OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Accidental exposure

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Mar 2014, 07:35

Alerted to the nature of being 'open' and online you'd think someone who has been doing this kind of thing since 1999 would know better.

Taking part in a Google Hangout on Monday with educators in Australia and being away from home I decided to give it a go on the iPad. The awkward thing here is that you can't open a second screen ... and as I eventually discovered you can inadvertently flip the camera.

I decided to sit in one corner of the guest bedroom with the back of the chair and corner of the room as a back drop - what I didn't realise is that somehow, when swiping away from the Google Hangout screen I had flipped the camera so that everyone was now seeing the bed I'd climbed out of earlier that morning. At least it was 10.30am in the UK and 9.30pm in Melbourne - I had made the bed.

Towards the end of the session the assumption was that I'd left - actually I was holding the iPad very carefully as I didn't know, having lost the image, if they were seeing me, the top of my head or my lap, They could hear me perfectly well and they said they had wondered about the bed which rather explained the smirks on some of their faces ... 

I took the iPad to the bedroom window - not to throw it into the garden, but at least to give them something more than a view of the bed - pink blossom on an overgrown shrub looking into a wet garden in the Cotswolds. I find it striking that when a tractor went up the lane the moderator in Australia had to mute the sound - so instant. We can be and are so very much closer than we think courtesy of the Web, that you can be transported into a space so close to another person that it feels you are invading their privacy.

More care next time? Not bother? 

There are plenty of people who will have little to do with the Internet and plenty of others who reveal as little as possible. I'm just glad I hadn't taken the iPad into the bathroom - it does happen.

It was a discussion on creativity in education - one worth doing. I'm yet to look at the recording.

Back at my desk NO WEBCAM even attached, just as well, I'm eating breakfast, in pyjama's having crawled out of bed far, far, far too early in a drive to close down a 5,000 words EMA for H818: The Networked Practitioner. 

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Reflecting on H818: The Open Studio

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:06

I'm getting a sense of deja vu as the rhythm of this module reveals itself.

Openness comes with some caveats. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

As people we may change or behaviour in different environments.

I am not saying that we as individuals necessarily behave in the same way in an Open Studio online (a virtual studio no less) than we do or would in an open studio, as in a collective in a workshop or 'atelier' that is 'exposed' to fellow artists -  but is nonetheless human interaction with all the usual undercurrents.

What I believe will not work is to put a gaggle of creators in the same room and expect them to collaborate.

The studios of the 'open' type that I am aware of are either the classic Renaissance workshop with a master artist and apprentices at various stages of their own development, or,  with a similar dynamic in operation, the 'occupants' of the studio are exposed LESS to each other and more to external commentators and contributors and this requires some formality to it .i.e. not simply 'the person off the street' but an educator/moderator in their own right.

Is H818:The Networked Practitioner too dependent on chance?

The foibles of a small cohort and the complex, messy, moments 'we' are in. Three years of this and, by chance only, surely, six of  us in a subgroup jelled. More often the silence and inactivity of the majority makes 'group work' a myth - partnerships of two or three were more likely. The only exception I have come across in the 'real world' have been actors working together on an improvisation - they have been trained however to disassociate their natural behaviours.

Some of us study with the OU as we cringe at the 'exposure' of a course that requires us to meet in the flesh - distance learning suits, to some degree, the lone worker who prefers isolation.

By way of revealing contrast I am a mentor at the School of Communication Arts

Modest though pivotal role given their format and philosophy - exposure to many hundreds of kindred spirits who have been there ...  a sounding board and catalyst. NOT a contributor, but more an enabler. 

We'll see. My thinking is that to be effective, collaboration or exposure needs to have structure and formality in order to work.

At the Brighton Arts Festival the other evening I wonder how the 80 odd exhibitors would cope if the Corn Exchange was also their workshop?

In certain, vulnerable environments, the only comment should be praise. Feedback is invited from those who are trusted.

A school setting is different again, as is college ... people share the same space because they have to.

Open Studio apears to try to coral the feedback that comes anyway from a connected, popular and massive sites such as WordPress, Linkedin Groups, Facebook and even Amazon. Though the exposure, if you permit it, is tempered and negotiated - Facebook is gentle amongst family and friends, Linkedin is meterd and professional in a corporate way, Wordpress is homespun while Amazon, probably due to the smell of money can be catty - and in any case, the artefact is a doneddeal, it's not as if, to take a current example, Max Hastings is going to rewrite his book on the First World War because some in the academic community say that it is weak historicaly and strong on journalistic anecdote.

