• Uncategorized

    Peter Knight RIP

    My boss, Peter Knight, passed away suddenly at the weekend. This has come as a shock to those of us in the Institute of Educational Technology. I liked Peter a lot, he was always supportive of me (it was his idea to take study leave to write the VLE book), and keen to engage with new technologies and ways of thinking. He was a reader of this blog and would often send me comments and thoughts on postings.

  • Weblogs

    Open University bloggers

    Following on from my previous post, I thought I would compile a list of current bloggers at the OU. Actually Tony Hirst had (as always) already done it, so the list below is mainly his. I’ve restricted it to blogs that have some life in them (a low threshold this one – one post this year is enough to qualify) and are by people working at the OU, ie not students (there is much more activity on the student front). A couple of things strike me about the list: a) considering the size of the OU, it’s not exactly big is it? b) most bloggers seem to be in the…

  • Weblogs

    Encouraging educators to blog

    As part of the broadcast strategy review, I’ve been asked to produce a document that sets out how we can encourage more OU academics to engage with new technologies as part of their everyday practice (ie, not just for teaching purposes). I’m concentrating on blogging because I think it has a reasonable tradition (in the new definition of tradition which means anything older than 2 years) and is probably the most fruitful for academics. Most of my arguments will apply to the other technologies also, and I think you can use blogs as a springboard for a host of web 2.0 stuff. Anyway, following on from my previous post I…

  • web 2.0,  Weblogs

    Is blogging a good use of time?

    Tony Karrer has been prompted by a couple of posts to consider whether use of web 2.0 technologies is viewed as wasting time by others. He asks: Do people have enough time to use these tools? If so, does that mean that they are somehow not the people who are already "too busy" at their jobs? Are the only people who will use the tools exactly those people who the organization views as time wasters, tinkering about, etc. Although he’s talking about web 2.o technologies, I’ll narrow it down to just blogging for some consideration. I have some sympathy with the people who think it is only for those with…

  • Learning Design

    OU Learning Design workshops

    I ran four workshops this week for the OU Learning Design project. My colleague Grainne Conole had prepared the slides and done four the previous week, so I can’t take any credit for the sessions being well structured. We have been using the Compendium tool develop by KMI as a means of eliciting and representing learning designs. We added in an LD icon set, with icons for activity, task, role, VLE tool, resource, output and assignment. We got attendees to play with this tool, and I was surprised at how well received it was. There is always a danger when giving people a prototype tool that they get mired in…

  • Asides,  e-learning,  Football

    Football commentators, elearning and the legitimacy deficit

    There was much discussion last week about the BBC appointing its first female commentator on Match of the Day.  Rather predictably this assault on the last bastion of maleness caused some debate. The ant-argument seems to fall in to three camps: i) She hasn’t played the game and you need to have done so in order to be a good commentator. This is just plain wrong and like many fields confuses experience with critical prowess. Many good literary reviewers are not good authors and vice versa, the same goes for film, and most of the printed press in any sport. Indeed I have been rather disappointed with the rise of…

  • e-learning

    New university model take 2

    Stowe Boyd has given a more detailed account of our discussions than I did and Marc Eisenstadt has also blogged on it . I don’t quite agree with Marc that elearning was/is "awful, dead, soul-destroying", and the elearning 2.0 stuff marks its death, for me this is a prime example of the succession model I drone on about in my book, and evolutionary change. The presence of ‘traditional’ (ah, how quickly things become traditional now) elearning, say through a VLE, creates the base layer of competence and familiarity and generates the questions and desires that makes the next stage possible. In short they alter the environment to make it favourable…

  • Uncategorized

    Technological enlightenment

    or ‘Help! I think I’m a technological determinist!’ As readers of this blog may know, I often have a feeling that the significance of technology is underplayed. This arises from a fear of technology determinism, and being accused of this is like, well, calling a runner a jogger (to reference a previous post). Technology determinism is bad because it ignores the role of people in how technology is used. But in order to avoid being accused of it, and thus being cast out of the academic community, the reaction is to suggest that technology isn’t important at all. This is evidenced in oft-heard phrases such as ‘we shouldn’t place technology…

  • e-learning,  Long tail,  web 2.0

    New university model

    I was at a meeting yesterday hosted by the OU which was exploring new models for the OU, and by implication higher education in general. There were some big hitters there including Stephen Heppell, Stowe Boyd, Jamais Cascio and Stuart Sim. The resulting suggestion was a social space, with the emphasis on helping others to learn. Such a space is populated by remixable, flexible content and also by learning narratives that guide learners and a range of social connections such as mentors, peers, experts, etc. None of this is particularly surprising given the people there – the solution wasn’t going to be a physical campus with lectures now was it.…

  • Running

    Road to Beijing

    This is interesting (if you like running). Alexander Vero was a reasonable amateur marathon runner, but has set himself the target of qualifying for the next Olympics. He is a documentary maker, so his aim is to show just how tough it is. He knows he probably won’t achieve it, but wants to document the effort it takes to get close. As a not very good runner, I find it inspiring, but what has been interesting is the criticism he has received from elite athletes. Far from underestimating the challenge or thinking anyone can do it, what he is illustrating is how hard you have to train and also the…