Innovating Pedagogy Report 2020 – just a thought . . .

The OU has recently published its 2020 Innovating Pedagogy Report. I really enjoy these annual reports which are very readable as well as being well researchers. However, I don’t always get round to really reflecting on them. In fact, I’ve just deleted a draft post from about this time last year about the 2019 report that I started and didn’t finish! So this is going to be a very short post so I actually do finish and post it. There’s lots of AI, and data but encouragingly lots around ethics, post humanist approaches and social justice.

One thing in particular has struck me around the potential impact and timescales elements of the chosen pedagogies. AI has being given a potential impact of “high” with a timescale of “ongoing“, whilst engaging with data ethics has been given an potential impact of “medium” and a timescale of “ongoing“.

Surely the ethics of using data have to go hand in hand with any work around AI. In fact I would say ethics should be the starting point. I’m sure this was debated by the team, but I can’t help thinking that a trick has been missed here to ensure that data ethics are rated equally with AI in terms of potential impact and timescales.

Making and keeping digital education new year resolutions: Heriot Watt Learning and Teaching Keynote

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of giving the inaugural Inspiring Learning Lecture for the Learning and Teaching Academy at Heriot Watt University. As the university has campuses in Dubai and Malaysia I also got to do the lecture twice. Firstly via a webinar to the Dubai and Malaysia campuses, quite early in the morning for me, and then later in person on the Edinburgh campus. It was actually lovely to be able to present twice, but I’m sure I forgot to say some things I had planned in each session. However I think both sessions worked well, if slightly differently.

The lecture was themed around making, and keeping, new year resolutions in relation to digital education. Now, dear reader, if you are anything like me and the vast majority of the population, you probably find keeping any kind of new year resolution a bit of a challenge – most of us fail to keep them. So I used the lecture to explore the notion of resolutions and more importantly changing/evolving habits in our practice. Quite often a small change in practice can have quite a profound impact.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to explore some of the wider narratives around the notion of “the digital”, and share some of my reflections on the university’s Learning and Teaching Strategy, and relate that to some wider issues around (digital) wellbeing, time, and criticality.

Using some of the ideas we developed in Conceptualising the Digital University , I also looked at notions of curriculum, and how taking a different view of that could help to change ideas and practice around teaching and assessment. Given the global reach of the university I also raised some questions around the development of truly international, culturally inclusive curriculum and digitally mediated educational colonization. I then tried to bring these bigger narratives back to everyday practice and emphasize the importance of taking time to share practice, to help each other make small changes to our practice.

Reconnecting with virtually connecting at #digped

Community – being part of, how to be part of, why not to be part of, how to support, how to sustain. Community, it’s at the heart of everything I do, particularly in a professional context. 

Last week I reconnected with  the Virtually Connecting community,  one of my favourites, but one I have kind of slipped away from over the past year. I joined a couple of the sessions from this years Digital Pedagogy Lab. A community I feel connected to but don’t really feel a “proper” part of as I have never been to one of the physical events. I see myself more of an interested observer. But more on that later.

I’m always in awe of the core Virtually Connecting team and how this community has grown and sustained itself to allow access for so many to conferences and events that they can’t make it to person.   If you haven’t joined any sessions I would thoroughly recommend trying one.  

I have written before about my own mis-understanding of virtually connecting. At first, I just presumed it was only for PhD students. I think I got this impression as the people I knew taking part seemed to all be doing PhDs or involved in funded, active research projects. So, for a while I really just excluded myself as that didn’t apply to me.  However once I found out that wasn’t the case, I as they say “got with the programme” and have been a virtual guest and an occasional onsite buddy.   It was great to be back last week. I have now updated my notification settings on the slack channel, and will more active in this community again.

Digital pedagogy lab is kind of a mythical place for me. One where all the “cool” North American people I follow on twitter congregate, and talk about all the really interesting “stuff” in education.  The sense of community from the onsite folks I felt was even more heightened this year.  Robin de Rosa’s keynote at the end of the week covered many aspects of community- too much to cover here so just watch it.  I loved the way she wove in so many constructs of community and some of the dangers that the marketization of notions of community are bringing to education.

The first keynote from Ruha Benjamin clearly had a profound impact on the participants. After watching it I can see why.  Make the time to watch it.   There was a community element running through this too, though the main focus was on the sociological development of technology, questioning the “norms” of technological innovation.  Ruha highlighted how we are forced to live inside someone else’s imagination. More and more their vision turns technological developments into “misery for some, monopoly for others”.

