Archive for the ‘Open Learning’ Category

Some Ideas about making Universities Open to communities

The University of the Highlands and Islands has organised a fascinating event this week; The Porous University. I had planned to go but now cannot, for health and financial reasons. Instead I will try to support the event (a discursive workshop) online through this blog post (please comment below) and through Twitter. I’ve also been distracted by the UK #GE2017 and our Learning in the Age of Anger project, where we are trying to find out what new educational policies might help address our current rage of populism.

Folksonomy not Taxonomy

Our key observation is that universities have to respond to the motto Folksonomy not Taxonomy, opening themselves out to how learners think, and Trust the Learner.

7 Questions from The Porous University

1. What does open mean beyond releasing content?

In the Learner Generated Contexts Research Group we developed the motto “From Access to Content to Context” and argued for an “Open Context Model of Learning“. So the short answer is, allow students to shape their learning contexts and purposes.

A way of achieving that is by becoming a Participative Institution – an institution that positively enables open learning, by which I mean self-directed learning, by its students… Stewart Hase would call this implementing Heutagogy

2 What is the role of open academics in dealing with problems ‘in the world’

Since 2008 I have tried to operate as an Open Sqolar. (more…)

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Pedagogy, Andragogy & Heutagogy

Background; This was first a guest post on Stewart Hase’s Heutagogy Community of Practice blog; you can follow them on Twitter as @heutagogycop. I’ve reblogged it here because the PAH Continuum, as a reference point, is a key part of our work concerning heutagogy. I am currently spending most of my time working on WikiQuals which is a heutagogic answer to the accreditation of learning problem; more on the WikiQuals blog.

In my teaching practice, mostly with socially excluded kids attempting to get some qualifications in college, I developed a number of techniques for showing them how to be successful on their own terms. College is classically a context in which an andragogic approach works best, where you negotiate with your students to find an agreed learning path. In the Computer Studies department where I worked, at Lewisham College in London, we had developed our own universal entry test, followed by an interview, which everyone took. We had found this process to be a better predictor of success that their school results, which usually just measured their dissatisfaction with an education system which was designed to fail them. We then offered to the prospective student what seemed to be appropriate courses and subjects on which they might be successful.

However, over time, I developed a technique that I now call brokering that was much more about negotiating with the learner (more…)

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With Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA-USP) Sao Paulo Brasil

Co-creating Open Scholarship; was a paper Nigel Ecclesfield and I wrote a year ago for ALT-C. There was a lot of interest in reflecting on what we had learnt about learning technology since ALT was founded in 1993, and this was what we addressed. We were asked to expand our original submission into a journal article which is now freely available in ALT’s open repository. There was some debate about using Boyer’s model of scholarship as a baseline but, unlike Martin Weller in Digital Scholar, we felt that Boyer’s model itself needed updating. This was because what we had learnt most from using learning technology was about the pedagogy of learning itself. Inspired by Terry Anderson’s excellent keynote at ALT-C on Open Learning and his early scoping of Open Scholarship we felt that we should provide a synthesis and propose a new model, derived from Boyer, upon which we could debate the future of scholarship. What we are attempting to do in this post is provide some supporting arguments for such a debate with the Escola de Comunicações e Artes in Sao Paulo.

Framing the debate; In 2012 there has been a lot of discussion on what has been called open learning. However this is perhaps more about the massification of learning, or rethinking mass education, and seems to be focussed on scaling up traditional learning models, and addressing the opportunities and threats of globalisation using technology, whilst keeping the same institutional and policy frameworks. I’m thinking of Udacity, Coursera and MITx amongst others, as well as MOOCs. As I discussed on my blog on Open Academic Practice I had been a teacher for 15 years before I designed technology-enhanced (blended) learning for the first time in 1997, and I immediately designed for collaboration and discussion; which are core features of learning that do not scale and so don’t interest the biggest institutions. I have been working on pedagogically related issues concerning the use of technology ever since, mostly with an informal group of researchers known as the Learner-generated Contexts Research Group. This post outlines from where our ideas about co-creating open scholarship emerged.  (more…)

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Digital Inclusion; Concepts & Issues January 2012

Introduction; In January 2012 I am taking part in two events relating to Digital Inclusion. A TEL Conference at Sheffield Hallam University run by Professor Jane Seale, building on her recent research review, and a Curated Conversation where we try and tease out possible policy outcomes.  Consequently I am writing two blog posts on digital inclusion, firstly looking at concepts and ideas, secondly looking at practicalities and ways forward.

