Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Join the dark side **Vader sound effect**

Well, I have signed up for the dark side (or is it???) After more than 18 months taking part in various "c" MOOCs such as LAK11, CCK11, MobiMOOC, #ioe12, and Change11 (and a few more that I can't remember off the top of my head), I decided to take the plunge and join the "dark side," or the "x" MOOC.  Last year, when the Stanford AI course was offered in a MOOC format, I opted to not participate since the topic of AI (Artificial Intelligence) didn't really appeal to me. My colleague, Osvaldo, participated, and from that came a paper on the comparison of cMOOCs and xMOOC.

Now that Coursera has a number of courses offered, from a variety of institutions, I decided to try out the platform, to both learn something new (content) and to also see what the xMOOC (at least the coursera variety) looks like.  So what did I sign up for? See the list bellow (I will probably be writing about the experience on here)

Gamification - with Kevin Werback from the University of Pennsylvania. (Starting end of August)
Description:
Gamification is the application of digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. Video games are the dominant entertainment form of our time because they are powerful tools for motivating behavior. Effective games leverage both psychology and technology, in ways that can be applied outside the immersive environments of games themselves. Gamification as a business practice has exploded over the past two years. Organizations are applying it in areas such as marketing, human resources, productivity enhancement, sustainability, training, health and wellness, innovation, and customer engagement. Game thinking means more than just dropping in badges and leaderboards; it requires a thoughtful understanding of motivation and design techniques. This course examines the mechanisms of gamification and provides an understanding of its effective use.

Human-Computer Interaction - with Scott Klemmer from the Stanford University. (Starting end of September)
Description:
In this course, you will learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. You'll learn several techniques for rapidly prototyping and evaluating multiple interface alternatives -- and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. You'll learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help you get design ideas. How to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive -- and how to use these designs to get feedback from other stakeholders like your teammates, clients, and users. You'll learn principles of visual design so that you can effectively organize and present information with your interfaces. You'll learn principles of perception and cognition that inform effective interaction design. And you'll learn how to perform and analyze controlled experiments online. In many cases, we'll use Web design as the anchoring domain. A lot of the examples will come from the Web, and we'll talk just a bit about Web technologies in particular. When we do so, it will be to support the main goal of this course, which is helping you build human-centered design skills, so that you have the principles and methods to create excellent interfaces with any technology.

Programming Languages - with Dan Grossman from the  University of Washington . (Starting January 2013)
Description:
Learn many of the concepts that underlie all programming languages. Develop a programming style known as functional programming and contrast it with object-oriented programming. Through experience writing programs and studying three different languages, learn the key issues in designing and using programming languages, such as modularity and the complementary benefits of static and dynamic typing. This course is neither particularly theoretical nor just about programming specifics -- it will give you a framework for understanding how to use language constructs effectively and how to design correct and elegant programs. By using different languages, you learn to think more deeply than in terms of the particular syntax of one language. The emphasis on functional programming is essential for learning how to write robust, reusable, composable, and elegant programs – in any language.

E-Learning and Digital Cultures - with Jeremy Knox, Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross, Christine Sinclair from the University of Edinburgh . (Starting January 2013)
Description:
E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology. We’ll explore some of the most engaging perspectives on digital culture in its popular and academic forms, and we’ll consider how our practices as teachers and learners are informed by the difference of the digital. We’ll look at how learning and literacy is represented in popular digital-, (or cyber-) culture. For example, how is ‘learning’ represented in the film The Matrix, and how does this representation influence our understanding of the nature of e-learning?

Aboriginal Worldviews & Education - with Jean-Paul Restoule from the University of Toronto. (Starting February 2013)
Description:
Jean-Paul Restoule is an associate professor of Aboriginal Education in the Department of Leadership, Higher, and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Anishinaabek Nation (Dokis) in mid-northern Ontario. He co-chaired OISE’s Indigenous Education Network for 7 years and has been teaching Aboriginal issues at the post-secondary level for more than 12 years. Professor Restoule’s research and teaching investigate access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal people and the development of Aboriginal cultural identities in urban areas.


A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior - with Dan Ariely from the Duke University. (Starting February 2013)
Description:

Behavioral economics and the closely related field of behavioral finance couple scientific research on the psychology of decision making with economic theory to better understand what motivates investors, employees, and consumers. This course will be based heavily on my own research. We will examine topics such as how emotion rather than cognition determines economic decisions, “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perceptions, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by presumably honest people, and how social and financial incentives combine to motivate labor by everyday workers and CEOs alike. This highly interdisciplinary course will be relevant to students with interests in General Management, Behavioral Finance, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Marketing.
This class has two main goals:

  • To introduce you to the range of cases where people (consumers, investors, managers, and significant others) make decisions that are inconsistent with standard economic theory and the assumptions of rational decision making. This is the lens of behavioral economics.
  • To help you think creatively about the applications of behavioral economic principles for the development of new products, technology based products, public policies, and to understand how business and social policy strategies could be modified with a deeper understanding of the effects these principles have on employees and customers.




Know Thyself - with Mitchell Green from the University of Virginia. (Starting February 2013)
Description:
The Delphic Oracle is said to have had two premier injunctions: NOTHING IN EXCESS, and KNOW THYSELF. This course will be an examination of the latter injunction. Our central questions fall into two categories. First, What is it? We shall inquire into just what self-knowledge is: Is it a form of inner perception, somewhat like proprioception, by virtue of which our minds (and hearts) have internal scanners of their own states? Or should we construe self-knowledge in a way not crucially relying on a perceptual model? In that case, what other model might we use? Second, Why is it such a big deal? We shall inquire into the question why self-knowledge should be thought so important. Just what, if anything, is missing from a person lacking in self-knowledge that makes her significantly less wise, virtuous, or able than others who have this capacity? Our exploration will take us into research in Western philosophy, psychoanalysis, current experimental psychology, neuroscience, aesthetics, and Eastern philosophy as well. In aid of these investigation we will become students of our own dreams, and cultivate some meditative practices.
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