Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Planets Aligning

Earlier this year, I wrote about Lycerius’s dilemma.

Lycerius has been playing Civ II for ten years. In June 2012 the game had advanced to 3991 A.D.. There are three remaining super nations “each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands”.

Lycerius’s goal for the next few years “is to try and end the war and thus use the engineers to clear swamps and fallout so that farming may resume. I want to rebuild the world. But I’m not sure how. If any of you old Civ II players have any advice, I’m listening.”

I recalled the dilemma this morning as I started to work my way through a number of emails and alerts that had some interesting connections.

Prezi alerted me to The Rational Person’s Guide to the Mayan Apocalypse in which Jaquelynne Avery shares some news about 21 December 2012.

Maya 1

Here are some of the links I received this morning. I am hoping they are harbingers of an age of transformation (to the Age of Aquarius) rather than a predestined meeting with Nibiru.

Darrell Cobner shared with me Nathan Harden’s essay on The End of the University as We Know It. In the essay, Nathan makes a number of observations about students’ experience of higher education. He suggests that:

students themselves are in for a golden age, characterized by near-universal access to the highest quality teaching and scholarship at a minimal cost. The changes ahead will ultimately bring about the most beneficial, most efficient and most equitable access to education that the world has ever seen.

He adds:

Technology will also bring future students an array of new choices about how to build and customize their educations. Power is shifting away from selective university admissions officers into the hands of educational consumers, who will soon have their choice of attending virtually any university in the world online. This will dramatically increase competition among universities. Prestigious institutions, especially those few extremely well-endowed ones with money to buffer and finance change, will be in a position to dominate this virtual, global educational marketplace. The bottom feeders—the for-profit colleges and low-level public and non-profit colleges—will disappear or turn into the equivalent of vocational training institutes. Universities of all ranks below the very top will engage each other in an all-out war of survival. In this war, big-budget universities carrying large transactional costs stand to lose the most. Smaller, more nimble institutions with sound leadership will do best.

220px-V838_Mon_HSTI wondered, in passing, if Nathan had met Lycerius in Civ II in a 21st century encounter.

The University of Western Sydney is investing $35 million over three years (including providing 11,000 iPads) “in a bid to keep its content and teaching relevant to students”. In her report on this initiative in The Conversation, Charis Palmer notes:

All new students who enrol to study at UWS in 2013 will receive an iPad, and some 1500 academic staff will also receive a tablet device for use in teaching. Existing students will receive a subsidy of $50 to go towards textbook purchases. The investment is part of a broader initiative that will include more flexible study options and interactive learning.

One of the arguments for attendance at a University is the social experience of being there. Stephen Downes has an interesting discussion of this argument today in response to a post by Justin Ritchie. Stephen comments:

if the social aspects of universities are so all-fired important, what happens to the large majority of the world’s population that never attends university? Do they just become socially stunted? Inept? Or is it possible that these social dimensions may be addressed in ways other than university pubs and social clubs?

One alternative might be to engage in a community of readers that discuss and share ideas. A post by Michael Lovett alerted me to the growth of readership in Next Generation libraries.

Since the relaunch of Dayton Metro Library, readers are spending 22-percent more time on site, viewing 22-percent more pages. At the Public Library of Cincinnati And Hamilton County (Ohio), which relaunched on Monday, sample excerpts are up 93 percent. The North Carolina Digital Library (Chapel Hill Public Library, Greensboro Public Library, Hickory Public Library) has seen significant increases in page views (15 percent), time on site (18 percent), visits (10 percent), and sample excerpts (35 percent).

Meanwhile in the Scholarly Kitchen, Phil Davis was writing about How Much of the Literature Goes Uncited?

How much of the literature goes uncited? It seems like a simple-enough question that requires a straightfoward answer. In reality, this is one of the hardest question to answer, and the most appropriate response is “it depends.” A citation is a directional link made from one paper to another. In order to count that event, that link must be observed. And while counting a citation confirms that an event took place, not observing a citation does not confirm that it didn’t.

