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If knowledge acqusition changes behaviour, then here is evidence of how it changes the person, their working life and no doubt their levels of contentment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 29 May 2011, 13:21

OU MBA Leads Civil Servant To Teaching And Consulting

A few hours ago I thought I'd delve into the Open University Business School Linkedin community to find some interesting stories and was offered this.

The reward, given that this is a Sunday Bank Holiday, is to find these stories.

I suppose were this online 'village' an actual community I'd say come down to the beach for this afternoons BBQ.

I should add that my own personal 'lift' through the OU only makes me wish I'd done an OU course two decades ago. I find that my life-style balance requires: family, work and curiosity indulged with an applied skew'.

Sure it can be put better, but I'm certain you get my meaning. I'm signed up to another MAODE module in 2012 despite having enough for the Masters ... this isn't the point (and has never been my raison d'etre behind CPD).

I wonder if an anthropologist would conclude that there are many of us who hanker after constant learning, as if from parents, uncles, relations, community members and the 'village elders'.

Personally, when my curiosity dries up and can no longer be fed, then I'll have one foot in the grave.

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H800 80 Wk 12 Use of Technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 10:38

I've decided to look at mobile learning ... or simply learning on handheld and portable devices. The same thing, or different.

I've been informed by the OU's 'Learning at Work Day' on the 19th May and a presentation by Rhodri Thomas at a stand that showcases the research and work being done in relation to mobile learning.

More from Mobisite

The shift towards mobile learning, using these devices to complement course work, or to carry out or engage in learning styles made uniquely possibly by highly portable, networked devices, is evidence by the figures and perhaps inevitable now that mobile phones at almost universal (93% UK penetration by 2008, presumably more in 2011).

More in Cloudworks

2% of OU students (4,000 or so) use tablets (not just iPads). 11% use SmartPhones (not just iPhones).

All coursework development/availability is 'device agnostic'

I'm impressed how it is driven by student use - this drives the response from the OU, rather than clever folk buried in the OU thinking 'this'll work, developing something, adding bells and whistles andexpeting students to leap to attention when it is presented.

The OU has been tracking use of mobile devices for learning by 35,000 students.

Are they calling it cellular learning in North America?

Kind of misses the point about mobility. This is the key, not a device to take slightly reversioned module content, but to permit content, communication and development exploiting the affordances of a handheld or pocket-sized device that you might have with you up a cliff face, on an oil-rig, or in a crowd of protesters - were the learning, and writing and researching can all take place in situ.

The key points (largely from an IET Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Report Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)

Mobile learning is:

  • Very flexible
  • Appropriate/supportive
  • New
  • Convenient
  • Contemporary
  • Practical
  • Beneficial
  • Has its own unique affordances/advantages
  • Personal/personalised
  • Spontaneous
  • Immediate
  • Extends access to materials not replacement technology)
  • Locational
  • Universal (ish)
  • Leap-frog technology in Africa
  • Engaging
  • Expected

I liken it to having a tour guide with you, rather than the book. So learning in the field, human or physical geography, history of art, archaeology and history, for example, can all be brought to life with this 'expert in your poket' to refer to.

A distance learner's mobile device (at the Open University) can be used as a way to:

  • carry around study materials
  • aces new or additional content
  • build up a series of personal notes
  • help make or maintain communications between different contexts

Supported by VLE 2.0 and Moodle 2.0

  • organised personal learning schedules
  • give feedback, opinions or answers
  • get quick information or support
  • communicate with other learners or tutors

Coming from advertising where 'testing to destruciton' is a favourite way to promote some products, I wonder if a new module can be 'tested to destruction' by making it mobile? The stresses or rather the robust nature of the course, and the support provided, my be tested to extreme, for example by someone studying for an OU MBA on an oilrig, or a BA in History while cycling through Europe?

Designing for mobile learning

Designing for mobile learning should follow established principles of good pedagogical design, or 'learning design', in terms of first specifying objectives, outcomes, resources and interactions; then engaging in piloting or developmental testing where possible; followed finally by evaluation and fine-tuning. (Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)

Mobile devices are often used in the midst of, and in support of, some kind of 'action'.

How will you evaluate it?

A synthesis of usability issues across a range of mobile learning projects (Kukulska-Hulme, 2007) found that issues reported in the research literature, in relation to what is required in the activity of learning, could be summarised under four main headings:

  • the physical attributes of mobile devices
  • content and software applications
  • network speed and reliability
  • the physical environments of use

The key issues relate to six aspects of mobile learning: (2008:11)

  • The learners
  • Other people
  • Tasks engage in
  • Device being used
  • Connectivity/networks used
  • Locations of use

In addition, there is a cluster of questions to be asked about the longer term requirements and outcomes of mobile learning

CONCLUSION

In general, materials designed for print or online delivery are not likely to be ideal for viewing or interacting with on mobile devices.

A key desire for students is to be alerted when assessment results come through.

They can track their progress also using reversioned VLE content directly on their device of choice.

CASE STUDY

Biodiversity Observatory Project

Enabling Remote Activity

REFERENCE

LEARNING AND TEACHING GUIDES FROM IET. MOBILE LEARNING. Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, with case studies by Anna Page.

Date ? I've calling it 2010 for now.

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H800 Reflection on e-learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 21 May 2011, 14:29

A rare moment to stop and take stock.

Does learning something new enter a phase of such frenzy that the formal aspect of the process is irrelevant.

To say I live, breathe and eat e-learning would be an exaggeration, but the mix of social media (my professional responsibility) and e-learning (my passion as an educator) on top of a foundation of 32 years of 'educational inclinations' means that I find myself in a self-constructed maelstrom of activity.

32 years ago, a 17 year old, we lived 'above the shop,' as it were, a training centre for a PLC in Cumbria. I listened eagerly to the Training Director and I was allowed to use first 1 inch reel to reel black and white Sony kit used for interview training ... and then a hefty VHS camera. I created my first 'training film' - ironically titled 'How to give a slide presentation.

A desire to taken in, and then share, what I think and understand, with others has informed my career.

Meanwhile, whilst reliving and reinventing and/or returning to my video production roots, my current interest is mobile learning - not that it is should be called 'm-learning,' just that it is 'stuff' with a learning twist, that you can have with you, connect with and use, wherever, whenever and whatever you are.

With a bit of skiing, sailing and swimming

Each in various ways as an educator, and participant: guided skiing, but never the BASI qualification, Offshore Sailing RYA qualification while instructing at RYA Level II and swimming a few weeks of effort of the most senior ASA Certification that is current (Senior Club Coach).

Everything can be taught

My turn around moment on this was a presentation I was linked to when Max Clifford, self-taught PR guru, spoke lucidly and with enthusiasm for students studying PR.

Why?

If nothing else, it showed they were passionate about the subject to study it for three years.

(Note to Max, the passionate ones might be 20% of the cohort).

And cooking?

Greek Fish Soup.

I'm yet to reach the position that I can call myself a professional academic, but is it the case the some academics (or is it just mathematicians and philosophers) are also very good cooks?.

My theory is, that they use the period of cooking, to be engaged with one activity ... while thinking of something else entirely???

 

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Fun with fan wing

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 09:17

Isn't this fun?

Fan Wing

Three quick steps: mobile learning, case sudy, OU on First Flight - Fan Wing!

 

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H800 WK12 Activity 5 Technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 17:06

Identify a form of technology used in an educational context.

Mobile

What do you think is the likely impact of this technology on the students’ perceptions of the quality of their modules, their approaches to studying and their academic performance?

The OU has seen in the last quarter a 13% rise in the use of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). I think this is some 3,500 OU students now accessing the OU VLE in a mobile form. This has come about as a process of responding to students' requests ... some had been tinkering with code to get it on the mobile devices and the OU response has been to configure the new version of the VLE on a new version of Moodle to accommodate this. By responding to the wishes of the students the OU will be perceived as progressive and responsive, appreciating the wishes, circumstances and opportunities that these devices provide a group of people. The immediate request was for alerts of assessment scores and to receive these to mobile devices. With EVERY module now offered in a mobile format you can check off activities as they are completed and keep this track record of what you are getting through in your pocket.

