Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hello Open Access!

This week (at least for me) the topic of #ioe12 was Open Access. Open Access isn't all that new to me (having worked for an academic library for quite some time) but the materials still had a few new bits of information for me.  I keep forgetting the difference between OA Gold and OA Green.  For some reason "Green" is associated with money (dollars are green), so I had it in my head that OA Green was "author pays" while OA Gold was "author doesn't pay."

I was surprised to find (in the video) what the actual cost of some journals is! Considering that it is a "free" enterprise (in that authors and peer reviewers don't get paid), to have a journal subscription cost thousands of dollars is just ludicrous.  I also find it equally ludicrous that there are Open Access Journals where the author has to pay to get published.  I suppose, in the end, the money source needs to come from somewhere. However, considering that authors already put in free labor (research, analysis and writing), to ask them to pay is kinda crazy.  It was nice to learn that some journals waive the cost if they are asked.  There are some journals that seemed appropriate for my own writings that I skipped due to associated costs.

Open Access is quite important, both from a researcher's point of view and from a consumer (professional, student, society) point of view.  A researcher's work is worthless if it is allowed to become stale behing paywalls and embargos.  Research should be consumed fresh because some research (like veggies) does go bad if left in the fridge too long.  Other research, much like whiskey, can become better (i.e. more relevant, more appreciated) over time.  If research findings are allowed to become stale (or stale-ish) it's not that great for the researcher because people aren't benefiting from his hard work.  From a consumer point of view, open access is important because it allows practitioners to take the most research findings and see how they can apply them to every day work. If this does not exist, people will continue to work under older (and perhaps invalidated) assumptions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Games MOOC, Week 2 Wrap-up

Last week was a pretty interesting week in Games MOOC. The main idea behind the week was to try out some new games and explore the game dynamics.  There were a few recommendations, among them RuneScape, a free (or freemium?) online MMORPG.  I thought I would give it the "ol' college try" and try out something new, but RuneScape just was not cooperating with me!  That, plus I was at the Campus Technology conference (see recent blog posts) so I wasn't really able to really try out RuneScape.  Perhaps another time.  One of my main issues with RuneScape was that Java was not cooperating with me (so browser version was a no-go) and the downloaded version had some sort of issue where my mouse needed to be x-many pixels south of where I needed to click in order for the click to register (20-30 pixels it seemed).  This meant that it was a bit frustrating to even start to explore.  Maybe when I get back to it I can use Jing or something to record what's going on and share it.

In lieu of an MMO, I decided to finish up L.A. Noire (read all about it here) and to try some new game after that.  I did try to go with the "epic" theme and tried Oblivion, a game I borrowed from a friend of mine.  I have to say that after that first quest (and 80 gamer points) I saved and quit.  It wasn't quite what I was expecting (I was expecting a Diablo Style game) and the front facing hack-n-slash (that would take forever to complete) seemed like not a good game to start at the time.  Instead, I tried my hand at Too Human which I quite liked (I am 4.5 hours in thus far).  I don't like Asgardian lore more than Elder Scrolls lore (they are both new to me), so I went with the style of game-play that I wanted to explore a bit more.

Finally, I did a small comparison between Chocolatier (iOS) and Dinner Dash (iOS).  I had played Dinner Dash before, it's a nice game to play when you have a few spare moments, but Chocolatier was new to me. Comparatively speaking, Chocolatier is sort of like a sim-city for the food world.  You have to watch your finances, spend money wisely, travel wisely, procure appropriate raw materials, create new product and sell in appropriate places to maximize profits.  Reminds me a bit of drug wars from back in the day.  Nice game if you are trying to teach management skills to someone young or old.  Dinner dash on the other hand is a bit more "fun" and behaviorist in application.  Tap here, tap here, wait for stimulus, tap here. There isn't much planning involved.  It is fun, but I don't quite see any educational application just yet.

So this was it for Week 2.  Now entering Week 3 - and we are officially half way through the MOOC!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

OER (or old dog new tricks :-) )

I've been dabbling with the OER "week" in introduction to open education this week. I have to say that I've been a big proponent of OER (from a theoretical standpoint) for quite some time now.  I do believe that it is important for educators (especially those in public institution) to share their contributions for free and feed them forward.  The actual implementation is what I am stumbling a bit on in that it generally takes more time to go through OER resources in order to find something that works best in your course sequence, and at times you don't even find that.

A complaint that came across in OERu's #OCL4ED workshop was that it was more time consuming going through OER to find what might work well in your course, compared to going with some publisher's pre-packaged (and not-free) materials.

That being said, there were a few quite interesting resources in the readings. For example, A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources is a nice (and free) resource that you can use when you want to introduce your fellow colleagues to OER (and to creative commons licensing it seems) without having to spend a lot of time explaining things to them (a "read this first, then ask me questions" type of interaction - since time seems to always be short ;-)  ).

