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I wonder if exposure to the Web will change architecture?
The wonderful world wide Web 2.0 is fuel to and reflection of a purely human societal construct on speed or at speed – on speed gives us more of dark, evil, corrupt side of human behaviour while at speed we get the best of altruism, education, community and a desire to do good.
Now take a deep breath and look around you.
If or when there is a calamity in your life were do you turn? A few family members and a few friends who you will need to see and speak to face to face … not via Skype of face time. Locally I trust my community, neighbours and where required the police to keep crime at bay … venture beyond British shores and my faith, trust and experience of each community and its police service will vary.
The Web, because of its networks, means that we are never far removed from a criminal. Visiting the US this summer, fed by movies and not reassured by some of the places we ventured I felt there were guns of necessity on the hips of the police … and hidden guns on people and vehicles. Perhaps if you want to hold up a mirror to the best and the worst of the Web then you should hold it over a patch in California.
Why should the morals or lack thereof of one part of the world be allowed to poison and exploit the World Wide Web?
As, eventually, law and decency catches up a good deal of the filth and criminality will be shut down, locked behind barriers or diluted. In the mean time, like a layer of volcanic dust in the soil profile, a decade or more of anyone who uses the Web who has been exposed to beheadings and the vile, unloving side of pornography, to scams and suffocating spam will have this stain in the brains forever.
I wonder if exposure to the Web will change architecture?
I would feel happier living in a yurt – at least then I could see and know what my kids are doing and with everyone looking over each other’s shoulders – parents, grandparents, friends … and of course the dog, then that would be the best filter of all.
Web Sciences – faster, rich, responsive, shared …
Life happened at the opening of the MOOC on Web Sciences from the University of Southampton (SOTON) – the imminent arrival of a great-grand child is announced while two in their late 80s make their departures, one with little warning, the other with a reluctant move to hospital.
Born in 1928 or to be born in 2014 …
Keen as I am on ancestry I try to reflect on what has and is changing.
How great in truth is or will be the impact on how we live, love and die? Of course the frenetic, massive Web impacts on the neuronal activity in individual brains feeding us with knowledge, news, information and misinformation like never before, but how much does it change the intimacy of a family, of childhood and education, of working and falling in love, of starting a family of your own (or not) and beyond?
The Web, like a strange digital mist now surrounds us – but in the Darwinian sense does it change anything at all?
Words of a distraught young woman from the Philippines coming out of the recent typhoon smack you in your digital face when she starts with ‘no Internet, not smart phone, no food, no water, no roof on our heads, no medicine … ‘ We will surely reflect on that fact that for all the opportunities the Web it is exclusive and fickle.
Yet it is the speed and ease by which this information is disseminated that changes things. I remember the Japanese Typhoon that I watched on multiple TV channels calling to my son who was watching the same online directly from people’s smart phones.
The new arrival mentioned above was posted on Facebook, the ‘departure’ was a call to a mobile phone. Both will feature online to welcome to the world or to reflect on a long life and commiserate.
- The University of Southampton’s Web Science Institute (amandabobel.wordpress.com)
- UK unis prepare to launch ‘moocs’ this autumn (ool.co.uk)
- MOOC. Study Anywhere Anytime and for Free (johnijagbemi.wordpress.com)
- Amazing announcement!! Mooc makes Oxford online dictionary (opentopictest.wordpress.com)
- In Times Higher Education, on MOOCs (bryanalexander.org)
H817open Week 2 Activity 8: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners
ACTIVITY: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week.
Often the messiest and most problematic of tasks prove to be the most revealing.
Thinking of a group of swimming teachers as participants in some Open Learning was a challenge as some would never have used a computer at all. I thought of another group, nursery nurses and even contemplated going on to undergraduate medical students or junior doctors so that I could imagine working with a digital literate group but then returned to the challenge of introducing those with no experience of computers at all.
Do you try to teach someone to swim butterfly when they cannot swim? Can a swimming teacher learn anything if they don’t have access to a swimming pool? This is what it felt like – clearly OER is never suitable for everyone – the learning outcomes must come first, then how to deliver these in a way that suits the participants. There’s a saying in advertising, ‘preach to the converted’ i.e. you are selling goods and services to people who want them anyway. The easiest ‘sell’ would be to create a course on digital skills for those who are just coming online and are eager to acquire the skills, rather than a group that includes those who have no digital skills and are even belligerent or disinclined to take any interest.
Coming from Learning & Development we have sometimes been expected to ‘shoehorn’ other people’s content, or the client’s old content, into the production. We decline. We will use the material to inform the production process only. There is a reason, for narrative and continuity why I still feel that creating your own bespoke content is often a better alternative, otherwise there can be discontinuity, the need for writing in caveats, or simply reversioning as participants take a negative view of the smallest of things – say US English used instead of UK English.
to the Web and digital skills
Learning on the go
Just in time or applied resources and tools.
Websites and social media
Twitter, Facebook … WordPress
6 Learning Methods Every Teacher Should Have
Find a variety of content on MSM Website related to schedules, programmes, events, Swim21, contacts and compliance
Download and open PDF files.
Login and add personal details
Searching: Making the most of being online (BBC Webwise)
Searching the Internet (UK GOV)
Locate Swim21, download the Code of Ethics PDF, email the Swim21 Officer to say that you agree to abide by these guidelines.
Select a video on swimming technique from the Breakwater Swimming Website and note tips you would use in a training or teaching session.
