Wednesday, 13 February 2013

MOOC wars

Shirky versus Bady

The debate over whether MOOCs are the inevitable future of education has been raging and nowhere more so than the blog post by Clay Shirky entitled Napster,Udacity, and the Academy . Metaphors abound in this blog post where Shirky, a Professor at NYC, argues that education packaged as a degree will go the same way as the music industry (where albums are unbundled ans sols as individual songs). Here the user/customer has control. In the same way, the traditional degree can be unbundled through MOOCs.
A similar metaphor can be found with newspapers, where they can be unbundled online with the user only paying for one article. The rebuttal argument by Aaron Bady “Questioning Clay Shirky”  disputes this and uses the metaphor of the validity of a online surgeon versus a real one. Interestingly, Shirky replied to this rebuttubal, eloquently, I believe.
The fact that the Gates Foundation has put money into MOOCs further legitimises them in my mind, placing me firmly in Shirky’s camp.  The New Your Times declared 2012 as the "Year of the MOOC"


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Digital Cultures of the future

Utophian Views of Adverts

Education is interactive, blurring the lines between reality and augmented reality. Most of all education if fun.
Ask any child whether they’d prefer that type of education envisaged in the adverts to sitting in a classroom. Communication is instant, ubiquitous, always on. Following the trend from where communication has come from technologically, this seems like a natural progression. The view of the future of technology shown in these adverts is obviously utopian, where everyone is happy, the technology being one of the causes of this happiness. Deterministic view again!




Dystopian View

To me The 3rd clip “sight” has the same theme as the adverts, that of “augmented reality”, except that it takes a more dystopian view, where the game becomes more important than the real life social situation. The technology is directing the actions of the “player”, so is the real life interaction any more real than if this were a online artificial relationship? With Google Glass and a few other similar inventions this clip doesn’t seem that far off and has definitely caused me to question my utopian view of future digital cultures as well as to think more about gamification of education.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Technological determinism

Technological determinism is basically the belief that when technology changes, it causes changes in society. Thinking about this, I could be guilty of determinism, for example, I have said “the smartphone has changed the way students communicate”. I now realise this is a deterministic statement, and the readings this week have challenged me to think more about this. 

Another useful reading
 To go further, some of the authors mention in the reading “hard” technological determinism where “changes in technology exert a greater influence on societies and their processes than any other factor”. I have always seen technology as an inevitable and inescapable progression, but from a utopian perspective. 

Way back in 1967 Robert L. Heilbroner, in “Do Machines Make History” looked at the effect of technology in determining the nature of the socioeconomic order. In a completely deterministic view he argued that “the technology of a society imposes a determinate pattern of social relations on that society.”  So this is not a new concept – 45 years ago the same views were being pondered. I find this comforting, in a way J

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Unexpected bonus of being part of a MOOC

A "Massive Open Online Course". Sounds very educational, all about learning something new. My original expectations were centred around learning on my own time and space.  My very first MOOC, Elearning and Digital Cultures hasn't even started yet, but I feel like we've been particupating, learning, growing, sharing and creating so much already. This collaboration and discovering fellow human beings with similar passions has been an unexpected benefit and I believe will offer more long term value than the actual course itself.

Through some of the connections made, I discovered another complementary MOOC, ETMOOC (Educational Technology).  Although I joined this one late, there has been a wealth of learning and sharing taking place, and this blog post was inspired by the blogs found here:

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Quadblogging and RSS feeds


The idea of a quadblog is for a group of people to write and comment on each other's blogs. As the name suggests it's usually 4 people blogging and in our case, it's 4 classmates from the elearning and digital cultures MOOC . My fellow quadbloggers are: Dan Lemay, Sarah Prentice and Brooke Hessler

Our facebook group for the course is where I first heard of the concept and there I found a useful link that explains the origins and more about quadblogging.

RSS Feeds

Having received the first email from the course organisers (since the original course email) I saw the request to add RSS feeds from student's blogs. I have subscribed to many RSS feeds before, mainly to do with tech news. I also subscribe for my students, depending on what course they are studying, which varies from public relations to sport to commerce. I teach all of these students some form of Information Technology so showing them the benefits of tech using something like RSS feeds makes sense. However I've never considered creating content before. This brings up many interesting possibilities beyond this course and is certainly something to consider on the future. Anything to benefit my students! 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

What "deuze" digital culture mean?

Since this is part of the title of the course, I am following Dan's suggestion that we explore this topic and found it's not as easy as I orginally thought to define digital culture.
Digital culture is a complex term, involving different aspects of media, communication and IT. In my research I found one of the leading authorities to be Mark Deuze. He talks about 3 cornerstones of digital culture, which made sense to me:
"In the proliferation and saturation of screen-based, networked, and digital media that saturate our lives, our reconstitution is expressed as:
 1. Active agents in the process of meaning-making (we become participants).
 2. We adopt but at the same time modify, manipulate, and thus reform consensual ways of understanding reality (we engage in remediation).
3. We reflexively assemble our own particular versions of such reality (we are bricoleurs)"
This is what I understand by these three concepts:

  Improved and increased volumes of global communication produce a more participatory culture, where audiences are active participants in creating and disseminating meaning, and virtual communities, like Facebook, are producers and consumers of media. 

The mix of old and new media "means being deeply immersed in the system while at the same time attributing legitimacy and credibility to a self-definition of working against or outside of the system, as well as reforming the system from within"
Repurposing and reusing existing items, assembling and reassembling information and media. "remixing, reconstructing and re-using of separate artefacts, actions, ideas, signs, symbols and styles in order to create new insights or meanings."
It took a while to go through Deuze's paper but I now feel I have a deeper understanding of the theorectical underpinnings of:



Sunday, 30 December 2012

That wasn't so bad!

You're never too old to learn!

The start of a new year and time to learn something new! Two months ago I'd never even heard of a MOOC or quadblogging, now here I am about to start my first blog in anticipation of the University of Edinburgh's Massive Online Open Course on E-learning and Digital Cultures. What a mouthful! EDCMOOC for short.

It seems like an excellent MOOC to start with, considering what a fantastic support group and community we already have, and the course doesn't even start until 28th Jan!

I'm a lecturer from South Africa - hence the beautiful beach and sunset shown alongside. Really looking forward to this!