It plays into the hands of the 'innovators', those who are early adopters ... at the expense of the 'laggards?' We've seen the death of the Academic Journal in favour of the e-Journal, and we're seeing modules delivered entirely online ... which kisses good buy to books and folders of paper too. This is the new paper.

No technology results in a clean slate, nor should it. The needs, wishes, desires, hopes and expectations of students have to be met. The next struggle will be for tutor or tutor-like time. We demand so much in this instant world and can often nail the precise person to whom we put questions.

What do you think is the likely impact of this technology on the teachers’ perceptions of their teaching context and their approaches to teaching?

Those in distance learning are already conscious that they are developing a quality product that will be used by hundreds, perhaps thousands of students at a time. They are, like the anonymous authors they are, just pleased that more people can get their fingers onto the content that has been created for them. From a tutor or associate lecturer's point of view, already hamstrung by time constraints, they may feel students have the means to contact them 24/7 from these devices and expect feedback as quickly.

Do you think this technology embodies particular assumptions about the nature of teaching and learning in higher education?

That is it is becoming more student-centred and individualised?

The people can be anywhere and study at any time in a formal manner guided by their course content that is expressed in the same way whether on a mobile device or on their desktop. There's an assumption that enough people have these devices. The OUs policy is to be platform agnostic, all devices can receive or need to be able to receive these data feeds. At the same time, those who do not have or use or want to use mobile devices in this way should never feel left out, in other words you cannot abandon one platform or approach in favour of another when students want to learn or can only learn in such a variety of ways ... except that a box of books and DVDs is understandably dropping out of favour.

Are these assumptions likely to promote more positive perceptions, more desirable approaches to studying and better performance on the part of the students?

On the basis that we all must 'borrow time' from somewhere else to study at all, do mobile devices simply mean that people will try to walk the dog ... and study, go to the football match and do some course work? Travel and work (back of car, on a train or bus, yes), but in micro-moments at other times of the day? I wonder. Though have to confess that I find I concentrate best when on a headland looking out to sea ... tablet in hand? I'm yet to have one of these devices but wonder if it will allow or encourage me to keep topics at the front of my mind, as I could and perhaps would steal moments while a kettle boils, or I eat a sandwich to read and respond to a Forum Thread?

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 21 May 2011, 08:14

Out There

 

A fascinating OU Blog

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Interested in blogging but don't know how? Try these OU Bloggers:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:19
  1. Doing it the Open Way 'Voices and Texts'.

  2. Floating Along Gina Collia-Suzuki Art History Murder Mystery

  3. Freelance Unbound Making a living out of the crazy world of the business press

  4. From GCSE Maths, to Rocket Scientist...

  5. History of the OU Where students, staff and alumni share their OU experiences

  6. Isabella Black A215 Creative Writing having recently finished the A174 Start Writing Fiction.

  7. Lucienne Boyce's blog In 2006 I completed an MA in English Literature with the Open University, specialising in eighteenth century fiction.

  8. My Open University Life My Plan to get a Honors Degree Natural Sciences (Astronomy)

  9. My Open Experience My name is Hayley and I am a young student studying towards a Humanities Degree with a Philosophy and Religious Studies specialism

  10. Mathematics => A Blog Mathematics diary

  11. Meg Barker's Blog A lecturer in psychology teaching mainly on counselling courses: Counselling - Exploring Fear and Sadness. A counsellor adn writer on issues around relationships and sexuality.

  12. My Mind Bursts Reflections on e-learning as a MAODE student then Social Media Manager for the Open University Business School

 

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H800:61 Wk13 Activity 2a

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 14:02

There’s far more going on than simply technology and it’s a moot point to know when the technology is changing society or responding to society, the two are in a spiralling dance we see, hear and know more – our close relationships are even closer and then those we have kept at arm’s length are drawn in too.

This might make an interesting debate in Cloudworks. It is one of Grainne Conole’s.

‘The old labels of primary, second and tertiary education and work-based learning perhaps have no meaning now in the complex, changing environment’. (Conole, 2007.02)

And this might be interesting to answer:

What does it mean to be a learner in a modern complex environment?

This is valuable, the set of progressions Conole picks out: monitoring, recording, sharing, aggregating information, synthesising, providing evidence, assessing in from form, validating.

And a reminder of the team behind and beside the student as they learn: ‘the student themselves, of course, is the most important one, but also the peers that they work with the tutors who support them, the course developers who provide the course and the environment for them to work in, the senior managers and other support staff who provide the enabling framework, the quality assurance body and validating bodies, as well as professional bodies and, of course, employers’. (Conole, 2007.03)

And there’s more:

‘Education is no longer simple and classified into different boxes and boundaries, for the wider, societal environment in which students are now working and learning is different and constantly changing’. (Conole, 2007.03)

And interesting take on blogging:

Personal blogs both have the ability to provide personal reflective journal but also as a means of experts providing a filter on a complex changing environment.

But has anything changed?

‘It begs the question of does this offer a whole new dimension of learning or again is it more of the same?’ Conole asks and continues later, suggesting that Web2.0 technology ‘is just an integral part of their toolkit that they use to provide support for their learning. They’re also very critically aware now of the pros and cons of different things and they vote with their feet. If they can’t see the benefit they won’t use it’.

And further thoughts on which to dwell:

‘Because so much content is freely available and easily accessible they view it very differently. It has low intrinsic value. They expect high degrees of interactivity. They expect to be able to mix and match and interact and change’. (Conole, 2007)

And future research?

We’re particularly interested in looking at how students are learning across different boundaries and I think this related very much to progression in terms of breaking down those boundaries or silos I talked about before.

We no longer have primary, secondary, tertiary and work-based learning. The whole thing is mixing and changing and interconnecting.

(55868)

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H800: 58 WK 12 ACTIVITY 2

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 04:55

H800 WK 12 ACTIVITY 2

As you read the paper, think about the ways in which similar ideas were discussed in previous weeks and refer to the relevant module materials:

Do you think the innovations described in Weeks 8 and 9 as ‘learning design’ would induce more desirable approaches to studying on the part of the students?

The student (maturity, experience of education, opportunity, access, support)

But is also depends on the learning designer (as teacher)’s approach, whether deep or surface learning (Marton, 1977); or thinking of the six approaches to learning Saljo (1979) came up with.

The importance here is how much effort is put into creating activities in the learning experience, forcing the student’s hands in some respect by obliging them to go along with the ‘deep’ approach. I would therefore favour, to cover more bases, activities that are also fun and engaging, with a sensible allocation of time to do them. This has to be preferable to shallow, passive learning.

Compare Marton’s idea that some students regard learning as something that just happens to them with Sfard’s account that you read in Week 3.

Marton (1976) doesn’t say that learning is something that ‘just happens to them,’ what he says is that in contrast to deep learning where the students take an active role ‘seeing learning as something they do themselves’ those who adopt surface learning ‘approach learning in a passive role and see learning as something that just happens to them.’

You may not have encountered the literature that Richardson describes. In Week 4, Chris Jones asked you to think about your own definition of ‘learning’. Do the concepts, theories and evidence described in my paper fit your own experience as a learner?

Yes. If you ask a closed question. I hadn’t thought that different disciplines would take or do take a different approach to learning. That between them French, Geography, History, Maths, Physics, Biology, Art and so on were in part enjoyed or loathed depending on whether the engagement was personally driven or dictated to us as passive learners. Teachers in their ways can easily turn a student off or onto a subject. The same can apply at a distance with learning design. A balance has to be struck, with variety, to cover different experiences of learning and their differing expectations of the way to do things. I am therefore interested in Kember (1997) definitions of approaches to teaching.

