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Which is where I trip myself up.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 15 Aug 2011, 14:29

Every time I read about the course materials others have received I become more jealous. Studying Masters in Open and Distance Education everything is online. We get nothing .... and everything. Actually, in 2001 I made at start on this and I too got a box of goodies: hard back and softback books, CDs too. I felt I had arrived, that my money had be well spent.

Which is where I trip myself up.

Learning entirely online I am staggered, overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of course materials and the links to materials now readily available online. In the early days I bought myself a few books and printed stuff out.

I now have the skills and confidence to have it all 'up there' in a cloud, readily available, my stuff and the OU's whenever and whenever I want it.

Whilst in the past I printed off out of habit, I now stick it into a blog (Private) or into dropbox. This means I know I can get to it wherever I may be. This has been from a laptop until recently, though now it goes to an iPad. I am gobsmacked the way I can read documents as PDF files and hold these in my iPad library.

One change I'd make: a smartphone is too small and an iPad is too big for the kind of mobility I am after. On the other hand, I also want an iPad the size of a Clipboard, with another, literally, a touchscreen desktop. Basically iPad versions A5, A3, A2 and A1.

And lighter.

With a longer battery.

And with the screen of a Kindle (glare is a killer).

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Simple, huh?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 12:54

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But what kind of an activity is reading? Is it interactive?

Often I find, after weeks of working online I hanker after ONE author and the chance to hear enough from them to get a true sense of where they stand.

I buy the book, as I did with Engestrom's 'Teams and Knots.'

 

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An abundance of e-learning riches ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 13 Aug 2011, 13:53

Reflecting on H800 Week 27 or something.

I live breathe and certainly dream social media and e-learning. They are my being, for now at least.

About to go on holiday to Cornwall I plan to have a wetsuit, a pad of A3 cartridge paper, a sketch pad, soft pencils and pastels. I may take the guitar (though I may feel I need the indispensable MusicNotes and Guitar APP).

Is it wise to go gadget free?

Change refreshes the mind. A total break, refreshes the mind. I will do more (and it will make more sense in the long term), by doing nothing (for a while).

There is a reason why God made the seventh day day of rest.

We're rubbish at that in 2011. It is relentless, continual, not a landscape but a fluid river of activity. No wonder I am never certain what day of the week it is.

Or is it a case of self-discipline regarding gadgets?

People would say a mobile phone at least is essential to keep in touch with family and friends as they scatter across the beaches. Lack of signal will hopefully be the decided.

Sitting down to study at 06h00 I am yet to engage with the papers I am meant to report on or get beyond bullet points for the 3,000 word essay.

The problem is the blog, the habit of writing it up as I go along.

The problem, or virtue, of playing with Google+ with some fellow MAODERs which has sent my mind into a jitter. It's relevant anyway, I have an ECA that includes the use of forum discussion groups in e-learning.

My interest in the MAODE has gone from all-consuming, to complementing work, so associated with and thought of as work.

Being on holiday I therefore feel I ought to keep away from it.

However, if I think of it as my hobby, an interest, then it is easier to handle. Indeed it may be more conducive to my enjoying the experience.

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Informal learning, Google+ and iPads

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 23:55

I've set myself a challenge to take mobile learning to the nth degree, 'testing to destruction'.

If I thought the iPad would survive the experience I thought perhaps a jacuzzi or sauna?

Signal might not be good.

In my gap year eons ago I discovered that the hotel owner (4 star) thought it great that guests and staff, including a very lowly teen me, could 'chill' out together in 'his' sauna.

There is relevance and that is the idea of 'informal' learning.

Indeed, I wonder if many OU students, enjoying and enrolled in a 'life of learning' practice in a more informal way then us 'regular' students who (and I applaud it) take it reasonably seriously.

I could knock out the TMAO4 in a first draft before lunch today, not bother with much referencing and checking meaning, grammar etc: and submit expecting to scrape through with a 40 something at worst, a 50 something more likely. The problem I have is enjoying the present too much and even with e-learning being fed the latest through the likes of Zite and Stumbleupon.

Recording our hang-out session may have made for fun viewing.

On the other hand by doing so it radically changes the dynamic. I wouldn't want the student me confused with the business me.

(Four months in to a 12 month fixed contract).

That said I'd love a playback of my slow descent below the frame.

This is the trickster at play.

Belbin I believe categorises people and how they work in teams, I know where I belong! The very fact that it has become a catalyst for conversation shows it's value; where now Elluminate?

I've started to make comparisons in my OU Student Blog.

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Hanging out in Google+ a giggle, that works ... And changes everything!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 12 Aug 2011, 13:52

Google+ Hang-out  

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Three fellow MAODErs and I spent over an hour 'hanging out' - technical term sad in Google+

Once you have the software loaded it was extraordinarily intuitive.

You speak and your image takes the main frame.

Easy to share docs or type messages. (or was it guys?)

Without a moderator it wad more like very old friends in a bar abroad, except that one person was sitting on a bed, chatting with hubby alongside, eating yoghurt and behaving as if we were all perched on the end of the bed or doing our teeth in the bathroom.

Like nothing else you are bringing people into your home.

I became immediately consciousness of needing a shave.

I had expected to have some choice over whether to appear in vision or not.

At least I wasn't in the bath, though people did wander off to the bathroom or to make a coffee/answer the phone, as you would do if chilled out in your own home. Weird to feel so drawn into the context of each person's 'learning' space. A cat jumped on this bed and I started a chain reaction whereby we all reached out and through the frames to stroke it - the worked too.

