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H800 wk22 Activity A2a - notes and cryptic thoughts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:47

Large scale open source e-learning systems at the Open University UK Niall Sclater (2008)

Welcome to a mega-university (Daniel, 1996)

Requires exceptionally feature rich, robust and scalable e- learning systems.

Founded in 1069 not 1970(JV)

(Slight slip on the iPad there, but an interesting idea that we might be able to trace the origins of The OU to 1069 rather than 1969, which would place The OU as an older institution of the founding universities of Bologna in that century and the Oxford and Cambridge Colleges of a century later)

'Creativity is mistakes'

(Greyson Perry 2011. Search this blog for more)

I applaud the mistakes we make typing at a thousand words an hour on a keyboard that's akin to ice-skating in well-worn calf-skin slippers. This aren't Freudian slips they're breaks and laughs in our stream of consciouness; ideas we didn't know that had formed that break-out.

The OU 2008 to 2011

Was 180,000 OU students in 2008 now it is 210,000.

Was 7,000 associate lecturers now more like 8,000 or is it 10,000?

Online conferencing and e-assessment expertise disparate systems vs consolidation and unity of design LMS to restrict, present and monitor enrolled students.

+ collaborative activities through forums, blog and wikis.

Control as a means to acceptance therefore Open Source rather than commercial software vs fears about systems nor people being ready for it after the failure of UKe university.

Mark Dougiamas and Moodle with the leadership drive and qualities of Linux Tordvalds.

  • Understand the entire application
  • Optimize at every opportunity
  • Spot new requirements

Ensure that they are fulfilled

  1. Functionality
  2. Usability
  3. Documentation
  4. Community
  5. Security
  6. Support
  7. Adoption

Enabling socio-constructivist learning

  • Prisoners and the visually impaired.
  • Enhancement to the calendar system so that students can keep track of their work and tutors can keep track of them.
  • Additions of an eportfolio and audio both now semi-defunct.
  • Issues over deadlines, over responsibility for key functionality,  over whether to incorporate blogs or not, the value or otherwise of comments functionality and the delays over seeking consensus.

To Wiki OU or to wiki SP?

NB How to move from a primarily print-based educational paradigm to one that also effectively exploits the dynamic, interactive and communicative aspects of the Internet. p9

Rather like saying that we want to integrate text books that pop-up and exercise books that deliver assessments as a kind of origami; at some stage like a glob of stuff in a lava-lamp the new platform will spawn an entirely distinct way of learning.(JV)

Many in the faculty have been engaged for large parts of their working lives in the development of text for a large part of their working lives and do not have the inclination or skills to think about delivering parts of their courses as podcasts or wikis. p9

NB Enhancing the learning experience for students.

Ensuring central quality control, copyright clearance, branding and good design and high- quality audio recordings often means that faculty and tutors feel they have less autonomy and can be less creative than they wish. p10

Or abandon the institutional LMS for PLSs. p11

Not so much food for thought, than a smorgasbord; not so much an hour and a half to ponder, but the weekend and beyond, including walking the dogs and when asleep.

I dream in page flips on an iPad.

I've been engaged in some bizarre dream world in which multiple varieties of fish leap from one pool to another. I presume this is some intellectual dance that is going on and ought to take time out to reflect on this.

I blame it on the level of digital interactivity, not just this QWERTY keyboard typing thing (which I do with my eyes shut as a party piece), but the way I constantly exchange hands when using an iPad, flipping the page from portrait to horizontal, opening the page out or closing it down, wiping the tip of my little finger across the page to flip a page or roll down through content.

I even wonder if six years playing the flute and piano with some seriousness haa not made this adaptation all the more easy?

All I need now is a mouth-piece, something like a gum-shield or orthodontic plate so that I am given additional control to select and highlight by moving my tongue.

Never so far fetched as you may imagine.

Now answer the following:

What criteria should we use to assess whether our LMS is meeting our requirements?

Might we be better served by a different (possibly open source product)?

What are the benefits and the challenges of our institution’s engaging with an open source community, given its inevitable compromises and delays?

In what ways are we using our LMS to control the experience of learners, and how are we using it to empower them?

How can we avoid getting tied up in discussions surrounding technologies and keep our focus on finding solutions that enhance the learning experience for our students?

 

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Intellectually and spiritually content? Getting there

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:09

Delighted to have found somewhere to stay in Milton Keynes.

It is extraordinary that people live such lovely lives, the privilege of the commute being a short walk over a field, from village to Central Business District in minutes. This isn't the Britain I have ever known - a 79 mile commute being one of the worst, cattle-trucks in from South London even worse. But I've done the 'weekly border' having once been in Penrith, Cumbria while my fiance was in Paris, France for six months. Sleeping away from home is part of me of course, having had boarding school from the age of 8 I perhaps find it easy to get used to?

 

Of course the OU Campus is a strange beast, each Faculty a bright sparkly building set in its own grounds each building a short walk apart from the other. If it weren't for the speed bumps to slow the traffic down (people come in by car in their thousands) I'd imagine golf-carts to be the required way to move around.

 

But do you much? Your faculty is your home.

