~ Archive for Uncategorized ~

Loving the hands on experience!

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In between the import-export operations (see previous post) I can’t not to share my excitement (again, thanks to my  T-509 Massive classmates, who mentioned the resource). Powtoon! For a person with a background in law, government studies, humanities (all reading-paper-driven environment, good memory and striving to get things right from the first and only try) hands on is scary. How can I?

However, the curious mind would not be so curious without trying new things. And here I absolutely must credit my colleagues and classmates: for mentioning the resource (Bobby and Lindsay), Carli  (for walking me through and sharing expertise), Merisenda (for inspiration), Rachel (for being a great project mate) and the rest of the T-509 Massive class. I know, without this fantastic group, none of this would have been unfolding the way it looks now.

So, I told myself, I want to try it and to convert my semester-long hard questions and answers (on best practices of managing MOOCs)  into a carPowToon. Something between PowerPoint and a cartoon.

In no way perfect, but a huge step into the unknown. I’m not brave enough to youtube it quite yet, but aiming to do it. So, stay tuned!

Import-Export disaster!

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I just got comfortable in the blogosphere and wanted to proceed to the next step: building a portfolio. Portfolio, hmmmm, sounds pretty powerful and implies expertise. Can’t wait to learn how to build it, can’t wait to have one!

But, wait! Here I will give a quick overview or my disaster (to be fixed). Apparently, some blog spaces have truncated features (specifically, lacking the “portfolio” option). Not a problem – since it is claimed to be easy to transfer the content from one blog to another, from one platform to another. My compulsive mind felt settled on a migration idea into a regular wordpress, rather than my original, customized home.

All I need to do is to “export” the content of the old blog and “import” into the new space. Right? Not so fast. The import-export operation got busted somewhere in the digital space. I am yet to figure out where and how and, most importantly, to place my precious content where it belongs, in the new space, with the portfolio function.

Before that, however, the thoughts are bubbling in the compulsive mind and need to be expressed, hence, blogging in the “old” blog. Afterall, I’ll just export everything at once and import the same :-). Just bare with me!

 

On Shanna Smith Jaggars’s post “Democratization of Education for Whom? Online Learning and Educational Equity”

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I found Shanna Smith Jaggar’s article in Association of American Colleges and Universities confirming my earlier suspicions about MOOCs, which I cautiously expressed in an earlier post (Flipped classroom doubt). Specifically: knowledge obtaining process in a face to face setting is more successful than that obtained online. Also, not to well prepared students won’t get as much out of an online class as would those better prepared.

So, I continue believing that MOOCs would enhance the learning for those well prepared and well motivated to handle the content and the process. I am assuming (without citing any date here), that educating one from scratch, based on online education only (massive, specifically) might be challenging, while not impossible. There are always some very motivated and dedicated learners. But the general trend, I think, holds: those better prepared will be able to add another layer of knowledge.

For higher ed, I remain a strong believer in value of live interaction with academics, peers and mentors as a core educational experience, perhaps supplemented with online educational experience.

Tools!

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Is there a place where I can keep a list of valuable tools I’ve recently discovered? There must be another tool for keeping the tools organized.

Why don’t I start my list here, in a form of a blog?

PowToon (just discovered, thanks to my class-mates): creating animated presentations and uploading on YouTube.

Diigo: marking up the sources online (I should switch to that, but yet to invest the time into figuring it out).

Storify: create stories, dragging tweet posts and other sources into one place.

NodeXL: yet to figure out what exactly it is and what value does it create

MockFlow wireframe: obviously, for wireframing.

Scratch.

Google docs: pretty much sky is the limit.

And the classics, of course: Twitter, blogging, Canvas.

Email sounds like an obsolete thing now, doesn’t it?

 

Worst case scenario in massive online learning: what are the risks of an increasing reliance on large scale learning environments in our educational systems?

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A couple of days ago I had a small elevator talk with a professor:

– How are things?

– Great, I am taking a class.

– Which class/where?

– Massive online education/HGSE.

– Hm…

– Well, the education is going massive to some extent, this is the reality today.

– I hope I’ll still have my job.

This last phrase made me wonder. What is the worst case scenario in massive online learning? I’ve already set my opinion that in order to benefit from MOOCs (and any online learning sources, frankly), one has to know what to look for, have an internal motivation to learn, to absorb. That said, MOOCs are not panacea and I agree with Bill Gates to some extent, where he says that maybe the excitement (and fears) about MOOCs are exaggerated. I personally think that MOOCs should be taken as is: they exist, they provide information and access. They are fabulous for those with curious minds and motivation. They are not panacea, however, they are not miracle which make all learn in an instant.

What if, though. What if MOOCs were replacing traditional higher education? There is fear of just this.

Ok, the worst case scenario to me is something like this: all higher education is replaced by massive online learning. Grading, instruction, forums, peer review, labs, anything imaginable is done remotely without any human participation in the process (other than the initial recording of an actual professor/teacher). Mass production of de-humanized information processing is the worst case scenario for me.

