You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2008.
It is interesting to look back and see elements of consistency in my writing, and not too many embarrassing moments. Needless to say (to those who do blog their interests) I have learned a lot through expression of opinion which attracts the odd helpful comment and citations; not to mention the learning just through multiple attempts to explain an idea; and the connections I have made with people around the world through this little reacher-outerer.
I still remember the morning Sean FitzGerald emailed to congratulate me on being cited by Downes 🙂 who remains today, the only A-lister who consistently reaches back into the tail to bring forward new voices on a very regular basis. Good on you SD!
I’m not sure how to tell who my oldest reader is, especially seeing as I regretably moved from Blogger to WordPress back in 2006, but I know it was Kylie Rowsell who showed me my first blog and Adam Bramwell who taught me how (both Newcastle Australia folk). Them were the days. I suspect it might be Rose Grosdanic, Sean FitzGerald, Steven Parker, and not long after – Stephen Downes who are the longest term readers of this blog.. not that I hear much from any of them after that rather severe dose of NZ reality I dropped them in back in 2006
Others in that NZ reality say blogging is dead and even rejoice the day when some of us are killed off in the forward lines so they can pick over what remains.
Anyway, its been an intensly interesting 4 years and I’ll keep going at it. Especially adding to LifeSouth and 100somerville a lot more these days. Thanks for being there and leaving the odd comment or joining in a little chin wag with each other y-all 🙂
I have a hunch that no one potentially knows more about “learning styles” than a good marketeer. Emphasis on good. And that education could get a whole lot more sophisticated in this area if it was to look into contemporary marketing ideas and practices.
Cathy Sierra planted that seed in my head back in Feb 2007 with her post Marketing should be education, education should be marketing. Ever since then I’ve been on the look out for a good marketeer who is ready or willing to talk about education. Next week I’m meeting with a marketing researcher which I hope will lead me to something interesting in terms of what marketing and education speak could do for one another.
Otago Polytechnic spends pretty big on its marketing and brand development.. some of it is great, some of its real bad, some of it has a lot more potential than key people realise. A lot of the problems in that marketing and branding exercise is touched on in this presentation called The Brand Gap: How to bridge the distance between business strategy and design. (Thanks for pointing it out Peter).
As with most of these things, different people will interpret it differently, and we will probably never make the time to stop and talk about the many discussion points worth having out of this slide show.. worse, I doubt the people that call the shots on marketing and branding in my neck of the woods will ever look at this presentation, let alone discuss it here. I think it would be a valuable ideas exercise to try and relate the points in these slides to the concerns branding and marketing a public educational institution…
Another thing on many people’s minds, and that some how relates to this post is Scott Leslie’s post about sharing, where he details the differences between individuals networking online, and institutions.. doing.. what is it they do again?
I reckon the subtitles in your post Scott, are the bones down for a swarvo slide presentation like that brand one above… if it wasn’t for your non-commercial restriction, I’d do it for ya 😉
- We grow our network by sharing, they start their network by setting up initial agreements
- We share what we share, they want to share what they often don’t have (or even really want)
- We share with people, they share with “Institutions”
- We develop multiple (informal) channels while they focus on a single official mechanism
- What to do if you are stuck having to facilitate sharing amongst a large group of institutions?
This is the funniest (yet painfully serious) video/presentation on educational technology I have seen in ages!
Many thanks for making the recording Alan 🙂 the zombies here have chewed the wires to Second Life…
When I get a free minute I try to get through some of my feedreader. Unfortunately I don’t get very far into it because Abject Learning is first in the list.
This time Brian is questioning the need for OER, and I have to say I largely share his position, it is over rated in the grand scheme of things.
One of the other participants asked a question that resonated with me: if we live in an era of information abundance, why is the primary drive around OERs the publication of more content? And what other activities around the open education movement might be an effective use of our energies? What other needs have to be met?
The predictable response from content centric OER proponents relates to copyright and freedom, OER content is “free”.
