I’ve been familiar with the basic concepts around the use of open badges for a while now but I have to admit that they hadn’t really grabbed my attention front and centre until, that is, I got my first badge almost by accident yesterday. Let’s just say it was an aha moment.
Now, as an aside, let me say that this course was one of the best pieces of online learning that I have ever undertaken. The use of video explanations coupled with interactive exercises is extremely well done. The explanations are perfectly pitched. The technology used is powerful but seamless. In short, I loved it and I learnt a lot that will improve the way I code. Continue reading →
The Conversation web site is currently half way through a series of invited posts entitled “The Future of Higher Education”. It has been a disappointing series so far in that five of the first six posts have focussed on MOOCS and the sixth has been a general post on equity in online learning. Now MOOCs are an important development but the future of higher education is bigger than MOOCs and the questions are much more fundamental. Here are are some questions that I think this series should be addressing. Continue reading →
There was a reasonable amount of discussion at the #pleconf last week on the role of e-portfolios in personal learning environments and who should be responsible for providing e-portfolio tools for students. I think the ground swell view was that e-portfolios are important but that students should be able to choose how they create their own e-portfolio. This is a view I agree with and is a slight softening of my previously held view which was that universities had no business in providing e-portfolio software. My view now is that universities probably should provide e-portfolio software for their students to use but that the use of that software should absolutely not be mandated and it should be up to the student to choose how they manage their e-portfolio.
The number of higher education institutions (HEIs) moving their student email (and, in many cases, staff email) to a cloud solution continues to grow. Every other day there is a new report one one HEI or other adopting either Google or Microsoft. Intrinsically I am not against this although I do find it interesting how little debate there is about integrating so completely with such overtly commercial companies. By the way, let’s not kid ourselves that that Google are any less of a ruthless corporate entity than Microsoft or Apple or Oracle or any large IT company.
The other day I happened to be on the campus of an old and prestigious university (that shall remain nameless other than to say it was not my own university) when I thought I’d treat myself to a coffee in the main campus coffee bar/ restaurant. Nothing unusual so far but having made my way past all the signs saying that I would be summarily executed if dared to take any crockery outside, I eventually found myself a table only to find a sign on it saying that I was not to use the table for studying between 12 and 2. Stifling the instinct to laugh out loud I was privately relieved that it was outside the proscribed period and I could therefore study to my hearts content. I immediately used my smart phone to browse for the sports results which, presumably, I wouldn’t have been able to do between 12 and 2.
Is lecture capture the single worst example of poor educational technology use in higher education?
Many institutions seem to be completely obsessed with lecture capture technology as a method of generating flexibly accesible learning content. For me though the large scale implementation of lecture capture is probably one of the costliest and strategically misguided educational technologies that an institution can adopt. Now before I go on let me say that I wouldn’t be here now if not for lecture capture. I used nascent lecture capture technology at a UK university in 1994 to record myself and then used the recording as part of a succesful job application to be an academic at an Australian university. In fact I don’t have a deep seated dislike of the technology itself, just the way that it gets used. It certainly has some uses, like getting a job. Continue reading →
Over the last couple of months I have been asked to help a university (that will remain nameless) in its transition to a newer version of of its Learning Management System (LMS). As part of this I have had to access many LMS course spaces to check that content has migrated successfully and that that things are working as they should.
It has been a profoundly depressing experience. I knew it would be and you’ll appreciate why I knew if you look at my current full time occupation.
Let me begin begin by saying that there are a few dirty little secrets about online learning at traditional universities. Here are two:
With apologies to those who are too young to have watched Kojak.
I’ve been thinking about who influences my thinking and why. I thought it might be quite nice to list them here. Maybe there are some people here that you think might be interesting to follow yourself or maybe there are people that you really think I should others that I should add to my list. If so, please let me know. I’m sure you will see a theme developing in the list so you’ll know what sort of people to suggest.
Before I launch into the list it’s worth making the observation that my influencers change over time and that influences come from many places, not least from family, friends and colleagues. While such influencers might not get a mention in a list like this it doesn’t mean that they are not extremely important in helping me rationalise my own thoughts and opinions.
Looking at my list I can see that:
Most are alive
Most blog and/or tweet
There are a lot of Canadians, Britons and Australasians with a few Americans
There aren’t enough women and I need to do something about that
Forming the list was hard enough without ranking them so here they are in alphabetic order each with a brief reason for their inclusion: Continue reading →