Another thing that really jumped out was that OER seems to be more of an umbrella term; which also encompassed wikipedia and OCW - according to free to learn - whereas my own understanding of OER before #OCL4ED and this module was a bit more limited to objects such as those in MERLOT. This makes me wonder if OER is too broad of a term to be used in the same context as OCW. It reminds me of super-classes and sub-classes when I was an undergrad in computer science.  OER seems to be a super-class, a type of object whose definition encompasses other things. If we treat a super-class like it is a sub-class, then that may lead to confusion.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Campus Tech 2012 wrap up

Well, one more campus technology conference and expo is done!

The Campus Technology annual summer conference is the nation’s premier higher education technology conference, where leading innovators and experts in technology for higher education guide faculty, instructional designers, eLearning program managers, information technologists, and campus administrators into the new realm of teaching and learning using the latest in applications, social software and immersive platforms.

Initially I was thinking about writing a blog post per day (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), but I had way too many interesting conversations with presenters, participants, and vendors to be able to do this (brain stops working after a certain point, you see).  So I thought I would pick 3 of my top sessions, and my top vendor of the show and talk a bit about these.

First of all, the keynotes by Mark Milliron (Chancellor of Western Governor's University) on "Deeper Learning Conversations on Technology, Education and the Road Ahead" and by George Siemens on "Meeting the Challenge of Change:  Historical Models of Transformation and Lessons for Higher Education" were phenomenal.  I do believe that they were recorded and they will be available in some sort of streaming capacity in the near future. Keep an eye out at the CT2012 conference website.


1.0 Leaving the LMS: Checking Out of the Hotel California
Scott Helf, DO, MSIT, Chief Technology Officer, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP
Gerald Thrush, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Pre-clinical Education , Western University of Health Sciences
Matt Curran, Technical Support Supervisor, Western University of Health Sciences

This was a bit interesting, I saw Scott Helf last year at Campus Tech 2011 when he was talking about learning analytics in a session he was leading (on the last day of the conference if I am not mistaken!)  Recognizing the name, and interested in a post-LMS world I came to this session. What they basically did was to replace the LMS with SharePoint.  Now I know what you are thinking, SharePoint sucks, and it may very well suck.  But, it seems that their situation was quite unique, and perhaps not replicable in other institutions.

They had BIG core curriculum courses where they had many students in multiple sections of the same course.  On top of this, because of the different disciplines, some disciplines only undertook a certain smaller percentage of the basic course, while others took close took a more substantial portion of the course.  For example, the MD students (Medical Doctor) may have taken 100% of the course materials in Anatomy and Physiology, while the DO (Doctor of Orthodontics?) may have taken 60%, and the DMDs (Dental Medical Doctor?) may have taken 80% of the course.  In order to save money on courses and not have 6 different courses that are slightly different, students were put into one major course with a variety of colleagues and they completed what was relevant to them (hey! Sounds like a MOOC!).

Thus the LMS was not used for grading, and it wasn't really doing so well with discussions. And, the selective release I guess was getting crazy.  So, they moved to sharepoint where they could share lecture materials, and have discussions around them with a flexibility that a CMS has but an LMS does not.

Interesting, but I don't think this would work for other schools.  I do think that a DIY approach works, it just needs to be planned and executed in a way that makes sense for each individual school.

2.0 Mobile Learning: Applications that Change Distraction to Discussion
Kyle Bowen, Director of Informatics, Purdue University

Last year I was quite excited to go to a similar session to this one, by Purdue, only to realize that their software WAS ONLY FOR PURDUE USERS.  Ah...major fail.  I loved the session last year, but I was disappointed that I could not use these nifty tools.  So, I put it out of my mind.  So much so that I went to the Purdue session again this year, only to be horribly horribly disappointed.

I REALLY LOVED the software.  Purdue has done a fantastic job with Hot Seat, and other mobile engagement software for the classroom such as mixable and jetpack.  What I really disliked, again, was that the software is NOT available for general use.  OK guys,  you can create some kickass software, but you are dangling (what seems to be) a gourmet five course meal in the face of people who have taken off-the-shelf canned goods and tried to make something out of combining them. The consolation prize is that you can sign up for the Studio mailing list to find out when these things might make it to the market, but I guess I want the software now, damn it! ;-)  Seriously though, Great job with the software, and even though they are not available just yet to everyone, their website is worth a look.

3.0 Going Hybrid: Faculty Development for Teaching and Learning Success
Andreas Brockhaus, Director of Learning Technologies, University of Washington - Bothell

The last session that made my top 3 of the conference was the Going Hybrid session.  I have to touch base with Andreas next week or something to see if he can share his materials.  The idea behind this is similar to what UMass Boston did back in the early 2000s when we wanted to enable faculty to use technology in their classrooms.  There was a small cohort of faculty each semester (13 weeks) that came with an existing course, or a new course they were developing, and created media materials, a blackboard session, and used a variety of tools to use technology meaningfully in the class.   The hybrid learning initiative at University of Washington was similar to this. It was a 10 week course, where faculty came in a cohort with an existing course, or a new course, that they wanted to blend.  Right now they are working on a 6 week version of this professional development course.  I would really be interested in seeing what they did. I think blended (even though it seems to have dropped out of favor in the education buzzword category) is something that we as instructors, institutions and departments need to re-examine.

