#Change11 Farewell to you all

This is my farewell post.

May I start with a story?

“What is your problem?” asked the Doctor Wise.

“I have headaches, some sneezing, and pains in the joints, don’t know why, I am just feeling tired.  Last night, I have fever.” said the Patient A.

“Let me examine you.” the doctor then examined A.  Checking the temperature, and the mouth, nose and chest of Patient A.

“You have the symptoms of a flu, here is the prescription, follow the instructions in taking this flu medicine (may be an anit-virus medicine).” Doctor Wise explained. “Go home and take more rests, drink plenty of water, and you will recover in a few days.”

“Do I need to take any antibiotics?” asked A.

“No, antibiotics don’t cure flu.” explained Doctor Wise.  “You need to allow time to restore your health, so taking the flu tablets and more rests will do.  If you are still not feeling well after a few days, come and see me.”

Does it look familiar to you?

Why would I choose this plot of seeing the doctor?  It’s the McGuffin!  May be, I think it describes fully what I have experienced when I have fallen sick and visited the doctor for help in the past.  It’s a story that I would like to share.

So, how do these relate to my taking of the MOOCs?

To a certain extent, the facilitators in the MOOCs are like the doctors, they know what experiences patients have, and the symptoms associated with various diseases, or the actual problems associated with the different diseases.  They would try their very best to explain to the patients what to do in response to those problems, or to perform surgery where needed.

But is this what MOOCs are all about?  No, that is just my share of what I have learnt through MOOCs, with the most important part of learning still yet to emerge.  I will share in future posts.

What most facilitators and educators would do (in MOOCs) is to provide advice, help and support, so as to enable the learners to learn more effectively and efficiently in courses, through the various interactions and engagement in different platforms, spaces or media.

However, how the learners would take that into their hands could be totally different.  I am not a “patient”, but a learner.  However, I could understand how difficult and challenging it could be when I sensed those challenges, symptoms of confusion, when immersed in a new or novel learning environment.

So, with the MOOC – Change11, I could also be the doctor of learning, where I  fully appreciate how learning could be the best dose for healing, in restoring health, and be happy.

I have come across these 35 weeks of intensive learning, with the facilitators providing their valuable perspectives and experiences, all FREE to all of us.  Special thanks to the host facilitators: George Siemens, Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier, and all guest facilitators of the MOOCs, and the many participants that I have met and connected in various ways (not in any order) with their blog posts:

Tai Arnold, Steve mac, Tony Bates, Brainysmurf, Catherine Cronin, Jaap Soft, George Hobson, Vanessa Vaile, Jupidu, AK, Jeff Lebow,  Alan Levine, Jenny Mackness, Ana Cristina Pratas,  Liz, Clark Quinn, Mark McGuire, Matthias Melcher, Heli Nurmi, Mary Rearick, Howard Rheingold, George Veletsianos, Nancy White, Bon Stewart, Valerie, and many others that I would like to list them all here.

Here I would like to borrow:

#Change11 Gamification in Education

Is autonomy the name of the education game?
Here is a report on how gamification in education works.

Some experts call his approach an example of  “gamification”: use of game-like elements to increase student motivation or engagement.

“It is the use of game mechanics to make courses more engaging,” said Matt Kaplan, managing director at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan. “Students will have to think, ‘How do I learn in this class, or where should I spend my effort?’ And they have to do it very carefully,” he said. Since the course is self-regulated, students have to take responsibility in building the coursework. And they have to have explicit goals early on and then take steps to achieve those goals.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/05/18/university-michigan-professor-explores-innovative-grading#ixzz1vGo3RhYp
Inside Higher Ed

