This is the third mooc I’ve enrolled in and I have to say I’m enjoying it so far. I really like the use of WordPress, BuddyPress and the other technology that enable a distributed model of contributions. Great stuff.
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.
This was the first year that I had attended a PLE Conference in person having been an active remote participant in 2010 when the conference was held in Barcelona and a slightly less active remote participant in 2011 when the conference was held in Southampton.
This year the conference was held jointly in Aveiro, Portugal and Melbourne, Australia. I attended the Melbourne venue and the highlight for me was seeing the two keynote speakers; Alec Couros (@courosa) and Inger Mewburn (@thesiswhisperer). Having said that, they were ably supported by a range of interesting presentations.
Both Alec and Inger took us on personal narratives relating their beginnings in personal learning environments and of their experiences and practices. Alec wrapped this around the question of “Why networks matter in teaching & learning”. He had crowd sourced a number of responses to this question and included these in his presentation. You can see Alec’s slide show below:
I’m going to ignore the ‘teaching’ word and just concentrate on the ‘learning’ word because that is far more important and far more enabled by the network. I’m sure there are many reasons but this a short post so I’ll limit it to three:
Blackboard have set the cat amongst the pigeons with their announcement today that they have acquired both Moodlerooms and Netspot to help run a new business to support and host open source learning management systems.
Both George Siemens and Audrey Watters have already posted their initial views on this and both provide an interesting and sceptical take on Blackboard’s motivations. I agree with their scepticism but I disagree with George’s analysis of the Blackboard’s motivations. I actually think Blackboard are making a play to position themselves as the cloud provider of LMS solutions. Here are my reasons:
I recently read an article by David Colquhoun in the Guardian titled Publish-or-perish: Peer review and the corruption of science. It’s well worth reading but what struck me was how we have got to the ridiculous situation that we are currently in and the part that senior academic managers have played in directing us there.
Here is a little case study of how the drive to churn out ‘research’ publications has contributed to the decline of the academy. The story is completely true although the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
This morning I was unfortunate enough to attend a vendor presentation for a series of online academic staff development modules. Basically a series of SCORM packages (so HTML pages, images and Flash content with a little xml thrown in). I won’t mention the vendor’s name for fairly obvious reasons.
People that know me know that I didn’t always agree with Steve Jobs but I have no doubt of his creative skill and vision and his impact on modern life. I also think he had a huge impact on education and not always in the ways you might expect. I’ve been watching the Stanford University commencement address given by Steve Jobs in 2005. I had never seen it before his death on Thursday.
In his address he tells three stories about his life. The first is about his adoption and how his biological parents where determined that he be adopted by college graduates but that didn’t happen. In fact neither of his adopted parents had a college education. When Steve Jobs went to college himself he described how he effectively dropped out after six months. In his words what happened was that he then ‘dropped in’. He spent the next 18 months going to classes that interested him including a class on calligraphy that sparked an interest in beautiful typography. Ten years later when building the first Apple computer he used his understanding and knowledge from those classes to create what he describes as the first computer with beautiful typography. Continue reading →
It seems to me, as an interested observer of the higher education landscape over more years than I care to think about, that we are reaching the point where it can be argued that the private sector is behaving increasingly in ways that universities should behave and some universities are increasingly behaving in ways that we expect profit motivated corporations to behave. Nowhere is this clearer than in the ways organisations encourage or discourage blogging and, by implication, the degree to which they trust the members of their organisation (employees for corporations and faculty/students for universities).