Thursday, October 25, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Coincidentally, I was looking through Peeragogy: A Peer-Learning Handbook (http://peeragogy.org) recently and like the way they suggest thinking about tools for self-learners in terms of function. Learners need tools to collect (search/visualize), relate (consulting others), create (and co-create), and distribute/disseminate information. (http://peeragogy.org/resources/technologies/ ) We sure could add some criteria to a synchronous tool. I would like something more like Bb Collaborate or Adobe Connect.
One of the SMOOCHERS mentioned etiquette - or lack of it - in the discussion forums. I haven't noticed anything even slightly off to me, so I'm trying to figure out what might have seemed troubling. I'm wondering if this was a reaction to some informality(?) (Some participants in CFHE12 know each other, so there's that.) Want to see really bad behavior? There was plenty in the Coursera course I took. The teaching assistants for that course did not use a heavy hand, but they did remove some postings. We can remind participants to be polite, but what should we do when some aren't? Perhaps we should warn MOOC newbies about the potential for a lack of decorum in discussion forums Perhaps we should suggest that newbies warm up by spending a few hours reading comments on slashdot and reddit and get innured to flip comments. Perhaps we should be trained in strategies for dealing with rude postings when we are not in charge. (Some suggestions for dealing with difficult students in the online classroom at http://deoracle.org/online-pedagogy/teaching-strategies/managing-difficult-students-in-the-online-classroom.html )
Last Friday was a day of complete confusion for me about what time I was supposed to be where - both in physical space and online space. I need an administrative assistant! I finally made it online for that first TLT Group sMOOCHers discussion on CFHE12. Talk about confusion in general! I've been using the wrong hastag for sMOOCHers. It should be #tltgSMOOCHERS . I would have sworn that I'd been reading all my TLT email, but I guess not.
Speaking of technology: I do not yet have a mobile device with a data plan/hotspot. I experimented with ways to get onto wifi as if I were getting out of work at 2pm and getting into a 2pm online meeting ASAP. Not much luck with a rapid launch with my current batch of devices from my work location! Maybe it's time to pay Verizon more money? (sigh).
Thursday, October 11, 2012
One of the nice things about the discussion forums in D2L: I did a search for "librarian" in the Introductions forum and found all the librarians I had listed as I read through the introductions. Perhaps we should all be trained to use keywords and tags in our discussion postings as a matter of course. "Imagine that someone is trying to find material on the topic of your post. Will they find yours?"
Whether it's a MOOC or not, my little, fleeting problems with D2L made me think about some micro-level aspects of online vs face-to-face courses:
Online courses: Course syllabi and instructions for assignments can be confusing. One course I teach asks students to list "discipline." Some students are asking for clarification. Perhaps we should just ask them to list "your major"? (It's a grad course.) (P.S. I ask students to list the last book they read for fun. Many students in my last two courses listed Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe they are thinking of a different kind of discipline.
Face to face courses: Course syllabi and instructions for assignments can be just as confusing, but it may be easier to ask questions about the instructions in a face-to-face class.
Students may have trouble navigating all the components of an online course. (I do not believe that navigation and use problems are restricted to use of an LMS.)
Most of us have been sitting in classes since the first grade. We know how face-to-face courses work.
Watching a professor deliver a video lecture online can be boring.
Listening to a professor deliver a lecture in class can be boring.
Wading through online threaded discussion forums can be tedious.
Listening to that one student who always hogs airspace in class can be tedious.
Contacting your instructor and/or other students via email, chat, phone, etc. can be a snap in online courses (though the response might not be instantaneous)
Students may be able to avail themselves of faculty office hours and/or stay after class to ask questions.
Students taking online courses may plagiarize and cheat on exams.
Students taking f2f courses may plagiarize and cheat on exams.
Students may complete an online course and yet not have a true, deep understanding of the content.
Students may complete an online course and yet not have a true, deep understanding of the content.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Comments about the podcast: Dominik Lukeš make some GREAT points! http://researchity.net/2012/09/15/the-great-mooc-slander-realities-and-narratives-of-education-and-learning/
Summary of the podcast here: http://allmoocs.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/the-summer-of-moocs-podcast-at-digitalcampus/ ;
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Oprah has started her Book Club up again. The Digital Reader Morning Coffee - 4 June 2012 - had a link to the New York Times video about Oprah's new interactive online book club.
