Posted by: rmostell | April 10, 2013

MOOCs in the Local Headlines

I was surprised to see the headlines this morning in the Pasadena Star-News (see image below): ONLINE COURSES CREATE BACKLASH. It’s an interesting read by a local reporter (Beau Yarbrough) based on interviews with professors in some of our local colleges (e.g. CSUN, The University of Redlands, Pierce College, L.A. Mission College, etc.). Yarbrough also reports on the recent survey about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)  by The Chronicle of Higher Education. See links below.

I was glad to see this reporter “taking it to the streets” in Pasadena and local communities known for many institutions of higher education (e.g. Pasadena City College, California Institute of Technology).

Professors: Massive online courses shouldn’t be worth college credit

By Beau Yarbrough, San Bernadino Sun
Posted: 04/10/2013 08:11:54 AM PDT

Massive online courses not true college classes, say professors who teach them

By Beau Yarbrough
beau.yarbrough@ @inlanded on Twitter
Posted: 03/26/2013 08:46:47 PM PDT

The Professors Who Make the MOOCs
By Steve Kolowich
The Chronicle of Higher Education

The survey, conducted by The Chronicle, attempted to reach every professor who has taught a MOOC. The online questionnaire was sent to 184 professors in late February, and 103 of them responded.

Pasadena Star-News front page, Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Posted by: rmostell | April 19, 2011

Hyperlipidemia Resources on the Web

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer in the world. Nearly one million people in the United States die from these diseases (heart disease and strokes) every year. This is more than the number who die from all types of cancer and lung diseases combined. Here are the latest available statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Elevated lipid levels in the blood is a major risk factor for all cardiovascular diseases. This condition, called “hyperlipidemia”, is characterized by increased levels of cholesterol (and cholesterol esters), triglycerides (fats), or both in the blood.

In light of the importance of these diseases in human health, I have collected links to a number of web-based resources on the subject and placed them on one page. The level of knowledge in these resources is designed for the average adult or beginning student in the health sciences. Many are published on the MEDLINEplus website which is curated and maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Institutes of Health).

Recently I moved this list of resources from it original location (a standard HTML webpage) to my Keck Wiki website so that it would be easier to maintain. I have validated all of the existing links and removed any that are no longer supported by their authors.

If you would like to comment or suggest other valuable resources that could be added to my list, please feel free to contact me at any time. I will be happy to hear from you and will try to incorporate your suggestions.

Currently there are 62 links on this page.

List of hyperlipidemia resources:

