OU blog

Personal Blogs

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Design Museum

1 million views in an OU Student Blog

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Apr 2015, 12:45

Fig.1. What do a million people look like?

I learnt when the figure was around 100,000 that these figures should be dismissed as 'pingbacks' - these automatic links to sites that link to my blog and vice versa. It's reciprocal, but it is not the same as a person reading what I have written.

It's trapped me though. At various moments over the last five years at 100, 1,000, 10,000, 500,000 views I have looked to the next figure and kept on posting content. The reality is that 1,000 'views' a day has been the norm for the last year whether or not I post anything. These 'pingbacks' are historic then: my linking to other sites, and then linking back to me. And what percentage of the views are me coming back, even linking to my external website Mind Bursts?

And if this is a record of my five years with the Open University where has it got me?

An MA in Open and Distance Education, halfway towards either an M. Ed or an Open Degree, a third of a way towards an MA in History (from another institution, but armed with 60 credits I can bring this to the OU). I worked for the Open University for a year, and I got so close to joining FutureLearn that I checked the cost of a season ticket into London. I've worked in commercial e-learning while remain attracted mostly to e-learning in higher education. The problem here is that all the roles are very junior first jobs, often technical rather than production or strategic. I can talk about the current state of e-learning for hours if asked. 

Academics are odd folk: buried in their expertise for decades they believe they should transfer their expertise and retain their status on other platforms and in other situations. It's like an author wanting to direct the movie of their best selling book; few can pull it off. Or a consultant surgeon feeling they should chair management meetings.

Those academics who take on the e-learning mantle are institutionalised academics who know their subject, and how to give a lecture series and run a seminar; does this qualify them to understand the potential of learning online with a mix of media and approaches? Whilst Clint Eastwood made the transition from actor to director, not all academics should or can make the transition to producer and writing e-learning: contributors as presents or interviewees yes ... play to their strengths, in other words, rather than revealing their weaknesses.

There are plenty of examples of academics, never at the OU, blundering into the online learning market believing that their academic reputation is enough to carry a course in a series of head and shoulders shots of them talking to camera ad nauseam.

Things are changing, and the OU, OU students and OU staff are leading the way.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Apr 2015, 12:43)
Share post
Design Museum

Time to reflect on 'Start Writing Fiction' with the OU and FutureLearn

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 19 Dec 2014, 09:33
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. The writer's path ...

The eight week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) I have just completed 'Start Writing Fiction', with the OU, through FutureLearn merits, like all learning experiences, a period of reflection. How do you look through posts across some 80-100 'threads' with anything from 143 posts (final thread, final week) to over 7,500 posts (fourth thread, first week) ? You have to filter, but these filters are dependent on your participation throughout because the key filters are: 'my comments' and 'following'. These in turn, isolate from a massive thread, the comments you have left, starting a thread to the main discussion or commenting on points made by others. While 'following' picks out those, all of them, whose thoughts and contributions you have enjoyed. You can also pick out 'most liked' - though with likes ranging from 0-4 with 1 like the median, this sift hasn't anything to offer. And you can prioritise 'Activity' i.e. select in reverse order across all posts in an activity those that are most recent.

Thus armed, if you can give it the time, you can work back over the battlefield of minds that has been this last two months; it feels like a 60 degree credits 7-8 month slog packed into a very, very long weekend - it has been that intense (I've let it be so).

Whilst the activities could be done in three hours a week at a fast jog, what takes far longer is a) writing a piece for peer review - 300, 500 and 1000 words were the lengths of submission and b) reading, replying, following and learning from the mass off comments in what are sometimes huge discussion threads with thousands of responses where some of have skipped through the entire 8 weeks course in a few weeks, and others, like climbing onto a moving walkway, are still, just joining. 

I can write 1,500 words in an hour. However, 500 from a day of writing, takes ... all day. And it is generally this 500 which is worthy of keeping and could lead to publication.  I have learnt the value of reviewing the work of others - all standards (I've been at all standards and can migrate with ease between them). I am reading fiction strategically -I did this with efforts to write TV series and Film scripts (I have a writer/director credit for a short film on Channel 4). It is so useful, as you get a feel for the genre you are writing, to read some of the very best in that genre. It makes sense really. How have other authors successfully tackled time-travel, war, fairies ... horror, romance or sex. And then writing itself. Setting time aside, focusing on that for hours uninterrupted to give you creative side a chance to come out. And then, from that, edit ruthless to those ideas, phrases, descriptions and characters that meet a set of criteria. It's tough. If it wasn't everyone would be a published author.