There were many interesting products on show at CT2012, some new, some that I knew of from last year.  I had an opportunity to grab a T-Shirt from Instructure (love their T-Shirts) and a removable tattoo (should have gotten a couple of them!).  The vendor that really wowed me was NearPod. What was amazing, for me about NearPod was that it is a presentation tool and a classroom response tool all in one.  The instructor can stream to his student's iOS devices anything that is on his NearPod teacher console (which can include presentation slide, embedded videos, quizzes, and "clicker" functionality) and students can participate on their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad device.  They don't officially support android, however they did have NearPod on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and on a Galaxy Phone running at the conference and they would be open to set people up with it.

On top of this, it's a freemium model! For free you can have up to 30 students in your course, and you can have up to 10 lectures worth of materials on their servers.  Not bad! Now I know that you can easily use this with an on-campus (aka f2f) course, but I also think that with NearPod and a Google Hangout you can easily replace a more expensive conferencing software.  What can I say, they won me over and it's worth checking out :)

Finally, Kudos to my colleagues Valerie Haven, my former (day-to-day) coworkers at Media Services and Distance Education & Video Production at UMass Boston for their Innovator Award!

Note to self: talk to Larry Jacobs of Education Talk Radio!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gaming can make a better world

Finally catching up with gamesmooc this week ;-)

I haven't quite gotten to playing games just yet (runescape is not cooperating with me), but I did read over the text-based materials (thanks to Pocket!) and views the TED talks.  This particular one was pretty interesting.  The example she gives of Herodotus of the Lydians playing games one day and eating another, thus surviving an 18 year famine by eating on alternative days is quite a nice example of flow. It also ties in nicely with a story I read today of "Death by Diablo" where a teen died, presumably after playing Diablo for 40 hours without break for food or sleep.  Maybe he had an underlying condition that precipitated his death - but it seems like even in a state of flow you can't ignore basic needs (water, food, sleep, bathroom breaks) for very long.

Another interesting thing, a tie-in to learning theory, is a comment she makes about World of Warcraft and quests, where even the lower level players are put into quests right away; quests that are in their skill level but a but of a stretch, so that they can help the games learn and level up.  This reminds me a lot of Lev Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development

Using games to solve real world problems isn't such a stretch.  There are a few games mentioned (I might be trying Evoke at some point in the future), and they remind me a bit of the plot from a show called Stargate Universe, where an MIT dropout spends all his time on an MMORPG, based on real life (but a secret government program).  This dropout solves a puzzle that allows people to travel through a stargate to planets several hundred galaxies away through the game.  Real world problem that teams of people could not solve, solved by one (gifted) gamer thinking out of the box.  Not bad.

#ioe12 OCW: Expansion Pack 2

As part of the researcher badge requirements I need to also contribute some new resources to the course for fellow participants. Here are some sources that I have found interesting:

Academic Articles

Friesen, N. (2009). Open Educational Resources: New Possibilities for Change and Sustainability. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 10(5). Retrieved from:

This article tackles OER, and OCW is considered as a subset of OER. It examines a number of different OER initiatives and examines the sustainability issues and challenges.

Carson, S. (2009). The unwalled garden: growth of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, 2001-2008. Open Learning, 24(1), 23-29. doi:10.1080/02680510802627787. (download from:

This was an interesting article that tackled the creation and growth of the OCW consortium. It wasn't very in-depth (I think it could have been more) but as a primer it's not bad!

Malloy, T. E., Jensen, G. C., Regan, A., & Reddick, M. (2002). Open courseware and
shared knowledge in higher education. Behavior Research Methods Instruments & Computers, 34, 200-203. (download from:


This was a quite interesting retro-gram. It reminded me that back in the day we used the term courseware as an alternate to the term LMS. You don't tend to hear "courseware" these days unless it's in relation to OCW. It's interesting to look back at these articles, even though they aren't that old, it's interesting to see the evolution of thought.


Web Sources

Seeley Brown, J. & Adler, R. P. (2008) Minds on Fire. Educause:

This article could actually fit anywhere within #ioe12 in that it brings together OCW, OER, Open Source, Web 2.0, social learning and other elements relevant to open learning and open education. I think that it was a pleasant read that you could easily give to your friend, colleague, or student, as a quick primer to open education.

Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2006). OpenCourseWare: An "MIT Thing"?. Searcher 14(6), p. 53-58.:

Interesting article; some of it was a rehash if other OCW readings, but this one also adds some information about the technology behind OCW, the internal process, and some info about the Issues around copyright.

Advancing the OpenCourseWare Movement: Challenges and Achievements:

This was an interesting video to view because it gives you an idea of what MIT OCW has been doing (and how much things cost in terms of money and staffing resources) over the last 10 years of its existence. The peer-reviewed article above does have some information, but I think that it's interesting to see both Steve (the PR director for OCW) and two faculty members 10 years later where they talk about OCW's benefits to MIT and others.