MEDLINEplus – National Library of Medicine
Lipid Disorders
Lipid Disorders – acquired
Familial combined hyperlipidemia – “Multiple lipoprotein-type hyperlipidemia (Freq = 1:100 heterozygous; 1:10,000 homozygous)”
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) – “Type II hyperlipoproteinemia; Hypercholesterolemic xanthomatosis; Low density lipoprotein receptor mutation; (Freq = 7:1,000; 10 million worldwide)”
Familial hypertriglyceridemia – Elevated VLDL; (Freq = common)
Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia – “Type III hyperlipoproteinemia; Deficient or defective apolipoprotein E (Freq = 1:10,000)”
Chylomicronemia syndrome – Familial Lipoprotein Lipase Deficiency (1:million)
Familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency – (Freq = 1:million)
Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome – “Abetalipoproteinemia; Acanthocytosis; Apolipoprotein B deficiency; (Freq = Rare, 70% males)”
Atherolsclerosis, Arteriosclerosis
Atherosclerosis – Hardening of the arteries
Arteriosclerosis of the extremities – Peripheral vascular disease; PVD; Arteriosclerosis obliterans
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Coronary artery disease – Stable angina
Myocardial infarction
Coronary artery disease (image)
Coronary artery blockage (image)
Stroke – Cerebrovascular disease; CVA; Cerebrovascular accident
Carotid stenosis (image)
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – Mini stroke; TIA; Little stroke
Stroke or “brain attack”
Stroke secondary to atherosclerosis
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery surgery – Carotid endarterectomy
Endarterectomy (image)
Carotid duplex – Ultrasound procedure
Cerebral angiography – Vertebral angiogram; Angiography – head; Carotid angiogram
Cranial CT scan – “A CT scan (computed tomography) of the head, including the skull, brain, orbits (eyes), and sinuses.”
Cholesterol and Fats
Coronary risk profile – Lipids – serum; Lipoprotein/cholesterol analysis
Cholesterol test – Total cholesterol; Lipid test; Lipoprotein test
Fat – Saturated fat; Diet – fat; Polyunsaturated fat; Monounsaturated fat; Lipids
Triglyceride level
Fenofibrate (Systemic) – “Antihyperlipidemic drug (Tricor), lowers triglycerides”
Blood test (image)
Lipoproteins, Apolipoproteins
LDL – Low density lipoprotein
HDL – High density lipoprotein
VLDL – Very low density lipoprotein
Apolipoprotein CII
Apolipoprotein B100 – LDL and IDL
Xanthoma and Xanthelasma – Fatty deposits under the skin (images)
“Xanthoma, eruptive – close-up (image)”
Xanthoma – close-up (image)
Xanthoma – close-up (image)
Xanthoma on the knee (image)
Blood Clots
Blood clots – Clot; Emboli; Thrombi
Deep venous thrombosis – DVT; Blood clot in the legs
Retinal vessel occlusion – Retinal vein occlusion; Retinal artery occlusion
Related Disorders
Heart disease – All cardiovascular disorders
Chronic pancreatitis – “Chronic relapsing pancreatitis (Freq = 1:10,000)”
Hypertensive heart disease – “(Freq = 7:1,000)”
Diabetes – Affects 16 million Americans
Other Web Resources
National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) – “National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)”
Cholesterol Management Tool for Palm OS – ATP III Cholesterol Management Implementation Tool for Palm OS
Clinical Practice Guidelines – Detection and treatment of hyperlipidemia (UT Southwestern)
MEDPED – FH nonprofit research organization (Utah)
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research – U.S. Federal Drug Administration
ICD-9-CM Codes 240-279 – “Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases, and Immunity Disorders (240-279)”
HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors – “Statins, cholesterol lowering drugs”
TRICOR (fenofibrate)
American Heart Association
Postgraduate Medicine Journal
Cardiovascular Events – March 2011
Hyperlipidemia – December 2000

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Posted by: rmostell | April 19, 2011

Biomedical Information Resources on the Web

Several years ago I created a website with a long list of biomedical information resources available on the web. I mainly focused on local resources at my institution (Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California) and at other medical schools that would be valuable to medical students during their first two years of medical training. This included links to numerous basic science and clinical information resources created by medical school faculty.

Recently I moved this list of resources from it original location (a standard HTML webpage) to my Keck Wiki website so that it would be easier to maintain. I have validated all of the existing links and removed any that are no longer supported by their authors.

If you would like to comment or suggest other valuable resources that could be added to my list, please feel free to contact me at any time. I will be happy to hear from you and will try to incorporate your suggestions.

Currently there are 290 links on this page.

Table of Contents:

Biomedical Information Resources
USC, WWW, Natl Databases
USC Health Sciences Libraries
Searching the Internet
USC Information Services Division (ISD)
USC University Bookstores & Computer Store
National Library of Medicine
Genetic and Protein Databases
Educational Resources
Basic Science Education
Clinical Education
Medical Image Databases
Embryology / Development
Medical Ethics
Continuing Medical Education
MedSchool Education Websites
Medical Student Websites
Virtual Reality Resources
Medical Organizations
U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools
U.S. Medical Organizations
International Medical Websites
Government Health Resources
Related Medical Organizations
Other Information
Medical Education – Residency Programs – International Clerkships
Clinical Medicine
AIDS Therapy and Information
Health Information and News
Journals and Publications
General Information and News
Just For Fun

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Posted by: rmostell | March 23, 2011

Educational Resources on the Web

For many years I’ve followed the development of various educational resources on the worldwide web. For my own use, I’ve kept a list of the URL’s of these resources and saved them on my wiki for convenient access from anywhere. Recently I compiled a list of these wiki pages containing the URL’s and a brief description with each resource. I thought that others may also find it helpful to have this information at their fingertips.

