Thursday, 21 May 2015

Try out new conference formats #emoocs2015

With the #eMOOCs2015 conference coming to a finish, it is time for me as the experience track chair to look back and think about what happened, how, and the feeling it gave me and possibly others as well.

Trying out other formats during the conference
The experience track of a MOOC conference has one big advantage: you can say YES to any proposal that is offered, or suggest them, or think of them and try them out on the spot. All of that happened. We - all participants within and beyond the conference - came up with formats to test:

  • a flipped conference mode in pecha kucha style, 
  • an e-buddy style hangout online, and 
  • unprepared speakers taking the floor: an open call to speak ad hoc filling in open speaking spots. 

Flipped conference mode: from open video, to pecha kucha and an engaged audience
The idea: put the 5 best (= those who got the highest scores from the reviewing panel) papers of each conference track on a MOOC platform about 3 weeks before the conference. Ask the authors of those papers to make a short (= approx 5 min) video describing their MOOC project adding some key questions. Enable people - insight and outside of the conference - to have a look, pose questions, add comments... to all of these papers/videos. These videos and papers were put on the ConfX MOOC, which is available here. Once the conference started we needed to find a way to balance the discussion that could take place in the room: on the one hand there would be people in the room having seen the videos/read papers, but there would also be people in the room being new to the presented projects. So how do you drive a constructive discussion forward where these two audiences meet? The option we went for was: pecha kucha style: each of the participants in the f-2-f session had 20 slides, each taking up to 20 seconds, to describe their project. Leaving 18 minutes for questions and answers with the audience. Because this was a new format, an extra physical incentive was added: Belgian chocolates were given to all those participants that posed a question. How did it go? First the audience was hesitant, but as trust and confidence grew, people started to shout out their questions. Resulting in the end with 25 questions coming from the audience, providing real dialogues to take place in the room itself, a real treat.

An e-buddy style hangout online
The wonderful, inspiring and public scholars Maha Bali ( @Bali_Maha ) and Rebecca Hogue ( @RJHogue )proposed a hangout, enabling non-conference audience to have a feel of what was happening at the conference, and have a chance to talk to some of the active people in the conference. This resulted in a recorded session spanning multiple continents. You can see the hangout here.
Now just to understand how great Maha and Rebecca are: suddenly the connection dropped Whitney Kilgore and me out the hangout. And Maha had a back-up plan! On the air she asked Aras Bozkurt to share his graph visualization from NodeXL where you could see the social media networks as they were created during the eMOOCs2015 conference, and his MOOCs, especially #rhizo15 and #edcmooc (this is a really great share!).
This e-buddy style hangout is part of a concept by both Maha and Rebecca exploring a new type of conference option, and you can read more about it in Maha's blogpost here.

Open call for speakers to take the floor (open speaking spots)
As I was preparing for my session (a session of an hour and a half, normally with 3 speakers)... I thought I was the only speaker in that room as the timing of our session had come. So I decided to call out and ask if there was anyone in the room willing to take one of the open spots... and Brian Wernham from NooLearn (= an open MOOC platform that lets the crowd build online courses... really nice) took the chance and started preparing a 15 min presentation on the spot. Tiberio Feliz Murias, the wonderful chair of this session also got out and pulled in a wonderful extra presenter: Divina Frau-Meigs of the Sorbonne university in Paris. As these two speakers were found, one planned speaker showed up: Rémi Bachelet, with a great talk on MOOC peer assessments which you can see on slideshare here.
So all of a sudden we were 4 speakers in the room, two planned speakers, two volunteering on the spot. And did it work? Yes! As in MOOCs, the people that actively participate are always people with wisdom, form which we all can learn. And indeed that happened in the room as well. New wisdom was shared, and new dialogues took place.

MOOCs and f-2-f moments mimicking the magic of life
So, for me, there were a lot of experiences happening in the experience track of the conference that lifted the interactions that were taking place. To me there is a parallel between life and moocs, if you keep opportunities open, new surprising knowledge will be created, and new networks will appear ... all of which make up the best moments in life, where magic happens. Thank you to all that engaged... it felt good. 

