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L120: Reflection - Four Weeks in

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 31 Oct 2014, 07:30
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. Where to find resources and tasks for L120 L'Ouverture - Intermediate French from Livre 1

The above suggests a simplicity that isn't apparent when you have to do it, rather as if the module has been constructed by deconstructing and uploading an interactive DVD and trying to re-assemble its many fragmented parts. For example, to reach the interactive activities these are the required steps. Of course, although wasn't quit to figure that out, I can and now do save the link either to the Unit (step 6 of 9) or the Session.

The SIX trajectories given above (fig.1) are slightly disingenuous as all but the physical books (livres) split several, even many more times: there are many tutors to pick through, not just your own; the OU and the OU communities sound like two things but are each split many ways while both the AV materials and Assessment materials are offered as a clickable list. We go from these branches to multiple twigs in one, potentially confusing step. I'm going to do an more complete mindmap to get my head around this and then share it here for others on L120. I'll be unpicking the 'design architecture' as it were.

I'm slowly getting my head around this 'landscape' though <<ce n'est pas toujours evident en mon avis>>>.

Stages:

  1. StudentHome
  2. L120 Ouverture
  3. Audio-visual resources
  4. Audio-visual interactive materials
  5. L120 Ouverture
  6. Unité 1
  7. Session 5; Révision
  8. Activité 8
  9. Activité 1.5.2

Learning entirely online as I have done for the best part of three years 2010-2013, as well as two subsequent MAODE modules can lead you to expect that any module will be a simple case of going to the schedule, then clicking through the eight or none or more activities, ticking the boxes as you go along and wracking up the tally to complete the week. This 'pure' online learning has its strengths and weaknesses; it is wholly apt for the study of e-learning. This OU Language module is 'blended' - there are a few face-to-face gatherings, and, I think, once a month we gather online for an hour, as we did last night. Otherwise, the 'activities' are both 'online' and as we used to say 'off-line'. The online content here is not set out as a series of steps, but as the above graphic indicates, offered in a variety of locales. This makes it akin to entering a faculty and having to find your way between the library, lecture hall and tutor rooms, and the computer lab. 

I'm playing a little catch-up as I was right to be worried that I should be doing, I think six to eight hours a week, rather than three or four. A brilliant innovation (I think) is the human contact with a 'Buddy' some helpful lad, a former student, who is more readily available than the tutors/associate lectures to point us in the right direction. Just as one has at university to keep freshers from going adrift.

See how these two environments are learning from each other, the best of each world being adopted by the other?

About time. Traditional universities will have to become as good as this as the OU. One day what differentiates the OU will be lost. Oxford Brookes is catching up. Some schools have excellent VLEs - this is what students will come to expect. The VLE at the University of Birmingham, where I've been a student for the last year, is worse then dreadful. FutureLearn shows the way to go.

One day the OU ought to have more residential courses, halls of residences or colleges, faculties that can be readily entered by students ... and even satellite centres globally.

On Verra. Martha Lane Fox is an inspired choice of new chancellor for the Open University.

I'm waiting for 'Lastminute revision dotcom'

p.s. is the spellchecker really identifying both poor spelling in English and in French? Cool!

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Trying to jog my memory - is 'e-learning' the 'ready meal' of learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 7 Jun 2014, 05:42

Fig. 1. Somewhere along Dyke Road yesterday morning I had this thought ...

I had a thought on 'the evil of e-learning' as I drove my daughter to her final A' level exam. She was flicking through some revision notes on cards and intermittently going to her phone to listen to clips of John Donne she was hoping to remember. A bit of e-learning there. I meant to write down the thought but was driving. Six hours later it comes to me again, I write 'e-learning is evil' as the title of one of these posts (I use my student blog as a learning journal and portfolio) and my wife bursts in with some exciting news that I am eager to here and not wanting to be rude I'm sure the thought will wait ... but no, it had gone.

I'm reflecting on this now in the hope that it'll come back to me ... I may have to drive out to my daughter's school simply to see if that jogs my memory. I'd like to think the idea I had was profound, but I've lost it for the moment. I need to get those parts of my brain that were active at the time re-aligned ... 

Four years and seven OU modules and a passing thought about the nature, possibilities and weaknesses of e-learning comes and goes. 

It'll come to me. 

Everything will need to be as it was yesterday. I'm unlikely to have my daughter in the car if I drive out there ... she's done with school smile I guess during the exam she got a text from Glyndebourne to ask if she'd do an afternoon shift which is where her Mum took her in the afternoon - so much for celebrating!

There was something about the moment, reflecting on the end of her secondary education and what she's gained or achieved, the relevance of her circumstances and who she is ... using her iPhone to scroll through podcasts of readings of John Donne ... with sets of handwritten cards. The radio was off; I knew it would have been a distraction. I didn't speak. All the more reason to having given my head the chance to think, where there is a chance there is more activity internally and less competition from external inputs.

Was that it?

E-learning externalising the knowledge and spoon feeding someone else's interpretation of the answer? E-learning as the 'ready meal' of education? That learning the product of a collection of images and impressions? That a tricky quotation my daughter was trying to get to stick, like a PostIt note to the back of her head would forever be associated with the myriad of ways in which she was introduced to the passage, wrote it down, re-wrote it selectively from her A' Level English folder, and was now, in her way, listening to it and reading her handwritten revision card ... and that yes, on quizzing her in the evening over supper she'd referred to the quote as well and was quite chuffed with the whole experience.

This is it.

That e-learning risks stripping out a mass of personalised contexts that make the learning memorable and personal, and even worthwhile. Looking back on my seven modules (so far) with the Open University everything done online (and I have thousands of posts and thousands of screen-grabs and notes on it) on reflection, risks having been very clinical. Not all of it. Not always. But the idea of learning online 'by joining the dots' scares me. What's the use of that?