We talked shop, a TMA due on Monday, held up charts to the screen etc: no thought of needing a headset or separate webcam, more a case of adjusting the lighting and seating arrangements.

Will this change expectations of students who use Google+ when it comes to online tutorials?

Yes, this was like being in the room with each of these people. We have of course never met in person before but were behaving like siblings at a second cousin's wedding.

 

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H800 WK25 Activity 5 Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:53

To what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

The answer is to look both ways and to do so with aplomb.

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Read Woolgar’s five themes.

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context

 

Liff et al. (2002) demonstrated the importance of ‘third-place’ settings, separate from both home and work, as influential in engaging a wide range of local people in using the internet: museums, trains or jogging circuits. In all these places technology now enables people to learn using the resources of formal education. The idea of ‘place’ takes on a new form, as the boundaries of a multitude of sites are crossed.

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed

Woolgar cites research into surveillance equipment in support of this theme. Counter to expectation, for example, surveillance technologies in the workplace were not found to be generally resisted by workers. However, acceptance was undermined by the failures of the technology to meet design specifications. This led to extra work and sometimes the technology had to be scaled back (Mason et al., 2002). There are differences between staff and students in universities, in terms of perception and usage of ICT.

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities

Electronic communication has multiplied the use of paper in offices, though we can read material online. Learners may feel less need for the printed page. Educators look to substitute electronic supports for expensive and scarce direct tutor contact.

4

The more virtual the more real

One unanticipated outcome of teleworking was that travel increased. Electronic communication increased the number of clients contacted and a face-to-face meeting was then required. Computer-mediated communication is being used, partly because it offers benefits for learning and partly because students seem less able to, or to have less time available for, travel to study centres to attend tutorials. It may be, however, that mediated communication using one tool encourages a somewhat different form using other tools. Thus learners may use forums provided by their institution, but also Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

 

5

The more global the more local

‘The very effort to escape local context, to promote one’s transcendent global (and/or virtual) identity, actually depends on specifically local ways of managing the technology’ (Woolgar, 2002, p.19). In Singapore, for example, the Singapore Institute of Management was the base for provision, and a careful fostering of mutual understandings between the two organisations was developed over at least a decade

Educational provision is typically seen as valid and trusted only if it is located within recognised local institutions and accredited by local awarding bodies – even though the technology enables all aspects of a course to be delivered electronically from the originating institution.

Having just completed the activities about Second Life, to what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context.

 

Not one bit, in this case any versioning is simply the English language (US).

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed.

The context will include access to broadband, a computer, time to indulge, family attitudes to gaming, space in the home, time to indulge, other commitments (persona, family, school and/or work).

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities.

 

Substitute. It has become too easy to tap into a game that is, like the modem and some computing devices, on through all waking hours and readily accessible. A blended form of activity often occurs with participants playing together online, sometimes coming round to each other’s houses to do so.

 

4

The more virtual the more real.

On the contrary, seeking out the tricks and cheats is very much the culture of gaming. Even if you don’t have wholly real-life attributes ways are found to defy gravity, walk through walls, I’ve even see a sub-culture underneath or behind the game in which you behave/exist play and muck about ‘subway’ like behind the set, as it were.

 

5

The more global the more local.

In the context of business working at the OU Business and Law School I have first hand knowledge of how OU materials are developed for Russian partners (the 1000th MBA student celebrated this week) and are being initiated in Japan while having various other local centres globally. Though NOT in the US or France where local politics have restricted tutoring on the ground.

Select two of the five themes that you feel most strongly reflect the way in which you perceive the effects that technology is making currently in a context known to you.

Reflection

Example

4

The more virtual the more real

On the one hand there is a culture of gaming that attracts escapism and engenders a rule-breaking sub-culture of hacking with cheats a supplementary and important quest and reward. On the other webcasting and conferences whilst becoming more real, speaking and seeing each other in real-time, nonetheless afford less than real behaviours.

 

I attended a live-cast 250 miles away and did so in my PJs, not dressed for the office. When interviewed by an organisation in New York I set up an redecorated one corner of a bedroom rather than reveal that I was sitting either at the end of a bed, or at the kitchen table, or in an office the size of a walk-in cupboard and as messy as a shed-used as a dump for unwanted stuff. It is a different reality, sometimes a ‘hyper-real,’ that as we become familiar with its nuances will play to these differing attributes and so become distinct from reality … or of course, enrolled in that universe that we call ‘real’, which of course it is.

5

The more global the more local

Thinking directly of the technology, it strikes me that there is a global language: HTML. Are these codes not universal?

Watch the HSBC bank ads and see how we have two distinct types: the importance of local knowledge on the one hand, followed by the current roll-out support for their ‘Key’ which is universal. i.e. there is a duality, that is Janus-like. Aptly Janus is the god of transitions. He is depicted as having two faces on his head facing opposite directions and so look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward to the next. What strikes me about HSBC is that whilst globally owned and operated, it works to meet not impose local cultures; while this new ‘key’ with its diddy 1970s like plastic key-ring calculator code generator and the concept of bolts, locks and vaults, feels highly retro.

 

REFERENCE

Liff, S., Steward, F. and Watts, P. (2002) ‘New public places for internet access: networks for practice-based learning and social inclusion’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.78–98.

Mason, D., Button, G., Lankshear, G. and Coates, S.(2002) ‘Getting real about surveillance and privacy at work’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.137–52.

