OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

How to write scenes in fiction

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 May 2015, 11:06

Fig.1. My goal. To write scenes as fluidly as changing gear.

Goal: What does my central character want from this scene?

Conflict. Who is the conflict with?

Disaster. What is the disaster for this scene?

Fig.2. Common scene writing errors. From Bickman.  

I have characters, locations, events and situations in my head. For some characters the story runs for fifty years, most intense age 6 to 21. Armed with this editor's tool I can ruthless delete, rewrite or come up with fresh scenes that meet the above criteria. It fits the pattern I want in my head of a story with momentum - that could be made into a linear drama for TV or film. I particularly recognise the need to ask repeatedly 'what is the disaster?' to conclude a scene. I related to this from a career in writing persuasive copy and videos where you repeatedly ask, then ask again 'what is the problem?" The first answer is usually weak, though compelling ... more likely the ninth or tenth idea will fit the brief.

 Fig.3. Elements of Fiction Writing

I continue to read, note and try ideas from Jack M. Bickham's book 'Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene & Structure.' I continue with the Open University course on FutureLearn 'Start Writing Fiction', as well as content on Open Learn of the same title.   

I also contribute to a LinkedIn group and Facebook pages on 'Start Writing Fiction' while writing in my own blog 'Start Writing Fiction.'

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Sharon Hartles, Wednesday, 20 May 2015, 16:59)
Share post
Design Museum

What would Steve Jobs have done with e-learning? Other than calling it iLearning?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014, 13:21

Martin Bean, OU Vice Chancellor: We are at the Napster moment in Higher Education

Martin Bean Key Note - notes from the 2012 HEA conference.

If there is a transcript please let me know!

I took a couple of hours as part of H818:The networked practitioner to follow this presentation closely. It makes you proud to be an OU student, or in my case now, an OU Graduate. Our Vice Chancellor, better perhaps than any other, has an inspired and informed, and often witty outlook on the future of education.

He makes the point that technology in education has everything to do with brain-ware, not software,. that 'we thought our job was done when we got people plugged in'.

He calls for educators in tertiary education to 'do the right thing by our student'

Technology is the enabler - it still requires great teaching.

He is at pains to point out that our approach to education is stuck in the past, that it is NOT about rote learning to regurgitate in an exam, but helping students make sense of the information available to them.

He is HIGHLY critical of research students who rely on the top 15 hits in Google Search and Wikipedia.

His handle on the current student is insightful. He makes the point that 'they want to blend their digital lifestyles with their learning - rather they would say it is 'just the way they live'.

We need to create a trusting environment where the student can challenge the information. 

There needs to be deconstruction and reconstruction of the pedagogy to make it more relevant

He calls for the 'sage on the stage to coach on the side'.

Our National Surveys say that our students want to spend time with us.

This human component is crucial for success and retention.

Martin Bean asks, 'what would Steve Jobs do?'

  • People and process remain more important than the technology
  • What the OU does: relevant, personalised, engaging learning.

How do we inspire people in those informal moments?

The OU are lucky and unique to be able to work with the BBC on productions like the Frozen Planet ...

  • YouTube as an open education repository
  • iTunes - 1:33 come in to find out more
  • Apple authoring tools

The value and opportunity of mobile

  • Akash - a tablet in India running on Android for under £50, so cheaper to give students one of these and access to the Internet than buy academic books.
  • 400 eBooks. e.g. Schubert's poems, listening to music, seeing the manuscript, reading annotations then looking at the original handwritten manuscript ...

How do we as educators do what we do so well?

  • MOOCs - engagement of hundreds of thousands, if not millions in meaningful ways.
  • More than anything esle technology creates access

We are at the Napster moment in Higher Education

See the Hewlett Foundation website for the scale of OERs. 12,000 hours of OU Open Learn for example.
Nurturing powerful communities of learning

  • Break the content down into shorter milestones
  • Qualifications with market currency
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

H817 Open Activity 8: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Jun 2013, 07:40

H817 Open Activity 8

ACTIVITY: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Often the messiest and most problematic of tasks prove to be the most revealing.

Thinking of a group of swimming teachers as participants in some Open Learning was a challenge as some would never have used a computer at all. I thought of another group, nursery nurses and even contemplated going on to undergraduate medical students or junior doctors so that I could imagine working with a digital literate group but then returned to the challenge of introducing those with no experience of computers at all.

