David Harris of OpenStax at Humboldt State

A picture of a textbookThe ALS and OER conversation is a campus discussion group looking at affordable learning resources and strategies. In our next meeting on Nov. 6th, 12:00 – 2:00 PM in the HSU Library “Fishbowl”, David Harris of OpenStax will be visiting to lead the discussion.

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Their free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course. Through their partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax College is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University.

Our breakout discussion groups cover:

  • Adopting affordable or free course materials
  • Producing course materials
  • Incorporating undergraduate research and OER
  • RTP and policies associated with open educational publishing

Sponsored by HSU Library, the College of eLearning & Extended Education, and the Faculty Development Workgroup.

CSU ALS: http://als.csuprojects.org/ 

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The LMS: The Crockpot of Education?

Fr. Sarducci Introduces Mr. Tea

“It does all the work!”

I am not particularly for the learning management system any more than I am for or against word processors. But no one expects that by owning word processing software, you are somehow a writer. Or that better word processing software will make you a better writer. Back in the late 70s on Saturday Night Live, Father Guido Sarducci introduced “Mr. Tea” – “You provide the tea bag and the hot water and it does all the work!” He was, of course, making fun of the Mr. Coffee and crockpot culture of the time – appliances that really didn’t solve any problems or solve them well. Anyone who has had a pot roast cooked in a crock pot knows what I am talking about. In many ways, the learning management systems colleges are using are part of the “set it and forget it” culture of our time: why have the students work on a project when we can give them a canned multiple choice test from the publisher? There is even software that will read student papers. There is something about learning management systems and how they are built that does not really bring out the best in teachers or students. As an instructional designer, I have noticed over and over again how instructors who knew how to teach had to adapt what they do to the tools that they used and sometimes sacrifice the teaching and learning experience – they start to use canned tests or commercial publisher’s content because the tools do not allow students to show their work, collaborate effectively, or engage with one another in a meaningful way. It takes a lot of experience to learn how to teach effectively over the internet just as it took time to learn how to teach face-to-face. But the new LMS is out there.  The latest LMS is always easier, faster, and better by any hyperbolic percentage you care to add here. It is brighter, shinier, and more Web 3.0-ish. But then the “problems” arise: faculty find out that in spite of all of the slickness of the LMS, it takes real time and real work to teach online.

What the new LMS will NOT do:

  • Provide a human presence to the class
  • Create engaging learning experiences
  • Develop authentic assessment in your discipline
  • Build relationships and trust
  • Read and grade papers or assignments with meaningful feedback
  • Provide students with your knowledge and experience
  • Cook a brisket in under an hour

Besides the brisket part, those are all things that you have to do as a teacher. This is the work of teaching. Online teaching doesn’t take more time: not knowing how to teach online is what takes time. Faculty spend 16 or more years in a traditional classroom and then teach for more years in a traditional classroom and then they are often asked (or told) to teach online with little training. And it is not the same as teaching face-to-face. It is not better or worse, but it is profoundly different. A new LMS will not solve this problem. It will be solved by mentoring, practice, research, workshops or classes. It is a problem faculty learn to solve.

So what options are there besides the canned classroom served up by the LMS? There are a number of them. Ironically, many of these ideas were being explored when I got into online learning as far back as 1997. Back then, at California State University, Monterey Bay, we were exploring eportfolios and portfolio assessment. Paloff and Pratt were talking about online learning as a means of creating learning communities rather than using the internet as a one-way delivery of information. In the early 2000’s, I was working with publishers on banks of data that would feed into simulations for studying things like epidemiology. The students would form disease a disease control task force and use the data to make decisions about what to do next. It wasn’t about the software or the data – the students had to use the tools in such a way as to build the relationships and communication that allowed them to solve the problem.

For the last 7 or 8 years educators such as Stephen Downes have been writing about what was to become the “personal learning network” idea. This where students combine their own tools to manage their own learning and connect with their teacher and one another to create learning. This is also an important component in the ideas around Downes and Siemens’ Connectivism theory.  What is really important about the idea of a PLN is that the students are learning, creating connections, and developing a network using the actual medium they will be working in when they get out of college. Since I left college no one has asked me to write a five page essay or take a multiple choice test unless you count the DMV – and judging from the morning commute, that system of testing is a utter failure. In fact, I was at a meeting once at a major education publishing house five years ago, and they were talking about a new hire. When the manager asked why one candidate over another, the other manager said one of them new all about blogging and had a great blog. The irony here is that despite understanding what was important for the operations of the business, they couldn’t see how the same processes were going to change the print industry and our relationship to knowledge and learning.

