October 22, 2013
back to school…the MOOC way
October 20, 2013
Today I attended my first official MOOC, World Wide Ed. (Let me clarify…I’ve been registered for the past three days and did pop into the actual classroom space to put my virtual pin on the virtual map, but otherwise I’ve been one of those students who just silently lurks and doesn’t really do any real work.) But, today was the official first synchronous video session and the instructor in me said if I did nothing else in this experience, I needed to “support” in the live session even if it just meant my name being a traceable line on the “attendees” column.
So, what is a MOOC? Standing for Massive Open Online Course, MOOCs are a somewhat recent phenomena in the DE world and basically are, depending on who you ask, the savior or villain of education. Coincidentally one of the main people cited as being part of the early birth of MOOCs are none other than Stephen Downes and George Siemens, Athabasca University professor extraodinaire (who you may remember from such places as my Connectivism post of about a month or so ago and who has been tasked with the enviable role of being my dissertation adviser.) Way back when Siemens and Downes first created the prototype of a MOOC, it was a bit different than the corporate 10,000+ student enrollment monster that it’s become today. D+S’s MOOC was based on the idea that with a good digital framework, it would be possible for a community to teach itself and, like the theory of connectivism, for connections between people in diverse settings to become the catalyst for new knowledge exploration…more than any one sage-on-stage could possibly hope to teach their own class. MOOCs are free, open to anyone who’d like to join and learn, and often more about continuing education than earning a degree. That said, there are often provisions made for badges or even credit to be earned if a participant pays a nominal feel or works with a traditional bricks and mortar school. Since their somewhat benign start, a Pandora’s box of who has and should define learning and what arena it can occur has been opened and MOOCs are to education like the proposals to legalize marijuana are to elections in the States…endlessly controversial and filled with very very passionate people both pro and con.
AIGA Head, Hand, Heart Pecha Kucha
October 16, 2013
So I gave a Pecha Kucha at last week’s AIGA National Convention (If you click on the image for the video, forgive the slight rotation early in the video. iPhone cinematography isn’t quite as precise as it could be…)
Me, the once totally crazy fearful public speaker stood up and spoke for almost 7 minutes and it was kind of amazing. And I might be kind of addicted to this presentation thing. Or perhaps just the feeling of accomplishment when it’s over and you haven’t passed out or anything!
But seriously, the presentation felt like a win on many levels for me. Not only was I a successful short presenter but I also began to get the word out about DE in graphic design. Up until now one of my major trepidations with my research in general is how it will be received by the larger design community. Design education has some very tradition underpinnings and I’ve only really ever been on the distance learning end of things so going into a presentation in front of instructors who actually teach in face to face classrooms and have only really know a face to face studio model, I wasn’t sure how they’d come to find my ideas. That said, I couldn’t have been better received. Everyone I talked to expressed interest and though they were perhaps a bit hesitant they did say that they believed that this is the move of the future and were glad that I was getting into the arena and being a voice for good and a voice solidly grounded in the design world. It was an encouraging experience all around and I now see quite a few more conferences (and even a couple of presentations) in my future.
Artificial Intelligence in Distance Education
October 6, 2013
After a month of furious reading and research, it was time for another presentation! Peggy Lynn and I presented on Artificial Intelligence in Distance Education. It’s a crazy and provocative topic and touches on learning analytics, educational gaming, simulations, and avatars to just name a couple applications. Click on the above image to see a Slideshare presentation of our slides. And yes…that is binary code translated into diamonds because I will always be a designer first. : )
References in PDF form can be found here.