Thursday, March 31, 2011

IRRODL Special Issue on Connectivism Published

I have been looking forward to seeing this special issue of IRRODL about connectivism since last year in September when I started participating in PLENK2010. So, it was published last week.

 The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) is a refereed free e-journal that aims to advance research, theory and best practices of open and distance education.

Below is it the content of this issue however, I am not sure if I can post them here but since it's a free and open access journal there shouldn't be any problem I guess!

IRRODL Vol 12, No 3 (2011): Special Issue - Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning

Editorial: George Siemens, Grainne Conole
Interconnecting networks of practice for professional learning
Julie Mackey, Terry Evans
The challenges to connectivist learning on open online networks: Learning experiences during a massive open online course
Rita Kop
Emergent learning and learning ecologies in Web 2.0
Roy Williams, Regina Karousou, Jenny Mackness
EduCamp Colombia: Social networked learning for teacher training
Diego Ernesto Leal Fonseca
Three generations of distance education pedagogy
Terry Anderson, Jon Dron
Connectivism: Its place in theory-informed research and innovation in technology-enabled learning
Frances Bell
Frameworks for understanding the nature of interactions, networking, and community in a social networking site for academic practice
Grainne Conole, Rebecca Galley, Juliette Culver
Dialogue and connectivism: A new approach to understanding and promoting dialogue-rich networked learning
Andrew Ravenscroft
Proposing an integrated research framework for connectivism: Utilising theoretical synergies
Bopelo Boitshwarelo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My plan for conferences this year!

 This year I am planning to participate in the following conferences.

- ED-MEDIA 2011;World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, June 27-July 1, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal. Deadline for submission is April 12th. We will have a paper with my colleagues about blended learning and using wikis in higher education. Two keynotes of the conference : Alec Couros  and Erik Duval  will be speaking about interesting topics of today's learning; openness and networked learning. This conference I will attend for sure and looking froward to seeing Alec and Erik and other keynote speakers' contributions. There will be a doctoral consortium in this conference which I am interested to attend.

But between the two conferences below, I may attend just one . I'd like to participate in both but it depends on the situation then!  I am now preparing my proposals for both of them which is focused on self-directed learning, personalization of learning and personal learning environments.

- 6th European Conference on Technology- Enhanced Learning  ( EC-TEL 2011), 21-23 September 2011 in Palermo Italy. Proposal deadline is April 4th. The conference theme for this year is " Towards Ubiquitous Learning" with two keynotes talking about issues related to emerging technologies and ubiquitous learning.. There will be some workshops and also a doctoral consortium in the conference.

        - PLE Conference , conference on Personal Learning Environments (PLE), 11-13 July 2011, Southampton, UK. Deadline for submission is now extended until April10th. This conference is a good venue for my research and good themes related to PLE where I can also meet some researchers in this area.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Open Movement; Openness and Transparency in Education

   Week 9 of CCK11 was about openness and transparency. There are huge discussions and debates nowadays about open movement: open source, open content, open access, open educational resources (OER) and so on and especially what they can bring to our educational and learning practices. How all content and information could be freely accessible to all? Who pays for them? What are the roles of educational institutions in moving towards openness and are there any benefits for them to make contents and materials closed or make them open?
  On Wednesday live session on Elluminate (March 16th),   Zaid Ali Alsagoff  talked about: Sharing to Connect, Interact and Learn . He was an active participant of MOOCs (PLENK2010, CCK11) whose insightful reflections and perceptions of openness and connectivity were shared in the session with other participants of the course. The discussion was all great and inspired me to ponder more about these issues in my research also.  Here is his presentation on Slideshare and the entire session as Elluminate Recording and as MP3 Audio.

This quote as a conclusion of this discussion makes us think of the value of openness in education:
“Embrace openness because it’s a great way to connect and interact with amazing people and experience awesome learning”!
   I think for being open and transparent in learning and collaboration, some tools like blogs, Twitter, Slideshare, YouTube, Google, Bookmarking tools  etc.  can help us for aggregating, organizing, remixing and sharing our content and artifacts. Perhaps Twitter and blogging have more values for openness and visibility and to promote connectivity.
   On Friday, the facilitator’s discussion continued by Siemens and Downes on the history open movement in education. Siemens referred to the first initiatives of open source movement and how they were reacted at the time. It was in 1998 that the ‘Open Content License’ was introduced:
Here are some links related to open movement and openness in education:
Stephen Downes, Open Education: Projects and Potentual (slides and audio)
George Siemens & Kathleen Matheos, Open Social Learning in Higher Education: An African Context (video)
Open Education: Moving From Concept to Reality by G. Siemens:
Budapest open access initiative:
It was mentioned in the discussion that there are three phases of open learning:
-          Open Content, e.g. open educational resources (OER) , open course ware (OCW)
-          Open Courses, e.g. CCK11, PLENK2010, EC&I831, PLEK12, DS106,  …
-          Open Assessment, which is also very important among topics of openness in education.  What does that really mean? How it can be applied in the context of open education. Who can assess learning? Who are the stakeholders in the process of open assessment?
The Elluminate recording of the session will be soon available.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Interviewing the MOOC's participants

In this spring I conducted some online interviews with the participants of two open online courses as part of my thesis data. The interviewees varied in professional background and their extent of participation in open online courses. While they were all good users of social media and web 2.0 tools, the way and purposes they incorporated those tools in their professional activities and educational and learning practices were different. Most of them have been participating in more than two (M)OOCs with different level of engagement. In each course the level of activities and the requirements for participation however were also varied. In one course, which two interviewees came from, there was a need for more active participation and preparing some reflections and final digital and online projects which required more involvement in use of tools and technology to fulfil the requirement.   
I did interviews on Skype, GTalk and one by phone and I used some online tools like Pamela for recording.
The whole process of interviewing was challenging though; for arranging practical preparation and technical resources but, also inspiring to go through participants’ experiences and perceptions of such open online environments and their interactions with resources and people from different parts of the world, using many forms of technologies and tools in the process of learning and collaboration.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

CCK11’s week six on PLEs & PLNs

The topic of week six of CCK11 was about personal learning environments and networks which is very relevant to my research. The facilitators’ live session on Elluminate on Friday 25.2.2011 was a great discussion on the topic with valuable contributions from the participants. The session was started with a question about the definition of PLE from the point of view of participants and what is unique in PLE? As shown below, there were different thoughts on the definition of PLE:

Some people just refer to a single application as their PLE like Twitter connections or iGoogle which seems to be more tool-oriented but, some other see PLE as a combination of different tools, services, resources and connections in the process of learning.  One person believed that PLE concept is a result of Web 2.0 evolution and if the internet did not move that way to more participatory direction, perhaps we wouldn’t talk today about PLE! Downes mentioned that PLEs are not just for collecting and aggregating resources and materials but rather pull all learner needs to PLEs then, remix, repurpose and create new artifacts and share them with the community. PLEs are where a lot of learning happens by all those processes.
Another big concern which Siemens posed was what problems PLEs can solve?  This is really an important question? Can PLEs approach be a pedagogical model of education to the needs of current network era in contrast to the classroom-based model? The screenshot below of the discussion whiteboard shows what participants think of PLE in this regard. It can be realized that PLE approach has values for lifelong and informal learning and the ways the learner can organize and personalize learning. 
Source: CCK11

Here in the course page of week 6 , there are some good readings for pondering about PLEs and PLNs. Also here is the Elluminate recording from the session and the MP3 file