Interaction between the teacher and student, and facilitating understanding on the part of the student the key motivators and the experience of a number of subjects … even as an adult I find there is too much ‘teaching as imparting information’ which I find takes five or six stabs before it sticks (reluctantly).

Which of Säljö’s five conceptions of learning best fits your own definition?

‘Learning as an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality’.

If you have (or have had) a role in teaching or training, do the concepts, theories and evidence described in my paper fit your own experience as a teacher or trainer? If you haven’t had such a role, ask your tutor whether they fit their experience as a teacher.

I could discuss Kimbers (1997) approaches to teaching at length from the point of view of a coach, someone who created distance learning materials (video and course books) and very rarely a teacher with a class of secondary school students for a day. I could also compare teaching practices almost from my first year at school through university and postgraduate courses/training.

The approach to teaching can make or break a course … it can kill a subject you love, or bring to life something you approached with trepidation.

Do you find the argument convincing?

‘Students who hold a reproductive conception of learning through exposure to a subject-based curriculum may simply find it hard to adapt to a more student-centred curriculum.’

I have suffered through some modules of a Swimming Coach course which couldn’t accommodate people who’d loathed school, didn’t want to learn, just wanted to know the answers. It frustrated that better instructors too. It saddened me that their experiences of learning had been so poor.

You may find the similarity between the models in Figure 1 and Figure 2 beguiling, but are the models really justified?

I don’t get the diagrams at all … though I am guilty of doing things just like it. It strikes me that they are slides from a presentation without the attached commentary.

(53796)

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H800:57 Learning design and moderating students online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:12

Some thoughts on e-moderating from Gilly Salmon all from 'E-moderating'. (2003)

Perhaps we ought to call them Tutors or Associate Lecturers though, rather than moderators.

What do you think?

'It is worth structuring your course to provide participants with rhythm, enticement, flow and pace to their online study.' p63

'We have found that the first few weeks of being online is a critical time for group forming and confidence building'. p64

You've got to make a good first impression, enough, but not overpowering, leading the way?

'Participants in online learning are involved in a variety of communities of learning and practice at the same time, and have a myriad of other responsibilities. Some of these may be similar in values and beliefs and norms of behaviour to those of the course groups and some may not. You need to build enticement, inclusiveness and pacing to make your experience stand out'. p65

Should this come from the Tutor or from Learning Design? Who sets the pace? It depends on whether the module is an obstacle course or the shot-put.

'Long message take time to read and respond to (but may be more worthwhile than short ones). p66

I guess to stay friends with your fellow students and the Tutor you should keep the length down a bit ... but do they read it at all?

'Summarizing, archiving and weaving are the key skills for the e-moderator. They save participant's time, and enable participation in new ways. Furthermore, the more successful an e-moderator is, the more likely he or she will be overwhelmed by success in terms of many student messages'.

A note in relation to countries with poor fixed-lined telephone systems:

'Mobile connectivity through cellular systems will provide access to many more people who will 'leap-frog' over others, technologically, by missing out interim stages'. p70

And a note in relation what learning means.

'What we know of learning is that we want people to change what they actually do, we need to offer experiences that shuffle backwards and forwards between what they already know, and what they are prepared to develop, between specific details and their implications in wider contexts, and between practice and reflection.' (Harvey and Knight, 1996)

Meanwhile I have 60 pages of course work to read, take notes, and comment on ... and then comment on the comments of others in the Tutor Group Forum .. and then I can climb into a hot elluminate session.

(Or should that be a bath?)

REFERENCE

Harvey, L and Knight, P (1996) Transforming Higher Education, SRHE and Open University, Buckingham.

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Love your memories in a blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:35

Nabakov.JPG

“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is." Nabakov

I thought 500 page views was a landmark, then 1000. There has been steady growth to 10,000. It went crazy for a week in April with 1,000 views a day then settled back to 150-250  day. Whose counting? Basic analytics are a form of recognition, even reward for the blogger. 50,000 is a biggy that has taken 14 months to achieve. 100,000 is unlikely within the Masters in Open & Distance Education, though a MRes, another module in the MAODE (because it interests me so much) or a MBA are all of interest for later in the year and all would be blogged upon right here.

Are you saying something worthwhile to this audience?

Even if I feel the PC Screen is a mirror and I'm writing this for my benefit first as a reference I can return to later: what did I think? Where is that quote? Where was I in the learning process? Aren't I glad I've moved on! Editing old entries, bringing them up-to-date develops this. As Nabokov wrote,

Read Backwards

e-Reading 'A New Culture of Learning' backwards in a large font isolating interesting gems I may have missed. Also reading it by search word; 'play' works and is appropriate with over 160 mentions.

I liken this to panning for gold.

Once I've done this a few times typing out notes may be irrelevant; I'll know it. 'Play as the new form of learning?'

One final thought. Two decades ago I liken learning to a nurturing process, of an educator/teacher or course designer/principal sprinkling water on the heads of students buried like heads of lettuce emerging from the ground.

This no longer works for me.

What I now see are kids in a large paddling pool having fun and making up games with toys offered to them by supporting parents and older siblings.

The mantra for e-learning is 'activity, activity, activity', perhaps it ought to be 'play, play, play'; that's what you'll come away with if you read John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas 'A New Culture of Learning; cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.'

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H800 51 Wk11 Why this is like talking with your fingers

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011, 06:03

As it is a bank holiday and the first in many years that I recall being sunny, I find I am getting online for an hour or two at dawn to do some stiudent work and write this. Then I walk the dog along the River Ouse or up on the South Downs and the day is mine/ours.

Painting the porch sad

Then nodding off in the sun with a course book or two, a couple in print, a 2011 publication from John Seely Brown on the Kindle.

How, when and why blogs and threads work or fail is the topic of conversation.

I used to treat forums and assignments, optional or otherwise, as the weekly essay - something I had to do whether or not I engaged with others. I would also take part on a whim, responding to some entries, and happily letting the conversation drift off topic. Length was no object either. I lurked in other tutor forums too, making the time to follow how what ought ostensibly to be the same conversations could be very different indeed - some very active, some dead.

A year on I am more strategic.

I would like to be sharing the learning process, contributing to the conversations whether I can help or not, whether I am seeking answers or asking questions. The Cafe and General area serves a purpose to take 'over spill' though it functioned best in H808 where a moderator management the supplementary activities.

Gilly Salmon's 'E-moderating' has a good deal to say on this.

It is worth owning,. not simply to read cover to cover, but to have as a reference. I may not like the term 'e-moderator', but 'moderator' is, however diminishing or disparaging to a Dphil, the main function here. It could be carried out by a postgrad student, even an animated undergrad.

What matters is engagement.

Someone may need to act as the 'eyes & ears' for the group until it is established. Introductions have to be made, conversations started and moved along ... if anyone is rude, they should be quietly put in their place; if anyone is being like a door-mouse, they need support.

'The essential role of the e-moderator is promoting human interaction and communication through the modelling, conveying and building of knowledge and skills'. (Salmon, 2005:4)

There isn't a structure, no more than there is in a car or coffee bar.

The structure comes about from the people and activity in it. This is shaped entirely by the behaviour of the participants. 1) They have to turn up 2) Someone has to have something to say 3) Some of us need to be going around like a host, 'making polite conversation', 'networking', even introducing people. It IS a social gathering.

Tutor is a better term. It is valid.

Indeed the beauty of working online is that you can recreate the essence of an 'Oxbridge Tutorial', that privilege one-to-one, or one to two or three, that is the weekly essay read out and discussed.

Discussion is the key.

The tutor DOES NOT need to be a subject matter expert. See my interview with Oxford Senior Lecturer Dr Zbigniew Pelczynski.

Whilst the tutor cannot keep waving pixie dust over a group that simply does not gel they ought to try, especlally in the first weeks and especially with students new to this set up.

Why I participate in some forums and not others.

