Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Multilitteratus Incognitus

Traversing the path of the doctoral degree

Hello Open Access!

This week (at least for me) the topic of #ioe12 was Open Access. Open Access isn't all that new to me (having worked for an academic library for quite some time) but the materials still had a few new bits of information for me.  I keep forgetting the difference between OA Gold and OA Green.  For some reason "Green" is associated with money (dollars are green), so I had it in my head that OA Green was "author pays" while OA Gold was "author doesn't pay."

I was surprised to find (in the video) what the actual cost of some journals is! Considering that it is a "free" enterprise (in that authors and peer reviewers don't get paid), to have a journal subscription cost thousands of dollars is just ludicrous.  I also find it equally ludicrous that there are Open Access Journals where the author has to pay to get published.  I suppose, in the end, the money source needs to come from somewhere. However, considering that authors already put in free labor (research, analysis and writing), to ask them to pay is kinda crazy.  It was nice to learn that some journals waive the cost if they are asked.  There are some journals that seemed appropriate for my own writings that I skipped due to associated costs.

Open Access is quite important, both from a researcher's point of view and from a consumer (professional, student, society) point of view.  A researcher's work is worthless if it is allowed to become stale behing paywalls and embargos.  Research should be consumed fresh because some research (like veggies) does go bad if left in the fridge too long.  Other research, much like whiskey, can become better (i.e. more relevant, more appreciated) over time.  If research findings are allowed to become stale (or stale-ish) it's not that great for the researcher because people aren't benefiting from his hard work.  From a consumer point of view, open access is important because it allows practitioners to take the most research findings and see how they can apply them to every day work. If this does not exist, people will continue to work under older (and perhaps invalidated) assumptions.

Games MOOC, Week 2 Wrap-up

Last week was a pretty interesting week in Games MOOC. The main idea behind the week was to try out some new games and explore the game dynamics.  There were a few recommendations, among them RuneScape, a free (or freemium?) online MMORPG.  I thought I would give it the "ol' college try" and try out something new, but RuneScape just was not cooperating with me!  That, plus I was at the Campus Technology conference (see recent blog posts) so I wasn't really able to really try out RuneScape.  Perhaps another time.  One of my main issues with RuneScape was that Java was not cooperating with me (so browser version was a no-go) and the downloaded version had some sort of issue where my mouse needed to be x-many pixels south of where I needed to click in order for the click to register (20-30 pixels it seemed).  This meant that it was a bit frustrating to even start to explore.  Maybe when I get back to it I can use Jing or something to record what's going on and share it.

In lieu of an MMO, I decided to finish up L.A. Noire (read all about it here) and to try some new game after that.  I did try to go with the "epic" theme and tried Oblivion, a game I borrowed from a friend of mine.  I have to say that after that first quest (and 80 gamer points) I saved and quit.  It wasn't quite what I was expecting (I was expecting a Diablo Style game) and the front facing hack-n-slash (that would take forever to complete) seemed like not a good game to start at the time.  Instead, I tried my hand at Too Human which I quite liked (I am 4.5 hours in thus far).  I don't like Asgardian lore more than Elder Scrolls lore (they are both new to me), so I went with the style of game-play that I wanted to explore a bit more.

Finally, I did a small comparison between Chocolatier (iOS) and Dinner Dash (iOS).  I had played Dinner Dash before, it's a nice game to play when you have a few spare moments, but Chocolatier was new to me. Comparatively speaking, Chocolatier is sort of like a sim-city for the food world.  You have to watch your finances, spend money wisely, travel wisely, procure appropriate raw materials, create new product and sell in appropriate places to maximize profits.  Reminds me a bit of drug wars from back in the day.  Nice game if you are trying to teach management skills to someone young or old.  Dinner dash on the other hand is a bit more "fun" and behaviorist in application.  Tap here, tap here, wait for stimulus, tap here. There isn't much planning involved.  It is fun, but I don't quite see any educational application just yet.

So this was it for Week 2.  Now entering Week 3 - and we are officially half way through the MOOC!