Networking #eMOOCs2015 a graph analysis & personal account

Conferences are really good meeting places, and they always mold my knowledge thanks to all the old/new people I meet and talk to. I often wonder whether they have more impact on my knowledge then the papers I read, simply because of the connection, the mutual dialogue that takes place. I am already looking forward to joining eMOOCs2016 in the beautiful Graz, Austria that will be lead by the wonderful Martin Ebner and Michael Kopp, and their colleagues. Mark your calendar, by the end of June 2015 the call for papers will already be out, so keep your keyboard/pen/mind alert.

Marc Smith made the wonderful NodeXL graph visualizing the interactions, and networks that were happening at eMOOCs2015. Which reflects the importance of getting the word out while you are in a conference, enabling connections and exchanges to happen in- and outside of the venue.

At the Mons venue, the IRL encounters were also illuminating and stimulating. I got a chance to shake hands with people I have been learning from for a long while: Whitney Kilgore, Dave Cormier, Pierre Dillenbourg, Siân Bayne, Ahmed FahmySimon Carolan, and Christine Vaufrey. Of course there were also those who keep on inspiring me and I have met or meet: Mike Sharples, Sally Reynolds, Timothy Read, Janesh Sanzgiri,Yishay Mor, Steven Warburton, Martin Ebner, Nigel Smith, Carlos Delgado Kloos,
But also inspirational new people: Gavin Clinch,  Darco Jansen, Divina Frau-Meigs, Sabine Schuman, Tiberio Feliz Murias, Ella Harmonic, JingJing Lin, Beatrice Capristan, Su White, Françoise Docq, Bruno Poellhuber, and many others... as my mind is still a bit sleepy after an intense three days.

... and while I was listening to them I realized why it is so important for me to see some people in real life. I felt how driven they were, why they care for others (ethical, philosophical awareness), which made me realize that passion (in action, in philosophy) is the way forward for any life I love. 

New conference formats in Experience track of #emoocs2015 share

With the #eMOOCs2015 conference coming to a finish, it is time for me as the experience track chair to look back and think about what happened, how, and the feeling it gave me and possibly others as well.

Trying out other formats during the conference
The experience track of a MOOC conference has one big advantage: you can say YES to any proposal that is offered, or suggest them, or think of them and try them out on the spot. All of that happened. We - all participants within and beyond the conference - came up with formats to test:

  • a flipped conference mode in pecha kucha style, 
  • an e-buddy style hangout online, and 
  • unprepared speakers taking the floor: an open call to speak ad hoc filling in open speaking spots. 

Flipped conference mode: from open video, to pecha kucha and an engaged audience
The idea: put the 5 best (= those who got the highest scores from the reviewing panel) papers of each conference track on a MOOC platform about 3 weeks before the conference. Ask the authors of those papers to make a short (= approx 5 min) video describing their MOOC project adding some key questions. Enable people - insight and outside of the conference - to have a look, pose questions, add comments... to all of these papers/videos. These videos and papers were put on the ConfX MOOC, which is available here. Once the conference started we needed to find a way to balance the discussion that could take place in the room: on the one hand there would be people in the room having seen the videos/read papers, but there would also be people in the room being new to the presented projects. So how do you drive a constructive discussion forward where these two audiences meet? The option we went for was: pecha kucha style: each of the participants in the f-2-f session had 20 slides, each taking up to 20 seconds, to describe their project. Leaving 18 minutes for questions and answers with the audience. Because this was a new format, an extra physical incentive was added: Belgian chocolates were given to all those participants that posed a question. How did it go? First the audience was hesitant, but as trust and confidence grew, people started to shout out their questions. Resulting in the end with 25 questions coming from the audience, providing real dialogues to take place in the room itself, a real treat.

