Writing a SOOC

It is a month until the Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport small open online course (SOOC) commences on the Open Learning platform.

I am delighted that we have assembled a remarkable group of course administrators. Adam Brimo at Open Learning has made the process very easy.

With friends in the United Kingdom we should be able to support the course for the whole month as a 24 hour forum. If not there should be just a very short change over period.

I hope to spend much of the month facilitating the course, which, given its non-linear nature, should be an exciting time. We are still working through some ideas around Open Badges for the course and my own thinking at present is to acknowledge peripheral participation (following the course) and to have a separate badge for engagement in the course. Open Learning has a karma measure that might help with the engagement badge. I am thinking that cooperation will be an important attribute too … and sharing. (Erin Knight provides an excellent insight into these opportunities and David Wiley offers a great example of how it does work).

I will need to look carefully at the Iconic open icon resource.

The people who will help me make these decisions will be the course administrators and Adam Brimo. The administrators are:

Adam Cullinane

Adam Hewitt

Alexis Lebedew

Chris Barnes

Danny Munnerley

Darrell Cobner

Mark Davies

Mark Upton

Matt Bacon

Robert Fitzgerald

Tania Churchll

Together we will be developing a five-part course that comprises:

* Connecting and Sharing

* Observing Performance

* Visualising Data

* Knowledge Discovery

* Augmented Reality

The proposal is that all participants look at the Connecting and Sharing module in the first week to establish a framework for using the Open Learning platform. Thereafter all modules are available for access in whatever order participants think appropriate to their interests and needs.

I have no doubt this will be messy and disruptive. But it is the first SOOC offered at an introductory level that has the potential to develop a polysemic experience.

Photo Credit

Crowded

Open for Learning

I have been thinking about open learning for some time.

The open online course CCK08 accelerated and focused my interest.

Since that course Stephen Downes’ OLDaily has nourished my thinking. (See for example his link to Jenny Mackness’s post today, The place of ‘the teacher’ in relation to open content.)

News of Sebastian Thrun’s development of Udacity (“We believe university-level education can be both high quality and low cost”) has added to my interest as did the video of his talk at DLD. (See this update.)

Matt Welsh ponders the “failings of the conventional higher education model for a minute and see where this leads us, and consider whether something like Udacity is really the solution”. Matt looks at three failings of ‘conventional’ universities: exclusivity; grades; lectures. Matt suggests that online universities bring to the table: broadening access to higher education; and leveraging technology to explore new approaches to learning. He observes that:

The real question is whether broadening access ends up reinforcing the educational caste system: if you’re not smart or rich enough to go to a “real university,” you become one of those poor, second-class students with a certificate Online U. Would employers or graduate schools ever consider such a certificate, where everyone makes an A+, equivalent to an artium baccalaureus from the Ivy League school of your choice?

I have been wondering how to offer sufficient rich experience to overcome the value laden and static nature of education credits. My aspiration is to encourage a collaborative approach to sharing and learning that personalises everyone’s learning environment and journey.

At present I am thinking about four stages in Open for Learning:

  • Invitation
  • Provocation
  • Transformation
  • Realisation

I have been wondering too about all this work being shared through Open Access, Creative Commons licensed material.

Participants in this Open for Learning model would:

  • Choose their level of entry
  • Follow any course without charge at whatever pace they wished
  • Decide whether they would like formal credit after successful completion of the course
  • Pay an affordable fee for a credit to add to their portfolio

My aspiration is for all these learning opportunities to have a fractal quality. Each learning opportunity would be scalable but would contain the principles of all other opportunities, particularly as learners moved to the realisation phase.

I see enormous benefits of using work integrated learning models for Open for Learning and I am particularly interested in the recognition of prior learning.

I liked Matt Walsh’s observation about grades:

Can someone remind me why we still have grades? I like what Sebastian says (quoting Salman Khan) about learning to ride a bicycle: It’s not as if you get a D learning to ride a bike, then you stop and move onto learning the unicycle. Shouldn’t the goal of every course be to get every student to the point of making an A+?

In my thinking getting an A+ grade is not a chronological event. It is, I believe, a kairological experience.

Just as I was completing this post I noticed this ABC post about homeschooling:

As a new school year begins, more than 50,000 Australian children will be home-schooled and in most cases, their parents are doing it illegally. It is compulsory to send children between the ages of six and 16 to school, or register them for home schooling, but more parents are opting out of the traditional school system and keeping their children at home. However, thousands of parents across the country are not registered and that means they potentially face prosecution.