I'm going to have to go and sit in the car.

If I'm still stuck then when I drive my daughter to work later this morning I may see if any of it comes back to me. There is method to this; I know from years of clawing back dreams, those most wispy of experiences, that the closer you recreate the very moment of thought, the more likely enough parts of your brain will fire up to bring it back ... or, in the neurological sense, to recreate an approximation of the thought. 

We did speak. Something about exams. The stress, value and differentiation in grading of them. She spoke about Lear, I spoke about Hamlet. In the back of my mind I was reflecting on the benefit or otherwise of our children having their parents both together and at home. We've not been sticklers for revision, rather enablers, helping them see the value and need to get on top of their subject, and to help them or allow them to vary the pace by still seeing friends, getting out, some footie or the gym ... I wonder though if streaming TV series and movies back to back will be my son's undoing; yet I recall I would often have had the radio on as my companion to revision. We'll see. I know that what works is the ability to focus; if you want it to the brain will tune out the distractions.

E-learning is massive and complex. It's neither a panacea, nor an absolute. Can it be too clinical though? The context in which we learn, engaging all the senses, has a profound impact on how and if we form a memory and can then keep it.

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Tony Benn - on keeping a diary for 50 years

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 15 Mar 2014, 07:04


20140314-203401.jpg

 

I am apolitical. My in-laws used to laugh, saying they cancelled each other out: Tory, Labour and Liberal. (That's, mother, father and grandmother). I never asked and could never figure who voted which way; they kept their politics to themselves. I have voted in all directions from green through blue to yellow and red - I cancel myself out. I often vote different ways in local and national elections only voting for the person, not their party. In fact I wish political parties could be banned, so, I guess like Tony Benn, you can be your own person rather than being forever held to and subjugated by the party thinking.

That's me on politics - an agnostic in religion, indifferent in politics.

Here though to pick up on a phrase used on the BBC obituary yesterday regarding his fifty years of keeping a diary (written, then audio). His view, probably expressed to a journalist to keep things short, was that 'something happens, you write it down, you re-read it, then realise that you were wrong'.

In the aggregation of events, and musings, self-analysis is surely just as capable of creating such an aggregating of similar events and thoughts that you become entrenched, rather than transformed? Surely a bit of both is the reality. Or does it make any difference at all. 

I've kept a diary and blog and relate to several others who do the same - the diary/blogging thing is part of who you are or have become, you do it out of habit, like saying your prayers at night. I cannot see across any of these people, especially those published diarists, that suggests that in any way the act of keeping the diary changed them. I rather think the opposite, that those who keep a diary are very set in their ways.

There's barely been a module across the Master of Arts Open and Distance Education (MAODE) that hasn't expected students to blog. I wonder if this though isn't for purposes of reflection, but is a learning journal or portfolio of work, a accumulation and aggregation of course work and themes upon which you build you knowledge. In these instances reading over does adjust your thinking, you become fluent in the language of your subject and wise to the ideas rather than ignorant of them. That should be self-evident in the diary I have kept here for four years.  

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Reflection: we are all so very, very, different when it comes to learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:25

Just ten minutes. A live presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?

I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people's words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.

Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:

My grandfather's funeral

My groom's wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)

My father's funeral

My mother's funeral 

...

Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul. 

Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.

...

Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?

...

We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.

I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn't a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything. eLearning can be the subject matter expect - 'IT' (literally) thinks it knows it all.

So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators - worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and manger those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they'll never be satiated.

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TMA Blues

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:52

It doesn't get any better.I thought I was on top of this by now, like riding a bike, but you don't really know what kind of a beast you have a hold of until you tackle it. All the more reason to get an early draft written and give yourself a week or two to work on it. This would have been fine but the entire process leading up to H818 TMA1 has been to expand, share, search, explore ... and so it went on until like the incredible stretching man my arms reached west to Dublin and east to the Urals. Part One had a work count limit of 1500. My first draft came in at 4,600. I hacked this down by 50% then did the wise thing and began again from scratch working on the basis they I had some juicy content in my head, I just needed to focus.

A mind map with a mere 7 links on it did the job. 200 words for each and 100 words to share across an introduction and conclusion ... sort of.

I'd references the longer version in my enthusiasm so had to unpick that - there is only one thing worse than missing out a lot of references, is referencing a lof of stuff that is no longer there. 

Then part two.

For reasons only known to the OU IT team I couldn't zip two documents on my Mac so emailed the documents to my wife - I am sitting at her laptop now. The period between sending these files from my office 11 miles away and cooking supper (I do) gave me a chance to dwell on a sentence regarding part two

Students are encouraged to be bold and innovative in setting forth a project proposal.

A breathing space, a chance to reflect, a deadline fast being overdue ... so I went for it. Controversy gets attention. So does death. This has both. And if I play my cards right I'll need to find an actor, dress him up, get some make up then film them in their final moments.

 

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H809: Reflections at the end of week 7

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 22 Mar 2013, 15:03

Still playing catch-up after the TMA

Through week six writing and most activities (a few hours left to wrap)

Familiar with week 7 as we begin week 8. I will catch up over the weekend. Perhaps. If it rains a good deal and my son's football is off (again). This will come back to haunt me - with all the bad weather they are moving to two matches a week. The Daddy Taxi might be busy.

For H809 conjured up the 'Perfect Storm of Online Research'

  • Young people, including minors
  • Online - gamified if not virtual worlds, with social aspects (whether wanted or not)
  • Medical - not a medical market research but ostensibly an 'intervention' of sorts that would require expertise, training and sign off for everyone involved.
  • Global - what isn't if it is accessible online?