There is a need for increased criticality around technological developments that question the implicit norms of design. That are designed with a stereotypical, white, (probably male), global north bias, which reinforce inequalities through a veneer of increased productivity and lower cost.  

Listening to Ruha’s talk I was once again reminded of how privileged I am and how I need to ensure that I keep pushing the boundaries of that privilege, to try wherever possible to ensure that I am not allowing implicit norms to continue. 

Digital pedagogy lab is the perfect place to discuss these issues. From what I saw and heard at the VC session I participated in, and some to the twitter activity, there was a real sense of critical engagement with these issues. But when everyone from the face to face gets back home, how much of a difference can they really make?

Robin’s keynote, it was interwoven with stories from people about their experiences of not being valued within their direct institutional community. Robin started by sharing her own experiences. So many of the stories resonated with me.  One of the reasons I gave up my job ( a good Senior Lecturer post)  was that ever present presence of being undervalued.  That’s one of the reasons external communities are so important, they really do give strength and support when it’s not readily available from within your institution. They so often give you the energy to keep going. They give you questions to ask of yourself and your community. 

I’m not going to dwell to much on the some of the other parts of Robin’s keynote about outsourcing  as I am how consultant. Well, I’ve got to fund my impoverished artist lifestyle somehow.  Just to say I am a consultant who is all about care and understanding, not about revenue, or undermining of institutional knowledge, experience and skills. I hope what I do augments, not replaces anything that could be done in-house.

My professional life has taken a dramatic change this year and I am still adjusting to my new working life.  I have disengaged from some communities to an extent. I don’t have the same urgency for external support. However, for my own relevance (and sanity as much as anything) I do still need to be part of many communities.  I’m just going through a process of readjustment. Ironically I think it will be much easier for me to actually attend the UK Digital Pedagogy Lab next year than it would have been if I was still in my old job.

So, as ever, this has ended up being a bit of a rambling post, but thank you to everyone in all the communities I interact with. You all make a huge contribution to my life. Together we can make a difference. 

Politics, privilege and invading holograms

photo of Darth Vader MaskPhoto by issac cortes on Unsplash


Oh dear, so much to write about and so little time. Or maybe things just moving so fast that the moment for blogging passes and another week goes by without me taking time to write. Anyway in an attempt to remedy that situation, this is just a very quick post based on a couple of things I saw last week.

On Friday I saw this tweet from Helen Crump.

Of course ed tech has politics, it’s steeped in them. Everything has a political context.  Education isn’t neutral, is highly political and contextual. The right to education maybe enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Rights , however that doesn’t actually set the context of how education is perceived, instantiated, supported and controlled at national and international levels.  To think that educational technology is neutral is naive. It too is developed, owned and sold by someone with an agenda, and there is a Political or political motive to that.

Despite the claims by most ed tech vendors, ed tech is not the solution to education. It is a solution but right now in the Global North it exists in a neoliberal context. The cost of education and personalisation is increasingly being driven by biased, highly political, data driven, developments.  AI and all those algorithms we are constantly hearing about, are not neutral or non political . They conform to the standards and privileges of those who develop them.

Then I read  Maha’s post on the privilege to choose global perspectives.   Once again Maha reminding us in the Global North of our assumptions around globalism, diversity, the acceptance of our ‘norms’ in academic writing, presenting and referencing.  The political context of academia.

Maha puts  the mirror up to our faces by pointing out:
if you are in the US, your career will survive completely even if you never read a single article by someone not from your culture, not in your language.
would a journal accept my article if it had ZERO references by Western canon?
Well would it? How would you react if you were peer reviewing a paper like that?
So Maha plays the game she understands the political context, she finds ways to get her voice heard.
I blog, I tweet, I publish, I f*%$ing invade conferences with Virtual keynotes and presentations and conversations and I join and initiate collaborations and I speak that language and I build those relationships. So you can all *see me* and you can all *hear me*.

That’s hard work. I have such huge respect for Maha and that f*%$ing invasion.   It is so needed and welcome (well from most people I know. And yes, that’s my politics coming through).  It can be uncomfortable,  but education should be uncomfortable at times. It shouldn’t just be about a “personalised journey”, where you are never challenged and you never question of challenge the context of that experience. Higher education shouldn’t just be judged on the kind of money you can earn, the perpetuating of an increasingly fractured and fragile political scenario.

