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EMA in six images

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 Sep 2011, 05:32

I use this blog as an e-portfolio.

It now holds notes from entire books, ad well as an assembly of key points for the H800 EMA.

This way I can pick up where I left off via desktop, laptop or iPad.

I know there are other even better ways to do this, Google Docs and Dropbox, but what I like here is the search function, tags and chronology.

On the basis that I always tag I can now assemble searches by author or topic.

I then return to these pages to edit or add.

I like having the HTML coding so that I can cut and paste into an external blog.

Images: photos, screen grabs or snips, as well as photos and charts, come from Picasa Web.

(See below)

In a concerted effort to narrow down my ideas I am trying to cover the EMA in images only. As a result of all of this I believe I know my stuff, the problem, is to demonstrate that to others in a format that is academic rather than journalistic and highly visualised.

ON REFLECTION

I ought to use the affordances of PowerPoint to construct this thing, using the frames like cards that I can move about and bullet points as a way to construct the treatment. Then write it up, and read it out. Better still record this and play it back to be sure of it's sense before checking further that it meets all the criteria.

With excellent planning H800 gives us this time, whereas in H807 and H808 I'm sure there was course work offered, but very few people coming out to do it.

Could the contents of this blog be put into FileMaker Pro?

Would that make it more versatile?

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New blog post

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Whilst putting 12 years of diaries online would provide me with entertainment and a resource, reading for the first time in a decade what I was writing in my 20s I find a personal record; It could only be of interest to this reader. I disguise the identity of everyone as such content has become so easily searched. Embellished or put through the lens of a piece of fiction would help.
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Correcting Tags

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It has taken 18 months to get the blog this far. As it approaches 100,000 page views correcting the numerous typos in the hundreds of tags has become long overdue. Some of the quirks I feel like retaining. The good news is that to correct I simply click on e miscreant spelling, edit the entry and correct; it is then all updated, rather as one would expect. Just some virtual DIY for the bank holiday weekend? It's this who several visits to the municipal dump and fixing the shed roof, dripping tap, downstairs privy window, two rings on the cooker, getting the piano sold on EBay, putting in a wardrobe, fixing a door on the bathroom cabinet, while still to remove a top-box and bag of body-boards from the roof of the car while forgetting temporarily that I only feel well-ish because I haven't left bed in 24 hours having only just started a round of antibiotics that typically take a few days to kick in.
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HOLIDAY LISTENING

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Caught up on the 4th and 5th episodes of the Diaries of Samuel Pepys. I find it hard to believe there are not 45 episodes to come. I find myself transported to 17th century London by the dramatisation. The diaries without sharp editing can be dull, like a blog (which misses the point)- a record of your day is just that.
Catch the last couple of episodes now as they are only available on he BBC iPlayer for 7 days since transmission.
'Read in a period until you hear its people speak' wrote the historian E.H.Carr; with period drama such as this there is no need.
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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 07:03

HOLIDAY READING

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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

Not an e-book, but as soon as I wanted to take notes or share sentences I wish it had been.

(His less famous, though more successful popular novelist brother Alec Waugh writes a far more enjoyable satire of school-days at Shrewsbury 'The Loom of Youth'. If I wrote about Sedbergh in the 1970s it wouldn't be satire, it would be an act of war - my only revolution was to leave before Sixth Form at which time the bullied would have had to become the bully).

I bookmark by folding over the corners.

Although the pages were falling out I didn't highlight or annotate the pages, though I could have pulled the pages out.

I make three notes:

Knox was known to open and oppose the same motion. The point he makes though is that 'audiences greed for originality is the extraordinary distaste for the obvious.

NOTE REGARDING MOBILE LEARNING

(All would be downloaded as eBooks where they available. They go to the Kindle so that I can read or listen to the book on one device while taking notes onto the iPad. Is this when reading becomes a learning activity? When you take notes? Or simply when you annotate or highlight the text itself ... if you dare do this to a printed book. Anyone shared highlights or notes they have made while or having read a common book? Like an asynchronous book club of the airwaves I guess).

'You learn, in approaching any subject, to search at once for the point that is new, original, eccentric, not for the plain truth.' (Waugh, 1964: 129)

And a note left by a previous reader (my mother, who sent me this book a couple of weeks ago) that reads 'pity'.

Against Waugh's line 'I abandoned my diary on the day I left school and have no source for the following years except inexact memory.'

I didn't. 36 years later and several million words I wonder what I got myself trapped into.