Thorpe, M. and Godwin, S. (2006) ‘Computer-mediated interaction in context’ in Markauskaite, L., Goodyear, P. and Reimann, P. (eds) ‘Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?’, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, University of Sydney, Australia; also available online at http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20033 (last accessed 10 February 2011).

Thorpe, M. (2008) Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol.24, no.1, pp.57–72. This article provides an in-depth case study of a well-designed sequence of conferencing and online activity and introduces a particular form of concept mapping called ‘compendium’ to demonstrate the design.

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta, G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching: Communities, Activities and Networks, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Woolgar, S. (1999) ‘Analytic scepticism’ in Dutton, W.D. (ed.) Society on the Line: Information Politics in the Digital Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Woolgar, S. (ed.) (2002) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

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H800 WK3 Bridging the individual and the social: Engeström

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 14:26

Bridging the individual and the social

Personal experience of learning and reflection on a wide range of different examples of learning may well undermine categorical distinctions between individual and social, acquisition and participation.

Not only are the boundaries between these distinctions difficult to define, they may be fluid and problematic, particularly in technology-enhanced learning.

Sfard (1998) argues that the acquisition and participation metaphors should not be seen as competing or enforcing a choice.

Her argument is based on the huge diversity of learning (particularly when looked at across cultures) and the wisdom of keeping different perspectives in play. No perspective has all the answers and there are both pragmatic and theoretical dangers in using only one conception.

Activity systems

Underlying these debates is a philosophical issue about how to bridge between individual experience and social structures; how individuals with limited experience and mental resources are able to learn about the world outside themselves and beyond their direct experience.

Vygotsky’s (1978) cultural historical approach emphasises the way in which learning involves tools – symbolic as well as physical – that express the history and culture of a society. Individuals interact with the environment using such tools, so that their action and their thinking are both enlarged and also bounded by the qualities and potential of the tool.

Yrjö Engeström, a Finnish researcher at the University of Helsinki, has built on these foundations and has developed an approach to learning that focuses not on the individual doing the learning or on community practices, but on the activity system.

In cultural-historical activity theory … the unit of analysis is a historically evolving, collective artefact-mediated activity system … Most learning consists of learning actions embedded in activities whose object and motive is not learning as such.

(Tuomi-Gröhn and Engeström, 2003, pp.28–9)

The importance of Engeström’s activity theory is that he shifts the analysis of learning from the individual to the activity system.

An activity system involves all those elements, as shown in Figure 1 (below).

Engeström and others have used this framework (set out in Figure 1) for the analysis of learning, describing the elements and their relationships as follows:

We take Leont’ev’s (1978) idea of collective activity system as unit of analysis seriously.

This means that learning is distributed in an object-oriented activity system, mediated by instruments, rules and division of labour (Figure 1). The learning of the activity system and the learning of an individual are intertwined, and the individual’s learning is understandable only if we understand the learning of the activity system. This does not mean that the subject position and agency are handed over to a mysterious collective entity. Different individuals and groups involved in an activity system take and leave the subject position as they produce specific goal-oriented actions. Thus, the detailed configuration of the activity system changes in each action.

(Tuomi-Gröhn and Engeström, 2003, p.30)
Diagram showing the activity theory triangle

Figure 1 shows the activity theory triangle in which the subject uses tools (or instruments) in relation to achievement of an objective that has an outcome. Relationships between these three elements and the wider triangle of rules (i.e. governing frameworks for behaviour), community and the division of labour within the activity system influence the learning taking place. The triangle thus offers a descriptive framework within which to map out learning-related actions using tools, and their relationships within specific communities and social structures.

This activity theory could be applied to a student at The Open University for example – the student taking the subject position in Figure 1. The tools used by a student are all the module materials and resources available to them, plus their existing knowledge of the area they are studying. The object is the ideas, practices and competences that are the focus for the student’s learning, with the intended outcome of passing the module.

The rules of engagement require the student to submit work for assessment by stated deadlines, drawing on their study of the module and representing their own work fairly. The community consists of, among others, OU students, tutors, university staff and, perhaps, workplace mentors and assessors. The division of labour has a key and familiar distinction, in that tutors mark students’ work, whereas module teams create material and have authority in relation to assessment. This, in brief, is an outline of how the activity theory framework can be used to describe the activity of being an OU student.

REFERENCE

Leontiev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Sfard, A. (1998) ‘On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one’, Educational Researcher, vol.27, no.2, pp.4–13; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176193 (last accessed 10 December 2010).

Tuomi-Gröhn, T. and Engeström, Y. (2003) ‘Conceptualizing transfer: from standard notions to developmental perspectives’ in Tuomi-Gröhn, T. and Engeström, Y. (eds) Between School and Work: New Perspectives on Transfer and Boundary-crossing, Oxford, Elsevier Science Ltd., pp.19–38

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

 

 

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H800 WK25 Activity 4 Role-play and learning in virtual and made-up worlds

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:23

We role-play as children to make sense of the world, we take on multiple personas to some degree in real-life as well.

I am particularly taken by the way people with a disability can walk in a virtual world (Peachey 2010) or indeed how any of us can fly and do much more in these environments (die and repeatedly come back to life of course.)

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At no cost my dentist, or rather our family dentist, made a set of dentures for me out of dentine that fitted over my teeth. This allowed me to sing. I foolishly sharpened the fangs and promptly punctured my lower lip. I learnt by the way that unless I could have dislocated my jaw biting someone's neck is impossible. Vampires should bite the wrist or leg, but then all, or at least the obvious sexual innuendos are lost.

