Archive for December, 2012

Ideas behind the MOOCs

December 7, 2012

George Siemens is one of the most prominent proponents of MOOCs at present.  While I’m not convinced by all the links that he draws between innovative education and changes in society, in this TED talk he does provide a powerful explanation of the thinking behind new approaches to learning online (the course for educators that he describes is a MOOC)

For as long as distance education has been available (and that includes correspondence courses going back at least as far as the 19th century) much of it has been devoted to providing education to groups who wouldn’t have been reached by more traditional approaches.  An interesting consequence of the interest in electronic tools for learning is the number of influential thinkers who are based in remote parts of Australia or Canada, or who work with students who might be classed as ‘widening participation’  Working inAthabasca University, which is an established distance learning institution based in Canada, George Siemens falls into both these categories, though the TED talk is worth a browse for the bit at 2:47 where he explains where he comes from originally, and why that matters.

MOOCs in the Times Higher

December 7, 2012

This week’s cover story in Times Higher Education is about MOOCs.  It’s worth reading this electronic version from the bottom up, because, whatever the rights and wrongs of the criticisms posted by David Kernohan of JISC (an organisation that supports innovative digital technology in British universities), he’s provided some interesting links.  And this Twitter exchange is telling in that he’s clearly hoping to provide material for a follow-up article

Two items on design and technology from the BBC

December 6, 2012

One about current trends – an interview with industrial designers from Lenovo, whose Thinkpad computers are the successors to the ones formerly made by IBM.  Arguably even if Lenovo doesn’t set out to position itself as a design-led company, it still needs some design input into its products.  And this one about one of the designers of the original iPod.  I’m struck by the last couple of paragraphs where he regrets the click-wheel being superseded I think that it remains one of the neatest and most effective user interfaces around and, while I can see the advantages of touch screens, I also think something hasa been lost in their very widespread use