You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Research’ category.

catrin_o_ferainSome philosophers have argued that being conscious of death is a path towards living authentically with personal integrity and self-determination.

In Being and Time Martin Heidegger writes’ “Death reveals itself as that possibility which is one’s ownmost, which is non-relational, and which is not to be outstripped.” In other words, my death is personal, individual, and inevitable. Fear of death stems from rejection of these facts. Recognition of these facts is part of taking total responsibility for one’s own being – authenticity.

Elizabeth Seto (Psychology,Texas A&M) and colleagues set out to test this philosophical position empirically. They found a correlation between the vividness of thoughts about death (e.g., memories) and attitudes related to personal authenticity.

Their paper is insightful for anyone, particularly the Introduction and Discussion sections.

Study finds link between vivid thoughts of death and authenticity

An interview with Seto at PsyPost is also a valuable read.

The association between vivid thoughts of death and authenticity

The drift of this philosophical/psychological issue is: if you want to get real in life, get clear about death.

Image Acknowledgments



Conversations on topics such as in this post are common at Death Cafe Corvallis. You are welcome to participate. Information at Death Cafe Corvallis.


4098316462_2846b60687So what do you know? Is there any measure to determine how much you know? If you needed to know something new would you know how to learn it?

Your answers to these questions matter more than any set of information that you memorized in school.

The reason is that the sum of knowledge is growing at an ever increasing rate.

The growing rate of knowledge was described by philosopher/inventor/genius Buckminster Fuller, whom you should learn about.

In his 1982 book “Critical Path” Fuller presented an analysis of collective knowledge based on scientific and technical milestones through history.

He assigned values to the earliest known innovations, tools of the Stone Age going back 3 million years, up to the year 1 CE and designated that value a “knowledge unit.”

Using that measure he found that it took about 1,500 years from 1 CE for that knowledge unit to double to 2 knowledge units.

It doubled again 250 years later to 4 knowledge units and again in 150 years, around the year 1900, to 8 knowledge units.

Other thinkers have used Fuller’s analysis to extrapolate that by the year 2000 collective human knowledge was doubling every year.curve1

Some observers project that with coming changes in our information networks, such as the internet of things (IOT), total knowledge doubling will occur on a daily or even hourly basis.

Using this system it follows that the pace at which human knowledge is accumulated is accelerating; not only is the amount of total knowledge increasing but also its rate of growth.

Is there a natural or functional limit to knowledge acceleration? We do not know.

In some respects self-knowledge is one of our areas of greatest ignorance.

Just months ago our species learned something new about ourselves – that each individual’s brain memory power is greater by an order of magnitude; a GFPneuronfactor of 10, than previously believed.

In 2015 Thomas Bartol and associates of the Salk Institute reported that the anatomic structures of the trillions of synapses in the brain support a carrying capacity measured in petabytes – millions of gigabytes.

This finding is important because in addition to the amount of available storage it reveals sophisticated synaptic processes that use probability to create and retrieve memory.

The fact that knowledge is increasing rapidly does not imply that our intelligence is unable to handle it.

Creating strategies for managing complex information is what intelligent organisms like us do.

The acceleration of human knowledge does imply that the primary skill of a future knowledge worker will be research, analysis and synthesis of the not-yet-known.

You will succeed at your job by finding relevant streams of data, turning it into meaningful information from which you will produce usable knowledge.

At present that set of intellectual skills is the realm of the expert who is typically hired as a consultant.

In the near future those forms of expertise will be the foundations of all knowledge work because every career will consist of navigating a steep learning curve in the face of the accelerating velocity of knowledge.

The knowledge that drives your field will have changed significantly by the time you start the job won via your degree.

Your core strength in that job will be your capability to learn.

You can hone that capability now in your work at OSU, but to do so you must color outside of the lines of specialization.

Here are three practical ways that you may ramp up your learning prowess.

First, treat all of your learning as valuable.  The process of learning anything strengthens your capabilities for learning something new.  It is short sighted to negate a learning experience just because you do not see value in the information. You are not a giant flash drive for storing information. You are a learning organism that can grow and adapt to changing conditions.

Second, broaden your range of learning. Mastering subjects in depth is powerful and so is challenging your mind with subjects outside of your specialty.  As the sum of human knowledge grows its complexity increases. Diversifying your learning experiences inculcates stronger strategies for managing complexity.

