Tag Archives: events

Open University learning is a joy | Jules Horne

Via The Guardian:
It may not have the nightlife but as a way of accessing a flexible, quality education, I’ve found the Open University can’t be beaten He was a flying goth with rocker looks. I was a new Open University tutor researching a play. I ventured into the OU room in Second Life , and after a few introductions (He: F04 R08 . AL? Me: Yep. A363 . R11), we had a long chat about non-Euclidean geometry. Call me strange, but I found this amazingly thrilling. Living in a rural area, you don’t come across many Gauss experts. Vast academic libraries, with international journals on tap, books and courses to get your brain cranking, people who enjoy a good barney about Shakespeare’s sonnets: the OU has brought all that to my doorstep, and it’s been an absolute joy. A quick straw poll reveals quite a few of my friends are closet OU students – they just haven’t mentioned it. All over the country, distance learning is helping students overcome not just geography, but also disability, culture, financial and family circumstances. Susanne Lockie, a full-time mother to three children, told me the mental stimulation has made it a lifesaver: “I need to keep my skills ticking over, but I couldn’t study to a high level without that flexibility. I’ve been able to get credit for my previous full-time study in nursing, which was interrupted when I had a family. I’ve finished my Open degree now, but I need to spend more time with my parents at the moment, so I’m taking a year out before starting on honours.” Employers tend to be supportive of OU study, knowing that OU students are likely to be unusually determined and committed. That’s why it’s all the more disappointing when you hear lazy “not a real degree, then” comments and ancient stereotypes of tweedy tutors and chalk-and-talk TV. I’ve found the quality of OU learning materials outstanding. The modular structure means you cover the ground systematically, with a clear understanding of context. Elsewhere (I studied at Oxford), I’ve found the learning experience equally stimulating, but much more haphazard.
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Open University learning is a joy | Jules Horne

Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal

Via Mashable

Patrick Moorhead is president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, a highly regarded high-tech industry analyst firm focused on the disruptive ecosystems of smartphones, tablets, personal computers, living room devices and social media. New social media service  Path  promises to bring your true friends (not just acquaintances) together in a much more personal way. However, neither Path, nor Facebook, nor Google+ have fully comprehended that personal circles vary by context, and that context changes rapidly and infinitely.


In the end, while services like Path get us closer to “personal,” they are still very much “broadcast” versions of social media. Ultimately, new services will arise that will allow the user to easily and naturally build relationships, physically meet and communicate with one’s rapidly morphing groups of true friends.


How Humans Interact To fully understand how structured broadcast and personal social models differ, we need to look at real life. First and foremost, people segment friends and groups based on a specific context. To put it simply, there are people we are very close with, people we may have never heard of, but who seem “safe,” then there are thousands of groups in-between. And that context only changes more over time. Even though it sounds confusing, we build and segment groups because the action has been hard-wired into our brains.

The “Broadcast” Social Media Problem The Facebook, Google+ and Path networks liken online interaction to shouting in different-sized movie theaters, each of which contains a different combination of close friends, family members and acquaintances. Most people in the movie theater aren’t even listening; others listen but ignore; and an even smaller group reacts to what’s being said. For most people on the receiving end, a post is typically out of context, irrelevant, doesn’t require a response or was just plain missed. For example, some children aren’t on Facebook during school hours, and many older demographics don’t check notifications on a regular basis, or else they use their accounts for very specific purposes only.   What Defines “Personal” Today? I outlined the challenges that come with a “broadcast” model of social media. So what do I mean by “personal?” Quite simply, personal reflects how we interact in the physical world. The infinite number of groups we encounter in the everyday world communicate in a way you would expect: over the phone, through text, BlackBerry Messenger, face to face and via email. However, some of the tools we employ — even in today’s fast-paced digital environment — are slow, inefficient or even inaccessible.

For example, three families may want to go out to dinner after the eighth grade basketball game. Let’s assume there are six parents total and kids don’t get a vote. Just imagine how many texts it will take to arrange this.

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Why Social Media Needs to Get More Personal

Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles

Via Mashable
Joe McDonald died in 1971. This morning on Facebook , he died again. Facebook disabled the profiles of McDonald and his girlfriend Leola Lewis Wednesday morning, according to Donnelyn Curtis, the University of Nevada librarian who set the profiles up as a way to engage students in learning about history . “I was a little angry that I didn’t get any warning,” Curtis told Mashable . “I think that would have been polite.” The couple were both students at the university in the 1910s before marrying in 1915. Curtis said that when she tried to log in to the fictitious profiles this morning, she got an automated message from Facebook saying the accounts had been disabled for violating the social network’s terms of service. “I guess popularity kills,” Curtis said. Curtis actually set the McDonald and Lewis profiles up more than two years ago — but it wasn’t until last week, when she began providing more frequent status updates and photos, that they began attracting attention from the media and public. While McDonald and Lewis initially only had friends who were distant relatives, their lists of connections swelled from just over 100 each to more than 1,000. They were featured in Mashable , The Chronicle of Higher Education , Yahoo! News and the UK’s Daily Mail . Lewis and McDonald posted historically accurate status updates about their lives, photos of campus events such as “hop” dances and “Rugby Football matches” and listed musicians such as Scott Joplin and writers including Jane Austen among their favorites. Their profiles were hailed by many experts as a powerful example of social media’s power to bring history to life for a digitally absorbed generation. But, as fake profiles, McDonald and Lewis clearly violated the
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Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles

DEANZ 2012 conference “Shift happens: Resilience, relevance and reform”

The DEANZ 2012 conference “Shift happens: Resilience, relevance and reform” conference is now only days (as at 5 Apr) away! The event provides a unique opportunity to network with a diversity of participants from different organisations which make up the distance learning sector in New Zealand and the Pacific Rim.  We expect 200 academics, instructional designers, trainers and public and private sector staff to attend so it provides an excellent opportunity to network and learn from the latest developments and ideas in open, flexible and distance learning. The attached Registration Brochure (as at 12 January 2012) provides further details about the event. Continue reading DEANZ 2012 conference “Shift happens: Resilience, relevance and reform”

Faculty Development in Blended and Online Learning Conference

Faculty Development in Blended and Online Learning
12 to 14 March 2012
Houston, United States
Explore the best approaches for engaging and supporting faculty interested in the online and blended teaching environment.
Enquiries: kevin@academicimpressions.com
Web address: http://www.academicimpressions.com/events/event_listing.php?i=1288&q=10537v274891yT
Providing faculty with the structure they need to successfully make the transition to online teaching requires a shift in the understanding of technology, a comprehension of the new online and blended teaching environment, and effective administrative support.
Join us to explore the best approaches for engaging and supporting faculty interested in the online and blended teaching environment. This interactive workshop will address the areas of professional development essential to the preparation of instructors for online teaching and learning success. Each participant will return to campus with a relevant framework that covers their key concerns and action steps.