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How are different MOOC platforms shaping up?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Jan 2015, 13:55

The competitors for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are fragmenting, some into commercial learning and development where payment is easier to take, for specific skills training such as graduate induction and by profession, say law, accountancy, banking and pharmaceuticals. These are MOOCs that are neither massive nor open anymore. All see the value in improving their learning approaches, and to attract and identify the very best potential candidates, but open education should be for everyone, not a replay of an elitist model of the last millenium. Peter Stockwell puts the qualities and potential of FutureLearn very well at the end of the first week of the ‘How to Read a Human Mind’ in which he commends the contributions made by participants, how the most scholarly step in to explain and assist the novice, and the ‘wiki nature’ of the course allowing educators to rejig their module as it is represented. 

By comparison, efforts to use alternative platforms such as EdX, Coursera and Udacity I have found to be such direct reflections of formal, campus based training that they prefer an approach that fails to exploit our burgeoning digital literacy. The learning environments are dated and labyrinthine. The only successes I have had here has been where educators have taken a closer interest in the activity of the students, but this could only be achieved by their committing additional time: taking part in discussions and adding additional content on the fly, which cannot be the long term modus operandi of a ‘massive’ course with thousands, even tens of thousands of participants. If universities expect MOOCs to deliver plausible candidates for formal courses this doesn’t need to impact on the quality or nature of the experience, it does however require a mindshift in the way universities expose and reveal their educators and teaching methods.

 

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Where is a blog is a blog, an e-portfolio, a wiki and forum? Right here!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:58

The Open University provide an OU Student Blog platform, which you are required to use for some modules to build up reflective practice, they also provide a portfolio called MyStuff in which to dump stuff.

As portfolios either system can be used to aggregate content that can be shared, offered with restricted access or kept private.

I have been on the Masters in Open & Distance Education for two years, we have to give blogs, potfolios, wikis and other tools a go.

My conclusion, shared amongst fellow students, is that the 'modern' blog platform, such as Wordpress offers all of this, as in a wonderfully simple, bulletin board kind of way the OU's own blog offering.

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Chance meetings and face-to-face explanations - to blog, of network? Aren't they the same thing?

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Because I am living with FIVE OU students it is inevitable that we talk about what we do.

I find myself explaining the difference between blogs and social networking. I used the idea of a fish tank full of water and dripping different coloured inks into this, each colour representing a blog, social networking site, twitter (microblog) .. or e-portfolio or, what we used to have, a webpage.

I find myself recommending a blog site and suggesting its value.

If I have succeeded in getting two people started who had reservations was it because of the personal rapport, that we know each other a bit after a few days, that we've have previous conversations?

How would I achieve this online?

The exchange I've just had captured on video for a start. The narrative, as it plays out of the first 100 entries of these two.

Much more of the same?

In the workplace people can be encourage to blog on and for the Intranet. Someone with contributions that appear to deserve a wider audience could, with that person's permission of course, be released.

Outside the workplace it might still require a.n.other to take the initiative. I've not tried it, but I know it can be done, and that might be to use Edublogs, pay a sub to group 50 blogs, give them all a temporary name (the person's first name probably). And perhaps have 12 titles for blogs they might write.

A workshop? A presentation?bl

 

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Blog, e-portfolio, wiki, cloudworks ... tutor and module forums

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 07:46

I need them all roled into one. When it comes to a blog/e-portfolio I have to wonder if this is not it - pretty much.

I can deposit documents here as well as anywhere else, but keep the page private.

Following the activities if fellow MAODErs on H807, which I did a year ago, is refreshing. Do this for a couple of years and I can keep the topic and its lesson's fresh. I can also follow H809 which I would have liked to have done. Indeed, might the OU call it a MA* if you do additional modules beyond those required for the MA?

As I prepare to up sticks, move town and job I'm hoping to compensate for some of the disruption by getting everything I may need online so that it can be accessed from anywhere.

