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Forever gobsmacked by the quality and speed of research using the OU Library

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Nov 2014, 10:48
From First World War

From time to time I am faced with finding the most obscure of articles.

I came across something about the Ambulance Service using motorbikes during the First World War. I then saw a photograph of a motorbike with a sidecar with a set of platforms that would carry two stretchers. The arguments for the use of a motorcycle are made: lighter, quicker, tighter turning circle, use less fuel ...

A article is cited. The British Medical Journal, January 1915. A few minutes later via the Open University Online Library I locate and download the article.

It is the speed at which quality research can be fulfilled that thrills me. This article is satisfying in its own right, but glancing at the dozen or more articles on medical practices and lessons from the Front Line are remarkable. We are constantly saved from the detail of that conflict, the stories and issues regurgitated and revisited as historians read what previous historians said without going back to the original source.

This is how a new generation can come up with a fresh perspective on the First World War - instead of a handful of specialist academics burrowing in the paper archives now thousands, even tens of thousands can drill right down to the most pertinent, untampered with content. 

From First World War

Amazed. 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014, 17:56)
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What's that book?

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I know there's an OU library, and I can recommend Google Scholar too ... but there is a fallback position that works when these have failed. Believe it or not, Amazon.

Going on nothing more than 'Quoted in Mountcastle, 'On the Move' I track down the author John W Mountcastle and various books of his, including this one, on Amazon. I don't need to buy it, just reference it correctly unlike the author where I first found him.

A module could be written entirely around a set of books, ideally eBooks, available on Amazon. A canny college might prepurchase a dozen such books and preload them onto something like a Kindle 'Paperwhite' and give them to students. I'd buy it; the idea at least.

The University of Northumbria preloaded all the books for First Year Law Students course onto an iPad which they gave to students back in 2011.

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Oliver Thomas, Thursday, 25 Sep 2014, 06:59)
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What impact does alcohol have on the brain?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 14 Sep 2014, 08:36

Fig.1 Does alcohol have a permanent effect on the brain?

The answer is 'yes', though of course it is dependant on many variables: binge drinking is bad, like a blow to the head. This comprehensive heavy-weight article I Googled, 'Alcohol's Damaging Effects on the Brain' satisfies my initial curiosity, then the above shocking image catches my eye.

Dare I ask if we know any child who clearly showed such facial traits?

Far too late to do anything about it though.

After this paper like post from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism I eventually start looking to chase up a few references (the very best way to satisfy you curiosity and layer detail onto the ideas you are gathering) when I read that 'memory formation and retrieval are highly influenced by factors such as attention and motivation'.

From E-Learning V

This quote from Kensinger E A et al in the Journal of Neuroscience 2003. Title: What neural correlates underlie successful encoding and retrieval? Not Found in the OU Library so I cut and paste into Google Scholar and there it is to download as a PDF.

It is not surprising that scientific research shows (not speculation) that distraction diminishes attention and therefore retention, nor surprising that a low level distraction has less impact than a high one.

Does a teenager (or any of us) supposedly doing homework while

a) interacting on Facebook

b) answering text messages

c) streaming a movie and/or

d) playing a video game

... complete a task half as well than when focused?

Exam conditions aren't just best for exams:

turn off the radio and phone, shut the door, put up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign, give yourself a set period of time in which to concentrate ... and reward yourself at the end of it (not with alcohol though).

Why we all need a 'room of our own'? (Even if you have to wait until someone else vacates it).

Better an hour studying when motivated and focused, then three hours while streaming a movie, or answering email?

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My Personal Learning Environment: what is yours?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 01:11

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Fig 1. MY PLE

First Half 2012 (earlier PLEs in the blog here)

The blogs, Picasa, increasingly eBooks from Kindle on a Kindle and the iPad. Tweeted. This locates like-minds but also provides my notes in my Twitter feed. Google as ubiquitous as QWERTY. Facebook for social/family; Linkedin for work related groups, interests and contacts (e-learning, corporate communcations)

My OU Blog in the student environment and its mirror my external blog in wordpress IS a blog, learning journal, e-portfolio, forum and deposit. It can be a link to 'like-minds' too (and job opportunities)

I want an article I cut and paste the reference in Google.

If I can't have it I repeat this in the OU Library resource fist by title, then by author. I find I can, almost without exception, read whatever takes my interest. Brilliance for the curious and ever-hungry mind.

Increasinly I photo and screen grab everything, manipulate in Picasa then load online where I can file, further manipulate and share. A better e-portfolio and an e-portfolio as it is image based. My e-learning folder tops 350+ images.