But, realistically thinking, I stick with a healthy balance of liking the MOOCs for what they are: nothing more, nothing less.

Best practices in managing a MOOC

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As MOOCs are rapidly emerging, new types of questions emerge with them. For example, in the online environment, traditional methods of dealing with troubled students (who may be suffering from mental illness or threatening harm to self or others, not to be confused with cyber-bullying) rarely apply.

I am wondering about the strategies or best practices to address student mental health in the MOOC context.

While in a physical classroom the process is more or less clear, as well as the identity of a student is defined (real name, address, background), the process is not so clear in MOOCs, where the identity is often blurry (a nickname can be used, a statement of mental condition could be false, etc.).

Do best practices or the sense of responsibility of a course provider shift when the course is related to personal development topics (rather than more strictly academic ones)?

The resources are scarce, and I was able to identify a couple (Rivard’s “Dangerous and Possibly Anonymous” and Monahan & Riggs “MOOCs and the Institution’s DUties to Protect Students from Themselves and Others: Brave New World or Much Ado About Nothing?”), but will continue searching for my veritas.

While the best practices are still emergent and uncertain, I am trying to set the stage and sketch a picture made of the resources and applicable practices.

 

 

What if there is no Twitter?

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Being relatively new to twitter, I won’t be able to tell whether its crashing is an ordinary even or something outrageous. It did however make me worried.

What would the world be without twitter?

Twitter crash 10-24-14

Work in progress: updating rubric participation

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In one of my prior posts I mentioned that I am starting to understand the concept of “participation rubric” v. individualistic content flooding. Basically, we need to connect with our peers with our views, expertise, newly acquired or existing skills in order to create this content.

Now, from understanding this concept to actually structuring certain commitments, is quite a challenge, which I am attempting to overcome right here and now.

Criteria Exceeds Expectation Meets Expectation Underperforms Expectation
Post reactions to readings (assigned and discovered on own) via social media (twitter/blog) Blog once a week, as a reaction to the reading(s), as a matter of highlighting of my ongoing project within the course; share other sources, relevant to our online and in-class conversations (aiming to provoke a conversation). Read and comment on others’ blog posts / tweets. Blogging once a week on readings, engaging (occasionally) with peers via comments. Blogging less than weekly, not engaging with peers via comments.
Working on a project within the course Synthesize the issue(s), summarize existing practices, propose trajectory for solutions, keep the progress report via social media, summarize the project’s part with the partner on this project Synthesize the issue(s), summarize existing practices. Synthesize the issues.

 

My personal compus for the T-509 course (belated blogging of prior notes)

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Well, better later than never: while my personal compass for the course has been originated some time ago and it is now time to refine it, I think it’s good to insert the original thinking here, so we see where the (refined) thoughts are coming from.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you in advance for being kind to a budding blogger.

* * *

So, the original compass for the course (September 19, 2014).

When I read the description for the Massive in the online catalogue, I was very intrigued. I researched the teaching instructor’s (Justin Reich’s) work and became very energized about the course.

So, here I am. With my perceptions and believes, totally ready to learn and transform my own thinking.

Being relatively new to many of the Course’s components (the social media part, the dispersed course materials) my expectations of myself are multi-dimensional.

Firstly, I have little trust in social media with a hint of fear of its trajectory of collecting and storing data (ironically, I am blogging about it via social media – well, it’s part of the course requirement). Participating in the social media is indeed tempting, while there is quid pro quo. Se la vie. On the other hand, being part of the social network is less and less avoidable. In this regard, my compass would be crafting a constructive digital presence with potential of contributing to our shared learning, navigating effectively the features available today.

Secondly, I realized how much I love structure and order, while being part of this course. As I am learning, the content for a MOOC and a course about MOOCs is much dispersed. And my compass here is to reach a comfortable level of order and chaos. While “chaos is a new reality” (G. Siemens, 2004 “Connectivism: A learning Theory for the Digital Age”), this reality is struggling to find a proper place in my striving-to-be-orderly-world. I am truly hoping to have this challenging part sorted out by the end of the course.

Most importantly, despite mentioning it last, my contribution to the real-life project or, as our instructor puts it (citing loosely) “making things around us a little bit better” is the key compass point I will be striving to reach. While some of my peers came to this class with very specific project, already knowing how they are going to make the world a little bit better, I came with a desire to learn and to be exposed to what is out there. I am intrigued with my own outcome, which is yet to be seen. I guess, I am intrigued to learn about myself as much as I am intrigued about the work I will be doing.

 

Research: a new dimention (connectivist, of course).

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Interesting twist in the research activity. Certainly not novel to many. Novel to me.

I am working on researching one newly emerged subject related to MOOCs (intrigued? More to follow as I progress). My logical first step, the Google search, of course, shows some lack of the subject being exhausted. Well, I am now turning to Twitter for further investigation and help. We shall see how this journey will unfold. Exciting indeed!

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