I have created a number of posts on gamification in education here, here, here and here.
In a conversation with one of my best friends on MOOC, I wrote:
How many of the participants in MOOCs have ever thought about using Game Theory in facilitation, discourse and assessment (and grading)?  First, I am not sure if there are any education training programs having game theory as part of it. Second, the win – loss in games seem to be too dangerous in education, especially when it would become a behavioral approach towards learning, manipulating people in order to achieve the goals and outcomes.
Game Theory is used throughout business.  The recent edX, MITx, Udacity, Khan Academy, etc. all use Game Theory to a certain extent.  How? They all recruited lots of participants to join their “education revolution” and claimed glory because of that.  The Professors got their sponsorships, fame through promotion of their courses, their flipped classroom theory, their ground-breaking teaching etc.
So, why aren’t many others (in MOOCs) using such Game strategies to achieve similar Halls of Fames.  I am not saying that we should sacrifice education with commodification and monetization. What I think is, if one (or George, Stephen and others) wants to play the game of MOOC, then the application of Game Theory would help in understanding how we could achieve, using a hybrid of education/business model which is sustainable.
This similarly applies to Connectivism.  I think the principles behind Game Theory is also part of Connectivism, when applied in education and learning.
So, is Game Theory built on scientific grounds? Can Game Theory be used in online and distance education (as a business or personal learning)?
The closest to Game Theory that have been used in education is Learning Analytics, and in theory it is based on a scientific approach.  However, like Game Theory, there are still lots of ethical and privacy concerns.  Also, those sponsoring the project would try every means to influence the outcomes, so that only favorable ones would be published, and unfavorable ones would be dampened or never published.  That’s again a part of the Game – under Game Theory.
In summary, I reckon education and learning is a game, and now it’s a different game that we all need to adapt in order to play well.  Education Institutions could shape, respond, or adapt to the game as they play. This philosophy could equally be applicable to every educator and learner, as we are all part of the GAME, the Game of education and learning in this evolving and emergent world of education  and learning.


#Change11 Education Model

Interesting analogy, Ken. VHS is now superseded by DVD, and Cloud aggregation, curation, and distribution through the media and webs (internet videos, Youtube).

How is the current HE model going to compete with these giant galaxies of formal education and informal learning in the internet – all filled with Udacity, edX, MOOCs, Networks, COPs, webs (a web of blogs), social media (FB, twitter)?

HE needs to leverage on those “affordances” to “resurrect”, as we have already witnessed the resurgence of higher education using different strategies like “flipping the classroom, class, education, or even the system – gamification in education” by some of the universities and FE colleges. This requires both courage in taking risks and leadership in steering education in the “right direction” and vision. But it also creates winners and failures, especially when the experiments didn’t work.

The use of more charismatic leaders to boost the morale and improve quality of education in individual institutions has been well known strategies for decades, but would that alone solve the problems?

Disruption due to technology, alternative “smarter” and “intelligent & pragmatic” education and learning cannot be solved alone by even the greatest leaders in the world, IMHO.

This is now a “system” and ecology problem, where supply and demand in education have gone imbalanced, especially when more learners are looking for better education, at a lower cost, and better teachers, resources, and learning environment.

Such challenges in current education model (HE in particular) is like the climate change, where we are feeling the heat, and the overall impact on each of us. It is not about money only, it is about how people could re-think the best uses of the abundant (not limited) resources available on the internet and webs. It requires sourcing the information, curating and feeding them to the audiences just like the newspapers that have been used for decades. It is where OER could be aggregated, reused, re-purposed, re-distributed and re-created to yield new and emergent education models, that would be relevant, based on just-in-time learning principles (without wastes, ideally, at the right time, right space, right cost, and right quality) that provides “best or optimum” values to each education system, educational institution, stakeholder, educator, learner.

This requires a total re-conceptualization of the education paradigm and the associated system, where the sole reliance of teacher – student interaction may need to be shifted to a wholesome enriching the engagement, interaction and experience for educators and learners. Terry Anderson’s latest session on engagement model well illustrates those points, as posted by George Hobson.

Image: From George’s post and Terry’s slide

Does it ring a bell?


#Change11 On MOOC – my reflection Part 4

MOOCs on the spotlight.  An interesting critique on some of the problems with MOOCs.

How do you see these post-modernist MOOCs?  Here are the updates.  I could see lots of differences from the Connectivist MOOCs or Networked MOOCs. I would like to respond, but need to hear and learn more about how people feel and learn with those huge MOOCs.

I think the most important lesson (for me) with MOOC is not the mere understanding of its content (or mere remembering of facts or procedures in performing a task), but the importance and relevance of connectivity (who, why, and how) in helping one to achieve the goals, an understanding of the need of change – our state of mind (based on the pros and cons of openness), the importance and relevance of personal, group and network autonomy in one’s learning, and the merits and limitations of group/networks/collectives in solving problems and enhancing learning, creativity and innovation.

