User:Fiona Bulman

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This user was certified a Wiki Apprentice Level 2 by ASnieckus .
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My Learning4Content course home page 

My profile

I have been working in Distance education for the last 14 years and am currently working in an innovative regional distance programme in eastern, central and southern Africa. I am excited to see that there are participants from a number of the African countries where the certificate programme "Community based work with Children and Youth' is being delivered. Bandwidth and connectivity are often a problem for our country partners but I would really like to be able to use wiki to to strengthen our learning community, particularly with local organisations and institutions that are supporting the delivery of the programme.

Professional background

I trained originally as a teacher (didn't we all?)  in the 60s and during my years of teaching  I was head of a history department in a high school, school librarian for a period and finally school counsellor. After a short non professional break (I contributed to the family income by baking cakes to sell at a home industry shop). I spent a couple of years as the language and study skills lecturer at a theological seminary where the majority of the students were endlish 2nd language speakers who came from most of the 11 language groups of South Africa and a few from Namibia. From there I went to tutor in language and study skills at the University, moved on the coordinator education development programmes and ended up establishing and manageing a distance learning support framework for some schools in the Universityl.


  I did my undergraduate study teachers qualification at the University of Natal and a few year's later spent a year at the Institute of Education at  the University of London. Finally my masters research focused on education development in higher education at the University of Natal

My interests


My passion is social justice and education. Having lived through the apartheid era in South Africa I long for the establishment of genuince lifelong learning opportunities in this country. But enough of that now - perhaps more another time. 


Gardens, trees, flower arranging, birds, reading, history, newspapers, travel. But please not sport - although even I was excited at

times by the 2010 world cup!

A trip in a hot air balloon over beautiful local country side gives you a different view on life


My wiki projects

My optional community service (learning contract) project

100px-L4C-small.png  Agreement
By signing this optional learning contract I will try to complete my training in basic wiki editing skills to achieve the status of a Wikibuddy. In return for this free training opportunity, I will give the gift of knowledge by donating or developing at least one free content resource licensed under a CC-BY-SA or CC-BY license which can be used by myself (and others) on WikiEducator.
Brief description of project
My wiki project has to be revisited. It is going to be a content page looking at issues of copyright and the extent to which this barrier to openness is enforceable. Will have to do a lot more browsing.
Target date for completion
I think I could get this "content" task up by the end of September
   RTENOTITLE.>--Fiona Bulman 19:59, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Feedback and notes from my WikiNeighbours

  • Dear Fiona, Welcome to WikiEducator. I am one of the workshop facilitators. Glad you are taking advantage of this wonderful learning opportunity. Great start on your userpage. You are welcome to revise and adapt as you would's your page. I noticed that you have questions about 1) how to use the signature button, and 2) what sort of content or project contribution is expected.
  1. In the Rich Editor, the signature button is the second to last button on the top row, just before [C]. You can adjust how your signature works in "my preferences" (one of the links at the top of every page when you are logged in) -- about halfway down on the 'My Profile" tab. Be sure to UNcheck the box under the window so that your signature serves as a link to your userpage
  2. Your contribution can be as big or small as fits your needs. Your idea to contribute something  on "designing open distance learning programmes that take into account the context of the developing world" is a content contribution and would addition to WE. Two ongoing projects that you might be interested to contribute to:
  • OER Course Collaboratory: a new project to collaboratively design a course on how to design/create an OER.
  • Distance Education Hub: A largely Australian effort, at least to date. I could put you in contact with the main authors if you'd like to discuss how you could contribute.

Feel free to search around WikiEducator in search of an interesting project. You are welcome to contribute to any page that is not another user's subpage--don't worry if you are not sure what I mean by that :)

If you need any help or would like to discuss further, feel free to contact me (click on my name at the end of this message to access my userpage where you can leave a note). Your WikiNeighbor, --Alison Snieckus 19:58, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Hello Fiona. I posted this response to questions you had regarding Day 2: --Benjamin Stewart 20:38, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
  1. The only activity for day 2 is to introduce yourself in the Introductions page, which it does not appear that you have done so (unless I missed it). Click edit on this page and scroll to the bottom of the text editing box. Create a heading, add your name, type your comment, and add your signature (see the link below as to which icon automatically inserts your personal signature).
  2. Do not worry about reading through all the text. Just read through what you can. You might even search the page using key words to find conversations that are of most interest to you. Or just pick a few people and say, "Hello"! The main objective is for others to get to know you and that you learn how to post messages in Wikieducator (WE). These pages will be available after the workshop as well so you will have the opportunity to revert back to them if necessary.
  3. You are encourage to always use the signature when posting a comment to WE. Using this icon in the toolbar automatically inserts your signature which you can use each time you post a message in WE.

You are doing the right thing in asking questions Fiona. Don't get frustrated. We have periodic live sessions (one in a few hours) and you are more than welcome to join and ask questions in a live, online format.


Thanks Alison and Benjamin - your responses were most helpful. Some more challenges:

  • I do find that it takes such ages to switch from the activity back to the tutorial page to go onto the next step - and I keep getting lost. Is there a way to deal with this?
  • I put a whole lot of questions into my sandbox. Should I have put them somewhere elso?
  • The thing is I am very interested in the sand box idea but want to know to what scale one could take it.

Now that I have found the signature let me try and insert it.