My home once again has connections with the university, mother and daughter work there. This does not need to be a point of conversation at home, I  have the Masters in Open and Distance Education to complete for a start and instead of talking about the OU I am delightfully engaged in conversations on the medical effect of what we eat. I find myself creeping back towards soya milk and muesli and away from coffee and biscuits.

For someone who typically blogs a thousand words a day I've been unusual quiet.

The pressure on my mind is considerable. If I find myself near a keyboard over the bank holiday I may catch up, though my inclination is to head for the sea.

This isn’t to say I’m not writing a thousand words an hour; that would be an exaggeration, but I find that 60 emails a day (sent), half this number received, contributions to Yammer an OU Twitter like feed and the various minutes and reports that I’m writing quite easily makes up the number.

As I will often tell people, the best contribution to my career was a touch-typing course at Oxford College of Education.

I'll become a poor-weather blogger.

Meanwhile what I have to say has gone into note pads. I’ve filled a 80 pad shorthand notepad, both sides. This contains a good deal of ‘Everything is Miscellaneous’ and all that I wanted from ‘Use of Blogs.’ How I would have preferred both on my Kindle, all this note taking reduced to highlighting, my ideas saved or shared immediately, and the entire thing now at the edit stage. Instead I’ll have to write it all out. I find my concentration wavers if I transcribe stuff, or more likely I feel inclined to add yet further notes and thoughts.

Meanwhile, perhaps sensibly going for paper rather than technology, I have ‘The Social Life of Information’ (2002) John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid to enjoy, ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ (2007) Rick Levine et al and ‘E-moderating’ (2005) Gilly Salmon.

My perfect Bank Holiday would be to take these to sea – sail across the English Channel, a few days in French Ports.

As crew, this way I can read, all that fresh air, with occasional moments of physical agitation.

(48720)

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When is a blog, not a blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 15 Jan 2011, 18:37

When it's a photo-journal.

As I work from home I alleviate the boredom of the day by at various times moving to my wife's desk.

Hot Desk 3

Assuming she is not, which she often isn't because she has a laptop and also likes to spend part of the day looking out the front window.

iBook

Meanwhile I might shut myself in here. Actually at the end of the bed like a teenager doing A' Levels, in this case on an iBook which I think is eight years old, which in dog-years makes it about 86. The battery has been replaced, the screen has gone and the operating system doesn't support most Flash and crucifies MyStuff. I did H807 on this and nearly didn't survive the experience.

Print off

And then I get fed up with computer screens, and do this (onto recycled paper used for professional projects which risks getting me very confused if I look at the wrong side of the sheet).

K2 ECA

And so I spend an afternoon away from the computer and have found this an effective way forward.

Which is often the case.

I also like to write on wallpaper backing sheets that come in long scrolls. I have one taped to the wall above the bed right now. My wife tollerated its presence last night, she may not once I've scrawled H808 ECA stuff all over it.

Of course, if a picture is worth 1,000 words then I have once again said far, far too much.

 

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Printing of and pasting up

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 04:23

I would title a talk on writing for the web, 'There's nothing new about new media' in 2011 as I did in 1999. Or I might say 'It changes nothing.'

The web, via this QWERTY keyboard is merely the final expression of something that has been going on somewhere else, mostly in your head. For me I have to get it out on paper.

As it is pelting down with rain I cannot peg my EVIDENCE for the ECA to the washing line as I plannes, so instead (to my wife's delight) I have Sellotaped some Wallpaper Backing paper to the bedroom wall. I have laid across the bed individual piles from each unit and I am selecting my evidence.

My favourite is a report on eportfolios which opens with the line '500 words on eportfolios. I need only one. Don't.'

You see it is why I wrote that, not what I wrote that matters.

How many authors write longhand on paper then move to the computer for some Word Processing?

I love the fact that I've printed off diddley-squat these last few months; I can handle reading it on a laptop as I have at least upgraded my computer so that it will handle the software.

So, a washing line DRAWN on this paper around the bedroom wall, sheets of paper stuck to it ... then I'll dwell on it. I may make notes into a digital recorded.

The issue I have is with the context for my thinking as this now splits three ways: sports, leadership and movie production. I am currently moving from one, to the other.

And I wonder why four hours sleep is good going?

I'll catnap during the day, but once I'm conscious I have to get to work. That's me.

 

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Up and running. H808

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An hour in the middle of the night has been spent reading through the first task and all the various forum entries in H808 'The E-Learning Professional.'

This and applying for a job. Stymied by the need for three references. I've been such a hermit these last few years I worry that beyond family and friends the only reference I could get would be from my hairdresser and she might say something like 'he may be on time but I know he's seeing the barber down the road as well.'

Three dreams over the last ten days are bugging me - my lengthy reflection on these will go into the WordPress Blog (unless they prove to have something to do with the OU). I use a 27 point survey that usually reduces the dream to some mundane conclusion, though occasionally offers something more profound.

Ever on the look out for 'e-' words I spotted 'e-nose' in last week's New Scientist.