Do you try to teach someone to swim butterfly when they cannot swim? Can a swimming teacher learn anything if they don’t have access to a swimming pool? This is what it felt like - clearly OER is never suitable for everyone - the learning outcomes must come first, then how to deliver these in a way that suits the participants. There’s a saying in advertising, ‘preach to the converted’ i.e. you are selling goods and services to people who want them anyway. The easiest ‘sell’ would be to create a course on digital skills for those who are just coming online and are eager to acquire the skills, rather than a group that includes those who have no digital skills and are even belligerent or disinclined to take any interest.

Coming from Learning & Development we have sometimes been expected to ‘shoehorn’ other people’s content, or the client’s old content, into the production. We decline. We will use the material to inform the production process only. There is a reason, for narrative and continuity why I still feel that creating your own bespoke content is often a better alternative, otherwise there can be discontinuity, the need for writing in caveats, or simply reversioning as participants take a negative view of the smallest of things - say US English used instead of UK English.

Week

Topic

Resources

Suitability (G/M/B)

1

INTRODUCTION

to the Web and digital skills

Learning on the go

Mobile devices

Just in time or applied resources and tools.

Websites and social media

Twitter, Facebook … WordPress

Wikis

Keyboard Basics

6 Learning Methods Every Teacher Should Have

Internet Basic (UK GOV)

Using the Web (BBC Webwise)

M

M

M

G

2

SEARCH

Find a variety of content on MSM Website related to schedules, programmes, events, Swim21, contacts and compliance

Download and open PDF files.

Login and add personal details

Searching: Making the most of being online (BBC Webwise)

Searching the Internet (UK GOV)

Mid Sussex Marlins

Locate Swim21, download the Code of Ethics PDF, email the Swim21 Officer to say that you agree to abide by these guidelines.

G

M

3

VIEW

Select a video on swimming  technique from the Breakwater Swimming Website and note tips you would use in a training or teaching session.

Breakwater Swimming Training

M

4

PARTICIPATE

Register with IoS

Online Forms

Navigate/Search Function

Find and do a 1 hour free CPD of your choices

Multiple-choice

Audio/View

Rate/Comment

Register with the Institute of Swimming

Do a Free Continual Professional Development (CPD) refreshed - 1 hour

Working and Learning in Sports and Fitness

Open Learn, The OU

Track 6

How to develop reflective skills and improve leadership techniques. Part of The OU course E113 Working and learning in sport and fitness.

G

5

CREATE

Register withe blog host

Create a journal entry on a session and reflect

ELABORATE

Find and comment on other club and personal blogs

Create and load video

Legalese

Starting a new Web Site

Blogging, a tool used to reflect and learn

Be Secure Online (UK Gov)

How to avoid online fraud

Twitter Users.  A Guide to the Law (BBC Webwise)

B

B

G

G

 

REFLECTION

It was recently announced that a company had created a connector or ‘brick’ that allows those playing with either Lego bricks or Konnex to connect to two. It strikes me that OER requires some conformity in the creation of the learning resource in the first place to allow such bonds and that templates or connectors are required too. However, even if the learning resource is an idea expressed as a doodle with some text or a series of annotated diagrams from a whiteboard that are photographer and put online I believe this is far preferable to shoehorning another’s ideas into your learning design. Can you construct a new short story by lifting paragraphs from others? Can you construct original Shakespeare by mashing up lines from different monologues? Can you create a coherent painting by grabbing elements from a number of masters? This isn’t the same as the remixing musicians do, or is it? This isn’t the same as taking a cooking recipe and changing some of the ingredients - it is about the quality, truth, conviction, coherence and flow of a persuasive narrative.

My greatest challenge is the nature of the intended audience, whilst ‘Swimming Teachers and Coaches’ is one way to define them, for most this is a volunteer role for an hour or so a week, for a few more a modest part-time and paid role for perhaps 6 to 8 hours and only part-time and professional for 3 or 4 - say 12-16, sometimes 22 hours a week. They are a disparate group too - from airline pilots and Doctors, to a retired postman and an assistant in Waitrose who left school with no qualifications and now understand that they have Dyslexia. One is doing an MA in Sports Science online, another gets his wife to receive and send emails - yet another her husband. This spectrum of digitally literate ‘residents’ to the ‘occasional visitor’ even the non-user - and in some cases belligerently ante-Internet means that to reach this group requires more group workshops, face to face applied ‘poolside on the job’ and hand-outs. Content online needs to be printable so that if necessary intermediaries can print off in specific fonts onto coloured paper for those with Dyslexia. Content in the post, the traditionally distance learning approach would be favoured by some.

PROBLEMS

Links no longer valid or content removed, sometimes for declared copyright issues, such as here. Not having adequate input into the bespoke construction of the content in the first place, and then the possibility that the content may be removed is a problem.