Background; Much of the writing on this blog, and the ideas that they try to express, derive from work concerning Digital Inclusion that I have carried out in various ways during the past ten years. As I mentioned in an earlier post I taught a Unit called Information, Technology & Society in the 80s/90s in which I developed an approach to technology and social change between 1770 & 2020 called NSU; networks, services and users. For the past twenty years I have been thinking about what the lineaments of a networked digital society might look like. In 1989 I recorded my thoughts on how 2021 might be outlined using NSU thinking, and I haven’t really changed my mind since. As a consequence (more…)

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From Open Scholar to Open Student

This is a blog post version of the paper “Towards a framework for co-creating Open Scholarship” by Fred Garnett, and Nigel Ecclesfield given as a paper at ALT-C 2011 published in the Proceedings and freely available in their open Access repository. The shorter slide presentation is on Slideshare. This post includes the arguments as to how we might develop Boyer’s Model of Scholarship in the digital age towards an open model of learning by developing his arguments about Discovery, Integration, Application and Teaching, to include Co-creation. It is a ‘modest proposal’ not the finished article. However it develops our long-term thinking that digital learning is not a subset of old models of learning but a superset of ideas that are capable of transforming our understanding about, and the practice of, learning. (more…)

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From Education to Learning; A Brief History of Open (2)

Last Week I asked; what have we learnt from Web-enabled Education? Has the Web begun to enable more learning-centred approaches? Have we used the affordances of new technology to improve our learning, lives and society? This was in answer to @aleksk on Untangling the Web observation who said she would focus on ‘pedagogical theories, online education enablers, novel learning techniques and approaches that the web affords’. In fact her brief article in todays Observer disappointingly focusses on university research issues, a customary mistake by academics and policy-makers. Shockingly she quotes the complacent Hamish MacLeod (who he?) at Edinburgh “I wouldn’t say there are any profound changes in the way we should be thinking about theories of learning”. I beg to differ! So let’s look a little more inclusively at what the web has afforded us for learning.

What have we learnt from Web-enabled Education; in terms of pedagogical theories, online education enablers, novel learning techniques and approaches as Aleks Krotoski asked? Well last week as I argued that in untangling the web on education’ we are only taking a fifteen-year snapshot of a 50-year process of social change. Picking out the educational consequences of the web is a small and partial view of a broader ongoing set of social processes. Primarily we can say that the web has resulted more in changes to the processes of learning than in changes to the nature of the institutions of education; the consequences of the web on those institutions are yet to be fully realised.

However in terms of pedagogy there can’t have been a richer 15-year period since (more…)

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(1) From Education to Learning; A Brief History of Open

If we try to untangle the impact of the web on education we can describe it as enabling a shift from a focus on education as a system to learning as a process, particularly since the web itself has become more open, social and participatory, especially since Web 2.0.  So how did we get here?

Background; I myself (@fredgarnett) started looking at the impact of the Web, indirectly, in 1984 when I began teaching a Unit called Information, Technology and Society. Deciding that taking the tropes of the Industrial Revolution and applying them to the Information Revolution was way too limited I looked instead at how the social organisation of settlements emerged out of agriculture and that from hunter-gathering; maps, flints and fires. Inspired by Yoneji Masuda and Nikolai Kondratieff, and my own observations, by 1988 I had evolved the NSU model, so-called because I think social change comes from new Networks being built, new Services being provided and new User behaviours emerging, over 50-year long-wave Kondratieff economic cycles stimulated by new technologies; the micro-chip was invented in 1971. New economies emerge from new networks of distribution. In 1989 I wrote a story to capture the changes we might see by 2021 as a Masters paper called Homi & the NeXT One (the title a tribute to Steve Jobs). Consequently I have had some understanding of the process by which new technology changes society ever since. For me the key aspect discernible over the last 250 years (especially when preceded by a knowledge revolution like the scientific revolution) are the cumulative effects of unnoticed second-order, or unanticipated, effects; hence the poverty of most predictions about the future which focus on first-order (anticipated effects) based on the knowledge of experts whose expertise is historically based.

Watching the Web Flow 1990s; Being more Utopian than dystopian I looked forward to the, then, forthcoming information revolution democratising our representative democracy, with its UK roots in the 17th Century (1689), by enabling new participatory *constitutions* to be written, redefining the social relations by which we live. Whether they be communications, networked or mash-ups, technologies don’t change society, they create first-order effects, that is consequences of what the technologies were designed to do. Social change comes from users inventing new use-states in line with their beliefs and social behaviours. (more…)

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