Given my own online reading habits, I think that discoverability in a semantic web is becoming much more important that citation. I tend to follow Related Article links in Google Scholar as a personal learning tool. I start with 2012 papers and move backwards to saturate my literature search.

I find this approach empowering. By coincidence an email from John Kessel sent me off to the Harvard Business Review and Nilofer Merchant’s suggestion about power:

If you currently equate your power with your bossness, your ability to have all the answers, and getting credit for everything you do, then you are set up to thrive in the past. Thriving in the Social Era requires different skills: collaborating rather than commanding, framing and guiding rather than telling, and sharing power rather than hoarding it.

I finished my early morning reading with the story of a toddler in Townsville in North Queensland who has incubated a nest of Eastern Brown snakes (one of the world’s most deadly species of snake) in his bedroom closet. Kyle is just three years old.

The story from the ABC news site indicates that Kyle managed to do this by himself. His negotiation of the threats posed by venomous snakes seemed a perfect allegory for the start of the Age of Aquarius.

I am definitely on the side of transformation in 2013 … and thinking about how I would support Kyle’s learning journey and his co-learners who will live in the 22nd century.

Photo Credit

V838 Mon (Wikipedia)


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Game Changing

4849524717_39bb115d29_bA post by Terry Condon sent me off thinking.

Terry wrote about meeting Hans Muller-Wohlfahrt. Two paragraphs in particular caught my attention:

Many people move into their chosen field and ‘specialize’ in an area in order to become an expert. Hans’ is no different, most of the time he works with athletes.  However it seemed to me that Hans had acquired a bigger picture of healing. He had not subordinated to one industry paradigm of how things ‘should’ be done and limited his learning to one isolated body of research. Instead he actively took from various methods and disciplines what he felt was valuable and developed his own idea of healing.

the level of success you will have is directly correlated to the amount of criticism you are prepared to accept. In order to create the kind of results that will make you a leader, you need to first be prepared to become ‘the villain’ in many people’s eyes in the understanding that at the same time or eventually you will also become the ‘hero’ for many others.

Reflecting on Terry’s post helped me realise how fortunate I am. This year I have met and spent time with many game changers. All of them have energy and passion. All of them have big pictures of where they plan to be.

I like to read about game changers too. In addition to Terry’s post this week I found an interview with Alberto Cairo. In the interview, Alberto talks about changes in higher education:

What I saw happening in newspapers is awfully similar to what I am seeing in higher education: Drowsy institutions with inflexible procedures and obscure lore that are resistant to change just because they feel solidly rooted, stable, and essential. Why would you experiment when your current situation is so comfortable and your model has taken you a long way, up to the present? Because if you don’t seriously —let me stress the word seriously here— try to understand what all new developments, technologies, tools, are capable of, when one of them becomes the next big thing, you may suffer. It is not about burning your ships here; you need to keep using them in routine operations, after all. Instead, it is about taking a few of them and sending them to the open ocean to see if they find something useful. Most of them will be lost, but it may happen that one will stumble upon a treasure island.

I like the open ocean imagery. Yesterday, Stephen Downes was discussing opening doors.

I have been following Anil Dash’s discussions about the web. A couple of days ago he posted about rebuilding the web. In the post he talks about taking responsibility and accepting blame:

The biggest reason the social web drifted from many of the core values of that early era was the insularity and arrogance of many of us who created the tools of the time. I was certainly guilty of this, and many of my peers were as well. We took it as a self-evident and obvious goal that people would even want to participate in this medium, instead of doing the hard work necessary to make it a welcoming and rewarding place for the rest of the world. We favored obscure internecine battles about technical minutia over the hard, humbling work of engaging a billion people in connecting online, and setting the stage for the billions to come. To surpass the current generation of dominant social networks and apps, which have unsurprisingly become arrogant and inflexible during their own era of success, we’ll have to return to being as hungry and as humble as we were when the web was young. Because last time, we were both naive and self-absorbed enough that we deserved to fail.

I think that failure is a very important experience for game changers. It happens a lot when decision makers are unable to manage risk and prefer to avoid it.

