• Weblogs

    Academic discourse and another OU blogger

    My colleague Grainne Conole has started blogging recently. There is something about blogging, it becomes a sort of benign religion you want to convert others to, so I’m always really pleased to see someone else take to it. And Grainne really seems to be enjoying it, she seems to have ‘got it’ (whatever it is), straight away. It reminds me of when I was younger and a band was breaking, you’d want to press the information on everyone else. I remember this most specifically with the Stone Roses in 1989/90 – it was a real viral spread, you’d lend someone the album and they’d come back two days later with…

  • e-learning,  web 2.0

    The topography of formality

    Just as we think of learning being bundled into a convenient course package (see last post) so we think of the formalisation of learning being grouped into large chunks. Informal learning is difficult to recognise and accredit, and is thus often overlooked in favour of formal education. There is an intrinsic paradox with informal learning – in order to reward and recognise it, then it needs to be formalised in some manner. So, even if we accept that informal (or if you prefer non-formal) learning will be brought in to the fold increasingly, it still needs to be formalised in some manner. If we were to consider the formalisation of…

  • e-learning,  web 2.0

    The granularity of education

    (slight apology for repeating elements from previous posts, but worth gathering in one place). One of the things I’ve been thinking about here in Sydney is how learning design can help bridge the gap between web 2.0 and higher education. I’m writing a paper on this which sets out the argument in detail, but I’ll post elements of it here as I go along. One issue I think web 2.0 raises for education is about the granularity of education. I’ve blogged before about the granularity of ideas, so this is extending that a little. The digitisation of content and its frictionless distribution on a global scale is challenging many of…

  • Asides

    In Sydney

    I’m in Sydney at the moment, working with James Dalziel at MELCOE, Macquarie University. We’re having some good discussions around web 2.0, learning design, open educational resources and the implications for higher education, which I will work up in to a paper (and blog posts). I’ll be concentrating on the learning design aspect for a presentation at the LAMS conference (which by virtue of bad timing will be when I’m back in the UK, so will be via Skype). But all of this is really an excuse for me to show you my view:

  • Facebook

    First OU Facebook app

    I’ve been working with Tony Hirst, Stuart Brown and Liam Green-Hughes at the OU to develop some applications for Facebook (okay, they’ve been working, I’ve been talking about it).  We now have a semi-official OU Facebook project, the aim of which is to develop some applications we think will be interesting to OU people in Facebook. The aims of the project are to: Gain experience in developing tools for a platform such as Facebook Gain knowledge as to the type of tools and widgets that are popular Observe patterns of use of these tools Generate traffic and students for openlearn and the Open University Gain an understanding of how learning…

  • Asides

    All together now: Correlation does not imply causation

    I’ve moaned about this before, and I agree with D’Arcy Norman who rants that it should be taught to every child. So when on the radio yesterday I heard a BBC reporter talking about a new report that looks at marriage, cohabiting and single parents in the UK, it inevitably got another airing. One of the findings was that children of married couples were more likely to stay on in education. ‘So,’ the reporter concluded, ‘it seems that being married has benefits for the children over just cohabiting.’ No, no, no – there will undoubtedly be a number of other factors here. For example, maybe married couples are more conformist…

  • web 2.0

    Slifeshare and my startup idea

    (hat tip: Tony Hirst) Rev2 reviews this web 2.0 service, Slifeshare, saying "Do you really want to know what your friends are doing online right now? Do you fancy a bit of online friend espionage? What article they are reading in the New York Times online or what iTunes track they are listening to in real-time? If so, Slifeshare is the new social network for you." The idea is that you remove the need to actually contact friends or post things about yourself, you simply track each others activities. So I can see what videos, blogs, music you access. Here’s the pitch "Slifeshare is an activity network for you and…

  • Asides

    What I don’t get about fashion

    Watching TV last night they were interviewing up and coming Welsh fashion designer Ross Jenkins. They mentioned, rather casually, that his last collection was ‘based on the holocaust’. I spluttered my tea at this point as they showed skinny models in stylishly distressed black and grey robes. And no-one seemed to think there was anything wrong with this. I see now he is claiming it is a ‘tribute’. Oh yeah, of course. It’s a tribute in the same way an Auschwitz inspired breakfast cereal would be a tribute, and in no way insulting, shallow and disrespectful. It leads to such deep analysis as: "Ross Jenkins’ moth eaten brogues are refreshing…

  • Music,  Open content

    Radiohead explore pricing models

    Almost as if they’ve been reading the Future of content debate here (hey, it’s a nice thought), one of my favourite miserable groups (okay, all my favourite groups are miserable), Radiohead have announced they are releasing their new album next week. It will be available for download direct from their own website and the price box is left blank for the purchaser to enter an amount. Assuming it’s not another hoax, this is further evidence of record companies being disintermediated and content shuffling towards the freedom it so achingly longs for.

  • twitter

    Twitter dreams

    While I agree with Henry James in "tell a dream, lose a reader" I thought I’d share a rather scary development. For the past two nights I have dreamt in twitter mode. I haven’t dreamt of Twitter, I’ve dreamt in Twitter, that is my dream has constituted lots of short update messages from various people (some dead, some alive, some imaginary). I’m sure there’s a piece of modernistic fiction ‘The twitters of the dead’ to be written by someone, but not me. I’m just concerned that I’m now having dreams 2.0. Psychotherapists need not comment.