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Our memory of how to do things is often tied to the situation in which it was learnt.

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What does this mean for distance learning?

Is this why the odd residential school becomes such a focus and a vital memory? On the MAODE modules there are no tutor groups, nor any residential schools.

Does this make the Tutor Group Forum and the Elluminate sessions all the more important to get right?

The tutorial system of the Oxbridge Colleges does two things: it ties the learning to the personality of a tutor and it socialises learning within a small tutor group from (usually) a single college where the annual cohort may be as low as 30 and generally not far over 100.

How can this be replicated online?

The tutor relationship matters. Better and immediate tools engender the possibility of a closer relationship but the OU isn't geared up for it.

Are Associate Lecturers chosen for the e-moderating skills?

 

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Social Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 12:52

This isn't something new; the best way to learn is from and amongst others. John Seely Brown gets it right when he talks about 'learning from the periphery'. Think how in the playground or when joining a club where there may be no formal induction or training, how you gravitate towards the centre over time as you listen in to conversations, get the drift of what is being said, get up the courage to ask questions (which is hopefully encouraged), and in time gain knowledge and confidence to offer your own unique take and things. In time you gravitate towards the centre; you may even become the centre. the 'leader' or part of the 'leadership' those wise folk at the centre of things.

I recall this as an undergraduate on campus, an outsider for a year, at the centre for a year and then worrying about Finals.

The OU launched 'Social Learn' yesterday.

This is exciting. It brings the hubbub of the eclectic learning community online. This is more than a forum, it is a virtual learning space.

It will take all kinds of participants for it to work otherwise it is like one of those South American Pipe Dreams to build cities from scratch in the Amazon Jungle. It is the people and their ideas, thoughts, knowledge and participation that will bring it to life. It will require moderators, and leaders, and champions, and people to listen and guide and share. It will require moderators:

'The essential role of the e-moderator is promoting human interaction and communication through the modelling, conveying and building of knowledge and skills'. (Salmon, 2005:4)

And a new take on things:

'Online learning calls for the training and development of new kinds of online teachers - to carry out roles not yet widely understood'. (Salmon. 2005:10)

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Use of video in elearning (part 4)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 25 Mar 2012, 07:03

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Anytime, anywhere? Really?

Really. Learning can be delivered anywhere, and not just text on a card, but rich activities and video. It is straightforward to put video on an elearning platform that will run on any mobile device, smartphone or tablet.

Epic have created GoMo that lets you do this.

I saw it demonstrated last Wednesday. In less than 15 minutes a basic elearning piece was created, as easily as writing this blog, including images, text, a survey and video clips.

 

 

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Use of video in elearning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 06:34

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What role does video play in elearning? What role does AV or video play in digital communications?

A simple question shared on Linkedin and picked up by a West End Production company led to my joining four producers for what became a two hour conversation yesterday. I based this conversation around a mindmap created in Bubbl.us, something a fellow MAODE student introduced me to over a year ago. (We were comparing tools, such as Compendium, for creating visualisations of learning designs).

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I had thought about dripping ink into a glass of water to make a point: that digital content dripped into a digital ocean quickly dilutes, that binary code of text, images, video and sound can be melted down and mashed up in many ways. I wonder if an ice-cube in a G&T would have served the same purpose?

It is of course a metaphor, the suggestion that anything goes and anything can happen.

(I find these mind maps a far easier way to share ideas. It is non-linear. It is an aide-memoir. I'd put it online in Picasa and in a blog rather than printing off. I had expectations of calling it up on a huge boardroom screen, instead we struggled with a slow download in an edit suite. Sometimes only a print out would do. There wasn't an iPad amongst them either).

We discussed the terms 'e-learning' and even 'e-tivities' acknowledging that as digital activity is part of the new reality that online it is just 'learning' and that an 'activity' is best described as such.

Video online can be passive, like sitting back and watching a movie or TV. To become an activity requires engagement, sitting forward, and in most cases tapping away at a keyboard (though increasingly swiping across a touch screen).

'Sit Back' or 'Sit Forward' are phrases I recall from the era of 'web-based learning' a decade ago, even interactive learning on Laser Disc and DVD in the early 1990s.

There is science behind it, that learning requires engagement if stuff is to stick: watching a video, or a teacher/lecture is likely to be too passive for much to meaningful. The crudest activity is to take notes (and subsequently to write essays and be examined of course).