Often because someone else has started the ball rolling, and often. I will be the first if I have a need to get through the week's work and no one else has made a start. I may fret about covering all bases giving my response too much thought ... and therefore resulting in something overly long. Not easy to adhere to but I try to set parameters; 250 words typical, 500 words an absolute max after that think about offering it as an attachment.

It can be like chosing a restaurant!

You want to go where there's some buzz already, though not so much that you feel you will never be able to join in the conversation.

The reality is different.

This is an asynchronous beast. If I come in late I may read every post with care before I respond, which can result in a long response. People should feel just as comfortable simply answering the question, ignoring others at first .. or just reading the last couple of posts and responding to them.

It is tempting to respond to someone in a DIFFERENT tutor group if they say something strong; you're not supposed to do so! I might quote them in my own group. There have been times when lifting the thread of catalyst that got them going in another group will do the same in your own.

How my input is affected by the way the forum is structured.

At Harvard they use as system called 'Rotisserie' in some asynchronous threads/forums which, like playing pass the parcel (or pass the microphone) require people to take it in turns to say something. No harm there! No all the time, but for ice-breakers and specific, important threads it may work very well. Everyone has something worth saying, our differing perspectives are a vital part of the experience.

I'd like these threads to be presented very differently, as cards placed around a table. This sounds like a step towards a Virtual World. I just don't 'see' conversations as lists or 'toilet roll scrolls' from top to bottom, rather they should be in a circle at least, in a spiral at best.

It matters that activities have been designed that get people engaged without the need for a tutor all the time.

'Structured, paced and carefully constructed e-tivities reduce the amount of e-moderator time, and impact directly on satisfactory learning outcomes, adding value to the investment in learning technologies'. (Salmon, 2002a)

Do I behave differently in face-to-face tutorials?

I'm the student who says they understand but the tutor will see that on my face it says 'I still haven't a clue'. I will stop asking questions. Here I will ask more often, then start asking elsewhere, within h800, even beyond the Masters in Open and Distance Education. I'm still asking people how to visualise the learning process in threads, forums and blogs away from here.

Face-to-face people don't need to put up their hand to ask a question, you can read the person, you can tell if they are anxious to join in at some point. You don't need 'rotisserie' as people do take it in turns. Someone will act as the chair, even is there isn't one nominated. Think of us like the Village Elders taking it in turn to reflect on an issue.

Seeing that someone else has already made an effort to answer the week's questions I decide I can and should make the effort to do the same. It is easier to reply to the questions and ONE response than the question and 16 responses! i.e. I like to be second, or third to comment, rather than first or last. No good if everyone is hanging back. Perhaps between us we should nominate someone to go first each week!!!

'Online learning calls for the training and development of new kinds of online teachers - to carry out roles not yet widely understood'. (Salmon. 2005:10)

REFERENCE

Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating. The Key to teaching and learning online.

AND FINALLY, I relate to this, also from Gilly Salmon's book:

'Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers - half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.' (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997, quotes in Salmon 2005)

 

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Intellectually and spiritually content? Getting there

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:09

Delighted to have found somewhere to stay in Milton Keynes.

It is extraordinary that people live such lovely lives, the privilege of the commute being a short walk over a field, from village to Central Business District in minutes. This isn't the Britain I have ever known - a 79 mile commute being one of the worst, cattle-trucks in from South London even worse. But I've done the 'weekly border' having once been in Penrith, Cumbria while my fiance was in Paris, France for six months. Sleeping away from home is part of me of course, having had boarding school from the age of 8 I perhaps find it easy to get used to?

 

Of course the OU Campus is a strange beast, each Faculty a bright sparkly building set in its own grounds each building a short walk apart from the other. If it weren't for the speed bumps to slow the traffic down (people come in by car in their thousands) I'd imagine golf-carts to be the required way to move around.

 

But do you much? Your faculty is your home.

My home once again has connections with the university, mother and daughter work there. This does not need to be a point of conversation at home, I  have the Masters in Open and Distance Education to complete for a start and instead of talking about the OU I am delightfully engaged in conversations on the medical effect of what we eat. I find myself creeping back towards soya milk and muesli and away from coffee and biscuits.

For someone who typically blogs a thousand words a day I've been unusual quiet.

The pressure on my mind is considerable. If I find myself near a keyboard over the bank holiday I may catch up, though my inclination is to head for the sea.

This isn’t to say I’m not writing a thousand words an hour; that would be an exaggeration, but I find that 60 emails a day (sent), half this number received, contributions to Yammer an OU Twitter like feed and the various minutes and reports that I’m writing quite easily makes up the number.

As I will often tell people, the best contribution to my career was a touch-typing course at Oxford College of Education.

I'll become a poor-weather blogger.

Meanwhile what I have to say has gone into note pads. I’ve filled a 80 pad shorthand notepad, both sides. This contains a good deal of ‘Everything is Miscellaneous’ and all that I wanted from ‘Use of Blogs.’ How I would have preferred both on my Kindle, all this note taking reduced to highlighting, my ideas saved or shared immediately, and the entire thing now at the edit stage. Instead I’ll have to write it all out. I find my concentration wavers if I transcribe stuff, or more likely I feel inclined to add yet further notes and thoughts.

Meanwhile, perhaps sensibly going for paper rather than technology, I have ‘The Social Life of Information’ (2002) John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid to enjoy, ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ (2007) Rick Levine et al and ‘E-moderating’ (2005) Gilly Salmon.

My perfect Bank Holiday would be to take these to sea – sail across the English Channel, a few days in French Ports.

As crew, this way I can read, all that fresh air, with occasional moments of physical agitation.

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Want to blog? Sources of inspiration and getting it down.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Feb 2013, 12:06

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ON BLOGGING

Sources of inspiration and getting it down.

Get this for a start: Use of Blogs (2006) Axel Bruns and Joanna Jacobs.

It persuades you why to blog. Each chapter is written like an academic paper - an essay at least. Chapter 5 I found I was copying out verbatim (which I can't do here). Go see 'Can Blogging Unspin PR' Trevor Cook.

Your starting off point can be anything at all, once you start (for me at least) it is like opening a vein.

Who cares if it is a note to yourself. If it’s work or course work remember that you can compose then recraft as often as you like; what is more, you can turn access on or off as you please too – even allow comments as you please – with other blog platforms the list of linking choices is as broad as the destination board at Heathrow – you can ‘blog’ to a person, a group, people in different groups and so on (though this is a level of complication may turn the novice off).

If you are at all stuck for content ideas then my suggestions are:

1) Write about the deep past (everything you write is of course in the past) – what this might means is thinking of your earliest experiences of whatever your blog may be about – if it is about education then try these:

2) Your best friend at nursery school

3) Your first day at school

4) The funniest thing that your witnessed or did at school

5) The first thing you learnt and how

6) Add a caption to an old photograph then expand these thoughts into the era.

7) A birthday party

8) A Christmas

9) A first book

All of these are possible jumping off points; once you’re in flight you’ll be surprised how easy it is to steer back to where you had planned to be - who cares about the journey you took to get there – you can leave it in or edit out the first paragraph / chapter.

If you kept a diary at any time in your life – milk it! Put it up, selectively, verbatim and / or relived – you can even retrofit the date.

Getting it down

There is a beauty and simplicity to pen/pencil onto paper. Personally I find typing it up afterwards tedious and will find myself inevitably expanding beyond the way the thing was initially written. The mistake here is that you can/do with ease turn a natural, conversational flow of thoughts into something else – verbose at best, disjoined at worst. You then get into editing and saving sections/chunks for future entries.

Ideally, whether you have notes, an essay plan or mind map to guide you, I’d recommend typing directly into the Blank Box. The QWERTY keyboard is a piano keyboard and you’re playing a ditty or having a jam.

Most blog platforms have ample editing tools, the only warning is to save regularly in some if you are prone to distraction.

Even back up onto a clipboard or Word, though personally I’m not a fan of overworking a piece in Word first.

