Tag Archives: education

weeknotes [21092014]

OK, what have I been up to over the last few weeks:

Well the supervision of dissertation students has given way to the marking of dissertations. I can’t say I enjoy marking the dissertations I supervised (and am very glad they’re double marked) but do find interesting reading the dissertations that I haven’t supervised for the first time. … and just in case I thought there would be a pause, I’ve already started the first supervision meetings for a new set of dissertations.

piloting discourse analysis for my PhD studies continues to develop as issues are surfaced and I develop a better understanding of the method “in action”.

The writing of a couple of papers for publications continues. One is near completion and just requires final copy-proofing and permissions on images etc before submission. The other required extensive rewriting (and re-reading it, I did find it a shockingly poor piece of work – writing a short paper seems to be much harder…) and I’m waiting for feedback on that new version.

attended and excellent seminar on Unbundling the University. I hope to return to this topic in the near(ish) future. Interestingly, the imperatives for unbundling appear to be coming to the state schools system in the UK (or at least England) with this example of outsourcing school services involving the Academy Enterprise Trust.

Also, we’re now well and truly into the teaching term with the two courses I’m contributing to this semester: Digital Environments for Learning; and Course Design for Digital Environments


Barriers to Open Education

Graham Attwell makes a good point here that one of the biggest barriers to the further expansion of open education is to open up curricula. Curricula are increasingly snapshots in time of the (common denominator?) views of experts be they universities, governments, qualification agencies, professional bodies etc.

In a time of rapid social economic and technological change, curricula can quickly go out of date. And expert driven curricula processes are usually extremely slow to respond to such change.

The conclusion made is that its the experts need to be prepared to give up some of their authority/ power but it is also the institutions themselves. Professional bodies, qualifications agencies, universities, etc. still see competitive advantage in holding onto curricula and so do their ‘customers’, that the business of qualifications includes buying into a specific status that depends on a degree of ‘closedness’. Qualifications are more then just about learn but also about social status, access to employment opportunities etc. (see this post in relation to a similar perspective on VLEs & PLEs) and that can mean that the ‘customer base’ (students) are as big a barrier to the expansion of open education as the experts.


Here we go with four links on technology in education including MIT’s Open Education Initiative:

5 Ways Tech Startups Can Disrupt the Education System: An interesting post but see link below on MITs recent initiatives on open education that undermine the notion that disruptions only come from start-ups. Incumbents can also have an imagination!

MIT launches online learning initiative – MIT News Office: An interesting initiative and aggressive extension and endorsement of open education resources:

“Creating an open learning infrastructure will enable other communities of developers to contribute to it, thereby making it self-sustaining,” … “An open infrastructure will facilitate research on learning technologies and also enable learning content to be easily portable to other educational platforms that will develop. In this way the infrastructure will improve continuously as it is used and adapted.”

Design Thinking for Educators: Large resource and toolkit to support the application of design thinking to education.

Various ways to use social media as a facilitator or trainer: useful overview and typology of various social media tools for different training and facilitation situations.