Here I am saying 'anything goes' that a piece of video used in learning may be short or long, with limited production values or 'the full monty', the kind of conference opener or commercial that are cinematic with production values and costs to match. We differentiated between 'User Generated Content' and 'DIY', between the amateur working alone and someone being guided through the craft skills of narrative story telling using video. I cited various examples and our our plans to bring alumni together over a weekend, to introduce TV production skills, hand out cameras and a sound kit (though some would bring their own), then based on responses to a creative brief, a synopsis and treatment, even a simple script, they would go away and shot then edit something. These pieces should have a credibility and authenticity as a result.

The kind of outputs include the video diary and the 'collective' montage with contributions from around the world linked with some device. A recording (with permission) of a web conference may meet the same criteria, embedded on a dashboard to allow for stop, stop, replay. A couple of other forms of 'user generated content' were mentioned, but neither taking notes nor recording the meeting I have forgotten. I use the negative expression 'corporate wedding video' for the clips that can be generated by teams who haven't had the training, or lack the craft skills.

For the presentation I had spun through a dozen video pieces and grabbed screens as I went along, key moments in the presentation or some trick or approach that I liked to illustrate a point: text on screen, humour, slip-ups denoting authenticity and so on. Put online and embedded in a blog these images were a form or mashup. The images could be collated on Flickr. Whilst a piece of video on YouTube can be embedded anywhere a person wants it, this content in various ways can be reincorporated. Not a bad thing if links of some kind are retained. Providing a transcript and stills are ways to facilitate quoting from the piece, for getting the conversation going on a social platform. This depends of course on the client brief, whether there is a wish, let alone permission, supported by the right Creative Commons choices, to see content shared.

We discussed external and interal communications, the difference between content for the Internet or an Intranet.

We also discussed the likelihood of people to participate in this way. I like the simple split between 'Digital Visitors' and 'Digital Residents', between those who look and those who touch, those who observe from time to time, compared to those who take an active role. I quoted Jakob Neilsen and his 95:4:1 ratios between those online who simple browse or observer (what used to be pejoratively called lurking), those who rate, like or comment and the 1% who create the content.

Forrester Research have taken this further though this isn't something I took them through:

  • Creator
  • Conversationalist
  • Critic
  • Collector
  • Joiner
  • Spectator
  • Inactive

 

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REFERENCE

Salmon, G (2002) The key to active learning online. (accessed 24th March 2012) https://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/tojde8/reviews/etivities.htm

 

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B822 TMA3 DONE!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:12

Done and sent!

 

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I can trim 100 words and a final check of grammar, punctuation and sense will do no harm.

It adds nothing to the word count and appears to entertain the tutors so I illustrate my assignments. Well, I add pertinent photos, charts and diagrams. The use of photos should be encoruaged, indeed in the MAODE aren't we able to submit multimedia? I remember an assignment that some presented as a short video.

Unusually for me I have 12+ hours in hand. I also have a day in London seeing production companies. I'll take in a print out. If I'm inclined to do so, or want of a few marks or just making my tutor's life easier, I'll edit and re-submit before the midnight deadline.

For all my MAODE modules that would be it. This being an elective that comes from the OU MBA means there is an exam at the end of April sad

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Resistance and an EMA

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Mar 2012, 08:23

The EMA is due on Monday.

Instead of writing the penultimate draft from the notes, earlier drafts, diagrams and pics I have assembled I am spinning through people's blogs. On the MAODE modules this served a purpose because there are always a handful of people who get into the blog thing on H800, H808, H807 and H809. However I have only ever come across TWO people doing any MBA module here and never anyone who is doing or has done B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'. All I need, or benefit from is the knowledge that I am in the same place they are or were ... or are reaching, to help clear the fog so that I can give the thing some certain shape. One trick, I've done this, is to write my TMA into this blog space ... never publish, but somehow I feel, momentarily, I have grabbed my space on the Church Hall platform and I have no choice but to talk through what I've got.

What have I got?

  • Five parts with a very clear sense of how many words per part are permitted and will work for what I think I know.
  • A couple of drafts which very unusually for me gives a total some 1000 words under rather than 10000 words over the required total.
  • A neat collection of course work references, quotes and diagrams.
  • Evidence in the form of photos, more diagrams, and comments on the topic from discussions that I seeded 'businessy' groups in Linkedin.
  • This stuff printed out and in digital form.
  • Two hours before I need to get off to the swimming club where I swim an early morning Masters session then teach for a few hours.

SO

  • Focus on pulling stuff together for two hours.
  • Do the swim.
  • Then look at it afresh this afternoon.
  • This is a REPORT, so keep each part objective, and contained by the word count.
  • Stop fretting! A pass will do, but if I submit nothing a fail is inevitable sad
  • It MUST go on Sunday as I'm in London all day Monday.

(P.S. At some stage I'll be wandering around the Hockney at the RA if anyone wants to meet up)

 

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The University that never sleeps?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 15:30

Last year in my student group we had a two week sub-group task to complete over two weeks.