Ultimately, if I could make good use of the skills and “literacy” developed in tackling my day-to-day problems, and adopt strategies in managing and leading my life, then I reckon MOOC would make sense to my life.

I have conceived that MOOC would reach millions, or billions of educators and learners, and surely this wouldn’t be surprising, as reported in various posts.

It is a matter of time, when the new “waves” of education and learning bring the “old” ones down, and the emergent learning replaces part of the traditional learning, especially when such paradigm shifts become part of the educational movement around the globe.

It involves tectonic shift in education, with Higher Education the first to be “baptised”, if not “revolutionised”, in order to provide free, quality education to the world. Are we already part of this HUGE MOOC – with all the MOOCs blossoming with all its might?  MOOC as a global community, with communities of practice of MOOCs AND MOOCs.

It is a dream coming true.


Here is my previous post about engagement in MOOC and Community of Practice:

I read Jeffrey’s post on Making sense of Complexity and engaging others in Change11 with interests.

Jeffrey says:

While I prefer online communication as a mode of social connection,I am increasingly disoriented by the sheer scope of participation in the MOOC,and thus am really struggling to find a small (or any!) social connections of more than a passing or very focused interest.

First, relating to the setting up of goals for MOOC Change11. I don’t think I have a particular set of goals this time.

I have only got one goal: To research and learn through Change 11, and reflect upon the practical aspects relating to Connectivism principles and Community of Practice.

So, natural questions for me include: Were MOOC communities of practice? Is Change11 a community?  And is Change11 a community of practice?

MOOC may be a COP, but may be not, in accordance to the definition of COP.

In this slideshow by Stephen, he mentions that you got to “create” or “join” your own networks, own communities in a MOOC.

But can one really “build” a community of practice, in MOOC?

Based on my past experiences with CCKs, PLENK2010 and other MOOCs, the community is quite different from the “typical” communities that we would define, as there is no distinct boundary for the community.  Instead of a community, in MOOC, it consists of numerous networks and communities which formed and re-formed, with some sustained, and some re-configuration in the network-community that formed.  MOOCkers might have morphed along conglomerate networks, or social media as the weeks progressed, thus staying on with a particular media for sometime, and/or created blogs for a particular purpose, and then, engaged with others for a while.  This seems to behave in a self-organised manner, without any directions from any facilitators, but then the individuals within particular networks would set their own agenda, goals, or tasks which suited their needs.

Can one reveal the patterns out of these network/community formation and development?  Some social network analysis did reveal the trend and pattern.

How about this network and community of practice? COPs need a lot of nurturing before they could grow, develop and sustain.

In this article by Wenger and Snyder suggest that: To get communities going – and to sustain them over time – managers should:

*Identify Potential Communities of Practice.

*Provide the Infrastructure that will support such communities of practice.

*Use non traditional methods to assess the value of these communities of practice.

In MOOC, who will be the manager managing the COPs?  May be, there is no one manager, but each of the participants in the MOOC would take up such role, and self-organise the COPs/Networks in a way that suits him or her.

Twitter is a network, though not a community, as many would argue.  But under the “infra-structure” of MOOC, would Twitter be re-defined differently? Is it a transitional community, or communities of practice?  May be.

Photo: Google

#Change11 Open Educational Resources and Content Licensing

I am excited to learn that Stephen is offering course on Open Content Licensing for Educators.

Here is the video introduction by Stephen Downes:

In summary, what is important is the sharing of knowledge and information, creations by educators and learners, and educational resources through open content licensing.

Another video by Stephen Downes

Here is another relevant video highlighting the importance of Creative Commons Licence and open educational resources, and the sharing and learning among educators and learners, based on the conversation and discourse over the networks and communities.

#Change11 Reflection on MOOCs based on a Connectivist Approach

At what point could this become connectivist if the actions are on the internet and interaction/development of ideas takes place? https://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/change11-connectivism-and-constructivism-whats-similar-and-different/ We are all connected with our local communities and networks in certain ways, patterns, but with technology as media, and social media as “catalyst” and agents, we are now able to reach different corners of the world, beyond the traditional closed walls (schools, classes) or local groups or communities. The tyranny of space and time could also be overcome with such a connectivist approach. So, whilst constructivist approach addresses the construction of meaning between agents (mainly human, or actor networks), connectivist approach goes beyond that through multiple agents, multiple actor networks, technology and tools, and most important of all, with a basis of openness, autonomy, diversity and connectedness (properties of networks) in order to strengthen the learning.