I think game changers require great resilience. All the game changers I have met this year are self-evidently different. All of them have managed to overcome resistance to their vision. They all exhibit the characteristics of Sarah Horrigan’s learning technologists:

  • Curious
  • Playful
  • Connected
  • Proactive
  • Passionate
  • Learner

I think game changers are excellent communicators too. One of them, Charles Rosen, died last week. Earlier this year he wrote:

We do not learn language by reading a dictionary, and we do not think or speak in terms of dictionary definitions. Meaning is always more fluid. Nevertheless, we are hemmed in, even trapped, by common usage. Senses we wish to evade entrap us. The greatest escape route is not only humor, but poetry, or art in general. Art does not, of course, liberate us completely from meaning, but it gives a certain measure of freedom, provides elbow room.

I like the idea that the art of game changing creates elbow room and there are fluid ways to share vision.

Photo Credit

Horizons gyroscopiques II


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#OAPS101 Participants

It is less than a week now to the start of the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport SOOC (#OAPS101).

As of this morning we have 134 participants enrolled. I am delighted that so many people are interested in this small open online course (SOOC).

It is intended to be an exploration in open sharing and connecting. I like the idea that this course will be sustained by intrinsic motivation.

We have tried to make participation as easy as possible. Although nominally the course will run through November, all the content for the course will be available when we go live on 5 November.

We think it will be important for participants to look at the Connecting and Sharing Module first in order to appreciate the functionality of the OpenLearning platform but even this is negotiable. Thereafter the course welcomes non-linear participation in the SOOC.

We have no webinars planned in universal time and I see three ways we will connect and share:

1. Discussion forums

2. Video posts

3. Participation portfolios within or beyond the OpenLearning blog and wiki options

We aim to manage the discussion forum as a 24 hour activity each day. Colleagues here in Australia and in the United Kingdom will monitor the discussions. I aim to follow as much of the discussion as I can throughout the course.

I am hopeful that the month will be a great time for produsers … using and producing resources to share under a Creative Commons license.

We have two Open Badges to offer in this course.

Enrolled

* You enrolled for the course.
* You hose a personal path through the material.
* You submitted a summary statement about your experience of the course.

Participant

* You enrolled for the course.
* You chose a personal path through the material.
* You used the OpenLearning tools to contribute to discussion or to comment (karma).
* You developed an e-portfolio to record your involvement in the course and to reflect on your experience of the course.

We hope the distinction between enrollment and participation is reasonable. We think that the participation mode will enable a community of practice to flourish.

Earlier this month I wrote about the kind of atmosphere that we hoped would pervade the course.

Stephen Downes provided me with a timely reminder about this in one of today’s OLDaily posts. In it he observes:

If you were to review my writing on MOOCs and similar phenomena you would see me most frequently refer to (what we would call) ‘students’ as ‘participants’. The term ‘participant’ to me most accurately represents the relation between MOOC and an individual person – they are not ‘students’ because that implies studying and the master-student relationship, which are antithetical to MOOCs. Nor either are they referred to (much) as ‘learners’, as this suggests that learning is the dominant paradigm at work here. In fact, the logic of MOOCs is not the logic of learning, but rather, of participation, and that’s why I use the word.

This is why we use the term participant too in #OAPS101.

Photo Credit

Fireworks


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SOOC 001

I have been thinking about a SOOC, Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport, that will start on 5 November.

It is being hosted by Adam Brimo on the Open Learning platform.

I have a number of colleagues who are volunteering their time to the SOOC and who will be sharing open access resources.

There are lots of conversations about and developments in online courses at the moment and I am grateful that Stephen Downes gives me an OLDaily lead on these.

Part of my musing of late has been about the kind of environment we might create in the SOOC. I have been delighted to discover that others are thinking about these issues too.

