Welcome to a final few thoughts on and about 2013: what did I do, what did I read, what did I achieve, what did I miss, what did I not do … you get the picture. Well …
After thinking, planning, and talking about it for nearly two years I finally got round to planning, writing, and publishing my eBook on QR Codes in Education. (May 2013).
Several years in the making I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and submitted it and gained my CMALT accreditation (November 2013).
In October I re-read my QR Codes in Education eBook and realised it would read better with a different structure to the contents and I took the opportunity to make it available as a printed book too (November 2013). Working with the CreateSpace website I restructured the materials, redesigned the cover and worked on the 2nd edition of the book (also updating the eBook too to match).
Worked closely with colleagues in Leicester on aspects of mobile learning, online marking and feedback, support, course reconfiguration, and roles & responsibilities.
Firstly … yes, I know the ‘error’ in the title! This one is called ‘Week 1 …’, and so was the last one: “Week 1: Induction #ocTEL”. I made a mistake, last week. While last week was technically the first week of the MOOC it was not assigned a numerical identity as it was the orientation / induction week. That’s why, if you’re reading this MOOC series back there are two ‘week 1′ posts!
I want to continue the style I started in my previous post by highlighting each activity as the ocTEL website/email introduces us to it …
… and I start with an confesison. I think I’m all read out. I’ve been reading so much recently, and with Inge Ignatia de Waard’s ‘MOOC Yourself’ (2013) book just added to the list, I’ve had enough. So this week I’ve taken some time ‘off’ and just done the bare minimum.
Activity 1.0: “If you only do one thing … “
Deciding on two of these resources to concentrate on was easy. Do I review Helen Keegan’s PELeCON keynote that I loved at last year’s pelc12 event because (a) I was in the audience during the recording and remember the gasps from the audience as we realised how risky and brave she’d been throughout the project, and (b) enjoyed the whole ARG-thing. Do I look into the ‘technology of touch‘ and the work of haptic technology that enables learning in a safe tactile environment? I want to stay away from something I’m familiar with (so that drops Sugata Mitra off the list, I’ve blogged about this work too), so that leave Eric Mazur and Stephen Downes / George Siemens references.
Eric Mazur, talking about peer instruction (three minutes from where the below video starts) is not familiar to me. Eric talks of the ‘ah ha’ moment that happens outside the classroom, and which is the hard part of ‘learning’ – is it the “information transfer” or the “assimilation of knowledge”? Continue reading →
With the eBook edition of this book set at £0.00 I couldn’t resist seeing what the fuss is about – this book has received good and bad reviews. But, more importantly, it’s made people question our interest and reliance on online tools and websites and networks and activities.
Even though I’m only a few chapters in to the book already I’m realising my over-reliance and over-bearing interest in putting my work and family life online (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) is not necessary. For the most part it’s intrusive and getting in the way (especially photo-editing family pictures to post to Facebook – yes, it’s sharing for those who can’t be present, but it still gets in the way of the actual event).
“Rather than virtual or second life, social media is actually becoming life itself – the central and increasingly transparent stage of human existence, what Silicon Valley venture capitalists are now calling an ‘Internet of People’.”
“What I glimpsed in that late November afternoon in Bloomsbury was the anti-social future, the loneliness of the isolated man in the connected crowd.”
“Personal visibility, I recognised, is the new symbol of status and power in our digital age. Like the corpse locked in his transparent tomb [Jeremy Bentham], we are now all on permanent exhibition, all just images of ourselves in this brave new transparent world.”
What a great video with so much to say, but I’m concentrating on the elements of the “importance of teacher presence” section, especially given my recent experience with the Coursera / Edinburgh EDC MOOC:
“The role of an academic now is really designing learning environments that engage students. If I’m saying that engagement is the Holy Grail I’d better be engaging in ways they enjoy, not that I’m used to.”
A. Prof. Emma Robertson:
“You have to be there, you have to be paying attention to what they’re saying. And what I find is if you do that effectively in the first two weeks the rest takes care of itself – you’ve established the benchmark that you’re expecting”
Prof. Matthew Allen
“Teacher presence is a very important part of the socialisation of students into online learning, and it’s not that you are therefore dominating and telling students what to learn, it’s that you’re playing the role of ‘guide-on-the-side’, the person who’s there to help the students along but not to become the one they rely upon.”
The rest of the video is also worth watching, for an insight into creating learning environments, strategies for motivating students, and sustaining participation and engagement. A good resource, as are others in the series ‘Learning to Teach Online’.
How I did this was quite simple … I knew I’d fade out after a week or so so I set a goal of one blog entry per week’s activity, including a pre-MOOC post and post-MOOC ‘submission feedback’ post. Now I had set myself this public goal I needed to follow and live up to it. It worked. This may not be to everyone’s taste or motivational style, but after 3 other failed MOOCs I wanted to finish one, just one.
MOOCs were also presented at the 2013 Blackboard Users Conference (#durbbu) by Jeremy Knox: MOOC Pedagogy
Which now brings me to the nature of the different MOOCs available. By now just about everyone knows what a MOOC is – if not there are plenty of excellent resources to help you on your favourite search engine. With more and more MOOCs available, and the organisations offering them increasing all the time, just what types of MOOCs are they, and what do they mean for the student?
Now the course is completed, the comments on my artefact have been made available. Many thanks to the 9 individuals who left such complementary and encouraging comments.
