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Use of mobile devices in e-learning
Where do we strand with the use of mobile devices in learning?
The Kukulska-Hulme et al 2011 report ‘Mature Students using mobile devices in life and learning’ may be a recent publication (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning Jan-march 2001) but draws its conclusions on research undertaken in between May 2008 and April 2009.
Technologically, in relation to the potential for e-learning, has move on a great deal. In industry would we not expect a report, say from Nielsen or Monitor, to have been done in the last six months?
As Kukulskha-Hulme and her colleagues point out by 2009 PDAs were virtually extinct and we were about to experience the launch of the iPad. Since 2009 smart phones have graduated – they’re bright in many ways.
Like their users?
Bright people with the means quickly find ways to put these tools to work, extending their reach to their online course, for materials, forums and assessment alerts, to organise their study time around their diary.
‘In today’s global marketplace, educators must know the technology habits and expectations of their students, including those from other countries.’ (Kukulska-Hulme et al, 2001:18)
A growing body of students expect a component of their course to be managed using mobile devices.
I like this point from JISC. It supports the constructive view of learning
“Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate”. (JISC, 2009, p.51)
It is interesting that the report notes that ‘mobile will not necessarily be readily adapted for learning’ (a 2008/2009 perspective) with reasons given as: ‘Ergonomic, pedagogical, psychological and environmental facts and the issue of cost’. (Stockwell, 2008)
Much more is possible today, and expected.
They do suggest that, ‘more widespread adoption by students and teachers is likely to follow’. (ibid 2011:19)
The report notes ‘notable minorities’
A notable major minority who ‘use the internet to download or upload materials.’ (major minority)
And a lesser minority, minority who ‘contribute to blogs and wiki and engage with virtual worlds.’ (ibid p.21) (minor minority)
‘Their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks’. (2011:19)
Which debunks Prensky and favour diffusion of innovations as a mode of study.
‘We were interested in gathering data that might challenge the still widespread opinion amongst educators that mobile devices are of little use for academic study. Activities such as web browsing, reading e-news, article reading, book reading, and note taking are valued in the academic world but often considered implausible on handheld devices.‘ (2011:20)
Which has indeed happened with smarter phones and the proliferation of the tablet (or slate) or iPad … whatever the term might be that we settle on.
‘Since the survey was developed, other devices including notebook computers and e-book readers have become popular, making it even more difficult to draw boundaries between ‘handheld learning’, laptop learning’ and ‘desktop learning’. (2011:21)
As if such a distinction was ever necessary? They are all computers, just different sizes, affordances and capabilities.
I liken this loss of boundaries, or the blurring, to drops of ink in a tank of water that gradually swirl about each other and merge.
MOBILE DEVICES ARE USED IN LEARNING FOR:
– Contact with others
– Access to information and answers
– Reading e-Books
– Listening to Podcasts
Producers and consumers become ‘produsers‘
One survey shows that mobile devices are enabling users to create resources for teaching purposes, write blogs to keep their friends up to date with events, take and distribute photos and videos, and make and take notes and recordings’. (2011.31)
What is interesting is that there appear to be many ways in which users are employing technologies to generate products.
Bruns (2005) coined the term ‘produsers’ to denote both of these approaches.
‘Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. Listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience’. (Kukulska-HUlme 2011:32)
When students are offered appropriate mobile resources then they will use them. (2011:32)
‘Since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed’. (2011:33)
More research is always needed … in deed, with a longitidunal study this research would and should undertake to look at a cohort or students EVERY year.
Bruns, A. (2005) ‘Anyone can edit’: understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes, John Pettit, Linda Bradley, Ana A. Carvalho, Anthony Herrington, David M. Kennedy, and Aisha Walker. “Mature Students Using Mobile Devices in Life and Learning.” IJMBL 3.1 (2011): 18-52. Accessed (May 22, 2011)
Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press
Jones, C.R., Ramanau, R., Cross, S., & Healing, G. (2010) Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education, 54(3), 722-732. doi. 10.1016/j.compendu.2009.09.022
We are all the people we have ever been
What image should we use to portray ourselves?