I liked Helen Keegan’s approach to a new academic year. In her Not a Mooc post, she observes:

I want to carry on developing our current model-which-has-no-name. I’m not sure what it is – it’s not a MOOC, but it’s certainly pretty open, multi-disciplinary, multi-level and networked, and builds on existing communities of practice and the mentoring that has emerged over the past six years (staff and ex-students -> current students). Most importantly, it’s creative, occasionally anarchic and relatively ad hoc …

 Helen mentioned ds106 in her post. I really enjoy Alan Levine’s posts about ds106. A few days ago he wrote Just ds106.  He noted:

Digital Storytelling (also affectionately known as ds106) is an open, online course that happens at various times throughout the year at the University of Mary Washington… but you can join in whenever you like and leave whenever you need. This course is free to anyone who wants to take it, and the only requirements are a real computer, a hardy internet connection, preferably a domain of your own and some commodity web hosting, and all the creativity you can muster.

ds106 offers advice about becoming an open course participant

First of all, in ds106, there are multiple levels of participation- but most importantly, it is designed so you can pick and choose the when and where. We have a subtle rule of NO APOLOGIES for not being able to participate when other parts of life intrude. There is no concept in ds106 of “dropping out” c.f. Groom, Jim (2010-present), “ds106 is #4life”.

There is an Openness in Education MOOC running at the moment too. The How This Course Works page helped me with my thinking.

Openness in Education is an unusual course. It does not consist of a body of content you are supposed to remember. Rather, the learning in the course results from the activities you undertake, and will be different for each person. In addition, this course is not conducted in a single place or environment. It is distributed across the web. We will provide some facilities. But we expect your activities to take place all over the internet on blogs, tumblr, Diigo, social network sites, Twitter, and other spaces. We will ask you to visit other people’s web pages, and even to create some of your own. This type of course is called a ‘connectivist’ course and is based on four major types of activity:

  • Aggregate
  • Remix
  • Repurpose
  • Feed forward

I was relieved to read Alec Couros’s discussion of the #unmooc. He concludes his post with these observations:

We are losing the ownership of our own conversations and learning spaces. Though admittedly a grand ambition, I hope that the process of developing an #unmooc, while providing a rich place for learning, can help us become more thoughtful and considerate of our learning spaces and the control of our discourse.

I am delighted that there is lots of discussion about open learning. At the end of a day of musing I am thinking that our SOOC will give us the opportunity to compile some resources to share openly in a non-linear way. I am happy that the S in SOOC enables small numbers of participants. It is a very modest manifestation of connectivist thinking.

I see this as the start of a fascinating journey that might lead to unplugged conversations as well as plugged ones.

Photo Credits

Crowd at the train for the Royal Adelaide Show

Open Window


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Open Opportunities: Scaling Cooperation

We have had two extremely windy days in New South Wales.

On Wednesday there was a state-wide total fire ban.

This morning the winds of the Internet brought me a number of alerts that had me thinking about other kinds of fires … Plutarch‘s kindling kind.

Stephen Downes started me on my journey with two posts:

Those two posts led me to:

Slide 14 of George’s 41 slides is:

These posts in turn took me to:

 

Just when I was coming up for air I received alerts to:

 

I followed up on Harold Jarche and Jane Hart’s PKM Workshop and liked their description of their approach:

Our online social workshops are not traditional, formal online courses, take a look here at how they run:

  • Our workshops are designed to give just enough structure, without constraining personal and social learning.
  • We curate what we think are the essential resources on a topic and also provide additional links and resources for those who are interested.
  • We encourage all discussions to be done in the private workshop group area, so that people can learn from each other.
  • We try to find ways to help each person as issues arise in the conversations. Without these conversations, we would not be able to help in an informed way.
  • For those attending this workshop, the more they give, the more they will get.

 

I have assembled these links here as an ongoing consideration of issues to be addressed in the formulation of a SOOC that will be available in November on the OpenLearning platform.

As I was about to post this I received an alert to two posts by Paul Montgomery for the Kinetic-Athlete blog:

 

Paul’s insights were another boost to my interest in open sharing and his posts will make a great resource for the SOOC. Which takes me neatly back to Slide 14  ” Learners expected to create, grow, expand domain and share personal sensemaking through artifact-creation”.

 

Photo Credits

It was a windy day

Windy day ahead

A windy day indeed


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Thinking about a SOOC

Yesterday I wrote to a number of colleagues to enquire about their willingness to be involved in a Small Open Online Course (SOOC).

The SOOC I have in mind is an introduction to the Observation and Analysis of Performance in Sport.

