Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Free first, pay later ...

Some may have heard of Paulo Coehlo, and may even read his book The Alchemist.  His current book, Aleph has been released by him on the internet, gratis, in several markets outside of the US. In an article in yesterday's New York Times, "Mr. Coelho continues to give his work away free by linking to Web sites that have posted his books, asking only that if readers like the book, they buy a copy, “so we can tell to the industry that sharing contents is not life threatening to the book business,” as he wrote in one post."

This is an interesting concept from many perspectives, and my thoughts drifted to the MOOC ... as online and free for learning.  What would you pay for a MOOC if you were looking to earn college credits ... after having completed your learning journey within the context of the course.  How would you explain your learning/knowledge gained throughout the time spent in a personal, networked, learning environment?  What price do you place on the value of learning. 
Many educators have discussed the concept of PLA ... Prior Learning Assessment ... as a means for earning college credit for College level learning through work, certification programs, self learning and such.  The assessment challenges for evaluating that learning are what seem to be the topic for concern at this time. How would you evaluate your learning?  The learning that others obtain?

What are your thoughts?

I am looking forward to reading, hearing or seeing your response to these questions.  Thank you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beyond MOOCdom

As I was listening and participating in the sidebar chat during Thursday's live session on Connectivism with Stephen Downes, I digressed ... and regressed ... to my early years of explorations and learning.  Perhaps our most significant, and deepest learning, occur during our toddler, and just beyond, years.  It is here that we explore, make discoveries, find others to share those discoveries with, and, in turn, are led to more discoveries!  The excitement of it all should stay with us throughout our lives.  Sadly, and perhaps, inevitably, it does not.  I think the connections we make in those early years lay the foundations for our learning preferences and styles ... a climate (our surroundings) of multiple choices of how and with what and with whom to connect start early, and we go from there.
We do connect ...

We find that exploration and  experimentation can be a bit of a messy process and we continually seek to reach that which is just out of out reach (a wee bit like trying to navigate this MOOC)

And yet, we ultimately, connect ...

 I believe this process does lay a foundation and, later on, can be resurrected as another avenue for deeper, lifelong learning. We further develop our own communities of learning and communities of practice.

This morning I traveled to Google+ and hung out with John Griffin.  There are many possibilities for visual and oral connections and development here.  Then, I connected with Omar Abi Ghosn who is located in Lebanon, on Facebook ... then tried the hangout ... bandwidth in Lebanon not good enough to make it work too well ... so we went to Skype ... success in both microphone speaking and video, tho when closing video, the speaking voice had far less breakup. Soon, I will check in with Sam, our tech support who is located in China ... to make sure all tech issues are AOK, before sending out today's NewPosts. It has been a fun morning of exploration and discoveries (not all happy discoveries .. eg hangout w Omar).  I thoroughly enjoyed connecting and hope to make similar connections with many more in CMC11 and beyond.  The learning journey continues ...

Perhaps we can resurrect some of those earlier feelings of excitement of discovery, of learning about our surroundings ... and beyond ... by thinking of CMC11 as our very own Sandbox in which to play and connect with folks of many different locations, different educational backgrounds, different cultures and beliefs, new thinking/oldthinking.  I am excited with the prospect of what can be, as well as what has already been ... a great learning journey with those who are here ... visibly and lurking!  I am hoping to "learn, unlearn and relearn" with many ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

MOOC Muddle ... cmc11 and beyond

So, my challenge: How do I find the time to also participate in two other MOOCs and still be active here?  I have been lurking in change.mooc.ca and am fascinated with the number of really interesting posts to follow ... into connectivist oblivion.  It really takes supreme effort to make the "who to follow", "where to go"  and "what to say" decisions.  I think I'll continue to lurk for a while.

And then, a short while ago, I received a daily newsletter from ds106 ... what a delicious site and an oh-so-tempting MOOC, especially for the visual artist.  I started in ds106 last winter, when I thought I might have some time to play and learn more new tricks.  Alas, just obtaining a domain to house my website proved to be my undoing.  I recall desktop sharing with a connectivist colleague in the Northwest territories and exchanging google world photos of our respective locations.  He was in a tent pitched on the frozen lake; I was tucked into the corner of my lanai overlooking a Florida golf course.  Thanks Jim Staufer, and enjoy your semester of MOOCs ... let me know when you lurk in CMC11 ... just tweet that you have been here!