Here’s the URL of my wiki page containing the links and the list of headings (page titles) for each resource page.

Please feel free to use these pages and share them with others as well.

Educational Resources by RayMosteller

List of all educational resources on this wiki.


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Posted by: rmostell | January 5, 2011

“Moodle” Official Music Video

Everyone should enjoy this video of college students banging on Blackboard for their lousy interface.

I don’t take sides in the Blackboard vs. Moodle debate because I haven’t used the latter. However, I do agree with their comments about Blackboard.

If you want more information on the subject, you might check here:

Learning Management Systems

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is well-known for being a leader in innovative use of technology in education. Two years ago (April 2008) McMaster announced the following on it’s website:

Next generation Learning Management System has been selected

“The Learning Technologies Resource Centre (LTRC) has completed an extensive multi-year project to find the best possible replacement for WebCT Campus Edition 4.1 (currently in use). The LTRC along with the LMS Selection Committee and Senior Administration chose the Blackboard Learning System after extensive analysis of twelve potential products and the teaching and learning needs of the community.”

“McMaster has selected a new learning management system (LMS). The Blackboard Learning System was chosen after an extensive pan-university selection and evaluation process led by the Learning Technologies Resource Centre (LTRC). The new system will replace WebCT 4.1.”

Now two years later (April 15, 2010) the university has reversed itself and selected the Desire2Learn LMS instead.

“McMaster University Switches to Desire2Learn Learning Management System”

So what’s up? Everyone knows it’s a big hassle (and expense) to change the LMS at a large university. Why would McMaster after spending several years to choose Blackboard after having been a WebCT client for years, reverse their decision after such a short period of time. Wasn’t Blackboard living up to their promises to be more like WebCT? Was the Blackboard system too slow and clunky?

The only hint I could find was this January 2010 Daily News article:

Worth Mentioning

ELM Update – Jan. 22

Posted on January 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM.

“Users of ELM, McMaster’s learning management system are reporting better performance, including reasonable speed and fewer problems logging onto the system. Engineers from Blackboard, the company that created ELM, and University staff continue to work on the system and thank you for your patience.”

There’s something about “patience”, “speed” and “problems logging onto the system”.

Perhaps it would be helpful for the LTRC people at McMasters to be more forthcoming and tell all of us at other universities why they made such a big change twice in two years. Maybe this could help some of us to not make the same mistakes.

p.s. For those of you who are listening, Blackboard still lists the ‘138 (Alcorn) patent on their “patent pledge” webpage:

Posted by: rmostell | April 6, 2010

Michael Korcuska Moves from Sakai to LinkedIn

Unfortunately after 2 years and 8 months, the successful and dynamic leader Michael Korcuska has left the Sakai Foundation (executive director) and found a new home at LinkedIn (head of Global Customer Operations).

Sakai Foundation Search for Executive Director

Michael Korcuska – Home Page

His leadership and enthusiasm will be missed by educators who are looking for an open-source alternative to the commercial Learning Management Systems (LMS).



But if you’re looking for a good drink, check out Michael’s “Four I’m Under My Host”.

Posted by: rmostell | April 6, 2010

WordPress Needs a Better WYSIWYG Editor

I’ve been using WordPress for about a year and a half (since June 24, 2008) and have been relatively successful in creating and publishing a few blogs. The most difficult part of blogging for me is collecting the information needed to create the blog including a variety of web links. In general, I have been pleased with the builtin WordPress WYSIWYG editor with an occasional need to use the HTML editor (mainly to insert horizontal rules, the HTML “HR” tag). For the most part, the editing features seem to do what they should do and are easy and quick to apply. Up until this time, my major problem with WordPress has been the very long wait after clicking on the “Publish” button. I don’t know why this should take so long. The “Preview” function, on the other hand, is relatively fast. So why is the “Publish” feature so slow?