Some keep saying they want me to stop blogging for a couple of years 'to finish the book'. I have plenty to say on that too, though Steven Pressfield has the definitive response, 'resistance'. I say 'anything but,' I will fill my life with 'anything but' that three-five hours a day of effort in front of a keypad or notepad.

Is memory exact?

My diary is an aide memoire, an impression of the moment that changes all the time.

REFERENCE

Waugh, A.E. (1964) A little learning.

I cannot see the value in hereditary he gives to the first chapter, in predetermining the way some turns out, physiologically or psychologically, surely upbringing has more to do with it? He also concentrates on the male professional line. Rather selective? And from our point of view ignorant and sexist?

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Why blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011, 23:05
Did we last go to Cornwall in 2001? Though convinced a search in my diary (blog) says otherwise - 2003. The events enough to bring it all back in a way that an album of family photos had failed to do.
Better than my mind? Evidence of a life so far? Proof? Apply this to the subject you are studying and to work.
I may yet put my A' level course work online for My benefit.
The hyper-mind that goes beyond what we do naturally by remembering the detail our minds have long forgotten (understandably)
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The 350 year old blog of a 26 year old - Samuel Pepys

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:25

Episode One (Saved in BBC iPlayer for one week from broadcast)

Episode Two (10h45 Today, repeated 19h45 this evening)

This first episode is a wonderful interplay between domestic and civil life, the prospect of joining the ship that will fetch the King from exile, while the 'wench' who works for them refuses to kill the turkey they've been feeding up because it's her friend.

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On the 1st of January 1660, the 26 year old Samuel Pepys decides to start keeping a diary.

He's behind with his rent, he goes out too often, and drinks too much. He lies awake worrying about work, and despite being happily married, can't keep his hands off other women.

He gives us eyewitness accounts of some of the great events of the 17th century but he also tells us what people ate, wore, what they did for fun, the tricks they played on each other, what they expected of marriage, and of love affairs.

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This BBC radio drama is on every day at 10.45 and again in the evening at 19.45. Episode 2 today.

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Follow Samuel Pepys on Twitter. You get regular 140 characters or less updates.

 

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Read his diary, offered on a the basis of 'on this day 350 years ago.'

Nothing's changed much, the most important things in our life are loves, family and friends. Our lives may touch on the politics and events of the time, they may not. Pepy's got through the restoration of the King, Plague and the Fire of London.

He so often ends is entry with, 'and so to bed'.

For radio for boring bits have been left out; it therfore reads like a novel.

Not a recommended style for these pages, but great for an external blog in Wordpress, Blogger or LiveJournal. Or my favourite, Diaryland.

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Why blog? Why not!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:10

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As an advocate for and practioner of blogging since 1999 and I couldn't let this pass by (even though I am meant to be writing at TMA that is due today).

Search 'blog' or 'blogging' in my OU Student Blog (here) or click on one of the tags.

The research shows that in the overall active online community of many millions online:

95% read (lurk/observe/consume blogs)

4% will go one step further and engage (i.e. add a comment)

1% actually 'create' (write essentially, though this may now include blogs that are essentially photogalleries or YouTube  uploads)

Neilsen, J (2011).

In the student population (the study was last done in 2009 with undergraduates in Australia), the figure rises to 34% having uploaded content to a blog ... 'in the last 12 months'. (which for my money means they are not blogging at all).

Good luck, enjoy!

They have a multitude of uses and value and I will of course say that this value greatly increases over time.

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Ten page views today, a hundred tomorrow, a thousand before the year is out?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Aug 2011, 20:43

Achieving a thousand page views for a blog per day takes time if your content is all you've got; I'd like to get others up to 10 per day, then a 100; it grows on you.

A thousand takes a year, a decade ago it took a couple of weeks. You had to know what to write, and where to write it. What's changed?

Here the interest is clear. How are you getting on with your course? What motivates you to keep going? And especially share when you are stumped and about to throw in the towel.

We've all been there.

My mistake a decade ago was to do exactly this ...

Have reasons to stop, so simply cut off the water. I said nothing to The OU or anyone. I just stopped. Had I shared my dire straits I know the community would have given me a reality check and put me back on my feet.

Some of the blogs featured in my student blog here achieve 10k, even 20k a day. Though these are highly commercialised, linked to the hilt and featured in national and international press.

Andrew Sullivan is the million views a month man.

The ONE thing they all do is so, so, easy to achieve.

