Author Archives: Trevor Collins

Options available for Closed Captioning

In preparation for the next Student Hub Live event, Karen Foley asked me to look into the options available for Closed Captioning, here’s what I found out… Closed Captioning (CC) is a process for including text captions within a video or audio clip. The captioning can either be done automatically (by machine), manually (e.g. by […]

Drupal Tips and tricks: Viewing content authored by the current user

River survey activity screen image

Today’s lesson learned was about Drupal, the content management system we’re using for handling field data…

Chris and I had gotten to a stage where we can add data to the site using a web form as part of a river survey activity. This is great – data is being collected – but we were not entirely certain where it was going or how to get it back. The next step was to create a view that would show what’s been collected so far. Again, not rocket science as in theory we’ve done this type of thing previously, but it was a bit tricky as we used a field type called ‘field collection’ that we had not used before. The field collection lets us add multiple values for something, for example…

Battery savings: Laptop screen uses 15% of battery power

Today I tried to see if I could work out the battery power savings from closing the laptop (a Lenovo IdeaPad U310 with an intel i5 processor, running Ubuntu 12.05 LTS Desktop). I’ve always been surprised when the laptops and netbooks we use as field servers seem to last longer than the estimated battery time […]

Field server configuration: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on Laptop

Today I set up a Lenovo U310 laptop with Ubuntu and installed the web server software (i.e. Apache, PHP5 and MySQL). The process was not too painful and so far the standard Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop installation seems to be running really well on the laptop. Here’s the process I followed… 1. Switch the Lenovo […]

River observations at Carding Mill Valley

Today Dave, Jim, Javi and Phil (from the FSC) took me to Carding Mill Valley and showed me the river observation and data collection activities that they do there with groups of students. We walked up the river to get a sense of the location, and Dave and Jim gave me a data collection worksheet […]

FNS: Early feedback and suggestions

Today we tried out using the initial version of the website for supporting the pond habitat observation activity. Six tutors from Preston Montford joined us (Jim, Javi, Dave and myself) and they used the system to enter and view some data at the Preston Montford pond. The feedback and suggestions they then gave us were […]

FNS: Team introductions and expectations

Today we started the first set of fieldwork tests of the Field Network System. During the course of the project we plan to meet-up regularly and test versions of the system, as part of an iterative development cycle. To help collect some information about the process we’re going through, I’ve asked some of the project […]

Field Network System (FNS) Project

The Field Network System project is a collaboration with the Field Studies Council (FSC) to produce a portable web server and network to support outdoor learning. The project will involve Chris Valentine, Damian Dadswell and myself from the Open University (OU); and Sam Rudd (Curriculum Development Manager), James Drever (IT Manager), Javi Hidalgo (Network Manager) […]

Welcome to the WebLab blog

Welcome to the WebLab site, this is a collection of notes and resources associated with WebLab projects. WebLab is a shorthand phrase for Web Laboratory. WebLab was set up by Dr Peter Whalley, a Senior Research Fellow at the Knowledge Media Institute, in 2007 as a place to develop and share web-based models, simulations and […]