Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Illinois Supreme Court Approves Statewide E-Filing Standards

By Illinois Supreme Court press release, October 24, 2012

Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and the Illinois Supreme Court announced new statewide standards and new and amended Supreme Court rules that will allow all courts in Illinois to begin electronic filing of court documents in civil cases.

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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Digital Asset Management – LCMS, ECM and SharePoint

Interesting post by Vic Uzumeri where he responds to a question that I asked him.  I'm going to also address the broader concept he raises about Work Networking.  But in this post, I want to consider:

    We developed CoSolvent because we couldn’t find a reliable way move rich media (typically video) to and from the individual subject matter experts (SMEs) and managers among our various corporate training clients.

Living near Hollywood and the many different production companies and studios, I've talked to and worked on several projects that were digital asset management systems.  This includes working on the software the runs sites like Nasa Images.  So, I'm pretty familiar with the issues of digital asset management (DAM) and having to move large and manage large media assets.

Vic provides the following list of reasons that companies use his digital asset management software for eLearning projects:

    The companies that employ our target audience strongly discourage employees from putting company assets on ‘public’ sites.
    Workers often didn’t want their co-workers to see their materials until they had a chance to approve them.
    People often work with collections of related, but dissimilar materials.
    We wanted to accommodate all types of video as input.

What's interesting is that my impression is that most corporations don't have that much of an issue with digital asset management and that these concerns are there, but not enough of an issue for people to jump on these solutions.  Am I wrong on that?

Is there a need and desire for software or software as a service that provides digital asset management as part of eLearning projects?  Does the LCMS already provide this for you?  Does your enterprise content management solution provide this for you?

I do know of a couple of large corporations that do a good job of cataloging and organizing the digital assets – images, digital videos, documents.  They have hundreds of hours of courses.  And there developers are geographically dispersed.  Even still, most of these companies use relatively simple organization methods and the issues are getting developers to contribute assets, catalog them and then provide effective search and browsing.  In one case, they use a fairly rich enterprise content management (ECM) solution (a corporate-wide solution).

By the way, my impression is also that the digital asset management that comes with LCMS solutions is pretty limited.  Theoretically, this provides this same ability to organize digital assets so they can be shared by developers.  In practice, once things scale up, it becomes pretty hard to keep it organized and effectively find the assets you want.

I have heard a common lament that large files cause a little bit of an issue in that many IT departments limit network storage because of the need to provide robust back-ups and retention.  But using a storage as a service model with these large assets outside the firewall doesn't make much sense in that there's also often a restriction on network traffic.

The workflow and access restrictions are there.  You don't want people seeing your stuff that's still in development.  There's some course content that should not be accessible outside a particular group.  Again, most of this gets handled by standard network folders and permission structures.

Oh, and let's not forget that a lot of companies are Using Sharepoint for the exact purpose of organizing the efforts and assets of learning development.

Maybe it's because I have not run into these situations, but my impression is that there's not that much need for digital asset management solutions around eLearning and that you are probably already served by your LCMS, enterprise content management, or SharePoint if it is an issue.

Please share your experience and knowledge around this.

Friday, 26 October 2012

E-Filing and Online Dispute Resolution

The Canadian Forum on Court Technology generated some ideas on how E-Filing and ODR could potentially complement one another.

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Saturday, 20 October 2012

ePorfolios Blogs and Audience Response Systems at Back to School Night

I must say that many back-to-school nights are a bit painful.  For those of you who are not familiar with this, it's an evening where you go to the school (without your children) and the teachers tell you a little bit about how they will approach the year.  This year, I attended three different back-to-school nights for my three children (elementary, middle school and high school).

Most teachers hand a sheet with all the information they plan to present (which is good because there are often lots of links and other helpful information).  And then they proceed to walk through it.  I'm sure most of you can relate.  You are sitting there while the teacher reads what's on the sheet to you.  You could have got the sheet delivered to you and then just visit the teacher another time.  Of course, I'm not exactly the best audience and there's no Session Hopping available at back-to-school.