The good news?

  • They haven't found life on Mars yet so I can keep it contained to Earth.

My plan

  • Set further parameters.

I'm looking at use of e-learning to improve uptake of perventer medication by young people with servere moderate asthma (i.e. they are supposed to take a daily preventer inhaler, like me, I do - they don't).

I may 'contain' the research to a group where in some cases a step has already been taken to amerliorate the situation - swimming. I'll talk to the ASA (hypothetical) and have participants as UK swimmers with asthma

 

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H809 Reflection on Block 1 - towards compliance for those with moderate severe asthma

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 11:16
The most straight forward of assignments has proved anything but ... not for how to write this 2000 word piece, that is straight forward, but rather committing to a subject, then narrowing down the theme, possible research question and then dig up some papers ... and not simply offer the lot, but give the five 'that say it all'. To pick five how many must you read, at least as abstracts. I made three false starts, even read a PhD thesis on blogging before deciding it is a minefield. I may like to blog but I no more want to research it for an OU assignment than sort out pebbles on Brighton Beach. Lifelogging, memory and neuroscience all interest me ... but are too big to get my head around in a few months - a few years perhaps. Looking at my notes I see I have papers also on augmented learning for field trips and museum visits. Then I returned to a platform that caught my eye three yesrs ago on H807 when I interviewed Dr. B. Price Kerfoot of Harvard Medical School on 'Spaced Education'. So far this system has been usef with doctors, to support their learning and decission making ... the next step will be patients. One of the humdingers here is 'compliance' - taking the medication you are prescribed if you have a chronic condition. What dawned on me this afternoon is that as a asthmatic I am the perfect patient - compliant to the nth degree. What surprised me is that such a large percentage of asthmatics are not. But with alleregies - a double-whammy of irritations, I ignore the nasal steroids and antehistemines almost completely. Compliant, and defiant in one go so just about canceeling the two out. But why? This is what fasciantes. You know you need to take something to avoid a return of the symptoms, but as there are no symptoms you stop taking the medication. Anyway, I am sifting through papers to set me straight and to offer some answers. If you have a moderately severe chronic condition and wish to share your medication regime or attitude please speak up - asthma, allergies, diabetes, epilepsy, other mental illnesses - chat on Skype? Meanwhile I checked my preventer inhaler - it was empty. I at least had a spare and will get a repeat prescription in tomorrow.
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OLDs MOOC Reflection 1

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 18 Jan 2013, 16:03

I'm always loath to start a blog or learning journal away from the platforms I've used for the last five years - Wordpress since 2007 (www.mymindbursts.com) 1500+ entries and as an OU postrgraduate student here since February 2010 (1000+ entries) ... and before this in Diaryland.com since 1999 1.5m words.

I believe in the format, I've kept a diary for long enough.

I rather like the idea of being able instead to blab into a webcam like Jack Sully in Avatar. I guess I could talk to Siri on the iPad but then it still has to be edited and posted somewhere ... here if it is to be shared (which is the whole point).

My experience with learning online for the last three years (Masters in Open and Distance Education) is that when at this level someone says it'll take 'x hours' in the week I double the number before I decide if I can make the time - this takes care of needing to familiarise myself with the landscape.

I can take 'x hours' and multiply by 4 if there is new software involved, even longer to the point of giving up if it isn't immediately obvious, intuitive and FUN.

I'm doing the OLDS MOOC 2013. A fellow MOOCer (and successful MOADEr too) pointed me towards Pearltrees and I feel in love.

But then again, I take both a professional interest and have the boyish curiosity that makes me click on everything anyway. So we'll see

I've skipped in and out of week 1 trying to follow the instructions blut feeling like one in a thousand playing a game of treasure hunt.

Or, like one of several hundred on the first evening of an OU Residential School. With an added difficulty here - all Holiday In's look the same, but the platforms here are not.

Even Cloudworks, which I tried during an MAODE module, looks as unfamiliar as it did 18 months ago. I couldn't get it then ... though I played ball, wrote and posted, but got no interaction. It felt like I was being sent into the jungle to list the flora and collect insects and meet fellow travellers but what I found as a desert full of chimeras.

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Ditch the tricksy technology and hire a brilliant speaker.

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Yes, So followed the AGM. Did the Webinar. Downlaoded Xerte.

Now trying to build more than a Power Point Slide Show.

Odd that, the very first effort I made to create a piece of learning was called 'How to make a slide presentation'. I shot it on Sony Reel-to-Reel kit - I was 17.

Page turning, next clicking ... we moved on in the early 1990s with interactive DVD.

It frequently feels that we go two steps forward, then seven back.

I look at some online learning and think - 'Give me a pop-up book'! It would be better.

I'm yet to see or experience anything as engaging as an Audi engine in 3D interactive animation as part of a tool for training mechanics.

There is rich e-learning ... and poor e-learning.

I'm hard to please - judging this stuff for a national panel every decade does this to you.

You expect the extraordinary at every turn, but it very rarely is.

The simplest way to get extraordinary?

Ditch the tricksy technology and hire a brilliant speaker.

P.S. I don't call the OU tricksy - I call it effective. It works. What I expect in e-training is something a bit more inspired.

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effort, time and motivation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012, 09:15

The Holy Trinity of learning.

2 years and 4 months it has taken me on a Masters programme called 'Open & Distance Learning' to realise that this is what it takes for a person to gain knowledge. Of these three, I'd put motivation first, and put intrinsic motivation above extrinsic.

If you want to learn you will and can. Does it help to have a classroom? A library? Some books? Do you need a computer, or smartphone, or laptop? 