I may forget to take my phone with me, but when I go anywhere I have an A6 size notebook and pen. Like Louis de Bernieres I take a bath and use this time to read fiction! No iPad. Fewer showers. Currently reading 'The Time Traveller's Wife' and 'Never Ending Story'. 

When I get up, very early, I flick over two hourglasses: one is 30 minutes, the other an hour. I like the 'reward' of getting 30 minutes in. I may forget where time is going after an hour or so. 2,000 words a day ought to be about right. Less happens. More happens. Then the rest of the day takes over - often until the early hours of the following morning. I read over a few pages before I go to sleep and sometimes the Muse rewards me in the early hours ... or torments, or deserts me. 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Does the OU provide the very best distance learning environment?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Aug 2014, 06:19
From E-Learning IV

 Fig 1. Read a book ... several times, then submit an essay from a list

This is 'learning design' or 'instructional design' written on the back of a fag packet by a loan lecturer. An occassional lecture and student gathering may be meant to add some variety. One sheet of A4 provides the year's curricullum while a second sheet provides a reading list. And all this 'at a distance' - in my case over 200 miles using a Virtual Learning Environment that makes a beginner's guide to DOS written in 1988 look friendly. NOT the OU. Not dissimilar to my undergraduate degree except that it at least had a tutorial most weeks: one to one, or a small group with a 'subject matter expert' is a privileged luxury that works - though yet to be achieved on a massive scale, even if there is a trend this way with massive, open online courses (MOOCs). 

I can compare a variety of institutions as I have studied with so many: Brookes has a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that is simple and easy to use- it's a Mini Cooper to the OU's Audi Estate. Birmingham's VLE, ironically as I'm studying the First World War with them is like a deep, impenetrable bank of barbed wire. I've given up on their library and so use Amazon ... not always cheap, but I hope to flog off my substantial WW1 library in due course. 

From E-Learning IV

Fig. 2 SimpleMinds (App) mindmap on 'bite and hold' tactics in the First World War

Meanwhile I'm back to the thrilling conclusion as I plod through the mire of a 4,000 word essay that by reading the above at lead three times I will have an answer. Here it adds variety to read it in print, on a Kindle and as an eBook: each reveals something slightly different. I take notes pen on paper, annotate into the eBook and build a mindmap as I go along. But there is no one to share this with, no 21st century 'connectivity', no tutor as online cataylst and guide, no student forum or blog (not for the want of trying).

Or is learning ultimately always you and your soul working in focussed isolation at Masters level without the distraction of others or the tight parameters of a formal module?

Should you feel inclined to take an interest in Passchendaele then this is the most lucid, objective and reasoned contemporary explanation of how and why the chronology of events turned out as they did.

From E-Learning IV

Fig.3. Sir Douglas Haig, Command in Chief of the British Army

Haig and the politicians of the day can and should be held responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of Third Ypres. What was gained over four months in 1917 was lost in three days in 1918. The depth, detail and objectivity of current scholarship shows absolutely that Haig was profligate with the life of his soldiers, flipped and flopped his policy and would not listen to criticism while Lloyd George having gerrymandered his way into the top job as Prime Minister could not get rid of Haig and so failed in his role to supervise his generals. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Did everyone speak fluent english a hundred years ago with a foreign accent?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 2 Aug 2014, 10:53

Fig.1. Images from my Google Pics gallery

We are collectively being tipped into a centenary marking of the First World War where all 'foreigners' speak english with an accent; we have German, Russian, French ... we have Serbian and Austro-Hungarian 'english'. We even have Americans voiced by English actors speaking ... english with an American accent. So how do we spot the lads from Newfoundland? Not then part of Canada, but a sovereign state? And from the Indian subcontinent the difference in accents and language from a multitude of sources?

It's all compromise and accommodation

It's very much the BBC perspective: which as the ONLY public service broadcaster the world has tries so hard to represent everyone. I have my say here - Jonathan Vernon on Hastings 1918

WBC anyone?

The World or Globe or Earth or ... whatever 'Broadcasting Company'?