But as Brian points out, this is increasingly a non issue:
I staked out something of a confrontational stance… that higher education is still conducting its business as if information is scarce when we now live in an era of unprecedented information abundance. That we in the institutions can endlessly discuss what content we deign to share via our clunky platforms, while Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, TED Talks, the blogs and other networked media just get on with it… That I might not be able to legally reproduce much of the copyrighted media on the web, but I can link to it, maybe embed it, or simply tell students to search for it.
Already, formal education is out of the picture in every way. Our educational services are locked up in Blackboard, and our teachers are too afraid to professionally network online. Online education is a dark web. Stepping up to the plate then is Open Education services like Wikieducator, but bringing another set of restrictive criteria that effectively keep people in a twilight zone – adherence to one form of copyright. While the Internetworked cultural development powers on, largely ignoring copyright or bypassing it with hyperlinks, embedding and data sharing, OER efforts want to declare a point of difference because we think copyright is still even relevant! Trouble is we are held back because the user base we rely on to produce this “free culture” still have no idea or just don’t want to have to worry about copyright – they just want to get on with the teaching with what ever the best content is on the day, and with the least amount of practical restriction as possible.
The rhetoric about freedom and moralistic argument in OER amps up non-the-less. We fail to see that we are loosing our freedom as it relates to effective and efficient educational practice. Not to mention the role we play in assisting with the erosion and missed opportunities in Fair Use and Fair Dealings.
The distinction here is between educational practice and content production. Instructional designers have long confused the two. For an educational practitioner (and a student) there is more usable content than we could possibly need for education, more is good and more will come. Most of the good stuff is already openly accessible and in many instances copy-able! The communication channels around it all are open too, why would we want to limit our options with some complex and practically irrelevant detail about copyright, effectively giving ourselves another form of lock in?
As a content producer it is a diffferent story, we need more content with less restrictive copyrights, but even for us it is less of an issue now with linking and embedding, not to mention how quick it can be to simply ask for permission.
In short, OER can be a distraction and can lead us back to content centric thinking that is not the real issue we need to be talking about. OER should stand for Open Educational Reform (appropriating that from Alex Hayes), where we talk about access and equity, connectivity, relevence, flexible assessment, and efficiencies. I am increasingly trying to look at the OER services like Wikieducator more for their platform feature sets relevant to what I need to do, and less (if at all) for its stunted content and contradictory ideas about freedom.
Essentially, how might it be possible to make assignment deadlines more flexible for distance students? If deadlines for ongoing assignments are simply extended deeper through to the end of the course, wouldn’t there be a natural tendency on the part of most students to hand in their assignments at the latest possible moment, to the detriment of their learning? My own experience as both student and teacher (as well as the virtual learner data that the UOC has analyzed) confirms this fear…
Yep, that’s been my experience too… but I am learning that its not a bad thing necessarily.
I have been running 2 online courses (inspired by David Wiley’s initial wiki courses) with flexible assessment:
Both of them have very similar assessments in that they have 3 assignments, one of which is blogging into which the other 2 assignments are posted.
The thing is, these 3 assignments can be completed at any time. We do set up a course schedule, with a start and end date, but we do this to encourage a cohort of people through at the same time so that they can bounce off each other and feel that group learning atmosphere that many expect to be there. Inevitably, many do not finish by the time the course officially finishes. That’s fine, we encourage them to take their time and do it right. All the course end date signifies is that the facilitators are no longer on call and keeping the course moving along as one big cohort. After the “end date” participants are “on their own”. In reality, they are not on their own at all. By the time that date comes, the course blogging network has been established – or they have become more comfortable with self paced online learning. When they are ready to be assessed, they simply contact the facilitator who engages an assessor. There is no extra work on the assessor or facilitator, in fact the intensity of the assessment period is now spread out and so is done better.