Then I see the news about teaching holograms and I automatically think of Maha’s post.  How this the exact opposite of her invasion. This could be the starting of another f*%$ing huge cultural invasion. Yet again, we (in the Global North) are developing “new” ways to subjugate “global markets” with this great new (?) technology

 . . . members will also be offered the hologram system, which Imperial is adopting for its MBA classes, aimed at cutting the cost of sharing their academics while hopefully improving on videoconferencing.

Note the emphasis on improving videoconferencing – not improving/developing pedagogy. That doesn’t get mentioned until much further down in the article. But fear not the holographic teacher can take questions in real time. Which is great, because obviously a great big hologram (of a white, middle aged man- check the article’s lead picture) is much better than say synchronous chat session within a video conferencing session – or you know having live video q & a session, or using some twitter, what’s app or snapchat or any technology that might be actually used by students outside education.  And I bet all the planned classes will be in English. Once again we invade the rest of the world except this time we don’t have to face the natives in their own country. We can just beam in star Professors, Darth Vader stylee.

What politics are implicit in that ed tech?

Unbundling, onboarding, digital futures – where is the love and struggle?

picture of people boarding a plane

Photo by Chris Brignola on Unsplash

Last week I was asked to pull together a short 5 minute provocation around the future for digital learning for departmental away day.  Luckily for me Sian Bayne and Michael Gallagher from the Centre for Digital  Education at the University of Edinburgh had just published two short, but very useful (openly licensed) papers: Future Trends: Education and Socitey,  Future Trends: Science and Technology. You can access them both here.

These were the perfect reference point for me and summarised many of the things I had in one of the many lists in my head.  A couple of points were really relevant for discussion with my colleagues (as we are a department of Academic Quality and Development) –  unbundling and new degree models (e.g. graduate level apprenticeships)  and their discussion about new forms of value (for example blockchain) and the potential to use more distributed networks to store, accredit, pay and share qualifications.  This brings with it the potential for the accreditation of awards to be “opened up” aka commercialised.

The arrival of graduate level apprenticeships  (the most current form of unbundling here in the Scotland )  and the potential revenue they bring, are a very direct concern for my colleagues from both the academic quality and development point of view. We need to maintain the former and ensure that the latter is appropriate and that we are not just doing a bit of enhanced traditional day release.  With all universities (particularly in Scotland where we don’t have the same fee revenue from undergraduate fees as other parts of the UK), chasing the money can all too often be the driving force, and the key “business focus”. The reality of the business of learning and teaching doesn’t get quite as much attention.  The  neoliberalisation of education marches on apace, as Michael and Sian point out

Some critics foreground its decentralising, individuating reduction of all learning to exchangeable value, aligning it with the ideologies of ‘neoliberalism, libertarianism, and global capitalism’ (Watters 2016). Others challenge its vast carbon footprint (Holthaus 2017), and some see it merely as a solution in search of a problem.

On Friday I also spotted via twitter that Anglia Ruskin have appointed a marketing agency to “define and deliver the future experience for the university’s students and staff.”

The agency will:

partner with Anglia Ruskin to help shape its digital strategy, as well as providing long term support with service design and modern digital development capability. Alongside working with ARU to clarify their longer-term ambition for the target customer experience, Friday are expected to start immediate work on two key projects; a website redesign and re-platforming, as well as re-imagining the applicant and onboarding experience.

A representative from the  agency is quoted as saying:

Good digital, done well, has the potential to improve lives. Education, and digital’s ability to support it, is something we’re extremely passionate about. So Anglia Ruskin, with their ambition for digital to materially improve the student experience, is an ideal partner for us – we’re thrilled to be working with them.

“good digital”- now there is a phrase and half, a real wtf statement if ever I saw one. Digital is particularly on my mind just now, as I am currently writing and researching about “the digital” in relation to universities for a book I’m writing with Keith Smyth and Bill Johnston – our deadline is the end of the month so I probably shouldn’t be writing this post!

I see digital as a complex code word, one that has many different meanings, and an equal number of assumptions. It is equally powerful and meaningless , as I think the quote above exemplifies.  As our OER18 presentation highlighted we are looking particularly at critical pedagogy as a theoretical basis for our work and see human understanding and contextualistaion of “the digital” as being key.  It is only through people really understanding and challenging socio-political contexts that the potential of digital technologies can be utilised.  This is completely contrary to neoliberal trends of unbundling and onboarding the student experience.

We need to fight back from the oppression of phrases (and assumptions) such as “good digital”. Unsurprisingly I have been reading the work of Antonia Darder of late, and in particular her article Teaching as an Act of Love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and his contributions to our lives and work (2011).

