Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Isn't it funny how...

life turns out. Last year I managed to complete three Moocs; EDCMooc, Gamification and The Future of Digital Storytelling, all very good but EDCMooc did stand out as a shining example of how moocs can and should be run. There was a real sense of community from helping fellow learners get to grips with concepts, technology and collaborating with people from different cultures not to mention time zones.

Now I knew my employers were keen for me to study another post graduate course related to the field of Learning Technology so I spent quite a considerable amount of time looking at what was available for distance learning. After much deliberation and nearly missing the deadline for entries I submitted an application to the University of Edinburgh MSc in Digital Education (the creators of EDCMooc). Luckily I got offered a place and we have just started week 3 (Minds and Bodies) of the first compulsory module Introduction to Digital Environments for Learning (IDEL). Even with the Mooc experience, work experience etc its tough going juggling work, family and approx 15hrs of study each week. It's important to stay positive through something like this so that at the end there is a real feeling of being proud of what has been achieved

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

And now..the time is near....I did it my way!

Thoughts on my Digital Artefact
I was fairly happy with my digital artefact in the end. Several ideas were scrapped along the way but thats just part of the process. There are things I would definately change if I had had longer or wanted to go through the process again, but thats always going to be the case. Not knowing what background my assessors would have I stuck closely to the assessment criteria at least then even if they didn't get my artefact's message I would tick all the boxes for each criteria.

The EdcMooc Peer Assessment
Reading through some of the discussion forums, Google+ and the EdcMooc facebook page there were quite a few comments on the wide quality of digital artefacts with some being not so good. I had three very different artefacts to assess, one of which was quite poor whilst another was excellent. Sticking to the assessment criteria I graded accordingly trying to give comments on what I did like and how I thought it could have received a higher grade.

Assessment criteria
These are the criteria we ask you to consider for each of the three artefacts you evaluate.
  1. The artefact addresses one or more themes for the course
  2. The artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course
  3. The artefact has something to say about digital education
  4. The choice of media is appropriate for the message
  5. The artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action

You will assign a score to each digital artefact

0 = does not achieve this, or achieves it only minimally
1 = achieves this in part
2 = achieves this fully or almost fully

My Digital Artefact Grade!
I got a 2!! Well pleased. Summary of my peer assessment comments:

peer 1 → This artefact is outstanding, inspiring and very interesting. Fantastic reasearch and very focused on education. She graduates with honors.
peer 2 → It made me think about the transhumanist evolving vision to take a more proactive approach to technology policy and to enhance our memory and generally to achieve a greater degree of control over our own lives.
peer 3 → Beautifully done!

Very chuffed with my assessors comments and I will get a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction. Its nice to get a cerficate but the learning experience has been great. True I never did get into Twitter but the Coursera discussion forums, Google+ and edcmooc Facebook provided ample opportunity to engage with my fellow moocers.

Facebook Stats from Aras Bozkurt

I loved it so much....
I've signed up for another Coursera course, Gamification which starts in April. Not being one to do things by half I've also signed up for the ALT ocTEL which also starts in April. That should be interesting, between now and when the courses start I'll start collating information so I'm at least starting  with a level of knowledge that will make course time manageable.

A testament to the level of engagement amongst edcmooc students, there is an alumni group started on LinkedIn.

Would I recommend a Mooc to others?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Digital Artefact Final Assessment

Blood, sweat and tears....well okay perhaps not quite to that extreme but A LOT of research and late nights. So please enjoy my digital artefact, I've viewed it in IE8, Firefox and Chrome and experienced no problems.

The videos have been carefully chosen to reflect each theme within the digital artefact so if you do have the time please view them.

Please click the hyperlink below

Alison's Digital Artefact

thanks for watching

Image: 'Hayden Panettiere is a Cyborg' [online] by J (mtonic.com).
Available from:http://www.flickr.com/photos/40592485@N06/3747748367 [Accessed Feb 2013]
CC BY 2.0

Friday, 15 February 2013

#edcmooc WK 3 Humanity is man-made

I decided to start my week three blog with a word cloud compiled of elements that I consider make up what it is to be human. It seems to have sparked a great deal of discussion amongst my fellow moocers.Being human can be a collective experience but it can also be a unique experience. 

"Have we always, sometimes, or never been human?" I thought Steve Fuller's Tedx video was very interesting in questioning what is necessary to be human and that the criteria has changed over time. His talk also brings up the issue, at what point do we no longer fit the category human? When we die humanness lives on in our loved ones.

Humanity is artificial and is a result of our self-imposed conditioning. One could argue that we trust less in our intuition and more in technology. The ancient Chinese and Indian cultures had a deep understanding of the inner workings of the human body and mind despite not having the technology that we have today. The Yoga Sutras is a core text in Yoga Philosophy and details in four chapters how to still the fluctuations of the mind, this is the ultimate "goal" of yoga. Each sutra or "thread" in the chapters instructs the student on how to get rid of the obstacles so we can prepare the body, mind and soul for liberation. Yoga can be a very powerful practice if done with diligence and it can deeply connect a student to their intuitive self.

Shiva http://www.flickr.com/photos/30008272@N00/441056389

"as soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live" Johann Wolfgan Van Goethe

Some thoughts on Steve Fuller video
1. Why does Professor Fuller say (almost as a joke) that education is ‘a dying art’?

Everything is changing but we are still teaching our children in the same way. Is the way we educate our children the best at preparing them for living in todays society, or should be continue to teach them the essentials? Education needs to move with the times.

2. He talks about the ‘modern artifice’ of enhancement: how might this notion of becoming more ‘fully human’ via enhancement impact on the project of education?