UMass Boston OCW: http://ocw/

A small plug for my own institution's OCW. It's not the biggest, or the most comprehensive, but we sure do try :-) Personally I would love for our university, as a public university, to make a commitment to OCW and have all of our courses on OCW.

Utah State University OCW (Learning Sciences department):

This is a link to the Utah State OCW repository. As an instructional designer I have looked at this repository to see what others schools with instructional design program do. While I do think that some of their courses speak directly to the goals, mission, and objectives of the program at hand (and as such not applicable to the UMB instructional design program), I do think that repositories such as this can help inspire and help cross pollinate other instructional design programs to promote innovation in the field.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#ioe12 OCW: The Expansion Pack

I thought that the OCW week would be a good week to work on the Researcher Badge for #ioe12 for two reasons: I am a big proponent of Open, especially with openly sharing and iterating through better course materials; and up until recently (#NMC12 to be specific) I wasn't completely clear as to the goals of OCW. Yes, I could have reader the fine "about OCW," but I didn't - my bad :-)

In any case, my anecdotal experience about faculty perceptions of open, and openly sharing their own materials in an OCW fashion has been of the "closed" variety, or at best the "copyright boogey man" or the "someone will steal your stuff!" varieties. I've only met a small handful of people at my institution who would just jump on the bandwagon.

To this end, I am interested in finding out more about the perceptions of faculty members about OCW, and sharing their own materials in an institutions OCW repository. I would like to know what they think about OCW, what their fears and hopes are when they share (or refuse to share) their materials in OCW repositories, and what they see as key contributing factors to successfully getting their materials on an institutions OCW repository.

If such studies already exist, it would be interesting to see how such views have changes over the years. It's been 10 years since OCW started - some views and opinions may have changed over the years.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Game MOOC, week 1 Observations

With Week 2 of Game MOOC starting up today, I thought it would be worth while to write a couple of observations from the inaugural week of this MOOC.

Last week's content was quite interesting. I still see a lot of people still introducing themselves in the "welcome and introduce yourself" forum, so I guess many more people are coming on-board, even at the end of the first week. The video of Jim Gee (reposted here) was quite interesting and engaging, and the games that the Guild Council (MOOC facilitators) had us sample weren't that bad. To be honest, I would not have tried any of these games out if I didn't have to. My time is a bit limited, and these learning games don't generally fit in with me as a learner, and don't fall into the demographic if people who might be in a course of mine.

That said, I did enjoy the games (despite some of them being frustrating, but I guess that was the point) and had some interesting discussions with a few participants about them in the fora.

From a programatic point of view (meta-MOOC), I am thinking of what "Massive" is, and how one counts massive. Even the "big" MOOCs like #change11 only had a handful of people actively participating (I don't know what the lurker and dropout situation was like), so by comparison this MOOC seems to be just as massive. I have to say that I like the forums on Shivtr. It allows people to participate in discussions with others without having to follow their blogs (although I have followed a couple of blogs and twitter accounts as well). I just wish I were able to tie this into my Disqus account somewhere to keep track of these discussions.

The journal function is interesting, but I am not a big journaler. Sure, I do blog, and this is a journal in some fashion, but I don't like to blog within a closed system (which is why I didn't blog using the LMS in the BonkOpen MOOC). The incorporation if Flickr is a nice touch because it allows people to share screenshots of their games (educational and non) with others, and provide some commentary around these games.

I am curious to see what the Guild Officers have in store for the remaining five weeks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's OCW time!

This past week I also looked at the OCW module of #ioe12. The assigned video was the announcement of the OpenCourseWare project back in 2001 (more than 10 years ago! Who would have thunk it!).  Now, reading about the OCW back then, I got the impression that these were going to be courses and not just materials. That OCW would be something like what MOOCs are today rather than a publisher or materials.

When I first looked at OCW I was really disappointed.  These were not courses!  They were materials, exams, readings and course notes.  Some OCW materials were more "complete"than others, so an interested student (with loads of motivation and resourcefulness) would be able to  self-study, but some materials were really incomplete and not conducive to self-study.  I saw this as a major #fail. This really colored my perception of OCW.

At this year's NMC conference (11 years later!) I did attend a session on OCW and my misconceptions about what OCW is, and what it was intended to be, were cleared up.  Yes indeed! OCW was not meant to be a course, but rather it was meant to be a resource for fellow educators! NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

In part, I blame the media for this misconception, and I blame fellow colleagues for the misrepresentation, I also blame myself for not reading the "about OCW" (i.e. reading the fine manual) before passing judgement.  Viewing this announcement video just shows that MIT was open, from the beginning, that this was not courses, but rather materials. This was, as the faculty panel said, bringing up to speed, up to "internet time" a time honored practice of sharing materials with colleagues.  Before it was done via snail-mail and on an ad-hoc basis. Now it would be faster and on an asynchronous pull basis.