Third, plan to keep on learning. A degree is not a finishing line, it is a portal to new learning in new contexts. Set your sights on a continual path of life-long learning beyond any program or position and you will increasingly thrive in a world of complexity that many people find overwhelming.

Some time soon you will wake up each day to a job that is already obsolete, but you will not be obsolete because of your skill at navigating the raising rate of cognitive change.

Human knowledge is growing at a scale that is hard to measure and so are you.



1. Disinformation Alert!: As quickly as knowledge grows, disinformation spreads faster, even on the topic of knowledge.

A claim widely reported on the web is that IBM predicted that knowledge

doubling will increase to occur on an hourly basis. The re-telling’s of this this vary and are frequently referenced back to a web article by David Russell Schilling, Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours in which he writes;

“ According to IBM, the build out of  the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”

Schilling links “IBM” in the sentence to a 2006 article from IBM; The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency. On page 2 of that article is this sentence;

“It is projected that just four years from now, the world’s information base will be doubling in size every 11 hours.”

The IBM article says no more about this matter than that single sentence and does not reference any source for the projection. We have to treat that claim as anecdotal and not authoritative as it has been subsequently played out on the web.

Moreover, that article and claim are about the growth of digital data which is entirely separate from the knowledge acceleration concept based in Fuller’s analysis. Schilling misinterpreted the IBM document. Nothing in that document supports the claim that is presented in the title of his article.

Schilling is a credible writer and typically provides sources for his articles. Sadly, his erroneous article title has been takes as a demonstrated truth by not-credible media personalities such as Glenn Beck who opined on his talk show;

“IBM has just come out and said all of human knowledge soon will double every – think of this – all human knowledge will double every twelve hours.”

Beck was adlibbing live from Schilling’s story on an iPad and adding his own embellishments ad hoc.

The assumption of authority and facticity of this hourly doubling claim increases with each retelling. Of course, we know that IBM said nothing of the sort.

Anyone may quickly check the sources and find for themselves the basic misinterpretation. That popular pundits such as Beck and his production staff do not do such basic fact checking underscores the key point of my posted article above, that the intelligent uses of information and knowledge are based in research, analysis, and synthesis.

Basic Intelligence Skill: Before replicating a claim, be sure that you have check the sources for yourself.

Beck, G. (2014). Will human knowledge soon have the power to double every 12 hours?

IBM Global Technology Services. (2006). “The toxic terabyte How data-dumping threatens business efficiency.”

Schilling, D.R. (2013). “Knowledge doubling every 12 months, soon to be 12 hours.”  Industry Tap into News. April 19.

Image Acknowledgements




77aa99b53b82d17d5f03ca8a3fcbfe35All learning is a form of research as we test our mental models of reality against the cold hard facts of the world.

When someone keeps making the same mistake we can say that they have not learned what that mistake is and how to avoid it.

Humans have evolved the ability to keep track of our successes and failures in order learn.

Keeping track of and analyzing what happens is the basis of research, which I claim is the foundation of learning.

It follows that treating your education as a research process will make you a more capable learner.

Technology can help you to become a more capable researcher and to better understand the relations of information and reason to knowledge.

Zotero is an OSU supported no-cost application that assists with collecting, organizing and citing research sources.zotero_logo_300x300

You should be using Zotero or a similar tool because when you write a paper or produce a project the sources upon which it is based are critical.

Your sources are established by citations which follow formats including APA, MLA, Turbian and IEEE.

If these are not familiar to you, then you are at a distinct disadvantage when developing a paper or project for a class as many instructors place significant grade value on well-formed citations in the correct format.

Check your syllabus and assignment description to ascertain the citation format then install Zotero and access the OSU Library resources to learn how to use it well.

Zotero has a stand-alone version to install on Windows or Mac and also as plugins for FireFox, Safari and Chrome and apps for iOS and Android

Build your Zotero “Library” by creating a “Collection” and adding sources as you search for sources.

A Collection may be for a project, a class, a topic or whatever you need to gather information for.

The sources can be books, articles, websites, videos and other forms of information that you have used in developing your work.

While developing your work, such as a paper or project use Zotero to retrieve sources and then to cite those sources for your bibliography.

A bibliography is the part of a work that lists the sources that form the research upon which the work is based.

The purpose of a bibliography is so that readers can retrieve the sources in order to check on the accuracy of the claims in the work.