Register with IoS
Find and do a 1 hour free CPD of your choices
Register with the Institute of Swimming
Do a Free Continual Professional Development (CPD) refreshed – 1 hour
Working and Learning in Sports and Fitness
Open Learn, The OU
How to develop reflective skills and improve leadership techniques. Part of The OU course E113 Working and learning in sport and fitness.
Register withe blog host
Create a journal entry on a session and reflect
Find and comment on other club and personal blogs
Create and load video
Blogging, a tool used to reflect and learn
Twitter Users. A Guide to the Law (BBC Webwise)
It was recently announced that a company had created a connector or ‘brick’ that allows those playing with either Lego bricks or Konnex to connect to two. It strikes me that OER requires some conformity in the creation of the learning resource in the first place to allow such bonds and that templates or connectors are required too. However, even if the learning resource is an idea expressed as a doodle with some text or a series of annotated diagrams from a whiteboard that are photographer and put online I believe this is far preferable to shoehorning another’s ideas into your learning design. Can you construct a new short story by lifting paragraphs from others? Can you construct original Shakespeare by mashing up lines from different monologues? Can you create a coherent painting by grabbing elements from a number of masters? This isn’t the same as the remixing musicians do, or is it? This isn’t the same as taking a cooking recipe and changing some of the ingredients – it is about the quality, truth, conviction, coherence and flow of a persuasive narrative.
My greatest challenge is the nature of the intended audience, whilst ‘Swimming Teachers and Coaches’ is one way to define them, for most this is a volunteer role for an hour or so a week, for a few more a modest part-time and paid role for perhaps 6 to 8 hours and only part-time and professional for 3 or 4 – say 12-16, sometimes 22 hours a week. They are a disparate group too – from airline pilots and Doctors, to a retired postman and an assistant in Waitrose who left school with no qualifications and now understand that they have Dyslexia. One is doing an MA in Sports Science online, another gets his wife to receive and send emails – yet another her husband. This spectrum of digitally literate ‘residents’ to the ‘occasional visitor’ even the non-user – and in some cases belligerently ante-Internet means that to reach this group requires more group workshops, face to face applied ‘poolside on the job’ and hand-outs. Content online needs to be printable so that if necessary intermediaries can print off in specific fonts onto coloured paper for those with Dyslexia. Content in the post, the traditionally distance learning approach would be favoured by some.
Links no longer valid or content removed, sometimes for declared copyright issues, such as here. Not having adequate input into the bespoke construction of the content in the first place, and then the possibility that the content may be removed is a problem.
Several hours too late I gave up on the depositories. I have always found UK Gov websites very easy and clear, say for calculating and paying tax, or getting a Road Licence for the car. With the drive to have everyone on Universal Credit using the web – those in the community who are most likely also to have no or poor digital literacy skills or access, I wondered what training and support UK GOV offered. I was delighted with the ‘We Make Getting Online Easier’ website and feel that it would support those for whom using the Internet would be a struggle – how and where they get online is another matter if they don’t have an Internet connection at home, or a Smartphone. For continuity reasons I may then use this website through-out with the only venture away to look at YouTube ‘How to …’ videos relating to swimming teaching and coaching. I then checked the BBC and for UK residents found the BBC WebWise resources perfect. Start on the home page, run through the content bit by bit over the weeks.
- Learning Objects – Human Subjects (mraybould.wordpress.com)
- Openness in Education WK1 MOOC (mymindbursts.com)
- Opening a Door With Open Education #h817open (nancyorichter.wordpress.com)
- Inter-life, Young People and Activity systems (mymindbursts.com)
- Sink or Swim: Learning the Basics of Swimming (weightloss.answers.com)
- #h817 (msthorpe47.wordpress.com)
- New MOOC…Openness and innovation in elearning (totallyrewired.wordpress.com)
What will the impact be of the Web on education? How is knowledge sharing and learning changing?
Fig. 1. Father and daughter
From four or five months after conception with the formation of the brain, to the moment of brain death we have the capacity to learn, subconsciously as well as consciously.
Whether through interlopers before birth, in infancy and early childhood, or through family and carers in our last moment, days, weeks, months or years. At both ends of life the Web through a myriad of ways can advise, suggest and inform, and so educate, like never before. While for all the time in between as sponges, participants and students we can access, interact, interpose and interject in an environment where everything that is known and has been understood is presented to us. The interface between person and this Web of knowledge is a fascinating one that deserves close study for its potentially profound impact on what we as humans can do as people and collectively: Individually through, by, with and surfing the established and privileged formal and formal conveyor belt of education through nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary centres of learning. Individually, also through expanding opportunities globally to learn unfettered by such formal education where such established opportunities don’t exist unless hindered through poverty and politics or a lack of communications infrastructure (a robust broadband connection to the Web). And individually and collectively alongside or beyond whatever formal education is provided or exploited by finger tapping into close and expanded networks of people, materials, ideas and activities
Open learning comes of age.
By seeking to peg answers to the role the Web is starting to play, at one end to the very first opportunity, at the micro-biological level to form a thought and at the other end to those micro-seconds at the end of life once the brain ceases to function – and everything else in between, requires an understandings neuroscience and an answer to the question ‘what is going on in there?’ How do we learn?
From an anthropological perspective why and how do we learn?
Where can we identify the origins of knowledge sharing and its role in the survival and domination of homo sapiens? And from our migration from the savannas of Eastern Africa to every nook and cranny of Earth, on land and sea, what recognised societal behaviours are playing out online? And are these behaviours mimicked or to a lesser extent transmogrified, warped or elevated by the scope, scale and speed of being connected to so much in such variety?
A history of learning is required.