For all or any failings the effort, transparently at least, to strive for 'truth' based on evidence of what is going on.

The Open University has been, was and should take the lead. I wonder, with concern that the legacy of Michael Bean has been to trim back too hard and so diminish us to a voice from the corner of the empire.

I hope the next Vice Chancellor will be a global figure. Bill Clinton comes to mind. 

'Read in a subject until you can hear the people speak'.

E H Carr.

It has taken a forty years but I feel I have the voice of the soldier of the First World War - and the officer, and the girlfriends and mothers at home.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

New blog post

Visible to anyone in the world

 

Have you got yours?

One read through and before I know it I have my beady eye on a couple more Future Learn courses (done two, on two now) while my wife is looking for an OU science module and my duaghter fancies crewtive writing.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

O is for The Open University

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014, 12:57

My Open University Decade

  • Openness

  • Open Educational Resource (OER)

  • Open Learning

  • The Open University

  • Open Ed

  • Oxford Internet Institute

  • Open Research

The Open University was made for the Internet. First envisaged as 'the university of the airwaves' because of its use of TV and Radio, The OU went on to become one of the world's leading providers of distance education in the world. Not surprisingly, through a number of faculties or institutions (IET, CREET, Open Learn), The OU is at the forefront of innovative e-learning and e-learning research.

In the Master of Arts Open and Distance Education degree 'openness' is one of the key themes; a movement aimed at providing and sharing education resources and thinking openly.

I've included the Oxford Internet Institute for its niche research and teaching on our use of the Web. 

Open Ed – an annual conference looking at Open Education (linked to the Open Ed 2013 conference website as they have a different website every year)

OER – the annual conference in the UK looking at Open Educational Resources and Open Practice (known as OER13, OER14, etc.)

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Registered for L120 Ouverture: intermediate French

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 06:57

I missed the opportunity to register for this last year by a couple of weeks - just as well as I would have been trying to completed an MA ODE module, start an MA in First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham ... and do this. Sounds nuts, but actually pushing my reasonable spoken, reading French to the point that I can write it too is fairly important for personal and professional reasons: I used to work in France, we have or inherited some legal/property mess over there and my inclination is to continue what I started in my teens and then tried to continue soon after getting married, and then thought about again before the children started primary school. All of that eons ago. I have been signed up to Rosetta Stone for the best part of nine months which has slowed my spoken French down making it marginally more intelligible. 

Visiting France over the last two months I shared the view with my teenage son that we have every reason to live in France as Britain, that I'm sorry we didn't when he was little (he'd be bilingual) and that he can see for himself how much it has to offer. (We'd been back and forth on Eurostar and were on the TGV from Lyon). 

A lifetime ago but working from a French TV News Agency in Paris I'd got as far as interviews to work for Euronews in Lyon before an appealing contract brought me back to England. 

Returning to studying, research and this apparent study overload: I am reading books in French on the First World War, so there's some overlap. My MAODE and e-learning studies are well and truly over. It is now applied in work and in the back of my mind, sometimes front of mind, for PhD research.

In any case, once the OU has you in her grips, like so many others, it is a hard to kick the way life: without it my brain has no skull to contain it, the thing just fizzes with ideas and issues and I turn circles. I need the structure of course deadlines. I don't do it to gain qualifications, but to gain practical know-how that I can apply. That said, I think the French module may contribute towards an Open Honours Degree - it'll be a hotchpotch of learning, language and creative writing, should I ever care to complete it over the next ... 16 years. 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

S.C.A.R.F.

Visible to anyone in the world

Pushed to reflect on H818: The Networked Practitioner, and unique amongst MAODE modules the final unit comes after the EMA. Here we are encouraged not merely to reflect on the experience, but to share our future plans.

I put mine down to significant changes to behaviour based on the mnemonic SCARF:

S = Strategic

C = Connected and collaborative

A = Applied

R = Reciprocal

F = Financed

I'll expand on, then act on these on dues course.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

an international website for students outside of the UK

Visible to anyone in the world

Spread the word if you blog big grin

The Open University for International Students

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

My OU Years

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 17:21

Fig.1 Odd that, 12 years and I've gained hair, glasses and a tie.

