and family were given content which was relevant to their experience. The site design that was used was simple and easy to use. Once again, the site was accessible and highly usable.

OSU Success for Parents and Family

Basecamp
While working with the OSU Success vendor, I became aware that the amount of email correspondence was becoming unmanageable. I had recently discovered the 37 Signals project management application: Basecamp. OSU staff and the external vendor utilized Basecamp for file transfer, deadline creation, and intergroup communications. The tool became an online archive for everyone on the project. Basecamp became a key component to our overall communications and project management strategy.

Basecamp and OSU

I’m really glad that I suggested Basecamp. For me, this clearly represented how online applications can be used to streamline group processes and communications.

OSU Graduate School
OSU Publications designed a new web site for the OSU Graduate School. I stepped in and was able to manage the interface between the folks from Publications and the Graduate School. I taught the GS folks how to update the new site as well as how to navigate a site that was structured using css and includes.

OSU Grad School web site screenshot
OSU Grad School forms screenshot

The Graduate School now uses online forms for a variety of data transmission functions. This should save them a lot of time, money and effort. The new GS site and online forms provides a heightened user experience for student users due to increased accessibility, usability, and functionality.

OSU Admissions new
The OSU Admissions web site re-design project was a terrific experience. It was a collaborative experience in which OSU Publications and OSU Admissions joined forces to create a standards compliant, user-friendly site. The site utilizes css and includes. We focused a lot on separation of content from the design. The new site includes a blog that has received a lot of visits. Written by an Admissions staffer, the blog showcases OSU Admissions as well as the accomplishments of the OSU community. I created the blog using WordPress (my personal blogging experience enabled me to set up the blog). The Admissions template encloses the new blog so that the user experience is seamless. The new Admissions site continues to grow and search engine optimization will increase as the site expands.

OSU NEW Admissions design screenshot

Admissions site level 2 redesign screenshot

OSU Admissions website level 3 screenshot

OSU Admissions blog


OSU Document Management Project

The OSU DMP is using a blog (another WordPress blog that I created) to transmit information to key stakeholders as well as enable users to interact with the site. The project is enormous in scope and will utilize the blog to maintain a constant stream of communication with users.

OSU EM DMP Blog screenshot


OSU Student Affairs

I am in charge of re-designing the OSU Student Affairs web site. The current version (pictured below) is not standards compliant and it is due for an overhaul. The primary users of this site are internal users. The site will serve as a central hub of information. I plan on using code from the OSU Admissions site design. The Admissions code is accessible and the site structure efficiently separates content from design.

OSU Student Affairs web site original screenshot


OSU Student Affairs – redesigned

Oregon State University Student Affairs website

*One of my last projects will probably involve the creation of a wiki for OSU Enrollment Management IT. The wiki will serve as a repository of techie tips and experiential histories. I’ve never created a wiki before so I will need to research the wiki options that exist. OSU CWS currently uses a wiki and I will probably see if their site wiki would work for OSU EM IT.