--Fiona Bulman 04:27, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Hi Fiona, You are coming along. Good work getting your sandbox set up. I took a look at your snadbox questions. I wanted to answer them on your page, but the unwritten policy of wikieducators is to NOT edit other people's subpages--that is pages that are structurally "under" your user page, which means we don't edit each other's sandboxes. The tutorials will get into this a bit later in the workshop. Also sandboxes are places where "castles get ruined", it's a place to experiment and try something out, but not get too attached to. But what's wonderful about a wiki is that every page is a work in progress (some more so than others), so the idea that you expressed in your sandbox to develop a study guide and then have others comment is the kind of work that happens on main pages. You are welcome to create something on a page and then invite others to contribute. Main pages are all open for anyone to contribute to.

I think your questions on this topic would be helpful for others to comment on and consider. I suggest posting the questions to one of the wiki discussions set up for this project. Your comment/question about using WikiEducator for the content you write for your employer would be an excellent question for the "Barriers to participation" discussion--the last one in the list at the above link.

As to your question about switching back and forth among a few pages, the way I handle this is to open the various pages in different tabs in my browser. I use firefox with the Ubuntu operating system, so I can right click a link and select "Open Link in New Tab". Then it's just selecting another tab to go from one to the other. Hope this helps.

Glad you got the signature working. I do notice that it's not showing up as a link--go to the my preferences link and uncheck the box under the signature field, to enable the link function. It's very useful.

Happy editing, --Alison Snieckus 16:57, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Thanks Alison - I rather a late developer I think - I always have to do things several times before they make sense and I am struggling to get an ordered sense of how Wikis work. I seem to be having a bit of a problem with my sand box - sometimes when I look at my user page there is nothing in my sandbox - but I know I had saved it - for example you saw all my questions but when I looked today at first I could only see a link in there and then when I looked again I saw what I had written yesterday. Also today I created a link to my centre's home page but when I went back I couldnt see it. Then I created a link to a new page - but can't see that either. Will stop here now and go and look again! --Fiona Bulman 19:44, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Hi Fiona, Actually I think you are doing fine. The key is you are persisting--it's the only way to get somewhere :) Congrats on posting your question to the "Barriers to participation discussion". And you started a new page! You forgot to sign your addition (something we all forget to do..I'm often going back to notes on people's pages to check to see if I signed it.), so I added your signature (based on the history...but I wasn't sure about the time, so I left that off). Also I edited the link to so it is live--you'll be learning to make links in the tutorials shortly. Glad you took this initiative. I'm interested to see responses.
I'm not sure what's up with the disappearing content on pages. One thing that happens to me is I "Preview" a page and then move on and forget to save it. I've lost some good words in my haste ;). I'm not sure what to suggest. If it continues, I can check with a more experienced facilitator to see if there are pointers I can offer. But, surely you will get better as you continue to practice. <smile>, --Alison Snieckus 01:58, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Fiona, congratulations for achieving WikiApprentice 1! You are doing the right thing asking questions and experimenting in your sandbox. I encourage you to take what you've learned in your sandbox and include it in your user page. --Benjamin Stewart 02:16, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Hi Alison, Benjamin and my Wiki Neighbours - I really appreciate your comments thanks for that.  - I always seem to be 3 or four days behind because I have to redo things on the previous day and the day before that. Anyway the weekend helps and hopefully bu the end of today (Sunday) I will have got through much of day 7 and only be one day behind. Another 3 questions:
  1. Will I be albe to keep EL4C41 somehow on my computer after the course is over? I guess there won't be ongoing feedback and stuff but I will really need to keep coming back to the tutorials to remind myself how to do things when I have had to put this aside for a week or so because of other pressing stuff?
  2. Where could I find something on the challenges of copyright and enforcing it? I am going to have to completely rethink my wiki project and want to work out some kind of table that would allow one to see just what one can do to protect one's copyright when you don't have the enormous resources of the multi-nationals at one's disposal and to what extent working in open source can address this or exacerbate it.
  3. If one developes something on a wiki page is it possible to take it off and rework it offline for layout and printing purposes - not sure if that is what day 8 is about?
  • By the way Benjamin I spent quite some time browsing on your pages today - wonderful stuff you are doing. I had been hoping to do a project where I used a wiki page with the team working on a new programme and have spent quite a lot of time browsing through wiki educator to see what I could learn from all of you. --Fiona Bulman 18:17, 1 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Hi Fiona, Congratulations on earning Wiki Apprentice Level 2. You have really gotten the hang of this. What a sad story you tell in your remark (note that I put this remark into it's own section heading and created a link to it from the Barriers to participation discussion). I don't have any experience in dealing with such an issue, but I will work to point it out to others. It is a very compelling example of the concerns of many organizations surrounding the sustainability of an OER "marketplace". However, this event doesn't dissuade me personally from the belief that ultimately OERs will succeed private, all-rights-reserved copyrighted materials because it's a two way street offering a give and take -- I can take and use those materials that suit my purposes AND offer and share materials that I have developed for others to use. That's my personal view, so I continue to work toward the vision of an educational "system" based in OERs.
I've enjoyed working with you in this workshop, your situation is quite eye-opening. As you continue learning how to work in a wiki, don't hesitate to leave me a note or a question on my user page or talk page. See you around the wiki. Your WikiNeighbour, --Alison Snieckus 17:43, 7 August 2010 (UTC)


  • I am facing a real challenge - far from being able to take the project I am working with into open learning my Board has gone the other way - they have changed the mission to delete "freely available education resources" as they are concerned that will give the "big bad world" an opportunity to use their materials any way they please. The problem is that one of the trustees has just come back from the big aids conference in Vienna (last week only) where she found that someone had taken her organisations materials, put on another cover and was selling the materials as their own. Then she went over to the UK and found another organisation was selling one workshop devised by her organisation for over a thousand pounds. This was just by chance that she saw it - how much worse will it be if all the resources were share and share alike! So where do I begin!

Workshops/My Sandbox

My sandbox

African Centre for Childhood