Administrating this is a hassle, because to run the course we normally enrol people up front, and the enrolment lasts for a specified period of time. If they don’t finish, we would have to mark them as “not yet complete” and then re enrol them for the next course – messy and time consuming. What is better is if people do not enrol! They just start the course. They enrol when they are ready for assessment. This way we get 100% completion rates and not so much wasted energy chasing down people who were never going to complete anyway, and so make your books look bad! We call this form of participation, “informal enrolment”.
What we are working out now is managing the increased numbers of informal enrolments so that they are not an unreasonable drain on facilitator resources that are not yet paid for. For this we have found it acceptable to have both formal and informal participants starting and moving through at the same time. So far we have not noticed a drop in formal enrolments. There are still those who prefer to enrol formally and up front, and who want to be paced by the facilitators and be sure they complete and get assessed by a definate date. They know who they are. Everyone in the course, whether informal or formal knows that the facilitators energies are focused on the formally enrolled and making sure they understand what they are to do and are on task, that is what the fee is for. If any of that facilitation effort is able to be shared with the informal group, then great! so long as the people who pay are getting what they pay for, including assessment. Being able to manage this is where a skilled and experienced facilitator comes in. It doesn’t take long before the whole group is supporting each other regardless of their enrolment status, people are the greatest learning resource in these courses.
Getting people over the line is still a challenge. But with patience, they get there. Everyone remains in the communication channels whether they have completed or not, and to some degree it is the people in that channel that motivate completion. It is up to the individual participants to turn off the channel if they wish. Quite a few opt to stay in actually, just to watch how the next course goes and to see if they can pick up on a few things they missed. Naturally the ones who have not completed stay, and the next course becomes their new motivation to advance through the tasks.
I think we have the first runs on the board for a new model that promises a considerable amount of flexibility for the participants, including the facilitators and assessors, and could even improve outcomes for everyone. It is all based around open educational resources and practices. It is the facilitation that is the key. Knowing how to do it without working yourself to an early grave, and in such a way so that everyone feels equal and not over or under whelmed.
I’m happy to be able to say that the wonderful people at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) have given us permission to make a derivative of their very useful text, Starting a Business: Determine whether your business idea will work. The additions that Otago Polytechnic will be making (pending funding) will be to add a chapter to it on sustainability in business, a new layout in a variety of formats, and a range of support media and short seminars and workshops to go with it. The derivative content we make will be released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License.
Currently I am considering ways to publish the derivative text. Building on the success of the Anatomy and Physiology of Animals text, we will probably follow the Wikibooks and Lulu.com combination, with additional distribution channels like Google Docs and Archive.org
The main thing we need here is a high quality text, with supporting resources and events that will assist our students from all areas in planning for small business. Using the NZTE text as a basis will help ensure that what we do will compliment and perhaps integrate with existing business support services around New Zealand, as from what I can tell most of these services seem to be using this text as a standard.
The distribution of the derivative will ensure that as many people as possible will have access to the text, and with the unique features of the respective publishing platforms. For example, Wikibooks and its translation community as well as its new and improved Make a Book and Print to PDF; Archive.org for its archiving and audio books development; GoogleDocs and its ability to offer both web based and downloadable edit files; and Lulu.com for its printing and binding on demand as well as sales management.
Our development process will likely be:
- Write sustainability chapter, sections and plan templates
- Edit original NZTE files with additional chapter in Open Office and export to MediaWiki text
- Upload MediaWiki export text files to a new Wikibook
- Develop graphics, illustrations and photos for each chapter and section and upload these to Wikimedia Commons
- Add graphics, illustrations and photos to the Wikibook
- Add graphics, illustrations and photos to the Open Office Text file and upload to Google Docs
- Upload the PDF and cover art to Lulu.com
- Upload all media and edit files to Archive.org
At the same time, Hillary and I will develop a schedule for the course using the enveloped learning model.
Now, about that development funding…?
Heike, Ian and I hiked up to the Brewster Hut and ski toured around the Brewster Glacier on the weekend. It’s way late in the season, but just as I upload this video it is snowing down to sea level again! Its nearly mid November!!