We'll see.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Exposure or participation?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:30

Glass%2520Skull%2520dreamstime_l_6494214.jpg

The idea of and value of 'exposure' has been debated since the early days of blogging.

I could call up entries from my blog in 2001/2002.

The feeling, amongst those of us who felt like blogging pioneers, was that by opening up we shared our common humanity and in many respects become less lonely souls as a result (not that I didn't need additional companionship being happily married to my soul mate with two small children at the time!). The press picked this up as scandalous and novel.

This kind of blog is a genre in its own right amongst the thousands of genres on 120 million + blogs.

I question any need for us learners to 'open up' in this respect. Indeed for most of the last module I 'hid'behind an image of an MRI scan (something I might return to). I see no need to reveal who I am, my face, age or gender. In this environment what counts (or can be discounted) are these words.

In terms of our relationship with the tutor, I would expect in a Summer School, or if attending the Oxbridge style one-to-one Tutorial, that a relationship could/might form.

Indeed, attending by father-in-law's 70th and then 80th and even his 85th I've been impressed by the 100s of former students who turn up. Some guy.

I don't think (their names already escape me) want me as a friend, or a friend for life ... though as a colleague for sure.

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

H800:8 Activity 2 Reflection on Day One, Week One!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:04

H800:8 Activity 2

Rather than a stiff, post-graduate and academic tone and choice of words I found the introduction to H800 engagingly informal and personable with everything covered: the practicalities as well as emotional response the task ahead. I find this a significant shift from H807 which had little introduction and was presented more like a piece of self-managed distance learning – you’ve signed up, here’s the door, enter and begin. I wonder if this is a sign that the OU is following the trend towards more informal learning practice?

I find it odd the way I now comprehend and relate to something that is said because I’ve experienced it, whereas before it would have registered simply as something I’m yet to do. All I’m talking about here is Elluminate or Skype, talking one to one or in a group to people whose personalities and interests you may only have some hint of from what they say and how they say it (and how often, and when). We reveal so much in our voices; our humour, mood, age, gender, where we grew up in our formative years (or not, which says something too). As someone who has for many years taken an interest in character and how it is revealed by these things I cannot help but think that I am taking part in some online improvisation.

By doing, we normalise it.

Speaking to people via the Internet is just a four/five or six-way conference call … with, synchronised computer diddling. The other week I met people I had only ‘met’ through the OU Blog which demystified and normalised the process (about time too). Blogging from 1999 it felt weird to find yourself hearing a person you’d spoken to for years, or to see them as they are rather than how you had them in your mind’s eye. Which in part explains my continued us of an MR scan rather than a mug shot (though there are plenty of these scattered through my OU blog). This was in part informed by some research on role play in online learning.

On reaching the end of H807 I felt I wanted to do it all again, that I’d missed a great deal, at times en missed the point.

On settling into H808 I found that what I needed to repeat was the way to work collaboratively online and to make some choice tools sing; this happened, so I got those parts of H807 I need over again. Entering H800 I look at any hint of repetition in a positive way, as a chance to pick it up again, engage a bit more, understand a bit more, perhaps even to take the initiative, and most certainly to guide or propose ways forward for others. The shocking thing is to feel that this is not the same person at the keyboard who was here a year ago. I have fire in my belly, a sensation that was my motivation in my teens, twenties and thirties. Where this will take me is another matter!

How people learn remains my fascination; the better I understand this, the better I will be able to apply it. This is primarily an intrinsic motivation – I find it extraordinarily rewarding to find ways to help people be the best that they can be, to create opportunities, to point them in the right direction or to offer support myself as a non expert tutor, or on a few topics as a subject matter expert myself. The short term reward is their progress; if I am paid to do this because I do it well, this is a bonus and would and in part does, allow me to be better, and more comfortable at it still. Even a roof over one’s head, food, the means to get around, the means to get online and bills paid is an achievement in the 21st century.

2) The MA is letters after my name (my second), so the cumulative benefit of the MAODE is the confidence, supported by the work undertaken to take on contracts, or to transition from agency work into working in-house.

My relationship to fellow students, as with a team in the real world, is far more one of contributing, sharing and experiencing this together.