In February 2001 I began an OU module on Open & Distance Learning - last year I graduated with the Masters in Open & Distance Education (MAODE). Since then I've taken a couple more MAODE modules to stay up to date. Impossible given that any MAODE module is out of date before it goes live?

In 2001 distance learning looked like this:

Fig.2. Some of the books that came in my OU 'Box' at the start of the module

The next direction has to be horizontally into the Open University (again), or vertically towards a PhD. Or both? Or neither.

Meanwhile, I sincerely recommend that anyone with any interest in the way education is going to follow the BBC tonight. 

BBC Radio 4 8.00pm

The Classroom of the Future

Is it an OU co-production? These days these things usually are.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

New blog post

Visible to anyone in the world
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?
Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

No Internet Connection

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:36

My thirteen years and more studying with the OU has seen how I learn shift. The current twist is looping back to the less distracted days of being 'off line'. At the same time I have done a couple of things that are very old school:

1) A 'Room of my own' without internet access (my choice) .. down the road with an opt in/ opt out. Also an 'office' (I recently bought the domain name Mindbursts.com.

2) Pen and paper ... and by that I mean a fountain pen with ink cartridges and a pad of lined paper - not quite an exercise book, but close.

Why?

1) I am easily distracted. Studying with the Internet 24/7 it is too tempting to be checking email, responding to forum messages or just browsing, I miss linking to books and journals I read about, but these can wait. Maybe the impluse to purchase or read another book weill reduce by the time I get to consider it in the wee hours back at home. My 'room' is ten miles down the road.

2) Partially this is physiological - I am seeing a physio trying to untangle or unknot some hideous pain in my left elbow which I ascribe to typing up blog entries with my left hand while reclined on the sofa or in bed. Partially it is knowing that there is never a short cut to learning and knowing a subject. I truly believe that mixed methods work - that it helps to take the written word and write it out, and type it out, and talk about it and visualise it. Neurologists will confirm that memory formation requires the  binding of activity across the brain, rather than from just one part of  it.

Meanwhile, I look forward to another e-learning module, H818, with trepidation:

1) I need to demonstrate to myself that I can keep up and even improve on the standard I'm now able to attain. (Time and effort and the only two words to think about).

2) I will be running in tandem with anothe module, taught old-school, at a different university, simultaneously. Already I dread the commute to a monthly day-long tutorial that I can only do by train if I am on a train at 5.20am. It'll make for a very interesting comparison. If the OU offered the module I want to study I would have done it - they don't. This surprises me given the Open Learn work they are doing on the First World War with the Imperial War Museum.

Best wishes to all ... so much for thinking I'd finished with this. Next up I'm applying to the OU to do a PhD so I might be around for a while longer yet.

NOTES

I started an early e-learning module H808 in 2001 ... skipped off the final paper and came back to it all decade later. I have both books and papers from that period which make for amusing reading.

 

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Oliver Thomas, Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013, 18:19)
Share post
Design Museum

The Final Act - the Old OU Blog Party Game

Visible to anyone in the world
Will you be the last one to post here before the OU student blog cum bulletin board is transmogrified into a blog cum social networking cum e-portfolio thingey-me-jig?
Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

All change!!!!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 6 Sep 2013, 12:15

"The personal blog system is going to be migrated from the old learning system on Monday 9 September. In order to migrate the personal blogs with their content, the system will be made read-only on the 9 September. The blog contents will then be transferred to the new system, which benefits from improved blog functionality. This is a large task and we expect the new personal blogs to be available from Thursday 12 September. As part of the migration, there will be redirects from the old blogs to the new ones and the personal blog link on StudentHome will be updated".

I BELIEVE the OU are using the WordPress Open Platform.

I wish all the team during the migration the best and will support it every inch of the way - if students (I am one, still) can use and share with ease a blog platform their capacity for 'social learning' will be hugely improved. By this I simply mean having the opportunity to share your ideas with fellow idiots until you figure out what is really going on and best of all the input and support of online friends and some brilliant minds who put your problem in such a way that it suddenly makes sense.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Personal Learning Environment - 2013

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 08:05

photo%2520%25282%2529.JPG

FIG.1. Projected onto the sitting room wall

The migration between kit and now the use of multiple devices tells its own story - that and my enhanced levels of digital literacies. And dependency on my OU blog??? I am too used to starting here then cutting and pasting the HTML results into WordPress. This platform works because it is kept simple. OK, you have to get your head around a few basics (which are good for any blogging platform), but the thing is stable and robust - it hasn't changed much in three years and it is always there.