There were three of us in the UK: Lewes, Portsmouth and Buckingham with the other three in Germany, Thailand and New Zealand. During the two week period our Tutor Group Forum was rarely silent for more than a few hours.

By the end of it there were over 100 threads to the discussion which I saved to MyStuff (OU ePortfolio) but also pasted into this blog (set on private) as it continues both to illustrate and inspire the brilliance of the MAODE.

It turned my head inside out, demonstrating that the learning experience is far more effective and enjoyable when shared.

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A fellow OU fan? Let the world know with a vote on Facebook

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Mar 2012, 08:32

I wouldn't usually do this kind of thing, but you can do the OU a favour, prove a point to the world and be in line to win an iPad 3. Just go along to the OU Facebook page and 'like', for further Brownie Points add a comment.

Combined this sets us against other univwrsities. somehow we were beaten to the top slot in 2011.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=295349760517763&set=a.295346917184714.93370.139403029445771&type=1

I started in 2001, then took a break.

Back for the last two years with an MA a module away and more to follow for certain: MRes? MBA? Another MA in History of Art or Creative WritinG.

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Online vs face to face

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:41

I try to concentrate during a face to face tutorial but as a MAODE student who isn't supposed to ever meet anyone I constantly feel that doing this elective offers some vital insights and contrasts.

Face to face is very like the online equivalent ( or should that be the other way around? ) the 2 hours 30 I have spent today could have been an Elluminate Session, with breakout rooms combined with lots said in the Tutor Group Forum.

The advantage online, certainly with the forums, is to have everyone's thoughts and ideas as notes.

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Candle Power

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A power cut. I use the iPad as a torch to locate matches, have candles on the dining room table and the gas stove heating up water. I don't need to rummage around for a book as it is loaded into iBooks. I'll see where 3 hours reading and note taking gets me (Part 4 of Book 3 I hope) then off to Surrey and a tutorial. Although a came to an MBA module as an elective of the MAODE I may well do the entire MBA as for the fourth time I may be going down the route of setting up my own business.
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The Economist posted this in their Linkedin group a while back. What do you think?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:52

The membership of this group continues to grow at a rapid speed and we get a healthy stream of postings of discussions and news.

1. The discussions board is primarily intended to start discussions therefore please take some effort to phrase your idea, thought or observation in such a way that responses are encouraged.

2. Don’t make multiple posts of the same item.

3. Don’t blatantly promote your company, product, weblog or yourself.

4. Please do not promote other groups (unless of course they are one of ours!) or simply provide links to external reports (though of course we all have some of these to share from time to time). Rather, if there is something worthwhile to be found elsewhere, please post the premise so it can be discussed here.

5. Posts that are off-topic will be removed.

6. Multiple off topic/solicitation postings will result in removal from the group. Indeed, if any members flag a discussion three times it is automatically removed.

I champion this OU Student Blog platform thingey because it is aking to the Bulletin Boards of a decade ago. You post your stuff and others may spot it vicariously or tune in. I love the stuff I am introduced to that would never otherwise pass before my eyes. I want to sudy Art History, I can't get enough of the MAODE of coourse ... I even quite enjoy the enthusiasm some people have for poetry and maths.

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Is Social Media a one man band, a chamber orchestra or the full philharmonic?

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Dan the man

As a social media manager am I first flute, composer or conductor?

With direct experience working in an organisation of 4,000+ and in our faculty the only Social Media Manager and person with a social media and online communications remit I have good reason to reflect on the way the role of 'Social Media' is changing. The one man band metaphor falls down when you consider the number, size, scale and volume of the 'instruments' this bandoliers must play. Decades ago Roy Castle set a Guinness Book of Record by playing x different instrument in a set period of time. (Done live on Blue Peter in the late 1960s or early 1970s perhaps?). It can be like that.

Is the 'Jack of All Trades' the answer?

That depends on the kind of results you want. To stretch the metaphor we are yet to see the full philharmonic orchestra as an in-house social media team, though this might be what the large agencies offer. Those where social media is crucial, I've seen it at the FT, I would say they are moving towards the 'chamber orchestra' model: they have to, everything is going on line and opinion, not news, is the currency.

Where does this leave education? We shall see.

How much can you learn simply by join a group, say in Linkedin? You listen, you learn, you take guidance. You may offer some initial thoughts. Slowly and vicariously, depending on your motivation and skill set, you become more engaged, from the periphery you gravitate towards and are drawn to the centre of things. It may take two or three years (or months) and you find yourself considered to be a voice, an opinion maker, a leader. Are you?

What makes the Digital Scholar?

