Showing posts from January, 2014

FutureLearn Corpus Linguistics course - first thoughts

Check, check. Is this thing on? Linguistics isn't generally considered a topic, like one of those sexy STEM courses, that everyone talks about when they talk about degrees and fields to study for job related purposes. For this reason we haven't seen a lot of linguistics related MOOCs.  Last year we had the Virtual Linguistics Campus offer three MOOCs using their own approach to teaching MOOCs which seemed more like self-paced eLearning. I didn't complain (much) because it was, after all, courses in linguistics. This time around, the University of Lancaster is offering a course on Corpus Linguistics, which I have naturally signed up for.  There is at least one colleague from the #rhizo14 MOOC taking this course, so I am curious to see what they think of the course after all is said and done.  In the meantime, I have some initial thoughts on the course itself, as well as the mechanics of the future learn platform, as they are realized through this MOOC. The first th

Embrace Uncertainty (by declaring something?)

So, we've entered the half-way point of #rhizo14.  The original  topic title had something to do with Declaring your Learning. This of course brought on memories of jokes of airports and questions like "anything to declare?" and smart-alec responses to this question.  Declaring is also Stage 3 of a success in a MOOC , so I guess it made sense in a way that this was during week 3.  That said, the topic has changed to "Embrace Uncertainty." I wonder if this was by design, one topic disappearing, and another appearing, thus epitomizing uncertainty, or if it was purely coincidental. In any case, one of the thinking points this week is how do we embrace uncertainty in learning?  I guess, my first question is "from whose perspective?" From the perspective of the learner?  Or from that of the Instructor?  I know, from my own perspective, I have a ton of books at home on teaching, learning, and linguistics that I would LOVE to just stop everything and read

Enforcing Independence

Well, this week has been particularly crazy, with a couple of days of snow making things pile up at  work, and with a presentation this past Friday on international education at NERCOMP, it means that I've been behind a bit (compared to where  I thought I would be) on blogging for #rhizo14.  I have been keeping track of the facebook discussions, so I think this week I'm consolidating both original post and blending them with things that others have written. The question of the week (or rather, the prompt of the week) was: Explore a model of enforced independence. How do we create a learning environment where people must be responsible? How do we assure ourselves that learners will self-assess and self-remediate? The first thing that came to mind actually comes, second hand, from former classmates taking a course on Group Dynamics (a course that I never took during my graduate studies with this particular faculty member).  The story goes like this:  First day of class the p

Templates are killing creativity

Cookie cutters: detriment to creativity, or fuel to the creative fire? Last week, while I was updating something on LinkedIn, I saw one of my colleagues post a link to a post by the eLearning Brothers called The Top 10 Best eLearning Game Templates . I am generally not a fan of such list-posts, but every now and again I come across something really interesting.  I usually don't teach courses on CBT, WBT or other self-paced eLearning.  It's an interesting topic, but it really isn't my cup of tea, so I wouldn't voluntarily agree to teach an entire semester of such a course. In any case, last semester I was peer reviewing a colleague's course (and to some extent co-teaching it because I had a hand in grading and content and assignment creation), which just so happened to be in Multimedia.  The particular spin that this course took was to use multimedia to create a self-paced course. So, with this fresh in my mind, with the discussions we had last week in #rhizo14

Cheating, Learning, Being - Week 1 summation

The cone of silence ;-) In most cMOOCs I attempt to go back and respond to fellow participant's posts after something has provoked some thoughts.  If I am less busy, I tend to blog more, if I am more busy, I tend to leave more comments.  I guess this semester I am sort of in-between ;-) In any case, from week 1 of the #rhizo14 MOOC here are some things that have piqued my interest: From Jenny comes to the following quote: For me, learning isn’t so much about what we do – cheating or otherwise – but more about who we are and who we become – and as such is associated with ethical and moral dimensions. Does living in a digitally networked world, a world of rhizomatic learners change what we commonly understand to be the basic moral principles that govern behaviour between learners? This was quite interesting, and something that made the gears in my head turn. If I had to discuss learning, especially the learning that happens in MOOCs, I would say that learning is about tra

Cheating as Learning

Alone in the Dark (DOS, Mac System 7.5) So I'm back to another cMOOC arena, yay!!! Just by chance I came across a Rhizomatic Learning  course offered by Dave Cormier (of MOOC fame), and the course is called Rhizomatic Learning - The Community is the curriculum. The course spans six weeks and this first week was simply an introduction, but as far as intros go, this has been quite a busy week!  It's nice to see fellow cMOOC participants from previous MOOCs like Dave, Jaap, Rebecca and Penny, but also fellow locals, from UMass Boston, Peter Taylor. This first week we are tackling the topic of cheating as a weapon for learning. We were encouraged to think about how we can use the idea of cheating as a tool to take apart the structures that we work in; and to think about what this says about learning,  power and how we (the participants) see teaching.  There have been quite a few blogs up to this point, that I have not had an opportunity to read yet, but I thought I should co

A few years worth of MOOC coverage...what does it tell us?

Back at the end of 2011 I started collecting research on MOOCs, pieces from Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle, "news items" from other popular media outlets (like and forbes) as well as blog posts from certain notable people who commented a lot on the subject of MOOCs.  The idea was to spend a year (2011 to end of 2012) and see not only what the research says, but also what the sentiment is around this phenomenon.  After all neither online education, not open education were particularly new, so it would be interesting to see what was going on.  I didn't really do much in 2012, and I continued collecting materials in 2013 with the intent to work on the project in 2013, but life intervened. Another thing that made me not keen on continuing this project was that I also saw a lot of negativity in 2013 around MOOCs; as some people dubbed it it was the year of Anti-MOOC, but I also saw  a lot of uninformed opinions about MOOCs in some really prominent places, fr

Pretty nifty 3D surface

I came across this in an article talking about the Stanford Remote Lab. Pretty nifty!  I wonder what this might mean for online education (of various sorts) ten years down the road.

Udacity a lousy product? Perhaps...perhaps depends.

Just before the spring semester starts and I start getting really busy with the day-job, teaching my class, working on a couple of conference presentations and working on the FutureLearn course on Corpus Linguistcs, and P2PU course with Dave Cormier, I thought I should really jump into a couple of Udacity course offerings to give the platform a real try out. In years past I stayed away, as a learner, because none of the content was interesting. While I do come from a computer science background, the things that pique my interest tend to be in the style EDCMOOC or  CCK. Now, however, that Udacity has "Introduction to the Design of Everyday Things," it was an opportunity to test that out, as well as a more technical Statistics course. If I were taking a n exit survey, I would probably say that I took "Introduction to the Design of Everyday Things" because I liked the topic and I knew the author, and I signed up for "Statistics" to see how a math course wo

New Year, New Badges!

"Design Gold" badge Happy and Prosperous 2014 to anyone who is reading this :-) Since it's a new year, and the semester is starting in about a month's time, I've decided to spend the month-and-a-half between semesters thinking about the course that I teach: The Design and Instruction of Online Courses,  a course for graduate level instructional design students.  I was first assigned the course last year, and having been familiar with it (even though I had never been the instructor of record before), I wanted to start experimenting with badges then-and-there.  Of course, things weren't ripe just yet, so I decided to focus more on the day-to-day stuff for my first semester and have a look at the reading material each week.  I decided to put my creative energies into testing out a weekly recap podcast as a way of reaching out to learners in the course. With the course materials kinda set (still tinkering with a few learning modules), and the podcast id