#Change11 #CCK12 Online Social Networks and Formal Learning Environments

Here are my comments in response to George’s interesting post on Online Social Networks – Formal Learning Environments.  I would like to refer to Assumption Theory in my postulation of assumptions.

Hi George,
There are certain assumptions relating to whether “students tend to mix social and educational participation.”

Assumption 1: the setting up of criteria of assessment would impact on how and why students would post and comment on those site. For instance, students may be expected to discuss only course related posts, and be focused, and so their comments would be assessed too in terms of relevance, evidence collected to support their arguments.

Assumption 2: Students are expected to follow the norms set up by the fellow students, and such norms including the setting up or negotiation of rules, such as how long should such a comment be made – one paragraph? Or whether one could be allowed to share ideas tangentially (which normally is not viewed as a good idea), despite that some brainstorming of ideas could lead to improved creativity and connectedness.

Assumption 3: How the teacher and fellow students would role model such behaviors would set the precedence for others? This is especially important to encourage everyone to participate, especially in a traditional online course, where the students would like to wait and see who would be leading the conversation (especially if the instructors would likely be posing any challenging questions, or be part of the conversation).

Assumption 4: Whether the students are more interested in getting good grades as a result of participation and interaction, and thus collaboration, or they would really gain a lot of learning through those interaction, and collaboration, as perceived by the students. Here educational activities and social interaction might be blended together, as questions and responses may relate to the assessment activities, and or the academic advice, and emotional support that are given and shared by instructors, peers and other support staff.

Assumption 5: To what extent would the participants (the students) fully reflect on their feelings and perceptions in a research study? Most students do like to share the great learning from their course, but may be hesitant to reflect on the social sides of their learning, mainly because they are looking for achieving the learning outcomes from the course. For instance, in the case of the traditional courses, is the assumption that:”Nearly all students are looking for a qualification, not the “social learning” that informal learners or lifelong learners are looking for, as in the case of learning via FB or Twitter”.

In summary, I think your study reflects what may be typical with University students doing an online course with specific learning goals, in order to complete a formal qualification. How far would that be reflective of the situation of online learning for other sorts of learners – like those learning not for the degrees (like the MOOC) or the informal learners on the networks?

Pictures: Google Image

eduMOOC EPortfolios and its significance in our life

Thanks to Helen, grandmother of ePortfolios for such an inspiring talk.

Have watched it last year, when it was first posted.  In response to Heli on FB: Good for the retirees or going to be? Love what Heli quoted – we need re-wirement, only that the motivation may be a matter of re-emergence – of our presence – of peer enlightenment, self & community actualisation. Portfolio to me is a philosophy of life – how we live, learn, love, and leave a legacy (as quoted by Steven Covey) when we leave the world. I would add that these are all inscribed within our hearts and mind when we interact, and converse at a deeper level of understanding of each others. It is captured through those snapshots of life when we share, in forums, blogs, FB, Twitter etc, that once upon we have left our digital footprints (as Visitors & Residents), that makes the difference. A tiny step on the digital space, but a big impact on our mind.

Back to you.

#EduMOOC Openness

This is my first post relating to EduMOOC.

I watched Erik Duval’s video presentation on openness with interests.

Here are my takeaways and comments:

Erik’s approach towards openness in his University teaching relates to the use of social media and tools such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Delicious etc.

His presentation relates to

Open Standards, Open Content, Open Learning, Open Attention, and also Open Research.

Erik’s adopted a strong intervention approach, as was suggested in his presentation, that he stressed that if the students didn’t blog, they failed.  I am not sure if such intervention provides enough choice for the students, as my experience is: learner autonomy always comes first in learning.  Throughout my past few years of teaching and learning using blogs, I realized that it is never easy to blog and share with the public.  Some students may even voice: Is blogging polluting the media?  I still think we need to be cautious when introducing blogging as a learning tool, especially when students are new to the media and Web 2.0 tools.  Adequate planning and explanation about the use of blogs and why and how blogs could be applied in course might ensure higher degree of success. Also, the use of blogs may appeal to some learners, but not to others, as revealed in our CCK08 and PLENK2010 research, and subsequent CCK and PLENK2010 observations and research.  As a blogger, I think it is also very difficult to be both creative and informative in blogging, where critical thinking  and curating skills are very important in the development of blog posts.

