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‘Write rubbish then improve it’?

Who said ‘write rubbish then improve it’? I like it – this is how to blog and why it is invaluable.

I found this in a fellow Open University student’s blog. This week we are invited to post in a blog, or start a blog and then read and comment on each other’s efforts. I estimate that I have over 3,000 entries online. My modus operandi is to post 1,000 words an entry. Do the maths; it can be done in six years – I’ve taken nearly 11. There are gaps, months, even years missing (which is a shame, as I’m sure it was when I had the most to share personally),

I am thinking of reliving the OUs Masters in Open and Distance Education  from February 2012

I can do this, day by day, module by module, week by week, picking back through my OU student blog (started February 2010) and improving and resubmitting each page. It’s no harder say, that returning to a series of peak walks in the Lake District, this time fitter and more knowledgeable.

I could have a title ‘From idiot to academic’ comes to mind. I cringe at some of my entries … and wish I’d kept some of the nonsense I wrote in forums (I did, some at least was saved into My Stuff).

Having done this with the contents of a blog started in September 1999 repeatedly, and with the content of diaries started in March 1975, I’ve learnt the personal value of doing so.

I do it in part by taking posts from that Student Blog and embellishing/editing them here.

I read some books ahead of the course

… read some between modules … whole books where we had been introduced to an author or chapter, and now I crave the security of reading a related book cover to cover.

The ideal pattern is to read them as an e-Book highlighting and taking notes, then add to the highlights and notes and put the lot into My Stuff, the OU e-portfolio, with super-highlights, key thoughts or moments of enlightenment, here in the blog.

(Scroll down to find these, I now feature the cover of the book too)

Academics will say that this is me simply repeating the learning process I ‘endured’ in my youth. It was, from the reading list I had to get through before I even started university.

I think this week (WK12 H800) could be used to reflect not only on H800, but from my perspective the entire MAODE.

This student teacher relationship is key.

I am very fortunate that I sit next to a senior learning designer at the OU Faculty of Business and Law. (New job, started three weeks ago).

Our conversations (me listening rather) are enlightening … what I pick up as other conversations occur is the intensity of debate that goes into course design – even in a distance or online course – as educators they are desperate to do or be the closest thing to being their themselves.

The struggle is between content and creativity a plausible, realistic, transferable and repeatable ‘Activity’, that goes beyond: here’s a queston, here’s the reading, write and essay, share and discuss.

‘Activty, Activity, Activity’ is the mantra, that I personally re-interpret as ‘play, play, play.’ (Guided, purposely, engaging, transformative, lasting, memorable, motivating … and effective). A very tall order. Coming from advertising and communications we could focus our energies on a strapline, body copy, video news release or PR piece at most … this however is, as we know, thousands of lines of words: the right words, in the right order, for the right reason, to sustain a course for many years. And its students, and the tutors who may also be coming to it fresh.

Love your memories in a blog

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.” Nabakov

Read Backwards

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.’

(50100)

Blog for your life … and love it.

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”

Read Backwards

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.’


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