Vesa Linja-aho's Blog

Senior Lecturer in Automotive Electronics in Helsinki Metropolia UAS.

Slideshare, Scribd and LaTeX & Beamer

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Teachers who use lots of mathematicas formulas on their lecture slides, usually prefer LaTeX for creating their lecture slides. There are several LaTeX packages for making a slideshow, but I personally prefer Beamer, because

  • it allows creating very professional-looking slides
  • it is easy to learn and use
  • it is easy to customize.

However, there has been a little problems, when sharing slides made with LaTeX & Beamer in Slideshare and Scribd. In Slideshare, some slides (those with shadowed boxes) appear with annoying clutter in the box corners:

There is a bug in Slideshare’s rendering engine, and therefore the shadows are cluttered. The bug is promised to be fixed in the next version of the engine.

Another good service for sharing lecture slides is Scribd. Although Slideshare is “the” service for sharing slides, I like Scribd’s way to use HTML5 instead of Flash to show pdf documents. When I tested in 2010 how well Scribd can handle pdf slides with math formulas and circuit diagrams, I noticed that

  • the Flash viewer had the same cluttered corners bug as Slideshare has
  • the HTML5 viewer misrendered circuit diagrams and math formulas, like on this equation collection:

However, the bug is now fixed: when I re-uploaded the same pdf to scribd, the document will look correct, as you can see:

Summary: Scribd works great for sharing LaTeX-made lecture slides, and Slideshare works very good: only that one bug with cluttered corners is annoying, but it will be corrected soon.

The Lesson: if a web-based service has a bug, report it if it is made easy. And, reported it or not, come later back and see, if the issue is corrected. For example, Scribd corrected both bugs in about one year, despite I did nothing but waited :-).

Written by linjaaho

July 16, 2011 at 2:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

40th Anniversary of Jokioinen Museum Railway

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Today I visited Jokioinen Museum Railway to celebrate its 40th anniversary. If you like old steam trains, watch my slideshow of the happening

Jokioisten museorautatie 40 vuotta / Jokioinen Museum Railway 40 years

or visit Finland and Jokioinen Museum Railway.

Written by linjaaho

June 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Metropolia UAS joins the OpenCourseWare consortium

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(This is my own translation of the original Finnish press announcement. Please use and spread the text freely.)

30th May 2011

Metropolia is the first Finnish institute of higher education to join the OpenCourseWare consortium

Metropolia UAS has been accepted to join the OpenCourseWare (OCW) consortium. The purpose of the consortium is to share its members expertise via free-to-use learning materials. Metropolia is the pioneer in introduction of the OCW in Finland.

The produced open course material will be published on a separate website, which is opened in the autumn 2011. The content will be licensed with Creative Commons -license allowing to freely use and edit the material, as long as the author of the original work is mentioned.

The OCW membership supports the role of Metropolia in being an open and dynamic learning community.

– The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is an excellent example of the fact that openness is a practical principle not only in computer software, but also in producing quality written content, says Vesa Linja-aho, who works as senior lecturer in automotive electronics in Metropolia.

– If I consider a traditional textbook, and I find it lacks a topic I want to include in my course, it is hard or impossible to add it in and print a new version of the book. But if the book is licensed with an open license,  it’s easy to modify it and even edit off the material not needed on the course.

Worldwide open sharing of the courseware can help the students to digest hard topics better, when they can compare the material by different teachers and universities in the OCW portal.

OpenCourseWare was born in MIT on year 2002, when the university decided to publish some of its courses with open license on the internet. Some years later MIT chose to publish all courses on its OCW website. The OCW has since become worldwide consortium with about 200 institutional members over the world.

Metropolia UAS is the second institute of higher education in the Nordic countries to join OCW.

Press contact:

Senior lecturer Vesa Linja-aho, firstname.lastname@metropolia.fi

Written by linjaaho

May 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Open Education

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New blog in English – for networking and sharing ideas

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For about 2,5 years, I’ve been blogging and tweeting mainly in Finnish.

My main motive for starting an English blog is to network and share ideas with colleagues wordwide. I work as senior lecturer in automotive electronics in Metropolia UAS. I’ve been having a little problem when trying to do this with Finnish blog (and Twitter account): the average age of Finnish teachers of my subject (automotive electronics, or even just electronics) is about 50 years, and writing a blog or having a Twitter account is not very popular in this social group. To be straight, I’ve not found a single Finnish (automotive) electronics teacher having a blog or Twitter account.

Few weeks ago I decided to “go international” and start an English Twitter account and an English blog. In my Finnish blog I’ve been writing about anything on Earth, but in this blog I’ll try to keep focus on educational matters and (automotive) electronics. I hope that by doing this I can share good practices with my colleagues over the world.

Written by linjaaho

May 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

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