Jim Groom, Tim Owens and others are taking this to the next level with Reclaim Hosting. I first ran into Jim Groom via his course, DS106, which is project based, student directed class (some call it a cult) on digital story telling. This course represents a curriculum design that makes things like LMSs irrelevant as does Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning. Reclaim Hosting enables students to register their own domain, install their own blogs and other tools and manage their own learning while keeping control of their own information. Why wouldn’t we want students to do that? I used to have concerns about teaching students how to do this but at the end of the day, I realized that we had to work just as hard to learn how to use the LMS. We had to work just as hard to teach students how to be dependent on a corporation to “manage” their learning. Why is that a good thing?

In the meantime, institutions are addicted to the promise of the LMS. For administrators, the LMS is great: it provides assurances of privacy and FERPA protections, it gets the students in and out at the end of the semester, and records all the grades (when the gradebook is set up right and working). But as John Culkin said “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and thereafter, they shape us.” What will become of us if the tools we use are open, collaborative, and in the hands of students? Learning shouldn’t stop once class is over, or at the end of the semester, or at the awarding of a credential. We don’t need an LMS that slices, dices and makes Julianne fries. We need open tools that facilitate real learning which is a life-long transformative experience that changes how one engages with the world. I am keeping my eye on Reclaim Hosting and implementations of it such as what Chris Mattia is doing at CSU, Channel Islands as something that could possibly be rolled to other California State Universities.

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The Allure of the Archives

English: Reconstruction of the Bastille in 1420

English: Reconstruction of the Bastille in 1420 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arlette Farge’s book, The Allure of the Archives, is one of those books that belongs in its own genre. I love this book. Farge is Director of Research in Modern History at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.I am not sure how to describe it: creative meta-non-fiction? It is a prose poem on thinking about research? In this book, she discusses her research into the 200 year-old police archives of the Bastille. In these archives she explores the testimony of criminals, revolutionaries, and ordinary people. She paints an extraordinarily intimate portrait of the the lives of of the everyday workers, the poor and women in pre-Revolutionary France. And yet it is just as much about the experience of the research: the tactile experience of opening old bundles of documents, notes, and artifacts; the people who are in the archive with her, and the furniture and building itself. It is a short book but well worth taking your time to read it. It is a deceptively easy book to read – but there are echoes of Foucault and Habermas there that will take you back to those writers. The Allure of the Archives is a lyrical gem from a deep and sensitive thinker.

This is a particularly fascinating book to read in 2014. The book was written in 1989, a time when we could not just get online and perform research on scanned documents. I know that internet research is not the same. I really appreciate the fact that there are those who have the privilege of being able to get the credentials that allow them to do the kind of research that Farge does – we need that. However, I am just as excited about the kinds of crowd sourced research that goes on now when researchers put scans of papyri online and ask for help with translations. There is something timeless about this book though that flies over the whole phenomena and culture of the internet.

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Promoting Academic Honesty Online

Every semester we deal with questions like “how do you know the person enrolled in the course is the one taking the test?” The instructional designers in Humboldt State University’s College of eLearning & Extended Education often assist faculty  in developing a wide variety of assessment methods that can minimize cheating, promote academic integrity, and increase the interactivity and engagement in online courses. Some of the methods to reduce cheating and to promote academic honesty include:

Course Design

  • Include a simple academic honesty pledge “test” that says, “I understand my college’s academic honesty policy. All of the work I turn in is my own” with a link to the policy.
  • Include the academic policy in your syllabus quiz.
  • Discuss the importance of academic integrity to your discipline in a lecture.

Assessment Design

  • Give many short, low-stakes quizzes instead of a high-stakes mid-term and a final.
  • Make assessments depend on the preceding course work.
  • Pose higher order, mastery questions requiring deeper knowledge and application of material (see Bloom’s Taxonomy).
  • Have students relate subject matter their personal, professional, or life experiences.
  • Have answers relate to current events in the news.
  • Display test questions one at a time.
  • Use a question bank and have the test randomly created for each student attempt.
  • Limit the times when the online test is available.
  • Create a set duration of time for students to complete the test.
  • Estimate how long responses should take to answer if someone knows the material well.

