April 24, 2013

H817 Activity 21 How technology and pedagogy inter-relate

  • Task: discuss the relationship between technology and pedagogic theory and practice, drawing on your own context and experience.

In this Activity I actually used the Forum in the Open Education site!!! Most of it can be found there: http://bit.ly/ZNvUfB 

In brief, I think that the missing component on this discussion is DESIGN! I see this complex relationship more like this:

  • The focus of this week then is on the types of technology that support open education
This is mentioned at the bottom of Week 6 but then what? This seems to be disconnected from the main content of this week. However there was some interesting discussion on iPads and how the desire to 'have' is driving the 'how we use' this technology. Harking back to the Digital Cultures MOOC (EDCMOOC) that I completed, I can see this as part of our humanness....our desire to have new toys. I see this in a Developing Country context with the desire to have the mobile smart phone not really related to the ability to use it with regular access to the mobile network. A child will love something new, play with it, figure out how parts of it work and then either discard (not useful now) or love it (use it and discover new things). There has been quite a bit of writing on iPads/tablets and children. I'm an involved and interested but just sitting as a spectator at the moment with my 2+ yr old boy. Sometimes I'm just in awe of this Digital Native and trying to think what technology he will be using post-secondary and how he will be learning and how open education might be! I love that moment when he reaches out to touch the screen of the desk-bound PC and is cross because it's not reacting to his touch!

Creative Commons License
MOOC design circle by Wentalearn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

April 16, 2013

H817 Activity 14: Comparing MOOCs

The task:
Compare either DS106 or the Change MOOC with offerings from Udacity or Coursera .
Write a post comparing the courses with regards to Technology, Pedagogy and general approach.

My approach here has been to read my peer's writings for this activity. This has given me a better insight to possible interpretations of this task. What I've shown below is some factors that I have not seen highlighted in other posts.


Managed through their own website, there is a component menu that shows the different technologies used in this MOOC. For example there is an Assignment Bank. This is past and present students work. On some of these works there is also a "REMIX" button which immediately allows you to access the work and build/remix and reuse the work in some format.
    Couldn't find formation  for the technology used behind this MOOC.
        Coursera provides all the technology and then the Universities can come and overlay their course onto this platform. Video and audio links are common. For the EDCMOOC that I completed (yep, I finished it!) there was the ability to submit work and then get allocated peer review work. The completion of peer review then allowed you to gain access to your own reviews.
          This site also has something called "signature tracks" which allows someone to create a biometric profile, pay a small fee and get a certified bit of paper from the participating institution. This is the first instance where I have seen a "typing profile" used for identification purposes. They claim that the combination of typing speed and the speed of pressing the keys (no tablets, touch screens allowed!) is unique to the person.


          The MOOC is setup as a website with menus at the top and different areas to go to. This course or series of activities is definitely in the connectivist camp. It has ongoing features of the course like the digital radio station that are participants creating works and making them available through this forum. Students can come and go as they like but there are defined start times for this course.

                There is a whole page dedicated to this https://www.coursera.org/about/pedagogy but just to summarise:
                • online learning can be as effective as f2f
                • a blend of these two are more effective than either alone
                • the reason for activities or 'homework' is for the student to drive learning not for assessment
                • Mastery Learning is a concept of immediate feedback and ability to re-attempt activities to 'get it right' 
                • peer assessment is used for material that does not lend itself to computer checking. this is done via training in a grading rubric and then multiple peer reviews to get an 'accurate' mark.
                Not sure I saw Mastery Learning demonstrated in EDCMOOC. The immediate feedback was from my peers and it was usually in the form 'well done, there are many ways to get it right'. The peer review process was also perhaps not quite accurate with 3 peer reviews giving a mark of 0, 1 or 2 and then getting an average of that. The wording on the certificate was then matched to the final score. 

                general approach and philosophy

                One of the links on this page is "Advice from Students". The general approach is to have students advise other students and this is cloaked in "pay it forward" kind of concept.
                You can click the "Try the Assignments" but right next door is "Create an assignment". This is a great example of Teacher/Student (Teachent)  in practise and presumably working given the student examples that are available for viewing.

                    The courses are listed with the name of the providing university first. This is an indication that the material is controlled and only certain Universities have their course material here. The About page says "We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. " .It's a business! Their approach to biometric ID's is perhaps one step towards the 'making money' out of free education.  The philosophy seems sound to want to provide long-term retention of material and improve the lives of people by access to this education and improve communities. Time will tell!

                    April 11, 2013

                    H817 Activity 12 - Releasing the Trap

                    Watching this interview from Activity 12 in this Course I realised that I'd fallen into a traditional learning trap!

                    Here I was thinking about the Activities like 1,2,3----oh no I haven't done 10---so I can't do 12. (left hand side) when I realised I could see them any which way I wanted! The Open University structure on the page is very much left hand drive, top to bottom. This type of training hardly lets the brain think outside of this square. But I can see the Activities as having a different relationship to my experience, interests and what I want to achieve from this Open Course. They are all different flavoured jelly-beans. I'm encouraging myself to see them in that light. Now I feel motivated to crack on! I can do whatever Activity I like, when I like and how I like! In that way I can keep on learning instead of feeling stuck or ....horror.... behind or ...missing the point. Now I can progress on my terms rather than let this stodgy, annoying website structure get in the way! That's the MOOC way.