I'll find out as I aim to complete an MA in Open and Distance Education and am increasingly inclined to press on with an OU MBA too, as I currently take one of the modules. Mostly online, it could all be online. I share it all, empty my head into a blog each night and thus share my progress (or lack of progress) with a broad and eclectic mix of fellow students (undergraduates and graduates) ... and the occasional academic.

We live in interesting times.

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli (Dali Champagne)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:04

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli of Various Kinds

1) Identify what it is you want ideas for.

2) Grab an idea from a paper, from looking out of the window, or by throwing dice. (In our case the facilitator had a collection of odd items for this purpose).

3) Connect this idea back to the issue, if necessary using Free Association or Excursion.

4) If it doesn't work try something else.

Could pick a fixed or specific element of the problem and do the same.

* Select grammatically appropriate stimuli: noun+verb, adjective+noun, but make bizarre combinations (which is how David Bowie often wrote song lyrics).

* Deliberately do something different, or speak to someone new or travel home in a different way.

* Allow the idea to incubate while going about your normal day.

CASE STUDY

We took a business problem and defined this in a way that was clear.

WRITTEN UP ON FLIP CHART

Various items were picked out from a selection brought to the workshop by the tutor for this purpose. He picked out a small, smiling lobster ornament as the stimuli and passed it around.  We then played collective word association writing our word onto a PostIt note that the facilitator then put onto a set of double doors.

Once we had around 70 ideas and we had fairly exhausted our thoughts we stopped.

The role of the facilitator was to ensure that everyone offered ideas, that no one dominated. Collectively we put the words into groups and labelled these groups.

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We took ONE theme and put it on a triple A1 sheet of paper.

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We drew, collectively, a mind map still trying to generate ideas.

Finally, from these ideas the person whose problem it had been was invited to see if any answers had been offered.

The solution that was of most interest was indeed something that would not otherwise been thought of.

REFERENCE

Whiting (1958), Taylor (1962), de Bono (1970), Rickards (1974) and VanGundy

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Is education a problem or a business opportunity?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 23:40

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'In Business' with Peter Day on BBC Radio 4 recently included insights on higher education from the Open University Vice Chancellor Martin Bean.

Martin Beanenlightens, enthuses and convinces us of a model that puts the student at the centre of things, supported by great teaching that exploits everything online and distance learning can now offer.

Personally I always need a transcript alongside radio or TV if I am to start to recall much that is said. I offer here a partial transcript.

The Open University point of view is expressed in the first eight minutes.

PETER DAY (PD) suggests that people are complaining about education. This is 'In Business' so that angle is on the graduates that join companies.

'Almost everywhere education seems to be failing to produce what people want from it'.

Now businesses are getting much more involved we are told.

Is education a problem or a business opportunity?

'Wherever they come from and whatever they are learning what should students be taught? That’s something companies are increasingly getting involved with because they are finding it difficult to get the trained people they need'.

Various industry leaders are interviewed, but a substantial part of programme, indeed the first 8 minutes of a 30 minute piece goes to the Open University, Vice Chancellor, Martin Bean, (MB) who we are reminded comes from industry himself having led education at Microsoft.

How is the OU introduced?

One of the global pioneers in new kinds of education was the Open University set up by the British Government 43 years ago to create distance learning based on broadcasting to reach students outside lecture halls. The Internet now provides huge new opportunities for the Open University. Here’s one of the OU’s online lessons:

The History of English in 10 minutes (narrated by Clive Anderson), an iTunes podcast is offered as an example of the online learning experience.

PD: Education is in some kind of crisis: why?

MB: Institutions needs to have the student at the heart of the equation otherwise it leads to dissatisfaction either with the teaching, or worse still the outcomes when they graduate.

Are employers getting 21stcentury skills, softer skills that are really about people, about the ability to collaborate, group problem solve, the ability to communicate effectively verbally, the ability to work in teams and our model as you know is based on practice-based learning, so the beauty of embedding learning in the workplace with the Open University model means that you're actually getting the best of both worlds. I think the fact that over 80% of the FTSE 100 companies in the UK sponsor an OU student gives a pretty clear indication to me that that model is one that overcomes some of that.

PD: There is competition from the more traditional universities now?

MB: Other more traditional universities are embracing more innovative practices that we’ve been using and I think that’s fantastic, that’s what students are demanding, these are students now that view technology and access and real time interaction an absolute necessity in their life.

It’s all about embracing the technology of the day.

MB: What’s on my agenda now is to continue to leverage the web, and the personalisation of the web, to fully embrace these new tablet and mobile devices that are proliferating the world and directly link them in to our virtual learning environments, so that people can get as much out of a tablet or mobile device as they do for entertainment today they can get as much if not more using it as a Higher Education learning device.

