Category Archives: eL@B

Lecture capture and participatory media for education: a talk for eL@B

I suppose there comes a tolerance of living with a degree of chaos. Knowledge is quite loosely coupled, I find.The page I showed with the links came originally from a talk I did at the November eLearning at Brookes (eL@B) meeting on Participatory Media for teaching in Higher Education. The link to the slightly updated mindmap, which I showed in the class is here, where everyone should be able to reach it, should they care (click on “outline view” – lower left – to get the page with the links):

http://www.xmind.net/share/_embed/georgeroberts/xmind-198337/

I’ll put the slides up on the VLE for the class. They are already publicly available on SlideShare:

http://www.slideshare.net/georgeroberts

The talk is on the Brookes Wiki, links are on the page (but it is behind an annoying wall):
https://wiki.brookes.ac.uk/display/elab/current+UK+projects+on+lecture+capture

There is a link to a video of the talk, here (still behind a wall):
https://wiki.brookes.ac.uk/display/elab/eLaB+20+November+2009

Maybe we’ll get some of these walls lowered.

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Curriculum design for new social media – a great illustration of incorporating digital literacy into the curriculum #pcthe

In “Introduction to Mass Communication,” I’d like to see more discussions about how personal communications can easily become mass communication because the Web has hyperlinked everything.  Students should explore the changing models of mass communications – how int he past, content used to be broadcast to the masses, and would then be shared person-to-person.  Today, content is often shared person-to-person first, to be followed by dissemination to the masses.  Why?  How?

In “Human Communication,” I want to see the students dive down into the intricacies of how relationships created and maintained using social media are different than those that are solely face-to-face.  How does social media enhance or degrade these relationships?

In “Visual Communication,” the students should understand the visual impact of content on the Web.  How did we go from fancy, tricked out websites being a best practice to something as plain and boring as Twitter?  How and why did the banner ad die?  Why, when asked if there were ads on Google, did one teenager at the Web 2.0 Summit say, “no – are there supposed to be?”

In “Digital Skills and Information Gathering,” how do you differentiate between what’s fact and fiction online any more?  How many sources are need to verify?  What’s the definition of a source?  How do you use tools like Wikipedia and other social media as breadcrumbs to find more credible sources?

When I took “Media Writing,” I learned the AP Stylebook and how to write press releases.  Students should absolutely still learn these skills.  But, they should also learn how to write like a human being, in a conversational tone, not as a public relations machine.  They should learn what a good blog post looks and sounds like.  They should learn how to take a key message and put it into their own words, into their own writing style instead of conforming to a style guide.

Media Law” should still involve a LOT of discussion of past cases and legal precedents, an exploration of the First Amendment, thorough reviews of the Pentagon Papers trial and other landmark cases.  But, there should also be a lot of “what if?” questions that tackle today’s social media landscape that hasn’t, in a lot of cases, gone through the legal rigor that other media has.  Let’s study Cybersquatting cases like LaRussa vs. Twitter, Inc. – let’s discuss the impacts of cases like that that don’t have a long legal history, but will surely help define the environment in which these students are going to be working.

I’d rename “International Communication” to be “Global Communication,” and I’d focus not just on the differences in communication styles between Western and Eastern countries, Asian cultures and Hispanic cultures, but on how it’s just as easy to communicate with someone 10,000 miles away as it is with your next door neighbor.  I’d have my students study the differences in how Americans communicate with each other online vs. how Eastern countries do it.  Do the basic communications differences that apply in face-to-face communication apply online too?  If not, why?

In “Communication Ethics,” this class would bring up discussions about attribution in an online, shareable communications environment.  How do the old rules of copyright and intellectual property apply?  Do they apply?  What about basic human interactions – if you ignore someone who sends a DM on Twitter, is that akin to ignoring someone who reaches out to shake your hand?  Where’s the line between criticizing the service your receive from a company on Twitter and attacking the person?  If I say,”I think @comcastcares is an idiot who doesn’t know which way is up, am I attacking Comcast or am I attacking Frank Eliason? Note: Frank is awesome )

I would also add a class on “Principles of Customer Service” and make “Creative Writing” a prerequisite as well.  You see, social media shouldn’t be a class – it’s interwoven throughout a lot of classes.  And this isn’t just for communication classes, this would apply to political science majors (Barack Obama’s campaign anyone?), economics majors (how has the ability to share data globally and instantaneously impacted the speed at which the market changes?), sociology (how has social media changed the way families and friends communicate with one another?).

from “Rethinking Public Relations Education” by sradick on 11/20/2009 governingpeople.com

A much longer excerpt than I usually feel comfortable reposting, but this is a great illustration of curriculum redesign for digital/academic literacy.

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Does it matter if students stop using courseware when the course ends? Digilit musings

However, a bigger concern is for those services where I was able to track usage was that after the course ended, so did student use.

This experience mirrors ours, though I only have anecdote to support it. Courses where PebblePad is used do not seem to engender an extended adoption of the platform for ongoing personal/professional use. We do not expect students to want to take the VLE with them and it isn’t designed for that. The wiki has a liminal status. It could be adopted as a personal web-builder if a student were keen to. We do not promote this and there does not seem to be any pent up demand waiting to pile in to Confluence. It gets used when it is designed into the curriculum and not when its not. But my question is does it matter? And, if it does, when and why? It is safe to assume most students have web presence via FaceBook or mySpace or other networks. Similarly many are using IM services and nearly all text.

I think the key issue here is appropriate information (or academic) literacy for a networked, social-media era (not just the “digital age”).

