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U is for User Generated Content

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 30 May 2014, 09:12

  • Ugly Fonts

  • Universal Design

  • User Generated Content

  • University in your pocket

  • Upgrades

  • User Centred Design

Ugly Fonts is directly related to learning and the idea that something that is harder to read is more likely to stick as information. For me this puts into question every kind of 'spoon feeding' information from the TV or slide show, to games that supposedly teach instead of getting students to stand at their desks and take notes with a pencil for an hour at a time. Seriously, properly directed effort is the way to support learning. Technology can make it too easy; it ought to make it hard(er).

Universal Design is a philosophy and if variety and difficulty, as I suggest above, is what matters, then why might I think that 'Universal Design' has a role? Universal Design makes for transferability. 

The 'University in your pocket' is how an MBA student described the Open University MBA he was doing while on service in Afghanistan (a colonel in the Royal Marines).

'User Generated Content' - such as this, provides multiple voices. If, for example, you seek out blogs on a subject that interests you each will have a different voice. You find the voice that expresses things in a way that makes sense to you and follow. You want to learn something, so you get a fourth and fifth opinion if you like. 

UGC can be anything at all, from a blog post or a video, to the kind of annotation of an iconic First World War photograph I've done above. It is a blog, or shared student project, it is teacher content and lecture notes too. Shared content offers a reader a multitude of ways into a subject until they find one that fits the bill for them. 

 

 

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H809 Activity 6.2: Effects of audience on research (1 hour)

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Activity 6.2: Effects of audience on research (1 hour)

In the light of Activity 6.1, look again at the research question you chose for TMA01.

  • What kinds of audience were you assuming for the research findings?
  • How might this research question, and/or the methods you chose, be different for different audiences?

Post your thoughts in your tutor group discussion forum.

REPLY

The suggestion is that I am writing to a community of fellow researchers working towards the 'cutting edge' of e-learning in health care, in this instance to support patients and improve patient outcomes, through drawing on literature where various interventions have been successful with doctors.

If written for potential funders then, like the elevator pitch' for a movie script then my inclination would be to spice it up, certainly to push what is unique harder, but also to flag up those few papers that suggest that research of this nature is now required as the next step. i.e. to sell the logical progression of building on what has gone before, using my own experience and skills to say to funders 'you would be backing a safe pair of hands'.

The audience none of the papers talk about are the participants themselves. This is where an inevitable shift is occurring as patients chose to be better informed and in one piece of research I was reading the interviews were compromised as earlier interviewees had posted the questions and their responses online. Currently, from what I have read, the general public are reached via the press. In future, not just through books, radio and TV appearances, but also in blogs and other social media, academics will find they have an audience that includes students (not just their own), and other interested parties.

Just as a conference paper can lead to writing an article for a journal in future there are likely to be other audiences to be written for.

Rather than tailoring niche research for different audiences, as a hypothetical exercise I have presumed the funding would permit a broad approach that would generate material that would, edited and written and expressed in an appropriate way, suit a variety of audiences. Under Creative Commons some content might be offered to a community on the Internet to mash-up, share, curate on other platforms and so on - if the Social Media purpose is to 'spread the word' let those who are best at doing it do it.

 

 

 

 

 

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H810: Seale Chapter 13 : issues identified in relation to creating accessible e-learning for students with disabilities

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 3 Jan 2013, 23:08

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Fig.1 Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray

At what point does the protagonist in the film 'Groundhog Day' -  TV weatherman Phil Connors played by Bill Murray - unite the Punxsutawney community? How does he do it? And what does this tell you about communities of practice? (Wenger 1998)

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Fig. 2. Chick Peas - a metaphor for the potential congealing effect of 'reificaiton'

Issues related to creating accessible e-learning

Pour some dry chickpeas into a tall container such as a measuring jug add water and leave to soak overnight. The result is that the chickpeas swell so tightly together that they are immovable unless you prize them out with a knife - sometimes the communities of practice are embedded and immovable and the only answer could be a bulldozer - literally to tear down the buildings and start again.