PD: Looking at the history of technology it is often thought that the new will replace the old?

MB: We have to redefine what personal means. The web has moved from being very content centric to very people centric.

The personal side of higher education is where the magic happens.

MB: What’s interesting though is the redefinition of what 'personal' can actually be. We used to think of personal as meaning physical, having to be in the same room, what’s interesting in what has happened to the web is it has moved from being very content centric to being very people centricand enabling us to engage and collaborate in Facebook-type ways that we could not have contemplated even five years ago.

PD: Is it better?

MB: It's not fair to compare classroom or lecture with online as it is all to do with the quality of teaching.

What is effective teaching?

When we get that precious time with an academic we want is discourse, want we want is challenge.

The real question is ‘what’s fit for purpose?’

 

Other contributors were:

Nick Wilson
Managing director, HP UK

Rob Williams
Principal lecturer, University of the West of England

Ralph Mainard
Deputy master, Dulwich College

Joe Spence
Master of Dulwich College

Jim O’Neill
Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Kunal Bahl
Founder of Indian coupon website Snapdeal

Krishnan Ganesh
Founder Tutorvista

Eric Schmidt
Chairman, Google

REFERENCE

Day, P (2011) In Business. TX 5 JAN & 9 Jan 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018xwtc (Accessed 10 Jan 2012)

 

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B822 Techniques Library: Keeping a Dream Diary and Working with Dreams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 08:04

A dream in which people set value in 'winning' the right to be assessed only once they have undertaken a challenge or initiation in which they have to run into an 'arena' where a coach & horses (think Wild West) is speeding around the circuit and like a game of tag must stamp their fist/hand on the roof of the carriage.

For reasons unknown seemingly because it is the end of the 'season' (period, ers, term) or ere are no (or very few) people about (audience) as the driver of one of these carriages I can, and do slow right down.

To disavow you of the apparent risk or danger the pony and carriage might be somehing brought into the 'ring' (it was open air, dusty and improvised) by a clown or dwarf (though it wasn't) as, looking at it, you can reach its roof at shoulder height, in other words, this 'carriage' could only carry one person (such as a child) I may sit atop to 'drive', or lead it/run it around the circuit, even though it is carriage-like in look and behaviour I don't recall any horses or ponies, biut it is powered (electric car or internal combustion engine).

Having 'enrolled' or help or enable a number of people to achieve/ do this task and so 'join' or have this chance to be part of the 'scene/group/exercise or 'assessment' the suggestion is, to give a particular well-known 'somebody' a chance to 'register' for the first time. I should slow right - might even come to a stop and go off for a while. The character who then raps/taps his hand/fist on the top of the 'carriage' is a 'Bill Wyman' type.

Elsewhere in this blog I have a set of 27 or so probing questions that are designed for me, the dream 'owner' to extract meaning and value - as I perceive it. I will do this exercise and PERHAPS offer it as a separate document. However, as this will of necessity touch on facets of who I think I am, the personal not just the public me, and potentially my work set-up (people-and institution) I must of course be wary of such 'exposure' and 'disclosure'.

Importantly, for B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' this has or will prove to be an exercise that I can offer for my next TMA; what I don't expect are colleagues to start sharing their dreams with me because to do so is highly personal. The context, people forget when considering a dream and its interpretation is the inner workings of a person and their feelings which are often contorted and exaggerated and reflect the interplay between their conscious and subconscious, their genetic make-up, and their upbringing and personal history.

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B822 Techniques Library 'Working with dreams and imagery'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 06:05

There's a warning on this activity, that the techniques may draw up uncomfortable events from your past.

This also highlights a major problem with such techniques:they can throw up the unexpected.

I like to think I have ample experience 'working with dreams' ; I have used them to develop story-lines and ideas, even to some degree for personal cognisance so it felt like an obvious one to give a try.

Context is vital, picking the right activity or game for the people you are working with.

How well do you know them?

It also makes me realise that I'd like to be in a working environment with the kind of colleagues and friends where I could employ such techniques.

I feel like a big fail; there are two activities suggested for problem solving, or creativity, innovation and change: keeping a dream diary and this, which offers ways to explore a dream's meanings and to re-enter and work with this environment created by your subconscious.

There's plenty troubling me at the moment but I find repeatedly that holding onto a dream is like chasing autumn leaves in a stiff breeze.

Take this morning; just a few moments awake I recall I had been dreaming and that it had been a 'good one': vivid but apparently not memorable enough. I tried all the tips in the book to recover or return to the dream: you have to place yourself exactly as you were as you had the dream. I still can't get it; I feel like MacBeth clutching at the dagger; it is always just out of reach.

