OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 28, 2011

How to Get the Most out of a Conference
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, November 28, 2011.

Over the week-end I wrote a longish description of how to get the most out of a conference. There's three major types of advice: how to plan and prepare your travel, how to submit a proposal and make a presentation, and how to benefit most from the presentations and interactions at the conference. The post is intended mostly for people without a lot of experience (I've provided an MS-Word and PDF version for easy sharing). I hope people find it useful, and I would appreciate comments and suggestions on how to improve the paper.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Interaction, Experience]

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Aligning the Quantum Perspective of Learning to Instructional Design: Exploring the Seven Definitive Questions
Katherine Joyce Janzen, Beth Perry and Margaret Edwards, IRRODL, November 28, 2011.

This paper explores a "quantum perspective of learning" which "uses the principles of exchange theory or borrowed theory from the field of quantum holism pioneered by quantum physicist David Bohm." It's one of three I summarize today from the recent (and excellent) issue of IRRODL on Emergent Learning. It frames this perspective in terms of seven definitive questions about learning: how does learning occur, what factors influence learning, what is the role of memory, how does transfer of knowledge occur, what types of learning are best explained, what is the relevance of instructional design, and how should instruction be structured tro facilitate learning? "Courses can be designed that encourage the discovery of the multiple connections that already exist. In terms of learning design, courses can be developed that have less prescription in terms of “assigned” readings. Instead learners can be provided with topics and themes and encouraged to seek out information sources and resources to inform themselves."

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[Link] [Comment][Tags: Online Learning]

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A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses
Rita Kop, Hélène Fournier and Sui Fai John Mak, IRRODL, November 28, 2011.

According to the authors, "it is possible to move from a pedagogy of abundance to a pedagogy that supports human beings in their learning through the active creation of resources and learning places by both learners and course facilitators." With an environment of abundant resources it becomes the student's responsibility to select and filter resources, and "one should question if all adult learners are capable of taking on this responsibility." They argue, "one of the major challenges is to create a pedagogy that supports human beings in their learning where the social connections people make on the network provide their learning support," and look at this through the example of the Massive Open Online Course, and specifically, Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge course (PLENK2010) and the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course (CCK11). The paper outlines the method and tools used to support the courses, and then describes a regimen of statistics and surveys that constitute the research itself. Analytics tools were also employed to visualize the networks of connections between people.

The authors note that "It is clear, however, that there were deficiencies in the support structures of the MOOCs." Some, however, found this to be an advantage. Either way, we see "the importance of making connections between learners and fellow-learners and between learners and facilitators." But "Scaling up to the majority in networked learning requires facilitators to adopt a multifaceted role so as to guide or influence the learners and communities to get involved and embrace social media practices." They argue that interaction "should be based on the creation of a place or community where people feel comfortable, trusted, and valued" and that "scaffolding is necessary to build confidence and self-efficacy and to ensure novices will feel confident and competent in using technologies." I think we've become better at this, but agree a concentrated effort is necessary here.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Traditional and Online Courses, Interaction, Research, Adult Learning, Networks, Visualization, Personal Learning Environment]

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Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education
Inge deWaard, et.al., IRRODL, November 28, 2011.

files/images/mobi_mooc.jpg, size: 30405 bytes, type:  image/jpeg This paper looks at the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the perspective of a MobiMOOC, a six-week course focusing on mLearning that ran from April to May 2011. It begins with a quick outline of chaos theory and suggests that "a pedagogical format that embeds and even embraces this complexity, combined with a prevalent emerging technology, can be the means to arrive at a new educational order." It overviews the course and describes some participation statistics (pictured, above). According to the authors, a MOOC is complex and self-organizing, a MOOC is connected and open, MOOCs can transform to adapt to the needs of the course or environment, and MOOCs manifest emergent phenomena, and specifically, internal diversity, internal redundancy, neighbor interactions, and decentralized control. Technologies and transformations also arise as emergent phenomena. Conversation, dialogue, and social meaning are also opbserved. "The MobiMOOC we ran," they conclude, "was an example of an open and adaptive, complex system."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Interaction]

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5 reasons to liveblog instead of live tweeting
Matt Thompson, Poynter, November 28, 2011.

I'm adding this link to the 'conferences' paper (which I'll probably keep updating for a while as I think of new things). I really like the reasons outlined here, as they get to the core of love-blogging:
- a liveblog forces you to genuinely pay attention
- it also forces you to write.
- it can be intensely engaging
- it’s a service to your readers
- it can be a service from your users
There's also a really good checklist of things to do before you liveblog - have you set up, have you tested your gear, do you have the relevant facts (like speaker names, etc) handy, etc.?

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Twitter]

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Canada as a Competitive Innovation Nation
Various Authors, Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, November 28, 2011.

The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance has released a white paper on innovation and commercialization in Canada arguing that while Canada has a good track record of innovation, it lags in commercialization. Following a study from BDCS Consulting, it suggests that spending more on R&D won't drive results and that "Innovation is a natural resource to be developed, harvested, used and commercialized for economic and social benefits." Thus it recommends government focus on funding for mid-stage commercialization of research (where Canada is notably weak in private investment capital), including the Jenkins report recommendations to create an Industrial Research and Innovation Council (IRIC) and to dissolve the National Research Council into a series of "large-scale, sectoral, collaborative R&D centres involving business, the university sector and the provinces."

Other reports cited in the paper are the Mowat Report, which stresses the importance of regions and a direct subsidy approach for commercialization, and a CD Howe report, which recommends finding efficiencies in the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program in order to fund commercial development. I've asked the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for their thoughts and they recommended Jim Stanford, Having your cake and eating it too.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research, Canada]

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PS told to use social media — but face 25-page rule book
Ottawa Citizen, Kathryn May, November 28, 2011.

The Government of Canada has released a policy guide for public service use of Web 2.0. See also this David Eaves commentary. As I am an employee of the Government of Canada, I am governed by this guide. That said, the bulk of the policy covers departmental use of web 2.0, which (as an official use) is much more strictly governed. This website - owned and operated by me - falls under the heading of "Professional Networking & Personal Use" (section 5). As such, I still retain considerable latitude to write what I was, as I always have, under certain constraints.

The constraints are, in my view, reasonable. I have always followed them, and will continue to do so. To boil them down into a nutshell, here they are:
- I don't have the right to share government or client secrets or confidential information.
- I have to respect personal information and personal privacy, including that of users of this website.
- I can't use this blog as a platform to subvert or campaign against my employer.
- I am not and cannot act as the 'official voice' of my Institute, the NRC, or the Government of Canada.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Culture Jamming, Web 2.0, Web Logs, Canada, Privacy Issues]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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