Every day. Something. A picture and comment will do. What's that expression, 'a penny for your thoughts' that's all they do some days. If you want tips on putting pics in here ask, it took me a few months to figure it out ... then do something quicker and easier.

Other days of course these mega-bloggers come in with serious commentary and opinion, they take a stance. These are NOT academics, they are citizen journalists with an opinion, a point of view, even a political, cultural, or religious bias. But you know where they stand. That's the point. It helps to know that you strongly agree, or strongly disagree with these people.

This is where academics stumble, or rather sit on the fence. Academics can't debate, it is like watching toothless geriatrics argue over a chicken wing that they know neither can bite into.

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H800 WK15 Activity 4 Role-Play - An Avatar

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:17

The entertainment and learning continues.

I didn't think playing World of Warcraft would become like a game of Monopoly, kind of.

My wife decided she too should be introduced to our son's world. Her response is to moan about how long he spends online. My reposte is always that he is learning (he is supervised, he does this in the sitting room).

I haven't taken notes (perhaps I should), but I am aware that there are bonds with his closest friends that transcend the screen.

Leaving my Avatar in their safe hands I go off to do some errands.

I return to find this.

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I had left her at Level something with oodles of gold and a sack full of weaponry; she was also clothed, I am informed that to buy some vital spell my son had advised my wife (operating the avatar) to sell all her clothes.

My son then delights in showing the she will dance sad

In narrative terms I would say my son is playing the role of the 'Trickster'.

What compensates him for having to teach/shadow his parents in this world is that he will from time to time do this. It isn't difficult to imagine what kind of tricks the highly adapt and experienced Virtual Worlders in a class of young teenagers would (do) behave if given the chance to gain or exploit the upper-hand.

Why female?

As I went through the various characters in the alternative 'camps' my son muttered things about his perceptions of the types of people in the avatar skins. He had no issues with this 'character'. I feel disembodied, primarily because I have entered a world that he has mastered, so like going skiing with someone who does extreme and heli-skiing while I am on the nursery slopes (with a sledge).

As I passed the 'controls' to my wife, and indeed, in my absence my son can be this character anyway, it had me thinking of 'her' in the same way as one of the many pet guinea-pigs we had until recently. Part of the family, but at arms' length.

Jonathan Franzen bemoaned authors who could only write as themselves, indeed at Harvard being part of a writer's group where most people could do little else than invent characters who had been on a gap year or had a difficult term at school.

It is insightful to think yourself into the role of a.n.other, old, young, male, female, different cultures and class. Doing the reading I am impressed and informed by those with series injuries or disabilities who can find a compensatory form of existence when playing in these worlds (exactly like the movie Avatar of course in which the protagonist, paralysed from the waist down, finds legs).

Thinking further, might or could behaviours be like that of controlling a ventriloquist's dummy?

That you let your avatar be your more bold and outspoken alter-ego?

A mindfield for teachers. I wouldn't like to enter such a world with a bunch of young teenagers!

This is why South Korea has it right putting all new teachers through e-learning training.

I learnt that World of Warcraft is far too robust for cheats, indeed that the culture of its creation mean there are none. In one respect, again, like a movie (the narrative theme), the world is consistent even though it is of course 'other wordly'.

I also learn that my wife has bought stuff from other avatars in the belief that these purchases would get our son through a level without him having to spend hours/days on a quest. I think she should appreciate that this thing is never ending.

In a learning context you can't buy yourself a skill or knowledge set.

Plagiarism tools should pick it up if you have bought a paper, but more importantly there will be an assignment at some stage that is robust and designed to test what you know. However, as I have shown with my wife taking over my Avatar, could not, and do not people do this?

As the learning, not the qualificaiton, is that what matters to me in MAODE might I share this entire experience with another? Split the cost and do the work together, but only one of us taking the credit?

We are a devious lot, we humans. If something can be got for free ...

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Regarding 'dressing-up' and role play I was reminded as I ran through a list of authors I have read extensively that Virginia Woolf and some friends once dressed up as Middle-Eastern Royalty and were entertained by the officers on a vessel of Her Majesty's Navy.

There is in us, all of us (certainly as children), to dress up and role play as a form of learning (and entertainment). Are virtual worlds not simply playing to this innate trait?

And rock musicians? From Alice Cooper and David Bowie to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber

Many are acting out a fantasy or role-playing.

Are we not obliged to take silly-names in things like Twitter anyway as most variatons of our own name have gone? Was there not a first-adopter, classroom clown approach to email addresses too that some might regret, certainly change in due course?

