Elearnspace

I need some help

On February 8, I’ll be delivering a talk at TEDxEdmonton’s event Rethinking Open Source Culture. In 2003 I posted a few articles online on open source movements and learning: Open source p.I, Open Source p.II, and Why we should share learning material. I have benefitted enormously from open learning.

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“I can’t teach at Stanford again”

Open online courses really mess things up. The force educators/funders/learners to question the value point of traditional education. Over the past four years, many different open online courses have been offered – some through formal universities (U of Manitoba – Stephen Downes and I, BYU – David Wiley, U of Regina – Alec Couros, Stanford – Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, U of Illinois -Ray Schroeder).

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Online University Education in Canada

There is more activity in online learning (or, at minimum blended learning) in higher education than most universities realize. When I was at University of Manitoba, we tried to get a sense of what faculty were doing with technology in their courses, particularly with what was then called web 2.0 (doesn’t that almost feel like I’m referencing a trend in the 70?s? you know, like bell bottoms?). First, we looked at the formal university reports – annual reports of department activity. We found very little.

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Lots of free learnin’ going on

2012 is shaping up to be a good year for open online learning experiences (Sanford is actively promoting open courses, David Wiley is running an openness in education course, Alec Couros will likely be doing his EC&I831 again, etc.).
I’m involved in several open online learning projects this year:

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Right to know versus the nature of digital information

In eras of dramatic change – such as militarization in ancient Rome and the French Revolution/Industrial Revolution – existing mindsets and institutions are, in Schumpeter’s words, creatively destroyed. The newspaper, recording, and TV industries have experienced this recently as digital information comes into its own and sheds legacy structures (such as the “album” or the “newspaper”). Politicians have certainly felt the inability to control narratives and restrict information flow in 2011.

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Khan and AI: Open Online Courses

I just listened to a great video discussion – Khan Academy and Stanford AI Class: Reinventing Education – with Peter Norvig, Sebastian Thrun, and Sal Khan. It’s a candid discussion of what each of these educators wanted to achieve with opening up their courses and content and some of the challenges they faced in the process. Most importantly, they (particularly Sebastian) discuss where they were wrong in their previous assumptions about learning.

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Open Learning Analytics: A proposal

Learning analytics are increasingly relevant, and prominent, in education. Startups and established software vendors are targeting learning analytics in their product offerings for the education and training and development sector. Many of the companies that serve the higher education market– including Sungard, Blackboard, and Pearson – are already heavily committed to analytics. Analytics is quickly becoming a term that gets slapped onto any existing product (remember social media from a few years ago? Suddenly, everything was “social”.

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A few thoughts on China and education

I just landed in Vancouver after a short trip to Shanghai to present at the IADIS conference hosted by East China Normal University. One of the faculty members (Ren Youqun, I believe) from this university translated Knowing Knowledge into Chinese. This is my second trip in the last three weeks – I was in Guangzhou at the end of November visiting South China Normal University and Sun Yatsen University.

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Emergent learning, connections, design for learning

IRRODL continues to solidify its reputation as the leading journal in the educational technology field that balances thoughtful research with very timely and relevant journal themes, as indicated by the latest special issue – Emergent Learning, Connections, Design for Learning. IRRODL seems to capture the zeitgeist of online learning more rapidly than others. Congrats to Terry Anderson (editor) and Rod Sims & Elena Kays (editors of this special issue) for an outstanding publication.

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Complexity, Information, and Education

I’m in Rijeka, Croatia. It’s my first visit hear and it’s a beautiful country. The scenery is spectacular. Unfortunately, most of my time has been spent in a hotel room writing and getting caught up on email/work, etc. Wasn’t traveling fun *before* we could take our work with us?!
I’ve uploaded the slides from my presentation this morning:

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