From our innate conscious and subconscious capacity to learn from our immediate family and community how has formal education formed right the way through adding reading, writing and numeracy as a foundation to subject choices and specialisms, so momentarily expanded in secondary education into the single subjects studied at undergraduate level and the niche within a niche at Masters and doctoral levels. And what role has and will formal and informal learning continue to have, at work and play if increasing numbers of people globally have a school or university in their pockets, courtesy of a smartphone or tablet and a connection to the Web?
The global village Marshall McLuhan described is now, for the person connected to the Web, the global digital fireplace.
It has that ability to gather people around. Where though are its limits? With how many people can we develop and maintain a relationship? Once again, how can an understanding of social networks on the ground inform us about those that form on the Web? Multiplicity reins for some, flitting between a variety of groups while others have their niche interests indulged, celebrated and reinforced. Is there an identifiable geography of such hubs small and large and if visualised what does this tell us? Are the ways we can now learn new or old?
In relation to one aspect of education – medicine – how are we informed and how do we respond as patients and clinicians?
The journey starts at conception with the mixing of DNA and ends once the last electrochemical spark has fired. How, in relation to medicine does the quality (or lack of), scale and variety of information available on the Web inform and impact upon our ideas and actions the length of this lifetime’s journey At one end, parents making decisions regarding having children, then knowledge of pregnancy and foetal development. While at the other end, a child takes part in the decision-making process with clinicians and potentially the patient – to ‘call it a day’. Both the patient or person, as participant and the clinicians as interlocutors have, potentially, the same level of information at their fingertips courtesy of the Web.
How is this relationship and the outcomes altered where the patient will know more about their own health and a good deal about a clinician’s specialism?
The relationship between the doctor and patient, like others, courtesy of the connectivity and capacity of the Web, has changed – transmogrified, melted and flipped all at the same time. It is no longer them and us, though it can be – rather, as in education and other fields, it can be highly personalized and close.
Can clinicians be many things to many people?
Can any or only some of us cope with such multiplicity? A psychologist may say some will and some won’t, some have the nature for it, others not. Ditto in education. Trained to lead a classroom in a domain of their own, can a teacher take on multiple roles aimed at responding to the unique as well as the common traits of each of their students? While in tertiary education should and can academics continue to be, or expected to be undertake research as well as teach? Where teaching might be more akin to broadcasting, and the classroom or tutorial takes place asynchronously and online as well as live and face-to-face.
Disaggregation equals change.
In relation to one aspect of education in medicine and one kind of problem, what role might the Web play to support patients so that they can make an informed decision regarding the taking of potentially life saving, if not simply life improving, medications? Having understood the complexity of reasons why having been prescribed a preventer medication, for example, to reduce or even eliminate the risk of a serious asthma attack, what is going on where a patient elects, sometimes belligerently, not to take the medication. Others are forgetful, some misinformed, for others it is the cost, or the palaver of ordering, collecting and paying for repeat prescriptions. Information alone isn’t enough, but given the capacity of the web to brief a person on an individual basis, where they are online, what can be done to improve adherence, save lives and enhance the quality of life?
My hypothesis is that a patient can be assisted by an artificial companion of some kind, that is responsive to the person’s vicissitudes while metaphorically sitting on that person’s shoulder i.e. in the ‘Cloud’ and on their smartphone, tablet, headset, laptop or whatever other assistive interface will exist between us and the Web.
Fig. 2. Where it ends … more or less
At a parent’s side when they die is a profound experience. The breathing stopped and a trillion memories drained away. To what degree will this no longer be the case when a life logged digitally becomes a life in part preserved?
I love words
Fig.1 On trying to understand the meaning of foveal
Merriam-Webster – the ‘sticky’ web dictionary using gamification to build the brand and hold your attention.
Who’d have thought it a decade ago. ‘Sticky’ was the Holy Grail – but applied to an online dictionary?
I love words.
I have used many online dictionaries, including ‘the dictionary’ and the OED, and of course Wikipedia. Increasingly I pick Merriam-Webster from the list offered.
The response page is clean (ish) i.e. you get an unclutted, quick and short definition, which is all you want if you are trying to read a text.
You can, by default, find you are ’embedding’ your relationship with the word by adding a comment.
- What brings you here?
- Why were you after this word?
- You may then be intrigued by the responses other people have left.
Then there’s the quick 15 second quiz.
A crafty way to up your Pub Quiz or Mastermind General Knowledge.
Fig.2 Another distraction in the Merriam-Web online dictionary
And there’s a pithy video clip on some highfalutin stuff about words. Except of course it isn’t, you’d just expect it to be so. They’re very down to earth. There’s the best explanation of the important difference between – its and its – for example.
My distraction? My word(s)
That collection of nodes in the retina we subconsciously use when focusing on the fine detail of something – often used for reading tough texts where the ‘profoveal words’ i.e. those just out of vision and typically a few down the line from your centre of focus could distract if and where the word is bold, in colour, underlined … or the purposes of the research papers I am reading, if the word or phrase has a hyperlink.
Do you want you reader to read at an uninterupted measured pace – or tangle their eyes in barbed wire?
The aim, as they eventually figured out with the printed word, is a form or set of patterns and guidelines that make the reading of text on a screen easier, engaging enough so the the issues and facts begin to stick, without it being a mess.
I often wonder if a ‘porta-pront’ App – so you read as a Newsreader would do, offers the most uncluttered way to read text?
We’re still a long way short of a digital expression of the written word – the guiltiest group are academic papers. These are for the most part highly formalised layouts based on analogue moveable print.