Isn’t it time that we all demanded less “good digital” and more love and struggle? I leave you with some words of wisdom and reflection from Antonia.

If there was anything that Freire consistently sought to defend, it was the freshness, spontaneity, and presence embodied in what he called an “armed loved—the fighting love of those convinced of the right and the duty to fight, to denounce, and to announce” (Freire, 1998, p. 42). A love that could be lively, forceful, and inspiring, while at the same time, critical, challenging, and insistent. As such, Freire’s brand of love stood in direct opposition to the insipid “generosity” of teachers or administrators who would blindly adhere to a system of schooling that fundamentally transgresses every principle of cul- tural and economic democracy  . .   I want to write about political and radicalized form of love that is never about absolute consensus, or unconditional acceptance, or unceasing words of sweetness, or endless streams of hugs and kisses. Instead it is a love that I experienced as unconstricted, rooted in a committed willingness to struggle persistently with purpose in our life . ..

Getting #creativeHE

If you need a bit of inspiration this week then you should check out the #creativeHE google+ community. A week of activities to stimulate discussion, sharing and production of creative learning and teaching ideas.  I signed up for the last iteration of the event earlier this year, but didn’t quite manage to participate, however yesterday lunchtime I dropped into the google+ community and I’m glad I did.

I think creativity can be quite a scary word for many.  It has so many connotations, and an awful lot of associations with visual outputs. As I was exploring some of the selected resources yesterday, and admiring some of the creative works already being shared, one word kept coming to mind – care. To be creative you have to care.  You have to care about the process of creativity – not just the end product (sledgehammer analogy with learning and assessment, I know)

Anyway,  today’s theme is around play and games.  One of the suggested activities is to think of game you enjoyed as a child and think about how you could re-purpose it for a teaching context. I find this very difficult. I’ve never been much of a game person, still don’t know how to play chess, or WoW, or any other game really. I have to confess to a bit of candy crush habit that I’m managing in my own way – I don’t actually have to play it everyday, but it seems to help.

Maybe I have been a victim of too much enforced corporate fun.  This episode of A Point of View from Will Self, “The fun of work – really?” captured many of my feelings in the insightful, laconic way that Self brings to everything. I was also fascinated by this report of research into creativity that showed that attempts to force creativity might actually have just the opposite effect.

There are of course many ways to introduce fun into all of our lives,  one simple thing we can do is just change our location and go outside (weather permitting). It’s actually sunny in Glasgow today so that’s why that came to mind.  Just wondering if I dare suggest going outside my meeting this afternoon . . .



Open pedagogy and open resources, curiouser and curiouser . . . #YearOfOpen

Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English) (Alice in Wonderland)

I have to confess to feeling a bit like that during last nights #YearofOpen hangout on Open Pedagogy.  There was such a great line up of people in the hangout space, and an even greater line up joining via YouTube and Twitter, that every time I spoke I think I ended up forgetting what I really wanted to say.

Since the end of the chat and most of today I have been having the reflective, “I wish I’d said that” thoughts.

One thing that we touched on which really resonated with me is the importance of open (support) networks, open collaboration, and open communities which was raised by Mike Caulfield

David Wiley proposed that the open pedagogy was somehow seen as more exciting than OER and he felt quite sad about that.  Open pedagogy and practice was in some way the new “shiny” thing was sparking peoples interest. OERs are just boring now.

I don’t think it’s that binary. But people do get bored with things. If you have been at the cutting edge of innovation once whatever the shiny thing is becomes mainstream it can lose some of its sparkle.  There are lost of people who like to be at the cutting edge all the time. For me the loss of that initial sparkle is actually the most exciting part of any innovation. Helping people see the potential of new “stuff”, and watching them go off in directions I couldn’t have thought of is one of the best parts of my job.

What I think is happening is now that OERs are becoming mainstream we need to explore how they are actually being used and created. That naturally leads to open practice. The reflection and articulation of that practice through  pedagogical frameworks in HE is a natural evolution imho.  However pedagogy brings with it a set of assumptions and privileges, particularly in relation to higher education.  Exploring practice then is perhaps a more equitable and meaningful starting point.

During the hang out, Robin de Rosa  made some really excellent points about the need to leverage open in terms of infrastructure to ensure access to public education in the US context. I think we have the same concerns here in the UK. Open infrastructure isn’t just about technology though undoubtedly that is a very important part. It’s also about people and practice, the sharing of the where, what, why, when and how we use that infrastructure in our practice.

