Peter Copeman is facilitating a Teaching and Learning workshop (eBreakthrough – Expanding Your eLearning Horizons) on Thursday, 28 May at the University of Canberra.

The workshop description is intended for members of staff who want to discover more ways to help students learn more effectively through the use of e-learning tools and platforms.

The workshop will provide exposure to a range of ideas and tools intended to extend pedagogical and technological horizons.

It will include sharing examples of practice from University staff involved in eLearning. Peter has asked if I would contribute to the workshop. I am delighted to do so and am really pleased to be invited.

I have prepared a Google Slides presentation for the workshop. It is available here. There are some speaker notes with the slides. I am hopeful that the images I am using from the Nationaal Archief will stimulate discussion.

These include:

How I felt after participating in CCK08

What it feels like to plan and lead an open online course


And the joy of working together to transform obstacles into opportunities.


The introductory picture to this post is meant to convey the delight at the end of an open course.

My approach to ePedagogy has been defined by my participation in CCK08 and subsequent opportunities to learn from many of those involved in that course.

It has been transformed too by my interest in correspondence as an essential component of shared learning environments. I was particularly interested in the way Stanford’s Republic of Letters project affirmed that:

The fundamentals of innovative thought haven’t changed since the 18th Century – it’s always been aggregate, filter and connect.

The great thinkers of earlier times corresponded extensively because it helped them aggregate information from a wide variety of disciplines and sources.

Once they did this, they had to be skilled at filtering the data to figure out what was useful, and then they had to connect up the filtered data to create innovative ideas.

And, of course, once they had the great ideas, they had to execute them, and then get them to spread. Even though the media that transmits the data to us are different now, aside from that, not much has changed.

I am hopeful that the point about the execution of ideas will link with Peter’s plans for the workshop. He has suggested to participants:

Exactly what else is explored will be driven as far as possible by the participants (surveyed on registration), but could include: effective online discussions; diagnostic, formative and summative assessment; alternative writing and media formats; group and peer-to peer collaborative opportunities; simulations; and peer feedback.

I will conclude my presentation with my thoughts on the concierge role we can play in supporting personal learning journeys … inspired by developments at the Tsutaya Bookstore in Tokyo.


I am looking forward to the conversations we might have about these images as triggers for eMerging pedagogy reflections and prospects.

Photo Credits

The first tour of France (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

No help for Giusto Cerutti (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

Buysse passing a cow (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

Cyclists climbing over closed railway crossing (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restriction)

The Tsutaya Experience (Indesignlive Singapore)



While Steve Gerrard was preparing for his final home game at Anfield, another long-term career was coming to a fitting end in Cardiff a few hundred miles away.

Dave Cobner received an award for Outstanding Services to Welsh Sport at the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame‘s 26th Roll of Honour dinner at the SWALEC Stadium.

Only two people in the history of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame have received the honour bestowed on Dave. All three have the distinction of being regarded as honourary Welshman. In Dave’s case, his Cornsish ancestry stands him in good stead.

Rhodri Morgan read out Dave’s citation:

Every now and then we come across a compelling case of someone who has provided outstanding service to Welsh Sport that might not merit inclusion on our exclusive Roll of Honour, but we feel certainly needs to be recognised.

Tonight we are delighted to announce that we have uncovered a servant for the greater good of Welsh sport as a whole whose name we shall be adding to those of Lord Jack Brookes and Ceri O’Donnell who we have honoured in this way in the past.

Where to start is the thing. Maybe as far back as the seventies I suppose because that is when our special recipient first began lecturing here in Cardiff. Since then tens of thousands of students have come under his influence in his various guises at what is now Cardiff Metropolitan University.

For the past 37 years he has lectured, inspired and fought for better facilities for his students. Countless champions from a whole array of sports have benefitted from his tireless work.

Last week he received a standing ovation from the Cardiff Met School of Sport students representing sports from cheerleading to trampolining, swimming to lacrosse, football to triathlon. It was the 37th annual sports award evening – he organised the first and has attended every one.

It was a moving occasion for everyone involved. His commitment to sport at the University and beyond is incredible and the partnerships he has struck with local authorities and governing bodies have been innovative, ground breaking and of great benefit.

Dave received his award from Lynn Davies and Richard Tong.

I had the good fortune to work with Dave from 1991 to 2002. This amounts to less than a third of his time at an institution that has changed names many times in Dave’s tenure. He links the Cardiff College of the 1970s with the Cardiff Met of the second decade of the 21st century.

