Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse:
"Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you.

Whenever you are online and you get that queasy feeling that your being watched, monitored, or wonder "where does all that personal information go to? what electronic trails am I leaving behind? will this comment come back to haunt me?!" then you need to see Chilling Effects.

What adult learners (still) want

CAUCE - Canadian Association for University Continuing Education - Research: A reserach study into the decisions that mature students make about academic progression(Joan Fleet, Donna Moore, Susan Rodger, The University of Western Ontario) concluded that:
- it is important for universities to listen to and, whenever possible, to consider and respond to the needs of adult learners.
- adult learners contribute to the educational experience of all - model dedication and positive motivation, and share viewpoints and approaches that represent their often varied life experiences.
- learners want to have more preliminary course information available when making their course selection. (make detailed course outlines available)
- learners want on-line tutoring for courses and improved e-mail communication with professors.
- frustration about course availability, especially for evening classes and for distance education.
- institutions need some mechanism in place whereby students can indicate their level of satisfaction with the availability of current courses and academic programs.(evaluation!)
- student support servcies are not designed to accomodate those students with limited or no access to campus.

This study highlights the reality that adult learners are not adequately served by the universities and that universities do not have an evaluation procedure in place that can identify satisfaction/dissatisfaction with their service offerings.

Sad to say this study is ten years old, and these shortcomings still exist.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

20 Ideas: Mobile phones and learning

20 Ideas: Getting students to use their mobile phones as learning tools at

Sure phones are banned in most lecture halls and classrooms - but that doesn't mean they can't be tools for learning. her's 20 ways to make that a reality. Turning a problem into a solution seems like a pretty good strategy.

U Manitoba VLC

The University of Manitoba (Learning Technologies Centre). Peter Tittenberger and others have created the Virtual Learning Commons: “We wanted to develop a site that recognizes that a student’s personal development is not separate from his or her academic development, that informal learning plays a crucial role in academic development, and that learning is a process of social participation,! ”).

Think 43 things and you have the basis for the VLC, but with an educational slant. VLC allows students to drive social dialogue through posting subjects of interest and being connected with others who have similar interests. This is a great way to integrate student support into student activity. There are also a sprinkling of pre seeded links connecting to styudent support services provided by the University (like essay writing, reserach assistance, etc). But student to student support is also a fallout of this approach. Like a hive of bees students can connect with many others and exchange thoughts, ideas, resources - a constant, dynamic network of exchanges, social discourse. A subset of social learning (i.e. available only to registered students) whose uptake will demonstrate that students come to scholl not just to learn, but to connect, to socialize, and learn in so many richer ways than through the organic structures (classroom, teacher to student) framework of the existing educational process. What a great hive for evaluation - to find out what students are really interested in, what they really want help on, and what they really want to be able to do.

Group vs Network

Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~: "the distinction between groups and networks. Groups require unity, networks require diversity. Groups require coherence, networks require autonomy. Groups require privacy or segregation, networks require openness. Groups require focus of voice, networks require interaction. The group I am with right now is very intent on being a group. That doesn't interest me. I have no wish to lose my identity and my freedom, my empowerment. Because a group is subject to this very objection - backlash, groupthink, the works. But a network is not."

Freedom of association, openeness - concepts I try to be true to present I am creating a few instances of Elgg, one for a communications course and another for a community of new teachers. In each case I am faced with a dillemma - is it a closed, gated community and how does that square with the ideas of openness, freedom of association? Yet If it isn't "closed" or "gated" do I still have the commonalities, the security of incubation - of cohorts, of new teachers - that allow the community to germinate? Am I stripping the "social" out of social software? Sometimes I like to be an individual - like this blog activity - yetI "connect" through links to other bloggers, and assume I am part of a larger "connected" group. Other times I associate with a particular group or community. Other times I like to be networked into others without a loss of identity, without a loss of freedom.

But as we know freedom has obligations, responsibilities, and consequences. Sometimes it is nice to fly on your own, other times the security of the flock is desired, and sometimes the community of a few close friends. We have to ensure that the learner can make the choice - alone, apart, together. opportunity to make the choice

Downes: Distributed vs Networks

networks.wmv - Google Video Stephen Downes, using a graphical breakdown displayed on a whiteboard, explains the power relationships, technology and elements of distributed vs. netowrked learning/information design.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Open space conference in New Zealand

Otago Polytechnic has initiated a traveling open space conference called The Future of Learning in a Networked World. It features online and face to face sessions combined with an online presence and a travelling roadshow across the islands of New Zealand.

International speakers will come to Dunedin on September 18 to 20, then travel as a roadshow to participating institutions to continue open space meetings with local audiences.

This event coincides with the annual meeting of the Teach and Learn Online network being held in Dunedin on September 18, and eFest being held in Wellington September 27 to 29.

Between these dates the group will travel to Christchurch, Northland, Auckland and end up in Wellington, continuing the discussions, recording, blogging and publishing ideas and models to the wider audience along the way.

Conference tour coordination is being conducted by Otago Polytechnic Educational Development Centre and Orbit Travel, Dunedin; University of Otago HEDC (Higher Educational Development Centre) and Dunedin College of Education."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

PLE Attwell

Dave Tosh :: Blog:
"Graham Attwell - Live in Edinburgh
Graham Attwell has just posted his presentation from our PLE session at ATL-C. It is well worth taking 8 minutes to listen to it, Graham is an entertaining speaker raising some interesting points."

Graham very succinctly introduces the why and the what of the personal learning environment, the need to capture informal learning, and the "evil trinity" working against the openness of education - privatization, commodification, and how the discussion of lifelong learning is restricted to institutional education.

Open Content Open Books

Open Content :Free, open knowledge.

More free E-books!

Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology, Michael Orey, Editor, 2001-Present

Section 1: Learning and Cognitive Theories (Shorts)Section 2: Instructional Theories and Models
Section 3: Other Online Books and Stuff
Section 4: Lesson Plans

Theory and Practice of Online Learning
Editors: Terry Anderson & Fathi Elloumi

Part 1 Role and Function of Theory in Online Education Development and Delivery
Part 2 Infrastructure and Support for Content Development
Part 3 Design and Development of Online Courses
Part 4 Delivery, Quality Control, and Student Support of Online Courses
Open Course Ware : Free, open course materials

The OCW Finder currently shows results from:
Utah State University OCW
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health OCW
Tufts University OCW
Foothill De-Anza SOFIA
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Second Life 3 D Educational Tool

Second Life is a 3D world where participants can "create" avatars to represent themselves and create virtual environments to "socialize" in. Sara “Intellagirl” Robbins is using it to teach the concept of community to her students. She teaches students how to conduct and write research with a focus on ethnographic research She asks students to think conceptually about communities and to consider their own involvement in communities. But to gain true insight into communities she created a second life environment where students can, through their avatar, practice research and complete collaborative exercises. See her entry below:

8/30 Community Collisions and Cohesion
We have five dorms on Middletown. Each dorm houses three to four students who act as a team for peer evaluation and collaborative exercises. Last night each student was given a box with five avatars in it: Kool-Aid man, samuari, female alien, short green alien, and a huge grey monster. After splitting into their teams, each team was asked to select one avatar from their boxes to be their team costume for the night. After each team selected a costume they were sent to a well populated pselected a costume they were sent to a well populated public region in SecondLife. Their instructions were to stick together as a group and observe the reactions from those they met. They were cautioned not to be rude to people or to interfere with activities they observed. The reaction to their mere presence as a group in a strange costume would be the stimulus they would observe.

The learning goals:
SL skills:- team cohesion: students assisted each other in dressing, navigating the map, and recording reactions- saving avatars: students learned to save their appearance as an outfit before changing into their avatars so they could return to their original form easily- navigation: teams were given only a region name and had to find the region on the map, as well as selecting the optimal location in the region- boxes: students learned to take items out of boxes, unpack them, put the pieces into their inventories, and wear them

Ethnography skills:
- safety in community: students learned how much safer they felt in their own groups, even small groups of three or four made them feel more confident about exploring- identity and uniqueness: groups looked markedly different from those they encountered. Feeling unique can enhance a sense of cohesion in a group. When others are different we’re more likely to feel closer to those who are the same- respect for communities: students were careful to not intrude on the activities they encountered. They were told to observe while not intruding.

There was a definite element of chaos as each team selected an avatar and got ready to explore. There were no arguments, however. Teams worked together to assist each other. A few students needed a bit more help but the teams worked well.One team, dressed as Kool-Aid men, did get booted from the dance club they visited. Not because they were rude or obtrusive but simply because they were physically too big for the space (a phenomenon that one student compared to how morbidly obese people might feel in public spaces).

Relevant student quotes from the debriefing session:“at first we fit in, everyone one said to the kool-aid men, “Oh, YEAH!” but then they were bored with us….”
“yah the peopl ein teh club kinda said hey and then left you out of the rest of their conversations”
“i think people are more accepting in SL than in RL” (Real Life)
“i feel more comfortable being weird and outgoing here than in RL”

Social and more

Educational social software. This includes formal and informal tools, like information messengers, blogs, wikis, e-portfolios, and personal learning environments (Elgg). These tools are designed to make use of the networking power of the world wide web and allow users to be “connected” online and offline, and to be able to share, create and recreate text, audio and video.

The advent of social software calls for a new approach to designing learning. George Siemens suggest that this new approach could be “connectivism”.

What is Web 2.0? What is social about software? Who better to tell you than Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of Web 1.0. Berners-Lee calls for Web 2.0 calm: But wait…he’s not talking positively. He’s not gesturing wildly about web 2.0? What gives?

Diana Oblinger has published a new book: Learning Spaces. The book contains case studies of learning space design in a variety of organizations. And check out Using wiki in education to see some practical educational applications.

Free is good, as is open learning, and E-Press has lots of free books (if you download) or if you want the hardcopy you can pay. A great example is Complex Systems for a Complex World that talks about how we must understand human reasoning through simulation to assist us in understanding the complexity of social networking.

For a bit of fun, and to hear all the modern technological babble used in one 3 minute skit see George Carlin perform his Modern man routine.

Seeking a better world? One where opportunities are endless, where physical limitations can be overcome? See this video that creates such a world using Second Life - an online society within a 3D world, where users can explore, build, socialize, and participate in their own economy..

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dave Cormier P.E.I Ed Teker

Maintaining a blog is no mean feat. Sharing in the bandwagon, clarion calling and rabble rousing against those that would hamper and those that ignore the opportunities afforded by open learning, open content is even harder. And then there's trying to keep up with all the info floating in the blogosphere. Ohh, and having a regular life and job with all the concommitant responsibilities. And I think, sometimes, that I'm doing a great job (patting myself on the back) and making great strides in my understanding and disseminating until, UNTIL, I run into those who are doing even more - and seem to be doing it without breaking a sweat.

Of course I would cite the Supersurfer of it all - Stephen Downes - who seems to be everywhere and commenting on everything at the same time (impossible? Ok,hmmm he's now "sitting on the porch at the guest (Africa) Bloem, about to leave for a Free State Braii," and still sharing it all with us.).

And of course there are others - like Dave Cormier, tucked away in Canada's smallest province but contributing big time to the cause.

I'm installing and implementing a series of Elgg sessions (for teaching and for community building objectives) here at the University of Alberta, and Dave Tosh (developer of Elgg) referred me to dave Cormier.

I Skyped Dave C. and we had a great talk as he multitasked giving me advice, sending me refrences and stepping me through his world of blogging and networking - especially his Edtech talk interviews (and don't miss number 60 the one with Terry Anderson, my ex professor, fellow Edmontonian and mentor.

But there's more - what is Dave doing?
This is dave's educational blog

This is dave's movie show

This is the educational technology show that dave hosts with jeff lebow

This is the webcast academy

This is the community that dave works with worldbridges

This is the educational show that dave hosts with Jeff

This is bonnie's (dave's partner) blog, the crib chronicles.
This is the flicker account for Oscar , dave's son.

Dave - slow down, chill a bit. It just can't be that healthy being that productive. Can it??

Microsoft 1/2, Open learning 1

This is the section of the US Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education report before Microsoft, as David Wiley put it "threw a hissy fit" and "demanded" an amendment:

The commission encourages the creation of incentives to promote the development of open-source and open-content projects at universities and colleges across the United States, enabling the open sharing of educational materials from a variety of institutions, disciplines, and educational perspectives. Such a portal could stimulate innovation, and serve as the leading resource for teaching and learning. New initiatives such as OpenCourseWare, the Open Learning Initiative, the Sakai Project, and the Google Book project hold out the potential of providing universal access both to general knowledge and to higher education.

And this is the revised version amended to appease Microsoft:

The commission encourages the creation of incentives to promote the development of information-technology-based collaborative tools and capabilities at universities and colleges across the United States, enabling access, interaction, and sharing of educational materials from a variety of institutions, disciplines, and educational perspectives. Both commercial development and new collaborative paradigms such as open source, open content, and open learning will be important in building the next generation learning environments for the knowledge economy.

So Microsoft succeeded in expunging most references to free and open source content and applications, BUT open source,open content and open learning are still there!Yeeeahh!

Inside Higher Ed :: Momentum for Open Access Research

So who is truly against open access publishing? The scholarly societies have been opposing open access to academic content, but as this article notes, the provosts of 25 research universities came out in favor of open access.
And why not? As they cite the "current system of research publishing leads to outrageously high journal costs that are harming libraries and making it impossible for people to follow research." Making reserach free and accessible shouldn't be such an argumentative issue. Research is paid for through public dollars, why should the public have to pay again for access to the findings? Or to put a finer point on it, isn't the expectation of research to share it with as wide an audience as possible? Information wants to be free.

Friday, September 01, 2006

No Education Patents! - Home

The education community has a wiki established to voice concern about and submit a priori info on elearning LMS development. Access the No Education Patents wiki ( to see a a plain-language explanation of all 44 claims contained in the Blackboard patent and submit specific examples of prior art.

SAP patents e learning

Now SAP has decided to patent e-learning. What's going on here? This continued wall building is not good for open education. maybe Blackboard and SAP can go at each other and leave Desire2learn alone. SAP has very deep pockets, and no, they are worldwide and won't stop at European patents.

SAP patents e learning

Now SAP has decided to patent e-learning. What's going on here? This continued wall building is not good for open education. maybe Blackboard and SAP can go at each other and leave Desire2learn alone. SAP has very deep pockets, and no, they are worldwide and won't stop at European patents.