Was I living out a fantasy when I played Dracula in my teens?

I kept acting into my twenties until I decided that my mental state couldn't handle the selection process (rejection) and my experience in front of camera and on stage left me bored senseless (I had minor roles).

Do actors, as in role-play, have to overcome or compensate for who they are?

Peachy raises all the points in a common- sense and everyday way. I can imagine or should research where stepping into the role of an avatar has life- saving qualities, for example is not learning to fly a commercial jet-airliner in a simulator not a form of virtual role-play? I believe firemen are trained in virtual set-ups too and believe the nuclear power industry do so too.

The trouble with doing this in a learning context is the huge development costs. i.e. It has to be better to use a ready made platform. I then ask though, what is wrong with using our imaginations, that improvising and role-play doesn't require the disguises?

REFERENCE

Peachey, A. (2010) ‘Living in immaterial worlds: who are we when we learn and teach in virtual worlds?’ in Sheehy, K., Ferguson, R. and Clough, G. (eds) Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education (Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World), New York, NY, Nova Science.

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H800 activity 4 virtual worlds cross dressing and role-play

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:36

I have an avatar.

In World of Warcraft.

My son took me through the set- up, vital for any software, have an informed and experienced teacher.

I wasn't allowed to make one quick choice, I had to look at the options. He had views as well as information concerning all the characters. My wife joins in and we plum for a female as the way she poses and sticks out hefty butt when she shuffles about made us laugh. I think I am a night elf. Unable to give her a real name (all taken) I got for Val d'Isere ... Which gets transmuted into Valdesire. This is a lady with attitude; I guess I see myself as a Lara Croft type smile

Aided by my son he insists we skip the intros.

Intermittently he reaches over and gives me a belt, boots and a sword. And were off. I know I am painfully slow for him but after while I can position myself in front of a hovering, dragon slug thing which seems about as easy to kill as standing on a snail. I gain pouts, collect stuff and go up a few levels.

I assume my son is off to the bathroom when he goes of, actually he has signed on a second computer and with delight says the person I am standing next to, my twin but wearing clothes is him and his (her) name is 'Notvaldesire'.

'Let's have a dual,' he says and knowing what he is like I get my sword out and put in a strike only to have some god-like voice/ figure berate us.

On returning from the shops I ask if anything had happened as my wife had taken over 'Our Val.'

We had to sell all you clothes, he said, to buy a spell that didn't work.'

Having no clothes has me think of the only campus Second Life I'm aware of at Sussex University where I understand that repeated calls go out for everyone in Second Life to take their clothes off sad

Thinking about role play as I wondered through Lewes I saw groups of language students in the same blue-tops and football fans gathering before going off to a match.

This is the town where a substantial part of the town dress up for November 5th, indeed I am in Commercial Square and dress up as a Confederate Soldier each year. We joined as newcomers to the town 11 years ago; as a social network it is extraordinarily effective.

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H800 WK25 Does technology diminish or enhance the role of the educator?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:31

 

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My son might be online playing World of War craft often, but so are two or three of his best mates.

From time to time they down tools (weapons, magic wands or whatever it might be) and head into town, or meet up to kick a ball around. Ditto my daughter whose use of the internet is exclusively to talk more with her immediate circle of friends.

This is real.

A colleague who has had the 'social media manager' tag at the OU has gone the full loop and is a 'Communications Manager' despite being online all day. I see her point, we differentiate new practices with new terms, but drop them once we see them in context.

It has happened sooner that I thought but there ought to be no need to different 'learning' from 'e-learning' as it is just learning that exploits new platforms and tools.

The human element is important.

Our human nature demands that we have physical contact with others. We are sociable, which interestingly has me spending increasingly amounts of time as a 'social media manager' in meetings or calling up people to meet face to face over lunch or a coffee.

I appreciate that the MAODE is all online.

I wonder however if this 'purist' point of view is sustainable or even desirable. Or do those who can and want to meet up do so anyway?

(Meeting a fellow MAODEr for the very first time a few weeks ago was odd. We felt we knew eachother, there was no 'ice to break' as we'd worked on group tasks together in a previous module).

Not once have I imagined the technology making the genuine educator redundant i.e. someone whose modus operandi is to help students acquire knowledge and apply it, even to instill a life long love of learning with some tools and techniques to see them through.

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If on a holiday to the Dordogne you came across a person from the Paleolithic painting in a cave would you leave him to it, or offer him your oils and sable brushes, or show him how to use a digital camera? (or her of course).

You don't change the desire for self-expression, or capturing the world around you.

I know educators in their 80s who marvel at the Internet and the opportunity it offers to inform thousands.

Just think of an academic paper that in the past (and still) may be formally presented to a group of ten in the faculty, a group of thirty at a conference, then published ... and quickly forgotten, compared to an age where such papers are presented face to face as described, but live through livestreaming or a webcast to several hundred, then shared, copied and commented upon by thousands, and before it is even formally published may be gathering in a large readership?

And this is done by nursery, primary and secondary school educators too.

You have an idea for a class, you share it and if it is liked, it is picked up and used in many ways by many different people.

Its no longer a case of saying, 'I wish I had done that.' With permission/creative commons, OER and all that, you can use the fruits of someone else's efforts, tweaked and personalised of course.

I rather think it is an exciting time to be working in education.