By way of example I have a snippet of a dream from a few days ago: returning to the campsite after some kind of trip or activity in the woods I find my tent has gone: everything has been removed, as if I had never been there. The plot is bare. Why should I be thinking this as I return to work after a two week break?

The 'activity' is then to work with and develop your feelings about this moment, been to re-enter the dream, not simply to see what happens next but to change or influence the outcome. This then MAY offer a solution or at least an understanding of your feelings so that you can deal with them.

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

  • Entering the dream
  • Studying the dream
  • Becoming the images
  • Integrating the viewpoints
  • Reworking the dream

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging

P.S. I just returned to work and couldn't have entered a more friendly environment, my desk as I'd left it.

P.P.S. I realise why I am 'losing' my dreams: stress. I'm waking up with a jolt, some unpleasant thought in the back of my mind.

Steve Jobs was hugely influenced by Zen Buddhism; this I understand would play to the importance of intuition. Intuition alone is not enough; this for Jobs was also the product of intense effort to get his head around an issue; he immersed himself in it until, to paraphrase the historian E.H.Carr he could 'hear it speak'.

20 LIFE LESSONS FROM STEVE JOBS

http://mashable.com/2011/12/18/steve-jobs-20-life-lessons/

REFERENCE

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

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

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Steve Jobs on the future of education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 2 Jan 2012, 20:23

'All books, learning materials, and assessments should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time'.

Steve Jobs quoted in Isaacson (2011:545)

He also favours highly personalised online earning with loads of vide keeping class for debate and discussion. Surely the class to some degree is redundant too given the increasing quality of the online experience?

REFERENCE

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

If enough people wish to discuss Steve Jobs I'll set up a group for OU folk over in LinkedIn?
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What we can learn from Steve Jobs

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:47

 

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Getting to the end of the 600 page biography I struggle to draw a conclusion. Perhaps he was Janus like, always looking in two directions, impish, black and white, loved it or hated it. Able to bend. Loyal (at least to his wife), even to certain friends. Selective then. He was in love with the way his mind worked.

He has been instrumental in changing the world and I feel better for having followed his products, if not his crede.

My iBook died in 2011; I have to replace it. Do I need a laptop if I have an iPad though? My inclination is to have something large and powerful enough to cut movies. The 'Full Monty' a 90 minute piece, to translate scripts I've written even developed as photo journals and start bringing some of the scenes to life.

The Steve Jobs Discussion Group on LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson-discussion-4236153?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

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If Steve Jobs had been around to revolutionise Tertiary education I wonder what he would have done?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012, 22:07

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Steve Jobs launching the iPod Nano

I can see that whilst the gift of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is my gift of 2011 (on the last chapter), that I need it as a eBook.

I resisted making notes as I read 'because it's the holidays' yet now I am finding it repeatedly a nuisance to have missed a point or quote that under others circumstances I would have dutifully taken copious notes throughout. So here's one I couldn't afford to miss: From stand in CEO when Steve Jobs was ill in 2009 (but reflecting a Steve Jobs ethos)

'We are constantly focussing on innovation. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution'.

'We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allows us to innovate in a way that others cannot'.

'We have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change'.

This is the kind of organisation I would like to work for. This is the kind of thinking needed for those studying B882 'Creativity Innovation and Change' and for H807 'Innovations in E-Learning'.

REFERENCE

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs.

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No escape from H807 or B822!

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Thinking I might relax with a Christmas read I quickly realise that the Steve Jobs biography has a good deal to teach on innovation (H807) and tackling business problems (B822). The inclination is to take notes as I go along; I have the hardback book rather than a Kindle version. Has anyone else read it? Perhaps if you too got it for Christmas we could form our own discussion group?
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B822 BK 2 C2 Problems and challenges

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Aug 2012, 21:33

Problem, opportunity, challenge, issue, concern ...

I've been professionally lodged in calling everything a problem to be solved. I may think this through and stick to this concept. I was introduced to the Creative Brief at JWT, London in the mid 1980s. Through Design & Art Direction (D&AD) workshops, then a year, full-time at the School of Communication Arts the 'problem' as the preferred, indeed the only term, was reinforced.

The advertising Creative Brief goes:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

Who are you speaking to?

What do you want to say?

How do you want them to react to this message?

What else do you need to know?

I have seen no reason to change this, indeed some 135+ video productions later, information films, training films, change management, product launch, lecture, you name it ... the same set of questions, answered on a SINGLE SIDE of A4 governs the initial client meetings. If we cannot get it onto a single sheet, then we haven't the focus to deliver a clear response. Back to the drawing board.

It works.