As a diarist going online I regret being open simply because I see now how open and revelatory people want to be, which is best achieved by remaining anonymous, the best and apt blogger going by the name of 'Invisabledon' (see below) being one such person who after a decade I can only know as a bloke in his 40s or 50s living in North America. Going in as myself had its compensations from a 'branding' point of view but such first-name 'public' secret diarists are rare. (I locked this diary in 2006 and am slowly migrating some of the 17000 pages to www.mymindbursts.com).

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This from Diaryland shows that kinds of names people adopt. Do they then live up to the names they choose? Often they do.

If you are interested in blogging, this platform, launched in 1999, has barely changed though copied a thousand times over. Here a limited list of 'buddies' (75) are revealed in a simply menu that tells the blogger when someone last updated. I've long ago abandoned blogging here, but you would edit out those who didn't update, certainly once they'd got the the 3 month mark. I can't think of any blog platform that gives you this kind of insight into a selection of fellow participants.

Parameters, as here, have their virtues.

(Like learning music, you don't start with a cathedral organ, but a piano and Grades 1-3. Being given the full orchestra may be overwhelming).

Something else they have are 'Diary Rings', sets of like-minds who opt in to a huge variety of 'circles of friends' which sounds like (and is like) Google + Circles.

The problem/issue Diaryland has, and they have stuck with this, is to refuse ALL advertising anywhere so leaving it, clearly, underfinanced so unable to modernise.

For a blog coach looking for a 'training pool' to put novices testing the water I can think of no better place. You even have to learn or remember some Basic HTML.

 

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Why bother to blog? There are some good reasons if you're an academic:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Nov 2011, 16:16
Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew  Ashton's blog

http://drmatthewashton.com/

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.

WHY? A rewarding experience

1) New ways of:

teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students  don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. an excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge. 

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

2) Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared 3) New ways of sharing ideas and research  findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals  can take years.

It  can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

4) Engaging with people outside the academic 

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds. For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

 In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

5) Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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H800 WK5

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:30

What would Edison make of the last decade? (Or my grandfather to come to think of it)

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My knowledge (though not my understanding) of the technological advances of the last 150 years are informed by Stephen Lax

Reflecting on how I blog and its value to a student I note here how, believing I may need to go back and read Wenger from last week I search here and find not only have I done the reading, but I have commented on Wenger in previous weeks and modules.

This immediately bolsters my confidence, like entering a room that I thought was full of strangers when in fact there are many faces I have met before.

What is more, knowing that I can trigger my earlier thinking, even pick up the stage in understanding that I was at, is a form of adaptation.

I wonder if this practice might help from the other direction too, reminding someone of the nuances of their understanding and how it has been informed and developed.

 

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Web litter was a problem in 1999, what is now? Landfill?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:32

1st November 1999


The proposal I'm putting together on a web content creation best practice as a distance learning site necessitates that I take a step back to understand the medium better.


I've currently got my head buried in "Creative Content for the Web," by Marc Millon.


Most of the notes are elsewhere, but I wanted to pick this quotation out here.


"Writing that is undertaken simply for the writer's own satisfaction is often self-indulgent and rarely successful."


(Like telling people about the dream you had.A decade on I should be writing my own book).


This is what most diary writers are guilty of.


I dedicated my first diary to my Mother; I started writing this when I was 13.


(It reveals very little, it was one of the Five Year jobs. Maybe it prepared me for Twitter; I reckon there was room for 200 words. Often I seem to consider it noteworthy that I had a bath and fed the guinea-pigs. With my first girlfriend it gets more interesting and charts this all the way to marriage, children and beyond - so beyond indeed that they are both teenagers. I stopped writng about their antics when they made it into secondary schol. In any cad, they're online and leaving their own snale-trails.)


There are entries I wrote in the early 1990's addressed to my fiance; the rest of it suffers from not having anyone other than me in mind, and my goal wa simply to say enough to record events, places and people. This works, it will usually bring back vivid recollections.


A writer's journal would have value had anything come of it.


Writing on topic, say e-learning or social media, a niche non-fiction writer, is proving more enduring.


As a professional communicator who constantly tells himself and clients to understand then address the audience, am I not guilty of farting in the wind too? (I wrote in 1999).


(I put this question to myself having been keeping by then an on online diary for all of two months. 12 years on the value of this content is how it is catergorised and tagged, the greater professionsal value coming from periods of professional devlopment. I had to shift how and what I wrote though from the secret diary confessional, to accounts where people's names are disguised and of course no professional confidentiality breached.)