Before I list the comments … I have one question. I wonder what the next cohort of students will make of the MOOC? Considering the volume of discussion on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, as well as the wealth of information and analysis on individual or team blogs, it’ll be a very different experience than we’ve had. Won’t it?
Anonymous comments and feedback are below (many thanks to the markers), and the “score from your peers” was given as a ‘2‘ indicating the artefact “achieves this fully or almost fully” (based on the marking criteria of the MOOC themes – see here for the marking criteria and submitted artefact).
Wow this is GREAT. BTW I live in Manhattan about 10 min. walk to Times Square so I super-related to the visual! Love how Prezi was used to work with the “Times Square Crosswords” concept. So much was well embedded and organized the narrative. This is the best artefact I’ve seen. The author seems very comfortable in the digital environment. Thank you!
“Great! Well done. “Draws you in.” Excellent! Thanks.”
#1 Yes, the artefact addresses a number of themes suggested by the course material #2 Yes, the author has shown understanding of several themes, and offered visual material as metaphors that help deliver these effectively #3 Yes, the artefact touches upon a number of themes involved with traditional and current theories in digital pedagogies #4 Yes, the choice of production tools, methods and media content from the web is appropriate to promote the authors message #5 Yes, the artefact invokes a reaction to the content, and invites a second viewing to reflect on the story.
Here we are, the final week, well done everyone, we made it!
A ‘Digitial Artefact’ you say? What’s that then? I was not sure when the MOOC started what a digital artefact was, but now understand it’s just another term, albeit slightly pompous, for a blog post, a video, an image, a collection of audio/visual elements that make are collected together in one ‘presentation’ mode.
And what is this artefact to do: The artefact will be critically peer-assessed on elements and themes of the course:
The artefact addresses one or more themes for the course
The artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course
The artefact has something to say about digital education
The choice of media is appropriate for the message
The artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action
I decided to bring together some thoughts around the MOOCs theme in a Prezi, see below: Continue reading →
Week four and we are so nearly at the end of the five week Coursera / University of Edinburgh MOOC: ‘eLearning and Digital Cultures’. From ‘being human’ (last week) to ‘redefining the human’ we will be introduced to the perspective that the “notion that the human’ is a social category which is made, not a biological or philosophical matter-of-fact”, apparently!
Videos are again the staple of the weekly resources, and the discussion boards are full of analysis, sympathy, and criticism with the themes and characters within. However, there is far more criticism than in previous weeks – have we now arrived at a stage where we, the students, are either more confident in opinion or we are just more comfortable with the subject?
Robbie is not human, but can demonstrate human-esque experiences (loneliness, happiness, faith, etc.). The big question here is why we continue to treat ‘Robbie’ as non-human when he has all the traits and characteristics of an entity that is human – he has a life-span, he is self-aware, he understands the importance of his existence, he ‘dreamed’, and the importance of his impending demise, he knows what is is to be lonely. Are these not human characteristics? While you may argue that he was made not grown … aren’t we all made, at conception? He became “self-aware” .. well, children become more and more aware of themselves at different ages. Is this not what happened to Robbie, albeit in a different way. Yes, he is not organic, but is that the only condition to being classed as ‘human’ that Robbie does not fulfill?Robbie clearly has human characteristics, but how many were programmed and how many were developed, learned, or ‘evolved’? Is that the true definition of human, the ability to evolve, is it more than just organic material?
Yes, I know I’m 20+ years late to this party, but I’m getting there! The book is the much publicised inspiration to the genre-defining Matrix trilogy of films, and has spawned many science fiction and cyberpunk books and films, which I will also probably not get round to either, but I can try.
Week three and into ‘block 2′ of the five week Coursera / University of Edinburgh MOOC: ‘eLearning and Digital Cultures’. Are we leaving the bliss of utopia behind, or will be building on the fear of a controlling and dystopian ‘master’ as we become ‘human’?
“What does it mean to be human within a digital culture, and what does that mean for education?”
This week is introduced from the perspective that “we tend not to question, in our everyday lives, where the boundaries of ‘the human’ lie”. As with previous weeks we have a few videos to watch and criticise analyse as well as a few papers and web resources to read in order to define or answer what it means to be human in the future.
The advert from Toyota has had a lot of discussion in the Coursera forum but I have a more cynical approach to it – stop trying to intellectualise something that is pure marketing. Do you really think Toyota is trying to make some kind of moral message on the future of technology, or just trying to replicate other successful advertising or cinematic sequences? The end of the advert is very reminiscent of the end of The Truman Show, where Truman (aka Jim Carrey) has a choice to stay in the world he now knows is fake, yet safe, or leave to an unknown but world that allows freedom of choice and experience. Isn’t this also what education is becoming … isn’t this why we’re also doing this MOOC, for the freedom of choice?
The second advert, this time one of the adverts in the series from BT (UK) which is supposed to represent “authentic” human contact, taking a cheap shot at the Instant Messaging and Facebook generation in an effort to show how a simple phone call is the real thing. No, a conversation in person is the real thing, a phone call is the next best thing. If we take this scenario into the real world, into my day to day work, then I would rather walk along the corridor to someone’s office and talk to them properly than a phone call or email. In an online learning environment this is obviously not possible, and neither is a phone call (one tutor to ‘x’ number of students, that could be a lot of calls) – this is why Instant Messaging or discussion boards and/or conference calls (Skype?) are popular, and will remain so.