New Year non-resolutions. #ds106 #dailycreate

I picked up this idea from a tweet by Alan Levine – @cogdog

People having lots of fun with today’s #ds106 #dailycreate of Non-Resolutions Love one by @Downes (“the Cossack”??)

What a great idea – so much more satisfying than the usual alternative of declaring resolutions which we know we will never keep. This also completely fits with the glass half-empty perspective I have a natural tendency to adopt and which I have blogged about in the past.

So here are my non-resolutions – in no particular order.

  • I will not be looking for or finding the elixir of youth!
  • I will not join the ranks of the extroverts, even though I suspect this might have some advantages.
  • I will not succeed in persuading my family to work in a soup kitchen on Christmas Day 2014. After years of talking about it, I suspect this is unlikely ever to happen, although I did manage to keep it all very low key this year and prove that it can still be enjoyable.
  • I will not get to see Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, although I hope this might happen in 2015 or after. There are other places on my bucket list too, that will have to wait.
  • I will not work out the meaning of life. Why on earth are we here and what is it all for?
  • I will not read as much as I would like to and will continue to feel insufficiently informed about anything and everything 🙂
  • I will not be any more than an adequate photographer. After quite few stabs at it, courses etc., I have realised that all the associated technical stuff leaves me cold and takes the pleasure out of capturing the moment for me, i.e. snapping! I just need the memories, not the perfect photo.
  • I will not get to have it all my own way – thankfully! It wouldn’t be good for me 🙂
  • I will not be joining the ds106 community despite having it recommended by people I respect – but thanks for this motivation to blog once more before the end of the year.
  • I will not be able to stop questioning, every time I make a blog post, whether it was the right thing to do!

Happy New Year to anyone who ventures here and reads this post. May your 2014 be all you would wish for.

Open courses in January 2011

The net seems awash with open courses at the moment. Three have captured my attention are:

Learning and Knowledge Analytics (LAK11)

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011 (CCK11)

Digital Storytelling (ds106)

Digital storytelling is already in its second week, but as Jim Groom (convenor) has pointed out it has been anticipated and discussed for many more weeks. It is fun just to look at the assignments that have already been submitted – a wonderful example of the talent and creativity that can be tapped into on the net and also a wonderful example of the four key activities of connectivist teaching and learning in action, i.e. aggregation,  remixing, repurposing and feed forward. There has been quite a lot of work on Digital Storytelling here in the UK and a few years ago I attended a Digital Storytelling course at the University of Gloucestershire here in the UK, where the focus at the time was on using digital storytelling to enhance students’ learning and reflection – a different focus to Jim Groom’s course where the learning objectives are:

  • Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
  • Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres

Information about the work in the UK can be found at the following sites:

I will be interested to find out more about ‘why’ people have signed up for Jim Groom’s course and whether people will ‘stay’ the course.  I expect it will be a lot of hard work.

Learning and Knowledge Analytics has also been going a week and got off to a good start with a lot of participants signed up and plenty of discussion. The first week’s invited speaker – John Fritz – gave a really thought provoking talk. Over 90 people attended this.  John started his talk with a slide providing us with a vision of the future of academic analytics, which listed the possible stages of the use of analytics as:

  1. Extraction and reporting
  2. Analysis and monitoring
  3. ‘What if’ scenarios
  4. Predictive modelling and simulation
  5. Automatic triggers and alerts

He asked us what our institutions are already doing and most were at the 1-3 levels. This reminded me of a JISC programme that I worked on last year – Institutional Innovation – where one of the projects was collecting data to ensure e that they could monitor student progress, catch potential drop-outs early, intervene and thus ensure student progress and retention. This was the Mining Course Management Systems project at Thames Valley University. The question that was raised for me by John Fritz’s talk and by the projects that I have worked with in the JISC Institutional Innovation programme was who controls the data – so  – do the students get to analyse the data or see the results of the data analysis? What voice do they have over how the data is interpreted and what interventions will be made – given that they will be the recipients? Interesting!

Finally to Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011 (CCK11). Despite the fact that I have already attended CCK08 and been aware of CCK09, I think that this is the one that I will be following the most closely, although perhaps still from a distance.  As a learner, it suits me better to be on the edge. Stephen Downes and George Siemens have urged us to ‘share with others’.  I have thought about this. Do I do this or not?  Well – I have to say – not very publicly – although I do have a few people with whom I feel very connected and with whom I have some deep ‘back-channel’ conversations/discussions (which have now resulted in 4 research papers/projects). These have all resulted from CCK08.  I do blog from time to time which I regard as my ‘wider sharing’, but it is the closer connections that I really value. So I am looking forward to CCK11 once again – but I will be keeping an eye on Digital Storytelling and Learning Analytics – for interest and from the perspective of being interested in how people learn in open courses.