I'm yet to break away from the OU e-portfolio My Stuff. It may be clunky, but it works and it is integrated. I've never been happy with Pebble Pad. Perhaps I just run with Dropbox? Picassa Dropbox has become indispensable. Rather than think about compressing images I take pics and grab frames/windows and post them here for later use and linking. With images feeding into several blogs and OU forums too I can't afford for this to be comprised ... or I'd lose any pics and diagrams that I've created.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Threads

The assumption is that we don't wish to interact in real time otherwise more tools would be provided to co-ordinate synchronous meetings. My experience is that with a little co-ordination such meetings are extraordinarily valuable, to motivate pressing on with the course, let alone to resolve issues or to share learning. With retention of students such an issue it surprises me that the OU isn't more proactive.

As a tutor do I hope that all my students will stay the course, or do I expect 40% to fall by the wayside?

We seem to be in denial of obvious means of getting in touch too: email, messaging, Skype.

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Come Fly with PDP !

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 07:58

I had an interview in London that by fortuitous timing ties directly into the H808 ECA (end of course assessement) that I have to complete and upload in the next 13 hours. What is more, every part of the MA in Open in Distance Education with the OU would have some application to the role for which I'd applied. Personal Development Planning (PDP), the subject of the ECA, would be imporant too, indeed it is a vital component of 'learner-driven' or 'learner-centred' education. Successful, engaged, pumping PDP is at the heart of e-learning - people must be motivated to take the initiative, to drive their learning while others support them in every way they can with appropriate resources, many of which will be 'electronically enabled,' i.e. 'e-learning'.

I have a draft of the ECA written, the choices of evidence have been made, collated and labelled.

I've already uploaded a draft so feel confident that the ETA system will handle whatever else I do.

I had the file, rather more chunky printed out and clipped into an Arch-Lever Folder than on a memory stick or zipped on the laptop so that I could review it on the train journey in and out of London. I like paper; things need to be expressed in other ways that via a QWERTY keyboard. It helps to talk, to discuss, to animate your thoughts with your hands even ... as we shall see.

On the way into town I find myself sitting with a friend who is 18 months into the Creative Writing course at Sussex Univeristy and was having a second interview with a literary agent; our respective career paths were shared. He is a professional photographer who has an online resource of stock photos targeted at UK Councils. I don't look at the ECA.

The interview, like so much I now do, is duly reflected upon, though for reasons of privacy not here as an open blog. This debrief, this self-assesment, served a dual purpose, at the front of my mind, of course, is the possible outcome and responses to the interview. And notes on how and where I felt it went well, or not so well, for future reference and to judge what improvements I might make when attending such interviews in future and how to compose my written thanks when I reply.

I recognise the purpose and value of reflection and make the time to do so

At the back of my mind, of course, as we talk, is the ECA.

Coming to the end of the interview process I felt compelled to share this sketch to add conviction to my belief that Personal Development Planning is 'at the heart of things'.

f1a749e0e8e2fe72ed06794383f7f981.jpg

I did this earlier today to get a handle on how in one shot I now see PDP, not as a self-contained 'do it and move on unit' at the start of a course, but at the heart of what you do: at the beginning, the end, everything in between ... and beyond. (And yes, you should hear Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) saying it!).

It was somewhat evangelical of me, but I feel passionate about it. I believe it as a consequence of my own personal experience and from others who take this approach.

Reflection with a second person can help; it is natural that my wife would take an interest in the day's events. This is invaluable, and is a form a assessment. However, where I find I become increasingly animated regarding PDP is that I felt I still hadn't got it right, that had I seen myself in that meeting what was I doing with my hands? What else was I trying to express? Sometimes recording an interview to look over it afterwards has advantages. You need to be winkling away to find ideas and inspiration.

I'd mentioned life-long learning, that PDP can benefit both your career, how you organise a hobby, even family life.

And then I remembered this:

My interpreation, visualised, of what life-long means from H807.

4ee8ecb0ed3cd82e948ab0f7fc2bbd1b.jpg

The problem I have with my sketch of 'PDP at the heart of things' is that it loops back on itself, there is no suggestion of improvement, of advancement.