Either I'll wean myself off it or I'll plugin to another module of course and be here for another decade. You get used to a thing - especially when it works. Calls to other institutions regarding their VLE have left me cold - some still old school box of books and turn up for an all day Saturday face-to-face once a month as your only tutor and peer group contact.

From a clapped out Mac Book that died and a Psion I moved on to a borrowed PC laptop ... and scrounging computer access around the home. Only recently I got a Mac Mini - for the previous 18 months I've been fine on an iPad with moments on my wife's PC to view and print off DOCX.

The Mac Mini gets what ever screen my teenage son leaves me with - he tends to snaffle away any new screen I get, just swaps them over. I may take me days to realise something is afoot.

And then there is the above - projected onto a wall with me working on a wifi keyboard and touchpad. It changes things. Next to this screen there is a large whiteboard. I get up and doodle.

As for the sitting room? Long gone. Cries for a TV to bring the family together fall on deaf ears. Why would any of us gather to watch ONE version of an event when we can each take or leave our news, or films, or anything else as we please on a bigger or smaller screen in various other rooms and cubbyholes around the house?

An iPad mini will replicate when I had a decade ago with a Psion, something handheld, light and discrete that I can tap on whenever I wish and wherever I am.

'The Private Life of the Brain' Susan Greenfield is my current highly recommended read. It is certain to take you off on a tangent from whatever you are studying, but if offers a layperson's view of the inner workings of the brain.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

As cyberborgs mark EMAs don't ever risk venturing beyond the OU climbing frame.

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Apr 2013, 17:45

And then there's this - 12 grabs of an Activity System looking like Toblerone.

One per month, one per hour.

This is the point. The thing is

a) a grab in time

b) unstable

c) a construct or model (as well as a theory).

A theory because it can be re-apppied (for now).

DSC06464.JPG

Fig.1. Its image explains itself.

Engestrom and others go to great lengths to remind us that the model/theory of an Acticity System is a snap shot in time - that even as we look at it things are moving on, that the relationships don't simply change as a result of the interactions with each other - but because the whole thing shifts.

OK. Take a chocolate triange of Acitivty Theory and visualise it in sequence. Better still, drop what you are doing and go and buy some.

Now take a piece and eat it.

The logic remains equally sound when I suggest that by consuming a moment of the Activity System in its last iteration you are enacting what the Interenet has done and is doing.

This is what the connectivity of the Web does - the degree and scale of connections is overpowering and consuming.

One step more.

That triangle of chocolate, nougat, almonds and honey that I see as a multi-sensory experssion of an Acitivity System may be digested in the stomach, but its ingredients hit you in the head.

It's a brain thing.

Which explains my interest in neuroscience.

It happens. It should be visible. It can be measured.

Just reading this a million Lego Characters are kicking a few more million molecular bricks along a dendrite in part because they must, then again just to see what happens (yes, I have just read 'Neuroscience for Dummies'). So some stick in odd places. Some will hit the mark (whatever that is) while another will remind you of the very moment you first nibbled on Toblerone.

I LOVE the way the brain will throw you a googlie. (as a fraction of the planet know cricket other metaphors are required. I never even played the game as I was deemed rubbish - actually, though no one spotted it in five years of prep school, I needed glasses).

On the one hand, my interest is to take a knife to all of this, chop it off and put it in the compost bin so that I am left with something that is 'tickable', on the other hand I want to indulge the adventure of the composting process.

 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Sam McEwan, Saturday, 6 Apr 2013, 22:42)
Share post
Design Museum

Is Google translate teaching me written French or am I teaching 'it' to translate French into English?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 14:31

It's 21 years since I lived in France.

Amongst other things I translated kids TV cartoons from French into English! I'm now trying, once and for all, to get my written French in order courtesy of:

  • Doulinguo
  • Qstream
  • OpenLearn French
  • Google Translate
  • A MOOC in French (ABC of business start ups if I have understood what is going on!!)
  • And the threat of legal action from the owners of my late Father's timeshare flat in the French alps (he died 11 years ago ... ). Only this week have they finally acknowledge my letters - probably because I chose to write in pigeon French rather than bolshy English.