Personally I hanker after contact though, to address, mentor and coach people, probably young adults.

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Sometimes only paper will do

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 00:26

Whilst I read books and papers using an eReader there are at times when only paper will do.

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Reading course notes in H800 of the Masters in Open and Distance Education, WK25.

The again, MindCreator, an App for the iPad is rather useful. Updating this Personal Learning Environment mindmap perhaps suggests I spend very little time 'on paper,' and a good deal of time 'online'. I post this thinking it is up to date; having joined Google+ yesterday the interplay of tools here may change again.

Have we ever lived in such a fluid world?

JFV%252520PLE%252520Mindmap%252520August%2525202011.jpg

Created in MindCreator

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H800 WK25 Activity Systems and Second Life

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 14:00
I may be getting this a little or a lot wrong, but where better to share my muddled-thinking than here?

Subject = you or the person you may be obeserving in the virtual world.

Object = I take to be the objective, that which is the object of the activiity (the game)

Rules = that govern the world and the functionality of the game (breaking the rules and finding our using cheats is a game plan with these often built in as an additional layer to the game/ world)

Instruments = I take to be both external (the game console, hesdset and screen for example) as well as instruements internal to the games, as in weapons, magic wands, pots of treasure and so on).

The Community are all players, there being hundreds of thousands online, though a set group in your version of the world, some with whom you may interect, others you may not). It may include others around you in the room whi are znky playing the game, i.e. A father questioning his son and an American teaching eachother swear words sad

Division of labour-who does what. There is generally a naatural leader, I've observed my son in groups of up to five, but typically two or three, working as a pack, more than a team or platoon in a very structured way.

This is my take on it having had to read Engestrom's book From Teams to Knots in which a variety of case studies, including a hospitlal and its relationship with GP surgeries is developed.

I cite and use activity systems all the time, whether to cnsider the relationship between two people developing ideas towgether (like us here Joanne) or between departments, as I did during a daylong away day with the OU Faculty if Business and Law, which I did today.

For me it lets me think beyound a person, or the physical presnce or make up of a group, to understand and to take into consideration influences upon snd eminating from them.

I know Conole has her pyramid thing, and I prefer 'spheres of influence' as a visualised concept, as this models are simply an expression of the complexity of what may be going on and can never take in the true variety of impacts and influences upon and from an individual or group.

My take on it! I may have not got it at all. The person I'd like to quiz is Engestrom himself (he has been known to visit The OU I am told).

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What do you call your Avatar?

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In 2001 I attended a meeting in which a company who had imported avatar software from the US wanted us as intermediaries to sell 'the' into our clients.

On Avatar names I found they are/where led by username software, so increasingly every realish name under the sun was taken. Being an early adopter I nabbed Jonathan in one domain, otherwise you end up with something like jj27vv. The othet day I had a go with the names of all 16 moons of Saturn - not one was available.

Having 'Jonathan' is of course hopeless when I wanted to be anonymous so I have since locked that website.

I have no idea what names I adopted in the couple of Second Life domains I tried out for all of five minutes. Being invited to take on a name that sounded like a Norse god would not be conducive to good behaviour.. There's a study on this which I came across in which a shigh student took on the persona of a beligerent thug and remained in character whenever on line.

There is value though in visualisation and role play.

The answer is to do as JKRowling; collect words and names viraciously, make them up to. It will always be possible to say something original.

Thinking of which, the most crass term I've ever heard is 'unobtanium' in Avatar.
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Forums - Anderson

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:37
They are too labour intensive. Reading and responding involves too much practioner time. Daniel and Marquis (1979) How much of the learning process should be undertaken in independent study and how much in interaction with others?
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Engagement between a person or entity outside the self is core to the lesrning process. (LauriLlard, 1993) DISCUSS

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From wk25 H800 of the 'Masters in Open and Distance Education'.
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H800 wk25 Anderson's equivalency of interaction theory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 2 Aug 2011, 20:09
Is the 'trade off' really only between:

Student and tutor Student and student Student and content

Should the tutor not also be engaged with the content?

If not they are a facilitator, not a tutor, not a thinker, equally able to challenge the content as the student must.

My interest is in a tutor who questions the script, not all do. I've had a tutor read the script as if it were Latin, locked in history and imovable.

It is, we are, living in highly fluid times.

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H800 WK25 Sage on the stage or guide on the side

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 12:42

Sage%2520on%2520the%2520Stage%2520SNIP%25201.JPG

Sage on the Stage or Guide on the side?

I don't like the idea that somehow technology is diminishing the value of the educator by implying that they have gone from, and may be demoted to a 'sage on the stage'.

The best teacher never did pontificate, their position on the stage may have been as a result of their expertise, surely in Higher Education, if not early.

But for the transference of knowledge to the 'unknowing' student to occur they'd have to be all kinds of things to all kinds of people; sometimes a sage on the stage, often a guide on the side. Bill Furniss who coaches Rebecca Adlington and other swimmers is literally the 'guide on the side;' this doesn' t means he doesn't know hus subject.

Is a conductor a guide or sage?

What ICT allows is for individuals in the learning process to identify themselves by their role, so that the sage this morning csn be your guide in the evening.

In any case, who says the role of guide is any less sacrosanct?

I find increasingly, the more that I use them, that Stumbleupon and Zite are my guide on the side.

What I crave therefore is a conversation with the sages on the stages.

Come forth Martin Weller, Grainne Conole snd Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, ket's be hearing from you Chris Pegler and Mary Thorpe, you too Denise Kirkpatrick.

