Saturday, December 25, 2010

last pass

I'm trying out Last Pass after yet another round of changing passwords on various accounts. So far so good. I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lurkers as consumers vs. producers

RE: Lurkers and the PLENK 2010 discussions... George Siemens has talked about the problem with lurkers in the MOOCs he's taught. Some of us (lurkers) defend ourselves. We're still digesting the information; we're not quite ready to brave exposing our work to the experts; we're too busy. Excuses, excuses. Ramit Sethi points out "It’s so easy to consume. It’s much harder to produce something." I Will Teach You to Be Rich. December 20, 2010.. So.. maybe it's best to insist on SOME production. However there's nothing to hold over MOOC participants. How can instructors make participants feel comfortable enough to take a risk?

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's wrong with MOOCs?

George Siemens asks "what's wrong with MOOCs?" The premise is that MOOCs are so intrinsically interesting/enjoyable/fascinating that all participants will push aside all other activities and responsibilities and devote themselves to the MOOC. MOOCs by nature of their openness and willingness to embrace technology are more engaging. However it seems that isn't true for everyone. There is a high dropout rate. The plethora of tools used can be confusing. Even though making social connections is key, many participants feel lost, disconnected, uneasy about having their say. Comments on this piece mentioned language barriers and time zone issues. In some cases the MOOC may be achieving results that can't be tracked. Some posters indicate that at least some participants are using lessons learned. George is concerned that there is over-reliance on the instructors as experts. Hmmm...What if it turns out that "course" with a start/stop date, some specified software, some content (readings/media) experienced by the entire group - with students providing some artifacts (i.e. papers, discussion threads, blog postings, videos, etc.) that are indicative of learning is OK structure?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grades in for one course

I finished turning in grades for LIBS150 last night (undergrad 1 credit information literacy course (use of the library and Internet resource) - last minute for some students. One student actually turned in something as I was posting his grade! It's a required course. LIBS 150: Largely skills-based. Passing the course means that students show some evidence of that they've achieved some mastery over those skills. When this course gets started there's a lot of "I'm only taking this because it's required." At the end of the course many students indicate "I wish I'd taken this course earlier in my academic career." That's gratifying, but I didn't feel all that great about students who didn't respond to my cajoling and reminding. Maybe you just can't even get to all of them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Being a lurker

George Siemens wrote "[B]eing connected, without creating and contributing, is a self-focused, self-centered state. I’ve ranted about this before, but there is never a good time to be a lurker. Lurking=taking. The concept of legitimate peripheral participation sounds very nice, but is actually negative. Even when we are newcomers in a network or community, we should be creating and sharing our growing understanding." ( Rita Kop and others responded - some in favor of "lurker" (or "listening") and some championing active participation. Hmm... I was a lurker in PLENK 2010. I must have been because I was selected to be in the lurkers' focus group. Not sure I like being called out as a selfish taker. On the other hand.. I'm not feeling all that guilty either. ;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

a MOOC flunkie

Not a "flunkie" as in "a lowly assistant" - more like a dropout, Matt Crosslin posts that he has never completed a single MOOC. He finds them complicated to follow and questions the reliance on peers who might not be subject experts. He wonders how you know if you've connected with a good group or not? He says "I think I also just see the MOOC as the technology-driven, socially-networked version of the cattle-herd lecture hall courses so prevalent on college campuses today." Stephen Downes comments that Cousslin's objections to confusion over the structure of MOOCs are "a bit silly - after all, you have to learn to read to take just about any course, and that's a lot more preparation than watching a four-minute video. Perhaps it's difficult for Crosslin because there's so much unlearning to do." Hmmm... Maybe... but that just blames the learner and it's just a way to shuffle off criticism: If students find your course confusing, perhaps there's some ways to make less confusing. At the very least, acknowledge that the course IS confusing!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google ebooks

Google ebook store is here and the "about info" says "You can read all of your favorite books using just about any device with an Internet connection. Google eBooks is compatible with Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, web browsers and many supported eReaders." No offline reading???? Ah! I found this "If you're offline and the book hasn't completed downloading, a warning message will pop up to let you know. You will have to go online to complete downloading your book." Can you take notes? Can you copy and print any pages? The file format is Adobe Digital Editions... I'm afraid the answer is going to be "no." The prices I checked against prices of a book or two I've recently bought through Amazon - no big Google bargains are evident. Why would I choose a Google eBook over a Kindle ebook? Off to do some more exploring.

Update: According to the New York Times article, copy and pasting is available if allowed by the publisher. If so, why isn't that option available on the free book that I downloaded? Public domain = no publisher needs to give permission... Shouldn't that be the default in Google Ebooks? (New York Times article: )