OER (or old dog new tricks :-) )

I've been dabbling with the OER "week" in introduction to open education this week. I have to say that I've been a big proponent of OER (from a theoretical standpoint) for quite some time now.  I do believe that it is important for educators (especially those in public institution) to share their contributions for free and feed them forward.  The actual implementation is what I am stumbling a bit on in that it generally takes more time to go through OER resources in order to find something that works best in your course sequence, and at times you don't even find that.

A complaint that came across in OERu's #OCL4ED workshop was that it was more time consuming going through OER to find what might work well in your course, compared to going with some publisher's pre-packaged (and not-free) materials.

That being said, there were a few quite interesting resources in the readings. For example, A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources is a nice (and free) resource that you can use when you want to introduce your fellow colleagues to OER (and to creative commons licensing it seems) without having to spend a lot of time explaining things to them (a "read this first, then ask me questions" type of interaction - since time seems to always be short ;-)  ).

Another thing that really jumped out was that OER seems to be more of an umbrella term; which also encompassed wikipedia and OCW - according to free to learn - whereas my own understanding of OER before #OCL4ED and this module was a bit more limited to objects such as those in MERLOT. This makes me wonder if OER is too broad of a term to be used in the same context as OCW. It reminds me of super-classes and sub-classes when I was an undergrad in computer science.  OER seems to be a super-class, a type of object whose definition encompasses other things. If we treat a super-class like it is a sub-class, then that may lead to confusion.

Campus Tech 2012 wrap up

Well, one more campus technology conference and expo is done!

The Campus Technology annual summer conference is the nation’s premier higher education technology conference, where leading innovators and experts in technology for higher education guide faculty, instructional designers, eLearning program managers, information technologists, and campus administrators into the new realm of teaching and learning using the latest in applications, social software and immersive platforms.

Initially I was thinking about writing a blog post per day (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), but I had way too many interesting conversations with presenters, participants, and vendors to be able to do this (brain stops working after a certain point, you see).  So I thought I would pick 3 of my top sessions, and my top vendor of the show and talk a bit about these.

First of all, the keynotes by Mark Milliron (Chancellor of Western Governor's University) on "Deeper Learning Conversations on Technology, Education and the Road Ahead" and by George Siemens on "Meeting the Challenge of Change:  Historical Models of Transformation and Lessons for Higher Education" were phenomenal.  I do believe that they were recorded and they will be available in some sort of streaming capacity in the near future. Keep an eye out at the CT2012 conference website.


1.0 Leaving the LMS: Checking Out of the Hotel California
Scott Helf, DO, MSIT, Chief Technology Officer, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP
Gerald Thrush, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Pre-clinical Education , Western University of Health Sciences
Matt Curran, Technical Support Supervisor, Western University of Health Sciences

This was a bit interesting, I saw Scott Helf last year at Campus Tech 2011 when he was talking about learning analytics in a session he was leading (on the last day of the conference if I am not mistaken!)  Recognizing the name, and interested in a post-LMS world I came to this session. What they basically did was to replace the LMS with SharePoint.  Now I know what you are thinking, SharePoint sucks, and it may very well suck.  But, it seems that their situation was quite unique, and perhaps not replicable in other institutions.

They had BIG core curriculum courses where they had many students in multiple sections of the same course.  On top of this, because of the different disciplines, some disciplines only undertook a certain smaller percentage of the basic course, while others took close took a more substantial portion of the course.  For example, the MD students (Medical Doctor) may have taken 100% of the course materials in Anatomy and Physiology, while the DO (Doctor of Orthodontics?) may have taken 60%, and the DMDs (Dental Medical Doctor?) may have taken 80% of the course.  In order to save money on courses and not have 6 different courses that are slightly different, students were put into one major course with a variety of colleagues and they completed what was relevant to them (hey! Sounds like a MOOC!).

Thus the LMS was not used for grading, and it wasn't really doing so well with discussions. And, the selective release I guess was getting crazy.  So, they moved to sharepoint where they could share lecture materials, and have discussions around them with a flexibility that a CMS has but an LMS does not.