As it appears with map, photos and other links on Life in the South
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that New Zealand is preparing for a National Election in the next few days. Even the coverage here is more excited by the Obama win than its own election preparations. Personally I’m more than a little skeptical of Obama (let alone democracy in the USA).. I haven’t even heard him say anything of substance yet, and it surely wasn’t possible for the repugnance to get in again! I suppose Obama’s win is significant in other ways.
Back home in New Zealand the main politics is much more dry. While it is easy to miss, we actually have a lot more than 2 parties running the election. Unforgivably the NZ media mainly runs the stories of 2, trying desperately to cash in on a US style, hyped up, revenue drawing, simpleton election. Those 2 basics are Labour under Helen Clark (presently in power) and Nationals under John Key. Helen Clark is campaigning on a platform of a strong public sector ensuring jobs, infrastructure and stability. John Key is campaigning on a platform of privatisation, stimulating economic growth, and rationalising the public sector. While my sympathies are with Helen, both campaigns are age old and down right dull.
The Greens on the other hand, they have run a very interesting campaign and have a long track record of principled and visionary policy making. Just their poster campaign itself is significant enough, representing a party that can think outside the square and be innovative. Brent Simpson compared the parties a while back. Given that the Greens have had next to no prime time media coverage, I think it is fair to say that they have done an excellent job maintaining a presence in this election, not to mention by far the strongest and most authentic online presence long before the election campaigns started.
If a change is what we need, I sure hope it doesn’t go the old ho hum and long over due for retirement, public vs private direction. That time passed 20 years ago! I hope to see a real shake down and a new generation of politics enter New Zealand government. One that reinforces NZs international reputation for progressive politics and continues to attract migration of progressive people.
Participants in the Facilitating Online Communties course have come together to coordinate an online mini conference. Below are the range of events scheduled so far. Keep an eye on the conference wiki for up to the minute details. See you there!
A mini conference for Facilitating Online
Date: 2 – 9 November 2008
2-9Nov Community Leadership Development
Title: Community Leadership Development – review and feedback
Date: online discussion
Duration: throughout the conference period
Facilitators: Valerie Taylor with guests and friends
Venue: blog posts, discussion page threads
- Community Leadership Development – online, open education and skills development for individuals and groups working with community-based organizations to provide leadership training, needs assessment and planning, coordination and management of projects to benefit the community.
As Community Leadership Development is a new course modeled on FOC08 and CCK08, participants in the FOC08 Mini Conferences are uniquely qualified to provide input, feedback and suggestions.
Throughout the Mini Conference, questions about the content and the process for the course will be posted for review and comment. Summaries and links to contributions will be posted each day.
Questions, offers of collaboration welcome.
2-9Nov Managing Multimembership in Social Networks
Title: SCoPE seminar discussion: Managing Multimembership in Social Networks: Oct 27-Nov 9, 2008
Facilitators: Bronwyn Stuckey, Jeffrey Keefer, Sue Wolff, Sylvia Currie
Description: How do you track and keep up with blog conversations? How do you manage your time as you engage in social networks? What are our limits as we integrate social learning into our work environments? When you do find yourself becoming disconnected from your networks and organized activities, how do you return to the fray? As facilitators how do you manage multimembership for your participants?
Many of us confess to fumbling along and we engage in multiple networks. Yet, many networks are essential for the projects, sectors and people that we work with, and for staying abreast of hot issues. Multi-membership and multi-platform overload is becoming a BIG challenge!
During this 2-week discussion we invite you to share tips for managing participation in social networks. This seminar is organized as part of the Facilitating Online Communities course mini-conference. There are many ways to participate! Take our survey, leave a Voice Thread, and join the asynchronous discussion.
Venue: SCoPE is an open, online community supported by BCcampus and hosted by Simon Fraser University. Membership is free and open to the public and our discussions are facilitated by volunteers. Access the seminar discussion directly.
