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Open Warfare and 'The Battle for Open' - E-learning gets connected

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 11 Dec 2014, 06:52
From E-Learning V

Fig.1 The Battle for Open - Martin Weller. Available free to download

Full of the latest thinking and facts on open learning with special attention paid to MOOCs. Of most interest will be the work of Katy Jordan on retention rates. Here various papers are easy to find.

Enrich your knowledge on where learning is going. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. From The Battle for Open. p102 Attrition rates at a glance

Here are the figures to have at your fingertips:

  • The average (median) sign up is 43,000 of whom 6.5% complete - the range is from 4,500 to 226,652.
  • Completion rates correlate to course length, the shorter the more complete. Though the variance is from 0.9% to 36.1% with a median of 6.5%. Completion rates of 5% are typical.
  • 50% of those who enroll become active students. This is vital to recognise. All sign-up figures should be halved to give a working student population.
  • Completion rates as a percentage of those who are active range from 1.4% to 50.1% with a median of 9.8%.
  • The caveat I would give is that completion rates are too generous, you only have to do 50% of the course to qualify, so these figure could possibly be halved again. For me, completion means someone who takes part from beginning to end.
  • 45% of those who sign up never turn up or do anything. By the end of week two we are down to 35%. And by the end of week 3 or 4 it is plateauing near 10%.

REFERENCE

Jordan, K 2013, Hill 2013 MOOC completion rates. Initial trends in enrolment and completion of massive open online courses. http://oro.open.ac.uk/39592/

Weller, M. 2014. The Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn't feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: http://dx/doi.org//10.5334/bam

 

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What role does the protagonist play?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014, 06:28
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. Maka Paka from 'In the Night Garden'. How would Maka Paka cope in the real world? An idea for a short story. 

From 'How to Read a Mind' a FutureLearn MOOC from the University of Nottingham

I expect a protagonist to instigate and respond to people and their world and changing circumstances in a way that is in character - even if I don't know fully what this character is until the end of the book ... or a series of books in which they might appear.

What makes them believable can be a tiny thing: a turn of phrase that sounds familiar and right for them, the detail of something they are wearing, how they eat or write, the choice of music or radio station, very particular things: if eating but engrossed in chat between friends do they keep chewing, swallow, speak with their mouthful, spit it out, choke?

A protagonist becomes believable when I recognise their traits in others, real or fictional, but in a way that gives them an original slant and so a new take on the world.

I have personal conceptions of mother, brother, father, grandfather, friend, as well as conceptions were I to be in someone else's shoes, or reading a novel. I fear that a set of criteria could be as stultifying as any of a myriad of books I've looked at or read on 'how to write fiction', whether in a novel, movie, radio or stage play. My tack will always be to take interest in one remarkable detail.

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The Power of asking

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H818: The Networked Practitioner introduced all manner of traits that might be developed in relation to openness and online learning in particular. One idea was that of 'asking' - so crowd funding at one level and direct requests at the other rather than simply passively waiting for someone to come along and as if by osmosis offer their assistance with really knowing what it is that you want.

Asking to some, is selling to others. They are the same thing. We ask for funding, we ask for fees, we ask to be paid for our services.

The simplest example of an easy ask that is a by product of simply 'getting stuff out there' came yesterday from the British Library. They have just launched a web resource that gives free access to many hundreds of files, images  and artefacts that relate to the First World War.

The simple ask was for me to link to them from my blog on the First World War. My views aren't big, it is a niche subject to be interest in the Machine Gun Corps 1914-1918! But the 'ask' worked and in a small way this 'connectedness' with a little direct input should help give the subject matter some vibrancy.

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Jonathan Joe had a mouth like an 'O'

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There is big O, and little o ... and so, so 'o'.  The open movement is I believe big O: a movement, a philosophy, even an evangelical drive to 'put it all out there'. Little 'o' is more circumspect, less brash, less demanding of attention and is, without scaring people, as much as should be expected of the 76% who don't get it, or don't want to get it. Then there is the 'so, so 'o': even the 'no, no 'o' where exposure becomes indecent. I'm not talking about THAT kind of exposure, rather that revealing and sharing of too much, especially if your enthusiasm to be online means that you talk about and show other people like a suburban or office paperizzi.

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xMOOC or cMOOC?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:14

The realities of MOOCs

I stumbled upon this succinct article on MOOCs by Ben Betts.