Where I can I cut and paste and entire paper into Google Docs, then reformat so that I can scroll through.
Now what on earth did I get up to do 20 minutes ago?!
This little gem.
Risse, S, & Kliegl, R 2012, ‘Evidence for delayed parafoveal-on-foveal effects from word n+2 in reading’, Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance, 38, 4, pp. 1026-1042, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 February 2013.
A fascinating read that debunks the thesis of Marshall McLuhan – not that I was looking for one. It appears we don’t so much see words as perceive them – that there isn’t such a disconnect between oral traditions of communication and learning and the written word. McLuhan is known for the ‘medium is the message’ in relation to mass media in the 1950s/1960s. Other than the fact that he failed to acknowledge that people didn’t stop talking to each other or reading just because they could watch TV, he also likes to ignore radio in this argument. To cite McLuhan in relation to the Internet is a further calumny as it is mixed and multi-media. But, importantly, and no differently to the coming of print or radio or TV we remain human first and prone to communicate as we have always done – either orally, or through interpretation of what we see and do in a mixture of oral and visual terms.
- What do a Peruke, a Sporran and a Uraeus have in Common? (kerngirl.com)
- The Reality of Bliss (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com)
- The spoken word is crucial to understanding. (mymindbursts.com)
Automatically captured autobiographical metadata
Automatically captured autobiographical metadata : Mischa Tuffield (2006)
Faculty of Engineering, science and mathematics. School of Electronics and Computer Science. Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group.
Supervisors: Nigel Shadbolt, David Millard.
Those who know me well will understand why this subject fascinates me – a diarist since I was 13, blogging since 1999 and recently completed a Master’s Degree in Open and Distance Education with the Open University. Over a decade ago I registered domain names like ‘The Contents of My Mind’ and ‘TCMB’ but didn’t know how to take my enthusiasm and turn it into a research project or product.
Know I do … or nearly do.
There’s a reason to this day why I blog as ‘My Mind Bursts’.
Current reading is on the combined themes of memory support, lifelogging, augmented learning and virtual companions – there’s considerable overlap into supporting those with diminishing senses or memory with illness or old age, as well as enhancing the learning and information retrieval and manipulation process.
An infrastructure for capturing and exploitation of personal metadata to drive research into context aware systems.
- Capture of personal experiences
- Context aware systems
- Multimedia annotation systems
- Narrative generation
- Semantic Web enabling technologies
- A contextual log of a user’s digital life.
- To facilitate auto–biographical narrative generation.
Towards a methodology for the capture and storage of personal metadata and is proposed as a framework for multimedia asset management.
Information overload, or infosmog (Shadbolt and O’Hara, 2003)
A liberation of personal information.
- Ease of publishing. (House and Davis, 2005)
- Towards a web–accessibke Knowledge Base (KB)
- Adhereance to as many W3C recommendations as possible.
- Semantic Web (Berners–Lee et al, 2001)
Scientific American article to assemble and integrate personal information into web accessible resources (Shadbolt et al., 2006)
Exposing information in a structured snd standard form … using Resource Description Framework (RDF) Manola and Miller, 2004)
Universal Resource Identifier (URI)
Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
Memories for Life (M4L)
Semantic Squirrels Group (SSSIG)
Image classification, content–based indexing and retrieval,
Content and context based services
- Marc Davis (2004a)
Design methods to generate narratives from bespoken knowledge bases
- Alani et al., 2003
- Geurts et al., 2003
- Mulholland et al., 2004
so automatically, not hand– crafted metadata.
The Semantic Logger (Tuffield et al., 2006a)
Recommender system (Tuffield et al., 2006a) and (Loizou and Dasmahaptra, 2006)
Posting of data to the knowledge database.
By virtue of knowledge integration alone, added value emerges. (Tuffield, 2006. p. 20)
Community of practice identification (Alani et al., 2003a)
Simile Project at MIT
(As a diarist since I was 13 I came to seek a way to say enough to recall the day. I needed the trigger, not the detail. The boring stuff might not work as such a trigger).
FURTHER LINKS TO EXPLORE
The Semantic Logger Downloads Page
Work undertaken my Marc Davis at Berkeley provides insight into how context can be combined with content to aid the identification of faces inside photographs (Davis et al., 2006).
I am proposing the design of a human centric personal image search and browsing task, similar to that undertaken by Mor Naaman (Naaman et al., 2004). This is presented as a manner of evaluating the utility of the various asset management. The results of this experiment is intended as a contribution to the identification of useful automatically captured metadata to aid memory recall.
T. Berners-Lee, J. Hendler, and O. Lassila. The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5), May 2001.
Marc Davis, Michael Smith, Fred Stentiford, Adetokunbo Bambidele, John Canny, Nathan Good, Simon King, and Rajkumar Janakiraman. Using context and similarity for face and location identification. In Proceedings of the IS&T/SPIE 18th Annual Symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and Technology Internet Imaging VII. IS&T/SPIE Press, 2006.
J. Gemmel, G. Bell, R. Lueder, S. Drucker, and C. Wong. MyLifeBits: fulfilling the memex vision. In MULTIMEDIA ’02: Proceedings of the 10th ACM international conference in Multimedia, pages 235–238, 2002.
J. Gemmell, A. Aris, and R. Lueder. Telling stories with MyLifeBits. ICME 2005, 8: 6–9, July 2005.
Carsten Rother, Sanjiv Kumar, Vladimir Kolmogorov, and Andrew Blake. Digital tapestry. In CVPR ’05: Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR’05) – Volume 1, pages 589–596, Washington, DC, USA, 2005. IEEE Computer Society. ISBN 0-7695-2372-2.