The interesting thing about the video (and in other discussions about "open" in education) is the profit motive.  The "are you losing money by giving something away for free"  and the "My kid is paying $33,000/year when they could be getting it for free on OCW" comments.  The first type is just misguided.  As the panel pointed out few faculty are compensated (adequately) for writing textbooks. So the currency of the realm (IMHO) is reputation. Giving something away doesn't give you hard currency like money (which isn't there anyway) but it gives you soft currency like reputation which is what academia has had all along.  The second argument, again, seems to equate materials with courses and education.  Simple materials are not what you are going to college for.  If that were the case towns would invest in fantastic public libraries and people would go there instead of college.  People do go to college not for the materials, but access to subject matter experts, in-class communities, department-level communities of practice, and evaluation and accreditation. You don't get this stuff with just a collection of materials.

As a side note, it seemed a bit disappointing to me that there are no Greek translations of OCW materials. It seems like such a missed opportunity. Not that Greece is a developing nation (well, some may say that in some aspects it is), but it's odd that the cradle of western civilization is so under-represented in educational efforts like OCW and Wikipedia.  Something needs to be done about this!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Produsage and Participation in MOOCs

My colleagues and fellow MRT member, Osvaldo, posted an interesting blog post the other day.  It is interesting in and of itself, but if taken along with the Chronicle's What's the Problem with MOOCs, if gives you a whole other dimension. Osvaldo makes reference to Bonnie Stewart's post (this was new to me, so thank you for the link :-)  ) which is slightly reminiscent of the whole "digital natives" thing in how participants are consuming AND producing.

Osvaldo's post makes reference to the 90-10 rule (or 90-9-1 rule, depending on how you heard it first) where 90% of the participants in some social activity online are lurkers, while 10% are producers (the 90-9-1 rule states 90% lurkers, 9% contributors, 1% creators). and how this is evident in the MOOCs that we have seen thus far. This makes sense, at least from an anecdotal standpoint, from my own experiences in MOOCs.  Granted Change11 was a bit of an aberration because it was SO LONG that I really doubted that it would keep the interest of anyone that wasn't really hard core.

When Change11started I wrote posts on Lurkers and implications (thinking out loud really) and some people seemed to take issue with bringing this point up.  This particular post seemed to have to most discussion about it. In thinking about lurkers, my own posts and the allergic reactions that some have had about discussing the topic and the recent Chronicle post on What's the Problem with MOOCs, where the attrition is mentioned as not being discussed, really made me think more about lurkers.

Osvaldo came to two conclusions:

  • we need to re-define a c-MOOC as courses with an enhanced number of tutors (those 10% active participants) and the rest that retreat to the lurker status.I`m not sure this is connectivism, or 
  • we need to improve the way we deliver c-MOOCs finding ways of including the 90% that lurk to participate.

Osvaldo leans toward the second one.  I think that a combination of both is more realistic.  In my opinion (not substantiated by research at the moment) you won't get the entirety of the open course participants to participate. You just wont.  This is because MOOCs are good for window shoppers - people can join a MOOC the first couple of weeks and then decide to never come back - regardless of whether or not they participated. They are still "registered" but that doesn't mean much when you really think about it.

On the other hand, simply redefining a MOOC for the number of active participants might miss the point. I can just seem someone creating a LIKERT scale on how often and how much people participated in a MOOC, but instead of looking at the qualitative side of their participation (i.e. did they make connections and contribute to the overall well being of the group), they focus on number of posts - which might just be a massive amount of cute kitty and xkcd posts.

The ideal solution, for me anyway, lies somewhere in the middle.  Yes, you SHOULD try to engage as many lurkers as possible in qualitatively good ways, however we need to move past the metric of registrations as a way to evaluate massiveness and look at defining MOOCs, or rather what it means to be Massive, by some other means.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Open Content

It's Open Content week on Introduction to Open Education with David Wiley (well, it was Open Content week a while back, but I just got to it!) This week, at least compared to the previous two weeks, there was little reading and materials (perhaps this is a good week to work on the Research Badge, eh? ;-)  ) and, at least for me, I think I have come across these materials before in Change11 and perhaps CCK11. David talked a bit about Open Content during Change 11 Week 5.

It is a pretty interesting concept, his open content idea pre-dates creative commons, and I think he was glad someone took charge of the legalese and made the concept happen. It was also nice to have someone openly discuss the fact that they didn't so so well in their initial try.  Failure seems to have a negative connotation in our society, even if iteratively we end up working things out in the end.

One of the things that holds great promise, for me anyway, is the open textbook concept.  Small OERs are nice (and we will get to them in this course, eventually) but I do like the idea of an open textbook that you can use, contribute to, and edit as needed for your course; all of this without having to worry about costly "course packets." When I was still in classes, course packets would cost as much as books, just to get a chapter from here, a chapter from there, and a case from somewhere else.  At least with open textbooks quality, work can be available for free (both in the Beer and the Speech sense) if you just want an electronic version.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jim Gee on Gaming

This is keynote address from Games for Change. Pretty interesting! Big "G" Games.