MOOCs are why I returned to the OU having completed the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) at the end of 2012. I followed H817:Openness and Innovation in eLearning, joining the Open but, and have now complete two further modules: H809: Research based practices in Educational Technology (with an eye on research) and the phenomenal H818: The Networked Practitioner (just completed) ... this as the field keeps transforming I intend to stay abreast of it. Indeed, I'll keep on eye on H817 for 2015 as this is a considerable advance on the old H807 I did in 2010 that had its content stuck somewhere between 1999 and 2005.

What is interesting in this article is that the author Ben Betts ponders as a passing thought at the end of the piece on the need to 'learn how to learn'.

This for me is where too many practitioners go wrong - they have their eye so firmly fixed on the 'next big thing' that they forget or ignore the understanding we have gained about how we learn over decades. There needs to be a healthy loop that obliges us to consider the basics: learning theories and to see MOOCs in context - all learning is 'blended' - even the purely online learning module is conducted by someone with their feet or bum firmly on the ground or in a chair.

The other mistake that other authors make too often is to sensationalise activities or developments such as the MOOC. Every advance builds on something else, and for all their strengths they have weaknesses too, and whatever affordances they have may be exploited or ignored. Interesting times and delighted to find an expert author and practitioner to follow.

What I needed, and got from H809 was a grounding in learning theory which at last I am starting to master. If a further course is required for me it would be more on the application of learning theory, probably in the broader setting of 'education' rather than an e-learning context and probably informed by a role educating on the ground - so practice based and applied. Which rather suggests in business - as indeed I did for the best part of 15 years. 

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Accidental exposure

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Mar 2014, 07:35

Alerted to the nature of being 'open' and online you'd think someone who has been doing this kind of thing since 1999 would know better.

Taking part in a Google Hangout on Monday with educators in Australia and being away from home I decided to give it a go on the iPad. The awkward thing here is that you can't open a second screen ... and as I eventually discovered you can inadvertently flip the camera.

I decided to sit in one corner of the guest bedroom with the back of the chair and corner of the room as a back drop - what I didn't realise is that somehow, when swiping away from the Google Hangout screen I had flipped the camera so that everyone was now seeing the bed I'd climbed out of earlier that morning. At least it was 10.30am in the UK and 9.30pm in Melbourne - I had made the bed.

Towards the end of the session the assumption was that I'd left - actually I was holding the iPad very carefully as I didn't know, having lost the image, if they were seeing me, the top of my head or my lap, They could hear me perfectly well and they said they had wondered about the bed which rather explained the smirks on some of their faces ... 

I took the iPad to the bedroom window - not to throw it into the garden, but at least to give them something more than a view of the bed - pink blossom on an overgrown shrub looking into a wet garden in the Cotswolds. I find it striking that when a tractor went up the lane the moderator in Australia had to mute the sound - so instant. We can be and are so very much closer than we think courtesy of the Web, that you can be transported into a space so close to another person that it feels you are invading their privacy.

More care next time? Not bother? 

There are plenty of people who will have little to do with the Internet and plenty of others who reveal as little as possible. I'm just glad I hadn't taken the iPad into the bathroom - it does happen.

It was a discussion on creativity in education - one worth doing. I'm yet to look at the recording.

Back at my desk NO WEBCAM even attached, just as well, I'm eating breakfast, in pyjama's having crawled out of bed far, far, far too early in a drive to close down a 5,000 words EMA for H818: The Networked Practitioner. 

 

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Curiosity Satisfied

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 14:57

It amazes me how when reading something and pointed to a footnote or reference that if I choose to do so a few clicks and the reference is before my eyes. Reading up on the First World War there are books from 1914-18 that are freely available in digital form - the additional insight is when you glance at such a reference is to wonder why an author chose that sentence or paragraph, often I find there is something far more interesting being said.

All of this has me reflecting on 'interpretation' and how increasingly, because we can, we should, because we can, check up on authors - certainly take them off their academic pedestals as their word is never absolute, is inevitably biased - and sometimes they get it wrong.

There are two kinds of connectedness here:

1) with references the author has used - how selected, why they thought them of relevance or interest (and the authority and credibility of these references)

2) with fellow readers - which, if you want a response, I increasingly find in Amazon of all places. There are always a few people who have picked  through the text, who are willing and able to other a response or to sleuth it out with you.

How does this change things?