Planning for the event: A record of our planning steps is on a subsequent wiki page: /multimembership
5Nov-7pm The Role of an Online Facilitator
Date: 7pm on Wednesday 5th November UTC (8am on Thursday 6th NovemberNZ DST) Check the time in your zone.
Duration: approximately 1 hour
Facilitator: Vida Thompson
Venue: Skype (contact skype user: vidathompson in advance to join this session)
Description I recorded an interview with a Community Facilitator here in Alexandra, Central Otago, New Zealand. For the mini conference I would like participants to listen to the inteview and then discuss their perception of the role of an online facilitator and how that compares to the role of a face to-face community facilitator. This discussion will be held on skype on Wednesday 5th November at 7pm UTC. (Contact skype user: vidathompson in advance to join this session).
All interested people are welcome to attend. It would be good if participants could listen to the interview before the event. Note: The interview does take a while to start as I edited the beginning out.
Please contact Vida Thompson in skype prior to the event so you can be included in the event when it starts (contact skype user: vidathompson or by e-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org) There is a limit of 9 participants who can talk but no limit to the chat contributions.
5Nov 9pm Interview About Second Life in Second Life
Title: About Second Life
Date: Wednesday 05 Nov UTC at 9.00pm (Thursday 06 Nov 10.00 am New Zealand Time)
Duration: 30 Minutes
Facilitator: Grant Comber (aka Avatar: Clinty Inglewood)
Venue: Explorer Island in Second Life
How to get there? Click on this SLurl Link and then click on the Teleport Now button to zoom to Explorer Island. The Second Life Grid coordinates for the Venue are 195,208,22 (PG) Your Host Clinty Inglewood will meet you.
Reminder: Min computer specs – RAM: 500mb (preferably 1 Gig) Chip speed: 800 MHz Pentium III or better, Screen 1024×768 pixels Internet Connection: Cable/DSL Microphone/headset needed for Chatting
Description:An interview between newbie Grant Comber (Clinty Inglewood) and seasoned Second Life user Harold Atkinson (Hat Carter). General questions on the use of Second Life and sharing of unique experiences. Opportunity for all avatars in FOC to gain some insight into using Second Life especially those who are newbies like Grant!
So if you want to philosophize, go didactic on us or just talk some technical turkey issues please pop in for this casual interview.
My thanks to our guest Harold Atkinson who is a fellow teaching colleague of mine with much Second Life experience. See you there! Signing Off: Clinty Inglewood
6Nov-8am Stigmergic Collaboration: The Evolution of Group Work
Facilitated by: Daryl Cook with guest Dr. Mark Elliott.
Mark completed a PhD in 2007 that developed theoretical frameworks for collective activity and mass collaboration in conjunction with a number of real-world projects and now runs a consultancy that provides services surrounding online collaboration and social media / web2.0. In our meeting, Mark will assist us to explore:
- Stigmergic collaboration as a means of explaining how co-ordination is achieved in ad hoc, massively scaled collaborative contexts (i.e. Wikis)
- How we can, as facilitators, use Wikis to collaborate, share and learn
- His experiences from the Future Melbourne project — the world’s first, wiki-based, collaborative city plan.
The one hour session, will include a very brief presentation, but will mostly be informal and conversational. Definitely no Powerpoint.
Please join us!
DATE: Thursday 6th November 2008 at 7PM EST or check the time in your time zone.
VENUE: Join this online event at the Elluminate Meeting Room
Beforehand, please ensure that you computer is ready to use the web conferencing software (Elluminate).
ENQUIRIES: For any enquiries and/or for any assistance with Elluminate, do not hesitate to contact me.