Should blogging be mandatory for students?  What are the policy and assessment criteria relating to the students’ blogging?  How would blogging be incorporated into part of the course or module?  What is the role of the instructors in the “teaching” or facilitation of blogging as a learning tool?

Erik mentioned that around 10% of his students continued to blog even after the course.  I think this is also the case of CCK08 experience and some of the open courses that I am aware of.  Why would those course participants continue their blogging journey?  What did they achieve with those blogging experience? This may be an interesting area to research.

There are a few interesting points:

– The use of Twitter and Facebook in his course.  I was quite amazed by his comments: If you don’t tweet it, you fail (he instructed his students that they must tweet).  I don’t think this would work with my students, and my style of teaching too, as I preferred giving options to students, especially where competency based training is still outcome and content focused.  Besides, students who haven’t got internet access would likely be dissatisfied with such an instruction and intervention.

– Difficulties in paying attention.  I like Erik’s question: What does it mean to pay attention?  Erik’s advice that students have to comment on each others’ blog may sound simple in principle, but could be difficult to implement.  Throughout our CCK courses, didn’t both instructors and participants urge everyone to comment actively in blogs?  What caused the low number of comments in blogging?  Were participants motivated to comment on other blogs?  Why/Why not?

– I also liked Erik’s presentation about Learning Analytics, where he showed how intervention could be made where necessary, on those students who didn’t participate actively, or who were at risks.  However, there are still many ethical and control issues relating to Learning Analytics as I have shared here and here. Here is LAK11 and Martin’s post on Learning Analytics.

– I think at the end of the learning program, one must relate the learning back to the achievement of personal goals, and consider the power of feedback loops as mentioned by Erik, and review the effectiveness and impact of such learning on individuals and the group.

I am not sure if such open learning would be welcomed by the “oriental learning” and competency based learning, where the content and outcomes are relatively more important as compared to the learning process.  I am also doubtful if openness could be assimilated into certain Asian education culture, where openness is still a taboo, in both higher education and research.

Here is one of my posts on open courses and Jenny’s post on openness. Openness is challenging but exciting, especially when people realized the benefits of sharing, contributing and receiving valuable ideas and information openly.

What are your experiences in openness?

#CCK11 Globalisation and Glocalisation of Higher Education Part I

Here are some quotes from the video:

Education is about lighting a fire, not filling a bucket with water.

Purpose of education is about learning how to learn.

I would like to reflect on the globalisation of education in the 21st century.

What is happening in education around the globe?

Is college worth it provides some interesting insights about how people view higher education in the US. “Right or Wrong Direction? Six-in-ten college presidents say the system of higher education in this country is headed in the right direction, but a substantial minority (38%) say it is headed in the wrong direction.”

How about higher education in Asian countries? In this Globalisation and higher education restructuring in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China, Mok concluded that not all nations have responded in the same way to globalisation due of the specificities of their national histories, politics, cultures and economies.

So, what I could I conclude? Globalisation of higher education needs to be considered under the context of glocalisation – Look at the big picture, the big global forest, but act locally to contextualize the education to suit the needs and vision of the communities, with the local citizens in mind.  Learn globally and act locally, and be connected to the international communities.

Photo: From Flickr

Advice Network

This paper on globalisation sounds interesting too.

#CCK11 #PLENK2010 Transformational learning

It’s an interesting read on nuts-and-bolts-from-classroom-to-online-think-transform-not-transfer – Think Transform not Transfer 

Stephen posted here with his comments:

You are helping students become something, not acquire something. Sadly, that wasn’t the point of this article. This “nuts and bolts” missed the most practical advice of all!

Hi Stephen,
I agree with your views that transforming the students to become a more autonomous learner is much better than transferring information. Often, educators were using strategies such as that proposed by the author of the article: “a good instructor brings to the classroom, such as responsiveness, a sense of humor, interesting stories and examples, and immediate feedback”. However, this would only address “good teaching”, and have made numerous assumptions about learning, in that learners are the receptors, ready to be fed with those interesting stories, and receiving feedback from the teachers.