Have a notepad, record a thought on paper or into a digital recorder, have a device that you can readily use on the go – my most fruitful blogging years were when I had a Psion – I could type this spec-case sized device and draw it into my Mac to upload.

I’ll discover in due course an iPad can offer this facility – I believe it will (and some).

A final thought for now – if you can touch-type and write stream of consciousness then how many words can you get down in so many minutes?

Let’s say you think at FIVE words a second, talk at THREE words a second and type at 40-60 words a minute. In theory in five minutes you can blog between 200 and 300 words. Perfect length. Have a plan, three or so points to make and fire away.

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Bedsit for mature students - a meeting of unlike minds

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Nov 2011, 16:39

I've had five nights in a guest house with FIVE OU students/academics: 3 PhD students and one 2 years post doctoral, while I come in a long way behind as I'm yet to complete my MA (though in theory it is my second MA, and I have done TWO post-graduate courses the equivalent of MAs that were not accredited). So I am another natural for life-long learning.

Conversations - who we are, defined by what we do, what we know, what we don't know and what we think.

Key components missing from online experience are: rapport, facial expressions as we listen or talk, the reciprocal nature of dialogue there is, or should be a natural see-saw of give and receive, of request and response which asynchronous threads struggle to provide.

I have had thought that as someone who kept a diary before blogging came along that this makes me a natural blogger - it helps.

There is another habit or trait that is equally important and may help others get started - the tradition in school of 'taking notes' and even 'call reports' or 'minutes' of meetings. These are starting points for a blog, the trick is to type it all up in real time, as you go along, then edit/censor before you post. Even post into a private page to exploit the affordances of the blog, the date, the place, the tags and categories and how much easier it is to find tagged information than it is to file it, whether on a desktop harddrive or printed out and put into a filing cabinet.

At its simplest level these notes are an aide memoire - they could be an audio record (Tony Benn) and Captain T Kirk - or they coule be a video log (surely you have seen Avatar - 'this is science' he says, dismissive of the importance of reflection, and right to be so given what trouble his personal record made public causes). It may even be the case that someone else takes down your every thought (Churchill's secretaries).

A writer's journal - excerpts and ntoes, can only be of practical value to their author - and if they become a successful author, authority or powerful/influential person - then to academics once archived (we love to study the creative process).

A 'Secret' Dairy is just that (or in the case of H.G.Wells locked down for 50 years, or Mark Twain 100 years). I hope the genre hasn't died just because of the compulsion to blog it, and the volume of traffic and interest that such candor, exposure or disclosure can bring. Is that it, bloggers just crave an audience? THey are in fact wannabe lead singers or actors? They'll say anything if they get an audience, the problem being with a blog to know if that audience is there.

Which is why good stats are vital. Forget comments asa guide to 'readers,' and a universal 'page views' means little. We need stats on the pages viewed, to know which are or become the hot topics. We need personalised lay-outs and we need to DROP the idea of reverse chronology which by dating an entry also ages it, and by stages gives it a sell by date.

Just because a blog puts you on a soapbox and lets you artificially put up the volume. People get around this in simple ways, they keep their blog locked, or off-line, write under a psuedonym and disguise the main character/location (but risk exposure/scandal) or they buy a hard back notebook/diary and do it that way.

________________________________________________

Note to self:

5:3:1 used to be the north American ratio of promotion, maintaining and creating a website.

1:3:5 was the mistake we said us Brits always made, putting everything into development/creation and little into getting an audience (and therefore customers).

I wonder if the desirable ratio for web 2.0 is more like 3:5:1, whereby the effort to maintain, to be active online, to be engaged in social media networking/social influence marketing is both a form of advertising AND part of the creation process?

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Blogging a dead horse

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:44

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The more I read, the more I research, the more I listen and the more I gush to others about blogging, the more I feel that it is like ...'trying to flog a dead horse to make it pull a load'.

Not the act of blogging, but the actions required to convert people.

People (students) don't see there value; to read a few well written, apposite blogs, fine. A person that in this environment has something to offering pertaining to their course. Or for entertainment. (Stephen Fry's Tweats form a micro-blog after all), micro only in the sense that you are restricted by character count per entry. If these parameters are like a letter-box then Stephen Fry is posting plenty himself and garnering a gargantuan response).

I have infront of me 'Exploring students' understand of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in Higher Education'. It was a conference item at ALT-C 2007: Beyond Control: Association Technologies Conference, 4-6 September, Nottingham, UK.

One of its Six authors is Grainne Conole, an OU senior academic, a blogging practioner and evangelical online chatter-box and good-egg. She wants us all to blog, and understands the magic of a comment ... she likes to make new friends and understands the reciprocal nature of reading and leaving salient comments. It's T.L.C. online.

I just clicked away and posted this in her blog:

I'm faced with the dilemma of having to split my professional, student and blogging personas; I recently joined the Open University Business School. This three way split has me locking down one diary and 'friends' gathered over a decade and tripping over the other two selves, starting afresh with contacts and what I blog wearing my professional hat. I am certain such possible conflicts of interest occur for anyone working in online media communications - broadcasting on behalf of your employer; indeed, my contacts in senior PR and Media roles of various organisations have the weakest of online profiles, even though two of them are published authors.

On the other hand just as I really got going in Facebook to connect with my brother and his family in South Africa and organise my mother's 80th, I find that living away from home during the week I come online to have some sense of what my own family are up to - just a shame our dog doesn't blog, 'stick chasing across the South Downs' would do it.

Currently reading your 2007 paper 'Exploring students' understanding of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in Higher Education'. Are Learning Designers (and those who work with them) 'flogging a dead horse?' The analogy I'm about to use in my OU student blog is that I am starting to feel like a Tuba player at a football match - no one is interested, they're watching the game. Maybe if I could network with the other instrument players in the crowd we could have a jam-session. As another paper on blogging discovered 'birds of a feather flock together', we do this and find kindred spirits. The problem in OU student blogging platforms is that we are overly pigoen-holed, not just by course, but by module and tutor group (and sub-groups within these).

I liken the Internet to a digital ocean; currently blogging as an OU student is like blogging in fish tank, in a warehouse full of fish tanks. And every so often someone kindly comes along and divides us up even more, creating barriers, rather than opportunities. Please can we just all be tipped into the same ocean?

I then went off to Facebook, via my external blog My Mind Bursts.

I only sat down to transfer notes from a pad ... and am yet to transcribe a single word of it.

I was going to say, anything short of writing directly into 'the white box' that you are presented with on your chosen blog platform or platforms snacks of something else: a repository, a writer's journal, a student's e-portfolio that they leave open ... keep forgetting in the lecture hall, that they photocopy and leave on benches outside the refrecatory.

Reading 'Everything is miscellaneous' David Weinberger I find a like mind a) the idea of miscellany, that each page, each asset, whether ostensibly part of something (like this) is like an autumn leave scattered on the forest floor. These leaves never compost down and those that are tagged stay on the top of the pile, those that people find or are guided too most often, stay on the top of the pile ... and did it not long ago reach the stage where the leaves on the forest floor are so deep that they have buried the trees?

I put a slightly inept first draft phrase into Yammer the OU Personnel 'Twitter-like' feed about dandelions and pomegranates. I've used the dandelion metaphor many times, the pomegranate too, but had never put them together.

My thinking was this, if the seed is this blog entry, or a Tweat or even a message in Facebook i.e. an idea, thought, asset or message, a seed if you were scattered to the wind to find its own fortune then developing social media for an institution, whilst the asset, these words, are still a seed, they are coming from a pomegranate, not a dandelion. The reason being that understandably if you are expressing the views of others, collectively or individually, you cannot just hold you thoughts up to the wind and blow. The opening of the pomegranate is, as it were, the necessary processes and procedures. This analogy falls apart though if you have an image of Jamie Oliver holding a pomegranate half in one hand while smashing it with a wooden rolling pin with the other ... the OU are not smashing me on the head to extract words like nasla mucus. Rather, at first at least, they will be extracted by me using tweezers.