(see comments in Linkedin forum)

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H800 WK15 Activity 1 What's the Web 2.0 role of the educator ?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Nov 2011, 22:16

H800 WK15 Activity 1

Read Haythornthwaite (2008), ‘Ubiquitous Transformations’: Proceedings of the Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, 2008.

QQ1 What evidence is there of this shift towards taking responsibility for learning by the learners themselves?

There will be those who come to learning online who are used to being in control online, so they won't feel like a pupil entering a classroom, a student in a lecture hall or tutorial, a stranger in a strange land. Rather they will feel it is their domain, at best a shared domain, more like a visit to the leisure centre than to an elitist insitution where those in it have progressed as a result of proving their elite status.

‘Internet-based trends that emphasize contribution, conversation, participation, and community exercise a significant impact on learning.’ Haythornthwaite 2008:598

‘Participatory action has now spread to many aspects of daily life, often brought together under the label Web 2.0’. (O’Reilly, 2005). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

It still matters for credibility of the qualification, evidence that you’ve done the work, evidence that you’ve picked the brains of and had your brain picked over by subject matter experts of a reputable established. It matters for the sake of guidance, perhaps the metaphor of railway tracks less appropriate given the freedoms afforded by the mobile internet, but even a kite-surfer has had to take instruction, purchase the right kit, maintain it, then seek and take advice from those wiser and more experienced.

I like the idea of the Learner Leader and picking up on the thinking of Cox on ‘participator learning’ and from John Seely-Brown learning ‘learning from the periphery’.

Where appropriate, participants come to shared definition of meanings through collaborative, conversational interaction.

Such emergent learning practices reinforce ideas from:

·         collaborative learning theories (Bruffee, 1993; Koschmann, 1996; Miyake, 2007; Haythornthwaite, Bruce, Andrews, Kazmer, Montague, Preston, 2007),

·         model what others have described as the learning behaviour of experts (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1996).

In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ2 Is Haythornthwaite’s account an idealised version of learner behaviour in your view?

‘These new media lay the foundation for radical transformations in who learns from whom, where, under what circumstances, and for what and whose purpose. In short, they indicate a transformation to ubiquitous learning – a continuous anytime, anywhere, anyone contribution and retrieval of learning materials on and through the Internet and its technologies, communities, niches and social spaces’. (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

The reality is that we human beings have far more important, pressing and natural urges and desires that incline us towards those around us, and from communities with whom we find we have the greatest affinities. As young adults our intentions and outlooks may shift, but this would occur anyway, the internet offering, to use as 60s view of television, a ‘window on the world’.

This statement denies that learning takes place outside the classroom or away from formal texts. It has always been the case that substantially more learning goes on in the home, at play, from family and friends. All we’ve discovered, like the devices that many of us now carry around, is that we are always turned on.

‘E-learning’ signifies a transformation in learning rather than a transition from off- to on-line (Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007).

As Haythornthwaite indicates here, the technologies are not exclusive.

And as Wellman (2002) suggests the contexts in which transformation occurs are diverse, with each one having a different stance. Transformations that do not fit easily with utopian visions accompany distributed practices, including outsourcing, offshoring, disintermediation, and networked individualism (Wellman, 2001), each of which entails a general redistribution of processes and responsibilities to individuals.

The Pew Internet project (Horrigan, 2006) reports that 71% of the adult population surveyed turn to the Internet for science information because of its convenience, and only 13% because they feel it is more accurate.

Where’re not talking about the adult population, we’re talking about specific cohorts of students who could just as well be in primary, secondary, tertiary or postgraduate education. Whilst in the adult population who go online 1% actively blog, in the undergraduate student population this rises to 34%.

The dominance of Google is waning; increasingly people using mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) use Apps to aggregate content. The choices are becoming more personalised and informed.

But as with many other utopian predictions about how the open nature of the Net will create arenas that transcend foibles of the physical world; our faults have followed us to cyberspace. (Levy, 2004, np). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ3 In the light of your own responses and experience, does this ‘new paradigm’ indicate the redundancy of the practitioner?

Or, on the contrary, does it indicate the need for a practitioner with in-depth knowledge of how new technologies can be harnessed and with the time to provide facilitation and support to students as they take on these new responsibilities?

Making the time to interact with students online (and off) and having this planned into the curriculum is important. More tutors are needed, not fewer as expectations rise about the degree of engagement with others. Tutors or teaching assistant, event students (not just PhD), ought to be paid to be online as a hollow forum, or tutor group that isn’t active delivers the poorer experience. My analogy is to think of it as opening a chain or restaurants; why do some work and other’s fail? The ingredients and the menu is the same, but the context (location and personalities) differ. Getting the mix right and having the flexibility and fluidity and will to alter things as it evolves is vital, but often lacking. Certainly the idea that students would pay a handsome fee and then self-educate has largely been dispelled. The shift is livelier and less formal, more akin to a summer school, or camp, with everyone potentially present. There are academics, particularly in higher education, who seem to lack any desire to teach, preferring to inform at arm’s length from the product of their research. Perhaps it is more than this, it is like meeting in Liverpool Street Station amidst the cacophony of everyone else’s online lives, then taking a group to a museum then a show while the individuals in the group try to work, try to enjoy a holiday, have their kids, dog and mother along for the trip, and are engrossed in a novel, game or TV show. The potential is to be distracted, or engaged, or to juggle between the two.