Alternative Assessment Methods

  • Use online quizzes as self-assessment only
  • Use online quizzes as pre-testing at the start of a course
  • Short essays
  • Group or individual projects
  • Discussion forums – whole class and small groups that report out to a main discussion
  • Portfolios
  • Debates
  • Simulations
  • Contributions to collective information pools like wikis or blogs
  • Online “poster sessions” or presentations
  • Create a video or audio presentation
  • Role-playing
  • Interviews

Essay Assignments

  • Use TurnItIn.com (We suggest that this is used as a teaching tool and not a policing tool.)
  • Have students relate subject matter to their personal/professional/life experiences
  • Have essay subjects relate to current events in the news

I personally feel that project based learning and portfolio driven assessment remove all of these questions about academic honesty and provide a deeper level of engagement and assessment.

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Open Textbooks in the Humboldt State Library

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The library at Humboldt State University provides online research guides for students in nearly all disciplines (seriously, it even includes Kinesiology). Our new Library Dean and open textbook guru, Cyril Oberlander set Tim Miller and Sarah Fay Philips to work on the Open Educational Resources Guide – this handy guide based on similar work at SJSU – will help faculty make smart and affordable choices for their course materials. This is a significant benefit for the students at HSU and elsewhere who are increasingly impacted by the cost of education.

There is a monthly group meeting, the OER Collaborative, in the library exploring open textbooks and developing an Affordable Learning Solutions plan for the campus. The LA Times ran a great story back in August about what the California State University system has in mind with ALS and how they want to lower costs. My favorite quote is from Gerry Hanley, our assistant vice chancellor for academic technology services who says that his “… goal is to cut costs by 50% for all students, so instead of paying $1,000 a student would pay $500…” and he says  “My real desire is to make materials free for everyone, but I recognize that the creation of content and publication is real work.”

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mLearning Initiatives at Humboldt State University

This just in from Morgan Barker, an instructional designer at Humboldt State:

Hello Staff & Faculty,

I would like to personally invite you to campus sessions centered around the topic of mobile learning. The eLearning department will be holding a monthly 2014-15 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) session. Come join us -grab a cup of coffee and a croissant, during the session.

Sessions will run like an open mike forum – the perfect venue to start an academic discussion, ask questions, share your mobile lessons or learn from the campus community.

Fall Session Dates/Times – BYOD Mobile Learning Sessions

The Fujitsu iPAD
Friday, September 19th
Theme – Facilitate Classroom Use – mobile lessons, all disciplines
SH 117 9-10am

Friday, October 17th
Facilitate Collaborative, Content Sharing Elements, all disciplines
SH 117 9-10am

Friday, November 14th
Facilitate Field Journals, all disciplines
SH 117 9-10am

More Information – What is Happening at HSU with Mobile Learning? During Spring 2014 the College of eLearning facilitated a semester-long Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on mLearning that created a fun and safe environment in which faculty collaboratively explored, applied and shared mobile technologies and pedagogies to enhance student learning. Take advantage of these resources:

Cannot make these sessions? We will continue the use of #mobileflc and our tagboard mentioned above. This is a great way to see the conversations and add relevant content.

More and more events like this will be happening here as they are in the rest of the country. I am really interested in how these tools can change how students learn. I was very skeptical at first because when the iPad first came out, I saw it only as another consumption device and I associated “mlearning” with proprietary platforms. It is a different world now – the web has gotten to be a much more creative place to be since the dawn of Web 2.0 and it is really worth looking all of the ingenious uses of networks and even the simplest of tools. These events are the follow-up events that grew out of the mLearning Faculty Learning Community that Kim Vincent-Layton and Morgan Barker led last year – I highly recommend this and if you are on campus, please stop by. 

Posted in #mobileflc, Bring your own device, Bring Your Own Technology, BYOD, elearning, HSU, Humboldt State University, mlearning, Mobile device management, networks | Comments Off

Time Saving Tips for Online Teaching (2014)

English: A clock made in Revolutionary France,...
 A clock made in Revolutionary France,
showing the 10-hour metric clock.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often hear that online learning takes a lot of time for instructors. I have found that it can, but when a course is set up in advance, using the appropriate tools, a lot of time can be saved. A little work and planning in advance can save teachers a lot of time when it will really count. Many of these techniques make for a more engaging experience for the students and make teaching online less stressful for instructors.