Is there such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?
Do so few of us dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?
It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I’d like to do some of my own.
I began a year ago with this.
I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confident and confident.
I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn’t take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell.
As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something.
The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day, the tutor on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. Men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?
I then went with this.
An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I’m still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about – the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you ‘mind bursts’ as I call them on numerous blogs.
Facebook personas sees me in a number of guises
While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview – this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.
I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago.
In moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We’d be ‘going out together’ for three days … we’ve now been together, well 21 years.
In my original diary we could create banner ads to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to add exec, video director, with four woman I didn’t marry.
Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye is more telling that a photograph.
I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old
What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pubescent boy – I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I’d get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin.
Talking of which, I find it intriguing that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.
This I’m afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago 😦
My only reason for picking it is that I haven’t renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash?
This is contemporary. It doesn’t say who I am, just ‘what’ I am. Wearing a child’s hat (he’s a dad), the headset to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …
I have of course not changed much since 1977
It takes me back to the original point – who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts?
Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we’ve lived?
I don’t remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother …
How set in were the learning process by then?
The Dracula Spectacula, People’s Theatre, Newcastle.
The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.
- Could a daily snap taken when looking in the bathroom mirror be used to tag memories from that ‘era’ of your life?
- Spying On You With Your Webcam (jamesgrimes.me)
- The Doctor Will Skype You Now – Seattle’s Carena Launches CareSimple: On-Demand 24/7 Webcam and Phone Visits with Doctors and Nurse Practitioners (virtual-strategy.com)
- Man charged over online ‘sextortion’ (bbc.co.uk)
Expansive Learning and the activity systems of Engestrom
I’ve taken this, from Engestrom and considered this as the interplay between SIX people (or groups) – or a mix of the two. Six people who are bringing to the discussion their different backgrounds and ideas in order to address a topic. At arm’s length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.
‘Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift’.
Amyone care to comment?
This is my take on a topic that has taken me through the briar-bush and out the other side. Has the struggle been worth it. The challenge I feel I face when reading papers such is this is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic, I challenge I throw down to every academic: it is possible to make yourselves understood by the majority, rather than a minority.
Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation
Words. A call for simplicity in language
‘Communication is essential to our lives, but how often do we stop to think about where the words we use have come from?’ Hutchings (2008)
The Secret Life of Words. How English Became English
Words matter to me very much
Their purpose is to communicate.
We are all prone to use jargon, and the first time we use it we feel we belong that tribe. Academic writers are prone to the greatest misdemeanours – they not only invent their own words, but they like to show off their command of words you/we have rarely come across, or they misappropriate words from other disciplines and force anew definition upon them.
Books on words appeal to me.
If Open Learning is to appeal to the broadest church, then clear, simple, language is required.
If you spot any polysyllabic bibble-babble, please do share.
Or is that me committing this very crime?
One long word, and another long word that might be of my own invention. My apologies.
So why use one word with many syllables which few people understand, when a sentence of short words would do a far better job?
Obfuscation or communication?
Showing off or joining the throng, who are your students.
And have I just done it again?
What I mean to say is, ‘it cannot help learning if a writer puts in a long word that they and their colleagues understand that the majority don’t.
Clear English, is simple English; anything more can be unnecessarily confusing.
Web 2.0 to Web 4.0
16th March 2011
I think Tim O’Reilly (2005) should have a say in this; did he not coin the term Web 2.0? Of course, we didn’t know, at the time, that we were in the Web 1.0 phase.
It feels like trying to decide where the boundaries are between the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages; indeed, the analogy is apt as both are about technologies. The latter over thousands of years, the former over thousands of DAYS.
I’m reading Larry Weber on Digital Marketing. He wants readers to think in terms of us currently hitting Web 3.0 with Web 4.0 on the horizon. His history doesn’t serve him well. To my mind he wants us to think if ‘new media’ as Web 1.0. It wasn’t. For the most part in the late 1980s and early 1990s we were just getting to grips with digital, with interactivity offline on Philips Laser discs, CDs then DVDs. I recall, painfully, trying to migrate interactive DVD content to the web c1998 … the platform couldn’t handle the file sizes. Anyway, this was when Web 1.0 began with the Web.