Personal Development Planning came to the fore in H808; from this I recognise my need here to take the lead as someone who is on his third, not his first module. Already I hear myself thinking about how collaborative exercises have over the last 12 months either failed or succeeded. Someone has to take the lead, though this can and should be a ‘baton’ that is passed between those who during that period are most available to keep the kettle boiling, or the ball rolling to mix metaphors and trip myself up in the process!

I already use external blogs and forums extensively, something that has developed over the last 12 months.

I also feel that I participate actively online with a number of communities. Increasingly, as I would have hoped I am being proactive, setting up forum threads, leading interest in a community blog, even presenting potential projects to sponsors … and having a high profile job interview.

3) Therefore, the outcome for me in H800 is either to have a professional e-learning project financed and in production, or to be contributing to the learning and development needs of a global enterprise on contract or as an employee.

4) I hope I will start getting some of the IT basics right. To feel comfortable online with the fundamental tools of receiving and creating content.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Self-discipline & professionalism ...

Visible to anyone in the world

Whilst I can still get away with typing off the top of my head into a blog, this will not do when responding to messages or in a forum.

Sitting back, taking on board what is being discussed, doing my research then reflecting long & hard on a response will be a more productive way froward. I've taken some hints from the OU.

Personal entries in my decade old blog must also be forever locked.

Or removed. Having trawled through this 1.5 million word nonsense removing or changing names, there are still those who occasionally pop up in my life with an amused remark about the detail of their antics ten or twenty years ago. Much of this blog are transcripts & extended reviews & reminiscences of the 70s & 80s.

'Exposure' became my creed in 2001.

'Discretion' will be my approach from now on ... as it is so easy to google a person's name and find out all kinds of things that they may not want to know, that are blag & bluff in any case and could be detrimental to their career hopes (let alone their personal relationships).

Meanwhile, in a time consuming effort that needs to be addressed my sixth draft of the TMA01 is rocking back and forth between 1500 & 2350 words. I may just sit it like an exam and see if I can contain my ideas that way, addressing each in turn a set of points, six at most, that I feel need to be made

Oh to feel like a teen sitting exams again smile

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Value judgments, CBT, BPD & blogging

Visible to anyone in the world

As a child my late father labelled me as making too many 'value judgments.' It may have stuck. He was equally emphatic about the spelling of judgment, and the correct use of apostrophes.

This tendency to have an emotional response over the objective could compromise how I judge the work of others.

Being aware of this ought to help me to form opinions based on facts.

having some understanding of child psychology I also know that labels stick.

'Money burns a hole in your pocket' I was told and so I became this person ... or I had confirmation of who I was.

All this I am trying to change.

Tangentially to all of this, eight months of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that was first mooted in 2005, is gradually adjusting my thinking and responses. My habit is to speak first, then think later. The same applies to what I write, particularly in a blog, an environment in which I have written, as I please, when I please and how I please for a decade. CBT ought to be turning off the negative, making me less prone to lash out; so far, so good. Where I am conscious I still fail is the willingness to agree with everyone & say 'yes' to everything in order to please. Later I begin to regret the view I had taken or the decision I had taken. Too phrases I need to use often are, 'let me give that some thought ...' or 'that's interesting, let me get back to you ...'

I know that there are many kinds and forms of blog.

As 'entities' I wonder even if a 'blog' is a suitable term where this space has many different uses & expectations imposed on it. Online Journal, E.Text book, e.notes ... or the term I used, even registering the domain name in 2000 'The Contents of my Brain' or 'TCMB.' i.e. in goes everything, a decade ago with no readily available function to 'expose' all or to 'share' with a define audience or readership.

Where in lies the next issue. If a blog, like a log or a journal or a diary is written for and by one author then by its nature it is likely to be more honest if kept locked and private. As I know, a blog, like a diary, becomes a very different thing once it is published or in the case of the Internet, 'out there.' Think of Anais Nin and her Journals.

Blogs are not what they used to be.

In 1998 those who blogged might have been shipwrecked travellers on a small island - it didn't take long to suss each other out. Some wrote for the sake of it, others had something to say ... one or two were innovators, & creatives, HTML wizards who constantly played with the possible and what was then impossible.

Mummy has come along and made us put our toys away


Many would so this depth of 'reflection' is counter-productive. Others argued that a degree of 'exposure' is required in order to establish connectivity with like minds & the curious.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Tracy Bell, Tuesday, 9 Mar 2010, 10:05)
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5322770