Note: this is an update of a post from 2012 that adds tips that teachers have sent in since then. Thanks everyone! Here are some of my favorite time-saving tips. Please add to them through the comments or via email.

1. Create a “Welcome Letter” that not only introduces the instructor and the course but gives detailed instructions on how to access the course and where to get help.

2. Use a “Week Zero” that opens up before your class. Create a module in your online class that is always open that tells students how to use the online tools for your course. This module would be a good place for links to online student services that may be available to your studnets.

3. Create a comprehensive syllabus.  Use the syllabus to let students know how to find tech support, tutoring, and a librarian. If your college does not provide online tutoring for students, be sure to check out OpenStudy which provides free, facilitated, online peer tutoring.

4. Use a syllabus quiz. Creating a quiz or syllabus scavenger hunt will help students understand how your course is organized and where to find help. I found this to be even more effective if it were worth a few points.

5. Make your course easy to navigate. Keep as much content as you can no more than two clicks away. Use a consistent format week-to-week or module-to-module. Remove buttons or tools you are not using.

6. Schedule your time. Do not work on your online course because you can; work on it because you have scheduled the time. Let the students know your schedule. Access your course consistently (e.g. three times a week) and respond to email promptly (with-in 48 hours).

7. Be strict about forms of communication. If you give students multiple email and messaging accounts to contact you, be prepared for students to use them. Some instructors do not receive class related email but take course related questions only through the learning management system. Some will only use email. Some only take assignments in drop box. Make sure you are clear about how you want to be contacted.

8. Automate your course as much as possible. Take advantage of the time-release feature of announcements and other content in the tools that you are using like your learning management system. Record and reuse lectures. Let online tools handle as much of the grading as you can.

9. Distributing and exchanging documents. Use the assignment feature of your LMS instead of e-mail. Encourage students to share documents using Google Docs or Dropbox.

10. Centralize question and answers. Use a discussion forum for “Frequently Asked Questions.” Create a FAQ page. Ask students to ask questions in the forum rather than e-mail so everyone benefits from the answer.

11. Use online groups with a deliverable. Let the students do the work. Do not respond to every posting, respond to the group deliverable.

12. Use a “common responses” file to quickly paste in answers to common questions. This file can be a Google Docs file that you can open on any computer.

13. Allow students to facilitate online discussions. Giving students an opportunity to discuss what they have learned in their own voice can really help students learn.

14. Use a detailed grading rubric to help answer questions in advance.  Teachers can create rubrics online using tools like RubiStar.

15. Encourage student-student interaction and study groups. Give them the space to solve problems.

16. Communicate to the entire class regularly. Use audio and/or video each week. Try to anticipate problems or sticking points in a class and record a video to address these issues. We like to suggest tools like Screencast-o-Matic. A YouTube account is also very handy.

17. Save a tree. If you are still printing out papers, learn to use the “Insert comments” feature in your word processor. Downloading papers, printing, then scanning and re-uploading is an enormous time sink. Find out if your college uses “TurnItIn” or some other such service with quick grading tools for documents. If you have not learned how to do this, it will make a huge difference. (And yes, we still have teachers doing this.)

What about you? How do you streamline your online teaching process? Leave a comment below if you have any time saving tips.

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Open Textbooks at Humboldt State University

English: The Jolly Giant Commons while briefly...
The Jolly Giant Commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I presented the other day at Humboldt State University‘s conference “Institute for Student Success.” I was really pleased that the organizers seem to recognize economic barriers to education as a factor in student success. I am also very excited about some of the work already in progress here at HSU with open textbooks. Last year, I worked with Chris Callahan, one of our Biology instructors, to put his BIOL 102L online – human biology with a lab. The course used chapters from two open textbooks, numerous videos from Kahn Academy and elsewhere. The labs combined some simulations from Smart Science as well as a collection of experiments that the students could do in their own home. One of the requirements of the lab report had the students take pictures of themselves actually doing the experiments. It is amazing what some of these students could accomplish with a hotplate or a microwave in their dorm rooms!

One of my goals with this presentation was to find other faculty who might be interested in open textbooks or who may already be working with OERs and open textbooks: I was not disappointed.