The conversations and bonds that open (as in open in the web) networks forge are hugely important and for me. They form a significant part of my open practice and my open infrastructure.  As we all struggle with increasingly closed political environments we need to fight for open conversations and sharing of ideas and practice.  These are things that don’t need to be openly licensed but form an increasingly important layer around, above, below, alongside licensed OERs.

This morning I did an interview with another open education researcher Helen Crump. It was very timely  happening just after the hangout.  Helen’s areas of research is around the notion of self OER and we discussed how I felt that manifested in my interactions with open scholarship, education, practice and networks. I truly believe that people are educational resources, and the some of the best resources that we have. We can’t forget that.

I have really struggled with open this year as I shared in this post. Being able to tap into my network (which is full of some fantastic open researchers and practitioners) has helped keep me sane;  allowed me to be able to be part of a workshop session at #oer17; kept me informed about new work, and examples of practice – all of which I can store until I can find a way to (re)use.

Open pedagogy, practice, OERs are equally boring.  It’s the connections, confidence, increased access to, and extension of knowledge that open education and open networks create that are exciting.

Many thanks again to Maha Bali and the #YearofOpen for organising the hangout which you can view below. Maha has also started curating a really useful collection of recent blogs posts and conversations around this issue of open pedagogy – well worth exploring and bookmarking if you are at all interested in this evolving discussion.

Alone and together, thoughts on #edcmooc week 4

Week 4 of #edcmooc is drawing to a close and I find myself in a similar position to last week re articulation.  We are again grappling with what it means to be human but the readings and resources have pointed us in the direction of post humanism.  I think I may have made a small break through in that I have a suspicion that the course team are just teasing us and actually want us to sign up for the MSc so we have the space to reflect and write in proper “academese” about all of this 🙂

So I’m just going to pull out a few random thoughts which have been running around my head this week.  Post humanisim – my very basic response is “it’s all a bit scary” but I am as they say a bear with little brain.  Having had a few days to mull things over a bit, I’m not sure we can ever actually know what it is to be post human as we are always evolving.  What the course has illustrated of course is that now, more than any point in our history, technology is becoming closer to being an integral part of our human evolution. Science fiction is increasingly becoming science fact.  The launch of testing of google glasses with “ordinary” people this week highlighted how virtual/enhanced reality is another step closer to our everyday reality. We are increasingly creating, curating our digital trails. We are recording and sharing our activities (memories?) more than ever before. As an aside  I got access to my twitter archive this week and spent a half hour or so laughing at my first tweets from 2007. My 2013 self was slightly distrubed by the “open-ness” of my 2007 self. Back then I only thought I was “tweeting” to four or so others. But back to #edcmooc.

True Skin one of the recommeded videos for this week illustrated potential of technology to track, share, destroy and rebuild. Going back to science fiction/fact, it, and the other recommended videos, highlighted how visual effects technology is allowing us to depict increasingly realistic future scenarios.  True Skin is a world where you can pay to store  your memories and then download them into a new body when your (often technology enhanced) body has worn out. A sort of techo enabled re-incarnation, except you don’t have the random element of maybe coming back as a tree.

Thinking of reincarnation got me thinking about religion and wider (non digital) culture.  I have a nagging worry that the resources in this course have been very western (and in particular North American centric). Is this really where the next evolution of humanity will be driven from?  Are we just consuming a homogenised version of our potential cultural evolutionary path? What about views from the BRIC countries? I can’t make an informed comment because I honestly don’t know. Could our western dystopian fears be reduced by some input from other cultures with different views on what it means to be human, the role of reincarnation, views of the soul etc? 

One of the other recommended readings this week was an well known article from 20008 by Nicolas Carr called “Is google making us stupid?”  

In the article he laments the loss of his own and others concentration to read for prolonged periods of time. We are all so used to hyperlinks and multi-tasking and bite sized consumption. It’s a view which still worries many, particularly those involved in education.  I freely admit that I am becoming increasingly adept at skimming and scanning, and quite often don’t read things ‘properly’. But I do love the fact that I am able to read reports, books etc on my ipad and don’t have to damage my shoulder even more by carring heavy books/reports around.  Conversely I relish reading “real books’ now and do make a conscious effort to take time away from the screen to do that.

Checking up on what Nicolas is writing about just now it is quite intersting that his latest blog post is about how students actually prefer real books to e-text books.  We like the convenience of ebooks/readers which techology has brought us, but we still like good old bounded paper.  

As I was reading this and thinking about increased connectivity, switching off etc I was reminded of Shelly Turkle’s Alone Together Ted Talk where she highlights the paradox of our “culture of distraction” and how being increasingly connected with the ability to “mult-life” gives us the “illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.”