L. Sauermann, A. Bernandi, and A. Dengel. Overview and outlook on the semantic desktop. In Proc. of Semantic Desktop Workshop at the ISWC, 2005.
N. Shadbolt and K. O’Hara. AKTuality: An overview of the aims, ambitions and assumptions of the advanced knowledge technologies interdisciplinary research collaboration. AKT Selected Papers 03, pages 1–11, 2003.
Nigel R. Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, and Tim Berners-Lee. The Semantic Web: Revisted. IEE-Intelligent System, 21(3):96–101, May 2006.
- Big Data & Semantic Web: An Ideal Marriage (semanticweb.com)
- Artificial Intelligence and the Semantic Web (enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com)
- The Semantic Link – December, 2012 (semanticweb.com)
- Semantic Web Gets Closer To The Internet of Things (semanticweb.com)
- Mobile SEO Preparation for a Semantic Web (raventools.com)
- Two Funny Things at the 2012 International Semantic Web Conference (groups.csail.mit.edu)
- Information Resource Description: Creating and Managing Metadata by Philip Hider (NEW BOOK) (bluesyemre.com)
I may be a swimming coach (amongst several things), but my head coach told me ‘I think too much.’
Think less and get the athletes to do more. Keep it simple. If there is any context however where thinking is the currency, literally if we are talking professionalism, then the more I think the more professional I become.
Many would say that a 3,000 word blog entry is ‘unprofessional.’
I call it shared reflection, the ‘uncut version.’ It is the outcome of over five hours thinking on the topic. Hours banked. Ideas turned into cash. By definition when I have made two years worth of regular deposits I may call myself and even be defined as an ‘e-learning professional’ with the MA to suggest I have joined that club, and a job that for the remuneration I receive makes me a professional rather than a wishful thinking wannabe.
It is unprofessional as a post-graduate student to be flippant and/or verbose.
A professional would keep this down to 500 words, yet I am stretching it to 3,000. The uncut version. Reflection in action. My mind at work. Not the athlete sharing a few ‘mots justes’ after a successful race, but the race itself and all the training before hand. The choice words, bullet point form only with an abridged commentary goes into my Tutor Group Forum. Under 250 words there, is my targert. Under 1,000 words per OU blog had been my thinking too. Blown that then.
Watching the TV I fall asleep.
Listening to the radio (i.e. any audio) I do something else – I’d be distracted anyway, I have to.
In an effort to get into my head the points being made by OUr E-learning Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) I first read the transcripts provided and then listened to the podcast while reading the text.
What shocked me was how much I had missed.
I do less than skim read it appears, all I must do is to look at patterns and shapes. No wonder I learn so little when I do nothing more than read.
This isn’t an ‘airport thriller’ I can read at break-neck speed chaisng the protagonist as he is in turn chased; this requires a different kind of reading.
It requires effort.
I must work with the text, make notes. Just highlighting choices words and sentences isn’t enough either. Effort I can do. It is consistent effort unless I am working under exam conditions where I struggle. There is always something more interesting to read.
Historically, when successful academically, it has been a huge effort and very time consuming for me. I have to take notes (long hand). Then I have to take notes on the notes. I have to make lists, take quotes and re-order the material. I may still not make sense of it. I need to chase up a few references. I need to find my own patterns. I need to discuss it. Argue about it, agree and disagree. And then, gathering up a wad of papers and scraps of paper the whole lot needs to compost for a few months. Then, and only then, might I start to ‘get it,’ and have something constructive and original to say.
Do any of us have this kind of time anymore? Did we ever?
(My late father, my daughter and a friend, a partner in one of the world’s leading law firms, all have/had photographic memories. They would have read the transcript and been able to pick out its salient points after the first swift reading. Not so me, not so us?)
The process you see playing out here is an attempt to mulch the content, slow cook it and hope that I can achieve something in five hours that would normall require five months.
The second time round with the SME podcast I first worked with the text, highlighting points and generally trying to get my head around it. If you’ve come across Jakob Nielsen’s ‘Writing for the Web,’ this is what I did – isolating sentences and ideas, creating headings, sub-headings and bullet points, in a word ‘chunking. In fact, I begin to get close to doing what Richard Northridge recommends in the ‘OU Guide to Studying’ (1990) note taking, creating concept cards and then even looking for links and patterns in the text itself.
This takes time and requires effort. I’m not great on effort. My modus operandi is (or has been) to take in volumes of material, but if this is only at a surface level no wonder I am often more frustrated than informed.
Less is more. Rather than chasing a reference, another report or book, I need, at first, to ensure that the text I have in front of me has been dissected, not consumed, not afforded nothing more than a passing glance, but pulled apart, then reconstructed.
Not the expected outcome of this simple task – my faltering approach to learning laid bare, but a valuable lesson at the start of the module.
At last I’m listening to the podcast.
I made myself think, made myself listen, I ‘sat forward’ (the technical term for interacting, for engagement.) I made myself read and take notes, made me list the contrasting ideas, the arguments for and against, the justifications … and to cluster these ideas and adjust my own thoughts accordingly based on my experience.
I had something to think about as I listened.
Do I have anything in common with these e-learning professionals in relation to assumptions and aims?
Do I have different understandings of what it means to be an ‘elearning professional’?
Is there a distinct elearning profession, or is elearning simply an aspect of other professions?
The profession of teacher?
The profession of a university lecturer or academic?
The profession of a trainer or staff developer or a human resources developer in private corporate bodies?
