One of Those Connecting Days

12/19/2013

IMG_0398I was out on fire duty yesterday.

There had been a lightning strike in remote country. Two Rural Fire Brigades worked together to contain the fire. During the day I was tasked to work with colleagues from another brigade. We spent the day working collaboratively within a clear hierarchical command structure. We stayed in touch by radio throughout the day.

I had opportunities to use my initiative but for most of the time was under direct command.

Reflecting on the day prompted me to think about my personal learning environment.

Of late I have tended to work cooperatively rather than collaboratively in my pursuit of open education. My interests in content aggregation and curation have accelerated my cooperative approach.

Some excellent links through Paper.Li today helped me to extend my reflection.

First up, I followed a lead from Stephen Downes to Wayne Mackintosh’s report of the progress of OERu. I like the choice of WikiEducator for OERu information. The Introduction to the wiki has this statement:

The OER university is an innovation partnership of like-minded institutions committed to creating pathways for OER learners to gain academic credit through the formal education system. As such we use the lowercase “u” to refer to the OER university collaboration. The OER university is not a formal teaching institution and does not confer degrees or qualifications — but works in partnership with accredited educational institutions to provide credit for OER learning on the pathway to awarding credible credentials.

Wayne reports on the launch of the OERu at an event held at Thompson Rivers University (31 October and 1 November). I admire and support unequivocally the OERu approach founded upon “community of scholars returning to the core values of education, namely to share knowledge freely”.

After finishing this news, I found Brian Kelly’s post about a Workshop Session at the #DAAD2013 Conference, “Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research Activities”. The slides Brian used in his Workshop  are available on Slideshare. I noticed that Brian used Jessie Daniels’ blog post From Tweet to Blog Post to Peer-Reviewed Article: How to be a Scholar Now.

A link in Brian’s post took me back to his Workshop earlier this year (June) on Managing a Research Profile. In it he considers the merits of alternative metrics of scholarly productivity and standing. Revisiting the Workshop resources has encouraged me to improve the way I plan and support my workshops.

After Brian, I found Ben Betts. Ben posted earlier this week about Curation in Learning. Given my fascination with curation, I thought Ben’s post was a perfect read.

This was a framework he shared in his post to discuss how curation is being used by individuals and organisations.

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I have signed up for the mini MOOC course mentioned in Ben’s post.

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From Ben I moved on to Maryellen Weimer’s post Why I Blog. Maryellen’s was motivated was to follow up on Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson’s paper in Studies in Higher Education, Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges.

Maryellen endorses “the move to make work on teaching and learning scholarly, to make it intellectually rich, to hold it to high standards” but she questions if “journal articles and books (are) the only acceptable forms of scholarship”. I enjoyed discussion of the affordances of new forms of communication. She asks “Have we even started talking about the best way to shape and form these new ways of communicating so that they meet our needs for information, ideas, and inspiration and still uphold the high standards we all endorse?”.

My next reading item today was Heather McCabe’s discussion of students as producers of content. News of events in UBC’s Flexible Learning Initiative include the encouragement given to students to develop learning content. I find this co-creation immensely powerful. I have tended to use Axel Bruns’ term produser to describe the ways learners use and produce resources.

Heather shares a number of examples of students acting as producers. I enjoyed reading about David Vogt’s local open online course (a LOOC)  Become Digital that helps students “acquire, maintain, refine and promote your digital literacy skills.” The course “is a deliberate experiment in ‘networked participatory scholarship’: a course that is collectively, continuously created and refreshed by its learners.” The course is open to all members of the UBC community.

I find this ‘networked participatory scholarship’ intuitively attractive. It has immense potential to transform learning and to contribute decisively to  Maryellen’s ‘new ways of communicating’.

My last reading of the day added to my transformation theme. Lisa Johnson discussed the SAMR model and her visit to some Ruben Puentedura workshops. She presents this graphic for the SAMR model:

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I was particularly interested in Lisa’s mention of curiosity amplifiers. This is a slide from one of Ruben’s workshops:

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The delightful mix of readings today has added to my interest in finding ways to share stories in open access communities. I am very aware that I must be sensitive to the contexts in which this can occur and be prepared to discuss with others how engaging in these open environments are not a threat but an opportunity to extend the stories we share.

Fascinating where reflection on fire duty and personal learning environments can take you. In this case I think there is smoke and fire.

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