6 Nov-10pm International Online Collaboration Group meets FOC08
- Date and Duration – UTC Thursday 6 November 10pm-11pm UTC (Friday 7 November 9am – 10am East Australia time)
- Facilitators: Kerry Trabinger (CIT Australia) and Leigh
This is a FANTASTIC opportunity for the group to meet with teachers who are currently completing a subject called Facilitating Learning Online in Australia. Come and discuss your experiences. Topics will include: – Introductions (where are you from and what area are you teaching in) – Virtual Classrooms – Do you like this platform? Will you use it with your students? Why or Why not? Any tips on using these platforms. – Time Management – How does your Institute allocate time for online delivery? Is it the same as for face to face? – Marketing – how can you get students or participants to join in an online dicussion or virtual classroom session? PLUS you have a chance to try a different virtual classroom platform.
- Venue – VET VIRTUAL (a virtual classroom used in Australia VET Sector – www.vetvirtual.com)
6Nov-1030pm TLC (Think, Learn & Create) Using Mind Maps
Title: TLC Using Mind Maps (TLC – Think, Learn & Create) – Online Discussion, followed by Presentation, – Friday 7 Nov 2008 11.30 am – 12noon NZ DST (10.30 pm – 11 pm Thursday 6 Nov UTC)
Facilitators: Kay Lewis and Elaine Dittert
- Have you had difficulty keeping up with the ‘overload of information’ during this course?
- Got confused or lost by trying to view all the discussion threads?
- Have you jotted down some thoughts and ideas you’ve read and heard but by the time you’re ready to go over your notes they make no sense?
If this sounds like you, this 30 minute session may be just what you need. It is designed to give you some pointers to help you gather and organise large amounts of data and provide a clear overview, analyse your thoughts, identify problem solving ideas and generate more ideas with clarity, efficiency and accuracy.
We plan to have one special guest speaker:
- Jennifer Goddard, BBus (Admin), Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Master Trainer in Buzan Advanced Learning Techniques, inspirational Director of the Buzan Centre in Australia and New Zealand and co-founder of Mindwerx International. OR
- Jennie Vickers, Buzan Licensed Instructor (senior advanced coach), Masters of Management, Diploma in Business Administration (University of Auckland), BA Law (Honours). Jennie is also an Alumni of the Leadership NZ Programme.
7Nov-4PM EST Storytelling
Date: November 7, 2008 at 4PM EST or check the time in your time zone.
Duration: 60 minutes ?
- Do you think of stories when you look at a photo, a video, or listen to music? Does the topic interest you as a tool for instruction and learning or are you just curious? In any case, for whatever reason you may have, you are invited to join this storytelling mini conference.
- We will have a live storytelling event on WiZiQ or Elluminate. Please refer to the main page of Connecting Online for further discussions on the topic.
8Nov-Midnight Heart2Heart Online
Title: Heart2Heart Online
Date: Tentatively Saturday, November 8, 2008 00:00 UTC Time
Duration: 90 minutes
Venue: TBA (Skype, Elluminate Meeting Room or WiZiQ)
Group Size: Maximum of 8 people
Facilitator: Greg Barcelon assisted by partner Ivy (guest)
A place where we can simply be ourselves… sharing ourselves at a deeper level without the fear of condemnation, unsolicited advice, interruption or being judged.
Traditionally we got this deep level of connectedness with our true selves, and assist others in doing the same, from our families. But, with many people experiencing difficulties in their family life today, we need communities that can become “Schola Amoris,” a School of Love, in which all learn to first of all accept themselves as they are, and then in a greater way accept others unconditionally – the greatest yearning we collectively have.
More about it here.
8Nov-7AM Connecting Online in Developing Countries
Date: 7AM GMT, Saturday November 8, 2008. Check your time here.
Duration: 60 min?
Faciliatator: Joy Zhao & guest speakers
Description: We are connected online and forming various online communities. Do you know what problems people living in developing countries meet when they try to join in online communities and maintain the connection? What is the situation of online communities in developing countries? Our guest speakers are all very experienced and skilled in this topic. Come and share your thoughts and you will get more information than you expected.
Posted By Leigh Blackall to Facilitating Online Communities at 11/05/2008 10:08:00 AM