I believe that many teachers will tell you that it's equally painful going through from their side.  My wife used to dread both back to school and open house nights.  Not sure how my mother felt (a school teacher for 35 years).  I should really have asked her before I posted this.  But my guess is that she didn't really like it that much either.  The nice thing about being a professor is that you never saw parents except on rare visits (shake their hand, exchange pleasantries) and at graduation.  You never had to do a presentation to them.

So while I was really dreading having to do three different back-to-school nights, I must say there were two very pleasant surprises.  And, just in case any of the other teachers who have my children in their class this year read this, I must say this whole year was an exceptionally good back to school night.  Still there were two standouts.
ePortfolios and Blogs

My oldest daughter, a freshman in high school, has a fantastic teacher, Ms. Gerber, for Honors English.  Ms. Gerber has the class creating ePorfolios and Blogging as teaching tools!  I honestly almost fell out of my chair when she casually mentioned this.  And I was struck by the stares of the other parents who clearly had no idea what she was saying.

Now I know that many of my fellow bloggers who come from education will be saying "no duh, Tony" this is happening all over the place.  But it's a bit different when you see it really being applied.


As an example, the students watched the courtroom drama 12 Angry Men.  Ms. Gerber asked the students to post comments in the class blog: Assignment Two.  Certainly, seeing what the other students said in their responses is a great thing.  There wasn't much interaction among the students as in Assignment One.  But it was still good to see answers.  And it was funny to see my daughter say:

    I used to have a feeling I would be a good lawyer, because I have a lot of arguments with my dad, but now I'm not so sure. If that's what it's like in a courtroom, I wouldn't last very long!

Ms. Gerber also has started the students on a journey of creating an ePorfolio using Google Sites.  They aren't much to look at yet, but having recently run across a few examples of ePortfolios that students have pulled together across several years – I'm sure that it's a great idea to have them starting on one now.


I'm quite curious what recommendations people have around how to effectively create an ePortfolio that will help you get into college.  Currently, my daughter's portfolio is oriented around Years and Subjects.  That doesn't seem right to me, but maybe it doesn't matter at this point.  Any pointers?
Audience Response System

The other pleasant surprise was Mr. Luke Olesiuk, at the middle school.  He teaches math and went through all of the normal stuff that all the teachers do.  However, he made it quite enjoyable because he used an audience response system in the classroom and presented most everything that way.  As we walked in, he provided each parent a clicker.  It's from TurningPoint Systems – see it below:


Then he spent what I have to believe was a fair bit of time designing his presentation.  Instead of saying, my goals for the year are X, Y, and Z.  He would put a question on the projector that said - "My goals for the year are all of the following except one of these …" and he would list X, Y and Z and at least one funny response.  I was surprised how effectively it kept everyone engaged.  Most parent intentionally would get wrong answers (at least I hope), but it gave him opportunity to talk through why those were the goals or whatever.

Truly he turned something mundane into something fun.  And he ended exactly on time (used a timer in his hand to track).  Clearly he spent time designing this out, but the result was great.  It made me think that with the advent of audience response via web solutions, this is going to make in-person presentations a lot more interesting in the future.  Quite topical given: Narrowing Gap between Face-to-Face and Online Presentations and New Presenter and Learner Skills and Methods.

The only drag was the following note that we received:

    Parents - I'm still missing Clicker # C14 from Back-To-School night last night...if you accidentally borrowed it after the presentation yesterday, please send it back with your student on Monday. Thank you!

Amazing that he doesn't lose them with kids, but does with parents.

Maybe if Turning Point Systems sees this post they can send him a new one. :)

Free Learning

Harold Jarche had a great post If learning was free that raises questions that need to be continually asked by learning and development around the issues of Free.

In the Business of Learning, I compared publishing and learning. Big publishers are having problems as the cost of distribution goes towards zero and as that brings along a ton of competition from the low end. Learning as a publisher of courses, content, etc. is facing the same thing. There's a lot of other content out there.

    How differentiated is the content that we produce from all of the Free Learning that's otherwise available?
    Is our content really that much better?