You need a teacher. Present is best, small groups or one to one. A teacher who motivates.

I stumbleupon a bix of bits and pieces that my father had kept (he died a decade ago) and found a couple of my school reports from when I was ten; and some old school photos. I've been online remembering school with half a dozen old classmates from when I was 4.11 to 16.

An unpleasant experience with a teacher killed a subject, while a positive experience and even where I didn't excel I was happy and got good reports. A subject I may have enjoyed and came to via the back door by going to live there, French.

Where is the teacher in e-learning?

In the instructional design and the team of content cretors, in the way software recognises and rewards, in the vital involvement of an e- moderator, who like the 'good teacher' know how and where to step in to initiate, to support, encourage, encourage and motivate.

Funny that this should come to me during the vacuum of a Bank holiday. (or not so funny, the last module I did 'creativity, innovation and change B822 gave me the green light to empty my head, go for walks even to dream on it. Which of course I did last night, bobbing around in a world of classes).

There is a paper I am picking my way through too, from ALT- C  2007 and some papers from the Institute of aeducation I am glancing at, so I've hardly stopped feeding my mind.

Effort and Time speak for themselves

I'm not suggesting that everyone can get A grades, there is more at play. The effort benefits fromguidance. Consistency is required too, and not always in a person's mindset. Either way, for anyone, it takes time. The day (or night) will never come where you can go to sleep wearjng a headset and wake up  after an 8 hour mind dump and 'know stuff') But then again, who ever thought a driverless car would become feasible?

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Put Bill Gates and Steve Jobs through the Kirton Adaptor Innovator personality inventory and what do you get?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:41

Re-reading the Steve Jobs biography with four months in hand before another MAODE module I am struck by what it tells you about Gates and Jobs and how self-evidently one is an adaptor 'doing things better' while the other is an innovator 'doing things differently'.

This drawn from doing a KAI personality inventory and all the reading around these tests for B822.

I came out at 144 on a scale of 160; I'd envisage Jobs as somewhere on the outer edges of 150 while Gates gets a 20 or 30, neither would be in the 60-130 zone for two thirds of respondents.

If they ever did one of these are the results known?

As most managers do observation and experience of a person's behaviour and responses must suffice.

I feel a desire to revisit H807 'Innovations in E-learning' while mixing it up with B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

I can do this through the 1000+ entries I have here and by refreshing my mind from the current and archived blogs of others blogging here currently (though few if any blog there way through the MBA programme and I am yet to find anyone blogging about B822).

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B822 Reflection

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Working efficiently does not mean filling every day with work. Compartmentalising work, play and study time became crucial. I now get more done by containing it to set times. I'm getting out, working and studying better when I do and feeling far less stressed. Yet to get sleep patterns in order; I sense a need for exercise which for me means regular swimming.
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B822 Reflection

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 23:51

It is intriguing and of value to be covering learning processes from a different angle; there is some overlap.

The MAODE of course offers greater depth, how we learn is its modus operandi.

The weakness of someone else's conception of learning processes offered in relative isolation is apparent. I am surprised that Engestrom gets no mention as 'activity systems' were developed and used in business settings.

Several such models need to be be offered together:

a) to expose a model for what they are, a conception of reality

b) one person's take, their simplification of something complex.

Tangently Deguid and John Seeley Brown are brought in so I could search my own blog for 23 points where I have read them before, my knowledge, like coral, growing and firming up in the process. 'Metaphor' and 'analogy' are discussed, though the only resource offered leaves me befuddled as the concepts are written up in academic business-speak.

I'd like a far broader reading list; rather than three or four chapters offered in the resources book I'd like to see the reassuring long and personal list of the authors, linked by URL to papers that are readily available online. I can see myself Googling authors to see what they have published most recently.

I feel the case is made for external agencies as I don't see too many of the techniques occurring in large organisations.

As our authors say people quickly acquire the mindset of the organisation they work for, this becomes the default position for solving problems.

Certain functions from advertising to consultancy, web, PR and design are best bought in under competitive tender.

Whilst the case is made for intuition over objective analysis I don't see the 'hunch' outside the privately run business or agency as a means to get an idea through.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter may talk of the 'Hollywood' approach to projects, but I don't see the flexibility or process that has pots of money to invest on ideas that are pitched 'Hollywood' style.

I find, at times, I feel as if I am defacing the script from 'Good Morning Vietnam' in which an army communications paladin theorises about what makes a joke in a services radio show whereas the Robin Williams character is intuitively, on a hunch, inventive, engaging and witty. As he is in 'Dead Poets Society'.

Is creativity therefore meant to educate an organisation, department or person on how to improvise?

And surely such opportunities are only possible where systems, seniority or shortness of contract offers.

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4 digital scholar

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 31 May 2012, 16:10

'If Boyer's four main scholarly functions were research, application, integration and teaching, then I would propose that those of the digital scholar are engagement, experimentation, reflection and sharing'. Weller (2011).