Game MOOC...

OK, I may have bitten off more than I can chew (challenge accepted!).  I saw that some former MOOC participants have a new MOOC on games in education. This was too interesting to pass up.  Even though next week will be busy with a Sloan-C workshop, and the Campus Technology conference, it's only one week. I can still participate in 5 out of the 6 weeks on this MOOC :-)

I am seriously looking forward to this.  Week 1 has a video keynote by Jim Gee, which should be interesting :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MobiMOOC12 appetizer

Here is a preview of the facilitator lineup for MobiMOOC12 (straight from the MobiMOOC group!)

With the start of the course still two months away, our grand group of 
facilitators was completed last week and here are the guides-on-the-side 
for all the upcoming mobile learning topics (in completely random order). 
All of us cover 4 continents and 9 different mobile learning topics:

Mobile learning theory/pedagogy: Geoff<>(Stead) is a mobile massive brain from Cambridge, UK, with an enormous 
amount of zest and creativity. Who better to provide an overview of mobile 
learning theories and pedagogies then his creative mind?

Corporate learning: Amit <> (Garg) 
from India has inspired companies to go mobile based on strong business 
plans, goal oriented design and intuitive learning. He shares what he knows 
with all that want to hear. Amit is a true enlightened entrepreneur who 
embraces the ancient old wisdom that sharing will lift all of us to a 
higher plain within our human capacities.

Train-the-trainer: Jacqueline<>(Batchelor) from South Africa uses all of her blond haired charm to get 
every teacher trained simply by using mobile devices and … a lot of 
educational insight. She is a silent, calm, yet a very thorough expert that 
explores new frontiers of teacher engagement and paves the way for all of 

Mobile activism/learning: Sean<>(Abajian) from sunny California is a mobile activist believer. He lifts 
crowds to march for better adult education, he is an activist pur-sang and 
with a heart of gold and understands the benefits of educational 
technologies. He knows that long-term activism coincides with quick 

Mobile gaming: David <> (Parsons) 
from Australia is an old school new school mobile programmer, now 
completely emerged in mobile gaming. He will guide us in our first 
contemplations to create serous mobile games.

Augmented learning: Víctor<>Alvarez pours his Spanish passion into innovative augmented learning 
applications. He sees beyond our everyday world and adds extra layers of 
interest that enhances the moments, locations, and understandings we 
currently live in. 

Setting up a Mobile Learning Curriculum Framework: Adele<>(Botha): straight from South Africa, she knows how to own any room she 
enters and grab the attention with her mobile knowledge and persona. She 
will push us forward with any mobile learning curriculum we want to create.

ICT for development: Michael <> (Sean 
Gallagher - UK/Korea) combines a literary pen with a mission to provide a 
mobile solution to anyone living in a challenged environment no matter 
where you are in the world. He will share solutions that will get you up 
and ready to tackle low resource settings with a great set of tools.

Global mLearning issues: John<>(Traxler): He has got more air-miles than George Clooney in Up in the Air, 
John gives new meaning to the word mobile and researches it in all its 
meanings. Amateur ornithologist, mountain climber, and professor in mobile 

And me from Belgium, well….. Inge de Waard <>focusing on an 
introduction to mLearning and planning a project

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Open Source, in education (#ioe12, week 2)

This second week of #ioe12 was all about open source. The materials included The Revolution OS, a video of Cory Doctorow at the 28th C3 conference, and a few readings about what open source is (including the Cathedral and the Bazaar). You can have a look over at the course website for get the actual materials.

The Revolution OS is now about ten years old (this was my second viewing, the first one being when it was released). It's not a bad movie, and as a documentary it's an interesting accounting on the early life of Linux. I just happened to find the movie a bit slanted (sometimes verging on the obsurd). For example, there is an apparent rant by Bill Gates in the Homebrew Computer Club newsletter about how paid software is necessary for quality's sake (and for other reasons, including that good software takes time and money to do it well). The reading-outloud of this letter was as if Bill was crazy or something. I don't think that Free Software is crazy, but I also don't think that commercial software is crazy. As a hobbyist it may be OK for something to not work, but when looking at the enterprise (or heck, some high school student working on a paper), if the computer does not work, there is a problem and you can't necessary divert your time from your important task at hand (a term paper) to fix code that is broken.

In the Revolution OS, there is a black and white setup for open source versus commercial - a false dichotomy in my mind. One of the "good things" about open source is (according to this film anyway) is that people involved with Open Source do not ask What's In It For Me (WIIFM). This, however, is, in a sense, rendered false by the Cathedral and the Bazaar (or at least the audio version) when Raymond writes that the users of linux are rewarded for contributing bugs and bug fixes in some way. Even if it's something small, like a mention in a Newsletter to community, there IS something in for the person who chooses to contribute. It may not be monetary (at least immediately) but one can't claim that there isn't nothing in it for the end user to contribute to a better product.