Bibliographies consist of references which provide the information that anyone needs to find and retrieve the source referred to.

Citations are the expressions embedded in the text of a work that indicate the reference on which that portion of the work is based.

In my work as an Editor I have received submissions that included bibliographies that contained numerous references that were not cited in the text of the paper.

I sent those submissions back for revision because the relevant references are those that are used in creating the work.

It is an error to pad a bibliography with books and articles that you did not read or use in your writing.

If you did use a source, then cite and reference it properly.

If you did not use a source, then do not refer to it.

2447112317_b1f13112cbIf any of these aspects of research puzzle you, then you should visit the OSU Writing Center at 123 Waldo.

Writing Center assistants will help students, staff, faculty and community members with all aspects of writing from brainstorming to writer’s block to bibliographies and beyond.

Once you understand what citations and bibliographies are and know what formats are required for your papers, then you are in a strong position to use writing tools like Zotero effectively.

A powerful feature of Zotero is the capability to create Collection items contextually from your Web browser so to gather relevant reference information from whatever web source that you are viewing.

This contextual sensing feature is amazing when researching journal articles, news articles and books in the OSU Library; see the Valley Library tutorial “Using Zotero with 1Search.”

I emphasize again that finding likely titles and capturing reference information is not research unless you read the sources and use them in your work.Research-Illistration-4x4

Once you have a collection of sources Zotero helps you tag, sort, move, copy, annotate and edit your sources.

Organizing and connecting your sources, which are prior information about a topic, is a powerful way to construct knowledge out of your research.

Knowledge constructed from intentional collections of sources may involve finding patterns, drawing inferences, producing new research questions, identifying problems and much more.

A research-based paper and project is designed to communicate the knowledge that you have constructed, your findings, from the sources that you have collected and analyzed.

That is a basic description of how research and learning work.

Zotero supports sharing collections online which vastly increases its power as a research tool, for instance when working on a group project designate a role for “research managerin the group and have them curate the Zotero collections.

With your thesis, narrative, and references accomplished you then use Zotero to produce the bibliography which can export to Word and OpenOffice documents.

With a collection and bibliography created it is easy to re-format your references to different citation standards.

Valley Library has many resources including workshops and online tutorials for becoming proficient with Zotero at

In addition to Zotero I have used Citation Machine, a web-based citation creator, to create bibliographies for publications –

Both tools provide a form in a selected citation style that prompts you for necessary information about a source such as author’s name, book title, publication date, page number and publisher.

Both tools allow switching citation styles for already created references.

Zotero is the more powerful of the two, but Citation Machine is handy.

Social bookmarking is a technology that is related to the research-oriented tools.

Diigo and Delicious are powerful social bookmarking applications, also called “social tagging,” with browser extensions that support tagging, annotating and highlighting web sources including pages, PDFs, blog posts, images and videos.

The social character of these tools is changing the way that information and knowledge works.

Think of the efficiency with which disinformation such as rumors spread.Wikipedia_-_taste_the_fruit_of_knowledge

Now imagine similarly efficient information but grounded in referenced sources.

Our information environment is changing fast and you will be better equipped for that change when you are able to use social bookmarking and referencing tools.

Most important is your understanding of how information constructs knowledge and how references provide evidence.

Of immediate value to you is how you can use these tools to do a stronger job of writing papers and projects.

Image Acknowledgements





Pictofigo_FrustrationThe Turning clicker system is currently a source of irritation to OSU students and faculty alike.

In this column I will consider what the problem is, what solutions are being pursued and what you can do to succeed with your clicker this term.

What are clickers?

In Fall 2015 approximately 12,000 students are using the Turning clicker system in 77 course sections.

The Turning clicker system consists on the student side of a physical remote, ResponseWare iOS and Android apps, a web clicker for browsers at and a licensed Turning Cloud account.

On the instructor’s side is a USB receiver and the TurningPoint software.

What holds all of this together is the Turning License. Think of the license like the data plan for your smartphone. The phone will not work without a data plan and your clicker system will not fully work without a license.

“See the video of Dr. Tech being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.”

In Fall 2015 the Beaver Store began selling the QT remote which replaces and costs the same as last year’s NXT bundle.

Costs to students are contained by not raising them when the tools upgrade.

The updated system works with the NXT so that students who own a clicker from previous years do not need to buy a QT.

Costs to students are contained by designed backwards compatibility thus limiting new required purchases.