So, from that frustrating start with domain hosting and website building ... here I am with a work in progress, developing the CMC11 MOOC with a shiny new webhost and on a shiny new website!  WoW, what a journey,  and it has only just begun ...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MOOCdom and MindMeister

I had alluded to another early connectivist endeavor in my previous blog posting ... this one involves you, the reader and participant in CMC11.  Glen Gatin, of Week 8 of the MOOC fame, has a mind map posted for your participatory pleasure.  It is interactive and he asks that you play around with it and add your thoughts to the branches he has started.  You have the opportunity to shape the discussion for that week, so let the mind mapping begin! MindMeister (mind mapping and brainstorming tool).

While we do not officially start until Monday, 12 September, a number of folks have already been active with blog posts, questions and group discussions.  We are still working on the technical bits and pieces for the harvesting of all the great connections and new thinking that will occur and we are right on the edge, ready and set ... to GO ...

In the Orientation Week 1 (15 September), we will talk a bit about the navigation of the learning journey (it is hard for me to think of this as a course in the traditional sense as it is so much more than content driven learning), and it would be great for you to start poking around now to let us know what bugs might still be hanging about.  Please see the Blog post area and add your RSS feed .. and a few words to get it started ... and check out the Channels section.  These are all in the left column, and some are found once you enter the "add a new feed" territory (still on the left side).  We have used 2 platforms, and with all such migrations between platforms, there are a few small quirks ... the look is very similar; the operations are a tad different.

You should be receiving this notice in the NewPosts via the e mail address you supplied with your registration. There will be a few previous blog posts from several different folks and some comments here and there.  The channels will not be harvested by the gRSShopper ...  and Sam will explain all of this in the live session Thursday, 15 September.  Please check the world time chart located at the bottom of Orientation, for your local broadcast time ... it would be great oif you can join us, chat and start us off with great numbers.  We understand if the time is not convenient, so the session will be recorded and you can access the recording a few hours later ... see the recorded sessions link.

Enough verbiage, for now             ... Let the Fun Begin ...

Second Life 2010 ... me with Glen Gatin and Sam in the Sandbox

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More MOOCdom

My heartfelt thanks to Stephen Downes for his initial installation of his Open Source gRSShopper for use in harvesting, aggregating and feeding forward the many blogs, posts, tweets and comments we shall have in the MOOC, CMC11.  Additionally, he spent more than 90 minutes offering detailed instructions for implementing  and adjusting many of gRSShopper's myriad features.  He recorded the 97 minute session with me with Camtasia and anyone who wishes, can tune in for a personal guide here.  And, here is the location for version 3.0, the most recent and complete open source code for gRSShopper.

CMC11 is in very decent shape now with many thanks to RetSam Zhang.  He has spent many hours with me on Skype gently guiding me in the arcane world of html and programming with Stephen Downes' gRSShopper.  In so doing, he decided to embark upon the task of adding a text editor to the html editor.  This will make my programming learning journey so much easier and will leave Sam more time to develop his own website and teaching modules for ESL.  I know he spent a great deal of time on this project because I could see his "online" green logo shining nearly round the clock!  The results are stellar and I do hope he catches up on his sleep now.  Sam is the web tech and support for the run of  CMC11. In the process, we have worked through Skype, Dabbleboard, Sync.in Desktop, Elluminate and e mail and they are nearly all freely available to anyone with an e mail address. Oh, and I neglected to mention that Sam is located in China, so we are exactly 12 hours different in time zones!
These are only two examples of the connectivist nature of learning as CMC11 has taken shape and filled out over the past months. These are all people I have met online and developed and maintained connectivist Personal Learning Networks during previous MOOC offerings. And now, for another example ... and I just love the way the theory becomes application and practice even before the start of this MOOC!  One of the participants has decided to use CMC11 with his Adult Literacy students as an introduction to connectivism. And, in the face 2 face groups with other adult educators in his region he has recommended that they also take advantage of CMC11 as a learning opportunity.  By the way, he is located in the very Northern, remote region of the Northwest Territory of Canada.
I will save the next example for my next blog post ... just to keep your anticipation heightened a wee bit.  Meanwhile, enjoy one of the Wordles that was generated for CMC11 ...