MOOCs, knowledge and the digital economy – a research project

Sometime in June Sandy McAuley, Bonnie Stewart, George Siemens and I decided to apply to SSHRC for funding for researching the place of MOOCs in the digital economy. We did a little work creating videos to allow people to understand what was going on in a MOOC and decide if it was something they might want to do.

We also did a huge write up that you might find interesting

First paragraph – The MOOC Model for Digital Practice responds to the “Building Digital Skills for Tomorrow” section of the consultation paper Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage: Strategies for Sustainable Prosperity by synthesizing the current state of knowledge about Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). It argues that building and sustaining prosperity through Canada’s current digital strengths depends on a digital ecosystem that embraces both infrastructure and the collaborative social networks enabled by that infrastructure. Prosperity in this context requires a citizenry with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to turn these factors towards creating wealth. By exploring the relationship of MOOCs to the digital economy in general and their potential roles to prepare citizens for participation in that digital economy in particular, it illustrates one particularly Canadian model of how these needs may be addressed.

MOOC Final Draft

Top 10 Edu News events of 2010

This is year SIX of the fantastic awesomeness of random end of yearishness that is the Top Ten Edu News events of the year. First… a Quick review of the five years that have passed…

# Top 10 of 2009. I like the winner. the Zephoria incident. “will you knock down the tower”?

# Best of 2008… the end of ‘the killer app’. and the ‘end’ of blogging.

# best of 2007? well… tough to ignore twitter going crazy. But i love the Tom Wood story.

# Top ten of 2006? oh Ted Stevens. We’ll always wonder if that dumptruck of internets arrived to your office.

# My top ten edublog news events of 2005. Winner? browser based app. fav? 100 laptop doesn’t exist.

And now, what I’ve been waiting for, the top 10 of two thousand 10

Number 10
Free is dead
We rang in the early part of the year to news that Ning was going to force people to pay for the fine work they were doing and then the year was going out with delicious maybe going into a ‘sunset’. We’re all coming to terms with the fact that people need to be payed for the work that they do.

Number 9
Leaks that were a flood to a website that wasn’t really a wiki. An international manhunt and
a new flag to fly up the ‘internet is dangerous’ flagpole. If there was a story this year that threatens open access to education, this is the one. All that and not for many surprises, rich people in the Caucasus throw big parties and some people in government are kind of annoying. Open still good… but probably going to get harder.

Number 8
Ipads, blackpads and android oh my! (android understanding table) I know i’m a convert, and any of the rest of you caught with any so retro as a ‘laptop’, had better be making a fashion statement.

Number 7
Angry birds bringing the tetris
Angry birds got the mobile devices into the hands of the people this year. All those people claiming to be working when they flipped their iphones over in the meeting room you were in? They were smashing blocks and trying to get their eggs back. But it brought the mobile device, and the obsessive use of it needed to get it into the mainstream out to people. Like tetris and the home computer, angry birds may be the secret weapon that made the mobile computer mainstream.

Number 6
switching to google
The university of Alberta wants you to know that lots of people love the switch to googledocs. (i do too)
As we all move inexorably towards our google overlords its our email that is now moving under its inevitable sway.

Number 5
Old Spice
A marketing campaign that targets the guy who runs the moodle installation in your university. (yup, they responded to a tweet from @kvillard who work at my uni) How does this change the way that kids need to be prepared…? Now there’s a 21st century skill. (How it was done)

Number 4
Pearson to get accreditation and private online schools
So, it seems that all kinds of people are talking about giving out degrees nowdays. I wonder if they’ll get a cut on their book prices?

Number 3
The end of research
It seems that we have lost interest in the word ‘fly’ since we starting being able to do it. It also seems that the words ‘love’ and ‘art’ dip in their use during the first and second world wars. In their ongoing attempt to take EVERYONE’s job, the job of the fearless data researcher is quickly going out the door… slackers like me can now wax philosophical over ideas that we came up with over a pint and ‘researched’ in 10 seconds. Haha.

Number 2
Cable Green, director of elearning and open education for the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges rocks.
A real, honest to goodness, open textbook model

Number 1
Netflix. Yes. Netflix.
We’ve seen piles of amazing video this year, and the Ted talks have taken over many a discussion table, and not just those deemed cool enough to be able to attend. In netflix we have a potentially sustainable model for learning video, that could easily replace all those rabid intellectuals who believe that CONTENT is what they’re selling. If learning is about content, then video is the way to put it together, and netflix is the way to sell it. It’s not the education system i want. But at least it would work.

UPDATE Number 1a
Student fees
Two years ago i first heard someone tell me higher ed student fees would triple on a fifteen year horizon. Two years later, the kids are in the streets in the UK. Is it a right? Is it a privilege? Even Churchill thought it was crazy to shut down the liberal arts schools during WWII. If anything is going to break the stranglehold of the ‘degree’ over society, it’s making it impossible to pay for (if it isn’t already). (via doug belshaw snarking me about US centrism in the comments)

Voice – digital storytelling 106

The reverend – Jim Groom, is going to take his excellent digital storytelling course open and online. It’s a bit of a strange thing to announce, as I know a great deal about his course… due to his openness and onlineness… but he’s going to run another version of the open online ‘experiment’, following in some of the same footsteps that I’ve been dogging for the last few years. This is cool. For those of you wanting more info…

The open online thingy
I note that he calls it an experiment, and not a course, but I’m going to hope that the same rules that I’ve worked on in my own work applies. The path that I have pointed to in some of my own work is orient, declare, network, cluster and focus.

The orient part is covered by me getting my blog posted over at Jim’s site… and getting my blog hooked in. I’ll need to pay a bit more attention when the experiment starts to how it’s going to be coordinated, but time enough for this later. This post, in a sense, is me declaring myself. But the part that’s really important, that is only hinted at in the video above, is that it helps to know what you are taking the course for. The advantage of an open course, is that you don’t necessarily need to take the course for the same reason that it is given.

Why I’m going to join ds106OPEN
Storytelling is the thing that brought me to blogging the first time, in 2003 or 2004. I had started a blog with the intention of writing… not about education, but about life. Of telling stories. I always thought that I would be a writer, I wrote short stories as a young kid, poems when you’re supposed to in your teens, wrote a terribly ‘introspective’ novella while travelling in my early twenties… and then stopped.

I don’t really know why I stopped. I started sharing my ideas in other ways… in ways I suppose that are also important to me… but not in the same sense that I had hoped to do when i was 8 and 15 and 21. I tried again in my late twenties, two more chapters of a different book that I can’t seem to find right now, but most of my type type typing has gone into education over the last 5 or 6 years.

So I’m hoping that this course will be a path back to a different feeling under my fingers when I’m typing. Less about trying to make an idea work, or exploring my practice, and more about trying to work my way through the story. These things aren’t terribly different, I think, but they’re not really the same either. Maybe I’ll figure out how they are different during the event.

My goals for ds106

  1. Write. for storytelling
  2. Remember why i liked to tell stories
  3. Find a home for my stories online
  4. Develop my storytelling
  5. Find a community of writers to write with
  6. Focus on a project
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