Earlier today I thought these entries should be addressed to Darlingest and I, ten years and twenty years hence, when we'll derive greatest pleasure from remembering how we were coping with Zozo and TBT.


(This true. I'm migrating some 60 to 100 entries on parenthood to www.mrsdaddy.wordpress.com.)


More from "Creative Content for the Web".


I learn that there are over 1 million homepages. (Remember, this is from an online diary entry of November 1999).


The author asks why and imagines the reason, “like  Everest, because it is there. Because, quite simply it has become possible to do so".

The medium itself has become an extension of our very selves and we have been changed in the process. Indeed, we probably need look no further for the raison d’être of the rise of the Homepage than the fundamental human desire to leave a mark, somewhere, anywhere, to be noticed, indeed to be an individual, not in this age of alienation, a faceless number, an employee, a nobody”.


(Were these early diaries like sticking your hand up or carving your name? They became a soapbox and much more as we found a readership, and more importantly like-minds with whom to share.)


The author goes on to talk about diaries, what now (a few months later) we call online journals. He imagines there could be thousands. There are!


"Web Litter" is an interesting concept.

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Is there value in writing for the ratings?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 28 Jul 2011, 11:00

This is addictive.

And if I ask I'll be told it has nothing to do with the content, either the volume, voice, or frequency/consistency of updating -1,000 page views a day is the current rate.

This may be to do with specific alerts to one or two folk who may be searching through for specific content.

What you get, for example, if you search VLE, will be a narrarive that runs from my incomprehension, to this current entry.

Searching Prensky shows me go from adulation, through doubt, to my current desire to ridicule his every pronouncemnt as sensationlism.

Even search Weller and you'll find this niave newcomer picking holes in academics who quote themselves and use words like 'enculturation' (weller) and 'massification' (conole).

My goal had been to achieve 100,000 page views by the time I finished the MAODE thinking I was near the end. Actually I have another two modules to go.

Do I therefore make 250,000 page views the goal?

Meanwhile outside the walled garden of The OU despite my best efforts 70 page views is/was exceptional, with 10 page views more typical.

I find myself advising anyone who wants to blog, despite the attractions of Wordpress, Livejournal, Blogger, Edublog and Diaryland, that you will find a niche audience here and ultimately find your feet.

Using a blog for reflective practice, laudable, is another matter. I was just about to reflect on the H800 story so far. In particular no longer having the time or energy, despite the inclination to read everything..

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Top 10 Most Influential eLearning Bloggers

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Top 10 Most Influential eLearning Bloggers http://www.elearningcouncil.com/top-10-most-influential-elearning-bloggers
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H800 wk21 activity 2e To what extent are you using web 2.0 technologies?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:36

SEE MINDMAP ABOVE

H800 WK21 Activity 2 ep

How does your representation compare with the tables of tools and functionality described in the Conole chapter you read earlier in Activity 1b?

All of these st some stage and more especially using a tablet and Apps, or laptop away from my desk.

+ e- readers

+ RSS feeds

+Google Docs

+picasa dropbox

+Blog as eportfolio and exercise book

+Blog for presentstion and wiki-like

+flash online shared calender

Intranetmicroblog Yammer

+ Skype

To what extent are you using Web 2.0 technologies?

Extensively

Send notes as email to blog and others

Outlook remotely

Blogs to aggregate and share

RSS feeds aggregating messages

Online Forums frequently

How far are you using Mobile 2.0, as explored in Week 19?

Extensively using a 3g enabled tablet In what ways has your own practice and use of technologies changed in the last five to ten years? An early adopter once more. Professionally necessary to take an interest in everything Blogging since 1999 so used to putting content online

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Sunday Evenings - some of us are working :)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 15:33

As a swimming coach I have taken Sunday evening sessions for the last three years.

I still work Sunday evenings covering all my social media bases as conversations at this time of the week a far more likely to be quasi-synchronous.

i.e Not obliging you to be present as in messaging, nor as abstract as an asynchronous forum or picking up comments in a blog such as this hours or days after the event.

Indeed I've been communicating with an OU MBA alumni Luke Firth Philidelphia on and off for the last couple of hours.

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H800 WK21 Activity 1c. Web 2.0 Tools for Learning - what I recommend

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 12:48

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It isn't for lack of overwhelming, immersive and engaging content online, especially 'how to' movies and 'clips' in YouTube, its how you as an individual cope with this inexhaustible choice.