An e-buddy style hangout online
The wonderful, inspiring and public scholars Maha Bali ( @Bali_Maha ) and Rebecca Hogue ( @RJHogue )proposed a hangout, enabling non-conference audience to have a feel of what was happening at the conference, and have a chance to talk to some of the active people in the conference. This resulted in a recorded session spanning multiple continents. You can see the hangout here.
Now just to understand how great Maha and Rebecca are: suddenly the connection dropped Whitney Kilgore and me out the hangout. And Maha had a back-up plan! On the air she asked Aras Bozkurt to share his graph visualization from NodeXL where you could see the social media networks as they were created during the eMOOCs2015 conference, and his MOOCs, especially #rhizo15 and #edcmooc (this is a really great share!).
This e-buddy style hangout is part of a concept by both Maha and Rebecca exploring a new type of conference option, and you can read more about it in Maha's blogpost here.

Open call for speakers to take the floor (open speaking spots)
As I was preparing for my session (a session of an hour and a half, normally with 3 speakers)... I thought I was the only speaker in that room as the timing of our session had come. So I decided to call out and ask if there was anyone in the room willing to take one of the open spots... and Brian Wernham from NooLearn (= an open MOOC platform that lets the crowd build online courses... really nice) took the chance and started preparing a 15 min presentation on the spot. Tiberio Feliz Murias, the wonderful chair of this session also got out and pulled in a wonderful extra presenter: Divina Frau-Meigs of the Sorbonne university in Paris. As these two speakers were found, one planned speaker showed up: Rémi Bachelet, with a great talk on MOOC peer assessments which you can see on slideshare here.
So all of a sudden we were 4 speakers in the room, two planned speakers, two volunteering on the spot. And did it work? Yes! As in MOOCs, the people that actively participate are always people with wisdom, form which we all can learn. And indeed that happened in the room as well. New wisdom was shared, and new dialogues took place.

MOOCs and f-2-f moments mimicking the magic of life
So, for me, there were a lot of experiences happening in the experience track of the conference that lifted the interactions that were taking place. To me there is a parallel between life and moocs, if you keep opportunities open, new surprising knowledge will be created, and new networks will appear ... all of which make up the best moments in life, where magic happens. Thank you to all that engaged... it felt good. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Social learning expert panel #emoocs2015 #social

The eMOOCs2015 expert panel (Whitney Kilgore, Sian Bayne, Mike Sharples, Pierre Dubuc) sharing knowledge with all of us on the subject of social learning.

What do you feel is social learning?
Some pedagogies do not scale, eg sport teaching.

Social learning: what becomes better when more people take part: more diverse views, more perspectives => conversations. The rich conversations in FutureLearn are essential to learning in the platform as all of human reflection (individual or collaborative) revolves around conversation.

Social learning moves beyond learners and teachers, it is about participating in a course in such a way that you yourself learn, but also you yourself share what you know.

In the last decade the challenge has always been to make teaching social, it is connected to learning, as you cannot have learning without having a social interaction. It is very human (Tautology discussion). Either with other humans, or other beings, or things.

Questions:
What is the effect of tools inside mooc platforms (likes, marked as done…)?
Not everybody wants to be social, they do not necessarily take part in any action or discussion. The challenge is to make tools that feel very intuitive, so that the participation threshold would be really low (eg conversational discussions that go on and are not threaded).

 LinkedIn is the biggest professional platform which just acquired Lynda.com, but does this make it social? Lynda.com is not really a social learning platform, it is more a catalogue of videos, so less social. The intention of LinkedIn might have been that they have the sociograph, so they can fill the dots to become a social learning platform, maybe they can build it in by knowing what is missing and will work. But there is much to be done to do this. The merger is interesting, so the learning is on the inside. The thing that linkedin wants to do is to become the first stop on professional credentialing, so that is the play there. Adding degree would be of interest. We are short of time right now, so the bigger challenge would be to make learning quitter so that learning can happen. On the other hand, chaotic conversations bring people together, so simply the engagement with other people can be enriching.

Amnesty International are very much offline, they are now creating a MOOC, but we want to create  a social space that can be safe even though th participants will most probably sometimes use hard voices? How can we make a sanctuary? FutureLearn also had that anxiety, but in the end it did not happen for a number of reasons: the initial cohort of futurelearn based on known, good communicators (alumni OU eg), the discussions are not fully open, it is embedded in contexts related to learning content. When you get extreme views, immediately others come in and ask that person to provide evidence of what they propose, and because they attract less followers, the end up yelling in the desert of the course. FutureLearn uses a moderator company that looks at bad messages and sees whether they are indeed over the line. At the other hand, with such a company you risk of excluding people, so at which point do we need to have active moderation within a group of people who are interested in the topic.