I toss around further ideas like a board game, the PDP process being, for example, what happens every time you 'Pass Go' in Monopoly. Then I imagined climbing up a helter-skelter, or fairy-lights around a tree. I thought too about Kolb's cycle of development ... and then, as I was standing up waving my hands about I got it ... a great analogy would be of a glider catching a thermal and rising in a series of circles.

'A load of hot air.' My wife remarked, laughing.

And yes, I could imagine giving a presentation and a heckler saying exactly that - so I'd have to have a reply prepared. (Be prepared for anything)

With this in mind I set to work.

Earlier this week I threatened to photograph myself standing next to the family washing-line with my evidence pegged out. This is how I said I would make my choices and write the assignment. As it was raining instead I got a roll of wall-paper backing paper and stuck it to the bedroom wall with masking tape; I would draw my washing line. I have just taken this down and taped it virtically.

At the bottom I draw this.

bcf13c7d5e943bded0d7569befcbd350.jpg


Then I go for this.

 

JFV PDP Cycle as thermalJFV PDP Cycle thermal close up


In a live presentation I would draw this from scratch on the largest sheet I could find, talking my way through it, seeking input, offering explanations.

As a video-asset I would lock off an overhead camera and draw it onto a sheet of A3 paper, possibly over a lightbox, and then use EFX to speed it up. I would then add a voice over.

There are many other ways to play with it to varying degrees of simplicity (authenticity) or ellaboration. Not least by using stock footage of a glider or Condor or some such catching a thermal with labels tagged onto the video archive footage as it played out. Indeed, going from the basic sketch it might be better still to invite course particpants to create their own expression of this PDP as an ascending cycle - say playfully spinning around in front of camera with a balsa-wood model glider with the person's name on it! Fun is good. Originality is good. Personalisation is good. This makes it memorable without needing it as an APP or an electronic alert.

The conclusion I find as convincing as the process.

The process here includes reflection, blogging, collaboration ... and could in due course include video, podcasting, presentation and moderation.

As I was able with ease to add every aspect of H808 onto this simple diagram I felt I had reached an important point, not least vindicating my methodology that might look as if it is depends on technology, but does not. Often the route to get an idea from the mind into the public domain is via face-to-face discourse, a few movements of the arms, then reaching for pen and paper.

This diagram can be draw it up differently depending on the context.

This implied versatily suggests it effectiveness.

PDP as indicated here suggests a set period to repeat or revist the process ... this ought to be expressed to occur every quarter, rather than after every cycle as suggested here with loops that might represent a typical OU unit of two weeks and the activites one engages with along the way.

A productive day then.

 

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This is the e-century, the 21st century things are different, very different indeed.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 08:06

This is the e-century, the 21st century things are different, very different indeed.It has taken me a decade to get round to thinking this.

In 1999 one of my very first blogs was also the basis of a workshop I gave to ABB Communications Managers on 'How to write for the web.'

My title was, 'There's nothing's New about New Media.'

In one respect I was right, writing comes in many forms and writing online needs to tailor itself less to the online experience than to the space, time, audience, purpose, just as you would write each of the following in a different way:

• Letter to your mum.

• Christmas Shopping list.

• Footnote to a speech a colleague is giving.

• To camera presenter.

• Voice over presenter.

• Technical 'how to'.

• Writer's journal.

• Stream of consciousness on the state of your relationship.

• Dream analysis.

• Geography essay.

• Aggitated response to the local planning department who are knocking down the houses opposite to widen the road into a dual-carriageway.

• Threaded discussion on a popstars dress-sense.

• Notes to a lawyer regarding your step-mother's cliam on your late father's estate.

  • Notes from a report you've read.
  • The first draft of an essay your are writing.
  • The transcript of a council meeting.
  • A short story.
  • An obituary.
  • A commercial selling yoghurt drinks
  • A campaign message from a politician

Keep adding.

Parameters help.

is a writer's trick. Twitter shouldn't be the only place to deny the freedom to pontificate in this way without any intention of editing.

