Showing posts from January, 2012

On Brain Rewiring and Speed of Access

Report from the Lurker field :-) The other day I was reading a blog post, part of #change11, on connectivism from someone newly introduced to the theory. Now, I've said before, and I will say it again that connectivism doesn't fully do it for me. I think it has some valid points but I dispute the claim that learning happens faster/better due to our technologically connected world.  A learning theory, in my mind anyway, needs to explain human learning at the most basic levels, not with specific factors in mind (think of Chomsky's Universal Grammar for example, it doesn't just try to explain English, but rather all human languages -same with learning theories, not just learning in a technology rich environment, but all learning). In any case, this particular blog post mentions brain rewiring (specifically referring to Prensky†) and how this is a technological sensory input is so new that we have yet to comprehend how it can affect teaching, learning, instructional des

The Big Picture- remix (Food!)

I decided to try my hand at one of the assignments for DS106 this week, and I went with the Big Photo Remix. The idea was to take a photo from the big picture and add typography to change its meaning.  I don't think I was that great in the typography aspect, but changing its meaning I may have done a better job ;-) The actual photo is of people at the train station going home for new years.  Of course, when I saw this photo a (funny) alternative meaning is that of the graduate student rushing to where there is free food on campus - the stereotype being that graduate students take advantage of all possible free meals on campus (I know that as a graduate student I have done some of this, but I am not sure how true the stereotype is)

Personal cyberinfrastructure - neat idea...but...

This week, the main topic of DS106 seems to be personal cyberinfrastucture, and the reading from Gardner Campbell associated with this week is available on Educause . It was an interesting reading, and a short one at that.  The main idea is that instead of giving students a prepackaged webspace where they can only run HTML (or maybe PHP), get them a free virtual server where they can run anything they want (like Apache, wordpress, coldfusion, etc.) so that they can experiment freely. It is through this experimentation that they will learn.  I must say I agree that people learn through experimentation - I must have pulled my old (first) Mac open a few times to peek inside, and I must have corrupted my system volume  quite a lot of times to see what makes a computer work (or not work!). This also fits in with another MOOC that I've been following along (a little less now since it's becoming less and less structured) - change11 and the theme of changing higher education. Let m

DS106 - Week 1 - the web domain.

This must be the easiest thing I've ever had to do for a course - absolutely nothing ;-) The preparatory items for this week include getting you own domain, which I have ( ) and getting some web server space. Having had a website for a long time that stuff is done. My website is designed using Rapidweaver. If you are a mac user, and you want something lighter weight than dreamweaver, wish awesome support, check out realmacsoftware  and their Rapidweaver product. Why do I still use blogger?  Well, as a CMS I like it, and if I change web hosting providers I don't need to worry about my content.  RapidWeaver has a nice 3rd party plug-in that harvests your content from your blogger blog and re-displays my blogger content using the theme settings that are available on my site ( click here for an example of this blog redisplayed on my site ).  The one glitch I haven't worked out is this: when using Disqus as my comment system, on my redisplayed b

Change the Dissertation

OK, attempt #2 at this post, first time around BlogPress ate my blog post, or rather it lied and said that it posted it but in fact it just lost it! Let's see if the blogger app on my iPhone fares any better. Anywho, I was reading this article from inside higher edu last week on the MLA's bold plans to change the dissertation (queue the Oooooooh sound track) - see bottom for link since I can't really do much Wysiwyg on this app. I've written before on the topic of updating PhD programs but I dont think I've touched upon the dissertation aspect. Some tend to see their dissertation as the magnum opus of their student career (at least I hope it's tier student career and not their entire career). They see it as a solitary path, between them and their committees - perhaps this is why we have so Many dissertations in university archives gathering dust... As you might be able to tell I have a different view. Working in academia for more than 10 years now I have

SOPA/PIPA Protest Day

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo .

Prognostications on the 21st century and higher education

I was reading a number of posts last week on Change11 on the topic of the 21st century University. Given how far things had progressed in the previous century it's hard to prognosticate on anything that's more than 10 years in lieu of a guess or prophecy of what is to come, here's more of a wish: let's all just learn to work together! This past year I had attended a few conferences, both in person and virtually, and I've met colleagues that have been in situations that are similar to my own: their online and face-to-face sides of the institution are different, with different funding lines and different organizational charts. This type of organizational behavior does have adverse reactions in the teaching and learning realm in that more innovative teaching and learning opportunities are hampered by campus politics and funding lines. In our institution for example, face to face courses are offered through the "regular" university; while online c

Universal Course Design

I came across this video on Universal Course Design at my University over the weekend. Pretty nifty, despite the dated look :-) I couldn't get the flash file to play on this blog, so here's the original link to the video. Here is a Quicktime version of this movie  (50MB) file. It is a better quality video for viewing on a large screen.