The answer is in the hubbub of the tutorial, or seminar, the forced taking of sides in a debate, or informed discussions in a forum. The arguments and scholarship is still there, it is simply loose of the shackles of print and that technologies 500 year dominance of education, which is fast ending. Haythornthwaite suggests something has changed; it has, we’re returning to a model that is pre-print, vibrant, engaged, and live and that plays to broader human attributes and skills.

As Haythornthwaite (2008:599) goes on to say, ‘New social skills, or perhaps older ones now transformed online, become essential for a workable online future’.

Such knowledge bases resemble more the already familiar communities of practice (Wenger, 1988) and educational disciplines that an open encyclopaedia.

REFERENCE

Brown, J.S. (2002) The Social Life of Information

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Haythornthwaite, C., Bruce, B. C., Andrews, R., Kazmer, M. M., Montague, R. & Preston, C. (2007). New theories and models of and for online learning. First Monday, 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/haythorn/index.html

Horrigan, J. B. (2006). The Internet as a resource for news and information about science. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Exploratorium_Science.pdf.

Levy, S. (Oct. 4, 2004). Memo to bloggers: Heal thyselves. Newsweek. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6098633/site/newsweek.

Wellman, B. (2001). The rise of networked individualism, In. L. Keeble (Ed.), Community Networks Online (pp. 17-42). London: Taylor & Francis.

 

 

 

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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)

DSC01940.JPG

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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H800 WK 24 Activity 2 Phenomonography ... and all that Jazz.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 07:37

Read Jones and Asensio (2001), ‘Experiences of assessment: using phenomenography for evaluation’.

As you read, consider the following questions:

  1. In the example provided by Jones and Asensio, do you think there was any way that the design of the assessment led to the students’ divergent understandings of the task?
  2. How would you respond to the problem raised in this paper if you were asked to design a learning activity or an assessment?

It depends as much on how assessment is carried out, as to the design of the learning. If a tighly prescriptive, tick-box response is required to prove that the student can read, draw common interpretations and put it down in a standard, structured way then there should not be room for interpretation, perspective, point of view or originality.

This isn't maths, there is always going to be more than one responce.

I find in this paper of far greater interest the points regarding interpretation of others' intentions in order to be able to work together.

Enemies can meet in a debating chamber because they know the rules and the desired outcome; they may give very different responses in a written assessment.

If this is the case then I assume that the materials being discussed here are for an undergraduate programme.

Course structure can invite students to fulfil all manner of tasks by offering points towards assessment scores. In my experience this has been a completely futile endeavour if my contribution then widely misses the mark as interpretted by a system that requires you to line up 1000 match sticks in a particular way.

(Research by the way shows that if you make a task optional no one does it; why offer it then?)

I celebrate the idea that 'students' experiences vary in what may be unpredictable ways from the course designers' intentions. (Jones & Asensio, 2001)

I've worked all my carrier where originality and creativity are applauded. 'Creativity is mistakes,' so if a student gets the wrong end the stick in their response I'd be keen to have built in to the marking the flexibility to accommodate this.

So, is it a problem?

That depends on the desired outcomes, the seriousness of going slightly or a long way off the intended target and whether the intention is to get a stock answer from each student, or constant variety.

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H800 wk 24 Activity 3 Wenger vs. Goodyear

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 17:53

For this exercise I fond myself dipping into other tutor groups. On reflection, after a highly disruptive week all I needed to have done was pick through the course reading, in chronological order, made notes, expressed my thoughts, then answer the questions. Using the notes of others is not a fix; you must still engage with the content and make it your own.

  1. What are the four dimensions of design for learning that Wenger identifies?
  2. How does Wenger’s account differ from the account given by Goodyear as the indirect nature of design and summarised in Figure 1?
  3. How do you think that a designer can support ‘the work of engagement, imagination and alignment’?

 

Fig%25252010.1%252520Wenger%252520Participation%252520and%252520Reification%252520in%252520learning%252520design%252520SNIP.JPG

The challenge of designing for learning.

QQ1

  1. Participation and reification
  2. The design and the emergent
  3. The local and the global
  4. Identification and negotiability

 

QQ2 How does Wenger’s account differ from the account given by Goodyear as the indirect nature of design and summarised in Figure 1?

 

Goodyear%252520Learning%252520Design%252520SNIP.JPG

Goodyear is saying that design can only accommodate so much as a learner will always bring with them their own interpretations to the design therefore learning and design are separate entities.Wenger is saying that learning design embrace far more, that it less prescriptive and more engaging than imagined. (From Joanne Pratt)

Space and Place - can be linked to - Designed and Emergent Organisation and Community - can be linked to - Identification and Negotiability Tasks and Activity - can be linked to - Participation and Reification Local and Global seem to sit outside of Goodyear. (From Daniella)

How do you think that a designer can support ‘the work of engagement, imagination and alignment’?

A designer can only do so much with the software they are given.  However knowing that software inside out; its limitations, its benefits will help with how a designer enables the above. (From Joanne Pratt)

Wenger%252520Fig%25252010.3%252520SNIP.JPG

 

By paying attention to the Figure 10.3. (From Daniella)

 

From Jonathan

Q1 As above

Q2  'Each of these dimensions involves distinct – but interrelated – trade – offs and challenges: they present their own opportunities and obstacles and their own resources and constraints. A given design entails choices, inventions, and solutions along each dimension'. (Wenger 1998:236)

Q3 In Wenger's words:

It is a tool that can guide a design by outlining:

1) the general questions, choices, and trade-offs to address – these define the dimensions of a design “space”

2) the general shape of what needs to be achieved – the basic components and facilities to provide

i.e. there is ampple scope for variety and imagination, as with the architectural design analogy he uses. Which applies equally as an analogy for how people (students) behave once inside the designed 'building'.