Isn’t Web 2.0 really tied to the Dot.com Bubble Burst of late 2000/2001 ?
The industry began to think itself out of the mess and the possibilities shifted as broadband became common place.
So where does this leave us now?
Did people living at the time of the Bronze or Iron age really care? Imports gave a hint of what other cultures could do.
My thinking is that the shift is so great and so fast that we are entering Web 3.0.
But this isn’t a board game, we aren’t simply leaving one domain and entering another. For heaven’s sake, we still have pen, paper, artillery, stone pestle and mortars, wooden rolling pins, iron tanks ..
Web 2.0 is Warner Bros teaming up with Facebook to deliver video on demand.
Web 3.0 will be want hundreds of thousands of people do with the content, because they sure as heck won’t simply sit back and watch. The way they mash it up and share it then come up with something NEW, this is Web 3.0 behaviour.
Larry Weber hints at where it is going. Your thoughts?
O’Reilly, T. (2005) What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software [online],http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit-button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res18497(last accessed 16 March 2011).
Weber, L (2009) Marketing to the Social Web (Second Edition) John Wiley & Sons.
The mistake risk takers make is to take too few risks
The dot com or e-learning mistake is to have only one ball in the air.
Like Cirque du Soleil they should juggle a dozen items, who even notices if one drops to the ground and breaks, there’s enough going on to amaze.
TV production companies, docs and drama, film companies too, have to have many ideas in development if any are to succeed; when will web producers take the same approach?
28 projects on the go I understand is the figure
I’ve got four ideas, so seven other people with four ideas each and we’re in business as imagicians.
On reading, dated reports and participation online (three humble pies happily consumed)
Eating humble pie
At various times over the last 12 months I have knocked the MAODE because of the amount of reading required, particularly in H808 ‘Innovations in e-learning’, where it rankled to read reports that felt out of date or books of the last century, and across the modules for the lack of examples of ‘innovations in e-learning,’, as if the MAODE should exploit the students by sending through the online hoops the equivalent of a performance in a Cirque du Soleil show.
I take it back
I eat humble pie for and offer three reasons:
1. Reading works
2. The earliest investigations on things we now consider common place and highly revealing
3. Bells and whistles may have no tune Reading works, though it is unnecessary to have the books in your hand, or to print of the reports.
I’ve done both, starting the MAODE or ODL as it was called in 2001, I had a box of books delivered to the door (I have many of these still).
Picking it up again in 2010 with H807 ‘Innovations in e-learning’ for want of an e-reader or adequate computer I found myself printing everything off – it unnecessarily fills eight large arch-level files (where if kept for a decade, they may remain).
There is value in printing things off
Whilst some links and too many follow up references from books and reports read in H807 were broken, I have the links and reports I downloaded and printed off in 2001.
One of these, exactly the kind of document I would have rejected in 2010 as dated, was written in 1992.
What is more, this paper addresses something that one would imagine would need a modern perspective to be of interest, the subject is the value of networking – what we’d call online collaboration or participation today.
The earliest investigations reveal the inspiration at a time when there were few options.
One the one hand I can go to the OU Library and type in ‘participation’ and ‘e-learning’ and be invited to read as PDFs a number of reports published in the last few months, on the other, I can go and see some of the earliest efforts to understand the possibilities and overcome the technical issues in order to try and recreate for distance learners what campus based students had all the time – the opportunity to meet and share ideas, the tutor group online, as it were.
Computer Networking for Development of Distance Education Courses (1).
In my teens and helping out on video-based corporate training films I recall some advice from the Training Director of FIH PLC, Ron Ellis. It’s one of those irritating corporate communications acronyms:
(as it was, though as some now prefer)
‘Keep it short and simple’.
It’s a fascinating story and remarkably for Wikipedia were entries are often anything but, it is short and straightforward.
The points I am making are straight forward too.
2. Research and References
An e-reader is simple
The process is enhanced and highly tailored once the content you need to consume is in a device that is slimmer than a slim novella. The affordances of the e-reader mean you can do away with pen and paper (though not a power or USB cable).
