ET al

2910259262_117e5f260f_bI am fascinated by collective nouns.

I like the idea of: a congregation of alligators; a shrewdness of apes; a blush of boys; a rabble of butterflies; a fling of dunlins;  and a convocation of eagles. I do get confused about these nouns, however. Goldfinches charm, hippopotamuses bloat and jays scold. There is a fluther of jellyfish and an exaltation of larks. I am delighted that owls meet in a parliament.

I have been wondering whether there is a collective noun for massive open online courses. At present, given the diversity and availability of these courses, perhaps there is a flourishing of MOOCs or a pandemonium, or a murmation.

Whatever the noun might be, there are some wonderful resources emerging. #ETMOOC is in the midst of Topic 1 at the moment. I liked Alec’s summary. He gave me a lead to a lot of resources including Sue Waters’ discussion of staying connected. I think Sue writes with a delightful synoptic vision and whenever I read her work I do think of the power of connectivism.

Elsewhere, I am mindful that Stephen Downes is guiding me daily through this flourishing of MOOCs. I enjoyed his link to a post by Mike Caulfield, MOOCs and Textbooks Will End Up Courseware. Mike observes “the best way to think of a MOOC isn’t really as a class brought to your doorstep — it’s more a textbook with ambitions”. (He is referring particular to xMOOCs, I believe.) He notes that this shift “marks a shift from the class seen as an event to the class seen as a designed (and somewhat replicable) learning environment”.

He adds that this shift:

subverts traditional divisions of labor, and has the potential to radically change what we mean by education.  It will force us to understand the physical classroom as a learning environment as well (albeit a different one) much as the emergence of recorded music created the conception of live music.

2930524407_775fe499dd_oI followed up on an earlier post by Mike as a result of Stephen’s link. In that post Mike discusses a centralised course with distributed sections. I liked Alan Levine’s comment on this post and Mike’s reply.  I noticed that Bon Stewart had commented too. The post and the comments resonate with work underway in Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.

Sue’s views on connecting within and between communities prompted me to think about backchannels and assessment (constructive alignment). I had been thinking about Silvia’s a modern classroom and Greg Miller‘s discussion of a 21st-century-skills-report-card. By good fortune, Richard Byrne has been writing about Classroom Backchannels and Informal Assessment Tools. He shares an excellent 32 page PDF of ideas and directions (available from the blog post). Richard is another person whose energy and openness I admire. I am always pleased when one of his tweets appears in Paper.Li. I am going to follow up on his links to Today’s Meet and Socrative.

I am mindful too that I need to develop the community skills that Jane Hart is sharing in her Online Communities workshop this month. I had better add gamification to my list too following Tina Barseghian’s post.

My reading today ended with an Evernote from David Thornburg shared by web20classroom via Twitter. David recalls Marshall McLuhan’s observation that “It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame”. He adds that according to Marshall McLuhan  each new technology does four things:

  • Creates something new
  • Obsoletes something old
  • Rekindles something from the past
  • Flips into something new (and sets the stage for its own destruction)
Given what is going on at the moment and with my appetite for exploring these opportunities perhaps the collective noun for MOOCs I am seeking is a busyness of MOOCs.
Photo Credits
Dunlins (Sergey Yeliseev, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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

Courosity: Open Scholarship and Connected Learning

I received my OLDaily early this morning.

Reading Stephen Downes‘ posts is an important marker in my day.

This morning Stephen connected me to Alec Couros.

I have been following Alec’s work since my involvement in CCK08 but had not seen his Plymouth presentation.

I think it is a wonderful exposition of open scholarship and connected learning. These are two areas of great interest to me.

By coincidence I presented some ideas yesterday about Connecting to a group of visiting students at the University of Canberra.

This is my SlideCast (2 minutes 46 seconds).