 

'The benefit of such a multiplicity of related but distinct dimensions is that it opens up the space of design by decoupling the issues involved'. (Wenger, 1998:236)

'The challenge of design, then, is to support the work of engagement, imagination, and
alignment'. (Wenger, 1998:236)


FURTHER NOTES

Etienne Wenger is probably most recognised for his work promoting the idea of communities of practice. The idea of a community of practice has been applied to groups who interact to achieve a common purpose or enterprise and share a common repertoire. (From course notes)

 

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The penny dropped

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:49

Between formal and informal learning design styles

Highly prescriptive vs call up the information you need as you go along. So defined instructions vs figuring it out for themselves. Perhaps using tools to guide and inform. We were given the simplest of tasks, teaching students how to cross a busy road in safety.

I made a point about any group requiring leadership or a champion.

I made a point on Randy Pausch whose 3D lecture series included mixing up student groups who then had to vote on each other's levels of collaboration in the group.

There was a discussion on informal peer assessment that I didn't entirely follow, certainly my notes are somewhat cryptic. Hopefully the session was recorded so I can listen back.

It is the unexpected insights in a synchronous session that prove valuable, especially the asides in the break-out room.

Assemble the books and papers you plan to refer to ahead of writing.

This is a new one to me. I prefer to write what I want and deal with the referencing after rather than fitting the assignment to the books and papers.

Perhaps a combination of the two is required.

The learning plan you produce may not be followed closely given the myriad of ways people respond. Many are drawn in by the assessment but not all.

Can such divergent styles be accommodated?

As the Elluminate discussion progressed, four students, one tutor moderator, I did a doodle.

doodle

Having shared the idea I then corrected it.

From Wenger (1998:233) 

'There is an inherent uncertainty between design and its realization in practice, since practice is not the result of design but rather a response to it'.

Phenomonology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired response.

The notes reads 'design as well as we can ... 'the students share the outcome. We set the learning, that is then displaced to or set in the context of each learner. We might have a learning objective, but students can and diverge from this'. (A good thing if you want diversity and originality)

As a learning designer you have to anticipate a variety of behaviours and plan for not too many being wildly divergent. This can be achieved by understanding the students.

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Simplicity, blindingly obvious, steps is key to e-learning.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 30 Jul 2011, 08:45

Anything and everything else would require an extraordinary detailed and qualified profile of the person.

This personalisation cannot be the one to one Oxbridge tutorial in which rapport between student and pofessor may develop and be sustained over years. Understandably The OU will not behave like Tescos and gather at every touch point your behaviour and respond accordingly. Though it would be advantageous to the individual if they did.

The technology steps in, but even call-centre staff have learnt or been taught the obvious: there is a client/customer relationship going on here and guess who matters most?

Any barriers that exist between formal and informal learning have long collapsed.

Do you want to publisize this?

Tools such as Zite and StumbleUpon stretch your learning into students and academics in competing institutions.

Others with who you interact are key, not least the tutor to whom you have been assigned.

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This changes everything ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Sep 2011, 06:38

Stumbleupon, Zite, Read It Later.

Three iPad Apps and I feel myself being drawn closer to the people and content that defines and makes me.

Sharing for further discussion on Linkedin, some to the wind on Twitter and occasionally irritating or intriguing family and freinds on Facebook.

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MAODE H800 A moment of enlightenment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:27

I would like to be studying an applied MAODE.

This should be a joint collaboration between the Institute of Educational Technology and the Open University Business and Law School.

applied is the operative word.

Not a Masters in Open and Distance Education, but an aMAODE.

18 months ago I signed up to the MAODE (I might have done an MA in Fine Art ... for which I was qualified. Where would I be now?)

Never mind

My mother, tutored by Quentin Bell at Durham University in the 1950s, had me teaching fine art somewhere. (Our family for the last four generations seem not to generate progeny until they are at least in their third decade)

Maybe, e-Art?

I may pick this up next and become a e-learning verions of David McAndless.

Information is beautiful

Go Google.

24 months ago several friends signed up to an e-learning course with Sussex University. They are now constructing e-learning, I am not.

Why?

The difference, dare I suggest, is did I want to be a mechanic, or the engineer?

  • Can The OU be less precious and offer more of both?
  • My first ECA was an entirely practicle, commercial piece of e-learning that was shot down ...
  • for being blended
  • and 'of this world.'
  • It is all 'of this world'.

It is only learning, not e-learning, but o-learning.

Only Learning.

P.S. It ain't rocket science. As Martin Weller shows in his VLE book.

What we as potential practioners of online learnning is a dip in the training pool. As a Swimming Coach, and former competitive swimmer, what strikes me is that I am yet to stick my toes in the water.

Frankly, my concern, is that if I come up with another commercial e-learning project for an ECA it will like the other one be rubbished because the markers are looking for an academic paper, not a viable e-learning project.

This is where the tectonic plates of theory and practice meet. Is anyone on the MAODE doing it to become an academic?


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From Drop Box

(Note to self a month later ... it is applied. In every module, particularly H807 'Innovations in E-Learning' we are constantly pressed to put e-learning in an applied context with which we are familiar)

 

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