Reference

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar. How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury

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Reflecting on illness

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 9 Sep 2011, 19:12
I appreciate that some reading this will have gone through months of being unwell or their condition is long term. I am simply using ideas taught to me during H808 a year ago to reflect on what I have been through: 15 days of a ghastliness that has included a day in hospital and three clinic visits. In hospital I counted the seconds and did so for nearly five hours. At home I crave fresh air but repeatedly ended up back in bed. As the last week or so shows I would read, comment and write - though until today my head has felt decidedly befuddled. So I did some digital housekeeping, all my mind could manage, mostly shuffling pictures, screen grabs and such around in Picasa Web, even referencing them properly. And I slept a great deal. I read Martin Weller's new book but know, and will see this from notes, that a second reading will have me picking out different things and adding different notes. We humans are unstable at the best of times, gender, age and background doesn't start to define who we are and how our state of mind, openness to learning, levels of self-esteem, can influence how we will 'perform' one week to the next. Consistency, for me at least, is a futile, even a stultifying quest.
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27 Reasons to blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:14

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I've forgotten a few, not least the ones that got me started here:

  • As an ice-breaker (introducing ourselves by way of holiday snaps and pets ... not to be recommended for setting the appropriate tone).
  • Reflection (and learning how to do this correctly).
  • Stream of consciousness
  • A Writer's Journal
  • As an e-portfolio

So I've missed out some important ones sad Visiting Channel Flip I was treated to a screening of Lee Hardcastle's new stop animation horror short. Is this blogging, or having your own TV channel?

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Digital Housekeeping

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 23 Oct 2011, 07:46

Illl-health has impacted on my activity online. This in itself is an insight. On the one hand we lable people for analysis, putting them into groups that vary from 'creator' all the way through to 'inactive' in order to simply its complexity, but more importantly in order to be able to share and discuss.

It has to be two, even three years since I did some long overdue 'digital housekeeping'. It isn't in my nature to go through my virtual pack of cards to put them in order; indeed, is order of any kind necessary so long as you have tagger thoroughly? It is, because such tags are no less valid just because you thoughts, ideas, assignments, references, quotes, pics, charts, grabs and so on are now collated. Indeed, these groups, chronologies and narratives are offering their own insights.

I've been inclined to equate 'stuff' (digital assets) as vegetation in a compost bin, however, this 'stuff' doesn't simply rot, rather it replicates itself ... then rots and transmogrifies in various ways. You think too hard and analogies fail because of the versatility, fluidity and complexity of the World Wide Web 2.0.

Creation is a part of what I do. There is considerable searching, grabbing, highlighting and note-taking too. Screen grabs and 'Snips' are treated like photographs and dealt with off-line in 'Picasa', online they are uploaded to Picasa Web and Dropbox. From here the url is shared in various ways in this blog and elsewhere. This 200GB album was looking like Wembley Stadium after a rock concert so I've gone in and begun to sort out and clean up my 'digital litter'.

What I find is that a grab, chart or image can instantly induce recollection of why I chose the image in the first place; the thinking behind the choice is revived. On their own these images will mean very different things to others until I add the text.

ON REFLECTION

Certain habits, such as titles, tags and references save you scrambling around later. Too often a great chart from a survey is rendered, in academic circles, useless, if I cannot locate the source. I can feel like riding a bicycle with square wheels ensuring that quotes and images are properly referenced at the time you highlight, note or grab, but it means that when you put them into an assignment, or simply a presentation or blog, this reference, usually with a URL is readily available.

This suits the kind of person who for a very short period (one month), not only kept a diary, but stuck the ephemera of the day into the folder/scrapbook too. Unsustainable, but extraordinary how a 3d bus ticket from the 1970s does more to remind me of the Yellow 45 bus I took along the 'Great North Road' to primary school then any words (that I couldn't have written at the time) to explain it.

Intermittently, having come across him during H808, I think about the Microsoft programmer who uses a digital device to RECORD everything he does, all day (sound and vision). That's the easy part. The hard part is creating the software to extract and store content of worth. The problem is that the mind, which must equate to how innovative we are, is anything but well ordered.

How often do we stop and think?

I may be an atheist but perhaps on the seventh day we should rest; we unplugged the router, put the phone on charge for the following week, turn off the TV and buy a paper? Or go to church ... or the non-religious equivalent.

Gordon%252520Bell%252520MICROSOFT.JPG

A search for 'Microsoft' in this diary brings me the name 'Gordon Bell', the entry I wrote in January and a link to the New Scientist article and its author. Gordon Bell wrote that he hoped eventually to unconver some patterns 'you would never have gleaned unaided.'

I very rarely look at old diaries. Doing so I was in despair. Neither the chronology, nor the day of the week is relevant, rather it is the unlinked themes that run through it, but to get at those requires transcription and digitisation.

I'd prefer to live life than live about the life I lived.

What Microsoft may achieve, though Google are surely doing it, is to formulate a better way to manager knowledge.

Which brings me to my final though for now, and that is to go entirely Google.

I use Google tools extensively already.

Picasa%252520LINKS%252520SNIP.JPG

I've never done much with 'Blogger' prefering 'Wordpress,' but Google makes it seamless, indeed, collectively Google tools are half-way between a virtual learning environment (VLE) and that amorphous collection of tools we collectively give the term 'personal learning environment' (PLE).

 

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EMA in six images

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 Sep 2011, 05:32

I use this blog as an e-portfolio.

It now holds notes from entire books, ad well as an assembly of key points for the H800 EMA.

This way I can pick up where I left off via desktop, laptop or iPad.

I know there are other even better ways to do this, Google Docs and Dropbox, but what I like here is the search function, tags and chronology.

On the basis that I always tag I can now assemble searches by author or topic.

I then return to these pages to edit or add.

I like having the HTML coding so that I can cut and paste into an external blog.

Images: photos, screen grabs or snips, as well as photos and charts, come from Picasa Web.

(See below)

In a concerted effort to narrow down my ideas I am trying to cover the EMA in images only. As a result of all of this I believe I know my stuff, the problem, is to demonstrate that to others in a format that is academic rather than journalistic and highly visualised.

ON REFLECTION

I ought to use the affordances of PowerPoint to construct this thing, using the frames like cards that I can move about and bullet points as a way to construct the treatment. Then write it up, and read it out. Better still record this and play it back to be sure of it's sense before checking further that it meets all the criteria.