One thing that really stuck with me from the Cathedral and the Bazaar was that projects cannot start in Bazaar mode. In Cathedral mode, bugs are a priority requiring the resources of a QA team to find and remove. In Bazaar mode bugs are something you cal live with. End users find them, the community fixes them, and both parties get rewarded (both by better software and some recognition). This part-time relationship to the process and to the development product isn't conducive to starting a product; thus you can't start a product in Bazaar mode. Your project initiation stage, and up to a first working/functional draft needs to be in Cathedral mode - a managed process. Once you've work a working something, you can transition to a Bazaar mode.

So how does this fit into education? For me it fits in with open content, and OER, and even open research. If you want to work on a project, something that will be open (at least a Share-Alike license, or something that will be worked on collaboratively) you need to get a working draft started, and then people can pitch in and improve things. If you wait for a workgroup to get something started in Bazaar mode you may have death of project by committee (in my opinion anyway). Sure, this means that the initial creator of something open in education will have to be like Linus Torvalds, working on something on his own, but once something is working, it can be shared and improved upon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Open-Licensing: Expansion Pack 2 (Research)

As part of #ioe12, and in order to get the OpenEd Researcher badge, I need to:

Write a blog post proposing a research study by which key assumptions of the topic could be (in)validated. Don’t worry about identifying specific participants, etc. Describe what you believe would be the ideal research setting, participants, data collection, and analysis methodologies.

This is sort of like an abbreviated version of something that I assigned to my own students in a research methods course :-). So, my proposed research study deals with Perceptions and Real World Practices of Faculty and their Relationship to Copyright.

Over the years it's been my observation that people who teach at higher education institutions are simultaneously both fiercely protective of copyright (namely their own) but at the same time they seem to ignore other people's copyright when it suits them; thus having potentially some cognitive dissonance when it comes to copyright.

So, the ideal setting for this mixed methods study would be a random sample of faculty from as many institutions of higher education that wish to participate. This research, which would query the usage, protection and adherence to copyright (and figuring out what faculty think is "fair use") would start off as survey research, but we could see if informants would like to participate in follow-up interviews.

The aim of this study is to see how protective faculty are of thir own copyrights, whethe they license their works under Creative commons, and how they use other people's work that may be under traditional copyright. Do they "respect" copyright? Or are they Oatmealing? (or something else?)


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Open-Licensing :: The Expansion Pack

One of the things that we need to do for #ioe12 (to earn the "researcher" badge) is to provide some additional resources for three topics. This week I will be contributing some resources for the Open Licensing portion of the course.

Scholarly Resources

Sawyer, M.S. (2009). Filters, Fair Use and Feedback: User Generated Content Principles and the DMCA. Berkeley Technology Law Journal. 24. pp 363-404.
If legal articles don't scare you away, this might be a good one to print out (or just download and read on your eReader) if you are interested in copyright and fair use. The article is sectioned off into four sections, giving the reader some background on the DCMA, fair use and two versions of the Fair Use Principles of User Generated Content, as well as presenting the view that technological solutions that prevent copyright violation don't work because they err on the side of copyright holders and violating the fair use rights of everyone else. Reading this reminded me of academics who insist on restrictive copyrights for their work, but in the end these types of restrictions make their work not available to the individuals that it is most applicable to!


Carroll, M. W. (2006). Creative Commons and the New Intermediaries. Michigan State Law Review. 2006. pp 45-65
This was an interesting article to read, but it left me wondering why I read it; it seemed more of a "well d'uh!" type of article to me. This article was written around the time that I started listening to vrypan (see my links bellow) and it writes about the Creative Commons and how in breaking up the status quo and the old "intermediaries" it setups up its own intermediaries, which include communities of CC licensed users, library and archives that collect CC material, educational instutions that contribute to and use CC materials, and serarch engines that help you find CC materials. It also talked a bit about the semantic web (which I am still sceptical about). Maybe this is a "hindsight is 20/20" type of sitution, but I don't know why anyone would think that by using CC and going against the established copyright mechanisms you would not have any intermediaries to access materials. It seems to me, that regardless of the license you use, there will always be some need to catalog, store, find, retrieve, and credit the materials. I think that this is an interesting article to read, for those that think that CC licensing might be a panacea :-)

Patterson, L. R. (2002). The DCMA: A modern version of the Licensing Act of 1662. Journal of Intellectual Property Law. 10. pp. 33-53
This was another article in a legal journal. I guess this is what happens when you search for "DMCA" related articles in Google Scholar ;-) This was an interesting read, especially for those who are interested in history! Apparently the English had a law that aimed to prevent the dissemination of heretical, schismatical, seditious and treasonous works - in other words a form of sensorship. The author compares the DMCA to this Licensing Act concluding that the DCMA has returned us to an anti-learning, anti-access and anti-public domain state, similar to the one that was fostered by the Licensing Act. While this article doesn't deal directly with Open Licensing per se, I think it's an interesting comparisong between open licensing, and the limitations of closed lisencing.