When I want to write in French I give it a stab, stick it through Google Translate then  jig my English around until I get what I would have said in French out of the other end. (I can speak French - like a Belgian I am told).

When I read any tricky French I paste it into Google Translate and adjust until, once again, it has the sense of what I would have understood had I simply heard it spoken to me.

The test is how quickly will I be found out in an all French MOOC.

The only issue is that hopping around computers in our house (My teenage son has a couple of huge screens which I particularly enjoy using while he is at school) - I found one viewing of the MOOC was being automatically translated - which can in itself be quite a laugh. But at what point will such translation be seamless, at least to the non-linguists? At what point will it suffice as an adequate stab at what is being said and meant by what is being said?

Will be have a Bable Fish in our ear along with the Google Glass(es)?

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

What does the Masters in Open & Distance Education make me?

Visible to anyone in the world

Not that I'm inclined to put letters after my name except on some official notice, but does this make me:

J F Vernon M.ODE

J F Vernon M.ode

J F Vernon M.ED.

J F Vernon Ed.M

or simply

J F Vernon MAD

or 'Mode in the OU'

I think I'll have it tattoed on my backside as it has hardened over the last three years. Or a large 'O' and and large 'U' on the back of each hand.

Just wondering.

 

 

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

My insatiable appetite for e-learning

Visible to anyone in the world

I've joined the #H817open MOOC.

A few reasons for this.

I had originally signed up for H817 so this is my way of getting a piece of the action. Although my MAODE is done I'd wanted to retake H807 (my first module) and found this replacement more appealing ... H807 was languishing in the early part of the millennium when I did it.  Think studying Aircraft before and after WW1 by way of example. It was all a bit clunky.

So there's that reason.

I'm on H809 which is the better potential bridge into research - applications for PhD work are coming due. I may even have to postpone 'til 2014.

And I believe in the power of total immersion.

Whilst distance and e-learning has served its purpose these last three years I now crave fulltime, campus based study - mixing with students and colleagues, attending and giving lectures, taking tutorials and moderating student forums i.e the all round educator in tertiaru ... or postgraduate study.

Onwards and upwards

(Fuelled by Prometheus which I watched last night and that infected my dreams. An add pattern of a repetitive or recurrent dream where I am Sellotaping posters to a long scroll and flying through space. Rather sums me up at the moment)

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Things I wished I'd known when I started the MAODE three years ago (I've finished, I'm doing H809 as CPD - already!)

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 11:56

A thorough introduction to the platform and tools as a common 16 hours to all modules.

An afternoon, face-to-face tutorial? Through OU Students regionally if not with your tutor. Perhaps through Alumni support groups in Google Hang outs or some such?

This may sound like anathema to the online, distance learning purists, but I wonder if the OU will have to 'turn itself inside out' and have undergrads on campus - not just postgrad doctoral students. As 'traditional' universities offer everything the OU and a handful of other distance learning specialists around the world used to have as 'unique selling points' they will be able to offer it all: e-learning support for resident students, e-learning for distance learners and blended learning for everyone in between.

Turn the Michael Young building into the OU's first Hall of residence.

If I go into academia I will want to teach even if my 'job' is research. I can think of no better way, intellectually, to master (literally) my art and subject than by supporting others. Knowing some star 'educators' in other institutions I wonder if tutors would gain also from greater contact. The weekly tutorial (at a price) is feasible through Google Hangouts.

I digress:

H809, understandably is a module to take once you have several modules under your belt, however, H809 light, say these first couple of weeks, might be an invaluable, even open and free 'stand alone'. I would have scrutinised more closely, fewer papers had I known what I know now.

These first few weeks has been applied learning - using the OU Library not simply as an exercise. Invaluable.

(p.s. cats were fighting in the street. I got up to survey the aftermath and couldn't get back to sleep. Why not catch up on H809 as a few postings from fellow students suggests I am getting a tad behind this week).

Don't get behind. The 'tick boxes' on the VLE 'ladder' are a blunt instrument. Every exercise deserves a 'tick box' too, though I understand why the OU wouldn't do this - it starts to smack of primary school. It really is the case (like exercise), that a a couple of hours every day is better than trying to do it all at the weekend, or worse, abandoning it for a week/10 days because catching up is a monster. If this happens seriously think about abandoning that week - keep up with everyone else first as learning with them is better than learning alone.