With excellent planning H800 gives us this time, whereas in H807 and H808 I'm sure there was course work offered, but very few people coming out to do it.

Could the contents of this blog be put into FileMaker Pro?

Would that make it more versatile?

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An abundance of e-learning riches ...

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

Reflecting on H800 Week 27 or something.

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

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

Is it wise to go gadget free?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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On keeping a diary online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:17

Anais%2520Nin%2520SNIP.JPG

‘When people ask me how to keep a Diary, I refer them to Ira Progoff's Intensive Journal [method]....One cannot help being amazed by what emerges from this skilled inner journey. All the elements we attribute to the poet, the artist, become available to everyone, to all levels of society.’

Anais Nin

  • How to start your diary
  • In ‘The New Diary’ Tristine recommends that you:
  • Begin with a self-portrait
  • Begin with a period
  • Begin with today

Each time I come back to a blog after an absence of weeks, months or years I approach it in one of these ways: I assess who I am, go over the previous period when I’ve been away from the diary, and count these musings as my first entry.

From Ira Progoff’s A Journal Workshop seven useful techniques for diary writing are offered:

  1. List or Period Log
  2. Portrait or Life History Log
  3. Map of consciousness (Recapitulations and rememberings)
  4. Stepping Stones/Scenes from our lives
  5. Twilight Imagery Log
  6. Altered point of view
  7. Unsent letter
  8. Dialogue Dimension


Then read a few inspiring blogs from fellow OU students such as Rosie Rushton-Stone.

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H800: 25 Where does virtual learning begin?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 Feb 2011, 06:27

And if real learning occurs, is it no longer 'virtual?'

Where does reality end?

What part of your subconscious is real?

It happens after all, if yo think it or dream it. We distinguish between learning and e-learning; should we ? Did we distinguish a different reality after the train, after the telephone, after television or a man on the moon?

I am often online, I speak to people through Skype and Elluminate.

Yesterday I likened an Elluminate 'tutorial' with seven or eight fellow students as wearing a blindfold in a meeting; yo have to be alert to the presence of others, be sensitive to their interest (or lack of), their hand going up, or not. You are dependent on your only sighted person present - the tutor or moderator.

Over the last month I have been interviewed for a job on Skype. Producers have discussed my work on Skype.

I have been set task to show what I can do, somehow my body of work, the videos and scripts not real enough. Can I still fill a blank sheet of paper with pertinent and persuasive ideas; that's what they want to know.

My blend of learning uses the conscious and subconscious.

I consciously go to bed with a book, now on Kindle, currently reading through my extensive highlights and notes on two books: Education Psychology (Vygotsky 1926) and 'Rethinking Pedagogy for the Digital age (Helen Beetham & Rhona Sharpe eds. 2007). As I drift away I may close the Kindle, may slip it safely to one side .. may not. I matters not a jot. I'tll look after itself.

No wonder I find myself dwelling on all matter of things.

Earlier I woke thinking about one of these job interviews: it may be to work on contrast, it may be to work freelance, there are even a couple of full-time posts. All want to know what I have done recently. What they really need to know is what can I do for them next week or month. Or now.

As I return to consciousness I reflect on the interview that was on my mind, only to realise that it is highly unlikely that my future boss Is Johnny Depp. I've been duped by my own mind. No worries. The thoughts relate to the real opportunities, not this peculiar mash-up in a virtual world.

I have multiple presences in cyberspace with 'faces on' that may be anything from a week to 15 years old. Indeed, I ought to attach an image of the six year old me to a collection of 'earliest memories.'

I have a couple of existences in Second Life too, though I've yet to run with these.

Would I not get more confused over where reality ends?

If it is becoming less easy to distinguish reality from the virtual, how are we supposed to differentiate between learning and e-learning? Is it not the case that both could be going on ... but a student, or the students are doing no learning in either situation? That they are elsewhere? That they are not engaged? Yet hours later, consciously or otherwise, a recollection of a 'lesson' may produce a learning moment, may generate 'stuff' a learning object in that person's consciousness?

 

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H800: 22 Reflecting on H800

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Mar 2013, 00:26

How goes it?

Like a roller-coaster, merrily going along, like the C4 ident:through the loops of a roller-coaster though the shapes I see are 'H' and '800' and '807' and '808' as I pass by.

Then I switch track and venue and find myself on the Mouse-Trap. Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Here there is a rise and dip where you are convinced you will hit a girder. I just did, metaphorically speaking. (Diary entry, August 1980)

Ilness changes things

Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.

It is a set back of sorts. I can sleep and read. But the spark has gone (for now).

To use a different analogy, if I often think of my mind as a Catherine-wheel, this one has come off and landed in a muddy-puddle.

We're in the week of metaphors for learning.

I can draw on any notes I've taken on this here and in my eportfolio. This is more than an aide-memoire, it favours the choices I made before at the expense of anything new. So I widen my search. The OU Library offers hundreds of thousands of references in relation to 'Education' and 'Metaphor' going back to 1643.

Gathering my thoughts will take time.

There are 26 pages (nearly 12,000 words) to read (course intro, resources). Far, far more if I even start to consider ANY of the additional references or reading.

Give me three months. We have, or I have left, three days.

My approach is simple. Tackle it on the surface, drill into an author or topic that is of interest and expect to pick up on and pick through this again later this module, later this year ... or next existence. (I believe in multiple existences and flux. We are transitory and changing)

As well as tapping into the OU Blog and e-portfolio the blog I've kept since 1999 might have something to say on metaphor. If I care to I might even rummage through A'Level English Literature folders from the 1970s, just to trigger something. Engaged and enabled by Vygotsky and others in relation to memory and learning I value this ability to tap into past thoughts/studying with ease.

