My blogging skills were noticed. The task now it to focus them for a good cause – that cause if the Open University.
My reading and training list includes Facebook, Twitter and Linked in. Various books cover all the ground. As I child I had ‘My very own learning to cook book.’ The equivalent is the ‘Dummies’ series. I read them all ‘Blogging for Dummies’, ‘Facebook for Dummies’, even ‘Twitter for Dummies’. They are written by the people who helped build these platforms and the mix of humour and practical advise is invaluable.
This does it for Social Media
This, introduced in a Hubspot Webinar last week is a worthwhile read.
You could read a chapter a night and put what you read into practice the next day. Sounds like an OU MBA course – practised based learning. From my point of view I am seeking out that relationship where I can be pupil to a Master (Barrister), or shadow a Partner (Solicitor) … even apprentice to a skilled craftsperson.
The skills of social media marketing and just a side step away from ‘e-moderating’ from what I see. My role is to act as a catalyst, to listen, comment and engage in equal measure.
The first time I visited the OU Campus I was gobsmacked by its scale. Today I was once again impressed by the quality of in-house training (on the Open Source Software used here called Drupal).
I took notes … because it gave me some insight into the arguments for using Open Source. (Not so much from in the lion’s den, but my head in its mouth).
I’ve read somewhere that students should look at the kind of organisation they are learning with. I have found already that ‘flexibility’ and support’ don’t just apply to students … but applies to employees too.
New comers into distance learning will find this a difficult reputation to match.
p.s. I heard a great line from an OU academic the other day, ‘it’s as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet to happen’. (Prof. Jonathan Silverton)
Now that it’s upon us can you think of anywhere on the globe better placed to flourish?
Competition in tertiary education is a good thing, but the playing field is both muddled and uneven.
Competition is a good thing, but the playing field is both muddled and uneven.
Remember, funding for higher education isn’t simply from the State, but through corporates and research grants. What is more the UK has a long established history of private education at all stages; many parents plan to pay for their children’s education, and where able set funds aside for tertiary education too through savings schemes.
Online support for learning, either blended or 100% at a distance, has become viable for ALL in tertiary education, so they are doing it. Even undergraduates on campus expect the kind of online facilities and support that may until recently been the sole domain of the distance learning student.
In the private sector, where I came from, creating commercial product at any stage: primary, tertiary and secondary was difficult for one simple reason – both students and institutions expected the resources to be free. One model therefore was to have content sponsored. Indeed that’s how I came to succeed in producing careers materials (video) because it was all financed in advance by sponsors and distributed for free. DVD and online based course materials failed because no one would pay for it.
Ten years ago I prepared a report for my employer regarding the production of commercial learning materials, one offs for specific age groups and subjects. My conclusion was don’t, unless it is all paid for upfront. Even the secondary sector is deeply affected by the BBC and their wonderful, free ‘bitesize’ series to support GCSEs.
There must be research on perceptions of UK universities. The cache of the long-established Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions must be substantial. From an employee point of view there are those who will divide hundreds (or thousands) of applications for a few graduate positions into two piles: Oxbridge or not.
Unsound and unfair, but if faced with ostensibly the same grade, but from different instituions, how do you differentiate short of seeing everyone for a first interview or reading exam papers for yourself?
The answer from the student’s point of view used to be the CV thick with extra-curricula activities; I wonder if the future student should pack an e-portfolio, evidence of their worth and potential once away from the student ‘desk’.
The last two decades has seen the private secondary sector buy into/ buy up primary sector ‘prep’ schools even establish pre-prep schools. I wonder to what degree this long-term relationship can be maintained into the tertiary sector?
The Eton Brand, for example, as a University, would be a valid offering in a global market.
I thought 500 page views was a landmark, then 1000. There has been steady growth to 10,000. It went crazy for a week in April with 1,000 views a day then settled back to 150-250 day. Whose counting? Basic analytics are a form of recognition, even reward for the blogger. 50,000 is a biggy that has taken 14 months to achieve. 100,000 is unlikely within the Masters in Open & Distance Education, though a MRes, another module in the MAODE (because it interests me so much) or a MBA are all of interest for later in the year and all would be blogged upon right here.
Are you saying something worthwhile to this audience?
Even if I feel the PC Screen is a mirror and I’m writing this for my benefit first as a reference I can return to later: what did I think? Where is that quote? Where was I in the learning process? Aren’t I glad I’ve moved on! Editing old entries, bringing them up-to-date develops this. As Nabokov wrote,
“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is”
e-Reading ‘A New Culture of Learning’ backwards in a large font isolating interesting gems I may have missed. Also reading it by search word; ‘play’ works and is appropriate with over 160 mentions.
I liken this to panning for gold.
Once I’ve done this a few times typing out notes may be irrelevant; I’ll know it. ‘Play as the new form of learning?’
One final thought. Two decades ago I liken learning to a nurturing process, of an educator/teacher or course designer/principal sprinkling water on the heads of students buried like heads of lettuce emerging from the ground.
This no longer works for me.
What I now see are kids in a large paddling pool having fun and making up games with toys offered to them by supporting parents and older siblings.
The mantra for e-learning is ‘activity, activity, activity’, perhaps it ought to be ‘play, play, play’; that’s what you’ll come away with if you read John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas ‘A New Culture of Learning; cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.’
Fig.1. Glass Skull by Rudat
The current generation will be able to begin to achieve a fraction of this if they please; all I have to go on are diaries I stared in March 1975 and efforts since then to recall all the events, feelings and dreams of my life to that point.
This alongside photoalbums, scrapbooks and sketch books, with lists of books read and films seen, maps of places visited and a complete extended family tree ought to offer a perspective of who or what I am.
Does any of it impact on how I think and behave?
Without my mind is it not simply a repository of typical memories and learning experiences of a boy growing up in the North East of England?
Blogging since 1999 there are like minds out there, though none have come back with an approximation of the same experiences (its been an odd, if not in some people’s eyes, bizarre, even extraordinary roller-coaster of a ride).
It’s value? To me, or others?
I could analyse it ’til the day I die. My goal is no longer to understand me, but to understand human kind. And to better understand the value of exercises such as this, not simply hoarding everything, but of consciously chosing to keep or record certain things.
For now I will exploit the tools that are offered. In theory anything already digitised on computers going back to the 1980s could now be put online and potentially shared. Can I extract material from a Floppy-disc, from an Amstrad Disc, from a zip-drive? Should I add super8mm cine-flim already digistised on betacam masters? And the books Iv’e read, beyond listing them do I add links even re-read some of them? And a handful of school exercise books (geography and maths) A’Level folders on Modern History. I kept nothing from three years of university, yet this is where the learning experience ought to have been the most intense. But I had no plans to take that forward had I?
My university learning was spent on the stage or behind a video camera.
Should I undertake such an exercise without a purpose in mind?
Do I draw on it to write fiction?
There is a TV screenplay ‘The Contents of My Mind’ that could be stripped down and re-written, even shared.
And all the fiction, the millions of words.
Will this have a life if put online?
Is it not the storyteller’s sole desire to be heard? To have an attentive audience?