Isolation is a state of mind, or a behavioral issue. The sooner you learn to tip the contents of your mind out on your lap the better. Learning together is a joy.

Make time to get your head into gear in the first few weeks. If you have to give it more time than the course notes suggest put in the extra hours so that you 'get it' otherwise you will struggle all the way through. You can't do much about is as an EMA approaches if you're still asking 'but ?' about weeks 1-3.

There is no need to print anything off! Get an iPad and a Kindle. Get your digital literacy skills up to speed ASAP.

Write it all down. The default button in this OU Blog is private. Use it as a learning journal, portfolio, digital notebook, aide memoire.

Take the initiative. Meet online in week one. Buddy up, agree a time. Nothing beats meeting your fellow travellers. Google Hangouts work. The nuttiest one I remember was a 'Pyjamma party' - all above board and 'propper' but given the time differences some were in bed and woke up for it. I guess it requires the 'hyper gregarious' character in the group to do this.

Don't get distracted:

Most don't blog at all ... it should fit in to the regular programme.

Contribute to student forums always, even use RSS feeds but get used to putting the next activity first otherwise you can expend too much of the week's allocated hours discussing the first couple of activities. Enough is enough. Get the other activities out of the way then come back.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

My personal learning environment

Visible to anyone in the world

My%2520Internet%2520Use%25206DEC12.JPG

Fig.1. My Personal Learning Environment

I did one of these for H808 The E-Learning Professional 18 months ago.

The huge difference was first a Kindle, then an e-Book. I don't have a desk and in a busy home finding a place and time to learn was a problem - now I will pick up as I cook, in the bath ... and in bed. I take it with me. As it was described by an OU MBA Student, 'a university in your pocket'.

Not so much mobile learning and slumbering learning ... unless walking the dog while reading a forum message counts?

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Dec 2012, 18:11)
Share post
Design Museum

The OU and the BBC

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 22 Nov 2012, 11:21

In case you didn't know -

some people wonder what happened to the OU Broadcasts in the dead of night - you know, the bloke with unkempt hair and a long bear, in a stripey cheese-cloth shirt and sandals talking through a daigram on a flip chart.

'Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 23 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 56 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme'.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

What a noggin ...

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012, 11:56

Bronze%2520SNIP.JPG

Fig. 1. Benzi, after Gianlorenzo Bernini. 'Damned Soul', 1705-07

It has taken me 33 months, my fifth module and x assignments ... 12-16 ? and for the first time three things have happened:

  • The first draft is written with two days to go.
  • The word count is only 100 or so over the limit.
  • I stuck to the treatment.
  • Its a tad journalistic at this stage, but I enjoyed it.

On top of the MA the OU has given me the tools and confidence, and in this case, the knowledge, to write.

Thanks OU!

Off to London for the day.

RA this afternoon for the 'Bronzes' Exhibition, then a presentation in the evening - me talking, 'Use of video in e-learning' at an IVCA meeting.


Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012, 21:06)
Share post
Design Museum

iPads an OU Module

Visible to anyone in the world
It is a big ask to expect to complete a module entirely on an iPad - I suppose the greater challenge would eb to do so on a smartphone. My first and thus far ONLY trip is that I cannot edit a wiki. The advantage is making use of micro moments, on a bus, waiting for a bus, in the bath (oh yes), a passenger in a car - breaking from a walk. All occasions when a laptop, even a netbook, is too bulk or slow to open.
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Final module to complete the MAODE

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Oct 2012, 05:22

Successfully registered and signed up for H810: accessibility - starting September with a January finish. This will complete my first, extraordinary OU Journey after three years.

Intellectually challenging, rigorous, comprehensive, expansive and life transforming. It took a while but I am now working for a world leader creating e-learning resources for companies - manager training for the most part.

It won't end here. I have my eye on a History MA. I've discussed this with student services. Starting September 2013 in two parts this will take me into the Centenerary of that horror, the 'war to end war' (HGWells) 1914-1918 that I blog about at www.machineguncorps.com

History would have been my first degree decades ago had I not got cold feet and switched to Geography. And an MA in Fine Art (which had been on the cards in 2010 when I elected for the MAODE.

I guess that's the next decad taken care of!

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5198831