                    H817 Activity 9: CC Licensing

                    To license this blog I would go for
                    I like that they have a "Human Readable Summary" of the details of this licence here:

                    BY - acknowledge my name
                    ND - No derivative works (You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.)

                    Mainly to protect my poetry on this page....I would prefer to have no derivatives of these. They can be used as inspiration for other creative works. I'm interested in the interpretation of "build upon". I think any assumptions behind the intent of the license needs to be specified underneath the license code.

                    For blogs in the future I would consider CC BY only. I think the idea of having different CC licensing for different parts of the blog is also great and suits the flexibility of the content of some blogs.

                    April 9, 2013

                    H817 Activity 8: An OER course

                    H817 Activity 8

                    For this activity we were asked to
                    "constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week."

                    WRITING AND READING MUSIC (Shown in Glogster)

                    My Course has the following parameters:
                    Learner: post-secondary or undergraduate
                    Length of course: 5 weeks
                    Study hours per week: this may be more than 6 hours as I did not look into great detail in each course. Week 2 and 3 are more post graduate level and more extensive. I selected different courses as an example of the OERs available, rather than the time frame to complete each one.
                    Digital Skill: This is included in week 5 but found that a purely "digital skill" was a bit restrictive for this activity. Took a bit of MOOC-license here and expanded this.
                    Suggested Repositories:
                    Discusion: I did change what I wanted to teach! I was blown away by the amount of material that was available. I initially started off with Computer Basics but did not find the basic material that I was looking for. Only much more complicated material about computer programming. However the wealth of material around learning music, writing music, publishing music was amazing and I've got a whole list of bookmarks to check out! I definitely think that OERs are suitable for this subject and there is a lot of different angles that can be taken.

                    April 7, 2013

                    H817 Activity 7: Issues with OERs.

                    Three key issues in OER based on selected readings from http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/3487/references
                    Hylén, J. & Schuller, T., 2007. Giving knowledge for free. OECD Observer, 263. http://www.oecd.org/document41/0,3343,en_2649_35845581_38659497_1_1_1_1,00.html

                    Hatakka, M. (2009), ‘Build it and they will come? – Inhibiting factors for reuse of open content in developing countries’, in EJISDC - The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 37, n. 5, pp. 1-16 http://www.ejisdc.org/ojs2/index.php/ejisdc/article/view/545/279

                    Using OER in Developing Countries or Least Developed Countries at any level of education.
                    KEY ISSUE 1: Localisation of OER material
                    Language is a big issue. I found that while I was working in a country with three official language, one being English, using English resources still required some interpretation. Support was required for the resources to be used effectively. Most of the people I worked with had 3-4 languages. If English was 3rd or 4th then there required a fair bit of translation of the OER into the language that the client was more proficient in.
                    While you can say somebody using a Microsoft operating system should be able to use Microsoft Open Resources, the language used in these resources is quite often prohibitive to the learner. The message could be transmitted much simplier using a cut-down version of the original OER.
                    This article mentions the “style of language” rather than the actual words used. The Style of Microsoft training material can be quite formal and unnecessarily verbose. This can be quite a barrier to a novice user and most users will stop using the material if there is no other support available.

                    KEY ISSUE 2: Lack of Infrastructure
                    Internet access in urban areas may be more available and faster versus more rural areas or other islands within a country. While it might be tempting by an outsider to say that the OER should be used across all areas the reality might be that it is only practical to use it with fast and reliable internet and hence parts of the organisation may take much longer to access it or miss out all together.  
                    Lightweight content (does not use much bandwidth) might be more attractive to use but may not have the level of pedagogy sophistication that could be required in the area of study. This then brings the challenge of again using specialist labour to build the content to a sufficient standard.
                    Hardware – older computers, sufficient to run very basic tasks, struggle with the load of OER that were not downloadable but run online. It then may be more attractive for the students to use older, existing paper-based resources to save the hassle of downloading.
                    Software – while a basic browser and flash program might be reasonable to expect, it required a base level of software that in some developing countries is part of the learning curve of managing a network and not a reality.

                    KEY ISSUE 3: Finding, Promoting and Encouraging Use of OER (or is that three issues?)
                    Finding: This often requires a person with specialised knowledge and ability to use search engines. In a Developing Country this usually means that a consultant has been made available to the section of Government or Community to find the resource.
                    Promoting: Again this usually falls into the lap of the person finding the OER. Although the original requirement has come from the overarching organisation, the promotion activities are specialised and need to be conducted in the correct cultural and organisational perspective to get the buy-in of the senior management.
                    Encouraging: This important feature is often missed and I think this is why great OER’s are not used or completed. While the first two steps might have been completed, if the ongoing encouragement of the use of the OER (through badges or organisational recognition) does not happen the learner may easily get dissuaded from using the OER. Extra support may also be required if the study is expected to take a long time and cover a number of subjects. The encouragement role should be somebody local and spread across more than one person to preserve continuity.

                    These readings have opened up a whole realm of issues that need further analysis but this will do for now! I will keep moving onward in this Open Education journey.