(Ought others to be sold the idea of a life-long blog?)

Otherwise I have gone from learn to swim in the training pool, to swimming lengths in the main pool ... to observer/coach who will participate, but has a towel over his shoulders and is looking around.

The next pool? Where is that?

I'm not the same person who set out on this journey 12 months ago.

On the other hand, having a Kindle makes me feel more like a teenager swotting for an Oxbridge examination; I like having several books on the go. I'll be through 'Educational Psychology (Vygotsky) by the end of the day and am already picking through and adding to copious notes.

Piaget next?

Then a little kite-boarding as I head away from the swimming pool that has been an MA with the OU?!

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H800:17 Kindle:6 Some thoughts on Linked In, Vygotsky and me

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 05:54

DSC00817.JPG

Unable to sleep I do this.

A mini-reflection on building a profile in Linked In.

Then get on with reflecting on my notes on Vygotsky.

The more I read, the greater my fascination. Vygotsky (translated) I find like H.G.Wells, also of the era, extraordinarily readable and current. A considerable amount of 'Educational Psychology rings true.

There is then at the confluence of a thought regarding Vygotsky as uploaded this image above; I am only saved from tears by what I was reading about Educational Psychology - understanding does this to you.

I am reminded of my late father who would have be 80 last week.

It was an innocent way to start a thought, how in less than a week a Kindle has taken over my book reading. Somewhere I have a Bird Book, signed by my late father, given to me on a whim on the ONLY visit he ever managed to our former home in Little Compton in the Cotswolds. For my father, everything was out of his way, but somehow the old A34 rather than the M40 into London brought him to our doorstep.

Of course, such as bird book is still required. The Kindle doesn't do colour - yet.

The thought produced a physical response.

Kindle%20Vygotksy%20Emotions%20GRAB.JPG

(James, 1929)

Have we all had an encounter with a thief? If the image of the birds has me thinking about my father (conservationist, ornothologist, rubbish dad ... ) then the mention of the word 'thief' has me visualising a large screw-diver, the weapon of choice I picked up in the garage as someone tried to break in.

(By now we're living in a studio flat on Hamilton Terrace, though chronologically we've slid back a few years).

The text from Vygotsky has a resonance, and as I keep reading, a convincing argument in relation to education.

Work with these kinds of responses of the individual = success

My concern in relation to e-learning is how easy it is to duplicate what is inappropriate for a class of 30, but the authors (and their sponsors) believe is appropriate for 10,000.

Which in turn brings me to the week 2 activity in H800 of the MAODE

Online through the participation and collaboration of others in your immediate circle, which includes your tutor group, module cohort, wide MAODE colleagues and like-minded OU friends identified here, can your learning experience be personalised.

Ergo, we have a duty to comment, and only through writing ourselves, might we enable (or expose) our selves to comment in turn.

It does strike me that there is a 'layer' to the OU blogs-cum-threads that is missing: the MAODE or 'Education' blog platform.

As I've commented some thousand entries back, writing here is perhaps like doodling on a scroll of toilet paper in a public convenience.

Not the image or sentiment I wanted to conjure up, but a scroll, with perforations top and bottom comes to mind. What you do with this script if you've even read it is for your mind to decide.

REFERENCE

Williams, J (1929) Quoted in Educational Psychology, Vygotsky. Chapter 6.

Kindle doesn't give you a page number, presumable all e-Reader follow a similar convention. To cite do I give Location 1874?

Without knowing what I am doing or what it will achieve I search 'James' in the Kindle PC version, am about to click when a drop down offers me not a reference at the back of the 'book' but a link to Google or Wikipedia. I click Wikipedia and seamlessly, find myself here.

 

William%20James%20Wikipedia.JPG (Wikipedia, accessed 17FEB2011)

 

And as we're talking about physical responses to things then this brought a shiver down my spine and matching the cliched 'reflexive' action my draw dropped.

I don't know what planet I'm living on any more.

No wonder I can't sleep, Kindle content isn't a soporific book, rather it's wired into your cerebellum where in an action not dissimilar to Ken Dodd's tickling stick, your mind is suitably agitated.

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Ken Dodd and his tickling stick sad

(I saw him live as a 10 year old, insanity. About as funny as my Granny sitting on a bowl of peaches).

P.S. Whether for personal, OU or the wider world, this demonstrates a value of blogging ... just start to write and let your mind unravel. And if you'll only get quiet for 90 minutes in the dead of night, that's what you'll have to do.

 

 

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On blogging vs keeping a diary or are they the same thing?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 18:18

Maketh up a quote at ye beginning of thy book; it will make people think thou art clever.

Christopher Marlowe ‘The Obscure Tragedie’ Act II, Scene ii.

The following comes from a seminal book on diary keeping by Tristine Rainer.

Here are some key thoughts

Some of this thinking can be brought up to date in the context of keeping a diary online; the essential principals remain the same.

A dairy is many things:

‘Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes. At any time you can change your point of view, your style, your book, the pen you write with, the direction you write on the pages, the language in which you write, the subjects you include, or the audience you write to. You can misspell, write ungrammatically, enter incorrect dates, exaggerate, curse, pray, write poetically, eloquently, angrily, lovingly. You can past in photographs, newspaper clippings, cancelled checks, letters, quotes, drawings, doodles, dried flowers, business cards, or labels. You can write on lined paper or blank paper, violet paper or yellow, expensive bond or newsprint.’

Tristine Rainer, ‘The New Diary’ 1976.