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If the Twitterverse isn’t fed from outside, it is just an echo chamber #pcthe

The question of whether you can rely on Twitter to filter your reading is problematic. Yes following 8,000 people (or however many) will probably serve to satisfy most information needs. I am sure that by some number (10? 100? 1000?) a Twitter follower will be deep into a long tail of duplication. The other 40,000,000 people who tweet just aren’t relevant to them. The number of sources may be large, but it is finite. My reading list is not in any sense unique or even, compared to serious bloggers (@Downes springs to mind) or Twits really wide. My feed reader (BlogBridge http://www.blogbridge.com/ ) is currently consuming 47 feeds, none particularly odd-ball, which together syndicate about 800 articles/day. I scan most of these, probably read the slug from about a quarter and click through to maybe 20 or 30 articles. I am no serious newshound. I am adding about 2 or 3 feeds a week: feeds I find from the ones I follow already, feeds I find from following my Twitterverse and feeds from things I hear about in other conversations, conferences, reading student essays, reviewing articles, subscribing to email lists, etc. Broadly and with some overlap my feeds are Project-related, Ed Tech-related, Tech-related, Ed Policy-related, Policy & Politics-related, Environmental activism-related, Global Justice-related. Most are from sources and people not known personally to me. Some are blogs of my RL friends. Some of my RL friends are blogospheric authorities. Some are just folk who are read by me, their kids and cats. Even within my little list of feeds there is a lot of echo. Maybe the whole world is just an echo chamber. Maybe we do only listen to what we want to listen to and then repeat it. Maybe I am deluded to think that if I find stuff out outside of Twitter (which has probably been brought into Twitter somewhere by someone before me) and bring it in that I have something of more value than if I only followed up items from people I follow on Twitter (a paltry 159 people) and retweet or bookmark my interests. For me the value of Twitter is the community, not just the information. Twitter is an important professional tool, but it is also a social tool. It is an evening stroll, my fag break, a pub, my sounding board. It helps me to get a sense of the relevance of some of my activity outside Twitter. Even if that activity may be pursued by someone else inside Twitter I value it differently. A quick scan of the people I follow suggests that by and large they are people like me. They have a couple of hundred followers and follow about double the number that follow them. They follow a few key professional celebrities. But, and here is the value for me, they all give the impression of thinking for themselves about things that matter to me and they widen my horizons. They show me a world beyond their own Twittersphere. They show me the world is not just the Old Dog and Duck. The best thing about Twitter is that it gets me out of Twitter, not that it makes it possible for me to stay in.

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Horizon 5-year meta trends in emerging technologies for learning #shock09

Seven metatrends in emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations include:

  • the evolving approaches to communication between humans and machines
  • the collective sharing and generation of knowledge
  • computing in three dimensions
  • connecting people via the network;
  • games as pedagogical platforms
  • the shifting of content production to users;
  • and the evolution of a ubiquitous platform.

Educause, 2008. 2008 Horizon Report. Available at: http://www.educause.edu/node/162471?time=1238685860 [Accessed April 2, 2009].

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4 dimensions of digital literacy #shock09

I was discussing an unpublished draft of a working paper on digital literacy at Oxford Brookes. It struck me that a communication theory model might be useful when looking at the tools we might use. The four dimensions I recognised in the paper were:

  • n-0: solitary reflection
  • 1-n: broadcasting ones self: blogging, writing for publication
  • n-1: using a library, searching the web
  • n-n: participation in discussion forums, teams.

It seemed that if one were aware of the different kinds of communication one could suggest that some tools were better for some things and some for others.

Interestingly, about a week later I was doing a bit of a lit search for Digital Literacy in Academic Search Complete and came upon Guy Merchant’s (2007) article: Writing the future in the digital age. Literacy, 41(3), 118-128. There I found the same approach used as a typology for digilit.

  • One-to-one Messaging Inter-personal email
  • One-to-many Broadcast messaging Blogging Webpages
  • Many-to-many Chatrooms, 3D Virtual Worlds, Online gaming, Discussion boards, Wikis, Photo-sharing (123)

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Digital natives? Analogue colonists

Graham Attwell makes an important point here, which resonates with work done on university students’ use of the Internet for learning by colleagues at Brookes.

The locus of work or study: the context in which the person engages in online activity is far more important than other more accidental attributes of the individual such as their year of birth or their sex. Yes, year cohorts will have different contexts available, but there are adept and critical users of the internet of all ages, just as there are digitally illiterate “digital natives”.

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Why blog? Hello crowdsource, friends & lazy web: answers on a Tweet

I am writing a series of pages about blogging for http://brookesblogs.net.

The audience is

  1. Teachers of undergraduates,
  2. Undergraduates at Oxford Brookes
  3. Other students and staff who might use the service,
  4. Other stakeholders and policy makers

The first wave of university blogging services has long since flowed. The BBC covered it in 2005 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4194669.stm)

The list below is only a quick sample of some of the more significant, or visible of UK universities’ blogging services or directories.
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One eportfolio for every hippopotalopardile in the human zoo?

Ray Tolley (http://efoliointheuk.blogspot.com/) got me thinking.

If you are going to use the term eportfolio in a particular, restricted way, then you need to define the term precisely. Many people have several eportfolios: LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, blogs, PebblePad, various forums and repositories, their own web site, a Monster.com CV, etc. Many more people have none. Those with several often cross reference between them. We may choose to call just one of these collections our portfolio. But, if we do, we should say why this one, not that one. And, given the fast-moving field, we must be tolerant of exceptions to any rule and be willing to negotiate meaning.

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