Academic gag reflex

The other day I was sitting on the train on the way home and reading some research materials I found on Google Scholar for a paper that I am thinking about on social check-ins (you know, foursquare and services like that for an academic environment). I came across a qualifying paper from about a year ago on augmented reality.  It seemed interesting so I though I would give it a quick look - after all, a qualifying paper has been vetted by a tenured or tenure-track professor who has a PhD, so it can't be that off, right? turns out that I was wrong.  This was merely a 15 page paper but I could not get past page 2 (double spaced) because of the insane amount of references to the digital native  and descriptions of this "generation" of learners as having been born with a keyboard in-hand and a lot of other inaccurate cliches. I guess it was sort of like a gag reflex on my part when I kept reading about the digital native and hoping that it got better (i.e. that th

Assessment ponderings

I was reading John's post the other day titled Assessment, Active Learning and Project based learning  where he starts off with the question of whether assessment is a part of learning or instructing.  The answer is yes, but it really depends how much relevance you put on assessment and when  in the process of learning or instructing you put the emphasis on this assessment. For example, learning can be different from instruction, not just in who is performing the action (learning vs. instruction) but also on the intended outcomes.  Think of instruction and learning as a Venn diagram. In instructional environments there is, usually, a requirement for immediate assessment, or at least assessment closer to the learning process.  If I am learning how to drive, then my instructor (be this instructor a parent, a relative, a friend or someone who is paid to instruct me) wants to see some immediate uptake of this instruction, otherwise I won't be allowed to drive their car. If I show

Creating posters with InDesign

This ought to be a new educational experience!  By mistake, when I was proposing a session for the upcoming NERCOMP annual conference in Providence, RI, I indicated that I wanted to have a poster session...when in reality I was aiming for a regular presentation session (this is what happens when your submission is done on a tablet, hours before submission deadlines, on a non-mobile-friendly site, and while tired lol - there should be a warning that says "don't do academics while tired" ;-)  ) In any case, in my entire academic career I've never had to do a poster session! This means that I am a total newbie.  In the past, nursing students had come to me looking for help with PowerPoint, and specifically creating posters in PowerPoint.  I couldn't conceive of a worse tool for doing so, but I nevertheless helped them out as best I could (without having done any posters myself).  Having access to InDesign means that I have some good page-layout tools but I still do

Graphics that mean stuff

I came across the following graphic in this week's Change 11 topic, titled "Power Law of Participation" Now...don't get me wrong, I love visualizations as much as the next learner, but visualizations need to mean  something.  Even context-less they need to be somewhat decipherable and viewers need to be able to infer some meaning.  This isn't the case with this image.  What is this "Power Law"?  What do the axes mean?  What is measured? How is it measured? Why is it measured? Who determines the periphery and the core?  What are the criteria for inclusion or exclusion? What tool  is being talked about? Perhaps there is some more in the readings, but given that this was provided as a link (and not embedded in the reading text), I am not sure if it is :-) Ross Mayfield (CC) Image URL:

DS106 - participate or not?

The other day I was talking about digital storytelling with some colleagues and I decided to recommend Ds106 , the digital storytelling MOOC that ran last year. The material is still all out there, so people could still take it as OER and just self-pace through the material.  Last year I was in a bit of MOOC overload, with LAK11, CCK11, MobiMOOC, eduMOOC and Change that I didn't have much time to add Ds106 to the list (after all, CCK and MobiMOOC were both in Spring, at the same time as DS106). In any case, I went to the website and I saw that DS106 is running again this spring! Sure I have a few research projects on the stove, and I will be keeping a eye out on Change11, but it might be worth following along DS106. I see it as a good excuse to get my hand dirty and do some digital storytelling work that I can then learn from an incorporate into my instructional design.  The schedule for the course looks interesting and not that "heavy."   DS106 should be interesting.

Change11 - sustaining participation and engagement

Well, it is a new year and I am wondering what sort of unpredictable stuff will be coming my way educationally. I don't see anything posted on Change11 this week just yet.. With 14 weeks behind us and another 20 ahead of us, I am wondering if this MOOC is just way too long.  It may certainly go down in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest MOOC, but  I am wondering where the cohesion is. I am looking forward to Couros, Siemens, Veletsianos, Stewart and Anderson (last 5 weeks of the MOOC), but I am hard pressed to feel interested in the second half of Change11 right now.  Why?  Two main reasons: 1)  The second part has 8 blank weeks - that is weeks that have yet to be assigned a topic and a guest facilitator.  This is a large amount of blanks, which gives me the impression (again as Jenny had pointed out) that this is more of a conference, a jigsaw of topics, rather than a cohesive and weaved narrative (I've personally considered courses cohesive and connected, and n