The Web puts at anyone's fingertips resources that until recently were the exclusive domain of university libraries - the older, wealthier universities having the richest pickings and broadest range of references. To 'look something up' as we now do in a few moments could take a couple of days. 'Learning at the speed of need' is a phrase I like, used in the context of applied learning in business, but just as apt here.

As a consequence, earlier in their careers, students will have a broader and stronger, personal perspective. And as a consequence there will be more people 'out there' to join an informed discussion. And as a consequence more new ideas will come to fruition sooner and faster. And as a consequence, collectively, or common understanding will grow and develop faster than before.

 

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On Open Learning and Applying learning on the First World War with e-learning - some Kindle reading.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:41

Fig.1. Applying learning on the First World War with e-learning - some Kindle reading. 

I believe very much in the process of pulling apart, opening out, expanding, then editing, revising and condensing. There is an applied 'creation process' here - the three diamonds or Buffalo system that I sense H818 is taking us through.

Fig.2. The 'Buffalo' system of opening up, the compressing thinking

These days it is easy to grab and mash any content on a digital screen, but where I have a book I will, in some circumstances take pictures rather than write notes, then quickly bracket and annotate this text before filing it in an appropriate album online - for later consumption.

Regarding CC I'm afraid as the music and movie industries have already shown people will do as they please even where the copyright is bluntly stated. Academia will require and expect that everything is done by the book - the rest of the world won't give a monkey's ... 'we'll' do as we please until there's a legal shoot up or the 'industry' realises that it has moved on.

Regarding eBooks, Amazon are looking at and expect to be very much at the forefront of the evolutionary of the book. Google are competing in the same space.

'Have we reached the Napster moment in publishing?' a senior engineer at Amazon asked.

My head, content wise, is in another place, studying First World War military history. As never before on the MAODE or subsequent OU e-learning modules, I know have content to put into these processes. For example, 'the causes of the First World War' might require reading of a dozen books and papers/pamphlets starting with H G Wells in 1914 and ending with books appearing on tables in Waterstones this week. Courtesy of the Internet just about anything I care to read, at a price, I can have within seconds on a smart device ... or overnight courtesy of Amazon.

Whatever my practice, this content is mashed-up in my head.

If I mash it up through screen grabs, notes, sharing in social media and blogging then this is another expressing of what is going on in my head - though controlled by the parameters of the tools and platforms I use - currently a wordpress blog, SimpleMinds for mindmaps, and 'Studio' for layering text and images over screengrabs i.e annotations. As well as what ever Kindle gives me in the way of notes and highlights.

This kind of 'extra corporeal' engagement or visualization of what is going on in my head with the content gives it an life of its own and an extra dimension while also re-enforcing my own thoughts and knowledge. I'm sure that I am rattling along this learning curve at a far, far greater pace then I could have a decade or two decades ago. Patterns are more apparent. And I am spotting too many misappropriated images too. The idea that you can grab a frame and relabel it is 100 years old!

 

Fig.3. How I filmed the Front. Geoffrey Malins

For example, the footage from the 'Battle of the Somme' is often 'grabbed' with subsequent combatants and authors claiming these to be original photographs of their own - they must have had access to the negative. This footage, as I am very familiar with it, is repeatedly put into films and documentaries completely out of sequence.

As reference above is correct - I find 'grabs' from the film footage and photographs taken by Ernest Brooks who accompanies the 'cameramen' around the Somme in June/July 1916 constantly claimed as another person's own photograph or belonging to their collection. 

A false or alternative impression is therefore built up.

Then, across YouTube, sections of TV dramas and films are snatched and cut into a person's own re-hashing of a different story. Harry Patch died age 111 or something - the last veteran. A tribute to him uses footage from the TV drama staring Daniel Radcliffe called 'My Boy, George".

Are we therefore seeing with text, stills and moving images what has been happening to music for the last decade or more - deliberate, and often illegal sampling and mashing, rehashing, exploiting of someone else's work? If so what impact will this have on content in the future? Does too much of it start to look familiar, rather than original? Or does originality come out of this process too?

The conclusion might be that people simple sidestep the stilted, stuck, formal process of academia - where the sharing process is so desperately slow. The paper I read on use of audio and tracking in a museum I thought was reasonably current as it was published in 2008 but the technology used comes from a different era - 2003. Research done in 2006, initially submitted as a paper in 2007, published the following year.

An R&R department functioning like this would be left behind.

Knowledge must leak, must be shared sooner, and where those share a work in progress it should be commended.