The e-nose refers to an 'electronic nose' rather than an 'electronically enhanced and largely online nose' that is the 'e-' of e-learning. The e-nose can identify certain scents electronically, it transpires ... (though not across, the Internet) ... yet. It wouldn't surprise me if a Google-e-nose were developed that could be used to search for and then offer recipes for food from your fridge that has escaped its packaging. Hold it up to your webcam and Google will advise.

The following was written out long hand with an ink pen.

I wonder if there is a stylistic difference, greater fluidity? (My son had squirreled the lap-top away and being the dead of night I didn't want to disturb him).

Is there software that can spot the stylistic difference of something written directly into a word-processor, like this ... or written out long hand, like this:

Reflection

Whilst reflection is meant to help tackle complex problems, what if the issues are so chaotic, long term and intractable that far from helping to resolve a problem the act and habit of reflection simply re-enforces the mess?!

E-Learning

How much of it is online?

And how much of it is even electronic and/or enhanced?

This happens to be a reflective note being written long-hand onto a recyled A4 ruled pad of paper. It is anything but electronic, or digital. Nor, as yet, is it shared or offers any chance of interaction, let alone collaboration with a group of friends, community of fellow students or the wider world.

The most important part of this experience is taking place in my head and is either one step behind, or one step ahead of this writing process. It is stream of consciousness. It is a singular, lonely and individual occurrence from which little will be gained by sharing it.

This is it: learning in which the 'e' is highly tangential.

Indeed, I'd go as far as to say that the 'e' component of my online learning, or web-based learning, or iLearning experience with the OU thus far is one in which the online quality of the process can be as discretely packaged as you would a book, a lecture or a face-to-face chat with a fellow traveller - it is one part, even a distinct part, an entity with barriers, parameters and a physical presence.

It is a part, not even a large part. But a catylst. A resource. A tool. A track. (a word-processed addition here)

An audit of how this learner spends his time studying shows that half is off-line doing that all too traditional act of reading and taking notes; that of the remaining half another 50% is spent at a computer keyboard sometimes not fully aware or bothered about whether I am working online or off, using software on my hard-drive or the OU server.

(a hand-written omission here replaced with the following while typing online)

And if I continue this fractal-like halving of time spent studying, at what point do I reach 'e-'

And does it matter?

The 'e-' is the fleck of saffron in a risotto.

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Toy sword or steel?

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I have for the last six months survived H807 with a toy plastic sword.

The gob-smacking revelation that everything is achieved with far greater ease when you have an up-to-spec computer is ...  or should have been obvious.

I am borrowing a club lap-top. Design - hideous, Feel - awfull. DEsire to even tap at this QWERTY keyboard ... very low.

Once was a time for a few quid you could distinguish yourself and feel distinguished with a fountain pen. Not a Parker, but a Schaeffer ... or if you had a 21st or a 40th or some such celebration coming up, a Monte Blanc Cuban-cigar like phallus of a writing thing.

There's nothing phalic about a cheap Toshiba QWERTY keyboard.

Not upgrading a PC or MAC for six years leaves you squeezing ideas through a straw ... and a world that wants to pipe megatrons of info through your home and into your head FAIL ... if your didgeridoo, or straw, just don't come up to spec.

e-didgeridoo

Now there's a thought, and a word ... a s*** e-word.

I feel as if I have spent six months in training, and suddenly, fighting fit I am provided with the tools I need to communicate.

Voice recogntion?

In French, simultaneously ...

If the French language is to die in fifty years then il faut que je ... essaie ... de reflechire en francais.

 

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QWERTY vs a fountain pen

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:08

This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros. I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.

30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the & little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn't materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour's guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys ... and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.

His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch. His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He's the early adopter ... they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers sad Jsut the way he is gregarious & enthusiatic for new 'stuff.'

Homework last night requried some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to 'Ask Jeeves' which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.

'I alwyas wiki my home work.' He says.

Like 'to google,' 'to wiki' is now a verb.

He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11. He has had access to a computer since he was ... 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.

How un-21st century, how clunky is the use of a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recogniton? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?

Being a 'game boy' he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.

Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework. It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Three 'Really useful' boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time ... even a cutting from the Consett Gazette in which he is featured in November 1917 haveing been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on 'The Great War' published c.1929 & edited by H.G.Wells. The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.

'When did they invent colour?' She asked.

We discuss this.

We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and 'tanks' that look as static as pillboxes.

"When did they start inventing things?' She then asked.

By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets ... or 'stuff,' as in 'eletronic stuff.'

When did humans ever not invent?

From the perspective of a child, 'innovation' within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when 'new stuff' is redundant as it hits the shelf.

 

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Voice recognition is yet to overcome QWERTY

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:00

Trying voice recognition software and expected to use it fifteen years ago I fail to see its everyday application. (Inform me otherwise, please).

A generation typing in TXT may in time stick with an keyboard that goes ABC/DEF while touch screens and icons are still an expensive novelty, limited yet again by those who create the software in a language that they can use and favour with English often the mother tongue and culturally the was screens are read, the images and colours used, of Western origin.

And within this, take one tiny Empirical-like imposition that took many years to address – all Microsoft dictionaries favoured American English.

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