I think this will impact education by causing more of a divide between those who have and those who have not.

3. Professor Fuller argues that there’s historical precedent for considering only some homo sapiens to be ‘human’: what are the political implications of this in contemporary times? And how might such a notion position education?

4. Do we educate only those who are deemed “intelligent”? Do we test children at a young age to determine their potential, their worthiness of being educated. There are certain cultures in the world who punish those who strive for the freedom to be educated. No one should have the right to deny another human being the pursuit of knowledge.

He suggests that we are questioning the very existence of the ‘human’ because we have failed in the humanist project (for example, we are far from achieving racial, gender or class equality): do you believe this?

5. Inequality exists, will we ever get rid of it, probably not but that doesn’t mean that the majority who believe in “raising the overall level of humanity” should give up. Nobody achieved anything by giving up. Recognising that there is inequality is just the beginning, its what we do about it that matters.

In claiming that ‘the old humanistic project should not be dropped’, Professor Fuller links his talk to our key theme of re-asserting the human. His stance seems to be that ‘you can only be morally credible’ if you are addressing issues of human freedom and equality. Thinking about education specifically, might we see MOOCs as an example of an ‘old humanistic project’, particularly in the promise they appear to offer for democratisation, equality of access and so on?

I think MOOCs will have their place in online education but they won't be for everyone. If a student has a "bad" experience on a MOOC its likely to put them off enrolling on another. Are the students who feel overwhelmed by the scale and amount of information already disadvantaged by their background?

WK3 Competition entry

I came up with lots of ideas but this image took my fancy. All editing done in PowerPoint. There are things I would already change about it but I'm just going to leave it as it is so I can turn my attention to the Digital Artefact for the final assessment.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The heat is on....

This past week has been so hectic with juggling family stuff and producing material for an Introduction to Digital Storytelling for some nursing students. The creation of the digital artefact is in my thoughts in the shower, on the bus to work, whilst out walking the dog. So far I've got three ideas, in my head. The third idea which came to me whilst singing in the kitchen might just be achievable.

Looking at the Masters' student digital artefacts I particularly liked Candice Nolan-Grant's A Day Behind Glass and Anabel Drought's Soundtrack to the future, they really helped me to build on the ideas I have for my digital artefact.

Haven't finalised which tool I'll use but at the moment I'm thinking glogster, wevideo or sliderocket but that may change as I start to put my ideas together. Need to go do some reading for wk3.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Why Touch Matters

#edcmooc Wk2 A Day Made of Glass 2 & Productivity Future Vision

Both films show a Utopian world where everything seemlessly and effortlessly works. Both are a very clinical, striped down versions of reality as we know it now and how we think the future will pan out. Of course we know that in real life nothing is seemless and effortless and lets face it how many of us thought all that glass would be a nightmare to keep clean.The scene from A Day Made of Glass where the children are "mixing" paints just filled me with sadness if that is regarded as progress. Learning should be multi-sensory and messy as Eleni (fellow Moocer) pointed out.  Like others who have commented on the Coursera discussion forum there are elements of both films which would  be amazing to have; the worktops in the kitchen, the medical and car technology but there are somethings which technology cannot replace, touch being one of them.

It is interesting how technology has evolved from the typewriters on the 1860's and how touch typing has become a very useful skill to have. Will future generation begin to lose skills like touch typing as everything moves towards a woosh and a tap. A few weeks ago my oldest son had been playing on his tablet pc then came off it to read a book (real paperback). At the end of the page he tried to woosh the page over like on his tablet pc, he paused and laughed at what he'd just tried to do. I jokingly told him that what he had in his hands was a real book, with real pages that turn.

A few years ago I trained as baby massage instructor with IAIM which was a wonderful experience to share with new parents. I saw first hand how powerful the simple act of touch is between humans and that touch is fundamental to our survival as a species. Touch allows us to stay connected to one another, to feel that we are part of a meaningful relationship. Sue Gerhardt in her wonderful book Why Love Matters explores why touch is essential to the development of our social skills. Touch deprivation can cause developmental problems with the brain, depression and feelings of isolation. If I relate this back to the two films and how at a touch of a button and a woosh of screen it is possible to "stay connected" to people around the world 24/7, is this the future that we want? Is it really necessary to push forward with expanding the ways in which we "stay connected". Do I really want to be answering emails as I brush my teeth? I think we need to be careful we don't lose touch with what makes us quintessentially human.


Image: 'Brain of the Sistine Chapel'
Found on flickrcc.net

Disclaimer: Yes, there are other things which technology can't replace but this post just focuses on once aspect.

Gotta have faith - Thinking about the ArtEFact

At the end of wk1 I decided to look at the final assessment for our Digital Artefact. I have a few ideas of what I might do but the problem I have at the moment is that they are in my head and not in digital format.If only someone would invent a device for transferring ideas from the brain into reality, now that would be impressive, perhaps one day. I'm hoping that by the end of the week after I've looked at the wk2 material that my ideas will start to take shape, what shape I don't know as yet. Mustn't forget to include the "try to have fun" bit, not sure when that will come into the process but I'm looking forward to having a sense of achievement when its submitted.

Final Assessment

We mean something that is designed to be experienced digitally, on the web. It will have the following characteristics:

it will contain a mixture of two or more of: text, image, sound, video, links.
it will be easy to access and view online.
it will be stable enough to be assessed for at least two weeks.

Try to have fun with this and use it as a chance to think broadly and creatively: anything goes in terms of the form of this essay. As long as you keep the assessment criteria in mind you can be as experimental as you wish.