Several hours too late I gave up on the depositories. I have always found UK Gov websites very easy and clear, say for calculating and paying tax, or getting a Road Licence for the car. With the drive to have everyone on Universal Credit using the web - those in the community who are most likely also to have no or poor digital literacy skills or access, I wondered what training and support UK GOV offered. I was delighted with the ‘We Make Getting Online Easier’ website and feel that it would support those for whom using the Internet would be a struggle - how and where they get online is another matter if they don’t have an Internet connection at home, or a Smartphone. For continuity reasons I may then use this website through-out with the only venture away to look at YouTube ‘How to ...’ videos relating to swimming teaching and coaching. I then checked the BBC and for UK residents found the BBC WebWise resources perfect. Start on the home page, run through the content bit by bit over the weeks.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

H817open MOOCs to get lost

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014, 12:58

 

'If you're not lost and confused in a MOOC you are probably doing something wrong'. Martin Weller (18:45 25th March 2013)

 

A terrific webinar hosted by Martin Weller with George Seimens speaking. Link to the recorded event and my notes to follow.

 

I took away some key reasons why OER has a future:

 

1) Hype between terrifying and absurd.

2) State reduction in funding will see a private sector rise.

3) Increase in rest of world's desire for HE OER

4) Certificates growing.

5) The Gap

6) Accelerating time to completion

7) Credit and recognition for students who go to the trouble to gain the competencies.

8) Granular learning competencies and the gradual learning and badging to stitch together competencies.

 

‘MOOCs indicate that we are seeing a complexification of wishes and needs’ - so we need a multispectrum view of what universities do in society. George Seimens, (18:51 25th March 2013).

 

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Communismization of knowledge

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 22 Mar 2013, 06:54

The penny just dropped ... what's all this fretting about process for? Have we all forgotten the purpose of research???? Not to get the process right, but to get answers to problems, to find better ways, to understand and share what is going on so that we can act, or not act on it?

I'm doing the H817open MOOC so my head is spilling out in various directions trying to define what 'open' is all about. It isn't even the democratisation of education and knowledge either, it is the Tim Berners-Lee rather than the Google approach to knowledge - give it away for free, it is 'communismization' - which is a word, however horrible it sounds, I just looked it up.

This moves me onto dwelling on Creative Commons.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

H817 Visualizing Open Learning

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 23 Oct 2014, 07:17
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. This IMHO is what learning has become in the 21st century - and how it got there

There's more going on here than you may realise!

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. Traditional top down learning

Two triangles, one above the other and linked with a downward arrow suggests traditional top down learning ... or simply knowledge transfer from someone who knows something to someone who does not.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 3 By someone's side

Two triangles, one facing the other, may represent a shift towards collaborative or horizontal learning in a formal setting, though for me it represents the learning you do away from the institution - with friends, with family 'on the same level' as it were.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 4. Participatory and situated, networked learning on the periphery

From E-Learning V

Fig.5 The thinking starts with Vigotsky and his research into behaviourist learning

It then progressed to the study and analysis of learning in communities

From E-Learning V

Fig. 6. Activity Theory as conceived of and developed by Yrjo Engeström. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.7 The interplay between two entities or communities coming together to solve a problem and thus producing something unique to them both (object 3) - a fresh idea.

From E-Learning V

Fig.8. Activity Theory re-connected - breaking out

Though developed over some thirty years the structure of 'Activity Theory' as a model is breaking down because of the quality, speed and way in which we now connect overrides barriers and invades silos making communication more direct and immediate.

From E-Learning V

 Fig. 9 Activity Theory in a connected world

Everyone and everything is just a click away.

From E-Learning V

Fig.10 Visualizing the maelström of original ideas generated by people sharing their thoughts and ideas as they form

The maelström of new ideas where people and groups collide and interact. Historically this had been in grounded 'communities of practice', whether a London coffee shop or the senior common room of a prestigious university, the lab, the studio, the rehearsal room ... today some gatherings online are frequent, enabled by the Internet and no less vibrant as like-minds and joiners contribute to the generation of new ideas. 

This, drawing on Engestrom via Vygotsky, might be a more academic expression of Open Learning. Here a host of systems, expressed in model form, interpose their drive to achieve certain objectives into the common whole. That mess in the middle is the creation of the collective powers and inputs of individuals, groups, departments or institutions. The Open bit are the connections between any node in one system, and any other node from any othe one of the systems ... which blows apart the actions within a single system, making them more open, though not random. 