 

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Scholarship and sharing recognition

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 12:36

I've learnt that historains have published books completed with the assistance of researchers. In a TV programme you will notice that everyone receives a credit - the same thing needs to occur with books. A good deal is being published on the First World War (again), now for the 100th, previous 'biggies' being 50, 60, 75 and 90. I am learning that X and Y were written using researchers - credit them! Increasingly in our connected and open world collaborative works should be undertaken, I'm sure they'd be better for it.

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H818: Activity 1.2 Open Learning is with us

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 11:24

I'll reflect on and absorb the H818 academic stuff in due course - somewhere in the reading a couple of authors were mentioned so while the pressure is low I've been reading Lawrence Lessig 'Remix' and re-reading, possibly for the third time, Martin Weller's 'The Digital Scholar'.

Open Learning is with us.

Whilst more people globally will get a slice of the tertiary education pizza, there will still be those that who are stuck on the edge with the crust while the 'privileged' few get the real substance. This applies between 'first' and 'third' worlds, but also locally in an education catchment area - when it comes to the democratization of education through e-learning some are more equal than others through having the kit, accessibility, inclination, support and opportunity.

Speaking with a school friend I'd not spoken to since we were 10 or 11 we got onto those OU broadcasts in the middle of the night, and then the BBC 'Trade Test Transmissions' - how else could we possibly know anything about how the stain glass windows were made for Liverpool Cathedral on how animals were rescued during the flooding of the Zambezi?

Repetition, rich content and a dearth of anything else to watch.

In sharp contrast 'open' today, and TV too means everything and anything. How can anything stand out?

Because the search engines offer it, because of branding and association, through word of mouth through your social and other networks i.e. as a consequence of the nature of your 'connectedness'.

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Connected Weller

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:46

I'll fix this link to the image when ai can get behind a machine that supports whatever has happened to this blogging platform. The HTML functionality no longer permits cutting and pasting a link to an image stored elsewhere. It is an iPad or the new IOS software or the new OU coding that is causing the problem.

 

<br /><br /><a href="http://mymindbursts.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/20131002-203503.jpg"><img src="http://mymindbursts.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/20131002-203503.jpg" alt="20131002-203503.jpg" class="alignnone size-full" /></a>

 

A mashup with a screengrab from Martin Weller's book 'The Digital Scholar'. This uses an App called Studio from which I may have been expected or to which I am supposed to provide a link. As I screengrab then crop from the App so that I can 'publish' the way Iike now what? 

 

The nature of relationships in a connected world do matter while the difference between face to face and online may be tangential. Whilst I feel I make new acquaintences online, of more interest  is how I have been able to pick up very old friendships  - even reconnecting with a Frenchman with whom I went on an exchange visit in 1978! 

 

I wonder about the 150 connections given as a figure that can be maintained  - this depends very much on the person and their role. Even when I collected people for the joy of it as an undergraduate I doubt I could muster more than 70 I felt I knew something about and could care for, whilst my father in law, a well respected, influential and even loved university tutor has, in his eighties several hundred contacts - former students on whom he had an impact as an educator. So, the person and their role will have more to do with this 'connectedness', which comes with a price, My father in law saw/sees himself as an educator who put sugnificantly more time than his contemparies into the students rather than research.

I'd like therefore to see 'digital scholarship' associated with educators not simply for what they publish - collaboratively or otherwise, but by the 'quality' and 'validity' of the students they mentor, suoervise, inspire and motivate - made all the more possible because of the extraordinary tools we now have at our fingertips.

 

Reference

 

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar. @4% or Kindle Location 199

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 29 Sep 2013, 07:02
I love to travel, not just on holiday with friends and family, but alone. Maybe this happens to you too, but I always find travel, especially new trips and destinations, is a catalyst to reflection.
 
All I did was take the first train out of Lewes to spend the day at the University of Birmingham. Two things that shook my brain: St. Pancras International ... and, sounding like a commercial, Virgin Trains. Although the train was quiet two people came through the train to collect rubbish ... as bubbly as buttons. Four times. The toilets were spotless. All in very sharp contrast to Southern Trains out of London where everything was overflowing ... 
 
I last studied 'lecture style' 31 years ago, yet I have signed up for one of these while I continue my learning journey here through all the MA ODE modules.
 
Learning is learning - it neither takes place online or off. It is in your head. It is what the brain is given a chance to do with it that counts.
 
I can now weigh up the two as I study in two very different ways in parallel.
 