'Congealing experiences into thingness'. Seale (2006:179) or derived from Wenger (1998)

This is what happens when 'reification causes inertia' Wenger in Seale (2006:189).

'Reification' is the treatment of something abstract as a material or concrete thing. Britannica, 2012.

To ‘reify’ it to thingify’. Chandler (2000) , ‘it’s a linguistic categorization, its the conceptualization of spheres of influence, such as ‘social’,’educational’ or ‘technological’.’ (ibid)

'Reification creates points of focus around which the negotiation of meaning becomes organized'. Seale (2006)

It has taken over a century for a car to be tested that can take a blind person from a to b - the huge data processing requirements used to scan the road ahead could surely be harnessed to 'scan the road ahead' to make learning  materials that have already been digitised more accessible.

Participating and reification - by doing you give abstract concepts form.

1) Institutional and individual factors need to be considered simultaneously.
2) Inclusivity (and equity), rather than disability and impairments, should be the perspective i.e. the fix is with society rather than the individual.
3) Evidence based.
4) Multifaceted approach.
5) Cultural and systemic change at both policy and practice levels.
6) Social mobility and lifelong learning were ambitions of Peter Mandelson (2009).
7) Nothing should be put or left in isolation - workshops with children from the British Dyslexia Association included self-esteem, literacy, numeracy, study skills and best use of technology.
8) Encouraging diversity, equity of access and student access.
9) Methods should be adapted to suit the circumstances under which they are being applied.
10) Technical and non-technical people need to work together to tackle the problems.
11) A shared repertoire of community practices ...
12) Design for participation not use .... so you let the late arrivals to the party in even if they don't drink or smoke (how would you integrated mermaids?)
13) Brokering by those who have multiple memberships of groups - though the greater the number of groups to which they belong the more likely this is all to be tangential.
14) Might I read constellation and even think collegiate?
15) If we think of a solar system rather than a constellation what if most are lifeless and inaccessible?
16) Brokers with legitimacy may cross the boundaries between communities of practice. Wenger (1998)
17) Boundary practices Seale (2003)

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Fig. 3. John Niell, CBE, CEO and Group Chairman of UGC

Increasingly I find that corporate and institutional examples of where a huge change has occured are the product of the extraordinary vision and leadership of one person, who advocates putting the individual at the centre of things. Paying lip service to this isn't enough, John Neil CBE, CEO and now Chairman of the Unipart Group of Companies (UGC) called it 'The Unipart Way'.

REFERENCE

Britannica (2012) Definition of reification. (Last accessed 22 Dec 2012 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/496484/reification)

Chandler, D (2000) Definition of Reify. (Last accessed 22 Dec 2012 http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet05.html)

Seale, J. (2006) E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice, Abingdon, Routledge; also available online at http://learn2.open.ac.uk/ mod/ subpage/ view.php?id=153062 (last accessed 23 Dec 2012).

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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H810 - Evaluating accessibility : e-learning scrutinised

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 12:34

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Fig. 1. Evaluating accessibility - H810

All of this can be multi-layered, more like petals of a rose that a poster-sized mind-map.

It is of course an iterative process too - things get shifted about all the time. Exported as a TEXT document it becomes the first draft of an assignment. At a glance I can see there are 6 or 7 main themes here, though a substantial part of my thinking will be around the ideas of usabilty and accessibility and whether universal design is more appropriate than highly focused user centred design.

I thought I could offer a PDF version here - apparently not. Clicking on it will allow a download that can then been zoomed and should remain legible.

Not an assignment, but can something like this work in a piece of work for evaluation?

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Use of video in elearning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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REFERENCE

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

 

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H800 EMA Mobile

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Sep 2011, 04:34

 

 

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The value or otherwise of 'User Generated Content' in education and corporate communications

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:53

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From Wikipedia with commentary.

Aggregated here though shared for the value of thinking about the myriad of ways we now generate content and the way user generated content has value that is different from content produced or published by institutions or corporations.