What is the problem with the clickers?

The problem with the clickers is that many students are having difficulty registering their system such that their name and the device ID are paired.beaver-46239_640

This problem is due to several factors.

One factor is the transition from Blackboard to Canvas which produced the need to connect accounts to both; the departure of Blackboard from OSU this term will simplify that matter.

Another factor is the existence of three ONID email address for each OSU member:,,

Most of the student registration troubles that I encounter involve a combination of email logins for multiple Turning Cloud accounts.

Add to these factors Turning’s move to a cloud-based system with some design flaws and the variations proliferate faster than fruit-flies in a compost bin.

85% of OSU students in clicker-using courses this Fall are correctly registered so that their names and clicker device IDs are paired in Canvas.

Consequently, 15% of this term’s students – about 2,000 people – are not completely registered as of week three.

Being completely registered means that you have a Turning Cloud account that is linked to Canvas and contains a redeemed license and a valid device ID.

The most important point I have to convey is that the Turning clicker system saves your participation points 100% of the time.

I will not tolerate a system that loses points of students who use it correctly.

Even if you are in a registration snarl, every time you use your clicker and get a check mark symbol, your responses are received and saved.

The TAC plan is to get every student registered and then go course by course, file by file to retrieve and post every participation point for every student.

You have my word on that and if you feel that your participation points are not being properly credited, please come see me and we go after it with a passion.

All of the instructors who use clickers are aware of these facts and co-operate fully in crediting the legitimate participation points of students.

You also have my humble apology for the confusion and irritation related to our clicker system.

To wit, see for the video of me being soaked with ice water in freezing weather as penance for this unfortunate situation.

What is being done to fix this problem?

I take responsibility for leading us to a clicker registration solution for future terms.

I am working with Turning and Canvas to guide development of a direct and logical integration between the two nxt_qtthat supports a three-step registration process such as is common to many web applications.

The critical objective is to eliminate false-positives so that students do not believe that they are correctly registered when they actually have incomplete accounts.

Basically I plan to banish incomplete clicker accounts to the bowels of hades so that students get one of two outcomes: “that worked, congratulations” or “that did not work, go get help.”

Verily I say unto you, this strategy will result in a 98% successful registration rate before the end of week two in a term.

Moreover I am seeking to normalize clicker ownership so that incoming students receive their fully registered clicker bundle at START in the Summer.

I’d like to add unicorns and rainbows to this plan, but for the coming academic year a completely reliable and hassle-free clicker registration system will suffice.

What can I do to solve my clicker issues now?

Visit the TAC Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F.

Many students have more than one Turning account – often one linked to Blackboard and another to Canvas.

I suggest that you check each of the ONID email addresses –,, – at the Turning Account login; go through Canvas to find it.

Use the password retrieval to see if the account for that login exists and to determine whether you have a stealth account.

If you do have multiple accounts, check to see which one has a redeemed license and whether it is linked to Blackboard or Canvas.

Often the solution is to link Canvas to the licensed account by selecting the Turning link in Canvas and logging into Turning.

If you reset your password the Canvas link is broken but you only need connect from within Canvas again and login to restore it.

In the Dashboard “” shows a Canvas connection.

In the Dashboard “” shows a Blackboard connection.

If you are in any doubt, come see us at the Clicker Registration Station in the lobby outside of LINC100 from 10-2 M-F or write to

My clicker crew colleagues and I agree that OSU students are among the most patient and civil people on the planet.

In tribute to your excellence we are holding a raffle with Turning Technologies support.

Love for money

Prizes are Beaver Store gift certificates in denominations of ten $10, five $25, two $50, and one $100.

Winners will be drawn from all OSU students with fully registered Turning clicker accounts and announced in a future Dr. Tech column.

Please come to TAC’s Clicker Station in the LINC first floor lobby M-F 10-2 for assistance and write to me with your thoughts on clickers and anything at all:

turning_nxtSeniors, Juniors, Sophomores.  Lend me your ears!

Let’s start with the base facts.

-Everyone needs a four year license to use the Turning NXT clicker at OSU.

-If you registered an NXT clicker prior to Fall 2015, I sent a new license to you by email in September 2014.

-If your license code is no longer valid or if do not find the email with that license, come to TAC in S15 to get it renewed.

-Used clickers do not come with a license code; you may purchase a four year license code.

-You must connect Canvas to your Turning clicker account.