Other Resources


I started reading Techdirt a number of years ago, and they are journalists (at least I would call them that) that post stories, and comment on stories, regarding abuses in copyright, patents, and licensing. Whereas copyright math (next link) points out a couple of instance of crazy claims with humor, I think that techdirt shines a light on such issues with a little more seriousness.


Copyright Math (and the numbers behind them):

This was a pretty interesting TED talk, which I came across a while back while listening to This week in Tech. The video pokes fun at "copyright math," also known as the crazy claims made by the MPAA and the RIAA concerning how much money hard working artists are losing to piracy. While piracy can indeed be a serious issue, the claims made by the varius stakeholder groups can be very exagerated (as the video points out in its own humorous way). Artists can make money from licensing their music under creative commons (or some open license) as is seen with artists like Jonathan Coulton.


Music Alley:

I came across this website a while back (back when it was This site contains a lot of free music for non-commercial uses. I came across this website by listening to podcasts that used music from here as bumper music, and it's also where I was introduced to Jonathan Coulton's music. Music on this website is licensed under CC.



This is now a defunct podcast, which is too bad. However, if you speak Greek, and don't mind listening to some older podcasts, it's worthwhile listening to the back catalog. Panagiotis (aka vrypan) talks about open source, open licensing, and other issues of open and internet culture. It's nice to get a non-US perspective on these topics every now and again, and it fits in nicely with this week's topic, open licensing :-)


OCL4ED: Open Content Licensing for Educators:

OER University (OERu) sponsors this course, and from what I can see it's offered twice a year. I made my way to #ioe12 having been part of OCL4ED. If you are interested in finding out a bit more about copyright, and about open licensing for your materials, this is a nice 6 week course for you! I think that even if you aren't interested in licensing your own work under some open license, it's worth taking this course just so that you can understand copyright and open licensing a bit better when you are talking with colleagues that are licensing their work under some open license. This should be a mandatory course for those thinking of teaching ;-)


Monday, July 2, 2012

Mobile Learning Manager - Future Trends

I am in the process of finishing up the Mobile Learning Manager certification course (also known as mLeMan) and I am on the final unit.  Here are a couple of interesting videos.  (More on my experience with mLeMan later on...if I don't forget ;-)  )

The first is Mobile Madness: Making Sense of the Converged, Multidevice World from: IDCeXchange   held on 4/292011

This second video is Mobility, Clouds and Intelligent Industries: Positioning for the 3rd Wave of IT Industry Growth

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Inaugural #ioe12 post - Open Licensing at a glance

Last January David Wiley launched a course on the topic to Introduction to Open Education (how did I miss it?) I can't really say that this course is a MOOC, because it seems like it wasn't "massive", so I just it's just an OOC ;-) In any case, it seemed like a good point to start this course (better late than never!) and slowly take my time at completing the various tasks required to complete the course (for which you get various levels of badges)

This first week (actually, from a glance, I see that all weeks are structured more or less like this), there is a video and some readings. I had a crack at the video, which was a TEDxNYED video with the famous Lawrence Lessig. I have several of Lessig's books on my "to read" list on Goodreads, but I haven't had much time to get to them just yet, so a quick bite sized (20 minute) TED video was just what the doctor ordered.

It was an interesting video, definitely worth watching, but it didn't really sit well with me - not from the open licensing part, I agree with that, but with the politics involved. Lessig seemed to indicate that conservatives have been PRO-open, while democrats/liberals have been more for the closed, pro-cracy-copyright side of things. While historically Walt Disney (a conservative) may have been on the side of open and remix (after all he did exploit public domain works for his own benefit), and Michael Eisner (a democrat) promoted the Sunny Bono Copyright extension act (BOOOO to all of you in politics who allowed this to happen); and while democracts voted for ACTA and other fair use freedoms, I think that we can't claim that conservatives = good, democrats = bad for fair use; and this video may come off as something like this. Politics aside, I think that this video was interesting, definitely something to watch and discuss with others!

In addition to the video, there was a flash game (which didn't work on my iPad), and several readings. I have to admit that the article with the mathematical proofs was a bit beyond me (or rather, I wasn't as interested in reading it as in-depth as I did the others to understand the mathematical proofs). The other articles, and th comic book, were quite interesting and entertaining. There are too many things to write about the articles (and a few thins I've come across in the past), so I will summarize what really stood out.

The main thing of interest, and what seems to get buried in discussions about copyright and th "rights" of creators, is that having an exclusive monopoly on the works you create is not a right you have, but it is a privilege that is granted to you by the government in order to foster progress in the arts and sciences and for th benefit of all. Somewhere along the line, and with the "personhood" of corporations, we have lost sight of th fact that copyright is there for th benefit of all, not the benefit of th author. The creator gets a token of appreciation for contributing their knowledge out in public for everyone to use; and for an initial period of time they have exclusive rights to profit from it. The problem is that initial period keeps getting extended, and (as one of the articles pointed out) the works in public domain at out there to be used, while row still under copyright are held back, not sold and rot away. What a shame!