You see a programme and talk about it at a party. Or you talk about an event which a writer picks up and puts into a novel that is made into a film. Where does the conversational like disembodiment of the idea from a person's head 'find legs' and get a life of its own. How should we use and value all of this 'stuff?' Perhaps in exactly the same way that we differentiate between journalism and scholarly writing, between chat (even if on topic) around the 'water-cooler' compared to a more formal teasing out of ideas in a tutorial.

It all matters, you just have to navigate around the choices with some sense of their different meanings and values.

What I favour about user generated content is how authentic and immediate it is. Think of the footage from smartphone of the Tsunami in Japan this March. The user generated content not only trumped the TV networks, but is already being applied in academic reseach by placing scholars at the point the footage was shot so that further analysis can be undertaken on what happened and the lessons to be learnt.

We live in interesting times.

For other uses, see UGC (disambiguation). User generated content (UGC) covers a range of media content available in a range of modern communications technologies.

It entered mainstream usage during 2005 having arisen in web publishing and new media content production circles.

Its use for a wide range of applications, including problem processing, news, gossip and research, reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public.

All digital media technologies are included, such as question-answer databases, digital video, blogging, podcasting, forums, review-sites, social networking, mobile phone photography and wikis.

In addition to these technologies, user generated content may also employ a combination of open source, free software, and flexible licensing or related agreements to further reduce the barriers to collaboration, skill-building and discovery.

Sometimes UGC can constitute only a portion of a website.

For example on Amazon.com the majority of content is prepared by administrators, but numerous user reviews of the products being sold are submitted by regular users of the site.

Often UGC is partially or totally monitored by website administrators to avoid offensive content or language, copyright infringement issues, or simply to determine if the content posted is relevant to the site's general theme.

Just because you 'generate' stuff doesn't mean it will be permitted. How does a business or institution manage often valuable input from stakeholders? Do you 'cut your face off to spite yourself'by disallowing such stuff? An organisation that shuts down the voices that sing its praises are surely shooting themselves in the foot.

The very nature of the networked, online, switched-on world in which we now leave favours those, like Cisco Systems with its 1300 employee blogs, that embrace what is going on. Indeed, this number of activity would and does quickly drown out the detractors. Use the power of the crowd to police your message, because you never can.

Think of it as having an Open Day every day. People come and go. But the crowds swell. Do you issue edicts then send trained staff off to tell people they can or annot talk about x or y, or talk at all? And if they are going to talk, it can only be in a specific location where everything you say will be recorded, delayed for moderation, and only then shared with a myriad of additional tags attached ot it that are not of your choice. Might this be like talking through a gas-mask.

I do wonder.

To fail to engage is to disappear. Institutions will be noticeable for their absence. The advantage the OU has are the numbers of students and alumni. If research suggests that only 1% of those active online blog, then the OU should expect 3,000 to be out there. If we add in alumni groups this figure might rise to 30,000?

(And don't give me the generational thing ... research, take that by Richardson 2003,2005,2007,2011 at the OU knocks that nonsense on the head). IT has nothing to do with when you were born, and everything to do with personality, education, having the kit and making the time.

Here's a thought, if you want to police content who should do so? The publisher, editor or print unions? Does it not have to come down to the audience deciding what they consider acceptable or of interest to them or not?

Just let 'em have it.

There's enough out there for the dross to get lost and enough like-minded people on your side to drown out the miscreants or the negativity as it inevitably, occasionally, occurs.

Trust them.

If someone is proud of who they are and where they work and what they do, let them sing its praises, let them create supportive content. Encourage, enable, even reward and from time to time offer additional resources if they are on a roll and readers are flocking to their banner.

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H800: 40 From Teams to Knots - Engeström

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 14:25

When flummoxed and interested in equal measure I buy the book.

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An article won't do. I need to understand the person's argument more fully. Written some 10 years on from the article we are looking at in H800 'From Teams and Knots' may benefit from Engestrom having had 10 years teaching at a US university.