Anonymous or known commenting options? Because conversations can be taken out of MOOC platforms and used in research, it is pivotal (for ethical reasons) that those who participate in MOOCs use their own name. On the other side, it might still be necessary to be able to work in an anonymous way as well.

How do you guide and direct conversations on a massive scale? Guidance is not necessarily (and to most adults not) necessary.

Diversity versus cultural symbolic capital as an effect on the resulting conversations? There is a tension between what we can do to keep the diversity in terms of cultural, religious approaches that are used in MOOCs, but in the end all of us have our own educational paradigm which we think is ‘ideal’ whether that is or not. One option that was done on humanMOOC was to create regional groups, where participants could meet and feel they could share similar cultural ideas and realities. But in the end there is indeed the risk of making a homogenous conversation, where diversity has been erased for most of it. So, it is difficult to keep it, yet it might be inevitable as well…

Question on what are the latest tools
Check out Brainly.com (as a new sort of tool)
LTI learning tool interoperability is of interest if you plan moocs and want to use different tools from outside.
The latest tools do not make the most social learning, only those that survive can become social in use.

What is your favourite sort of tech that is not yet had a tool solution? Citizens inquiry is still underdeveloped, anybody can start an investigation and others can join and all about science. That is not yet fully supported, but very interesting.

What is missing in social learning? You cannot divide the tech from the social, so I would like to see a more mutual emergent entities (entymological shift). The business models: sometimes there are very good ideas, but that do not go beyond the creation phase due to budgets, degrees. So it would be good to be able to ensure more successful learning based on durable business models. Continuity in connectivity, when adults were asked whether they did learn, and what they learned. Almost all adults (10 years ago study) said they were engaged in learning (language, sport, community…). Online these fields are disconnected, eg the art course in F-2-F is disconnected from MOOCs, so how can we connect this, and how can we create such communities of connected learners and fields, because over a lifetime these locations and connections change, so keeping on top of this makes it easy. Sustaining and maintaining communities is a challenge, through a number of tools, and they ask active engagement about (eg COP versus PLE). As digital educators we will help and shape those types of communities.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sian Bayne keynote on teacherbot #emoocs2015 @sbayne

Great keynote by Siän Bayne who is professor of digital education at the University of Edinburgh, UK, on teacherbot, a twitterbot used within an educational mooc. Really interesting from the automation point and social effect on the debate.
Sian provides multiple references, so where possible I mention the author and year of the reference in this liveblog. Hot from the press Times Higher Ed article on Teacherbot here.

1 Debates in teacher automation
Artificial intelligenc in education
Adaptive learning
Teacher automation

Suppes, 1966; automated teacher visionair

Electric tutors: education is about to undergo a revolution unequalied since Gutenberg’s movable type. Arthur C. Clark – visionary article

The electronic tutor is going to spread across the planet as wiftly as the transistor radio … pure technocentriciy (1980)
By 2011 – Underwood and Luckin: AI in education are still not very well known about, not very well used, because we have not understood why to use them or how to use them.
So there is a body of research which critiques this automated tutor.
Feenberg, 2003: the goal is to replace fac-to-face teaching by professional faculty with an industrial product, infinitly reproducible at decreasing unit cost – critique.

This has attracted a lot of funding opportunities, again it is very political.

Who is thinking against this? Neil Selwyn has written many books describing the neo-liberal, capitalist lines of this automated vision.

How can we respond to this automation function?
Critical pedagogy approach would bring the focus back to the correlation with students and tutors (Clegg, 2003).
Humans, academics and teachers working together.
Mobilization in defense of the human touch (Feenberg, 2003)

2 the people t/technology divide
Two choices provided by Hamilton and Friesen, 2013
Instrumentalism: technologies are seen as neutral means employed for ends determined independitly by their users.
Essentialism: technology has its own trajectory, humans need to adapt, like a Newtonian god, watche unaffected as the drama unfolds.