Can we think of Oprah's Book Club as a MOOC? I'm impressed with how many options there are for learning about the book from the Oprah, the author, and her readers and for sharing comments.
First pick for the new book club: Cheryl Strayed. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The book is autobiographical - Strayed's of her hiking the Pacific Crest Trail at age 26 after the death of her mother. Strayed had no experience as a long-distance hiker and the journey chronicles her physical and emotional journey on the trail. The book is available in all kinds of digital editions - and in print. There are detailed instructions on getting the ebook from various sources. I went for the Kindle edition which is marked (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) The Oprah ebook editions are lightly highlighted and ends with a list of the highlights with annotations - Oprah's reactions to the highlighted passages. There is also a list of discussion questions at the end of the book. The Guide (E-Reader Extras) are also available online at the Book Club site.
Participants are invited to form virtual book clubs: "Form a virtual book club on GroupMe; watch video interview with the author, what readers are saying around the world, go behind the scenes with Oprah's Book Club 2.0"
What about other social media? "Using Mass Relevance Companion to capture and display the best conversations, Tweets, posts, and photos all in one place. To participate, just add the hashtag #oprahsbookclub to your tweets and Instagram photos." Participants are urged to send an Instagram photo of their favorite place to read. Follow @Oprah @CherylStrayed
Also online at the Book Club site: There is a list of the 60 print books from the original Book Club.
O Magazine for July 2012 is laced with information about Oprah's Book Club 2.0. The Book Club is highlighted on the front cover with the page number for the article. Oprah publishes a "What I Know for Sure" essay on the last page of every issue of O Magazine. Magazine. The July 2012 issue's last page "What I know for sure" is devoted to Oprah's embrace of ereaders as useful devices. She says that she is still fond of print books, but loves the ability to go online and buy a book and download it in an instant. She likes using her ereader when she travels.
Opposite her essay: an ad for the Kindle Fire.
I've received the Book Club's June 12, 2012 newsletter. Strayed discussions writers block. There's a section "how to write your memoir." There's a link to video with Strayed talking to Oprah about the book. There's a place to submit questions to Oprah about the book.
Sunday, July 22 at 11/10c: Oprah's television interview with Cheryl Strayed on "Super Soul Sunday".
Lots of ways in and lots of options to participate in discussions about this book.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
William Gibson did a short piece in that same issue of the New Yorker about how he got into reading science fiction: Olds Rocket 88, 1950.(http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/06/04/120604fa_fact_gibson) Now I'm trying to remember how *I* got into reading science fiction. I'm not certain! There were some Oldsmobiles in our family during the same time period. Maybe that was it! However I think it might have been Jules Verne and on from there.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I did listen to most of the recording for Week 3 and did review the readings. Week 3 was on collaboration. I know there are cheerleaders for collaboration as if that's the best thing ever, but my own attempts at a collaboration assignments were successes. My adult learners living in many time zones were not all that enchanted with the idea (even though others who teach in the same program have brought this off with a lot of aplomb.) In one group on semester, one student simply flaked out and did not do his part. The other students were extremely upset. They feared that 1) their grade would be affected and 2) that the student would get credit even though he did none of the work. My reassurances were not sufficient to calm their nerves. The students did not enjoy the process. I did not enjoy the process. What were the learning objectives for that assignment? I can barely remember! Mostly I remember that the students were unhappy. Mostly the students learned that collaboration was a risky proposition. As I noted I do understand that some instructors make it work. However the idea of tackling a collaboration activity in the future just makes me groan. I read through a lot of the discussions for Week 3, but I did not have a charming, original contribution to make about collaboration. So... no badge for me! I did make some comments here and there in this course, so I stretched beyond my usual lurker status, but I'm not comfortable I fulfilled the requirements for a badge.