The alone together concept is particularly relevant for MOOCs.  As a student, you are (in the the #edcmooc instance ) with over 40,000 others, sharing, debating, tweeting, facebook-ing, google+-ing, google-hangout-ing, (or to use the proper terminology, students are increasingly becoming transliterate). Despite the frenzy of activity there are, imho, only a few real touch points of engagement. I would argue that this is a good thing.  

Despite the normal drop off in activity after the first week, there are still over 7,000 people contributing. I’ve been quite up-front in a number of posts about various MOOCs I’ve been involved in about being, to put it bluntly selfish, about  my input.  I can’t work on a 1:7,000 ratio, so I engage as and when it suits me.  I have made some really useful new connections and strengthed some exisiting ones.  I work within my digital literacy comfort zones in a way that suits me. I can wander away from the set curriculum and work within my context. I don’t really like online forums, so I don’t use them. I have made a couple of posts to #edcmooc but I find them a bit scary and potentially confrontational. I’m probably missing out on some great stuff – but I am comfortably with that.

I like to think that what MOOCs have actually done is allowed me the space to be alone AND together with my fellow students. Just now in my personal evolution, that’s a place I’m very happy to be in.

To MOOC or not to MOOC?

Is the one of the underlying questions of the week long MOOC being run this week by Hybrid Pedagogy. Like many others working education I am interested in MOOCs, and there has been a flurry of activity over recent months with a number of big guns joining, or perhaps taking over, the party.

The #moocmooc course is running over a week, and today’s themes centre around “What are MOOCs? What do we think they are? What do we fear they may be? What potential lies under their surface?”. There’s a group task to complete – a 1,000 word essay on “What is a MOOC? What does it do, and what does it not do?”, and a twitter conversation tonight to share experiences.

However, I think that these questions need to be underpinned by a couple of “whys”? Why are you interested in MOOCs? Why are you thinking about taking the MOOC route? Sian Bayne and her colleagues in the MSc E-Learning course at the University Edinburgh have done exactly this in their recent ALT Article “MOOC pedagogy: the challenges of developing for Coursera“.

And by way of not answering the assignment question, I’m trying to reflect on my experiences of MOOCs to date. So far it looks like the majority of participants seem to be from North America, although there are a few UK faces in there too. I’m particularly interested seeing if there are any major differences in implementation/drivers between North America and the UK. Not everyone is going to be able to go down a full blown MOOC route, but what are the key elements that are really practical for the majority of institutions? The open-ness, experimenting and extending notions of connected learning? Potential to get big enrollment numbers? It’s probably far too early to tell, and as most of the participants probably fall into the early adopters category their motivations may not reflect general practice or readiness.

Although I have a professional interest in MOOCs, it’s probably their potential for me as a learner that really excites me. I’m not particularly motivated to do any more “formal” education – for a number of reasons, but time is probably the main one. I’m also very fortunate to have a job where I really do learn something new everyday, and I feel that my peers do keep my brain more than stimulated.

Being able to participate in open courses around topics that interest me, without financial risk to me personally or my employer (which adds pressure for me) is very appealing. I’ve tried MOOCs before (LAK11) which I enjoyed – particularly the synchronous elements such as the live presentations and chat. But if I’m being honest, I didn’t spend as much time on the course as I probably should have. On the plus side, I did get a feel for being a student on a MOOC and some useful insights to learning analytics.

Although I probably tick the right boxes to be a self motivated, engaged and directed learner, sometimes life just gets in the way and it turns out that I’m a bit rubbish at maintaining engagement, direction and motivation. But that hasn’t put me off MOOCs. Like tens of thousands of others I signed up for the Stanford NPL course, and very quickly realised that I was being a tad optimistic about my coding capabilities and that I just didn’t have the time I would need to get anything out of the course, so like tens of thousands of others I silently dropped out. I did think the traditional design of that course worked well for that subject matter.

But #moocmooc is only a week, no programme required, and also a week in August when things at work are a bit quieter than normal. Surely despite the twitter conversations talking place from 11pm my time I’ll be able to cope with that? Well we’ll see. Already it has got me thinking, given me the opportunity to try the Canvas VLE and back into blogging after a brief holiday lull.

*Day 2 Places where learning takes place
*Day 3 Massive Participation but no-one to talk to
*Day 4 Moocmooc day 4
*Day 5 Designing a MOOC – moocmooc day 5
* Analytics and #moocmooc