This is something we must think about critically to move forward.
Things and people need to learn to join – (Fenwick, Edwards and Sawchuck, 2011) focusing on the world and the dynamics in them.
Whatmore, 2004: the human is always evolving and adapting to tech, we (tech and human) make each other.

Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be (Arthur c clark)

3 twitterbots as a cultural form
Twitterbots tweet on their own without any human action. 8,5 % tweets are deliverd by twitterbots.
So it is an interesting, contemporative social form. Here are some examples.
Example: ‘dear assistant’ made by amit agarwal, or LA quakebot made by bill snitzer, Olivia taters made by rob dubbin, desire bot made by felix jung,
Bots of conviction: they can be all sorts of functions, with this bot being political. NRA Tally made by Mark Sample, two headlines made by darius kazemi.

Rob dubbin wants to demystify what happens in the world through critical twitterbots.

4 teacherbot in the EDCMOOC
This bot wants to do some critical work on the boundaries of teacher and technology.
Teacherbot ran from October/November 2014 in Coursera mooc (12000 enrollments).
50% of enrollers work in education, so should be perceptive to this critical teacherbot.

#edcmooc : based on a simple GUI : mostly topics were process, content, social and pastoral related (see example in picture)
Challenge was to make a teacherbot that was part of the curriculum. So now the answers of the bot were fed content from the course.

Serious lessons: we never intended to trick the learners into thinking it was human. Everyone knew.
Teacherbot got into a dark loop at first, with a fatalistic tweet, but then things settled down.
The bot was actually very dominantly present in the twitter stream (about 25% of the tweets)
But it got extra discussions and reflections going (ambush teaching)

5 Rethinking teacher automation
Deficit => excess: based on teacher numbers. The teacherbot helped with creating excess.
Supercession => entanglement: if we do automation right/wrong it will affect teachers. The question was to find what the interest would be for education as complimentary extra’s.
Embrace/resistance => play
What works => what do we want?


Sian Bayne (2015) teacherbot in journal of higher education to be found here.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Liveblog #emoocs2015 Amdocs a corporate training MOOC

This session is presented by Nomi Malca, and it provides a good idea of the international impact and challenges of MOOCs for employees in a worldwide company.

These moocs are seen as personal development, not mandatory training. Employees need to work in their own time (or at least that is normally the only option considering the workload), and they get a certificate of accomplishment.

One of the challenges was: Current organisational culture versus the desired learning culture: the
So it demands a new culture to implement this new training for all the employees.

For this MOOC it was important to start small, so for the pilot we had 30 – 40 people, eventually it became 300 learners in each closed course of the company.
So each mooc is different, but using recorded videos, online sessions, links to external contents, reading material, hands-on sessions (this was considered as a priority), and creating a workers community (also perceived as important).

The MOOC topics:
Stay updated (short term) technical excellence
Project management
System improvement
Creativity
Process excellence

The moocs were very interactive, as learners had two time zones to choose from.
In project management the elearning and video lectures were built with acquired authoring software (looks like articulate)
The hands-on sessions became important after people indicated that they wanted a completely directed process of practical implementation.

Creativity and innovation
External courses learned in groups: so learning MOOCs in groups, with some synchronic sessions to close the loop for the learner.

The retention rate was higher then academic MOOCs, but not enough to get budgets for a corporate training. So the challenge is to increase these retention rate.
50% of the actual learners finished the course.

They used an internal platform: Moodle out of the box, but inside of the organisation due to IP demands.

Achievements so fare
Satisfaction based on positive vibe on MOOCs, so they all talk about it.
The content was always meaningful: no compromising in comparison to classroom content.
Organisational recognition of these moocs.

Liveblog #emoocs2015 Amdocs a corporate training MOOC

This session is presented by Nomi Malca, and it provides a good idea of the international impact and challenges of MOOCs for employees in a worldwide company.

One of the challenges was: Current organisational culture versus the desired learning culture: the
So it demands a new culture to implement this new training for all the employees.