From the agreed Creative Brief I then write a synopsis or two, the ideas are shared and I go off and prepare a treatment or two; I offer alternatives. Then, with agreement on the treatment, based always on how well it lives up to the brief, I go off and write a script. Sometimes the script is visualisation and dialogue (voice over, interviews transcripts even dramatisation), usually very little needs to be changed at this stage; the script is a direct expression of what was agreed in the treatment. We then produce (shoot, post-produce) and review the end result. Once again, a fail-safe process that only sees the product improved upon at each stage.

It works.

So why is this page of this chapter an Epiphany?

I guess, because I know that some clients struggle with the term 'problem'. I stubbornly refuse to accept an alternative and argue my case. Yet apparently there is a case. Or is there? VanGundy (1988) rightly suggests that

p18 'Each of these different terms expresses its own metaphor for what is involved and suggests its own slightly different ways of working'. Henry et al. (2010:18)

To be a problem there needs to be a 'gap' between what is desired and the current position. VanGundy (1988:04)

Why would I change what has always worked?

When I bring with my argument decades of experience from the most successful, persuasive and memorable communicators of all? This 'Creative Brief is an industry standard.

My view is that if there isn't a problem, there is no need to do x, y or z. Anything less than 'problem' diminishes the nature and ambition of the communications challenge (here I argue that internal and external communications, PR, marketing and advertising, are all on the same spectrum: you are trying to persuade people).

Think of problems and solutions as part of an extended hierarchy.

We then get into 'Gap Analysis'

p19 'The imperative that drives creative people can transform the theoretical 'what could be' into a more powerfully motivating 'what should be'.

Then drift away from the challenge when the 'problem' is no longer (in my view of things) considered a communications issue.

p24 The problem exists in the overlap between ourselves and the situation ... this means that solutions can often be as much a mater of changing ourselves as changing the external situation'.

  1. Change the situation
  2. Change yourself
  3. Get out
  4. Learn to live with it

As an external supplier, a communications problem fixer, then only point 1 can apply, which becomes an argument for the extensive use of external suppliers. Think about it, do you want someone to address the problem/challenge you take to them, or shilly-shally about, making do, dodging it or making themselves absent?

p26 'Play' - the dynamic gap between vision and reality.

Activity 2.1 (p16)

Frustration over having an audio-cassette to listen to. By sharing the problems it was resolved.

Cause: keeping up with the technology

Ans: A problem shared is a problem halved. Ease of relationships.

p17 'A densely interconnected part of a huge web of issues and concerns that change and develop over time and may transform radically in appearance depending on your viewpoint'.

Spend a few minutes identifying some of the features of this story that might perhaps generalise to other situations and that:

  • helped to generate the challenge
  • helped to overcome it.

Solving 'problems' however, is not as clear-cut as a specific problem relate to communications.

I need more of VanGundy. Is he free from the OU Library? Or even an not too expensive download as an eBook to the Kindle and iPad. Despite admonitions to spend less time reading and more time addressing the practical side of Block 2, I feel I have to read on, to investigate an issue (oops, problem, I mean) that has bugged me for more than 25 years.

REFERENCE

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

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

 

 


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B822 Block 2 Managing Problems Creatively

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The degree to which this block is practical Shocks; I am so used to reading and exploring thoughts and ideas. I may have got the bulk of this block's reading out of the way in 24 hours. It helps to be in a beautify cottage away from the routine and distractions of home; we're in Long Compton for a week, on the edge of the Cotswolds, where the children we born and where we lived for four years. I am rested: a pitch black night and so quiet it numbs.

For MAODE modules H807, H809 and H800 I offered up the week's activities per post. For B822 I may offer eight posts covering the 8 chapters with a selection of the activities that take my fancy. The big issue will be to select a real problem to tackle using these 'creative' tools (most of which feel like familiar territory having been part of the 'creative problem solving' community most of my career.

Meanwhile I have the little matter of a 50th Wedding Anniversary: an academic affair as she was a Sommerville language scholar and he a Balliol and Pembroke Philosopher and this as a good reason to celebrate their survival.

Amongst giants? I try not to say anything stupid.

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B822 TMA01 Away!

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You'd think I'd know this as I submit my first Tutor Marked Assignment of my fourth module towards a Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE), but when you think you have finished you haven't.

I would give NINE hours to the following:

a) Edit (to the parameters of the word count)

b) Referencing (everything)

c) Narrative flow, which can muck up (a) and (b)

Actually, my first edit had me bin the thing and start again, I'd written it like a letter to a Great Aunt, more of a blog post than the required report.

