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Anna Greathead

RIDE 2020 - part 3

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Monday, 16 Mar 2020, 21:02

The after lunch keynote by Martin Weller was a significant hook in getting me to this conference. He really is the 'David Beckham' of the eLearning world and getting a retweet AND an email from him at the end of 2019 made me (almost) squeal with delight!

His speech was delivered online. He had blogged that he would not be attending which, given the Covid19 crisis, was understandable albeit still disappointing.

I took few notes! His speech was entertaining and engaging and far too enjoyable to risk missing buts by noting thoughts down! The theme of the conference overall was disruption but Martin's main point was the the word 'disruption' had been used too often in an unhelpful, and often destructive, way and that maybe we should move away from the word in the context of technology enhanced learning.

In some instances disruption had been a by product. This is the way I most quickly think of 'disruption' in the context of learning, I consider the rapidity with which the internet and the computer became an everyday part of life and how education, learning, teaching and pedagogy had to react to a rapidly changing landscape and hugely altered expectations. This kind of 'disruption' is - perhaps - what we mean by the phrase 'necessity is the mother of invention'. In this case we could rewrite it to say 'invention leads necessarily to new birth' (the new birth is clumsy - I mean new ways, new ideas and new methods).

The second kind of 'disruption' is as an explanatory theory. This did not strike as many chords with me! I am noteless!

The third kind of disruption was where disruption has been the goal and it's this type of disruption which has sullied the word beyond, according to Weller, redemption. He cited Uber and AirBnB - companies which saw a new way to create and simultaneously fill gaps in a market and rapidly move to more or less decimate the previous occupants of that market space. I don't think Weller was making a political comment about these specific companies but I think the idea of deliberate disruption was distasteful to him.

He included one of his trademark comic points which I loved! This applies to so much (Brexit, Trump!) and I think the lesson to not disrupt things for the sake of it is quite clear!

The questions for Weller were especially interesting. The one I most enjoyed was one which invited him to critique the disruption to education and learning caused by the Open University! He dealt with it well!

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Anna Greathead

Open Scholarship

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020, 13:12

I can already see that my personal leap forward in H818 is a renewed grasp of what open scholarship is - not least because of the keynote talk by Martin Weller which opened the H818 conference in 2018.

Martin described how, as the internet began to move into educational settings and learning environments, paradigm shifting predictions were made. When a bleak future is foretold then it is hardly surprising that the steps en route to the predicted outcome are resisted!

As Martin astutely points out - we have not seen the end of the university, nor has the theoretical promise of the MOOC actually altered the landscape of learning forever. We have, however, seen a definite and significant change in the way the learning and teaching is conducted and experienced. We have also seen a similar change in the way the scholarly research and debate.

My studies within MAODE have incorporated quite a lot of thought and discussion about OERs (Open Educational Resources) but I confess that the idea of data being made available for repeated analysis by researchers with different hypotheses had never occurred to me! (I had rather thought that an OER was mostly a sharable and editable lesson plan or learning resource).

The idea of Open Journals seemed to be a non-starter to me as I considered how both authors and journals would be paid for their work but the talk made me realise that many authors may be happy to be 'paid' in citations and reach. (I assume they have income from elsewhere?).

The use of blogs and social media within learning has been a common theme within MAODE but Weller made me consider again that these are not necessarily inferior to journals and conferences in their impact as they may afford a wider reach and greater engagement and connection.

My blog here is close to 30,000 views as of today. I do check the blog counter. I do get some pleasure from the idea that someone, somewhere, has found my ideas and reflections to be valuable. I even like the fact that I know various MAODE colleagues have cited me! Is this blog on a par with an academic journal? Probably not if someone is looking for closely researched and data driven conclusions but maybe if someone is looking for the honest experience and reflections of someone studying, using and providing online education and learning.

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