Is there an elearning professional?
And should I be describing my job as that of an elearning professional?
My short reply, given my background in sports coaching, is simple.
If you are paid you are a professional.
If you are the athlete and not paid you are an amateur.
If you’re the coach and not paid you are a volunteer.
Therefore, if someone is good enough and experienced enough (or simply good at selling themselves and their ideas) – and they are remunerated for their efforts, then they are a professional.
Rebecca Addlington is a professional athlete. Bill Furness, her coach, is a professional too.
At my swimming club all the swimmers are amateur, though some through bursaries to pay for County and Regional development training are by definition quasi-professional as they are receiving benefits if not in cash, then in kind. Some of the coaches and I do not define myself as a swimming coach; it’s a hobby that’s got out of hand.
I have ‘put in the hours.’
(Which I can qualify by saying I have put in the appropriate hours. i.e. time will not make you a professional, the enduring focus of your efforts will)
One of the key themes of the podcast made by each of the speakers is that a professional has put in the time.
They have put in the effort, gained experience that is directly or indirectly relevant to their e-learning expertise – and by dint of this expertise (and being paid by the OU, for books and reports, lectures and workshops too perhaps) they are all professionals.
At the swimming club many of us (its the biggest club in the South of England) have earned our places through years of experience, gaining qualifications and attending regular courses (CPD) to retain a licence to teach or coach aquatics. Many of us, paid or not, can call ourselves ‘professionals.’
Just as I’ve reduced my core thought to that of the contract between a professional and an amateur, by picking out the ideas of each speaker and doing something similar a number of interesting points regarding what it means to be an ‘e-learning professional’ emerge.
In this see-saw of ideas the protagonists have a habit of changing places.
By defining professional we should also think what it means to be unprofessional.
I’ve allowed this dance to play out as it leaves me with an image of a professional being circled by the professional wannabe, the unprofessional (as yet), the layperson, the naive, virgin student. A mass of non-professionals clamoring around the few.
The points and arguments frequently fall into another diametrically opposed set: the qualitative vs. quantitative, an objective point vs. the subjective, a value judgment vs. the facts. Everything overlaps – a Venn Diagram of the points would show sets within sets.
- Amateur vs. Professional (there are many highly ‘professional’ amateurs)
- Ineffective vs. effective.
- Hasn’t done it for long vs. been doing it for a long time
- Undergraduate vs. PhD (A sub-set of the above)
- Hasn’t put in the hours vs. has put in the hours (more of the same)
- Immature vs. Mature (a variation of the same. Though professionalism is not a consequence of maturity)
- Inexperienced vs. Experienced.(Experience that takes time to acquire, and a certain manner to be effective)
A new field vs. an established field. (Disagree. Though a new field of subset of a professional activity would be definably professional).
- New vs. Established. (as above)
- No established standards vs. abides by general and specific received standards.
- Acting alone or part of a professional association.
- Part of the UK Higher Education Academy or not. (a subset of the above)
- Part of a legitimate community or not. (as above)
- Committed vs. Uncommitted.
- Respectful vs. Disrespectful.
- Respect for the individual learner, incorporating research and scholarship, the development of learning communities online is a hugely strong component in professional elearning practice. (successfully combines the subjective and unquantifiable with the quantifiable and objective)
- Juvenile and professional vs. professional only if matured. (as Robin Mason)
- Unlicensed vs. Licensed.
- Genuine vs. not genuine.
- Unrecognised vs. Recognised.
- Inexperienced vs. Experienced.
- Independent vs. tied (to government or a business).(disagree)
- Technical foundation vs. no technical foundation
- No need for a label, e-learning professional vs. professional enhancer. (strongly agree)
- Takes time vs. no time.(as Robin Mason and Robin Goodfellow. You have to put in the time to become a professional. Which I guess applies as much to the professional criminal, as the Professional lawyer. Little p, Big P- see below)
- Part of the mainstream vs. Specialist. (disagree)
- ‘Lone Ranger’ and early stages of innovation … vs. early majority and established (themes of Rogers)
- Enthusiasts vs. the not interested. (strongly agree)
- Society and the professionalisation of modern life (quotable)
- Sport in the 20th century and professional vs. amateurs in sport
- Traditional and modern professionals
- Autonomous vs. dependent
- Trustworthy vs. (spin/PR/Branding/Agenda)
- Not part of a trade association or governing body vs. part of such an association
- Generalist vs. specialist
- An outside vs. part of something
- Formalised standards vs. none
- Unmonitored vs. monitored
- Is there a distinct elearning profession, or is elearning simply an aspect of other professions?
- Little ‘p’ pr big ‘P.’
Jonathan Vernon (moi)
- Doesn’t look the part vs. looks the part.
- Lacks form vs. has form.
- Self-taught vs. ‘done a course.’
- Qualified (with the piece of paper to prove it) vs. Unqualified (however expert they may be).
Some thoughts on the points identified above
It is worth reflecting on Robin Mason’s point about ‘putting in the hours.’
The suggestion that genius and expertise requires 10,000 hours of effort is no urban myth. A study carried out at the Berlin Music Conservatoire identified three groups of graduates. Asked to estimate how many hours of practice and playing each student had put in since picking up an instrument they were then divided into three distinct categories: up to 4,000 hours, up to 8,000 hours and up to 10,000 hours. The first became teachers, the second category got places in orchestras whilst the tiny number who had put in 10,000 hours (takes around 10 years to do this) were most likely to be the solo artists, the concert pianists, the mavericks, the Vanessa Maes and Mozarts. Whilst all these categories are professionals, they are paid for their skills, the use of the word ‘professional’ to distinguish those who are expert, who have attained a certain standard, would in my view apply to the musicians who have made it into a top orchestra – with the soloists in a category beyond the ‘professional.’