All this and my 16 pages of notes on blogging handwritten into a Shorthand Pad remain unused.

To overcome my reluctance to write up what I feel I have already expressed I realise I could just photograph my notepad ... in fact, I'll do this and just see how folk manage with my handwriting.

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My first week at the Open University Business School

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 29 Apr 2011, 06:30

Yammer WK1 DY1

Dutifully and out of habit I have kept a diary, not online. This records who I meet, what I learn, notes on what I am responsible for. So a day diary.

I'd like to think by the end of the week I could, and should reflect on this, even assess how I have got on.

There is a schedule over three to five weeks that I've shared in relation to my first 'cycle' of activity.

Outside work hours I've had an extraordinary week in a guest house with three quasi-permanent PhD student guests with three others at various times popping in for a night or two - all PhDs or PhD students.

Conversations at work, in relation the MAODE are rolled into conversations in relation to collaboration in teaching creativity (PhD thesis), slow moving atomic particles in the Martian atmosphere (Post Doctoral) and mechanical engineering (PhD).

And how to cook (as one guest has never been away from home).

The MAODE has not taken a back seat, indeed I'm in the curious position of it being on the back burner all day as I sit in an open plan office that includes the curriculum and teaching team.

With blogging the MAODE theme I have had plenty of people to practice on (my household want to blog, I've got two as far as Facebook, one chasing recommended urls and putting meta-tags in her blog for the first time) and of course it is a topic of conversation 'over the water-cooler in relation to student participation.

I'm looking for answers in 'Everything is Miscellaneous' David Weinberger and 'Use of Blogs' Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs, but could as easily recommend books on how and why to keep a diary ... it is the same, with the added bonus if you want it, of finding yourself in a dialogue with helpful and supportive like-minds.

 

 

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Use of Blogs - an enthusiast's notes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 16 Feb 2013, 16:18

NOTES FROM USE OF BLOGS (2006 Bruns and Jacobs)

An expression I like and will use ... though it might have come from 'Everything is Miscellanoues' David Weinberger (another must read).

Random acts of journalism

Micro-new level

‘Traditional journalists treat participants as deviants rather than as citizens. Participatory news requires a reversal of these practices and should rest on the assumption that citizens are as relevant and important as public officials.’ Gans (2003) in Uses of Blogs (2007:12)

People forget when that start saying that the role/jobs of lecturers are threatened by technology ... others, if not all of us, have to adapt to the change, or be like the Amish and reject it all.

‘When big news breaks, it’s tough to beat a weblog.’ (2007, Bruns)

I recall how when the Tsuanmi struck Japan I went to the TV news channels. I started off with BBC 24, then went to CNN and stuck for the week on NHK from Japan as it was closer to action, as it were, and the other two were taking the feeds from NHK mostly anyway.  I thought my 12 year old son should have been taking an interest, in fact he was one step ahead watching photage (Freudian slip or how we ought to spell)

‘Such unedited, firsthand accounts have also come to have significance beyond reporting the news and contrasting friends and family.’ Uses of Blogs (2007:13)

Is being ‘Unedited’ the key to authenticity I ask? And the first draft tone of a conversation? Well written, but from the heart, a stream of consciouness expressed as it is formed.

What a person has to say matters more than spelling, grammar or even style. In this respect I wonder if getting people to blog is about building up people's confidence when it comes to doing this ... writing. That they could be crippled by a school experience that crushed their every effort.

I learn that a huge rush to blog was prompted by 9/11 and these become know as 'Warblogs'.

The point that matters is the event the got people going. Better to start keeping a dairy on January 1st, than any other day of the year. Better to start a blog when you, your family, team are marking the start of an era. Might a requirement to keep a blog on the company intranet be written into a person's contract!

‘Most of what they bring to the table is opinion and analysis – punditry.’ Raine (2005) in Uses of Blogs (2007:12)

I like this. And I prefer the stance that bloggers take. Many are frank in their views. They may be opinionated, but they are up for a verbal struggle. Many have insights that no journalists could ever have.

‘Redefining the journalist’s role as an annotional or orientational one, a shift from watchdog to the ‘guidedog’. Bowman et al (2005)

Just as we want or expect tutors to be more coach-like in their behaviour, not teachers, but guides, facilitators or 'animateurs'. Or, if they still want to teach at their students, challenge them to treat their students as clients, that their remuneration is based on how many they retain for the duration of a module ... and that in the web 2.0 world everything (it has taken thirty years or wishful thinking in industry) is bottom up, responding to what customers/students want not they need to be shoehorned into.

Before Google surfing the net, indiscriminate browsing, or deliberate searching was looking for a needle in a haystack, today you look for a needle in a stack of needles. You are spoilt for choice. You go for anything in the top search.

GateKeeping to GateWatching

Commentators

‘New bloggers form a distributed community of commentators who will engage with one another’s views on the news as much as with those expressed in other news sources.’ (2007:16)

The exact same applies to learning ... certainly at postgraduate level, possibly even at undergraduate level. If we can find a way to share what we are doing we can learn together from the experience.

Publish, then filter vs filter, then publish.

Before and after, even web 1.0 to web 2.0. As we progress what we do online will lose its ties with old broadcasting/publishing mechanisms and behaviours.

There is no intermediary. There should be no one to get in your way. You have something to show and tell, show it and tell it - write about it, sing about it, paint it or photograph it.

‘Writer submits their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact.’ Shirky (2004)

The words someone writes and publishes here should never be edited, nor the grammar or writing style commented upon (unless it is praise). Positive feedback, any feedback should be to encourage, to give more of the same, to find a voice, and to develop and learn through trial and error.

‘Multiperspectival news is the bottom-up corrective for the mostly top-down perspectives of the news media.’ Gans (2003:103)

It isn't even the case of things being turned on their head, rather it is the case that the gatekeepers should join the throng.

‘A new media ecosystem … where online communities also produce participator journalism, grassroots reporting, annotative reporting, commentary and fact-checking, which the mainstream media feed upon, developing them as a pool of tips, sources and story ideas.’ Bowman and Willis (2005:13)

‘Deconstruction of content, demystification of technology and finally do-it-yourself or participatory authorship are the three steps through which a programmed populace returns to autonomous thinking, action and self-determination.’ Rushkoff (2003:24)

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Immersive Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 15:19

I was hopeless at languages but knew that going on a French exchange would do the job; it did I had three weeks in France, then he had three weeks back in England and the friends I made in France had me back for seven weeks over the summer, camping and hitchhiking. Then a gap year working in a busy four star hotel.

Immersive learning, learning by default.

I didn't expect to feel this way about my MA course. I've had some intensive days online, but I know find myself challenged my entire waking day, whether online or not.

I am in the university town of Milton Keynes; I'll call it that, because my perspective it is. I'm in a house that has five students in it, and it transpires there are houses up and down the road that do the same thing.

I get up and read on my Kindle.

I'm just about through Chris Pegler on Blended Learning (recommended). I walk in with a mechanical engineer and then spend the day in meetings at the OU Faculty of Business and Law on how it is received online, from students, assistant lecturers (tutors) and fellow academics and prospective candidates. 

I have lunch in 'The Hub' and cannot help but overhear what sounds like an impromptu tutorial on genetics. And then I register at the OU library and enjoy that distraction of wondering the shelves, then as you approach the title you want you discover a couple of other items that could be of interest. Can serendipity be written into the code of someone studying online? It's preferable to the 'Amazon Recommends'. (Too pushy)

I return to the house and find myself engaged in the content of a thesis on how teams collaborate in creative activities.

Were the first universities at all akin to this?

Bologna in the 11th century, students staying in the town, in lodgings.

(Had I been at home there would have been several distractions. One person here says how she gets away from home so that she can work on her thesis. Do you require space to learn, just as authors need space to write? Who was it who said you need periods of nothing at all before you could write anything original?)

I need now to engage with the MAODE.