‘Flow, spontaneity and intuition are the key words. You don’t have to plan what you are going to do. You discover what you have done once you have set it down.’ Tristine Rainer.

Keep it all in one place

‘When the dreams like next to the fantasies, and political thoughts next to personal complaints, they all seem to learn from each other.’

This works for blogging:

Write Spontaneously

Write quickly so that you don’t know what will come next. How the unexpected can happen. Surprise yourself.

Write Honestly

Be open about what you really feel. Few diaries actually lie to themselves in a dairy, but many out of shyness with themselves avoid writing about the most intimate aspects of a situation.

Write Deeply

Anais Nin, disappointed with her childhood diaries, developed the practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes before beginning to write. She would close her eyes and allow the most important incident or feeling of the day or of the period of time since she last wrote to surface in her mind. That incident or feeling became her first sentence.

Write Correctly

Expressive language is not a science. There are no rules. You are writing for yourself, so self-expression is the key. Test the range of your natural voice – it will develop. Errors are part of the form of the diary, as they are part of life.

Choose your audience

Your best audience is your future self. In ten years time you won’t remember the situation unless you capture all its sensual vitality now.

Value contradictions

In time they will develop towards a larger truth; leave them in.

‘Some diarists find when they go several weeks without writing they begin to feel off balance and take it as a signal that they are avoiding the inner self.’

Those of us who keep a diary regularly are stuck with it; whether it appears online, and which bits of appear online is another matter.

‘We taught the diary as an exercise in creative will; as an exercise in synthesis; as a means to create a world according to our wishes, not those of others; as a means of creating the self, of giving birth to ourselves.’

Anais Nin, December 1976.

There’s more to follow from Tristine Rainer on basic diary devices and special techniques.

P.S. The Marlowe quote is John O’Farrel’s invention and appears in ‘I blame the scapegoats.’

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H800:8 Activity 2 Reflection on Day One, Week One!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:04

H800:8 Activity 2

Rather than a stiff, post-graduate and academic tone and choice of words I found the introduction to H800 engagingly informal and personable with everything covered: the practicalities as well as emotional response the task ahead. I find this a significant shift from H807 which had little introduction and was presented more like a piece of self-managed distance learning – you’ve signed up, here’s the door, enter and begin. I wonder if this is a sign that the OU is following the trend towards more informal learning practice?

I find it odd the way I now comprehend and relate to something that is said because I’ve experienced it, whereas before it would have registered simply as something I’m yet to do. All I’m talking about here is Elluminate or Skype, talking one to one or in a group to people whose personalities and interests you may only have some hint of from what they say and how they say it (and how often, and when). We reveal so much in our voices; our humour, mood, age, gender, where we grew up in our formative years (or not, which says something too). As someone who has for many years taken an interest in character and how it is revealed by these things I cannot help but think that I am taking part in some online improvisation.

By doing, we normalise it.

Speaking to people via the Internet is just a four/five or six-way conference call … with, synchronised computer diddling. The other week I met people I had only ‘met’ through the OU Blog which demystified and normalised the process (about time too). Blogging from 1999 it felt weird to find yourself hearing a person you’d spoken to for years, or to see them as they are rather than how you had them in your mind’s eye. Which in part explains my continued us of an MR scan rather than a mug shot (though there are plenty of these scattered through my OU blog). This was in part informed by some research on role play in online learning.

On reaching the end of H807 I felt I wanted to do it all again, that I’d missed a great deal, at times en missed the point.

On settling into H808 I found that what I needed to repeat was the way to work collaboratively online and to make some choice tools sing; this happened, so I got those parts of H807 I need over again. Entering H800 I look at any hint of repetition in a positive way, as a chance to pick it up again, engage a bit more, understand a bit more, perhaps even to take the initiative, and most certainly to guide or propose ways forward for others. The shocking thing is to feel that this is not the same person at the keyboard who was here a year ago. I have fire in my belly, a sensation that was my motivation in my teens, twenties and thirties. Where this will take me is another matter!

How people learn remains my fascination; the better I understand this, the better I will be able to apply it. This is primarily an intrinsic motivation – I find it extraordinarily rewarding to find ways to help people be the best that they can be, to create opportunities, to point them in the right direction or to offer support myself as a non expert tutor, or on a few topics as a subject matter expert myself. The short term reward is their progress; if I am paid to do this because I do it well, this is a bonus and would and in part does, allow me to be better, and more comfortable at it still. Even a roof over one’s head, food, the means to get around, the means to get online and bills paid is an achievement in the 21st century.

2) The MA is letters after my name (my second), so the cumulative benefit of the MAODE is the confidence, supported by the work undertaken to take on contracts, or to transition from agency work into working in-house.

My relationship to fellow students, as with a team in the real world, is far more one of contributing, sharing and experiencing this together.

Personal Development Planning came to the fore in H808; from this I recognise my need here to take the lead as someone who is on his third, not his first module. Already I hear myself thinking about how collaborative exercises have over the last 12 months either failed or succeeded. Someone has to take the lead, though this can and should be a ‘baton’ that is passed between those who during that period are most available to keep the kettle boiling, or the ball rolling to mix metaphors and trip myself up in the process!

I already use external blogs and forums extensively, something that has developed over the last 12 months.

I also feel that I participate actively online with a number of communities. Increasingly, as I would have hoped I am being proactive, setting up forum threads, leading interest in a community blog, even presenting potential projects to sponsors … and having a high profile job interview.

3) Therefore, the outcome for me in H800 is either to have a professional e-learning project financed and in production, or to be contributing to the learning and development needs of a global enterprise on contract or as an employee.

4) I hope I will start getting some of the IT basics right. To feel comfortable online with the fundamental tools of receiving and creating content.

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