It is remarkable that someone can give service for thirty-seven years and do so with increasing energy. Dave has facilitated and overseen incredible infrastructure and governance changes that most would find difficult to comprehend. All this seemed natural to him.

Whilst I am in awe of Dave’s achievements as an administrator, I would like to pay particular tribute to him as a teacher and coach. I do hope he will not be offended by me calling him one of the expert pedagogues of his generation.

Dave’s understanding of people and his ability to put them at ease are very special qualities. He has been the custos of an educational tradition at Cyncoed that has been made possible by his, and other colleagues’, commitment to a one institution career.

Some people have questioned whether there will ever be another 700+ game, single club player in professional football. I think the same question arises in Dave’s case with regard to his service.

In his professional lifetime, he has exemplified a polymath ability that will become rarer in higher education. We will all be the poorer for the absence of a Dave Cobner in our lives.

Gans gorhemynadow a’n gwella, Dave.


Space for Personal Learning

A drone camera, a Tokyo bookshop and a line from a Moncton newsletter combine in this post to support a discussion about personal learning spaces.

Each of these items found me rather than me finding them. The camera was an alert from my son, Sam. The bookshop came from recommendations on Medium and the Moncton news came courtesy of Stephen Downes’ OLDaily.

The camera is made by Lily and is described as the world’s first throw and shoot camera (a change from point and click). This is a short video about the camera

This takes GoPro-like capability to a new level, I think. Lily’s potential resonates with my interest in Peter Dowrick‘s work on video self-modelling. I can imagine many possibilities for combining the vision from the camera with personal learning opportunities.

In a 2012 paper, Peter observes:

The most rapid learning by humans can be achieved by mental simulations of future events, based on reconfigured preexisting component skills. These reconsiderations of learning from the future, emphasizing learning from oneself, have coincided with developments in neurocognitive theories of mirror neurons and mental time travel.

The versatility of the Lily camera offers learners different perspectives on learning spaces, that include physical locations and epistemological foundations.


Tom Downey has written about the Tsutaya store, in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo … “ a place where browsing, reading, and buying books and magazines is a popular and pleasurable experience”. His post is illustrated with some lavish pictures of the store.

He notes:

    • “The T-Site store has done more than just amass a formidable collection of books and magazines: it has also figured out how to celebrate the physicality of writing and reading.”
    • “On one of my trips to Tsutaya, I asked a clerk a question about a food periodical and was referred to the “Food Book Concierge.” His comprehensive knowledge of the entire food collection, both books and back issues of magazines, reminded me of the librarians of my childhood, who served as intellectual mentors to an annoyingly curious kid.”
    • “Paging through the magazines sold here helped me understand more about why Japan still venerates print. The magazine section — designed to display not just current, but also back issues — stretches through three of the store’s interconnected buildings, as well as spreading out across several tables, and is almost always mobbed.”
    • “Though I appreciate the way in which digital culture can direct me towards what I might like — targeted ads notwithstanding — it’s much more satisfying, here, simply to roam. Tsutaya’s layout creates the possibility of fortuitous encounters that you would never have planned or anticipated.”

Tom’s thick description of the store as a personal experience positioned me to enjoy the nuance of Stephen Downes’ discussion of Malcolm Brown, Joanne Dehoney and Nancy Millichap’s (2015) paper on The Next Generation Learning Environment. Stephen suggests that discussions of these environments should look carefully at the individual, their community, their specific learning context and how these are nourished by cooperation.


I was delighted to learn that the Tsutaya store uses concierges in each section of the store. Tom wrote of his encounter with one of these concierges:

speaking with Tsutaya’s expert reminded me just how important — and enjoyable — it is to add a human perspective. He made connections between ideas I mentioned and stories he’d read in older periodicals (which the store still stocked). And he immediately grasped a concept, about a certain kind of innovation in Japanese cuisine, that had been difficult to define through online searches. Yes, he used his computer to flesh out these ideas, and to locate sources; but I would never have found them without his input.

His observations took me back to Alan Levine’s discussion of structured exposure and pedagogical technologists. They reminded me too of Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith’s (2009) thoughts on stewardship in a digital age.

I am passionate about the opportunities afforded by open access digital resources. I am passionate too about the role people play in facilitating discussion of these resources.

The combination of both in spaces like the Tsutaya store make this a very powerful experience. In recent years I have worked only in public spaces. My experiences in these spaces has encouraged me to think about being a better concierge in sustainable spaces for personal learning.

I wonder what I might learn from a Lily view of my time in these spaces.

Photo Credits

The Tsutaya Experience (Indesignlive Singapore)

Dharavi (Ishan Khosla, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)