After a two and a half hour discussion on the value of blogging and other social networks in education I wonder if I have the mental energy or desire to do any more. I feel that I can knock a few holes in my head and rather like draining the milk from a coconut just give my head a shake over the keyboard.

A week ago I put 'the contents of my brain' online, either in dropbox, or Google docs, on the ou e-portfolio My Stuff, even here ... a blog is as good a place as any to store content. Just go tag crazy so that you can find it.

How to encourage others to blog?

Recommend some great academic, student orientated blogs. Martin Weller's name came up. I'd recommend Doug Belshaw from the JISC. Then there's Terry O'Sullivan on marketing. And Les Budd. 

As I come across others (and locate the links for the above), I'll offer more.

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Apr 2011, 21:07

How do you sell the idea of blogging to others?

Try with Twitter, it's a microblog afterall and you don't have to say much.

Then pace yourself, never more than 250 words, but try, oh try, to post EVERY day. Without fail.

You need to build up a head of steam.

I would also suggest keeping all entries PRIVATE until you have 100 entries. Yep!

If you want to be read, to be rated as a blogger, first impression count, and 100 entries indicates you may make it to 1000 and beyond.

Learn to touch type.

Start filling this little white box with text.

Or have a mind-map.

Set a parameter, a word count (which would be a valuable tool here) or just set a timer.

But do it, and learn.

Read widely. Link to every and any blog you fancy. Read and leave a pertinent comment.

Make links.

Give a little of yourself. There's no need for excessive exposure or disclosure, but honesty comes from some of this.

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Milton Keynes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 12:50

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Three weeks ago I entered the OU Campus for the first time.

There was no fanfare but I heard the OU signature tune. That 'ear worm' may take a while to extract.

I'm now in the town, ten minutes from the campus, but ostensibly in the country. Milton Keynes defies the logic of a city that has grown up organically; MCK has been planted, every 35 acres or so grows a different architect's idea of what a community should be. I think Prince Charles should have been given a shot.

I'm staying in a house with FIVE OU students, all doing Dphils in various departments. I spoke to my wife earlier and said I felt like I'd just joined a team that would be competing in University Challenge (I suppose we could).

With all this brain power in the building I won't have any excuses if I need to discuss an idea; I'm sure they'll have answers. Is that allowed? Suddenly instead of distance learning I'll be learning at close proximity.

MAODE and H800 hasn't been forgotten.

Though I have been without a computer for 48 hours. I got to the point where I felt a desire to keep a journal on paper. Not that I blog like that any more, the obsessive who must post an entry every day. We did that in 2000/2001 to be the first or the first few to do so. I probably got most of three years down then let it drift. Better to write when you have something to say. My ride up the M23 around the M25 and up the M1 at 45mph (roadworks/density of traffic) gave me a chance to get through two chapters of Chris Pegler's book on Blended learning. I set the Kindle to read and wore headphones. The quirkiness of the reader means that I remember best of all the words it found hard to pronounced The intonation was all wrong for repurpose, for example, and Moodle came out like a sneeze.

I listened to Catherine Valente reading her latest book. We met online and blogged constantly to each-other from 2001-2005. Hearing her read gently through her book while glancing at the text from time to time made me wonder if some of the authors of the books we are reading for the MAODE couldn't be persuaded to do the same. It is an engaging way to be taken through the text.

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H800: 47 H800 Week 8/9 Activity 7 Cloudworks 'Swim lanes' for learning design,

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 14:23

It is one thing to contribute to a flash debate, it is quite another to embrace the Cloudworks platform.

There is only one way to test the water, and that is to get in. We talk of 'swim lanes' for learning design, I like every platform, every social network, business network or here, educational network, to be a visit to another pool, a lido, indoor or out, leisure pool or training pool.

They need to know who you are, you have to sign in. Then you have to change, get in, and give it a go.

So I am for the umpteenth time adding a profile picture and a profile, tagging, finding favourites debates and linking to people.

It all takes time.

Online you control time. Intensive engagement might move things along ... on the other hand, it may irritate those who've been here a while.

It should take time.

Find the rhymn of the place, observe when and where there is a buzz. Identifiy the 'champions,' come in on the periphery, pick up a thread, join in tentatively, give it a go here and there.

I make a contribution to a Flash Debate on the futre and threats to universities

Universities will flourish as they become part of the mainstream and engaged with the world, rather than distinct from it. Relationships with governments, industries, schools (for future students) and alumni (for past student) will develop and become continual, rather than passing. Student cohorts may look the same on the ground, but in the virtual world will be broader and deeper, technology and systems allowing a greater diversity. Not all institutions will have the ability, whether through lack of financing, the burden of their past and costs, to be flexible and change. The overall impact will be of an evolutionary change, though for some it will be a fight for survival.

BRANDING

Established, motivated, well-supported and well known colleges and institutions, where there is strength as a brand, as well as financially, in their governing body and from alumni will thrive. They can afford to exploit the changing circumstances (and they can’t afford not to). Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol, UCL and the OU are not about to go under. On the other hand, new, complacent, poorly supported, little known educational institutions where the sources of income and grants may be narrow or uncertain, with weak leadership and ill-established (or disloyal) alumni will fail.

BUSINESS

The opportunities to flourish are extraordinary; the global demand for tertiary education with tens of millions of people from Asia, for example, seeking higher education over the next decade means that there is a growing and hungry market if you have the right ‘product.’ Education is a business, whether the model is that students are educated for free or pay part of the fees, cash flow matters. Retailing has been in constant flux, from the high street to out of town shopping, with national and international brands dominating, and then online shopping cornering certain markets, from books to electronic goods. Retailers have had to change the mix, where they locate and what they sell. Universities are less agile and less prone to the vicissitudes of short-term purchasing decisions, but the impact on them of new technologies is no less profound. Negotiating their way through this will require skill, the most vulnerable institutions will fail.

QUALIFICATIONS

Letters after your name differentiate you from other candidates for a job or promotion. Where there are many applicants for the same position where you studied, indeed, who you studied with, will matter. It helps to study under the best in your field. It depends entirely on where you wish or plan to go afterwards, where and if a position or job requires a certain qualification, and if a qualification from one or another institution has greater perceived or actual value. However, as those with experience of the job market will tell you, it is how what you have been taught is applied and how you relate to other people, that will determine your success.

CAMPUS BASED vs DISTANCE LEARNING

Technology is blending the two: increasingly students are opting for this, to be campus-based, but to take advantage of the technology to better manage their time or support their learning. Far from being the death-knell of the traditional university, new technologies will assist in their finding ways to develop and support a broader and deeper student body. Participation and collaboration, socialising away from the screen, is a vital component of the university experience for those coming out of secondary education – the demands and expectations of a mature student are very different. How people get on, how they work together, is a vital lesson that a campus based university offers. Whilst increasingly our online experiences are as ‘real’ as everything else we do, it is how and if we can work as a team that will decide how we progress. The student experiencing this will better know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and suitability for different career paths.

CHANGE

Like retailers, manufacturers, broadcasters, publishers and the post office, we are in a period of significant change, new technology was already having an impact, the economic down turn has aggravated this, obliging some forcing other institutions to act. How this change is managed will decide who survives and who struggles on. There is a fine line to tread between innovating early, or too late, changing wholesale or piecemeal. The wise institution not only spreads its risk, but also casts its opportunism just as wide as spreading your bets covers you in a world where nobody knows what will work or not. Libraries, one of the draws to a campus-based university, cannot be as influential as hundreds of millions of texts become instantly available in digital form. Senior lecturers and researchers should be employed for their ability to communicate, support and rally students around them, not simply because of the paper they are working on. Students will demand more if they feel it is the cash in their pocket that is buying what the institutions offers. Errors, failings and shortcomings of a person, a module or course, can be spread through online reviews and will decide their fate. New blends of courses will invent themselves where a student feels able, supported through e-learning, to cherry pick, even to study simultaneously quite different subjects. Cohorts, if on the ground still that 17-23 year old age group, will become far more diverse, with groupings formed by mutual interest in a subject. Life-long learning, already apparent in some professions, will become more common place as people recognise the need to refresh their understanding of some topics, while gaining new skills and additional insights.