There is of course 'blended learning' too that in a planned way mixes up both use of e-learning and face to face.
 
I met someone who, like me, has just completed a degree with the OU and we immediately began to share notes.
 
The OU is of ourse 'open' to anyone - online learning makes formal learning possible for any of us who either need to stay in one place, or are always on the move. People who need significant flexibility in how they manage their time ... and don't want the cost in time and money to get to a place for a tutorial, seminar, lecture conference. And people who 'don't get on with people' - not just agrophobia, you know what I mean. I switch constantly, sometimes very keen to be on my own ... 
 
Nothing beats getting to know your fellow students than spending a day with them, during coffee and comfort breaks, at lunch, walking through the campus, in seminar rooms before a talk begins ... and on the way home when you find part of your journey is shared.
 
Relationships formed here are akin to a long distance phone call, or letters to a stranger, even, oddly, having a chat with the postman or a builder ... you let them into your house.
 
And your head?
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H809 Paper 1 Scrutiny of a research paper

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Feb 2013, 20:01

I should dig out the research but hasn't it now been shown that as long as students get to choose between classroom / lecture based, blended or online learning they are all equally happy with the outcome? This might suggest that institutions need to offer this mix ... but it shows how much better it is to start on a positive rather than feeling you have to have your module deliver in a set way whether you like it, or get along with this approach or not.

The other piece of reading I need to reference concerns a study, I think from the 1960s, and mentioned in The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan that I am reading, that there are significant differences in how people interpret a piece of text, that we bring significant baggage to it, drawing conclusions and seeing patterns, making links and connections that are very much are own. This is particularly the case with 'open texts' that invite thought and require us to construct our own meaning compared to 'closed texts' which aim to present a thesis as an absolute. Is this why so many research papers are dry? Why they leave little impact? It suggests that a paper should be written up in two forms - for peer review and scientific scrutiny on the one hand, and to invite comment, feedback and contributions on the other.

A reason to blog? Your paper is published, then your write it up in a blog in a more accessible and 'open' manner?

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H810: accessibility in a word

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Sep 2012, 18:29

Open

Access denied or access required implies there are barriers: closed doors, steps, text, voice, tools that require ten finger dexterity and so on. Open, in a spiritual sense, requires us all to be part of an omnipresent ether.

Alone

We are each unique, indivual and alone. Anything else is a label, catergory, sub-category or grouping defined by others to simplify their or our collective perspective with every kind of bias attached.

The level playing field can never be level enough. A new and better metaphor is required if it is to imply that everyone has an equal and fair chance.

Any suggestions?

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The Digtal Scholar (2011) Martin Weller

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Mar 2013, 06:38

photo%252520%2525286%252529.jpg

Alerted by a Tweat, I bought the book in minutes.

There's never a better time than 'Now'.

Purchase your copy here.

Unwell, so having it read to me on the Kindle, while taking notes on an iPad.

When I wander off I pick up the thread on the iPhone.

It's surprising how much can be read while the kettle boils.

In due course and I'll have my very own 3,000 word interpretation of this 50,000+ worder, far more once I've added my notes, thoughts additional references and illustrations.

My web 2.0 sensibilities are for the online equivalent of the Illustrated, hardback coffee-table book, with video and podcasts, interactivity and links.

I'd have Dion Hinchcliffe's graphic designer do some colour diagrams, Steven Appleby provide some cartoons, while I would interview the author for YouTube and set it all to something suitably camp like Mike Oldfield with a Roger Dean poster decorating the set.

When do we get the webinar?

And I pre-emptivelly wrote a review in Amazon on the basis of the first two chapters, hearing the author debate and speak the subject and reading his blog (as well as his earlier book that he brings up as a way of looking at how things have changed since 2006).

P.S. Buy you e-book version now then return here to discuss, or find you in Linked in or Google+ ...

Or for some blended learning if you live near Lewes, East Sussex, over at the Needlemakers for a coffee.

My 'take-aways' so far:

  • Digital, Networked, Open.
  • Fast, cheap and out of control.
  • Why students choose one university over another.
  • The 'good enough' revolution. Wired (2009)
  • The unpredicatable use of technology.
  • (and Martin Weller's daughter, he writes on page one, didn't think, based on his 'ellevator pitch' that the book would do very well. This, with a bit of 'airplay' on the blogosphere, need not be the case. Get to work tweeting, noting, sharing, putting into Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Xing and Viadeo. I can't see a movie in it though).

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