Recently, I had a new problem I couldn’t figure out when I created the “Open Course Ware (OCW) in the news again” blog on April 2, 2010. Whenever I created line breaks between paragraphs, they would disappear when I tried to preview or publish the post. I would re-open (edit) the post and re-insert the line breaks and they would disappear again in the published version and in the editor. I looked at the code in the HTML editor and saw that it was using HTML “division tags (DIV)” to separate the sections of the post. This seemed fine because I have used the “DIV” tags myself in web pages and know that they are good at creating some “blank space” between sections or paragraphs. So why isn’t it working here? In my frustration, I decided to try inserting the standard HTML line break tags (“BR”) between the paragraphs. This worked! BUT if I tried to edit the post further in the WYSIWYG editor, these also disappeared. So the solution was to do my final edit using HTML editor and never again open the post with the WYSIWYG editor. This sounds like some new bug that WordPress has introduced by changing or improving their WYSISYG editor. This did not occur previously in any of my posts on this blog.

This has led me to look for other editors that I can install on my desktop computer and use to create and upload my blog posts to WordPress. I’m trying one right now (BlogDesk by Johannes Oppermann) to create this post. You’ll see how it works.

If you are interested in trying the same, just Google for “wordpress editors” and you’ll find some links to a variety of alternative editors designed for blogging. Why doesn’t WordPress just use one of these and abandoned the old one that is giving me problems? Here’s a couple of web sites to help get you started.

12 WordPress Editors you can choose

4 Alternative WordPress Editors

Here’s what Johannes Oppermann has to say about BlogDesk:

“BlogDesk is totaly free of charge and optimized for the blog systems WordPress, MovableType, Drupal, Serendipity and ExpressionEngine.”



Note added after the fact: It worked !! No problems. AND the upload (“publish”) using BlogDesk was much faster than the builtin publish function in WordPress. In addition, I was able to edit (correct) my initial post and add this note using BlogDesk.

Posted by: rmostell | April 2, 2010

Open Course Ware (OCW) in the news again

Nothing has really changed in the past year – just more pages, more money and the same pretense that OCW is providing any type of education.

Previous post: Is Open Course Ware really Open or Free?

New York Times article by By JINGYING YANG
Published: March 30, 2010

A couple of quotes:

“For an annual cost of $125,000, or a mere 0.05 percent of the university’s $226 million budget, Utah State’s four-year-old OpenCourseWare program attracted 550,000 page views last year, making it one of the most popular in the United States, according to Marion Jensen, its former director.”

I assume that there are a few zeros missing.  550,000 page views in a year is not very much web traffic.  I don’t think $125,000 represents the true cost of generating the content, perhaps only the cost of maintaining the content on a web server.

James D. Yager, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, says OCW “is not the full university experience: We don’t offer the course for free, we offer the content for free.”

I agree completely with Professor Yager, content (information) is not an education.  Learning to  use information intelligently is an education.

“Professor James C. Taylor at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, has been working on a similar program. He wants to take it a step further by setting up an online community of academic volunteers who would interact with students the way professors do in the classroom.”

Sounds like Wikipedia to me.  “Volunteer” experts are worth what you pay for them.  i.e. there is No Free Lunch!

Stay tuned …

My list of Open Learning Resources:

Posted by: rmostell | March 31, 2010

UCLA resumes streaming video after legal complaint

This is a copyright issue that hasn’t been resolved in court.  It applies to static (non-video) materials as well.  Eventually it will have to be decided in court what is fair-use and what is not.  I’m glad UCLA is standing up to the Association for Information Media Equipment (AIME).  Maybe some issues will get resolved if they go to court.

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