Armed with an 3G tablet and sim card will we find we are learning more on the fly, taking it with us, much of it free, some of it guided and paid for?

Taking advantage of participation (John Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (John Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it 'serendipitous learning.' (me I think).

I'm finding that 18 months in, and having really started this gig in 1998 when from the agency end we were migrating interactive DVD based learning to the Web, that I of necessity must balance the tools I can play (musical instrument metaphor), compared to those I play with (sandpit, training pool metaphor) ... and I suppose those ones I am obliged to master whether I like it or not (prescriptive tools for work and study - in at the deep end metaphor?!).

Conole (2011) invites us to use 'metaphors for meaning making'.

I always have, often visualising these metaphors. Just search this diary on 'Metaphor' to see what comes up. Also try words or phrases such as 'traffic light', 'nurture', 'gardening', 'swimming', 'spheres of influence', 'hub', 'serendipity' as well as 'water' and 'water-cycle'.

I therefore offer the following:

Linkedin (For Forums, like this, in groups and networks)

Wordpress (for blogging, sharing, wiki like affordances, training, updates)

iPad (or Tablet) (Whilst PCs and Laptops have considerable power and versatility

Twitter (only for niche/target live discussions or quasi-synchronous conversations.

The rest of it is 'Twitter Twaddle'

Spam of the worst kind being pumped out by pre-assigned links as CoTweets or random disconnected thoughts. This is killing some forums where RSS feeds of this stuff overwhelms any chance of a conversation).

I've seen two Forums killed, temporarily I hope, by this stuff, the largest victim being the Oxford University Alumni group.

I believe it is simply the case of a new moderator niavely permitting Twitter feeds in on a discussion, ie. having the conversations between 30 disrupted by the disconnected chattering of 300.

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From not blog to a blogging empire in a day

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Jul 2011, 21:45
I've challenged myself to set up from scratch a new blog in Wordpress with a dot.com domain name, theme, title, categories, social media affordances and other bits besides in under 10 minutes. I then give myself 5 minutes to add comments as it goes to 'The Wall' (Facebook), is sent out in Twitter even posted to a Group in Linkedin. If I can I will load then lift, or simply lift from my Picasa Website, an appropriate picture. Once you get into this you invent blog names like you're trying to name a band. Some names I have owned include: My mind bursts Writing 4 the Skip Formphoto MartiniLearning Mylegalease Reinvention Shoestring Mind Bursts Thewellyman (75956)
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Some mind enriching blogs on the arts, politics, law and business

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:52

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Wordpress Showcase

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely does research in behavioral economics and tries to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you.

Timothy B.Lee

Timothy B. Lee writes about technology, public policy, and the intersection of the two.

UK Student Bloggers

Belgravia Dispatch

Gregory Djerejian, an international lawyer and business executive, comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site.

Stephen Bainbridge

Stephen Bainbridge is the William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, where he currently teaches Business Associations, Advanced Corporation Law and a seminar on corporate governance.

Ann Althouse

Ann Althouse. blogging about legal matters since 2004.

3 Quarks

A one-stop intellectual surfing experience that culls good stuff from all over and puts it in one place i.e what has come to be known as a "filter blog". 3 Quarks is not to be afraid of challenging material.

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In search of blogs to follow

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:01

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It's rare for me to miss a few days but the simple truth I am too wrapped up in the rebuild of one 'storyline' in the OU Business School website.

This and preparing another presentation, this time on 'blogging' having opened what will become a series with 'Social Media' last week.

I see three necessary phases in becoming a blogger:

  • Listen
  • Comment
  • Create (and collaborate)

'Listen' as in reading loads, being led wherever someone appeals to you, 'listening in' on the conversations that are being started and saving these sites to peruse regularly.

There were over 150 million blogs the last time I cared to seek out the statistics.

How do you even begin to find those few that you are prepared to read on a regular basis?

Clearly you cannot read everything; even in your own field of interest, unless it is the tightest niche, might have thousands of commentors.

I go for 'like minds', authors with whom you feel you could converse, those you wish to emulate, whose thoughts maybe like your own, but fully fledged.

I am currently following Andrew Sullivan a bit, but some of the many other bloggers he lists a lot. Andrew is British born and raised, though now living in New York, somewhat right-wing (has always been wedded to the Conservative Party), gay (he played the lead role in Another Country at Oxford though took a while longer to come out - at Harvard I believe.

Is his background relevant? Probably not, this is about intellect, confidence, informed opinion and a degree of early precociousness and desire to be heard.

His intellect and presumption took him to Oxford (Modern History) and then Harvard.