Laura Hahn and Scott Payton of HSU, and Lance Lippert of Illinois State University have written a textbook in Wikibooks called “Survey of Communication Study.” The text is for the capstone course for the BA and the interesting part is that the capstone includes having the students edit and update the textbook. As an instructional designer, I am always interested in new models of open textbook creation and I think this is very innovative. It has the potential of combining open textbook authoring with portfolio assessment. This is a great answer to the question “who is going to maintain and update an open book once it is published?” This turns the “textbook” into a living community of scholarship rather than a static object of consumption.

There are other projects here that I will be writing about later so watch this space! Good things are happening at Humboldt State.

Related articles

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Death of the Book Redux

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein (from Wikipedia) 

I don’t know if this is related to climate change or the polar vortex, but the yearly declaration that the book is dead or dying is early this year. Naomi S. Baron, in her article “How E-Reading Threatens the Humanities” is the latest. Never mind the fact that with every new change in technology, there is resistance to the change. Socrates was suspicious of writing itself because it took away from relying on memory. Writers like Sven Birkerts have been writing wistful epitaphs on books and culture for years, if you are not familiar with him, his book “The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in the Electronic Age” might be hard to find now in paperback but it is available in a Kindle edition.  The article is filled with anecdotal evidence from experiences with her students and she asks:

Are students even reading Milton or Thucydides or Wittgenstein these days? More fundamentally, are they studying the humanities, which are based on long-form reading?

As a former English teacher, I would say that is not their job but ours as teachers. It is our job to show them why Milton, Thucydides or Wittgenstein are relevant. The humanities have always been in crisis because most students expect to get training in college that will allow them to get work afterwords. It is our job as instructors to show them that despite that goal, everything they learn in humanities courses will only help them later.

When I first entered college in the 80s, I read about the death of the book, the death of the humanities, and read articles about the importance of a liberal arts education. This is probably just the nature of journals like the Chronicle of Higher Ed, but you rarely see articles like this from state or community colleges. They always seem to come from the hallowed halls of the Ivy League where instructors can afford the luxury of sitting in big libraries reading old leather bound books. What these instructors are really afraid of is the change in the technology. The technology makes paying hundreds of dollars for a text irrelevant and wasteful. There are too many new ways to deeply engage in an online text. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in this read Innovating Pedagogy 2012, the first article is called “New pedagogy for e-books.” There are a number of tools that allow for commenting, highlighting, and discussing texts. I would especially include here:

  • NB from the Haystack Group at MIT’s CSAIL. This site allows instructors to upload PDFs and then students can bookmark, highlight, add comments, and discuss the text with the class.
  • Diigo allows students to bookmark, highlight and comment on online texts and then share those bookmarks.
  • Bounce – Students or teachers can select regions of a webpage, annotate, and share the URL of the annotated page with others, who may also comment.
  • Google Docs – Any text can be uploaded to Google Docs and shared with a class that can highlight and comment on that text.
  • And just about any wiki like wikispaces.com are good collaborative spaces to share and comment on texts. 

There is something exciting about holding a device in my hands that is connected to the largest library in the world. I can thoughtfully read on an iPad because I can annotate a text, bookmark, connect with others who are reading the text and if the author is alive, I can even send an email.

I see both sides of the argument – we do lose something whenever new technology is introduced. But sometimes we gain things as well. Every shift in communication technology has led to some kind of disruption, but also a benefit. We should learn from that history: moveable type got rid of scribes but eventually lowered the cost of books. One of the many ironies about all of this is that I know more people reading the classics right now because they are free downloads via Kindle, Google Books, Gutenberg, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Online Books page.

We have a Biology teacher here who used an online, open textbook (openly licensed via Creative Commons) for his online and face-to-face Biology courses. Our survey tells us that these students felt that there was no difference between their experiences with the etext than with a commercial hardcopy except commercial text was too expensive!

It is up to instructors to work out how best to use this technology. There is a right way and a wrong way. Instructors should be asking questions about how best to leverage the technology into new opportunities for teaching and learning. There are a lot of tools here to harness towards the end of making the humanities engaging. Where Baron sees distractions, I see opportunities for engagement and deep learning. What Baron is really saying is that the old methods of teaching do not work in the connected age; I am not sure why that is news.