Our ‘OU H808 E-learning SME professionals’, given the decades of thought they have put into what we now define as ‘e-learning’, have been part of this ‘orchestra’ of professionals for some time, and who knows, we may have a Mozart amongst them. Personally, I’ve not read enough from any of them yet to know any better. I look forward to hearing what they have to say and how they say it.
Interestingly, Robin Mason returns repeatedly to a theme of time passing, of gaining, requiring or acquiring maturity of thought. Though I feel as if I am clutching at ideas in an amorphous cloud here, my sense is that whether it is professional with a big P or a little p, that the word ‘maturity’; might say it all.
What does maturity imply?
Growing up, lessons learnt, age, growth, adult hood, a way of behaving, able to fit in and contribute to a community and so on.
I disagree with Gill Kirkup
If I have understood her correctly regarding her suggesting that only in an established field is something professional whilst in a new field this is not possible. We can all think of (or at least imagine) an unprofessional ‘professional.’ The corrupt lawyer, the doctor struck off the medical register, the TV food expert who is not a doctor at all (and so a sham professional).
In 2000 I would have defined myself, as some of the panel here would have done, as what is now termed an ‘e-learning’ professional. After fifteen years in corporate communications, training and learning, creating linear, then non-linear and ultimately web-based materials the companies and government department for whom I worked through various production companies had to see me as ‘professional.’ I hadn’t done the post-graduate studying, but I’d learnt through observation and experience (first carrying video kit into the changing rooms of a nuclear power plant age 17 assisting with a training film for BNFL at Sellafield).
Interestingly, I don’t currently consider myself to be an e-learning or a learning professional and even with the MA I hope to gain in 2011 I will by my own definition not be a professional until I am being paid for my expertise.
To use a horse-racing term I lack ‘form.’
I’m literally out of the race (for now).
Being studious here and building my confidence is part of the plan to regain the ‘professional’ tag.
Does a barrister on retirement cease to be a professional lawyer?
Socio-econonmically he/she would still be defined as a ‘professional’ would they not?
I agree however, very much, with Gill Kirkup’s views regarding ‘respect’ and her definition of an e-learning professional within the academic community.
‘Respect for the individual learner, incorporating research and scholarship, the development of learning communities online is a hugely strong component in professional elearning practice.’
(This, for me, successfully combines the subjective and unquantifiable with the quantifiable and objective. i.e. you can be a professional Professional).
I disagree with Robin Goodfellow’s view that a professional must be independent vs. tied (to government or a business). If we look beyond e-learning professionals and academia it would be quite wrong to say that someone is not professional simply because they represent the interests of an organisation or government department, let alone are being paid to take a certain stance or have a strongly held view (left or right wing politically, religious or atheist and so on).
If nothing else, I believe I have shown above that there is a natural dichotomy, if not a debate even an implicit conflict, between views on whether a person, or institution, or field of study, can be defined as professional or not, worthy of study or not.
It is engagement in such a debate where a professional proves their credentials.
A professional is a match for anyone, whilst the unprofessional would not play by the rules, make excuses, bow out…
Dare I imply that all the above are differentiating between the educated and uneducated?
Is it so black and white? Students at school, scholars as Edwardian’s would have defined them, and undergraduates, graduates too, in terms of education can never be defined as ‘professional.’
Or can they?
The government pays students to go to college, to stay on in secondary school after the age of 16 – does not this make them pros, like a boy of a similar age getting paid to play football in an academy, they literally ‘turn pro.’
I agree with Robin Goodfellow that there is ‘need for a label’, that what is currently the e-learning professional may be the ‘professional enhancer ‘of the future if the UK HE Academy has their way (though I doubt the term will stick). Just as Robin was (we were) once web-based learning professionals, or learning professionals, or professionals in education…
Big P, little p (Chris Jones) is the most memorable expression of an idea in relation to the professional Professional that I take from this and a worthy talking point. And 2,500 words in I could sum it up with a Twitter count.
Professional is an adjective and a noun.
Anyone can be described as ‘professional,’ (adjective) by dint of their behaviour and experience, however to be a ‘professional’, (noun), various criteria should be met. Depending on how your measure up, by Chris Jones’s definition, you are either Big or Little P.
(I can think of other categories where a similar way of looking at things could be applied, for example, ‘engineer’. The person who fixes my washing machine may call himself an ‘engineer,’ but Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an ‘Engineer’. A sports psychologist is no longer allowed to call themselves such, they are sports scientists. So Psychologist, if not professional, not has a legally binding form of expression and use).
I disagree however with Chris Jone’s view that Professionals (big P you notice) have to be specialists whilst implicitly, if they are professional at all (little p) they are not, or unlikely to be so if they are part of the mainstream.
Or do I?
(I’m changing my mind as I write this, reflecting on a matter tends to do this. You twist yourself in so many knots and then find you are looking in the opposite direction – and happy to do so)
Is there an implicit elitism here that makes me uncomfortable, an obvious them and us?
As a Professional I am not ‘part of the mainstream’ ?
Yes, that’s it.
You see the ‘mainstream’ is the population, everyone, in the universe that we are discussing. Professionals are of the mainstream, of society, even if they are a subset community within the broader community.
The likes of Richard Dawkin and Stephen Hawkings are ‘professional Professionals’ by their engagement with the world, not because of an elitist, hide-themselves away hermit like attitude to knowledge acquisition. Do Simon Schama and Neil Ferguson fall into the same category of professionalism?