When busy on an OU Module the 'OU Learning Environment expands to fill 1/3rd of the screen: the learning journey, resources, activities and student forums are my world for 6-9 months'.

In truth I need to video my activity and then do a time in motion audit. Tricky as I don't have a laptop or desktop anymore. All is done (most) on the move on an iPad or iPhone. I 'borrow' my son's desktop when he's at school or early mornings on my wife's laptop. Which explains why EVERYTHING is online, I could go to the library or an Internet cafe and work just as well.

'A university in my pocket'?

Michael%2520Young%2520IMAGE.JPG

Or 'a university in the clouds', literally as envisaged in the 1960s by Michael Young et al and featured on BBC Radio 4's 'The New Elizabethans' (in association with the Open University of course)

  • A pivotal role in the creation of the welfare state
  • Groundbreaking work as a social scientist in the East End
  • His creation of the Open University

P.S. Which reminds me: the Open University was devised for those with a fraction of the opportunities I have had so I need to treat it with huge respect.

JFV%252520PLE%25252028%252520JULY%2525202011.JPG

Fig 2. My PLE July 2011

A year on my choice of blogs has greatly reduced. I still access Diaryland as it has 1,700+ entries to draw upon from 1999 to 2006. StumbleUpon I still use and need to add to the current PLE. I don't go near Xing. I haven't indicated the digital tools, the hardware I use to access this (these) online resources.

But what's more important, the phone or the conversation?

Yes, I dip into Wikipedia but frequently I scroll down for alternative equally valid answers from the long established sources that have finally got themselves online. TED lectures I've missed out too. I must watch several a month.

I haven't add family and friends because where they are part of my world, increasingly online through Facebook, they are not directly part of my PLE.

However, it would be foolish to ignore the vital role family and the context of family, community and school play in learning.

FURTHER LINKS IN THIS BLOG ON PLEs

Virtual Learning Environments vs. Personal Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments or Personal Learning Environments

Google+

Technology Mediated Learning Spaces

The reality check. Must PLEs be technology enables to qualify as PLE?

The Challenge Facing Course Design 1997 vs. 2012

What’s wrong with educational social networking?

My Personal Learning Environment (2011)

Sometimes only paper will do

Digital Housekeeping. Recording everything.

H800 EMA Images / Visualisation

H800 EMA Course Specifics

What’s wrong with Educational Social Networking? (EDU)

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Jan Pinfield, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 09:19)
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HOLIDAY VIEWING

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Should I ever be struggling to create conflict in a story all I need to do is watch a movie like 'Kick Ass' before I go to bed. Last night my sleep was disturbed by a battle between two online libraries; all I recall are the bazooka sized holes in all the books. An absurd image because I knew also that the conflict was between two online libraries.
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Masters in Open and Distance Education: Module H800: WK21 My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:42

My%252520PLE.JPG

From this consider Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) vs. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and I come away, as I often do, seeking a compromise, the best of both - a basic, easy to use, and reliable VLE with students who may come with nothing, or a good deal, but was I have done will over the course of a couple of favourite tools and ways of doing things.

The two are like dripping coloured ink into a fish tank. My fingers aggitate between the two.

Until Google takes over all of it, there are too.

In my case I've gone from an old Mac Book and printing stuff off to having everything online, using blogs like e-portfolios and switching between an iPad and a laptop.

(78,099 page views)

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Steve McGowan, Saturday, 16 Jul 2011, 15:38)
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A visit to the OU Library

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 12:20

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Fig. 1. The Open University Library

It would be an exaggeration to say that were I a practising Christian (Catholic) I feel as if I had just visited St. Peter's, Rome but there was a sense that 14 months into an MA course with the OU that by going to the OU Library, Milton Keynes, I had just done this. The OU library represents the hub, the knowledge; from here it branches out through people into departments, up stairwells, through offices and meetings rooms, forming itself into online and distance learning courses.

I haven't met Conole, Kirkpatrick, Weller or Pegler, but I saw their books on the shelf, which is a step further than reading extracts online, or chapters in an e-book.

Is not taking a laptop into a library an early form of mobile E-learning despite the situation?

 

 

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I'm not being obtuse, but I am yet to print anything off. Running out of printer ink a few weeks ago has proved a blessing. I'm tempted to buy a few books - but if they are in the OU Library I guess I can read them online? Often I feel that possession of a book means that I have acquired the knowledge that it contains whether or not I ever read the thing, or 'engage with it' by taking notes or chatting about it. We do not have a single shelf in the house; it would end up in a box.
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