Interesting, but I don't think this would work for other schools.  I do think that a DIY approach works, it just needs to be planned and executed in a way that makes sense for each individual school.

2.0 Mobile Learning: Applications that Change Distraction to Discussion
Kyle Bowen, Director of Informatics, Purdue University

Last year I was quite excited to go to a similar session to this one, by Purdue, only to realize that their software WAS ONLY FOR PURDUE USERS.  Ah...major fail.  I loved the session last year, but I was disappointed that I could not use these nifty tools.  So, I put it out of my mind.  So much so that I went to the Purdue session again this year, only to be horribly horribly disappointed.

I REALLY LOVED the software.  Purdue has done a fantastic job with Hot Seat, and other mobile engagement software for the classroom such as mixable and jetpack.  What I really disliked, again, was that the software is NOT available for general use.  OK guys,  you can create some kickass software, but you are dangling (what seems to be) a gourmet five course meal in the face of people who have taken off-the-shelf canned goods and tried to make something out of combining them. The consolation prize is that you can sign up for the Studio mailing list to find out when these things might make it to the market, but I guess I want the software now, damn it! ;-)  Seriously though, Great job with the software, and even though they are not available just yet to everyone, their website is worth a look.

3.0 Going Hybrid: Faculty Development for Teaching and Learning Success
Andreas Brockhaus, Director of Learning Technologies, University of Washington - Bothell

The last session that made my top 3 of the conference was the Going Hybrid session.  I have to touch base with Andreas next week or something to see if he can share his materials.  The idea behind this is similar to what UMass Boston did back in the early 2000s when we wanted to enable faculty to use technology in their classrooms.  There was a small cohort of faculty each semester (13 weeks) that came with an existing course, or a new course they were developing, and created media materials, a blackboard session, and used a variety of tools to use technology meaningfully in the class.   The hybrid learning initiative at University of Washington was similar to this. It was a 10 week course, where faculty came in a cohort with an existing course, or a new course, that they wanted to blend.  Right now they are working on a 6 week version of this professional development course.  I would really be interested in seeing what they did. I think blended (even though it seems to have dropped out of favor in the education buzzword category) is something that we as instructors, institutions and departments need to re-examine.

There were many interesting products on show at CT2012, some new, some that I knew of from last year.  I had an opportunity to grab a T-Shirt from Instructure (love their T-Shirts) and a removable tattoo (should have gotten a couple of them!).  The vendor that really wowed me was NearPod. What was amazing, for me about NearPod was that it is a presentation tool and a classroom response tool all in one.  The instructor can stream to his student's iOS devices anything that is on his NearPod teacher console (which can include presentation slide, embedded videos, quizzes, and "clicker" functionality) and students can participate on their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad device.  They don't officially support android, however they did have NearPod on a Samsung Galaxy Tab and on a Galaxy Phone running at the conference and they would be open to set people up with it.

On top of this, it's a freemium model! For free you can have up to 30 students in your course, and you can have up to 10 lectures worth of materials on their servers.  Not bad! Now I know that you can easily use this with an on-campus (aka f2f) course, but I also think that with NearPod and a Google Hangout you can easily replace a more expensive conferencing software.  What can I say, they won me over and it's worth checking out :)

Finally, Kudos to my colleagues Valerie Haven, my former (day-to-day) coworkers at Media Services and Distance Education & Video Production at UMass Boston for their Innovator Award!

Note to self: talk to Larry Jacobs of Education Talk Radio!

Gaming can make a better world

Finally catching up with gamesmooc this week ;-)

I haven't quite gotten to playing games just yet (runescape is not cooperating with me), but I did read over the text-based materials (thanks to Pocket!) and views the TED talks.  This particular one was pretty interesting.  The example she gives of Herodotus of the Lydians playing games one day and eating another, thus surviving an 18 year famine by eating on alternative days is quite a nice example of flow. It also ties in nicely with a story I read today of "Death by Diablo" where a teen died, presumably after playing Diablo for 40 hours without break for food or sleep.  Maybe he had an underlying condition that precipitated his death - but it seems like even in a state of flow you can't ignore basic needs (water, food, sleep, bathroom breaks) for very long.