By all accounts, with 1,000,000 page views a month Sullivan has many followers.

He does this by

  • being well informed
  • being willing to express an opion

We look to commentators for 'breaking views', as another Oxford graduate of this same era puts it; though Hugo Dixon, a grandson (or great grandson) of Winston Churchill has a somewhat different background to that of Sullivan.

Irrelevant? Both men are a product of their intellect, so more nature that nurture in this case.

What they had in common as undergraduates was a precocious desire to express their opinion. Is it any wonder that we are drawn to what they have to say ? Even more so now than in previous eras we are in desperate need of people to filter the overwhelming deluge of information and offer some path through-out, in their different ways these too do it. All I need are other minds like these across other fields.

They make a convincing point succintly.

I'm clicking through the 60+ blogs Andrew Sullivan lists in his blogroll and find it hard not to click the 'save bookmark' option with every one of these. Nice when someone has done it for you, though I am yet to come across the UK equivalent. The idea that these are read but Sullivan regularly is also daft; look at my own blog roll (somewhere needs to tear a few off for me).

Any suggestions for the most informed bloggers to follow?

Stephen Fry is of the same ilk as the two given above, though more embedded in the performing arts than Andrew Sullivan.


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21 good reasons to blog a lot

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:42

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'It seems to me that I follow only the most accessible thread. Three or four threads may be agitated, like telegraph wires, at the same time, and if I were to tap them all I would reveal such a mixture of innocence and duplicity, generosity and calculation, fear and courage. I cannot tell the whole truth simply because I would have to write four journals at once. I often would have to retrace my steps, because of my vice for embellishment'.

Anais Nin

(Henry & June, Journals, July 1932)


A diary can be  many things:

1) a record of what happens to me and around me each day

2) a notebook for whatever I’m reading

3) a record and analysis of dreams

4) a place to try my hand at exposure

5) a place to describe how it is, or isn’t;

6)a place to practise lies

7) a place to drill, thrill and hone my skill

8) a place to underplay, exaggerate or avoid

9) a place to lose myself in Truth

10) a place to play

11) a place where a blank pages means something as a day missed is a day when I’m too ill, too depressed, too drunk or too bored with it writers keep diaries to record events -a writer’s journal I do this; working up events until they have become more real that reality as I obscure what happened with scene setting detail and by bringing narrative order to the muddle of a daily life.

12)  At times I write as a drill, to practice, at others because I feel an obligation, it is what I do most days, every day.

13) I use these pages to extract a writing style and extricate myself from the bland.

Lately a form has emerged as I tripped and stumbled over a keyboard I’ve been hacking at the undergrowth until I have found my way, happily pursing forest paths and following streams back to their source.

14) I keep a diary as a record of events: what I did, where, with whom.

At times I reduce the diary to bullet points, satisfied that I've not lost the day forever to obscurity.

As a painter I had to draw what I saw, from reality, not straight out of the mind or by copying.

As a writer I hoped at first that I could write candidly about reality and once I had established that I could progress to fiction.

Do I want to put my life under the microscope?

Am I writing postcards to myself?

It all counts. It all mounts This writing is never supposed to be a draft of anything Francois Truffaut said he felt it was necessary to read everything to give the mind food and things to smart against. It is worth reading all kinds of things.

So how many diaries or journals do I need?

15) a dream book

16) a diary for a straight log of what I did during the day

17) a journal as a notebook (as here)

18) a memory jogger

19) something for assessment/analysis of what I am thinking and reading

20) a scrapbook.

How many is that? Would four do the trick?

You should try it for a year

There comes that moment when you can reflect on what you were doing exactly a year ago amd to feel the same every time another entry is composed.

I kept a five year day for eight years in my early teens: the five lines per day are hopeless unrevealing.

I washed my hair, cleaned out the rabbit kind of thing. Some rare moments bring back the day or event. I began to record dreams in my mid-teens, tiring off it when I found I could recall four or more dreams each night taking several hours to write them up the following day.

I kept a scrapbook and dairy in a ring-bind folder when I went on an exchange with a French boy and repeated this around my 17th birthday, filling a folder in one month and so realising I needed a different approach.

Then I settled for a page of A4 per day every day, not less and rarely more.

21) Write as much or as little as you like.

Being able to write as much as I liked I found myself filling a dozen pages plus and so quickly lost the detail that would have otherwise identified the day, month and year. I wanted to buy a scrapbook again for ages.

Then along came the Web.