For this MOOC it was important to start small, so for the pilot we had 30 – 40 people, eventually it became 300 learners in each closed course of the company.
So each mooc is different, but using recorded videos, online sessions, links to external contents, reading material, hands-on sessions (this was considered as a priority), and creating a workers community (also perceived as important).

The MOOC topics:
Stay updated (short term) technical excellence
Project management
System improvement
Creativity
Process excellence

The moocs were very interactive, as learners had two time zones to choose from.
In project management the elearning and video lectures were built with acquired authoring software (looks like articulate)
The hands-on sessions became important after people indicated that they wanted a completely directed process of practical implementation.

Creativity and innovation
External courses learned in groups: so learning MOOCs in groups, with some synchronic sessions to close the loop for the learner.

The retention rate was higher then academic MOOCs, but not enough to get budgets for a corporate training. So the challenge is to increase these retention rate.
50% of the actual learners finished the course.

They used an internal platform: Moodle out of the box, but inside of the organisation due to IP demands.

Achievements so fare
Satisfaction based on positive vibe on MOOCs, so they all talk about it.
The content was always meaningful: no compromising in comparison to classroom content.
Organisational recognition of these moocs.

liveblog #eMOOCs2015 collaborative MOOCs a challenging experience

This session is given by Sandra Soarez-Frazao and Yves Zech from RESCIF.
Very interesting as I can see parallels between other North-South course challenges.

The MOOC they talk about is about ‘Rivers and Men’, in the international (French speaking countries) RESCIF, a North South cooperation. This network has as an objective to focus on:
Water
Energy
Nutrition

Teaching support in this North-South context: lectures are organised in both institutions and teach each other’s. MOOCs can offer a different way of sharing teaching experience.

With the global climate change water is becoming an increasingly important commodity, which is at the basis of choosing to organise this MOOC.
Topic: dynamics of trained rivers from experience in Norther and Southern rivers. Designed for engineers that want to refresh their knowledge, or to understand all the basics that are needed for water measuring. And without intending it, citizens who had concerns about the environment came in as learners as well.

Welcome week, four week course, personal project (choice of a problematic and a related real case.

All the MOOC week topics are shared. They all build upon each other, so simple to complex.
Remark from Sandra: because the MOOC was in French less participants joined.
The participants were less African based then expected.
Learner participation was quite constant throughout the MOOC (for those participating actively).

Assets of collaborative MOOCs
· Extended resources:
· More people share the work
· The best practice of the various teams
· Extended network for advertising
· Opportunity for some teams to enter the MOOC world
· Various pedagogies (e.g. web references versus literature)

Teamwork
· Brainstorming
· Mutual incentive
· Mutual criticism
· Strong encouragement to hold the production schedule

Challenges of collaborative MOOCs
Heterogeneity of course team
Scientists and tech team might define concepts differently
Scientists of diverse disciplines (e.g. earth and life versus civil engineering)
Disciplines with diverse cultures
Vocabulary (uniform flow for example versus steady flow)
Empirical versus mathematical approach (also related to different jargon and ways of perceiving things)
Difficulty to define the target audience
Risk of a kind of competition (who’s presentation was best for example)

Heterogeneity of course itself
Each week with a distinct level of difficulty
Some reluctance to mathematics, even basic
Forums of discussion not in line with the course content

Required uniformity sometimes felt as a weight
Choice of templates
Constraints of uniform sequence schedules
Constraints due to the FUN platform

Problems of communication
Travels required to meet
Overloaded agendas of course team members
Weak efficiency of distance meetings.

Improve the teamwork effects
Systematisation of mutual (positive) criticism
Better links between lessons (avoid useless repetitions, and contradictions)

Real involvement of Southern partners
Using their study cases (partly done)
More open to teachers from the south
Organise adapted MOOC operations where required (offline versions, use as a support to local teachers, organise local evaluations)

Question: did you get remarks regarding the Northern tech that is used as a symbolic gatekeeper?


keynote #emoocs2015 @davecormier on rhizomatic learning

Great keynote by Dave Cormier, here are the live blog words:
Live blogpost
Potentially Massive, radically open, conceptually onlne, still a course

Dave narrates his local space, Prins Edward Island, enabling people to connect with the world thourhg online learning

Trying to figure out what exactly you can do with it, with internet. He is a teacher by nature. He recounts the moment where he thought (as a teacher): what am I doing, what am I missing, what is out there and what is not.