-For all help with clickers write to

-Come to TAC in 317 Waldo M-F 10-4 for hands-on help.

Now for questions and answers.

Dr. Tech: I bought a clicker two years ago and have not used it this year until Spring term. I got a license code in my email but when I tried to apply it to my Turning account it is apparently invalid. What do I do?

Please come see me right away in 317 Waldo M-F 10-4 because I have a new license reserved for you.

In Fall 2015 we upgraded the Turning clicker system to support ResponseWare which uses a license to manage the NXT clicker in combination with your mobile devices.

I acquired and sent by email 16,000 licenses to students who already had an NXT clicker registered in Blackboard.

About 6,500 students redeemed those licenses in order to continue to use their clicker at no additional cost, which was the purpose.

Those no-cost upgrade licenses were redeemable through the end of the Winter 2015 term and are no longer usable.

Your colleagues at TAC went to bat for you once more and have acquired enough licenses to equip students who had registered an NXT clicker in Blackboard prior to F15.

Please get the license reserved for you now, even if you are not using your clicker this term, because these expire at the end of Spring 2015.

Dr. Tech: My sister graduated last year and gave me her clicker. Can I use it in my classes this term?

Yes, you can use a used NXT clicker so long as you acquire – i.e. purchase – a license.

The OSU rate for a four year license is significantly lower than the standard market cost, so come to TAC and we will help you get the correct license.

New students purchase the NXT and four year license at the Beaver Store.

Dr. Tech: Can I just buy a license code to use my phone without buying a clicker? I don’t mind using clickers but why do we have to have licenses and buy a clicker when I just want to use my phone?

Please do not buy a Turning license without an NXT clicker because, of the approximately 100 course sections using clickers this term, most have not enabled ResponseWare, which means that your investment will be usefulness.

The OSU clicker system is hybrid by design – physical clicker plus mobile options – and I am open to explaining that strategy to students, faculty and anyone.

That strategy works at a very large scale and save students money over all.

Dr. Tech: Is the whole license and clicker thing just another way to get more money out of students?

No, the OSU interactive classroom strategy, including clickers, is designed to help instructors to teach and students to learn.

OSU does not profit from clicker sales, rather Information Services invests in supporting students and faculty’s using the system.

Managing the clicker system is my responsibility and maintaining that system within a reasonable cost to students is a primary objective in my strategy.

The major threat to student expenses from clicker systems is the potential of the proliferation of multiple response systems (clickers) being required for various courses.

At OSU about 170 instructors use Turning clickers in about 100 course sections each term with about 12,000 student users per term and 20,000 clicker users overall.

There are more than 30 response system products on the market so that if individual instructors selected separate products, students would end up purchasing multiple clicker systems resulting in much higher costs than you presently bear.

The Turning system averages out to about $15 per year for a student over four years.

I am not saying that cost is insignificant but I am asserting that it is a far lower cost to students than multiple clicker system environment would require.

I take this responsibility seriously and accept the full weight of the consequences, so please feel welcome to share your concerns and ideas with me about clickers at any time.

Moreover, if you are ever uncertain about your clicker bundle or have any issue regarding it, please come to me for consultation.

I will listen seriously and if I can help, take action to benefit you.

For all help with clickers write to

“Dr Tech I am hoping to be able to take notes in class on the PowerPoints that my teacher posts on blackboard. Do you have any recommendations of how to be able to take notes on the actual PowerPoint. `Alicia”

laptop_notes[2]That’s a very good question Alicia. Annotating your class documents is a powerful study technique.

Annotation is adding new text and drawing that comments on the original text and images of a document.

The ancient Greeks called a document that was written over several times a “palimpsest.”

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

Just as there is more than one way to stroke a cat, there are myriad ways to annotate PowerPoint slides (PPT) and Portable Document Format files (PDF) depending on your device, operating system and applications.

With any desktop or laptop you can annotate PowerPoint slides with typed text or digital ink.

Suppose that you download your Professor’s PowerPoint slides to follow along in class on your laptop.

To add typed notes to the slides

>Open the PowerPoint
>Notes Page

Now you can type and save notes to accompany each slide.

To write directly on the slides with digital ink

>Open the PowerPoint
>Slide Show
>Play from Start
>right click on the slide
>Pointer Options

now you can select the pen or highlighter, set the color and mark up the slides.

Touch screen monitors have options to use a stylus to write with digital inkink-42357_640 instead of a mouse.

