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I interviewed Marius Foley, a lecturer and practitioner in Design Games Interaction. His teaching revolves around the transition from student to practitioner and participant in the design community.  The interview evolved into a really interesting conversation around Blackboard and other online learning tools. Many thanks to Marius for taking time out of his busy day to meet. Following are the poignant parts of our conversation:

Me: Marius, thanks for joining me today. Do you use Blackboard?

Marius: Yes, I have been using it in face to face and online classes, but I tend to have limited use. For student enrolment it is really good and for managing groups.

Blackboard works well for Gradebook facilities. All of the marking goes through Grademark and Gradecentre which is the default marking system across the program. Students are getting different experiences with Blackboard and we are trying to streamline so that students have one system everyone adopts.

Me: Do you use alternative online technology tools?

Marius:  Yes I do. We are using the WordPress blog at the moment, we also use Twitter and Google Hangouts.

WordPress is a replacement front end for Blackboard. One of the reasons for using WordPress is that our students are in professional media and design areas, so its better to locate them in a professional media tool, rather than educational tool. The tool also allows students to explore the medium.  Our students need to be in the public sphere. The students get guidelines on how to use WordPress, its not graded but it is evaluated.

Twitter is used in industry and has particular characteristics; it is very fast, it is also very restrictive in what you can and how much you can say and it is very public. Students can watch how other people use it, how trends develop, and therefore workout their own practice.  You can work out your practice. It is a good space for journalists who need to live tweet.

Me: Why are you using those alternative online technology tools?

Marius:  Twitter is: Live. Fast. Public. Blackboard can’t do and be that. WordPress is: intuitive and saves a lot of time. Google Hangouts: capture students on video, thoughts, texts etc.