The typical response of large publishers is that their content is better. And yes, Britannica, New York Times, etc. that have paid, professional editors, writers are better quality than alternatives for the specific content that they cover. But all major publications have limitations in that because of the cost, they have to go after large audiences and they need to stay at higher level topics. They can't afford to go into depth in niche areas because the costs would be too high for the return.


Harold is drawing a parallel with Advertising. When you produce advertising for massive distribution on network TV, you can afford to spend a lot of time and money to produce the ads. However, when you begin to go after small, niche audiences, then low cost production becomes important. Harold tells us:

    Anybody see a parallel here with instructional systems design or curriculum development? These processes take time and money and once the investment is made, nobody wants to do it again. Web media can be created quickly and, if designed in an open manner, can change according to the needs of learners and facilitators. For instance, we developed the Work Literacy site in about a week and at no cost. It was added to and modified by the participants. Everyone was an unpaid volunteer. Total cost: zero.

What Harold is raising is that there are going to be lots of free learning that is going to compete with our the more costly paid learning that learning organizations will continue to produce. Free learning can come from groups like Work Literacy that provided a large online learning experience for free, or from LearnTrends that produces amazing content like LearnTrends 2009 for free. It also comes from all the subject matter experts both inside and outside your organization that are continually producing content.

Free Learning may not be as high a quality – although I would claim that LearnTrends and WorkLiteracy filled niches. And sure if we spend time and money to produce courseware, it will be better than the stuff created by a subject matter expert with a rapid elearning tool. And there will continue to be times when the payback for better quality content will justify the cost. But …

The reality is that focusing our attention on publishing higher quality content – being at the high-end of materials – will mean that we are Marginalized. And let's not sugar coat this.

So rather than passing out clubs, we really need to embrace Free Learning:

    Pull free learning together and deliver it into the organization.
    Help people find free learning that you've not yet aggregated.
    Teach people new learning skills.
    Leverage the actions that go along with free learning to add value back into the organization.

Embrace, facilitate, support, connect, leverage free learning.

Please help - I'm looking right now for examples of organizations using open course content (e.g., OCW, OER) as part of their internal learning. If you know of examples, please contact me.

Free Learning Resources

I took a quick look on eLearning Learning to see what it has to say around Free. It was interesting to see all the different kinds of finds there are by visiting related pages like:

    Free Tools
    Free Webinars
    Free Resources
    Free Courses
    Free Courseware

And one item that comes to the top a lot is ZaidLearn's post University Learning - OCW - OER - Free - worth checking out.

Discussion Forums for Knowledge Sharing at Capital City Bank

Looking at Capital City Bank from the outside, I wouldn’t have expected to find a great example of social learning inside.

They are a solid, conservative bank. They have more than 1,100 associates spread out across Florida, Georgia and Alabama.  I recently had a great conversation with Becky Barch, a performance consultant at the Bank, about her smart application of discussion forum software from ElementK.

The forum is targeted to a small group – loan/lending assistants. There are roughly 22 people in that role in at Capital City Bank. Because loans can be fairly complex and unique, there were continual questions that came up. One person had become the “defacto associate help desk”. This individual ended up fielding all of the calls.


Becky turned around and used a discussion forum to make the situation better. The same associate who received and handled the questions before now gets the question as a discussion item and responds in the forum. They also have enlisted another associate to help field questions. And, in fact, other lending assistants will jump in with answers as well. Because the answers are stored in the discussion forum, they can be seen by everyone and can later be searched.

Questions come up on all kinds of topics. A recent topic was “Fees for Department of Motor Vehicles.” These fees vary depending on the county and there wasn’t an obvious place to find the information. So, various people contributed links and attached PDFs with the information that was needed.

They are now using the discussion forum as part of training initiatives. As they are rolling out a new escrow initiative, they’ve had webinars that were supported by Q&A in the forum. Because lending assistants are familiar with the forum, they’ve found this to be an effective pattern.
How Did They Get There?

One of the things I’ve found from doing many presentations on social/informal/eLearning 2.0 is there will be lots of activity when I get to the challenges when using this kind of approach. I spent quite a bit of time discussing how Becky made this happen . And I should point out that Becky makes all of this seem quite simple. I had to drag most of this information out of her.