How about learning in the online classroom? Are the teachers also learning? Would such practice help the learners to learn outside their online classrooms, in the communities, amongst networks etc.? What is a more learner-centred approach towards learning, apart from teaching?
@jkunrein, “Sadly, in the world of corporate elearning (which is, after all, the Guild’s main audience), “just” transferring knowledge would be a vast improvement for a large percentage of courses.” Isn’t this similar to feeding the learners with fishes, like what the fisherman normally does? Teachers as fisherman should be providing a space, or showing people with spaces to fish and supporting them so the learners know where and how to fish, and thus won’t have to rely forever on the fisherman (the teacher) to provide them with the fishes. “the transformation she’s suggesting is in the service of more effective elearning, and her advice to that end is solid and practical.” May be if the transformation is based on the learners’ needs in the long run, then we need to consider what transformation really means, rather than just the mere transfer of “knowledge” or the acquisition of “knowledge and skills”.

The elearning world can never suffer from too much improvement”. Why not? Have we been using innovative approaches such as PLE to improve the elearning world? Have we improved together with our learners?  Our current researches indicate that Web 2.0 practices and PLE/PLN are all leading to great advances in elearning, on top of the fixed schedule, teacher instructed online classroom session where students are mostly reactive rather than active in the participation, if it is based on teachers telling their stories (the typical lecture). We may please our customers (learners) by giving them lots of fishes, but my experience for the last two decades with corporate world (training) is that our learners might be much better off if they could share their great learning by teaching each others, rather than being a passive learner sitting in an online class only.
I will share our latest research in MOOC which fully validates what Stephen has said.
Thanks Stephen for relating to a stimulating article, and your great insights.

Self-directed or network-directed learning?

“learners need to be network-directed, not self-directed learners.” George posted

Why can’t learners be self-directed? Self-directed learners could rely on networks to learn, however, they must also need to make their own decisions on learning, based on critical thinking and reflection. In other words, self-directed learners could also be network directed learners.  I would argue that both network directed learning and self-directed learning are equally important, in order to learn effectively.  This also ensures a balance between networked learning and personal autonomy, so the learner could grow and develop, in a networked learning environment and global learning ecology.  Based on Self-determination theory, autonomy, relatedness and competency will be important factors in motivation.  Options and choice is important for individuals in networked learning.  Professionals could learn and network effectively in networks and teams as they have already possessed the adequate literacy and skills needed, and are motivated to share because that is part of their profession.

Networked Learning with personal autonomy

Here is my response to Leahgrrl, CCK11: Institutional and/versus networked learning
A wonderful reflection. I particularly like her approach of “cracking” the myths about networked learning within an institutional setting, where we might have experienced at schools, colleges or universities, in assuming that the monoliths based on the great “writings and teachings’ would give us the panacea to any “wicked problems”. She pointed out a few challenges about how one could find his/her way to peep, or to participate and engage in networks, and the risk of possibility of ridicule, rejection, mockery and a sense of being indifferent. Isn’t that the reality when immersed in a network of “unknown” nodes? What differentiate such networked learning (in MOOC) from institutions seem to be that there are many variables and uncertainties that are not easily “controlled” by even the institutions, facilitators, experts or the communities, and so the learning would likely be in the hands of the participants, in where they would like to direct their way to go.

Is it liberating for the learners, in learning using the tools and resources over the webs and internet, that lies outside the control of institution? May be some would find the learning experience thought provoking, stimulating and highly rewarding, whilst others might find it intimidating, and hesitate on the worthiness of socialising and connecting based on discursive learning, especially when people have been so accustomed to the structured mode of learning.

But then, there is the challenge of credentials, accreditation, when it comes to certification of the learning achieved within such mode of learning. So, why would people go for such pathway of learning even when it is not accredited as in institutions? “I did it my way” may be what motivates people to learn, and so it goes back to personal autonomy. And you have done it in your fantastic way….

Thanks for such great sharing.