Another interesting thing, a tie-in to learning theory, is a comment she makes about World of Warcraft and quests, where even the lower level players are put into quests right away; quests that are in their skill level but a but of a stretch, so that they can help the games learn and level up.  This reminds me a lot of Lev Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development

Using games to solve real world problems isn't such a stretch.  There are a few games mentioned (I might be trying Evoke at some point in the future), and they remind me a bit of the plot from a show called Stargate Universe, where an MIT dropout spends all his time on an MMORPG, based on real life (but a secret government program).  This dropout solves a puzzle that allows people to travel through a stargate to planets several hundred galaxies away through the game.  Real world problem that teams of people could not solve, solved by one (gifted) gamer thinking out of the box.  Not bad.


#ioe12 OCW: Expansion Pack 2

As part of the researcher badge requirements I need to also contribute some new resources to the course for fellow participants. Here are some sources that I have found interesting:

Academic Articles

Friesen, N. (2009). Open Educational Resources: New Possibilities for Change and Sustainability. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 10(5). Retrieved from:

This article tackles OER, and OCW is considered as a subset of OER. It examines a number of different OER initiatives and examines the sustainability issues and challenges.

Carson, S. (2009). The unwalled garden: growth of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, 2001-2008. Open Learning, 24(1), 23-29. doi:10.1080/02680510802627787. (download from:

This was an interesting article that tackled the creation and growth of the OCW consortium. It wasn't very in-depth (I think it could have been more) but as a primer it's not bad!

Malloy, T. E., Jensen, G. C., Regan, A., & Reddick, M. (2002). Open courseware and
shared knowledge in higher education. Behavior Research Methods Instruments & Computers, 34, 200-203. (download from:


This was a quite interesting retro-gram. It reminded me that back in the day we used the term courseware as an alternate to the term LMS. You don't tend to hear "courseware" these days unless it's in relation to OCW. It's interesting to look back at these articles, even though they aren't that old, it's interesting to see the evolution of thought.


Web Sources

Seeley Brown, J. & Adler, R. P. (2008) Minds on Fire. Educause:

This article could actually fit anywhere within #ioe12 in that it brings together OCW, OER, Open Source, Web 2.0, social learning and other elements relevant to open learning and open education. I think that it was a pleasant read that you could easily give to your friend, colleague, or student, as a quick primer to open education.

Kirkpatrick, K. L. (2006). OpenCourseWare: An "MIT Thing"?. Searcher 14(6), p. 53-58.:

Interesting article; some of it was a rehash if other OCW readings, but this one also adds some information about the technology behind OCW, the internal process, and some info about the Issues around copyright.

Advancing the OpenCourseWare Movement: Challenges and Achievements:

This was an interesting video to view because it gives you an idea of what MIT OCW has been doing (and how much things cost in terms of money and staffing resources) over the last 10 years of its existence. The peer-reviewed article above does have some information, but I think that it's interesting to see both Steve (the PR director for OCW) and two faculty members 10 years later where they talk about OCW's benefits to MIT and others.


UMass Boston OCW: http://ocw/

A small plug for my own institution's OCW. It's not the biggest, or the most comprehensive, but we sure do try :-) Personally I would love for our university, as a public university, to make a commitment to OCW and have all of our courses on OCW.

Utah State University OCW (Learning Sciences department):

This is a link to the Utah State OCW repository. As an instructional designer I have looked at this repository to see what others schools with instructional design program do. While I do think that some of their courses speak directly to the goals, mission, and objectives of the program at hand (and as such not applicable to the UMB instructional design program), I do think that repositories such as this can help inspire and help cross pollinate other instructional design programs to promote innovation in the field.



