image courtesy of Flickr, Robert Francis, https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertfrancis/4533856142 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Are you a digital hoarder?

Recently, I read an article about digital hoarding  (can’t remember Samuel Ritchie-Russellwhere though). I have to admit, I save emails I don’t really need to – just in case – and the number of photos I have on my smart phone…. (mainly of my hairy child, Samuel – here’s one for you).  It made me think about the number of iLearn units that I have seen with content still labelled Blackboard or Moodle Migration Report from the migration in 2011, and unit guides (hidden of course) from the 1970s. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a touch, but you get the idea.

So you might hide these kinds of documents on your iLearn site, thinking it’s OK because students can’t see it.  You still can, though and it creates extra visual clutter, when many people already struggle to maintain concentration when staring at a computer screen.   Studies show that visual clutter can have an impact on the brain’s ability to process and interpret information (read more – references below).

Now is a perfect time to give your iLearn unit a spring clean, delete old content and feel liberated!  Many people have some level of anxiety about deleting files, but you probably already have copies of these saved on your computer, a USB stick and maybe in the cloud too.  So I challenge you to ask yourself (and be honest) do you really need to keep that hidden copy of your lecture slides from three years ago in your current iLearn unit?

Screen Shot to untick show file size and typeOh, one last visual clutter tip for iLearn – when adding a file, scroll
down to and click on Appearance.  Un-tick Show size and Show type. Scroll to the bottom and  save.

Which do you prefer?  Screen shot file info
It’s a few extra clicks but your brain will thank you for it.

References:
Asher, J. , 1998, Focusing attention cancels brain-dampening effects of visual clutter, National Institutes of Health12/02/2015, http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/oct98/nimh-01.htm
McMains, S. &  Kastner, S. 2011 Jan , Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortexPrinceton Neuroscience Instituteviewed 12/02/2015, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167

 

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