I wondered what would happen if wherever we learned we were at home and overwhelmed by the interest someone took in us as a learner rather than a commodity.

Photo Credits

Primer in the Classroom

Private Wallace Tratford arrives home on leave

Edging to Open Learning in Open Spaces

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ballarat to discuss Edgeless Challenges and Opportunities. I have been thinking a great deal about learning spaces and the function (rather than the form) of the university of late. In part these thoughts have been stimulated by the University of Canberra’s development of teaching and learning commons.

This week I have been overwhelmed by the number of connections I am finding in relation to open learning and sharing. Some of these connections include:

many universities have an educational technology department that is focused on PD. Research institutes devoted to understanding the intersection of education, technology, systemic reform, and pedagogy are less rare. Several years ago, Phil Long (CEIT) and I discussed the need for a collaborative network of research labs/academies/institutes that were focused on researching learning technologies, not solely on driving institutional adoption. Perhaps it’s time to revisit that idea.

  • Discovering A.K.M. Maksud’s 2006 paper The Nomadic Bede Community And Their Mobile School Program after listening to an interview with Irene Khan. Boat schools bring a different perspective on edgeless learning opportunities and mobile learners. (Sharing this paper with a colleague brought me Simon Shum and Alexandra Okada’s paper Knowledge Cartography for Open Sensemaking Communities (2008) from the Journal of Interactive Media in Education and from another colleague Kenn Fisher’s discussion of Mode 3 Learning: The Campus as Thirdspace.)

  • Finding Cisco’s paper (June 2010) on Hyperconnectivity through a Diigo link. Hyperconnectivity is defined as:

active multitasking on one hand, and passive networking on the other. Passive networking consists largely of background streaming and downloading. Ambient video (nannycams, petcams, home security cams, and other persistent video streams) is an element of passive networking that opens up the possibility for the number of video minutes crossing the network to greatly exceed the number of video minutes actually watched by consumers.

  • In the past year, the Cisco paper notes that:

it has become clear that visual networking applications are often used concurrently with other applications and sometimes even other visual networking applications, as the visual network becomes a persistent backdrop that remains “on” while the user multitasks or is engaged elsewhere. This trend accompanies what is sometimes called the widgetization of Internet and TV, as network traffic expands beyond the borders of the browser window and the confines of the PC.

Traditional approaches to community regeneration which define communities in solely geographic terms have severe limitations. They often failed to deliver on key social capital improvements such as improving trust between residents or fostering a greater sense of belonging.

In this report we argue for a new approach to community regeneration, based on an understanding of the importance of social networks, such an approach has the potential to bring about significant improvements in efforts to combat isolation and to support the development of resilient and empowered communities.

  • Noting in Harold Jarche’s post Innovation through network learning that he now takes for granted his “network learning processes, using social bookmarking; blogging and tweeting, and these habits make collaboration much easier”. He observes that:

However, these habits and practices have taken several years to develop and may not come easily to many workers. One difficult aspect of adopting network learning in an organization is that it’s personal. If not, it doesn’t work. Everybody has to develop their own methods, though there are frameworks and ideas that can help.

All this before I started exploring the treasure trove that arrives in my in box each day from Stephen Downes! Early on in the week I noted Stephen’s comment on Education and the Social Web: “A theory of connections can’t be just about forming connections; it has to be about the organization, shape and design of networks of connection, patterns of connectivity. And to me, this means that we need to design learning systems to meet personal, not political, social or commercial, objectives.” Later in the week in a discussion of two MOOC posts, Stephen suggests that: “It’s about attitude and approach. If you’re looking for someone to tell you how it works, you will find a MOOC confusing and frustrating. But if you take responsibility for your own learning, you will find any connection in a MOOC either an opportunity to teach or an opportunity to learn. No instructions necessary.”

This week has underscored for me the rich possibilities that can occur in shared spaces. My thoughts keep returning to Dharavi and the opportunities for personal wayfinding in shared spaces that afford a collective, connected experience too. I am very hopeful that the University of Canberra’s Commons ideas can stimulate innovative use of place, space and time and lead to an exciting edgy practice.

Photo Credits

Kaptai Lake

Hole in Wall

Moodle on the Move

Postscript

A day after posting this I received a link to a delightful flash mob video. I wondered if open learning spaces might stimulate this kind of event.

Other Links

2nd Annual Learning Commons Development and Design Forum, 30-31 March 2011, Brisbane.

  • Learning Commons strategy and organisational structures
  • Planning and design
  • Case studies and best practices
  • Digital information and technologies
  • Online resources