My passion for reading, where the ‘Content is King’, which perhaps unnecessarily brings me back to Wikipedia.
What you read, and the fact that you read, matters more than its being in paper form, whether chained to a shelf in the Duke Humphrey’s Library, Oxford (Bodleian), or bubble-wrapped from Amazon, let alone printed off on reams of 80sgm from WHSmith, holes punched and the thing filed for delayed consumption.
Reading too, I realise, is the purest form of self-directed learning
Vygostky would approve.
You are offered a list of suggested titles and off you go.
It is too easy to read the irrelevant if your only guide is Google and it is just as easy to purchase or download a book that has the title, but whose author could at best be described as ‘popular’.
It may fell archaic and arcane to be presented with a reading list, but I recognise their value, if only as the maelstrom of digital information spins across your eyes you can focus.
It may require effort to skim read the abstracts and contents of 33 books and papers in order to extract three or four to read over a two week period (as required to do in May 2001 on the then ODL), but the method works:you get an overview of the topic, a sense of who the authors and institutions your ‘school’ considers of interest, and then motivated by making some choices yourself, you read.
This in itself is one reason to avoid Wikipedia
if everyone reads the same content, everyone is likely to draw the same conclusions.
In any case, my issue with Wikipedia is three-fold, entries are either too short, or too long and there is no sense of the reader, the audience, for whom they are written; at times it is childish, at others like reading a doctoral thesis.
Or am I missing the point?
it isn’t a book, not a set of encyclopedias, but a library, communal built, an organic thing where those motivated to contribute and who believe they have something to say, do so; though all the corporate PR pap should be firewalled out.
Either way, my ambition is for WikiTVia, in which the entire content of Wikipedia is put in front of the camera and shot as chunkable video clips.
Anyone fancy giving it a go?
I digress, which is apt.
If you have a reading list you are less likely to get lost
What is more, you will have something to say in common with your fellow pupils when you’re online.
It matters for a niche conversation to be ‘singing from the same hymn’ sheet which is NOT the same as singing the same tune.
(Aren’t I the one full of cliché and aphorisms this morning).
Which brings us to point three, and a theme for Week 2 of H800 ‘Technology-enhanced learning: practice and debates.’
A title I have just typed out for the first time and I initially read as ‘Technology-enhanced debates’ which could be the right way to think of it given an initial taste of Elluminate.
It doesn’t work and there seems to be little desire or interest to fix it.
Google take over please.
I’d liken my first Elluminate session to my first attempt (indeed all my attempts) to learn to row.
Think of the Isis, early November morning, eight Balliol Men kicked out of bed by 3rd year student Miss Cressida Dick to cycle down to the boathouse.
We varied in shape and size like the cast of a James Bond movie:
Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, Jaws and Odd-Job, Scaramanger and Ros Klebb, Goldfinger and Dr. No.
Despite our coach Dick’s best intentions everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
Later that term on in our only race we were promptly ‘bumped’ and were out.
I wonder if the joint experience of Elluminate will find us bumping along discontentedly for the next few months?
My suggestion would to disembark to something simple, that works (as we did in H808)
Elluminate to Skype with Sync.in or Google.docs is the difference between crossing the English Channel on Pedalos, or sharing a compartment on the Eurostar.
Had this been a business meeting I may have said let’s email then pick up the phone and do a conference call that way.
If it had mattered and the journey was a matter of hours I may have said, hold it, let’s meet in a couple of hours.
What matters is achieving the outcome rather than trying to clamber on board a beach-side round-about on which the bells and whistles are falling off.
Reading, referencing and simplicity brings me to a paper we were expected to read in 2001.
Computer Networking for Development of Distance Education Courses (1) Tony Kaye.
Institute of Educational Technology
Downloaded 15/05/2001 http://www.icdl.open.ac.uk/mindewave/kaye.html
(Link broken and my searches thus far have not located a copy of this paper)
It was written in 1992.
(Until this week I baulked at reading anything pre Google, Facebook or Twitter. What, frankly is the point if none of these highly versatile, immediate forms of collaboration and communication online are not covered?)
