Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And this... #EDCMOOC

Thanks to David Hopkins over at Technology Enhanced Learning Blog for both his take on #EDCMOOC (so far) and for pointing me to this video.  It kind of speaks to another issue that is a bit of a combination of some of my earlier points.  I guess maybe the word oversight encapsulates it for me.  The video references some of the things we're going to have to start thinking about in new ways in light of Web 2.0.  Things like copyright, authorship, privacy, and so on.  But who is we?  How do we influence the world wide web in any sort of significant way?  We can leverage its power of connectivity for starters.  People are already doing that in meaningful ways.  Think of this course and in fact the entire Coursera offering for that matter.  But still, can we really make an impact?  More to digest.

Another Thought to Pursue #EDCMOOC

In space no one can hear you scream.  And amidst all the noise of the net, no one can see your little blog.  Anonymous.  Alone in a crowd of millions.


More First Impressions #EDCMOOC

The connections that avail themselves to us in a digital world are as I mentioned earlier both a wonder and a curse.  I love that a Tweet from a stranger piques my interest and I'm led to an article that has me contemplating the future of education.  But the problems, off the top of my head, because I'm just stream of consciousness-ing here, as I see them are:

1) The excess of Tweets, Blogs, websites, FB groups, etc. etc. etc. - there is just so much content that it creates a virtual cacophany of digital noise.  Choice is lovely when you're choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream.  Then along comes someone offering 31 flavours, and suddenly your 20 second decision has been compounded immeasurably.  Now digitize your cone and pick your flavour from every connection the internet has to offer.  The choice can become overwhelming, to the point of paralysis.  Or you can choose to not choose, purposefully choosing nothing.

2) Each connection brings you to another.  And so on.  Down the rabbit hole.  Not in a one pill makes you larger sort of way, although that would be implied in point 1.  This is a turning and twisting and jumping that starts you out researching organic flea repellant for your pooch and finds you 20 minutes later exploring the cultural practices of the ancient Incas.  It can be hard to stay focused because there is just so damn much out there, available at the stroke of a few keys.  So many choices.

3) That medley of information, for me at least, lacks cohesion.  So while I am grateful for the resources that allow me to research both organic flea repellant and Incan culture, I often find myself without any clear path for where I am going and what I am trying to achieve.  It is distracting.  It's great for Trivial Pursuit, but I must admit I haven't played that in awhile.  My point is that while the tools for exploring and learning and understanding any topic are there, there is so much noise that often nothing is accomplished.

4) The sheer volume of content while seemingly a positive thing, also means that it becomes harder and harder for the content that has true value for anyone is harder to find.  How do you get your content noticed?  Not a new problem as any marketing executive will readily tell you.  But the fact that the barrier to entry for adding digital content to world wide web is almost completely absent means that the volume of content is incalculable.

So there you have it, for now anyway.  My struggles with the content creators, the infrastructure itself and then the actual content.  Utopia/Dystopia.  Two sides of the same coin as someone already tweeted.

I also want to explore the parallels between the topics we are discussing here in #EDCMOOC and the Game Theory course I'm currently taking through Coursera as well.  Specifically, I'm just going through some game scenarios where time and choice are coming into play.  It was interesting for me that there was this intersection of topics in two very different courses that I am currently involved in.  But more on that later.

Another area that interests me is the idea of The Matrix.  I'm not a huge fan although I think it was a fine movie.  What intrigues me is the premise.  I'm also not a conspiracy hound, but I enjoy the idea of it.  So while I don't think there is one secret world government that oversees the internet and uses it to keep us all down, I like exploring the possibility that there could be a veil that might be pulled aside at some point to reveal the Truth.  Note the capitalization, courtesy of Plato.  More on this later too, possibly.

See, this is what I'm talking about.  And this is where the Being Human topic for #EDCMOOC comes into play.  Like the internet, we humans are both physically a set of connections and options (organs, bones, nerves),  emotionally/socially (see my ramblings in my Why? post) and intellectually (I'm exploring the primary themes of this course but now I've got at least 3 distinct areas of interest that I can explore further).  FOCUS KID!

#EDCMOOC Week 1 Cinema

Here are the videos that were presented for us to view and think about. 3 YouTubes and a Vimeo. There has been an abundance of commentary on them already from a wide range of MOOCers.  I'm still mulling.  I need to watch them again and give some thought to how I feel about them in relation to our primary themes, and specifically where I want to go with my own line of thinking.  For now, here they are.  None are exceptionally long but each is worth the view for the artistic commentary on technology and society that they present.  Enjoy and feel free to let me know what you think.

 Film 1: Bendito Machine III

 Film 2: Inbox

 Film 3: Thursday

 Film 4: New Media

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Why another blog?  I don't keep up well enough on the ones I already have, so why more?  E-Learning and Digital Cultures.  It's an online course, or more precisely, a Massive Open Online Course.  A MOOC as the kids say.  And this one is #ECDMOOC.  Go ahead, read some of the tweets.  I'll wait.

Clear now?  No?  Yeah, me too.  At the very basest level it comes down to this.  I'm part of the online course mentioned above.  My task in a nutshell is to have left behind a digital artifact to be criticized (creatively one would hope) by my peers, reflective of my thoughts on the topics of either utopia/dystopia or being human as related to digital learning/knowledge/culture.  Digital artifact, for those who are staring at the screen with eyes glazed over, simply means that the final project has to use a digital medium: blog, online video, tweets, etc.

Now add to the mix that there are apparently 40K people taking this course right now.  And that the course structure is fairly fluid and open.  We are encouraged to view videos and reflect.  Comment in forums.  Post to blogs.  Discuss with one another.  Question.  Tweet.  Start Facebook groups.  Leverage social media.  Thus the blog title.

The internet is a mess of interconnections.  It is a great analogy for many things, life being one of them. Every life is a mess of interconnections.  There are the strong connections: immediate family, close friends, (current) colleagues.  Then there are the weaker connections: extended family, distant friends and acquaintances, (former) colleagues.  There are connections that are weaker still.  These are faces we recognize but don't really know, people we met only briefly or ever so casually.  They are the cashier at the grocery store that you see every week but whom you don't know anything about.  And then the least of the connections, the ships in the night.  These are the people we pass everyday but don't interact with; we brush past each other, almost close enough to touch, but never interact directly with one another, aside from the act of passing by one another.

The point is that in both life and on the internet there are a multitude of connections, and each then opens up the possibility of more new connections.  And so too with the construction of this course.  There are many ways to go off and explore.  It is anything but linear.  And that is both beautiful for the choice and variety it presents and discouraging for the sheer number of choices.  It can be overwhelming.  Utopia.  Or the other.  Just like life.  Like being human.

I expect to be fleshing this out a bit as I go on, but for now I'll leave it at this so I don't lose track of where I (think I) am heading.