First, the Bank has a bit of experience from the very top with social media. They have an internal message board used by the CEO of the Bank called “Bill’s Blog.” Anyone can ask a question and various associates would formulate an answer post. If needed an “official” or correct answer, it would be highlighted. The idea was to use this as a tool to learn and get questions answered. It has has been successful in the Bank and certainly signals openness to using social media.

However, I think the real story here is more around Becky’s background, particularly the first course that she took at Florida State University (FSU) from Professor Jeong (an expert in discussion forums for learning). Not surprisingly given Dr. Jeong’s background, this course heavily leveraged peer discussion through discussion forums. Becky said she was wondering where the professor was in all of this for a long time. She expected more involvement. However, as the course progressed and the concepts of social learning and self-reflection as part of the learning process emerged, she saw the beauty in what Dr. Jong had done. He had set up a great environment and taught them how to engage. He provided very specific instructions and guidance, and provided plenty of support. It took a while, but Becky and the other students really came to understand that kind of learning.

So, when Becky saw this situation, it was obvious that a discussion forum could work. And, certainly the subject matter expert, she was happy the work she was doing would reach more than one person at a time. She knew that much support would be needed, as the company definitely has an e-mail and phone culture. She set up sample questions with answers to provide context and initial categories for the questions. She supported the users and the subject matter expert as they began using the system. Of course, given the culture, most of the users have the system setup so they get e-mail notifications from the discussion forum.

Over time, they are beginning to establish a culture where many associates are contributing information. Initially, another lending assistant was set up with permission to post answers to help out the subject matter expert. But that changed associates’ perspectives on the site and more associates are getting comfortable posting answers, suggestions, etc. Becky ensured a safe and positive environment to make sure that people feel comfortable asking and answering questions.

I was certainly curious about how Becky overcame the obstacle of potential risk/liability in a heavily regulated field like lending. She didn’t see it as that much of an issue. Lending assistants were already familiar with sending questions via e-mail and documenting loans. These folks were knowledgeable about issues related to fair lending. It was unlikely there would be an issue and if one arose, they would follow standard procedures that would have been executed via e-mail in the past. The system actually has an advantage in that respect since users can flag potential issues in the system. But so far, this has not been the case.
Lessons Learned and Next Steps

Becky has found other groups want to adopt this same kind of approach. She’s slowly deciding on how she will tackle these.

Becky discovered how important it is to know the boundaries of the community If you want this to be a safe environment, you have to know who is in or out. Who has access to the information? They’ve had some challenges with more people have wanting access to the forums as they see value in the information. But, does that violate the safety of being able to ask anything in a safe environment?

We also had an interesting discussion about what happens when management asks for access. Obviously, you can’t say no. But how do you provide access without violating the spirit of the group? This hasn’t been a problem at the Bank, but it is an interesting issue. Becky suggested providing temporary access to those who would not normally have access so they can see how the tool is being used without violating the user’s trust.

Becky said forwarding the future she will have more up-front discussion about who will and won’t have access. In particular, asking the question, “Who else do you see who would benefit from this?”
Final Thought

One thing that really struck me about my conversations with Becky is how obvious she made all of this sound. But it was only obvious after her experience at FSU. It was obvious to her when she saw what was currently happening. It was obvious how she could support the lending assistants with detailed help / guidance. It’s obvious to Becky.

I’m pretty sure it would not have been obvious to a lot of other people. And I’m not quite sure how to make this obvious, but I’m thinking about it. Becky’s suggestion is that everyone should participate in a 100% online course with a discussion forum and someone there who knows how to moderate it.

Becky – thanks for a great conversation and sharing with me/us!
Do you have a case study for me?

I'm hoping to do a lot of case studies over the next 6-12 months looking at interesting examples of the use of social/informal/web 2.0 learning.  If you have an example, please drop me an email:

Contest - Win a Free Copy of Digital Habitats via LearnTrends 2009

I've known Nancy White and John Smith for quite a while. Nancy has been my go to person for all things Communities and Networks and worked with me to create Communities and Networks Connection. So naturally when Nancy and John (with Etienne Wenger) put out the book Digital Habitats; Stewarding Technology for Communities I was very excited. And I've got to say that I agree with the recent comment in a post I saw:

    Whenever I get stuck I’ll contact my friends at CPSquare: Etienne, Nancy and John. And while I know they all have a deep understanding of CoPs I tend to ask Etienne the theory questions, Nancy the technology questions and John the group dynamics questions. Together they are a formidable team. Sadly I think their new book, Digital Habitats, will give them strong cause to suggest I should RTFM: Read The Flipping Manual.

