Posts Tagged ‘MOOC’

Plopped in PLENK 2010

Monday, September 20th, 2010

from Jan Schwartz

I recently wrote about my experience in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Connectivism and Connected Knowledge held during the fall semester of 2008.

Here I am back in a MOOC again in 2010 called PLENK10.  It’s about personal learning environments (PLE) and personal learning networks (PLN).  There are over 1000 people registered and it’s almost as overwhelming as the first MOOC that had over 2000 people registered.  So why did I do it?  Curiosity, desire to learn something new, a distraction from what I should be doing, I admire the people who are facilitating…Yes, to all of the above.

This first of this 10-week journey is about personal definitions and getting clarity on what PLEs and PLNs are all about.  One thing for sure, the definitions and clarities will be different and we’ll have to live with that–so different than the traditional model of education!  But in this instance it somehow works.

My understanding is that PLEs are the tools that one uses in their PLN.  So PLEs might consist of social bookmarking sites, blogs, discussion forums (the course is on Moodle), Skype, and Elluminate, and these are controlled by me, the learner.  I use Evernote  to keep articles, videos and ideas; occasionally delicious to bookmark things, which is somewhat redundant, but more easily shareable than Evernote; Moodle for the discussion since that’s where the discussions are happening in this course; and this blog to reflect on what I’m learning.  I use these to store knowledge and also to gain new knowledge.

I haven’t quite figured out what a PLN is.  It all seems reasonable until I try to write it down.   I know that it has to do with people—the facilitators and other learners, but that seems a bit simplistic.  Let’s see how my definition evolves as I move into the course—right now I don’t see much of a difference between the two because it seems a PLE can have people too.

My favorite quote of the course so far from E. O. Wilson, the biologist (posted by Chris Saeger):

We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.

Categories of Learning with Technology

Monday, July 12th, 2010

from Jan Schwartz

I was reading a manual that George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger put together called Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. As an aside, I took a massive open online course (MOOC) in Connectivism and Connected Knowledge with Siemens and Stephen Downes, along with 2000 other people in fall 2008.  Jennifer Mackness wrote a paper about the experience, The Ideals and Reality of Participating in a MOOC. As you can see from the presentation of this paper Siemens is definitely a futuristic thinker in education.

The manual has a lot of really good information in it, but what I want to share are some definitions that they present– because distance education has become a catchall word for any education that doesn’t happen in the classroom and is technology based.  Learning with technology can be viewed in three broad categories, and in order to have a conversation, it’s helpful to have everyone on the same page. The categories are augmented education, hybrid, or blended, education and online education.  There are of course other definitions out there but I think looking at learning with technology on a continuum is helpful, rather than divvying it all up according to the percentage of work done with technology.

Here are Siemens and Tittenberger’s definitions:3612341337_a0fe1e0137_m

1. Augmented – the use of technology to extend a physical classroom. This may be as simple as incorporating web quests into student work, or the use of an online discussion forum.  In a traditional university, the learners still meet regularly with faculty in classrooms.  Traditional paper based courses could be augmented with online discussion forums or blogs.

2. Blended – technology partly replaces in-classroom learning. Part of the course is face-to-face and part is online. For example, the instructor may initiate a course with a series of classroom lectures, with the rest of the course held online. Resources such as video and podcasts could be added to existing materials.

3. Online – technology entirely replaces face-to-face classroom teaching or paper-based distance education. Fully online programs often employ a learning management system to assist designers and educators with managing student grades, interaction, and content delivery.

These categories work pretty well for me.  How about you?  Would you categorize differently?

Photo credit: mikebaird