Posted in Baron, birkerts, ereaders, etexts, Humanities, iPad, liberal arts, OER, Open textbooks, Reading, text | Comments Off

Why Connectivism is a Learning Theory

Domains of major fields of physics
Domains of major fields of physics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Wiley recently made a comment on his blog, in response to a very succinct posting by Stephen Downes, that the learning theory Connectivism, though he is sympathetic to it, was incomplete. I am not sure what to make of that. I understand David’s point that terms need to be carefully defined. A solid theory needs operationally defined key terms. But I am not sure that Connectivism is really incomplete. There are a lot of great theories out there that work well and are very useful but are not “complete” in every sense. Einstein thought that his theories of relativity would lead to a Universal Field theory and because his work does not account sufficiently for quantum mechanics, in that sense his theory is incomplete. But it is still quite useful and irreplaceable in many fields of study and in practical application.

When Einstein first published his theory it had to go through years of refinement and testing. That is the process. There are still things being worked out with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution but the days of wondering if it is valid are long behind us. It has been proven, observed, and tested. There are still evolutionary mechanisms to be worked out and the history of evolution will take more field work.

Looking at the history of theories, I am beginning to think that the discipline a given theory arises from is often the one least capable of evaluating it. But that is where all of the experimental and observational evidence is going to come from. Most of the criticisms I have read of Connectivism boil down to the new theory is not like the old theories. A theory is meant to provide a conceptual framework for viewing and understanding phenomena. As an instructional designer, I have a purely practical approach. I am only interested in a theory’s usefulness, but for me, a theory must

  • account for current theories (either through refutation or inclusion)? A theory shouldn’t just account for a given phenomena, it should do so in some measurably better way (more complete, elegant, etc.).
  • sufficiently explain where we are now.
  • make predictions. Any theory that can’t predict anything is basically a conjecture at best.
  • be subject to testing. Here I would emphasize that the theory should change what we do based on experiment and empirical data.  

In my experience, Connectivism has met those four conditions. Those shouldn’t be the only ones but as an instructional designer, the theory accounts for current issues in my work in ways that other theories do not. 

    Stephen Downes speaking at D2L09.One of the problems of learning theory is that it is usually an interpretation of learning based on a psychological school of thought, sociology, or philosophy. It would be difficult for learning theory not to come from those disciplines, but learning theory seems to get stuck because while the derivative disciplines may have moved on, the learning theory often does not because educators are not participating or doing research in the parent disciplines.
    New theories come about when the current theories no longer account for new information or phenomena. This is what made Connectivism particularly important to my work. The theory was created by Stephen Downed and George Siemens (Connectivism: a learning theory for the digital age) at the same time that networks and social media were impacting education in some profound ways. Some of the phenomena that Connectivism accounts for are phenomena that many educators fight against: online classes, social media,  MOOCs, student-driven learning, etc. Connectivism for these instructors will never be a valid theory because they will never be comfortable with some of the implications of the theory: it would represent a profound change in their world view that they are not ready to accept. Connectivism is a learning theory because it accounts for the changes we are seeing in our society and in education in ways that the older theories cannot. Even social constructivists have a hard time wrapping their minds around social networks.

    With that said, I am no ideologue either. I have my own bones to pick with Connectivism. It is still unclear to me how learning “may reside in a non-human appliance.” It should either be the case or not. My definition of learning requires someone to actually do the learning. I see non-human appliances storing information, processing information, even mimicking pattern-making (chess computers). I don’t understand how learning resides there. That is my “why a duck?” moment with the theory. It also feels like a left over principle from another theory that is not necessary for Connectivism to be a strong theory on its own.

    But Connectivism is not just an explanatory or descriptive theory. As an instructional designer, I can use it to help analyze the success and failure of a particular course. So how would I test it? There are a number of ways. First, we build a course design rubric based on the tenets of Connectivism, and compare the success and retention rates, and course satisfaction (for students and teachers). Second, we repeat the experiment, and share the finding so others can reproduce the results.

    The jury is still out for Connectivism. This is as it should be! The jury should always be out for all theories if we are going to engage in the scientific method and reason together. 

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    Posted in connectivism, David Wiley, Einstein, George Siemens, Learning theory, Massive open online course, MOOCs., pedagogy, Stephen Downe, theory | Comments Off