This report is as relevant to synchronous and asynchronous collaborative online learning in 2011 as the earliest books coaching rowing.
The basic issues remain the same: the problem to solve, the goal and outcomes.
It’s relevance is like starting any conversation about the Internet with Tim Berners-Lee and CEARN.
In the paper, expert discuss the potential for computer support through local and wide-area networks for ‘work groups engaged in collaborative authoring tasks.’
You see, this, to keep it simple, is all we were trying to achieve on Elluminate, a ‘work group engaged in collaborative authoring tasks.’
Today we can hear and see each other, though the voice will do – and despite being so anachronistic, we can, presumable, all type on a QWERTY keyboard.
Courtesy of Cloud computing any other shared tool, from word, to spreadsheets, presentations, art pads and photo manipulation, we could choose to use from a plethora of readily available free choices.
‘it takes as a basic premise the need for a progressive co-evolution of roles, organisational structures, and technologies (Englebart and Lehtman, 1988), if technology is to be successfully used for group work.’
‘A summary of some of the main findings from studies of traditional (i.e. non technology-supported) course team activities is presented’.
This I consider important as it re-roots us in the very process we are trying to recreate online, a meeting between people, like or not-alike minds, with a common theme and goal.
This report was written for and about teams planning and writing distance teaching materials, however, as it points out,
‘many of the issues raised are relevant to other group collaboration and authoring tasks, such as planning and writing reports, research studies and books.’ Kaye (1992:01)
It makes fascinating reading, not least the comprehensive list of items that would have to be co-ordinate to create a distance learning ‘package,’ resplendent with diskette and C90 audio cassettes, 16 hours of TV and a 300 page course Reader.
Have things moved on?
Where’s our TV in MAODE?
I actually believed in 2001 I’d be getting up in the middle of the night to view lectures.
We don’t have lectures in the MAODE, why not?
It should not be a dying form.
The detail of designing, developing and producing a distance education package, though interesting in itself, is not what I’m looking for in this report, so much as how the teams used the then available technology in order to work together collaboratively online.
They had a task to undertake, a goal.
There were clear, agreed stages.
The emphasis on this report (or book chapter as it is sometimes referred to) are the ‘human factors’.
A wry smile crosses my face as I read about some of the problems that can arise (it sounds familiar):
- Lack of consensus
- Differing expectations Nature of roles and tasks‘differences in the perceived trustworthiness of different colleagues’ [sic]
- Different working patterns “Varying preferences in use of technology (which in this case include academics who use word-processors and who ‘draft in manuscript prior to word-processing by secretary” [sic]
Then some apt quotes regarding the process from this disparate group of individuals:
‘working by mutual adjustment rather than unitary consensus, bending and battering the system until it more or less fits’ (Martin, 1979)
‘If some course teams work smoothly, some collapse completely; if some deliver the goods on time, some are hopelessly late. Course teams can be likened to families/ Happy families do exist, but others fall apart when rebellious children leave home or when parents separate; most survive, but not without varying elements of antagonism and resentment.’ (Crick, 1980)
There is more
In microcosm it’s just the same on the MAODE.
I come to this conclusion after four or five ‘collaborative’ efforts with fellow students.
We work together best of all face-to-face, with a real task, tight deadlines and defined roles, preferably after a meal together, and by way of example, putting on a university play would be an example of this.
Recreating much or any of this online, with a collections of heterogeneous strangers, with highly varied lives not just beyond the ’campus’ but possibly on the other side of the planet, is not unexpectedly therefore primed to fail.
This said, in H808, one collaborative experience I was involved with, between six, with one in New Zealand, was a text book success.
As I put it then, ‘we kept the ball rolling,’ in this case the time zones may have helped (and my own insomnia that suggests I am based in Hong Kong not Lewes, East Sussex).
It also helped to have a Training Manager from the Navy, and a Training Manager (or two) from Medicine.
There was professional discipline that students and academics seem to lack.
Indeed, as academics often say themselves, they don’t have proper jobs.