For an elaboration on the characteristics of early MOOCs, you will find them in George and Stephen’s various posts and other papers here and here. You could also find some papers in my publications on the right hand side of this blog menu, which documented how the MOOCs were designed, delivered and developed. The MOOCs are evolving and emerging and so they are based on adaptive, self-organising and emergent learning principles, rather than the static prescriptive instrumental learning principles.

An ideal MOOC to me would likely be distributed over different learning spaces, which again would align with learners’ different and changing needs and goals. As Stephen mentioned the product of learning is the learner, and so the learning is based on a growth model where learner’s growth of “knowledge” and wisdom with the navigation and construction of networks upon time. This also requires pruning of obsolete network patterns (outdated concepts, information, knowledge etc.), with the growing and nurturing of new and emergent network patterns.

This is also one of the most difficult and challenging part of education and learning, as it challenges the values of traditional canonical knowledge often prescribed in books and are determined by authorities, and are confined to be “delivered” in a closed wall settings. With the rapid changes in information and knowledge landscape, such ways of “transmitting” information and knowledge limited the discourse and inquiry, reducing knowledge to a set of memorable known facts, information, or procedures which, if understood would constitute learning.

Answers to questions, if shared would provoke further thinking and reflection, in a connectivist learning ecology. As each of us may look at the answers from our own lens, experience, we could then share our understanding, and critique on the “strengths” and “weaknesses” of those answers, and thus be able to improve or innovate through deeper inquiry and critical thinking. This is also based on a social scientific approach where “truths” are revealed in light of evidences and arguments, rather than the mere showing of facts and figures in experimentation.

I think it would be necessary to write a paper elaborating on the changes in MOOCs since their inception.

Image: from Google & Dave Cormier

Postscript: Stephen Downes has posted this Video that relates to Connectivist Learning.

#Change11 On MOOC – my reflection Part 3

Hi George, I shared your views, on the learning arena for MOOCs. I have shared my views in my post.

“The New MOOCS seem to be aimed at undergraduates and those new to the business, novices perhaps. Certainly the Bonkopen MOOC is a highly taught course, much more of the closed prescriptive type.” I think a target market for MOOCs could be an interesting research as this could reveal and confirm the cohort of learners who would be interested in particular types of MOOCs. MOOCs of a technical or technological nature would appeal more to information technologists, engineers and applied scientist (students, teachers, lecturers). These MOOCs also fit well in the University curriculum studies, so undergraduates and may be graduates of the particular disciplines would surely benefit much from the study. Would those MOOCs (computer science, electrical engineering) appeal to social science students or scientists? I would be interested to learn how people choose the MOOCs, and how people learn through those MOOCs.

With the watching of the short video clips, followed by quizzes, or engagement in forum discussion, and assignment and exam, this seems to be the typical “instructivist” – behavioral and cognitivist approach towards learning, coupled with constructivist approach if the students are supported and engaged in forum or blog discussion. The main goals with these MOOCs are still to ensure more students are able to pass the course, achieve the prescribed learning outcomes, and perform to the standards required through quizzes, tests and examinations. It could be interesting to see how students would self-organise their learning, without “too much” guidance by the professors. There could be challenges like people sharing their answers to quizzes, assignments, or examination questions and answers, that may be viewed as inappropriate behavior. Cheating, plagiarism and copying of each others’ answers could occur when standard tests and examinations are used. In the case of connectivist courses, learners would likely aggregate, remix, re-purpose and feed-forward their responses (in their assignment) (probably based on individual’s PLE), and so it is unlikely be “treated” as plagiarism, or copying, unless the whole response (like a blog post) is a mere repetition or copy of others’ posts. May be a connectivist approach would challenge both students and professors to think of innovative and creative ways to develop assessment, thus overcoming the problem of plagiarism inherent in the assignments or examinations. Also, this would encourage educators and learners to focus more on learning – which means understanding, thinking, reflection, application and action, that would be reflective in getting a good grade in passing the course.
Is it necessary to differentiate the trad & new MOOCs? Yes.
What would you like to add, in the criteria of differentiation?