It has taken 12 or so of these, including EMAs, to feel comfortable with leaving things out, not simply writing succinctly, but dropping ideas that are weak or appear to be repetitive. My inclination is to leave nothing out.

An interesting exercise which will segue into the next two assignment and an exam in April. I feel I have a 'road map'.

Yes, a Christmas Break, but I'll use it first to catch up (I'm a week behind), then to get ahead.

On point c) it helps enormously to reference notes as you go along. Repeatedly I found I could search a quote or author in my own blog, which I use as an e-portfolio, and the correct reference was ready to be cut and pasted into the assignment.

On point a) I have been known to read the assignment out, record it, then listen to the play back. This can be painful as you find there are entire chunks of stuff in the wrong place, or an exercise you'd love to include is redundant. This pain slowly recedes as you feel convinced you have done the right thing by the assignment.

Mark prediction? New tutor, new topic? I never know, but somewhere between low 60s and high 70s.

On verra

Meanwhile, I've got bags to pack, a car to have a new battery fitted, then to load, then off.

 

 

 

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B822 TMA01 Another 4.00 am start

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Dec 2011, 06:25

 

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See below for my explanation regarding the orchard, an idea I develop as a metaphor in relation to tertiary education.

I have a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) to complete

These early mornings are me, I feel like an undergrad with an essay crisis. But I'm not, and there is no crisis.

I'm on the home straight

The word count at 5,000 is way over but I'm confident that if I treat the entire thing like an exercise in Tweeting that I can make all the same points, and more while being succinct.

I will resort to bullet points

How easy is that to mark?

The frustration for someone who shares so much of his thinking is that I won't share the TMA. I may post notes, mind-maps, charts and images along the way but I'm not about to give others the chance to commit plagiarism, which I understand is a major problem.

Creativity, Innovation and Change (B822) has the potential, for me, of letting me figure out how to apply what I have gained from the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) in an innovative way i.e. how do you get ideas through. My context might be tertiary education, but could also be corporate learning, skills or training where there are bigger budgets, tighter briefs and close measurement of effectiveness.

As often is the case with these TMAs it frustrates me that I cannot demonstrate a fraction of what I have read, watched or listened to. That the block may have had 30 activities, but I can perhaps share four of these. I guess the tutor has to conclude that I could not express my thoughts, with the evidence provided, had I not done the work?

I'd prefer to submit an essay every week, or take part in an activity with the group every week, to know that through interaction I am being nudged along the right path.

Other reasons to get this out of the way: we pack to go on holiday tomorrow and last night I had to be rescued by the AA ten miles from home sad The battery has to be replaced. This, fortuitously, happens before we leave, I wouldn't like to be stuck in a motorway service station with kids, dog and clobber. Thumbs up to the AA who got to us in twenty minutes and fixed the problem in ten.

An orchard is my metaphor for the Open University

I started with a tree, which seemed apt as in 'The Tree of Knowledge' but from a business organisational stance I needed a metaphor that could translate. Metaphors do not have to be overly scrutinised to have the desired effect, but if an individual tree is a module then an orchard is a qualification and the fruit on these trees are the products that students pick. Each season a new presentation. Taking this thinking into the real world I have been spending time at a local Orchard in East Sussex that has had to diversify over the last twenty years and has done so successfully.

What do you think?

a) about the value of metaphor (big in H800)

b) about the metaphor I have chosen about the institution we all love?

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2012 New Year's Resolutions anyone?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 07:22

I always think of these ahead of the festive season so I'm prepared come January 1st. The other thing, is you can give it a bit of a go now without any feeling of obligation to make a true run of it.

Swimming and swim teaching & coaching

I will swim, not 3 times a week, but once at least. I will also return to coaching after a 9 month break: I flourished in the role and the swimmers I taught and coached did well too.

Complete B822, my fifth of six modules towards the Masters in Open & Distance Education.

I'd like to graduate in 2012 but the timing of my final 30 credit module may take me into 2013: doing two in parallel for 4 months looks foolish.

As ever, blog.

Even a picture and 30 words, but something every day. This now occurs here, at www.mymindbursts.com and in blip.foto under mindbursts.

Is 250,000 page views attainable in 2012!?

and to what end other than meeting the challenge of posting something of worth and being a 'blogger's friend'.

Four months later (End of April 2012):

  • I can report that I am coaching for between 2 and 4 hours a week and signed up to the club as a Masters so swimming with them Saturday mornings and typically twice during the week).
  • The last TMA for B822 went in, the mark wasn't great, 54, but I'm through to the exam which is next week.
  • This blog hit 180,000 views yesterday and had 1000 views in one day earlier last week. Another 70,000 views in 11 Months? Pushing it, especially as from May to August I won't be on a module.

 

 

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