Isn’t it about time that they behaved like the professional world, indeed, took lessons from corporate communications instead of getting things wrong all the time?
I read this from the 1992 report and wonder if when it comes to the people involved much has changed inside academic institutions.
‘There is evidence to suggest that course team processes can become pathological if the factors listed by Riley(1983) (particularly, it could be argued, the ‘private’ factors) are not properly addressed.’ Kaye, (1992:08).
‘One experienced course team chairman (Drake, 1979)goes so far as to say that …
“the course team is a menace to the academic output and reputation of the Open University,”[sic/ibid]
‘because it provides a framework for protracted (and exciting) academic discussions about possible options for course content and structure, but that when the real deadlines are imminent, many academic are unable to come to define decisions and produce satisfactory material.’
Our maturity and NOT being academics probably
‘problems can arise in the relationship between academic staff and radio or television producers’ Nicodemus (1984) points out that the resultant anxieties can cause “ … a lot of flight behaviour which simply delays and dramatises the eventual confrontations.’
I have an idea for a soap-opera set on the campus of the OU; this report provides the material
I’m not going to quote it all, but there is some social science behind it. Hopefully this paper or chapter is traceable.
Brooks (1982) has observed that when complex tasks are shared amongst individuals or small working groups, the extra burdens of coordination and communication often counteract the productivity gains expected from division of labour.
Problems arise from social psychological processes:
for example, pressures to confirm in a group might cause people to behave less effectively than if they were working alone, and diffusion of responsibility and lack of ownership of a group product can lead to group members contributing less effort to a group task tan they would to a personal, individual, project.
However, we are left on a positive note by this report
“ … the cycle of integration-disintegration is, after all, also known to be important in creativity.” (Nicodemus, 1984)
In the case of distributed course teams (eg those working on interdisciplinary, or co-produced courses) where, a priori, a strong case might be made for networked computer support for collaboration, it would seem important to pay even more attention to the underlying dynamics within a team.
Enough, enough, enough … I am only half way through this report.
Let’s skip to a conclusion, which is as pertinent today as it was in 1992.
‘The social, psychological, and institutional factors influencing the processes and outcomes of academic teamwork were stressed in the first part of this chapter (see above, this is as far as I got), because these factors are probably of greater overall importance in determining successes than is the nature of any technology support which might be made available to a course team’. Kaye (1992:17)
Brooks, F 91982) The mythical man-month: Essays on software engineering. Reading. MA.: Addison-Wesley.
Crick, M (1980) ‘Course teams: myth and actuality’, Distance Education engineering, Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley.
Drake, M. (1979) ‘The curse of the course team’, Teaching at a distance, 16, 50-53.
Kaye, A.R. (1992) ‘Computer Conferencing and Mass Distance Education’, in Waggoner, M (ed) Empowering Networks: Computer Conferencing in Education, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications.
Martin, J. (1979) ‘Out of this world – is this the real OU?” Open Line, 21, 8.
Nicodemus, R (1984) ‘Lessons from a course team’, Teaching at a distance, 25, pp 33-39
Riley, J (1983) The Preparation of Teaching in Higher Education: a study of the preparation of teaching materials at the Open University, PhD Thesis, University of Sussex.
In the course of writing this I discovered (courtesy of Wikipedia) that Leonardo da Vinci may have coined the phrase, or a version of ‘Keep it simple, stupid’ and also invented the pedalo. The mind boggles, or is Leonardo still alive and contributing ? (his fans certainly are).
Every innovation is perceived as seismic, like a Tsunami it washes over everything.
I like the digital ocean metaphor …
In relation to H800 : technology enhanced learning and the Week 1 activities the introduction and final chapter of Stephen Lax’s book covers the communications innovations of the last century + enough to inform.
And whilst this is the topic for H807 ‘Innovations in E-learning’ I recommend this. I like him so much I bought copies to give to friends; I don’t know if they were grateful.
Is it available on Kindle?
- The Power of Innovation (enitiate.me)
- How Are We Preparing Students to Be Tomorrow’s Innovators? (cshmsfaculty.wordpress.com)
- Bad Metaphors, Bad Tech (themillions.com)