Submitted by David Hamilton on June 9, 2005 – 10:56am.

Filed under: Developer’s Kit | Software

Is this ever good – Xylescope is similar to aardvark, the mouseover DOM inspector and the mozilla web developer’s extension, in that it allows you to explore the structure of an html document and the CSS that’s being applied to every element, including the best visualization of the parent-child relationship I’ve yet seen. The only caveats are that it costs money as compared to these other free tools (but only $15, it’s cheap), it can’t perform direct transformations in the way that aardvark and the web developer’s extension can, and you really need some serious screen real estate to take full advantage of it. Even so, anyone doing web development on the mac should check this out.

Powerfolder: Free & Useful File Synchronization Utility

Submitted by David Hamilton on June 9, 2005 – 11:09am.
Filed under: Developer’s Kit | Software

Check out powerfolder, a free java-based file sharing and synchronization utility. I’m using it to synch the subscription list for my feeddemon RSS feeds so the stuff I read at work doesn’t show up at home and vice versa. It takes a little twiddling to set up (and on the mac I had to use the webstart version, the download version failed to run), but it’s worth the trouble for file sharing and synchronization and free is a great price.

The Developers Kit

The Developer’s Kit features user-submitted reviews, including:

Powerfolder: Free & Useful File Synchronization Utility https://academiccommons.org/august-2005/powerfolder-free-useful-file-synchronization-utility/

Xylescope: CSS and HTML Analyzer https://academiccommons.org/august-2005/xylescope/

Fetch Lives! FTP for the Mac Rebornhttp://academiccommons.org/fetch_lives

Excellent Javascript/DHTML Demoshttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/javascript-dhtml

The Firefox Plugin No One Should Be Withouthttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/firefox

Super Slick Web-Based Outlinerhttp://academiccommons.org/web-based-outliner

Smart Disk is Actually Smarthttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/smart-disk

Broadcast Machine: Another Video Publishing Toolhttp://academiccommons.org/video-publishing

Amazing Little Media Playback Devicehttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/media-playback-device

Tiddlywiki Keeps Getting Better and Betterhttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/tiddlywiki

Easy Ad-Hoc Emailing Listshttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/easy-emailing-lists

Panorama Factoryhttp://academiccommons.org/commons/review/panorama-factory

Reviews – Educause Learning Initiatives (ELI)

Submitted by John Ottenhoff on June 13, 2005 – 6:12pm.

Our friends at Educause continue to try to provide some content about teaching and learning with technology. The latest ELI (Educause Learning Initiative) resources are a mixed bag. A two-page pdf “7 Things You Should Know About Wikis” might work as a quick cheat-sheet for the harrassed academic executive wanting to appear knowledgable when talking with techies about the Latest Thing. But it’s not going to help many faculty members looking for real-world ideas about teaching with wikis. A sample nugget: “The possibilities for using wikis as the platform for collaborative projects are limited only by one’s imagination and time.”

On the other hand, an “Overview of E-portfolios” by George Lorenzo and John Ittelson is a thorough and well-illustrated report about student, faculty, and institutional electronic portfolios. This “white paper” addresses a full range of issues and could well provide a foundation for institutional discussions about implementing some form of e-portfolio; looking at student e-portfolios, for instance, the authors ask good basic questions:

  • should an e-portfolio be an official record of a student’s work?
  • how long should an e-portfolio remain at an institution after the student graduates?
  • who owns the e-portfolio?
  • how are e-portfoilios evaluated in a manner that is both valid and reliable?
  • how can an institution encourage critical reflection in the design and use of e-portfolios?

These, of course, are just good questions. Whether or not Educause, the authors, or Academic Commons can prompt some good discussion about such questions is the real question.

The paper also includes links to some exemplary sites, including the Carnegie Foundation’s KEEP Toolkit for building portfolios, St. Olaf College’s Center for Integrative Study portfolios, and Portland State’s institutional site built with the open-source Zope. The white paper briefly considers “tool sets” for e-portfolios and mentions the Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI). For faculty and administrators looking for more information about exemplary portfolios, the KEEP/OSP Case Studies Gallery is definitely worth checking out.