Though I've slipped up occasionally my rule in OU Land has been 250 words for a threaded discussion, 500 words in the blog and anything more either break the blog up into seperate entries, offer it as an attachment or link away to a different site.

1000 words min per entry was a rule some of use early bloggers agreed to in 2002 to cut out those who would put in a line, twenty times a day, to get their page numbers up.

My longest single entry ran to over 10,000 words, written as I travelled 800 miles by train and ferry across Southern England, the English Channel and France sad

Guaranteed to stop any reader on the second paragraph.

Though it works broken into 30 pages with illustrations.

So in this respect it worked, all I posted was an early draft. Had I been a co-author I would not have needed to do anything else. And my notes would have been better off in a wiki.

Put everything that has been written, and everything that is going to be written, or expressed in the spoken or written word and put it in the e-blender. This is the web for the first decade. Now add photos and music. This is the last decade. Now add everything else, all moving images, video, every film, every corporate training film, anything and everything anyone ever records, or films, or has transferred or will transfer from film, or tape to a digital format.

Put it in this blender and leave the lid off. If you've ever blended the partially cooked ingredients for leek and potatoe soup you know what is going to happen.

Now look around your kitchen.

This is the web for the insider's point of view. There'll be some tastey bits - stuck to the ceiling, if you can reach them.

Now do the same with a vast blender in the middle of the Albert Hall.

Splat

Or should I be kinder, and imagine the 21st web to be like visiting the Planetarium armed with my own laser so that I can interact.

The mind boggles; mine does, relentlessly.

 

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Here's an idea

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 08:14

Rather than feeling that I am entering the blog domain to write this I ought to be able to cyndicate/allocate or aggregate this as or after I have wrote it by clicking on one of three buttons:

Traffic Light painted on ArtPad

Eportfolio

Wiki

Blog

At my behest I am therefore deciding that this is a moment to be shared (but not tampered with), evidence or information that I wish to store/collate (ideally by themes of my choosing), and/or a chunk of information (or offering) as wiki content (initiated or an edit insert).

Simplified and disengenious, but a starting point.

And on reflection, perhaps, how good learning works: it starts with simple ideas that can be grasped and works outwards. E-learning doesn't simply work outwards though, it spreads in directions of the learner's choosing (ideally), like fractals, like a mind-map, as a result of, enabled and speeded up through myelination.

Were I writing a video script on eportfolios, wiki and blogs this might be how I begin, either animating this or going out and filming various traffic lights. I may paint this with water-paints onto laminate card and drop it into an aquarium and film it. My enduring analogy being that whatever we do online are but zeros and ones in a digital ocean, all programming does is remove the chaos and worthlessness of trillions of unconnected binary numbers.

Perhaps I've just convinced myself too of the value of Open Source.

And this is only the first idea of the morning. Something must have been breing in my sleep.

Though yet to do justice here to the Opinion piece in the New Scientist something struck me about  the Cover Story on epigentic changes and their relevance to evolution.

DEFINITION

Q. What is Myelin?

A. Myelin is a phospholipid layer that surrounds only the axons of many neurons. The main role of a myelin layer (or sheath) is an increase in the speed at which impulses pass along the myelinated fiber. Demyelination is the act of demyelinating, or the loss of the myelin sheath insulating the nerves, and is the cause of some neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, transverse myelitis, Alexander's disease, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and central pontine myelinosis. Here is a link to a website that tells more about it:
http://www.myelin.org/

 

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New media, old thinking ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 08:19

Courtesy of Google and on the hunt for a quote that goes something along the lines of 'analogies taught the world to think,' I stumbled across the Quote Garden.

69af0d3263940028b02aac142675e3b5.JPG

What strikes me is my feeling that the time engaged with the medium of the Internet is not a boast that it is wise to make, that it is counter-intuitive, that the best ideas are more likely to come from someone who got access to a computer with a broadband connection for the first time a few months ago and is bouncing out ideas like a sparkling Catherine-wheel that's come un-nailed.

Wherein lies the dilemma for every creative working in this field - or pond, or my favourite analogy ... in this 'digital ocean.'