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The value or otherwise of 'User Generated Content' in education and corporate communications

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:53

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From Wikipedia with commentary.

Aggregated here though shared for the value of thinking about the myriad of ways we now generate content and the way user generated content has value that is different from content produced or published by institutions or corporations.

You see a programme and talk about it at a party. Or you talk about an event which a writer picks up and puts into a novel that is made into a film. Where does the conversational like disembodiment of the idea from a person's head 'find legs' and get a life of its own. How should we use and value all of this 'stuff?' Perhaps in exactly the same way that we differentiate between journalism and scholarly writing, between chat (even if on topic) around the 'water-cooler' compared to a more formal teasing out of ideas in a tutorial.

It all matters, you just have to navigate around the choices with some sense of their different meanings and values.

What I favour about user generated content is how authentic and immediate it is. Think of the footage from smartphone of the Tsunami in Japan this March. The user generated content not only trumped the TV networks, but is already being applied in academic reseach by placing scholars at the point the footage was shot so that further analysis can be undertaken on what happened and the lessons to be learnt.

We live in interesting times.

For other uses, see UGC (disambiguation). User generated content (UGC) covers a range of media content available in a range of modern communications technologies.

It entered mainstream usage during 2005 having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles.

Its use for a wide range of applications, including problem processing, news, gossip and research, reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public.

All digital media technologies are included, such as question-answer databases, digital video, blogging, podcasting, forums, review-sites, social networking, mobile phone photography and wikis.

In addition to these technologies, user generated content may also employ a combination of open source, free software, and flexible licensing or related agreements to further reduce the barriers to collaboration, skill-building and discovery.

Sometimes UGC can constitute only a portion of a website.

For example on Amazon.com the majority of content is prepared by administrators, but numerous user reviews of the products being sold are submitted by regular users of the site.

Often UGC is partially or totally monitored by website administrators to avoid offensive content or language, copyright infringement issues, or simply to determine if the content posted is relevant to the site's general theme.

Just because you 'generate' stuff doesn't mean it will be permitted. How does a business or institution manage often valuable input from stakeholders? Do you 'cut your face off to spite yourself'by disallowing such stuff? An organisation that shuts down the voices that sing its praises are surely shooting themselves in the foot.

The very nature of the networked, online, switched-on world in which we now leave favours those, like Cisco Systems with its 1300 employee blogs, that embrace what is going on. Indeed, this number of activity would and does quickly drown out the detractors. Use the power of the crowd to police your message, because you never can.

Think of it as having an Open Day every day. People come and go. But the crowds swell. Do you issue edicts then send trained staff off to tell people they can or annot talk about x or y, or talk at all? And if they are going to talk, it can only be in a specific location where everything you say will be recorded, delayed for moderation, and only then shared with a myriad of additional tags attached ot it that are not of your choice. Might this be like talking through a gas-mask.

I do wonder.

To fail to engage is to disappear. Institutions will be noticeable for their absence. The advantage the OU has are the numbers of students and alumni. If research suggests that only 1% of those active online blog, then the OU should expect 3,000 to be out there. If we add in alumni groups this figure might rise to 30,000?

(And don't give me the generational thing ... research, take that by Richardson 2003,2005,2007,2011 at the OU knocks that nonsense on the head). IT has nothing to do with when you were born, and everything to do with personality, education, having the kit and making the time.

Here's a thought, if you want to police content who should do so? The publisher, editor or print unions? Does it not have to come down to the audience deciding what they consider acceptable or of interest to them or not?

Just let 'em have it.

There's enough out there for the dross to get lost and enough like-minded people on your side to drown out the miscreants or the negativity as it inevitably, occasionally, occurs.

Trust them.

If someone is proud of who they are and where they work and what they do, let them sing its praises, let them create supportive content. Encourage, enable, even reward and from time to time offer additional resources if they are on a roll and readers are flocking to their banner.

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An odd way to use a blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Jun 2011, 15:54
Bellow there were the 18 pages I used in a presentation on Social Media. Each page is like a slide in Power Point. Having paused to take comments I should add these too - make it Wiki-like. In my social media website in wordpress I can offer a password to each page. Why? To practice what I preach. Collaborate. Two minds are better than one and many are better still. I see this here to indicate that a blog is but a collection of affordances; you can do as you wish.
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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 Sep 2011, 12:49
(69252) Frauke Constable should be featured as a student blogger on OU Platform. http://bieni64.wordpress.com/ Sean%252520Brady.jpg also Sean Brady
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