The Community of Educational Technology Support works to improve teaching and learning on campus through networking, collaboration, sharing expertise and resources, and advocacy.

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Jonathan Klein's picture

Unizin & TLT Mag Update

At our monthly meeting on Monday, June 16th, the ComETS Steering Committee was fortunate to have a conversation with UW CIO Bruce Maas and Educational Innovation Core Team members Jeff Russell & Linda Jorn. Our discussion focused on a few important emerging issues within the UW educational technology landscape. The ComETS Steering Committee wanted to pass along a few highlights, share resources, and invite ideas for further discussion. Below are highlights of the conversation. More detail can be found in the meeting minutes, which are posted on the ComETS website:

Teaching, Learning, Technology - Madison Advisory Group (TLT-MAG)
Linda Jorn shared preliminary information about formation and initial meeting plan for the TLT-MAG. The group met for the first time on Tuesday, July 17th. According to both Linda and the mission statement for the group, "TLT-MAG consists of key faculty, instructional academic staff, students, and academic technology professionals across the university.  TLT-MAG members will provide active leadership, guidance, and decision support related to the alignment of learning technology priorities and investments with strategic academic priorities an directions for teaching and learning."

ComETS has official representation on the committee through the appointment of Sarah McDaniel as our representative. As the committee begins to work, Sarah will share information on the proceedings with the broader ComETS community. Stay tuned for more information. We also understand that proceedings of the group will eventually be summarized and posted online. We'll be in contact with additional information when it is available.

Also during the Steering Committee, Bruce Maas shared information on the topic of Unizin. According to, Unizin is a consortium of universities coming together in a strategic way to exert greater control and influence over the digital learning landscape. Discussion is currently underway to determine whether UW-Madison will join the consortium. Bruce Maas is encouraged by potential benefit of Unizin to the UW campus and he outlined his rationale in a recent blog post titled Unizin is good for students, faculty, and the private sector. The post can be found at

In addition to that post, he provided these additional resources and encourages all of us in the learning technology space to stay informed on this topic:

This is a significant conversation that ComETS will monitor. We understand that the TLT-MAG group will be discussing this issue and we will do our best to help summarize and pass that information along. We'll also be talking with Bruce, Jeff, and Linda to explore possibilities to engage with the ComETS community in a dialogue.

James Lloyd's picture

reminder - Virtual Worlds Wednesday meeting

This afternoon there is a meeting of the Virtual Worlds SIG - more of an open house really.  Everyone is welcome to bring questions and ideas for exploration.

The meeting is planned in two parts:

  • 2-3pm is in a classroom (real-life) setting
  • 3-4pm will be in the virtual world of Second Life (which can also be observed in the classroom)

Details can be viewed at this url on the ComETS website:

As part of an outreach initiative stemming from the learning analytics pilot project that UW-Madison is participating in, DoIT Academic Technology cordially invites you to attend the upcoming event:

Date: Wednesday, May 21st

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Location: Union South (check TITU the day of the event for the room)


Title: Epistemic Network Analysis


David Shaffer (and others)


Educational Psychology

University of Wisconsin, Madison


Abstract of the Presentation:

Learning in the 21st century means thinking in complex and collaborative ways that are situated in a real world context. This session will describe epistemic network analysis (ENA) as a technique for modeling complex thinking. ENA was originally designed to assess epistemic frames--collections of skills, knowledge, identities, values, and ways of making decisions--in virtual game environments. The technique is now being used broadly to quantify the structure of connections that constitute complex thinking in logfiles and other records of discourse such as social media and email, as well as in networks like brain scans or social network data. The session will introduce users to this method, which was developed at UW and is available for instructional and research purposes.


If you know of any exceptional learning analytics (broadly defined) projects here on campus, please share them with me so that I may speak with the involved individuals about presenting their work with the campus at future outreach events.


Questions?  Please feel free to e-mail me.


~Kyle M. L. Jones~

johnmartin's picture

Earn $500 and redesign your course!

Earn $500 and redesign your course

Interested in redesigning a unit of your course in a blended format? Please see the program website for more information about the Blend@UW summer engagement and its $500 professional development stipend. The application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 9.

James Lloyd's picture

Embodied Learning of Chemistry in Second Life

One of the things that most interests me about learning in virtual worlds is something that I experience regularly - the sense of embodiment that lingers in memory after spending time 'in-world'.  

This sense of embodiment is discussed and exemplified in this article about a study of chemistry learners by Keeney-Kennicutt of Texas A&M and Winkleman from The Florida Institute of Technology.

Video Still from can very much relate to the experience of 'sitting on a molecule' providing a very intimate and personal understanding of the unseen aspects of chemistry.

The article and accompanying video are again produced by Draxtor Despres who is currently on a highly energized quest to identify real world significance in the virtual world of Second Life.

The youtube link for the video is here: 

The Texas A&M welcome center in Second Life is:

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