Be sure to save the changes when done.

Tablets and phones require apps (short for “application”) to accomplish these tasks, but the apps have many additional features.

One way to annotate just about any document is to open the file within an annotation app, then use the app tools to mark it up.

This method uses a cloud-based storage such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive (formerly Skydrive). All of these have no-cost versions for OS platforms and devices.

Download the PPT or PDF file to the cloud-based storage app on your mobile device.

Open the file within the cloud-based storage app.

From the open slides or document select the “download” or “share” feature. These are usually icons such as an arrow or a box with a Curly Q; it takes exploration to learn the icon language of any app.

You will get an “Open In” dialog which shows icons of apps on your device. Select the app that you want to annotate in.

The file will open within your notation app and you can use all of its tools to mark up the slides and pages.

For iPads and iPhones there are a wealth of quality apps as no or low cost. Try several to compare features and usability. Notability (no-cost, 4.99); SlideShark (no-cost); Penultrimate from Evernote (no-cost); Air Sketch (9.99)

For Android and cross-platform annotation apps compare: Goodnotes + PDF (no-cost, 5.99); Notes Plus (2.99).

For Windows Phone 8 and Windows Surface 8 try InNote (no-cost).

There are more varieties of PDF annotators than for PowerPoint.

Increase your power and versatility by using a PDF conversion app which will turn many filetypes into a PDF.

A cross-platform no-cost app: Able2Extract PDF Converter.

Various online file converters: Online-Convert; cloudconvert.

Convert the PowerPoint to PDF and you can do a lot more with it.

When choosing a note taking and annotation app consider three factors:

First, can you use it on more than one device and share results between them?

Second, does it integrate with one or more cloud storage apps?

Third, will it import major document file types especially PDF, PPT, DOC, JPG and HTML?

White_Matter_Connections_Obtained_with_MRI_TractographyAlways backup your data to a separate drive and bring an alternative means to take notes in case your device does not cooperate; pencils still work just fine.

Most important, notes and annotations are only valuable when you give yourself time to review and prepare.

By making a separate outline and summary of your annotations and notes on paper, you will be activating your cognition and memory in a most effective way.

Do you have a favorite method or app for taking notes? Send your thought to Dr. Tech for consideration in a future article.

Best luck on your note taking, annotation, midterms and projects. Thanks for your excellent question, Alicia.


Image Attributions


ink-42357_640, pixabay



immersive_environments…augmented_reality…virtual worlds…robots…full_VR…games…social_media…community…genius

The Immersive Learning Research Network (ILRN) conference 2014 at Oregon’s State University (Corvallis, OR) in person, webcast, and Second Life – November 20, 21, 22, 2014.   Sponsored by The ILRNTechnology Across the Curriculum (TAC), Oregon State University, and the Applied Research in immersive Environments for Learning Special Interest Group (ARiEL SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Attendance (free)

Conference Schedule

Live Web Cast

Second Life – Beaver Island

Everyone is encouraged to join ILRN for free before January 1, 2015 when membership application fees may apply. See for information on joining the Network.

The theme for the ILRN Corvallis, Oregon 2014 Meetup is “Immersed in the Future, Together: Scholarship, Experience, and Community”. The iLRN Oregon Meetup Committee will give preference to those proposals of Immersive Learning presentations that feature:

  • Attempts to substantively bridge multiple kinds of expertise to generate a sense of “immersion” (e.g. psychology, pedagogy, architecture, computer science, etc)
  • Sharing resources and visions for Immersive Learning researchers and practitioners to use in developing a common future
  • Sharing technical expertise on creation of Immersive Learning experiences that is not readily available for free elsewhere
  • Featuring design or evidence based reasoning for learning within the design of an immersive experience
  • Explicitly develops capacity within immersive learning experiences to form community OR focuses on the community that forms as a result of efforts to create immersive learning experiences
  • Providing Open Educational Resources or open source possibilities for developing Immersive Learning to everyone – to encourage community and sharing
  • Articulating conceptual frameworks or definitions for specific kinds of Immersive Learning expertise that may be of possible benefit or use by others

Please join us


Jon Louis Dorbolo, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC)
317 Waldo Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
Voice: 541.737.3811
Fax: 541.737.7967
SMS: 541.915.0260
Skype: jondorbolo
Chiron Mirror
slurl: Beaver Island


OSU is where IT is AT (Academic Technology)

TAC’s got your back!