From E-Learning V

Fig. 11 It's going on inside your head.

fMRI scans reveal the complex way in which ideas form and memories are recalled and mixed-up, challenged and re-imagined. We are our very own 'community of practice' of conflicting and shared viewpoints. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.11. Perceiving brain activity as the interplay between distinct, interacting zones

From E-Learning V

Fig. 12 Ideas enter your system, your brain and are given a fresh spin

From E-Learning V

Fig.13 Ideas coalesce until you reach a point of understanding. The penny doesn't so much as 'drop' as to form.

Where would we be without one of these. 98 billion neurons. A uniquely connected mass of opportunity and potential. This is where, of course, memories are formed and thoughts had. Increasingly we are able to share ideas and thoughts as we have them, typically through the tips of our fingers by sharing our thinking online, especially where it comes to the attention of like-minds, and troubled-minds - anyone in fact or strongly agrees or strongly disagrees enough to contribute by adding their thinking and revealing their presence.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

H817 Open Learn

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013, 06:38

Few people know what they are doing with PowerPoint they produce a set of cards or stepping stones, then gives these out as hand-outs.

But where is the narrative, the building of the argument of the nuanced slowing down or speeding up to change emphasis - let alone the question from the floor, or the adhoc additional thought.

Visuals in a presentation should compliment what is said - one would be far weaker without the other.

Very, very rarely when I have attended a conference or lecture I have received a handout that is, give or take (though the presenter didn't read from it), the notes they used to talk the audience through the images.

When someone says 'there is a handout' and provides copies of the slides that is ridiculous.

It is like being in a train looking out of the window while someone is talking to you - you want want they said,not what you were looking at.

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

I had a dream ... and I blame the Open University

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 15:06

Fig. 1. A mash-up in Picasa of a 3D laser generated image generated at the Design Museum during their 'Digital Crystal' exhibition.

The image exists and is transformed by the presence of the observer in front of a Kinex device making this a one-off and an expression or interpretation of that exact moment.

'Working with dreams' and 'Keeping a dream journal' are taught creative problem solving techniques at the Open University Business School. I did B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' in 2012 (Henry et al 2010). I have the problem solving toolkit. I even got a hardback copy of VanGundy's book on creative problem solving.

Using your unconscious isn't difficult. Just go to bed early with a 'work' related book and be prepared to write it down when you stir.

I woke soon after 4.00am.

I'd nodded off between 9.30 and 11.30 so feel I've had my sleep.

Virtual bodies for first year medical students to work on, an automated mash-up of your 'lifelog' to stimulate new thinking and the traditional class, lecture and university as a hub for millions - for every student you have in a lecture hall you have 1000 online.

Making it happen is another matter.

I'm writing letters and with far greater consideration working on a topic or too for research.

"Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day." — C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

  • Enter the dream
  • Study the dream
  • Become the images
  • Integrate the viewpoints
  • Rework the dream

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging

REFERENCE

Glouberman, D. (1989) Life Choices and Life Changes Through Imagework, London, Unwin, pp. 232-6

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs. Little Brown.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.

 

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 12:05)
Share post
Design Museum

How The OU uses narrative in e-learning - to get your attention and to make knowledge palatable and memorable

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012, 09:00

20121015-085952.jpg

All links here : http://www.youtube.com/course?list=EChQpDGfX5e7DDGEQvLonjDQsbclAF2N-t

The brilliance of the OU team two years ago produced the 'History of English in Ten minutes' - here we go again with ten one minute long animated vignettes on the great ideas and great thinkers of economists.

Had I seen this as a 17 year old perhaps I would have stuck with a subject that I dropped after a couple of months in favour of History. I like narrative and personalities, indeed storytelling in the form of a biography is an excellent way into a subject - you relate to the person in the story and you get an easy and appealing introduction to the topic.

Getting this right takes skill - a clear brief, excellent script, high production values (artist, animators, voice over) throughout, and of course a budget that makes it possible and an excellent team of prodcers, writers, sound engineers, editors and programmers.

A minute at the top of a piece of e-learning isn't too much to ask is it? It not only attracts interest, but I suggest it helps with retention and enhances the learning experience too.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Sunday 12th September 2010

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 14 Sep 2010, 14:54

Some of the software I am trying to get my head around:

  • Outllook
  • Zoho
  • Compendium
  • Learning Clubs
  • Word (2002-2010)
  • Skype
  • Google Docs
  • Mahara
  • Peeblepad

COMPENDIUM 09.15 12th SEPT 2010

Having created the contents for a map inside my home page I cannot figure out how to save it or to create another map. Listing through the movie, or screencast, or animation, or whatever you want to call it, I pick up, at last on the concept of a map being like a folder so by typing M I get a map (or folder) in which to build my content. Of course at first I do not simply type m, I type CTRL 'm' as I expect it to function in this way. Wrong, just type the letter 'm'. So, one step forward, three steps back, four steps forward and I get theresad

With a Map open, it being a folder, I hazzard a guess that my first experimental Knowledge Map can, through drop and drag go into this Mapfolder. Wrong. No probs. I spent 30 mins thinking it through, I can delete it all and start afresh and do a better job of it second time round. Just as well this isn't a real job.