#ioe12 OCW: The Expansion Pack

I thought that the OCW week would be a good week to work on the Researcher Badge for #ioe12 for two reasons: I am a big proponent of Open, especially with openly sharing and iterating through better course materials; and up until recently (#NMC12 to be specific) I wasn't completely clear as to the goals of OCW. Yes, I could have reader the fine "about OCW," but I didn't - my bad :-)

In any case, my anecdotal experience about faculty perceptions of open, and openly sharing their own materials in an OCW fashion has been of the "closed" variety, or at best the "copyright boogey man" or the "someone will steal your stuff!" varieties. I've only met a small handful of people at my institution who would just jump on the bandwagon.

To this end, I am interested in finding out more about the perceptions of faculty members about OCW, and sharing their own materials in an institutions OCW repository. I would like to know what they think about OCW, what their fears and hopes are when they share (or refuse to share) their materials in OCW repositories, and what they see as key contributing factors to successfully getting their materials on an institutions OCW repository.

If such studies already exist, it would be interesting to see how such views have changes over the years. It's been 10 years since OCW started - some views and opinions may have changed over the years.


Game MOOC, week 1 Observations

With Week 2 of Game MOOC starting up today, I thought it would be worth while to write a couple of observations from the inaugural week of this MOOC.

Last week's content was quite interesting. I still see a lot of people still introducing themselves in the "welcome and introduce yourself" forum, so I guess many more people are coming on-board, even at the end of the first week. The video of Jim Gee (reposted here) was quite interesting and engaging, and the games that the Guild Council (MOOC facilitators) had us sample weren't that bad. To be honest, I would not have tried any of these games out if I didn't have to. My time is a bit limited, and these learning games don't generally fit in with me as a learner, and don't fall into the demographic if people who might be in a course of mine.

That said, I did enjoy the games (despite some of them being frustrating, but I guess that was the point) and had some interesting discussions with a few participants about them in the fora.

From a programatic point of view (meta-MOOC), I am thinking of what "Massive" is, and how one counts massive. Even the "big" MOOCs like #change11 only had a handful of people actively participating (I don't know what the lurker and dropout situation was like), so by comparison this MOOC seems to be just as massive. I have to say that I like the forums on Shivtr. It allows people to participate in discussions with others without having to follow their blogs (although I have followed a couple of blogs and twitter accounts as well). I just wish I were able to tie this into my Disqus account somewhere to keep track of these discussions.

The journal function is interesting, but I am not a big journaler. Sure, I do blog, and this is a journal in some fashion, but I don't like to blog within a closed system (which is why I didn't blog using the LMS in the BonkOpen MOOC). The incorporation if Flickr is a nice touch because it allows people to share screenshots of their games (educational and non) with others, and provide some commentary around these games.

I am curious to see what the Guild Officers have in store for the remaining five weeks.


It's OCW time!

This past week I also looked at the OCW module of #ioe12. The assigned video was the announcement of the OpenCourseWare project back in 2001 (more than 10 years ago! Who would have thunk it!).  Now, reading about the OCW back then, I got the impression that these were going to be courses and not just materials. That OCW would be something like what MOOCs are today rather than a publisher or materials.

When I first looked at OCW I was really disappointed.  These were not courses!  They were materials, exams, readings and course notes.  Some OCW materials were more "complete"than others, so an interested student (with loads of motivation and resourcefulness) would be able to  self-study, but some materials were really incomplete and not conducive to self-study.  I saw this as a major #fail. This really colored my perception of OCW.

At this year's NMC conference (11 years later!) I did attend a session on OCW and my misconceptions about what OCW is, and what it was intended to be, were cleared up.  Yes indeed! OCW was not meant to be a course, but rather it was meant to be a resource for fellow educators! NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

In part, I blame the media for this misconception, and I blame fellow colleagues for the misrepresentation, I also blame myself for not reading the "about OCW" (i.e. reading the fine manual) before passing judgement.  Viewing this announcement video just shows that MIT was open, from the beginning, that this was not courses, but rather materials. This was, as the faculty panel said, bringing up to speed, up to "internet time" a time honored practice of sharing materials with colleagues.  Before it was done via snail-mail and on an ad-hoc basis. Now it would be faster and on an asynchronous pull basis.