Read Ask Dr Tech in Monday’s Barometer

Social Media, Ebola and the Flu

HealthMap-300x189Infectious disease is a social phenomenon because it is transmitted among people.

Now we can use information transmitted among people via social media to track, contain, and prevent disease.

A key part of our public health system is surveillance which is the collection and interpretation of health-related data in order to plan, implement, and evaluate public health practices.

You can become part of the health surveillance system and doing so may help you avoid infectious disease.

The resources referred to in this article with annotations and more are available at Dr. Tech’s Bookmarks.

Crowdsourcing is the use of social media to produce resources from contributions from self-selected members of a population.

An amazing instance of crowdsourcing health information is HeathMap,, which openly tracked the 2014 outbreak of a ‘mystery hemorrhagic fever’ more than a week before any official announcement of an outbreak.

HealthMap works by aggregating data about disease incidences from its members.

Anyone can join HealthMap and contribute information to it.

Enter a report illness symptoms and HeathMap will plot that data in time and space and correlate it with other reports.

A similar project from the same group at Boston Children’s Hospital is Flu Near You,, which collects and displays incidences of influenza.

Both HealthMap and Flu Near You apps are available at no cost for iOS on App Store and Android on Google play.

Another technological approach to disease surveillance is Google Flu Trends which analyzes search terms such as “flu,” “cough” and “Mucinex” in order to track the spread of influenza,

So how does Dr. Tech know so much about infectious disease?

I don’t.

Instead I  visited Dr. Jeff Bethel, Assistant Professor of the OSU School of Public Health.

He has a Doctorate in Epidemiology (2005 UC Davis), worked for the Center for Disease Control and teaches graduate courses in epidemiology.

Jeff and I talked about what people typically believe and know about Ebola,Ebola_virus_virion influenza and other infectious diseases.

There is a lot of misinformation about infectious diseases.

While talk radio and other anxiety-based media raise alarms about an Ebola pandemic in the United States, Jeff says this is unlikely because the US health system is prepared to contain it.

Ebola is not a respiratory disease; it is contracted through direct contact and bodily fluids, not through the air.

The chances of Ebola mutating to become airborne are very, very small.

As Jeff observed; “It would take a significant amount of mutations to become airborne. We never have seen a virus that is transmitted through direct contact and bodily fluids like Ebola is, then switching to become airborne.”

Jeff said that the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS ) “is our most recent frame of reference for global pandemics and viruses like SARS have the potential to do some harm in the United States because respiratory diseases spread more quickly than Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers.”

Put in perspective, the 2003 SARS pandemic resulted in 8,273 cases world-wide, 775 of whom died from the infection.

170px-H1N1_influenza_virusCompare that to the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic in which 50 million people died world-wide.

Reviewing such histories underscores the importance of public health and the contributions of information technology to it.

Crowdsourcing technologies such as HeathMap and Flu Near You are changing the way that our species responds to disease.

Equally important is the quality of the information sources that we use to guide public health policy.

I asked Jeff what are the top 5 sources of information about infectious disease for OSU students; he answered;

1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the best source of information on public health, hands-down,

2. World Health Organization (WHO) for global perspectives,

3. State Public Health Se such as Oregon Health Authority,

4. County health agencies such as Benton County Health Services

OSU Student Health Services –

Jeff reminds us that the most powerful technology for staying healthy is your own brain; make the choices that keep you healthy from infectious disease.

1. Get a flu vaccination every year; it is never too late to get your flu shot.

2. Use effective hand hygiene; wash your hands frequently and keep your fingers (pencils, etc.) out of your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Practice safe sex, which is all about direct contact and body fluids.

I hope that you will join me in using Flu Near You regularly.

It will be fascinating to see how our campus community may respond to the flu season when informed by our collective reporting.

Dr. Tech says, get the Flu Near You app, share the sites on Facebook and stay healthy.

Image Sources

emergent learning commons

emergent learning commons

The fourth year of the Oregon immersive Education (OiED) gathering was held in Portland, co-sponsored by U Oregon, ARVEL, and TAC.
The program was stimulating, the speakers vibrant, and the collegiality warm and productive as ever.  If you have any interest in emerging technologies for education – including immersive environments,  augmented reality, virtual ethnography, and much more – consider ELC the place for you.  Please join us.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 327 other followers

RSS thought currents

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.