If the likes of Google and Facebook have gone from minows to sharks, to leviathons worthy of the era of the dinosaurs, when does something new come along like a water-born virus and kill them off?

Or are Google, Facebook, Amazon an EBay vast shoals, even a branded variety of species now that are less vulnerable to such attack?

Distracted

Faced with three deadlines over the next ten days what do I do? Something else.

I like something else, these sparks.

Where was I?

Working on a piece about wikis. I wish this were a wiki. I like them. They suit me. I will be an engaged participant, a catylst, a stirrer-upper ... though not necessarily an initiator or completer, because serendipty engages me and distraction takes me off again.

What does that make me in this digital ocean?

One of these?

d63a0b0b20873a228b4a185410bd7fe8.JPG

Who are you?

Go fishing and post your fishy-self image in the comment box!

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The skills I need as an e-learning practitioner

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 08:32
The skills you need as an e-learning practitioner

Training as a TV producer I picked up some skills editing, writing and directing. A project was never too small that a person fulfilling each of these tasks wasn't required. Indeed, the 'one man band' was frowned upon. Some TV crews were still unionised so you had a cameraman, assistant and sound engineer, minimum.Today in TV production a producer may not only direct and write, but operate the camera and edit the piece. To be a TV professional in 2010 you need this variety of skills. I do. I did the courses. Camera, editing ... even six months as a sound engineer.

To be an e-learning professional it strikes me that as well as research, design and planning skills, with a healthy foundation from an appropriate course that takes in learning history, theory and practice, that you will also need more that just a modicum of IT skills. IT literacy is a given, but further familiarity, even a confident working knowledge of a variety of 21st century e-learning tools and platforms will be necessary, as well as that 20th century skilling of touch typing. (I have that).
With this in mind I am tackling some software that I have to date resisted. I managed without Outlook, now I'm using it through-out the day. I hadn't moved away from my original blogging platform of 1999, so have in the last two months started three new blogs in three different places, as well as continuing with the OU blog. I wanted to feel confident I know what these are doing. I signed into Facebook a ferdw years ago but have let it pass me by. It may feel like the exclusive domain of my children, nephews and nieces, but I am now determined to master it, instead of it having ontrol of me.
And finally, though I have grown familiar with MyStuff and have mine well stuffed ... I must decide on a second e-portfolio system to embrace. I want to try one, two at most. I'd like to run with Filemaker Pro as I'm familiar with it, but there is a cost and it won't be of any use to others who don't have it installed.
Time to look at the Tutor Group Wiki.
Google Docs Zoho Mahara Wiki MyStuff DropBox PebblePad Reflect Google Wave Edublog Adobe Acrobat FilmMaker Pro WordPress Windows Live ThinkFree

Which will permit easy export from MyStuff?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Export your MyStuff in the LEAP2A atom feed format (which enables transfer of data to and from other ePortfolio systems). Please click refresh feed if you have made any changes recently.

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Blogging. A private journal, journalistic or academic?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:05

Three Degrees of Blogging

If it plays to how it is defined, a ‘weblog’ then it should be nothing more than a captain’s log, in the style of Star Trek, that logs position and events as they occur.

Web pages, cobbled together into a journal like experience defy what the web affords.

The person who keeps a diary in a hardback notebook, or one of those Five Year Diaries with a flimsy padlock, have to keep notes on specific dates in the calendar, online the daily webpage is a falsehood, it is a devise that obliges something that is wholly unnecessary.

Personally, long ago, I ditched all pretence at writing a daily entry (even if I did so), by archiving entries by category.

Weblog as webstorage or repository.

More like the modern e-portfolio I suppose. The idea concept is easily controverted. Writing pages of fiction, with comments turned on make sharing and critique immediately possible. Allow any number of readers to contribute directly to the pages and the weblog becomes both a blog and a wiki.

Can we ‘wikify’ a website?

And do I coin such a word as soon as I tell my dictionary to accept the term? Which makes me wonder – is there a way for multiple users to share the contents of their dictionaries?

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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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