Things need to be called what they do or are. When is a folder not a folder? When its a map. But it isn't a map, it's an electronic flip chart, or organiser, or plannogramme. It isn't a map in the Ordance Survey sense of the word. Though is it a Mind Map. (Didn't someone try to trademark the term?)

I press on.

I do expect this. Learn a bit. Have a bit of a go. Delete. Try again.

I take the project I developed in H807 and type in the 'Learning Problem' and put this at the core of building a response, not the assignment, but the way forward to seek financing, assemble a team, budget, schedule and then produce a piece of e-learning.

I rock 'n roll between the Knowledge Map I am constructing and the instruction in the Screencast Movie. I have seen that there are several of these, so will inch forward taking instruction, giving it a go, and hopefully producing something of use by the end of it. The test will be to send it to a.n.other for their input.

Making a Start. The second time.

  • Type M to start a folder/file thingey
  • Stuff includes:
  • Pro Nodes and Con Nodes
  • 'Populating' nodes with uploads, links and type notes/lists.
  • Questions
  • Ideas
  • Arguments
  • Linking ideas
  • Connecting up 'fragments' or 'ideas' (stuff, or assets, or nuggets)
  • Bringing in ideas (from folder and files, various types/formats)

 (As I'm in the process of migrating folder from my ancient iBook to a second hand PC laptop the 'assets' I might attach/enclose at this time aren't available. This 'dual existance' on MAC and PC can be resolve by using another e-learning tool - clouds. These assets, strategically chosen and appropriately protected, out to be online. Like I guess several hundred photographs that are currently 'shared' between Kodak Eashare (new version) and Flickr ... as well as Face Book.)

COMPENDIUM 11.45 12th SEPT 2010

Already feel I am creating a Map in Compendium that collates my thinking to date in a single page of links rather than a 2,000 proposal or a Power Point Presentation.

My immediate dilemma is starting to realise how Compendium could be used for several other projects that became hopeless tangled over the last decade. These are speculative writing and TV or film production projects. For instance, 'The Watersprites' is a photojournal that in part tells the story as well as identifying intended locations for shooting. It is also a shortfilm on YouTube. It is also a synopsis, more than one treatment, a handful of characters and a few too many scripts that would benefit greatly from this approach. I can see that by being reminded visually of where a project is going, parameters are set and a logical outcome is more likely.

Knowledge Mapping contains the fireworks and permits them.

  • Assigning tags
  • 'Harvesting' tags from one map or many
  • with a nod to Mac users (probably the presenters prefered platform)
  • But how to save? Can I assume this map will still be there when I come back?

I like the way a problem or tentative proposal can be thought through and shared without it needing to become what may on appearanve read like or look like a finished document.

COMPENDIUM 15.30 12th SEPT 2010 Part Two

I needed the break. The fact that I am playing more with the Knowledge Map I have created rather that listening to more 'how to movies ...' is a positive sign. The fact that I have pulled out a set of A1 card and laminated overlays of a presentation I gave a fw weeks ago ... is a positive step. I think I can create electronic, digitally enhanced versions of these on Compendium, the 'retro-fit' part of the learning process, but the end result something I can then share with colleagues.

I think with these A1 sheets I will photgraph them (far too large to scan) then create an overlay in Adobe Photoshop which in turn will be one of a series of slides in Power Point.

These in turn will be linked and expanded with Compendium so that at each step furthe information can be drawn upon. This is a five year/six year plan so we'll be coming back to it repeatedly using it to guide decissions as well as to provide evidence. (This is swimming, our National Governing Body, the ASA want all clubs to achieve then retain a national standard for best practice. We hold three accreditations and are aspiring to a fourth).

Tidying up a Knowledge Map with an 'arrange.'

With my example 'control R' turned an organic, flowing chart of links into a hideous 1960s string art thing that didn't read well at all. In other cases it doe work well, it depends rather on how well developed your thinking is. 

Organising the world the way you think about it

I like the sound of this ... which is good if you want to create something original (which I do), but is somewhat harder if you are trying to conform, i.e. to follow a pattern expected by others (for examples in an assessment). Even a Hollywood Movie ... there are certain prescribed patterns and expectations.

 

Permalink Add your comment
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: 5312173