I am clear that it is a SOOC rather than a MOOC.

A lead from Stephen Downes in today’s OLDaily has helped me think more about the essence of the SOOC I am proposing. Stephen linked to Jim Shimabukuro’s post A Sign of How MOOCs Will Impact Colleges (11 August).

Jim concludes his post with a consideration of the transformational potential of MOOCs:

The promise of MOOCs is their inclusion in the creative design of individual programs of study for degrees and certificates, and the force that will drive it is the most intimate, natural, and informal sort of dialogue that transpires between teacher and student. In this scenario, the teacher becomes guide, advisor, and facilitator; and the student, an active participant in the planning. Together, they will explore all the learning resources in the world to generate an individualized plan that meets the student’s goals and the college’s standards.

I am hopeful that the SOOC I am proposing will articulate with a formal qualification framework. I am very keen to learn more about open badges and how they can be integrated in the process (I think Erin Knight provides an excellent insight into these opportunities and David Wiley a great example of how it does work).

Jim’s post led me to a delightful post by Laura Pasquini (28 July) Online Learning: More Than Just a MOOC. I am sorry I missed its posting late last month. In her post Laura shares and points to some great resources. I liked her observation that:

I enjoy engaging in PD to improve my skills and add to my knowledge repertoire. Across various personal and professional spheres, I have learned a great deal at formal conferences, workshops and education sessions; however, I am also proud to say I learn a great deal from my informal training and development environments that are primarily cultivated online. I think that MOOCs provide a set time period for professionals to learn about a specific topic and engage with others in a similar informal fashion. What is neat about this classroom is, that although the course might end, your network and learning artifacts continue to thrive outside the specific learning environment. (My emphasis)

Laura was a participant in CCK09 and she had the opportunity to meet many of the people I had met on CCK08. I have had the same experience of thriving outside a specific learning environment and empathise completely with Laura’s sentiments.

This morning’s visits to Stephen, Jim and Laura have helped me think more carefully about the SOOC that might connect a community of practice. I am thinking that the connections we can have through a SOOC can be strong if they are built on an intrinsic interest in learning.

Photo Credit

Souq


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Integrity and Presentation

Last month I posted about blogging as a scholarly activity.

I linked to Stephen Downes’ observations about blogging including the point that “blogs have a readership to which you have to be accountable”. I liked Stephen’s suggestion that “a blog is not a single blog post, it is a totality of blog posts, with a myriad of purposes, all blended together”.

Earlier this week I wrote about accidental reading and the role of editors. That post was prompted by a Radio National discussion about changes in reading habits. I mentioned the program trail that asked “Is the switch to a more visual medium just an aesthetic shift or is it part of a broader trend of simplifying our knowledge base?”

This morning I received an alert to Kent Anderson’s post, Data Integrity and Presentation – Journalism, Verfication, Skepticism and the Age of Haste, in The Scholarly Kitchen. In his post Kent looks in detail at an Atlantic post about PLoS One browsing metrics and access. At the time I accessed Kent’s post there was a vibrant discussion taking place in the Comments section.

In his post Kent observes “We’re in a data-driven era, and we need to become better at presenting, analyzing, critiquing, and drawing conclusions from data”. His exhortation took me back to Scott Flemming‘s thoughtful comments on blogging as a scholarly activity. I share with him a desire for rigour and quality assurance in blogging that seeks to advance scholarly debate away from formal peer review processes.

Kent’s post took me back to a course I attended at the London School of Economics in the early 1980s. The course was titled Deciphering Sociological Research and was taught by Gerry Rose. In that course Gerry sought to encourage forensic insight into reading published papers. I thought it was an excellent introduction to veracity and validity.

My juxtaposition of these sources and experiences is a way for me to develop my own thinking about integrity in the presentation and sharing of ideas. I have used two of my trusted sources (Stephen and Kent) and insights gained from an outstanding teacher.

I am an inveterate sharer and realise that the act of sharing has responsibility and accountability. I do find blogging a wonderful way of sharing these ideas transparently and aspiring to bisociative vision.

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Cross Referencing