The interesting thing about the video (and in other discussions about "open" in education) is the profit motive.  The "are you losing money by giving something away for free"  and the "My kid is paying $33,000/year when they could be getting it for free on OCW" comments.  The first type is just misguided.  As the panel pointed out few faculty are compensated (adequately) for writing textbooks. So the currency of the realm (IMHO) is reputation. Giving something away doesn't give you hard currency like money (which isn't there anyway) but it gives you soft currency like reputation which is what academia has had all along.  The second argument, again, seems to equate materials with courses and education.  Simple materials are not what you are going to college for.  If that were the case towns would invest in fantastic public libraries and people would go there instead of college.  People do go to college not for the materials, but access to subject matter experts, in-class communities, department-level communities of practice, and evaluation and accreditation. You don't get this stuff with just a collection of materials.

As a side note, it seemed a bit disappointing to me that there are no Greek translations of OCW materials. It seems like such a missed opportunity. Not that Greece is a developing nation (well, some may say that in some aspects it is), but it's odd that the cradle of western civilization is so under-represented in educational efforts like OCW and Wikipedia.  Something needs to be done about this!

Produsage and Participation in MOOCs

My colleagues and fellow MRT member, Osvaldo, posted an interesting blog post the other day.  It is interesting in and of itself, but if taken along with the Chronicle's What's the Problem with MOOCs, if gives you a whole other dimension. Osvaldo makes reference to Bonnie Stewart's post (this was new to me, so thank you for the link :-)  ) which is slightly reminiscent of the whole "digital natives" thing in how participants are consuming AND producing.

Osvaldo's post makes reference to the 90-10 rule (or 90-9-1 rule, depending on how you heard it first) where 90% of the participants in some social activity online are lurkers, while 10% are producers (the 90-9-1 rule states 90% lurkers, 9% contributors, 1% creators). and how this is evident in the MOOCs that we have seen thus far. This makes sense, at least from an anecdotal standpoint, from my own experiences in MOOCs.  Granted Change11 was a bit of an aberration because it was SO LONG that I really doubted that it would keep the interest of anyone that wasn't really hard core.

When Change11started I wrote posts on Lurkers and implications (thinking out loud really) and some people seemed to take issue with bringing this point up.  This particular post seemed to have to most discussion about it. In thinking about lurkers, my own posts and the allergic reactions that some have had about discussing the topic and the recent Chronicle post on What's the Problem with MOOCs, where the attrition is mentioned as not being discussed, really made me think more about lurkers.

Osvaldo came to two conclusions:

  • we need to re-define a c-MOOC as courses with an enhanced number of tutors (those 10% active participants) and the rest that retreat to the lurker status.I`m not sure this is connectivism, or 
  • we need to improve the way we deliver c-MOOCs finding ways of including the 90% that lurk to participate.

Osvaldo leans toward the second one.  I think that a combination of both is more realistic.  In my opinion (not substantiated by research at the moment) you won't get the entirety of the open course participants to participate. You just wont.  This is because MOOCs are good for window shoppers - people can join a MOOC the first couple of weeks and then decide to never come back - regardless of whether or not they participated. They are still "registered" but that doesn't mean much when you really think about it.

On the other hand, simply redefining a MOOC for the number of active participants might miss the point. I can just seem someone creating a LIKERT scale on how often and how much people participated in a MOOC, but instead of looking at the qualitative side of their participation (i.e. did they make connections and contribute to the overall well being of the group), they focus on number of posts - which might just be a massive amount of cute kitty and xkcd posts.

The ideal solution, for me anyway, lies somewhere in the middle.  Yes, you SHOULD try to engage as many lurkers as possible in qualitatively good ways, however we need to move past the metric of registrations as a way to evaluate massiveness and look at defining MOOCs, or rather what it means to be Massive, by some other means.