Coming together with the community of EdTechTalk, a lot of problems arose, so it was hard to build a community. In the summer of 2008 he came across of George Siemens and Stephen Downes, and as coincidences happen Dave said “the course you are making could be called a massive open online course”, hence the word.
If I set up the context of the learning journey I have been on for 16 years of learning, it comes to this:
Julius Caesar taught himself to talk the birds out of the trees. He did this to see one guy Molin (also taught Cicero). But while traveling there, Julius got capture by pirates, but he got out, learned and returned to kill the pirates. So learning was dangerous, costly… but it was the highest option in learning, as he could have access to the best mentor. But mentors do not scale very well.

At the university of Toulouse students scrutinizes the bosom of nature. So Aristotle was censored, but an underground movement invited people to get access by going to Toulouse, not the censored Paris. So in 1229 AD the scale of texts was enabled, but you did no longer have a mentor but have an expert, which was better to be scaled.

Pestalozzi is Dave’s learning hero (1798 AD), one of his most incredible things was: wanting to teach the whole of Switzerland to read. A mounteness country with only 100 teachers: scale of papers, and teachers…. Gertrude’s teaching. Where the pedagogy gets integrated with the text. So that way, we move to content. The textbook is a robotic process where the pedagogy is intertwined with expertise. Again tech increased the scale: fantastic for Pestalozzi.

Now we have visual, digital possibilities. All of a sudden we are not restricted by print. So now we can ensure that the learning community can become the MOOC curriculum. So now we can connect directly, not via ‘tools’.

Teaching at present is a myth, the roots of this myth is content. We have all been programmed to see education in a certain way, and we proof it that that is indeed teaching. Yet in 1876 AD, UK, if you could read a few lines of poetry, and slowly write a dictated sentence and do basic arythmatic, you could get out of school (after proving them). So a bit like a prison that you can only break out of when conforming to a given norm. So the process of learning was about ‘finishing’. The point is that it was not a lifelong learning process, not the love for learning. It was thought that once you left, you would stay out of school as well.

The myth of content: content comes from the trees, and the core of rhizomatic learning takes down that mythical tree. The Japanese nut tree bush does whatever it wants, for it moves beneath the earth, it is mostly roots.

Success is not linear, it is chaotic, complex, in all directions.

Rhizo2015: at the beginning of the course, there is no content. As the 6 week course growths the content comes out. One mid-week email, not clear direction given, and social intervention. It mimics programming: first there is nothing, then it becomes the actual program. In a way the content already exists, it is out there for the participants to choose it. In the rhizo challenges is there to spark discussions.

Dave does not use any lms, just the internet. Conceptually, the internet already has the connections, so the actual creation goes beyond the platform. Last year, the learners kept on going the course for another 4 weeks even after the course, just because of the creative character of the course.

What Dave does do: is give social interventions. Where conflicts (pedagogy, epistemology, ontology) Dave comes in to jump in and works his way through it with all people in it. Those interventions are not opinion based, but acknowledgements to support the common basis.

In one instance, rhizo2014 resulted in a radio play made from the second week, by 15 people building it.
Students of rhizo do most of the curation as well, drawings, stats, …. The participation tends to increase as it goes along, which is quite amazing. And a lot of retention is about asking the right, motivational questions. Most of the target people are experienced educators for rhizo. He did try with laymen, but it is tougher for the less literate on education. (youthvoices.com is of interest that takes that approach to increase literacy).
Before the course starts, Dave sends out what it takes (skills) to get the most out of a rhizo. The ability to collaborate, to engage, to respond creatively.

No platform, so what is used? Dave used a hashtag to get people connected (twitter, facebook, maybe google group), the students choose the locations, and those locations get sent via the newsletter of the course. So Dave sends out one blogpost and one tweet, with a link to blog with sign-up that offers the newsletter. Having regular scheduled emails is a real bonus to keep communication going.
If the location is open, then the connections can sustain themselves also after the course.

