Category Archives: Teaching/Education

Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching

This article is a little old now, but it does point out how the learning management systems we choose to use (or have thrust upon us by our institutions) shape how we actually teach, rather than being shaped by pedagogy that is appropriate to the topic and material being covered. And to which, I’d add the decisions about those pedagogical structures are often determined not by the teachers themselves, but rather by the institutional administrators in their quest for a uniform, efficient delivery of “content”. (And I’ve been guilty of enforcing that myself).

Course management systems (CMSs), used throughout colleges and universities for presenting online or technology–enhanced classes, are not pedagogically neutral shells for course content. They influence pedagogy by presenting default formats designed to guide the instructor toward creating a course in a certain way. This is particularly true of integrated systems (such as Blackboard/WebCT), but is also a factor in some of the newer, more constructivist systems (Moodle). Studies about CMSs tend to focus on their ease of use or how they are used by faculty: their application, for good or ill. Few discuss the ways in which they influence and guide pedagogy, and those that do only note their predisposition for supporting more instructivist methods.

See Insidious pedagogy: How course management systems affect teaching | Lane | First Monday

Modern academic theology needs to rediscover God

Some interesting comments on being a theologian in either the academy or the church. Some similar reflections to a paper I presented a month or so back.

Why are they so insecure? Contemporary academic theology today operates between the Scylla of academic scorn and the Charybdis of ecclesial disdain. In seeking to avoid the shoals of one, much academic theology has driven itself into the whirlpool of the other, and as a result been destroyed by both.

Source: Modern academic theology needs to rediscover God | Catholic World Report – Global Church news and views


If you’re interested in seeing where Laidlaw College is going, and what’s available for study in Semester 2 2015 (and in 2016), then come along to this on Thursday evening. Past the RSVP point now, so just turn up if you’re interested.


Thursday 21 May (Henderson) | 7 pm

You are warmly invited to celebrate with us as we officially launch Laidlaw College’s School of Social Practice (an amalgamation of our Counselling and Education Schools), as well as the newly named School of Theology.

As many of you know, Laidlaw has undergone some significant changes over the course of the last six months, and we would like to take the time to inform you of these changes, including the challenges and the opportunities they bring with them. We truly value your support and your connection to the College and would welcome your presence, your insight and your questions.

This event will also be functioning as one of our Open Nights for potential students, and will include some great “taster talks” by some of our faculty – addressing topical issues in “Ted Talk” style. After the talks, there will be plenty of time for those who are interested, to talk to lecturers, find out about our programmes and have questions answered.


Date: Thursday 21 May 2015
Time: 7 pm
Place: Laidlaw College Henderson campus, 80 Central Park Drive, Henderson
RSVP: For catering purposes, please email by Monday 18 May

TEC – 2013 Tertiary Education Performance Report

The Tertiary Education Commission’s 2013 Tertiary Education Report is now available on their website, along with a set of interesting info graphic summaries of

As well as overall information and analysis of the NZ tertiary education sector (according to TEC’s criteria) it also highlights details for major players such as universities, polytechnics and wānanga. The information in the PTE section is of particular interest to me in my role.

Some highlights from 2014

Trying out the MarsEdit blogging tool to put together a few highlights from 2014. Works okay, on the whole, but doesn’t have the ability to easily embed YouTube videos or do Amazon lookups etc. 


Most enjoyable books of 2014

Didn’t really have have a lot of time to read much this year but the following stuck out as memorable reads:

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Most enjoyable films of 2014

A shout out here to Guardians of the Galaxy, but the film I enjoyed most this year (and I watched an awful lot of them on long-haul flights) was Next Goal Wins, the film about the American Samoa football (soccer) team and their quest to qualify for the World Cup.

Most enjoyable TV series

A toss-up here so I’ll have to call it a tie. On the one hand the new Constantine series has some potential to evolve into something interesting if it’s allowed to, while on the other hand I really enjoyed the cancelled series “Almost Human“.

 Most enjoyable trip/event

 The time I spent in Cape Town with the cohorts and advisors from George Fox’s Leadership and Global Perspectives Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programme was a highlight. Looking forward to the next meeting up. 

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[Written with MarsEdit] 

Starting project – blogging software

One of my tasks for getting the blog back up and going is to look at how software for the Mac, Windows and iOS has progressed over the past few years. I like using a client to write blog posts, rather than sitting in the WordPress editor in the web browser. It allows me to write offline, to organise content and to have tools on the device I’m writing on available to do things.

In the past I’ve depended upon Ecto (version 3) on the Mac (and version 2 on Windows). I’ve been using that since Kung-Log (pre-2004) evolved into Ecto and then changed owners since then. Ecto is still available (I think) over at and I’ve never had any problems with it with progressive OSX upgrades. That said, it’s starting to feel ‘clunky’ and is hard to get some of the media resources with it. One thing it does have is an Amazon ‘search and insert’ function that I use – especially for book art. For example, I’ve just finished the book below yesterday (not a bad read, and I’ll come back to it later).

“Rivers of London” (Ben Aaronovitch)

But once you’ve put an image etc. into a post it’s hard to reedit it without shifting into HTML mode (which is good to have, but the WYSWYG mode is feeling dated now).

So, if all else fails I’ll keep using it, but it’d be nice to see if the Lenovo Yoga I’ve just got might be a better blogging device than the trusty MacBook (or my iPhone at a pinch). [The Kindle Fire is not really in the running as it keeps getting ‘borrowed’ by people and the iPad is a version 1 iPad running iOS 5 only].

[Written with Ecto]