Can I read it in 24 hours though? (and take notes)

Reading the sample champter on my Kindle I am immediately taken by the author's interest in teams in industry, in particular in car manufacture and the work of Jones et al in Lean Production in the 1990s. For four or more years I was spending three weeks out of every four videoing the development of lean production at UGC. An author who made no sense on first reading, I suddenly find has a great deal to say about something with which I am familiar.

 

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Dragon breath and the slow demise of text

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 2 Feb 2011, 05:04

I first used Dragon Speaking Naturally, the voice recognition software, when it first came out in 1997. The CEO of Unipart Group of Companies John Neil was trialing it. This and the Internet were his passions (indeed all new technologies he insisted on exploiting for their potential).

Between 1994 and 1998 I spent between one and three weeks a month working here as an outside supplier to the communications team directing regular video news and training 'films' that were distributed internally, to suppliers and to shareholders i.e. all their 'stakeholders.'

Today I find I am still drawing upon the insights I gained on Learning & Training Development at that time. Unipart, lead by John Neil, were the advance guard, pushing employee development further than any other business I was aware of.

Back to Speach Recognition

At the time my only use for it was to read back scripts. Am I talking about the same thing? There was something on my Apple too that by writing phonetically you could have it speaking in a Geordie accent. I recall spending some time trying to 'teach' voice recognition software to understand me. My spoken voice is, despite being brought up on Tyneside, recognisably RP ... even dare I say Public School / Oxbridge (so no doubt meeting the requirements of my highly aspirational middle class parents). I think it was still 'tuned in' to an American intonation.

Why I gave up?

I find the delay (there is some) between the thought and my fingers on the keyboard works, whereas voice recognition was taking it raw from my mind. Stream of consciousness at this Proustian 'volume' would then require editing and interpretation, which rather defeated its purpose. My late father on the other hand, a solicitor by training, would dictate letters word perfect, first time. (His mentality and training).

Play time

A decade on I am taking it seriously.

I record notes into a digital recorder that could be podcast content for my swim coach blog, by using Dragon Speaking Naturally this can be quickly converted into text and images added.

Its called reader choice

The idea is that poolside a coach needs to have their eyes on the swimmers (rather like a driver having their eyes on the road). If I have offered some simple spoken guidelines on a set, key points and tips, these can be reviewed in situ. Notes on specific swimmers too.

We'll see

I was woken by the dog, otherwise even I wouldn't be up this early. I ought to be reading a book rather than doing this ... there are ways to ease yourself back to sleep. I tell you, my mind is going like the clappers. I should be mining my dreams right now. Much of the time I am tussling with the content of this blog, the 1200 pieces I've 'dumped' in my OU eportfolio MyStuff and a desk strewn in white papers, reports, catalogues, directories, hand outs and leaflets from Learning Technologies 2011.

Earlier (see LT2.1) I wondered about a walk around Learning Technologies in the company of a camera on a steadicam. Easier still would have been an informed walk around with audio, as a podcast, with the Floor Plan and pictures.

Next time

When am I going to offer this as a podcast? Is there something to be gained in this? Something lost?

On Verra

Meanwhile I click through 34 voice recordings labelling and deleting.

There is a period here where I deliberately record all, or most of , a swim coaching session, both notes to myself in situ, and my instructions to the swimmers. I've done this as an exercise to understand what value can be gained from 'recording everything.' That very fact that I am listening to this three weeks after the event indicates one problem. The next is 'chunking' the content into manageable pieces, something I did in part while recording (to protect the identities of people I am working with). In practice I can see that such 'chunking' should be done at the time ... rather like stop starting a dictaphone.

So I learnt something. Whether I record, verbatim, other chunks of my life is quite another matter.

You record 8 hours of material in a day, how many days is this going to take to process.

It reminds me of a story of a diarist who appeared to spend his day writing about writing his diary.

Remind you of anyone?

P.S. Renewing my relationship with Unipart a decade on by clicking through their website I decided to apply directly to their Human Resources department to see about joining them as a consultant.


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