Dave does this on his own time, he crowdsources the research. If the goal is to produces highly reproducible content, then this is not a good approach, but for new work, this is a really good approach.

Embracing uncertainty: because of the blank canvas, the conversations can go off into any direction, that resembles the life that we actually live.
Enforcing independence: the learner needs to create and drive their own learning. Success becomes something personal.
Radically open: it is open in a sense that people are creating their own content, and that it is open. How do you go about learning when you do not know what learning is about. So what you do is build strategies that are reactions on what is happening, and how you feel the actions are happening.
Learning is a non-counting noun: if you imagine that learning is different for each student, then you know there is no ‘good’ answer. It is all about the learning journey.
But it leads to a lot of confusion that happens, it is really difficult to process yourself through this. But this is what actual learning looks like: friendships, parentship, … it requires constant attention and reinvention.

Networked learning process: those networks are tiny little dots where people know who is connected. some people come up with similar networks, some with new, … so everyone has a different map of understanding due to the networks they connect to.

Each one of the networks has different conversations, sometimes overlapping, sometimes living on their own. But all of these connections are one of the outcomes of the course. Because the outcomes of the course are the results. So the learning process is actually cheating, as the content is out there. So cheating is part of the learning goal, as they connect with others, learn from each other in the open.

So Rhizo does not sound like a course, but it is a course: no assessment, no curriculum… but it is important that people come together, those people can learn from each other, and allow us to move for a specific amount of time. The goal of the course is to orient, declare, network, cluster and focus following your own learning journey and desire.

Planned obsolescence: at first Dave is in the course, by week 4 communities are set up and he is no longer in the course, he becomes obsolete.

Rhizomatic learning builds
Diverse perspectives
Practical literacies
Real connections

An open system designed to help people grow will provide literacies they need to know. The community is the curriculum, and the vehicle, and the goal. Being successful in that community of knowers, so success is never ending. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

#emoocs2015 Self-Directed Learning in trial #FutureLearn courses #SDL

Sharing latest paper on self-directed learning. This paper will be presented on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 at the eMOOCs2015 conference in Mons, Belgium at 11.00 o'clock in auditorium 3. The full programme can be found here.

Full paper is available here (Academia).

Abstract of the paper:
Self-Directed Learning (SDL) in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is gaining interest, as online learning is increasingly learner-centred and autonomous. Most SDL research starts from the premise that SDL happens more frequently in connectivism MOOC (cMOOC) than in the more instructor-led MOOCs. In this study the authors look at SDL experiences from learners enrolled in two MOOC courses during the early trials of the FutureLearn platform. The meaning and experiences of the phenomenon of being enrolled as a learner in FutureLearn was gathered through various research instruments (online survey, learning logs, one-on-one interviews). The resulting data was collected pre-, during, and post-course. The key categories for each sub-question of the research are shared in the results and analysis section. This study concluded that SDL is indeed taking place in FutureLearn courses, which points towards SDL happening beyond the connectivist MOOCs.

Monday, 11 May 2015

ict4d #mobile and #elearning challenge for refugees send your ideas!

The Refugee Education Challenge (by OpenIdeo a social innovation platform, and supported by the Amplify project) is a clear, worthwhile initiative that can be answered by individual EdTech producers as well as companies or groups (corporate, academic, ngo). The challenge is simple in description, yet very complex in planning as refugees face multiple challenges at the same time, look at the ideas here.

Participating in the challenge:

  • imagine life in a refugee camp, the contexts, the infrastructure, cultures, priorities, realities....
  • better yet, ask around whether you know any (ex-)refugees
  • reflect on the knowledge and experience you have, and how this might solve some of the challenges faced by refugees
  • sign up in the OpenIDEO platform (more information will appear)
  • start designing a plan based on innovation (with or without pragmatism, but always keeping the refugee contexts in mind as guidelines) - there are some design principles available
  • share your plan on the platform
  • ....

and follow the next steps

You can submit ideas through the month of May 2015.