Gerry McKiernan picked up Bonk's AUDIO | The MOOC Halftime Report. Interestingly Dr Bonk guessed that he'd attract faculty who were "petrified about teaching" online. I'm not certain there was an actual survey... It would be interesting to know more about the participants.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
So what about incorporating different kinds of doing into one's courses? I find that there's still a tendency to expect students to exhibit academic writing skills. What if the student turned in a spectacular video? Applause applause, but...the school still seems to want to know... can the student write?? (What if the student turns in a bad video? I wonder if we faculty have the critical apparatus necessary to goad students to the next level. )
One idea that I might be able to implement: Give the students a choice of assignments. This means that I have to get busy and dream up some additional, equivalent assignments.
(Best part of a MOOC: Getting to know a few more people. I've already collected up the names of a few librarians who are participating in Bonk's open course.)
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Nevertheless I'm trying to make some contributions to this course. I've got some time to spend on this course over the next couple of weeks. Maybe I can even complete the Badge work for this course. I'm wondering if it'll turn out that some people wish I'd maintain my usual lurker status.
P.S. It's fun to run across from familiar names from earlier MOOCs.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Public higher education is a waste of time and money. Faculty are lazy and self-serving and have no interest in promoting student learning. The curriculum is outmoded and does not prepare students for jobs in the 21st century. Study the humanities? Laughable idea. Social sciences? Perhaps of some utility - but anyone who's not interested in pursuing STEM shouldn't bother with higher education. The Ivy League schools? The only point in going to a prestigious institution is networking. One probably has to put up with the existence of the Ivys since much of their funding is generated by endowments. (On the other hand perhaps we should start taxing those elite institutions and make sure that the Ivys have to operate at a lower-level.)
K-12 education is boring and irrelevant and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Schools are dangerous places - actually physically dangerous and a place where students are exposed to dangerous ideas. The curriculum is outmoded. K-12 educators claim to have the goal of preparing students for college, but that goal should be changed. Many students are unsuited for higher learning. In any case many students can't afford higher education. K-12 is a waste of public funds.
Public school teachers do not have their students best interests at heart. Teachers are morally bankrupt and uncaring - and overpaid.
K-12 teachers don't need any credentials. Anyone with a modicum of training can learn to follow a set handbook of materials and exercises. Students will do well on standardized tests which obviously means the students are learning.
For some reason private, for-profit schools (K-12 and beyond) manage to overcome all of the odds and beat our public schools when it comes to student learning. For-profit schools have the curriculum that students need.
When it comes to higher education a few superstar professors can develop courses with sections run by adjuncts. That will make learning more economical - and provide profits for shareholders.
We should abandon the goal of public eduation for all in favor of the goal of fostering for-profit schools for some.
Even better? Skip school as a necessary institution supported by the nation altogether. Children should be homeschooled - or how about unschooled? Children will learn those things that interest them using their networked home computers - no, their iPads - and by developing their own personal learning networks. Everyone knows a nice, successful, talented homeschooled kid or two so obviously this will work for everyone.
Higher ed? Skip college and become an entrepreneur. Surely everyone has the capabilities to start a business.
Those children from unstable and impoverished families may amount to something if they are by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, but since it is unlikely that lower-income children will succeed, we should continue to build prisons which of course are privatized and run for a profit. We will have to stop any aid to dependent children because obviously it makes their parents lazy. This might mean that some children go hungry, but we're willing to risk it. Surely anyone who wants to work can find work.
People do not need degrees or other credentials to succeed. Degrees and credentials are an unnecessary barriers set up by the priviledged. The supposed needs for degrees, etc. goes along with other forms of regulation that simply hold us back from achieving economic prosperity. Truck drivers, pest control operators, lawyers, doctors, social workers... no one needs regulations/credentials/certificates/degrees.
I think it's time to find some a bunch of positive upbeat messages about education somewhere. Anyone know where I can find some?
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I read e-books on my iPod Touch, my Kindle, my Kindle Fire, my desktop PC and my aged laptop. (There's an iPad 1 in my household, but since it's not mine, I haven't used it to read an entire book).
The sources for e-books: Sites such as Project Gutenberg, other free e-book sources providing open access such as Athabasca University Press, PDFs of articles, reports, etc. The public library via Overdrive for Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle titles. The university library: I have accessed books via eBrary, EBL (eBook Library), EBSCOHost (formerly NetLibrary), etc. via my university affiliation. Purchased e-books from Amazon.com.