This is a really awesome book. I almost think it's more a performance support tool than a book. You really should get a copy and put it next to your computer. So, if you don't win the free copy, then you should go buy it.

So I'm very happy to announce to make two announcements:

1. Nancy White and John Smith will be doing a session at LearnTrends 2009 (a free online conference – you should definitely go register). And as a bonus, John will be doing another session with Jack Merklien of Xerox Global Services on communities. You can see details below on these two sessions.

2. Nancy and John have generously offered TWO FREE SIGNED copies of their book to people who help promote the conference and their sessions.
Entering the Contest

1. Follow me - @tonykarrer on twitter.

2. Tweet and include a link back to this post.

I will use BackTweets to find people who link to this post. It handles short URLs. You can test to see if your tweet appears here.

Suggested tweets:

Twitter Contest – Free Copy of Digital Habitats – Stewarding Technology for Communities - #learntrends

Twitter Contest - LearnTrends 2009 – Free Online Conference - #learntrends

Retweet to enter contest: Free copy Digital Habitats – Stewarding Technology for Communities #learntrends

Retweet for chance to win a free copy of Digital Habitats #learntrends

Post an entry in your blog that links back to this post.

I will use IceRocket to search for your post. If you don't come up in the search, then drop a comment here to let me know about your post. Sorry if that turns out to be extra work, but I wanted a way to enter for those who don't use twitter. You can test that search here.

We would really appreciate if your blog post can also mention the conference and the innovation awards and the Digital Habitats Contest:


LearnTrends 2009 - Free Online Conference


LearnTrends Innovation Awards

1. We will accept only one entry per blog and per twitter account. If you have a blog and a twitter account, you will have two chances to win.

2. We will do our first drawing on October 21 based on all entries to the contest prior to Midnight Pacific Time on October 20.

3. We will do our second drawing on November 11 based on all entries made after the first drawing deadline and prior to Midnight Pacific Time on November 10.

Yes, that means that you will need to blog and/or tweet again on or after October 21 to be entered for the second book.
Feedback? Questions?

This is the first time we've ever tried something like this. I know that most of you have been nice enough to promote the conference even without any kind of a reward. So, I hope this is fun and seems like a good possible reward for helping get the word out. I'm certainly open to feedback on the idea, how we could do it better, etc.

And, of course, happy to answer any questions.
Session Descriptions

Below are the descriptions of the sessions that Nancy and John will be involved with at LearnTrends 2009. There will be a bunch of other sessions that should be announced by October 15.
E-learning outside the training box with Nancy White and John Smith

Once you've mastered enough of the new social media tools, training and development professionals are figuring out that technologies can change the boundaries around training itself, just as they can interrupt organizational boundaries. We offer two cases that illustrate the benefits and opportunities of these changed boundaries. In one, Nancy White talks about triangulating internal training and capacity building with external actors who part of the training and who validate it; that leads to more connections between people and has gained manager support. In the other, John Smith talks about a workshop that brings social activities into the center of the training experience, investing time in making the social connections a lasting and practical resource. We use the polarities that are developed in Digital Habitats to tie these examples together and give you design ideas for program development.

Nancy White, Full Circle Associates ( white
Nancy brings over 25 years of communications, technology and leadership skills in her work supporting collaboration, learning and communications in the NGO, non profit and business sectors. Grounded in community leadership and recognized expertise in online communities and networks, Nancy works with people to leverage their strengths and assets towards tangible goals and meaningful process. Nancy’s blog and Twitter stream are regularly recognized as leading sources on online communities and networks, knowledge management and knowledge sharing. Nancy is a respected speaker and workshop leader. She is a chocoholic and lives with her family in Seattle, Washington, USA.