Be published and damned, broadcast and be damned even more?
But you don’t have to be famous to be Professional (though I dare say you’d cease to be professional if you became infamous).
Or have I been making a mistake through-out this internal debate … this reflection – that we have always only been discussing Big P professionalism ONLY as part of ‘the whole thing,’ i.e. the specific category of the ‘e-learning Professional’ and just as this time round I haven’t given a moment’s thought to ‘e-learning’ as a term, I have nonetheless unnecessarily dissected the term ‘professional.’
I’m yet to click through the OED online.
I daren’t. It may be my undoing.
Back to my idea of a Venn Diagram.
If ‘professionals’ is the universe then we have two subsets, Professionals (Big P) and professionals (little p) (the noun only). Far smaller, and intersecting both these sets, we have ‘e-learning.’ There are in e-learning little P and Big P professionals.
Still with me?
But there are also non-professionals, and even the unprofessional to consider. Can they also be defined as Non-professionals (Big N) and Unprofessionals (Big U).
Might a professional be defined as someone with ‘qualified confidence in their field?’
Not finished yet
I’ve got a Venn Diagram to draw, some visualising to do.
Can a loner be a professional?
I enjoyed Chris Jones’s point about the ‘Lone Ranger’ that in early stages of innovation there are maverick, loners having a go at something new way ahead of anyone else – think Dr Emmett Brown in ‘Back to the Future’ tinkering away at the construction of a time-travelling automobile. Are such people professionals or even professional? Does this ‘odd-ball’ behaviour disenfranchise you from the professional community, even if you have the mind the size of a planet?
A consultant escapes the hospital ward for a couple of years to undertake research. Just because they are beavering away on their own, being a ‘Lone Ranger’ doesn’t disqualify them from the category of ‘Professional,’ (Big P), or even ‘professional Professional’ (little p, Big P).
Dare I suggest that our panel of e-learning experts are ‘professional e-Professionals’ ?
I don’t even begin to delve into the thinking behind innovation diffusion. This is an entire module in its own right. It is called ‘Innovations in E-learning’, or H807 for short.
For more read ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ E.M.Rogers. (2005) 5th edition.
Nor am I going to teach the definition ‘e-learning.’
Is there a professional ‘look.’
Forgive me if I make a comparison here between the need for barristers to put on the appropriate garb in court and so look Professional with a big p, compared to those wishing to be called professional and seen as Professional who don’t look the part. Poolside as coaches it is expected that all teachers are appropriately dressed in the club colours and well groomed – this looks professional. There was once a time when teachers wore a jacket and tie, so looked professional like fellow professionals such as lawyers and doctors. Don’t academic look the part, ‘look professional’ in their gowns and mortar-boards?
And having addressed ‘looks’ can someone sound ‘professional?
Think how a director chooses actors to play a role. Look at Michael Cane in ‘Educating Rita,’ is this the stereotypical professional Professor?
Another discussion, but coming from corporate communications we have been through exercises of using authentic presenters (people who work at the place) compared to buying in ‘professional’ presenters. To do justice to the message in the TV medium the professional broadcasters were far better at putting over the points the client wanted to make.
As I said, another discussion, a different thread.
P.S. It would be unprofessional to post such a long entry into a tutor forum, where a 500 word, even a 250 word version will be posted (the bullet points, or just my thoughts on the key bullet points … or just where I strongly agree or disagree).
Lesson Learnt ?
Professionals put in the time and effort, and follow rather than ignore guidelines for the community in which they operate.
It strikes me that academics, like creatives, are more interested in reputation and recognition than money.
Is it not striking that not one of our panel mention it?
Can you be a professional without it?
And what about spelling and grammar?
The ability to communicate. Have I mentioned that. Can the professional spell?
- SMEs to Move Forward This Year – Web Development Could Help Build a Brighter Future, XSM (prweb.com)
- lessons from the ordinary ~ michael hyatt (xeiayumilka.wordpress.com)
- How Can You Teach If You Don’t Learn? (27 Things Teachers Can Learn About Students by Changing Roles.) (seanhamptoncole.wordpress.com)
Access is not generational
Access is not generational, there are clearly people from across the demographic and from every geographical niche on the planet that are engaging with IT with the ‘virtual revolution’ of the Internet & fulfilling so many dreams.
It is apt that we think of it as a net, as in the ‘Internet’ or we think of it as a web, as in ‘the world wide web’ – as we do, because nets and webs are full of holes. These holes occur everywhere, the retired Canadian civil servant who has no typing skills, so no computer and no internet; the teenager single-mother in a war torn village whose only priority is life itself; lack of money, lack of assistance, lack of broadband Internet access, let alone dial-up, a ‘shadow’ that means you have no mobile access, you’re at sea, in prison, in a prison of your own making: the list is as long as the number of holes you can imagine in a net or web wrapped around a globe.
The language of the web a decade ago was English, while fifteen years ago it was HTML; just as ten years before that the language of computers was DOS (or to my mind dross) – impenetrable geek-speak written for mathematicians who forget that they had to communicate to the outside world in English. And once these challenges to uptake were overcome, for a long time since the language of the Internet was in the English language.
The bias and the historical influences of hundreds of years of conquest & colonialism echo across this i.e.o.Universe.
- Net use survey underscores stereotype (thehindu.com)
- Free Course on Semantic Web Technologies Starting February 4 (semanticweb.com)
- Misused English terminology (termcoord.wordpress.com)