Am I responding to a thread, or like the second or third speaker at an Oxford Union Debating Society getting up to say my piece?

And if I sit on the fence, what kind of debate is that?

We should be obliged to take sides, THAT would be a debate, otherwise it is a conversation, another online tutorial.

Thus far Cloudworks is like a new swimming pool, refreshing and full of opportunity. To thrive, let alone survive, it needs people coming down to swim, to jump in, to train, to meet ...

And once you have your regulars, keep them coming back.

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H800: 46 The card-based Hybrid Learning Model and a card-based Tool Kit for writers.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:21

H800%20Wk8%20HLM%20GRAB.JPG

From HLM Flash DemoVideo player: Flash Demo

For someone who does NOT have a formal teaching background this for me is the first time in 13 months that I have something practical that is based in learning, not 'e-learning' that I feel can apply immediately to any learning context: instructing sailing, teaching swimming, advising on digital marketing, supporting a team making a short film ... and especially thinking of ways to occupy children who are now on a three week holiday.

Blogspot from conference presentation of HLM

Institutional e-learning services

HLM Grid

I found this exercise extraordinarily useful. In the space of an hour I felt I assembled the makings of a series of activities, a module that might take place over a weekend, or a week or two. Thinking of this as learning first, and e-learning second helped.

I decided on creating a course on 'marketing to the social web.'

I've always fallen back on system, surveys and so on. A set of questions, in this case cards, that you can mix about, sets the process up. A similar end result might be achieved in different ways, but here, falling back on the cards and working with these options helps you to get something down. Indeed, having the cards makes you appreciate at every stage you could approach it differently. It would highlight any repetitive approach, something some online educators are guilty of i.e. a course where every activity is a person talking to camera with a transcript of what they say. And no better than the weekly lecture and reading list which was almost my entire three year undergraduate experience.

The graphics worry me. I do think there is value in engaging the best graphic designer for things like this, to come up with something universal. I wonder how some learners would interpret a class that involved the use of flash cards with coloured in cartoons on them. Given the ability of the www to offer choices I'd give users a choice of a dozen alternative images for each activity.

As I'm looking at various courses on digital marketing I'll see how I can add to this.

Activity/Task –Objective

Learning Event

Teacher’s Role

Learner’s Role

Resources

Tools (inc. Technologies)

Other comments

Survey on current awareness of advertising/marketing in social networks

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

24 hours of Google Alerts, Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin.

EXPLORES

Coach

Research

WWW

Min six people sharing task to cover entire 24 hour period.

Write in a blog, microblog. As text from the spoken word. Writing within parameters, not just Twitter’s 140 characters, but other word counts.

IMITATES

Perform

Apply

Perform

Reflect

WWW

Twitter

Wordpress

LiveJournal

Blogger

Writers & Artists Handbook.

Voice Recognition Software

Touch Typing Software

Trying to develop a fluid, immediate, even ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to writing.

Image only in a blog.

CREATES

Coach

Create

WWW

Flickr

Tumblr

Facebook

Digital Camera

Mobile Phone

Webcam

Comment on blogs, join in forum discussion .

EXPERIMENTERS

Explain

Practice

WWW

Blogging for Dummies.

Letters to the editor. Letters.

RSS

Within the group and beyond

Add sound to a blog … voice, music, live (Skype) and broadcast (podcast).

PRACTICES

Coach

Perform

WWW

Podbean

Headset

Microphone

Group

Measure

RECEIVES

Apply

Questions

WWW

Analytics

Neilsen

Research companies

Tools

Technorati

Google Analytics

Buzzmetrics

Group

Promote (PR, advertising, marketing)

EXPERIMENT

Perform

Explains

Explore

Perform

WWW

Viral Video

Event

D&AD DVD

Mobile platforms

DVD player

Group

Survey on final awareness of advertising/marketing in/to social networks.

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

 

The Writer's Tool Kit

All these cards had me thinking of  a writer's tool kit, 'The Observation Deck' by Naomi Epel. In that period where I wrote fiction all day I often dipped into this, simply to keep me going. In pratise it is far more useful for someone who blogs all the time as it triggers a line of thought.

DSC01578.JPG

If you're running a creative writing course this IS your learning design done; each week take a different card from the box and do.

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H800: 47 Cloudworks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 15:04

Cloudworks%20Grainne%20Conole%20GRAB.JPG

Grainne Connole is  the 'star turn' in Cloudworks. She is Oprah. This is a channel, a network, a show. To stand out, let alone to be attractive to users, it requires this kind of 'ownership.'

This 'online filing system' is weak because of how it is presented NOT for what it does and can do.

It has the potential to be a social educational campus/network. The key is to overlay ALL assets with an image of the person who composed the material, i.e. the entry into the content is the person or if not an image, then at least the opportunity to add a 'book cover/sleave' i.e. something visual, relevant to the content, personal and engaging.

Facebook has the right balance between form and functionalty. There is a caareful balance of  personalisation and prescribed layout/design. (Like a good TV channel, you know where you are when you're in Facebook).

Often I see ideas screaming out for the input of a designer

Here I mean a visualiser, an art director kind of designer, someone who can take the excellent functionality, the problem solving, engaging, satisfying programming/sites - and add some feeling.

We are emotional beings, we respond and are motivated for subjective reasons. We chose one thing over another because we 'like' it, not necessarily because it is better than another product or service.

In time it won't just be an art director that is required, you'll need a producer

... someone who can run the 'channel' as a living entity, as a live-show, that will include video. Am I describing the librarian of the 21st century, an 'asset manager' who is not working in the City of London?

If you give the new bubbl.us a go I promise that some of the things it does, and how it looks, makes it a joy. Every time you create a new node or bubble it automatically offers a different, though matching, graded shade of the previous colour.

(Six months ago it was more child-like - you deleted a bubble you didn't want and it bursts into flames!  Now they fade away like mist on a Spring morning).

There is a war going on out there.

Make yourself attractive. People haven't time to compare sites, they'll just run with what looks right and if it delivers they'll stick with it.

See Visualising the Learning Design Process, A. J. Brasher, below.

See Information is Beautiful, David McCandless.

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Blog, e-portfolio, wiki, cloudworks ... tutor and module forums

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 07:46

I need them all roled into one. When it comes to a blog/e-portfolio I have to wonder if this is not it - pretty much.

I can deposit documents here as well as anywhere else, but keep the page private.

Following the activities if fellow MAODErs on H807, which I did a year ago, is refreshing. Do this for a couple of years and I can keep the topic and its lesson's fresh. I can also follow H809 which I would have liked to have done. Indeed, might the OU call it a MA* if you do additional modules beyond those required for the MA?

As I prepare to up sticks, move town and job I'm hoping to compensate for some of the disruption by getting everything I may need online so that it can be accessed from anywhere.

I'm yet to break away from the OU e-portfolio My Stuff. It may be clunky, but it works and it is integrated. I've never been happy with Pebble Pad. Perhaps I just run with Dropbox? Picassa Dropbox has become indispensable. Rather than think about compressing images I take pics and grab frames/windows and post them here for later use and linking. With images feeding into several blogs and OU forums too I can't afford for this to be comprised ... or I'd lose any pics and diagrams that I've created.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Threads

The assumption is that we don't wish to interact in real time otherwise more tools would be provided to co-ordinate synchronous meetings. My experience is that with a little co-ordination such meetings are extraordinarily valuable, to motivate pressing on with the course, let alone to resolve issues or to share learning. With retention of students such an issue it surprises me that the OU isn't more proactive.

As a tutor do I hope that all my students will stay the course, or do I expect 40% to fall by the wayside?

We seem to be in denial of obvious means of getting in touch too: email, messaging, Skype.

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