John David Smith, Learning Alliances (

John brings over 25 years of experience to bear on the technology and learning problems faced by communities, their leaders and their sponsors. He coaches and consults on issues ranging from event design and community facilitation, to community design and evaluaJohn Smithtion, and technology selection and configuration. He has worked in the communities of practice area for the past 10 years and is the community steward for CPsquare, the international community of practice on communities of practice. He's the host of com-prac, the longest-running conversation about communities of practice on the 'Net. He is a regular workshop leader in CPsquare and elsewhere. He grew up in Humacao, Puerto Rico and now lives in Portland, Oregon.
Common tools for diverse communities at Xerox Global Services, with Jack Merklein and John Smith

Communities of practice are a well-established part of Xerox Global Services' knowledge strategy. Over the years, the tools that Xerox communities use has evolved through experimentation, innovation, and technology stewardship. All Xerox communities have access to a common set of tools: standardizing on that set of tools helps reduce the learning curve as staff move from one community to another. But communities choose a subset, evolve their own conventions and habits, and individual preferences determine what communities actually do. The current the mix of tools that are available includes blogs, wikis, document repositories, live meeting software and a calendar. Using the community orientations framework from Digital Habitats, we'll talk about some of the different communities at Xerox and how they use the standard tools in ways to fit their individual styles and needs. We'll also talk about how the different tools work together (for example, about community vs personal MS-Outlook calendars or how a wiki and a document repository overlap in some ways but serve different purposes at the same time).

Jack Merklein is with Xerox Global Services where his responsibilities include the development and care of communities of practice, internal knowledge management training and knowledge sharing initiatives. He also consults privately, and his client list covers both the public and private sector. Previous assignments include being the Director of Knowledge and Learning for Xerox Global Services. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, with degrees from West Point and Golden Gate University. His service assignments included Director of Knowledge Management and Distance Learning while assigned as a senior faculty member at one of the Army's schools. He has served as a board member and chair of the Knowledge Management Certification Board, was a founder and first president of the Knowledge Management Professional Society, and was one of the original members of the U.S. federal government's Knowledge Management Standards Committee under the federal CIO's council. He has written articles for several magazines concerning how knowledge sharing initiatives can impact learning.

John David Smith, Learning Alliances (
John brings over 25 years of experience to bear on the technology and learning problems faced by communities, their leaders and their sponsors. He coaches and consults on issues ranging from event design and community facilitation, to community design and evaluation, and technology selection and configuration. He has worked in the communities of practice area for the past 10 years and is the community steward for CPsquare, the international community of practice on communities of practice. He's the host of com-prac, the longest-running conversation about communities of practice on the 'Net. He is a regular workshop leader in CPsquare and elsewhere. He grew up in Humacao, Puerto Rico and now lives in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Pennsylvania Courts Announce Online Forms

A press release from the Pennsylvania Courts on October 18, 2012 describes their new Internet forms are designed to "break down language barriers for families".

Read more »

NIEM 3.0 “Coming Soon” Website Announced

The National Information Exchange Model program has posted a new website for practitioners to track the progress of the new version 3.0 development.

Read more »

Friday, 12 October 2012

More PDF/A News

A couple of announcements regarding the international PDF/A standard that courts should know. - Updated with link to the ISO draft standard.

Read more »

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Monday, 1 October 2012

LearnTrends Innovation Awards

George Siemens, Jay Cross and Tony Karrer are pleased to announce the first ever LearnTrends 2009 Innovation Awards.


These awards are designed to recognize the products, projects and companies that represent interesting innovations in use of technology for Corporate / Workplace Learning and Performance.

Winners will be announced and will be asked to do short presentations during the conference.

Deadline for submission is: October 30.

You can see details of what we are asking for in the form below.

To apply for an award, please fill out the:
Submission Form

If you have questions, feel free to Leave a Comment or drop me an email:
Please Help

We very much want to get nominations from all corners. If you can help us spread the word about these awards, that would be greatly appreciated. Think something is innovative – please let them know about this. Post about this on your blog. Tweet about it. Any help would be appreciated.

Here are some graphics you can use: