Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lumen Learning - Next Generation Courseware Challenge Grant

Someone is missing an opportunity....


Nurturing Our Personal Learning Networks

Paul Signorelli's comments on the first session of Week 2 of Connected Courses, Trust and Network Fluency.

"Bringing value to our online interactions is essential..."

Here's the video,  Social Capital and PLNs: Discovering, Building, and Cultivating Networks of Learners...

"...this is a community of learning that is quickly connecting numerous personal learning networks around the world. And each individual learner is a node within that ever-growing network of networks."

And, that is another great reason to plug in to this network....

Monday, September 29, 2014

Trust and Network Fluency

Is my data showing?  The author explores the issues of building trust and data privacy, or lack thereof, in a connected world. 

A few key quotes, ' “Trust makes social life more predictable, it creates a sense of community and it makes it easier for people to work together.”

And, "Lack of trust inhibits civic engagement."

"In technologically connected societies we habitually share this seemingly inconsequential data by default."
"....as instructors and mentors in and of these digital spaces, if we don’t develop strategies and processes with our learners for mitigating possible consequences, then who will?"



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wrong Questions

Jordan Shapiro thinks we are asking the wrong questions about educational technology.

"We account for learning outcomes as if they were profit margins. We measure the dividends returned on technology and infrastructure investments. We see children as industrial resources evaluated according to their ability to download ‘workplace skills.’ And for some bizarre reason–and despite all evidence to the contrary–we continue to expect that these metrics will somehow correlate with intelligent, ethical, and responsible adult individuals. We’ve chosen the wrong perspective."

"Popular technologies have, in many cases, increased corporate productivity and profitability at the expense of the humans who operate them."

"We imagine that tablets and computers are merely tools that transmit unbiased academic content to students. On the contrary, they do much more than that. Embedded in every technological solution is a moral/ethical stance, an image of the good life, and a narrative of the idealized self. The worldwide success of Apple’s marketing is evidence enough that digital gadgets are not only tools with which we manipulate our environment, but also props in a performed identity narrative."

"Technologies teach our children how to make sense of the world, how to think about knowledge and information, and how to relate to themselves and to one another. Making sure we agree, in principle, with the tool’s implicit messaging is the most important question we can ask. Yet, it is the one question we most often skip."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rigor May Not Be The Right Word.....

Laura from OU Digital Tools responded to the previous post, and I responded to her, as well as adjusted my comment settings. (Thanks, Laura!)   In particular she noted the use of the term, rigor. Laura quoted the dictionary which had some interesting definitions and examples, such as severity of living conditions (the rigors of wartime), weather, or harshness, as well as scrupulous or inflexible adherence (the rigors of math.)

What I was trying to get at were the expectations of 'high standards' for students, as well as 'high standards' for faculty. All too often, I've seen courses in which little was expected from learners, less
from the instructor and not much connection fostered between them.

The Glossary of Education Reform has an interesting piece on the topic of academic rigor, including the notion that the term rigorous to describe 'learning environments that are not intended to be harsh, rigid, or overly prescriptive, but that are 'stimulating, engaging, and supportive.' Building and nurturing such environments takes effort, time and talent.  Where I work, we don't do a good job of training and developing the subject matter experts we hire to become the professional educators who create those environments.  One of my reasons to participate in Connected Courses and to blog about it is to foster those conversations among faculty, both full and part-time, academic and professional-technical, about tools and practices that enhance the teaching-learning experience.

Academically Adrift - More of the Why of Connected Learning

Why we teach?  Why our courses?  Why higher education?

Josipa says it, "Academic rigor pays off."  And, Richard talks about the importance of having well-structured group work and study sessions, not just 'sending 'em off to do group work.'  Rigor is not about difficult tests and failing lots of students.  Instead, rigor means well-designed and meaningful experience in courses that connect students with their colleagues, with the instructor and with the content, as well as the things that actually matter, the critical thinking and the literacy skills. Those are what make students successful in life.

We need to explain to students what the purpose of college is, why they are taking this course in this program!   Purpose-driven courses, rather than content or assessment driven courses, are how to address this.  The online world and digital tools can give a sense of real-world connection and relevance, IF WE DO IT RIGHT.

And another key idea...colleges are measured on enrollments, graduation rates, salaries/wages of graduates.  But, what about the "Changing Lives" metric? Mimi's 'normative rant' that starts about 48:00 about youth culture, working hard to get into college, and then the real social experience of college is well worth considering.

Finally, stay until the end.  Richard sums up the history of the purpose of higher ed in 20th Century USA society well.  Many colleges were founded by religious orders for a higher moral purpose, but that changed with post WW2 society and the Cold War.  That period saw the expansion of the state college and university system, with the purpose of creating the scientists and technicians to build an economy that could compete with the Red Menace.  In the absence of both of those imperatives, what is the purpose of higher education in the 21st Century?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wild West Conglomeration in a Box

From the Edu-Geek Journal.....

Key quotes, '“Lazy teachers will teach poorly, no matter what tools they have access to.”

And, 'You could design the easiest and coolest LMS in the world, but if it is closed… it still loses out. The “Walled Garden” argument still applies, all these years later.'

Week 1 Commentary from Paul Signorelli

Paul Signorelli writes on the week one (why are we doing this and why do we need a why) discussion.

Key quote, 'Listening to Davidson, Wesch, and their co-panelist Randy Bass address a series of thought-provoking questions that would resonate with any inquisitive trainer-teacher-learner (e.g., what is to be taught, how should something be learned, and why should a particular subject or skill be learned?)—and simultaneously interacting with other learners via Twitter—provided what Davidson cited as one of the many benefits of connected learning: all of us had plenty of time during that stimulating online session to reflect on the “why” behind the learning we facilitate, and we left the session encouraged to engage in additional reflection (via this sort of blog article as well as through online interactions that help us, sooner than later, to use what we are learning).

I'm running behind with all of this, given that this has been fall kick-off week, or the series of back-to-back long meetings, orientation sessions and get-togethers, fueled by caffeine and carbs that has dominated my attention.  Lots of new fresh faces at TLF provides a small sense of optimistic change. But my table-top speed-dating conversation focused on our home-grown OER, Open Course Library and Connected Courses, so progressing toward my goal of being an effective node in the network.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The End of Higher Education - Connected Courses #1

A discussion about purpose, or where the fundamental question asked is "Why We Teach?,"  and "Why Do We Need a Why"?

Here's another Why We Do What We Do, this time by Frank Capra.

And, I liked this explanation!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pre Course #2

Precourse #2 of Connected Courses, in which Click, Link and Embed engage in the creative use of echo and audio....

World 2.0

Living in the Connected World, a bit of a counter-balance to the Clay Shirky piece.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Can't Do More Than One Thing At A Time

Clay Shirky says, "Close those laptops and put down the cellphone.'  Interesting piece on technology and the classroom, and why that Facebook post is more interesting than the learning activities you want to cover.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Course Could Be Your Life

Or, what caused HR to tweet that he hasn't been as excited since the WELL.

And here's the link to ds106....

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Under the Hood

Howard Rheingold on using WordPress for online courses and open learning....


Key sentence is at the end of HR's post....."Knowing web publishing doesn’t just confer a mighty learning power — it’s about the power to persuade, inform, and organize that is now available to more than a tiny elite, but only to those who are willing to experiment, tinker, and learn."

A Node in a Broad Network

Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab, on innovating by the seat of your pants.


Key phrase, 'I don’t think education is about centralized instruction anymore; rather, it is the process establishing oneself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity.'

Gardner Campbell on a Sense of Wonder

The Path to Digital Citizenship - 


"We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability 
in the history of the human race."
Clay Shirky

Friday, September 5, 2014

Program for Online Teaching - Certification Course

Another "How and Why Teaching Online" course, recommended by Lisa Lane, another participant in the Connected Courses group.

Beyond the LMS

Audrey Watters' remarks regarding moving beyond the Learning Management Systems,  and how that will benefit learners and teachers.....


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Being There

Here are a couple of thoughts that have percolated regarding Connected Courses and the Pre-Course video with Click, Link and Embed...

Signing up for the course, reconfiguring the feed (thanks, Alan!), and reading the initial posts prompted me to revise and edit the links on my blog page.  It’s about time. 

The key phrases and concepts from the first video were best stated by Jim Groom, with his emphasis on instructor presence in an online course. It is ‘no small thing to be connected to a widely distributed groups of learners,’  and for many participants, including the students who attend the college where I work, “Is anybody out there?” is the principal question.   We’ve worked on student success, retention and completion for many years (I’ve taught online since 1995, before there were such things as an LMS, when saber-toothed cats roamed the landscape…), and those rates of retention and completion are consistently lower in an online class than other delivery formats.

Instructors in any format make the difference for students, and any sort of encouragement, feedback and demonstration of presence serves to help.  Given that a significant portion of students who enroll at our college test at lower-than-college levels for English, reading and writing, and have not had successful educational experiences in the past, may be first generation college students, may not have English as their first language, may be working, single parents or dealing with other barriers, probably have not acquired the skills to be strong self-learners, it is the instructor and the design of their course that can make (or break) their learning experience. I think it’s true, ‘Being there is how you build trust.’

Why open learning?  Because all learning is open.  Teaching is sharing with learners.

Why be a node on the web?  Aren’t we all? In this connected world, working as an educator means connecting learners with knowledge, skills and values, and distributing those connections in a way that best helps those learners achieve their goals.  In my world, that means some acquiring basic skills, getting a job in the 21st century, and maybe moving on to more advanced educational opportunities.  Learning to become an effective web node (new phrase to be added to our job descriptions) is now part of those basic skills.  

Why connected learning?  Students pay to come to our school to get a degree, and if they learn something, well, that may be value added.  But, the most valuable piece of their education, and ours as educators, is to plug into a network, to build and reinforce those connections.   And we can help by being there

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Connected Courses Pre-Course: Blog Talk! - YouTube

Connected Courses Pre-Course: Blog Talk! - YouTube: ""

Here's the Pre-Course Blog Talk....

Key phrase/concept was in response to the question, "How do you intend to build trust?"    Answer from Jim Groom, "By being there!"

Connected Courses - Question?

So here I am, watching the precourse for Connected Courses, the precourse BlogTalk, and getting excited about moving beyond the LMS that have framed my teaching since 1995.   I signed up, connected this here blog, but now want to amend my sign up so that participants don't have to read all the other stuff I put up here, and instead, can read and comment on that which is germane to the topics at hand.

How do I amend my sign up form so that the syndication is directed from the specific content (/connectedcourses) and not to all my posts?

Can I amend? If so, how?

Enquiring minds want to know!

Seth Godin - Sorting for Youth Meritocracy

With links to Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth's piece is a reminder of what we should be doing as educators, and just as importantly, what we should not be doing...


And, here's the Stop Stealing Dreams pdf....