I'm not an electronic purist: If the book I want is available in print and that's the cheapest/most efficient way to get the book, I'll use print.
Desktop: Tends to be the space I use to read PDF files and books from the university's vendors. Not my favorite since it entails sitting up straight. I've never figured out how to curl up with my desktop.
Laptop: I'm sorry - I can never get the stuff to look right on my laptop - 15 inch screen, but things just don't look right to me. It doesn't matter if it's the Kindle app or another format, either the pages look squished or the font looks too small. It's just annoying. Like the desktop, I haven't figure out how to curl up with my laptop either. I read on my laptop sometimes, but it's not a favorite for reading long form.
iPod Touch: I've owned this device for a couple of years. Kindle app - check! Overdrive's app to access public library e-books - check! Nook app - check - (but I've never gotten it to work properly. I've installed, re-installed, tried more than one e-book - I get a couple of pages into a book and it stops.) Various PDF readers apps - check (None of the PDF readers are perfect. Amount of real estate has something to do with it. My portable devices are on the small side. Former favorite way to read PDF: Using on PDF Annotator from GRAHL with a pressure sensitive pen on my HP tablet (the HP Compaq tc4200 with swivel screen).
Kindle (keyboard with wi fi only): I've been an Amazon customer for ages. The first book I ordered was in 1996, so I wasn't a pioneer, but I think I can count myself as an early-ish adopter. (Amazon went online in July 1995). I like my Kindle! It's the old one with the keyboard and wi-fi only. I like the glare-free screen. I like the long battery life. I like being able to set the font size. I'm not handy with that little keyboard so I confine myself to the highlighting. The ability to easily annotate would be great, but I find other ways to keep notes when necessary. What about color? Color would be nice, but when I'm reading straight text, the Kindle is my favorite. (I have a feeling that I might like the KindleDX if I ever got my hands on one. ) Privacy: I'm ok with the Amazon tradeoff. Amazon knows what I've ordered from them. Perhaps I will come to regret it, but I like having a list of all the books I've purchased and/or borrowed from the public library. I like having a list of the documents I've sent to myself to read on my Kindle.
Kindle Fire: Once I figured out how to sideload apps, I've had a good time with the Kindle Fire. It's the device I pick up when I want to read news or check out some video or fiddle with a drawing app. (Still no pressure-sensitive pen like I had on my old HP tablet! Note to self: Watch for a way to replicate this experience in the 21st century. Buy the new HP tablet?? Wait to one of those Samsung Galaxy tablets to do it right? I'm on the list for a jaja pen http://goo.gl/Gu0BT. If it works well, it might tip me over the edge to purchasing an iPad. (Yes, there are a couple of other pens on the way. No, I've never plunked down the bucks for a Wacom tablet or any of those things. I'm looking for the device/tablet that makes it feel like I'm holding a drawing pad.))
I'm trying to use my library affiliations as well as free sources:
I use e-books from my public library - both Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle editions I use print books from my public library. (Let's hear it for the Hillsborough County Public Library system!) I use e-books from my university library (though these are the WORST to use. I suppose if I had an iPad, I would be happier with the e-books available through the university library.) I use interlibrary loan service via my university library. I use print books from my university library. I search for the best e-book price when purchasing the item is a good choice. I search for the best print price when purchasing a print book is a good choice.
Could I get away with using only one device? Hmmm... maybe. Yes, I've used apps for Kindle and/or B&N on various devices. I've used apps for PDF files on various devices. I have used Calibre and DRM-removal software to manipulate files and get them from one file format to another - and from there from one device to another. (If I can hack an Adobe Digital Editions file, anyone can hack an Adobe Digital Editions file.) However I have no reason to settle down to one e-reader device so I'm enjoying trying out more than one.
I purchased my iPod Touch in March 2010 - and my Kindle in September 2010 - and the Kindle Fire in December 2011. In order to track of what I've been reading and which device I've used, I've done up a spreadsheet and listed all the books I've checked out of a library in print or digital form; all the books I've purchased print or digital; all the free e-books I've read. The list includes a few items from my pre-specialized e-reader devices. The list covers December 2009 to date. Missing from the list: The many PDF reports which I've read mostly on my desktop. I'm going to see if I can recover some of that information.