• 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…

  • Research,  web 2.0

    Why I’m not putting in an FP7 bid

    A few of us have been working on a proposal for the new framework 7 funding from the European Commission. Our idea was around the central question of how do learners work in a world where content is free, can be reused and remixed. What type of learning environment is needed and how does this affect the learning process? After some discussions with people at the commission it became apparent that they weren’t keen on proposals that focused on, or even mentioned, content. The feeling is that this was addressed in frameworks 5 and 6, which looked at learning objects. For us this meant we couldn’t make a virtue of…

  • Open content,  web 2.0

    I wrote that!

    Someone has taken some old content I wrote for a course called T171 – You, your computer and the Net, which is available through the openlearn site and put it in Scribd. The course was written in 1998, and at the time hugely successful with 12,000 students. So it was funny to see the old content again. It made me reflect on what it’s like to have content take on a life of its own. My old, ownership reaction kicked in initially and I asked myself if I should mind. But that passed immediately, of course I don’t mind, as long as readers are aware that it’s old stuff and…

  • e-learning,  web 2.0

    Horizontal and vertical social software

    I’ve been having some discussions about Second Life, and firstly wondered why I didn’t get it, then noticed that something of a SL backlash was starting. Clay Shirky has a good piece on why we shouldn’t get too excited about SL, including the suggestion that SL promotes the old content is king idea (thanks to Adam Joinson for pointing me at this). I am one of those many people who have tried SL and not got beyond the training island. I wonder why this is so, since I’m not a technophobe. Here are some reasons: Time – this is the big one for me, SL like all immersive games just…

  • Asides,  Open content,  Web/Tech

    Is marketing dead?

    Chris Anderson posted on Google’s attitude towards marketing, which was ‘we know we’re good, everyone will try us so don’t do it.’ I’ve been having a few discussions around marketing as part of the broadcast review, and how companies such as YouTube just completely ignore all the rules of marketing. Let’s take adverts as the purest form of marketing (I know there are lots of other methods, but they are usually adverts dressed up), I see these as rather greedy chunks of resource. They don’t do anything except say ‘here I am, this is the product.’ And they cost a lot of money to say this. If you take viral…

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