Wednesday, December 9, 2009

reflection of academic year

this is the time that we reflect on our work during the year. Over the last two days I have attended several "boutique" pre-graduation events and witnessed the power of success. Tomorrow is our Polytechnic Graduation. We will walk in procession through the main street of Dunedin and many folk will stand to applaud our graduates. Post school education is taken very seriously in this city. BUT one of the more powerful events was the pre-graduate evenrt for Maori graduates. Many were distance people working through blended learning courses and the Assessment of their Prior Learning through our unique facilitated process.Powerful because their communities need these people to have qualifications and are prepared to travel from one end of New Zealand to the other to support their folk at Graduation. The process towards success will include engagement through Moodle (a learning management system), Mahara (a digital portfolio tool) and/or the commercial Skype as well as regular phone and e-mail. The challenge of the distance candidate for APL is an ever present one and those of us who facilitate their progress towards assessment need to be constantly upgrading and practisign our computer and digital skills.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is it about Elluminate that so many of our institutions can't/won't host it? Are the choices they make so cautious as to allow nothing other than the microsoft colonisations to enter the institituion? Last year visiting TAFE colleagues carrying out Skills Recognition (RPL) in the state of Victoria, they couldn't understand why we didn't all use Elluminate routinely to help people prepare evidence for RPL and to carry out interview type assessments.

The pedagogical move to diversity of learning facilitation as shown in the open education resource movement on Wikieducator and the possible use of digital tools used routinely by students (Facebook/mobile phones/Skype etc) keeps being subverted by the IT policies we function with.
A tension indeed here for us to grapple with.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

alter personas

I have been intrigued with the names people have chosen for second life- I see so many Jungian archetypes there as to be unfuuny. BUT also it has been brought home to me this week, the parallel nature of some of these activites. I have had one of my granddaughters for a sleepover and we worked on selecting names for ourselves if we were to be Disney Fairies.
I suspect that many second life avatars are really Disney Fairies.Do they ever age?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the considered choice of technical platforms

i am conscious of the constraints and affordances of any platform you use to work with others in an educational way. Doesn't matter whether or not it is digital or manual. SO choose wisely- is this piece of digital technology able to be accessed, understood, interpreted by your group of learners?If not, then why are you choosing it?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

surface or deep online environments.

I am interested in the discussions on groups and blogs- have listened to the last meeting. I think that George Siemen's comments around what style each environment encourages is so apt- the groups tend to short chatty pieces, while the blog both allows for and encourages longer, moire reflective work. As for where the "community" happens, I suspect that Sarah's idea that the blog groups that spring up spontaneously around a shared interest have more motivational pull and real purpose for existance than the managed ones- I guess my comment to Rachel on the hospitality blogs is to do with that. They always seem to me to be thinly disguised advertising.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Discussion groups

I am currently a member of 6 different discussion groups- all have education and/or politics as their focus.

Those connected with an identified course tend to be rather more both facilitated and moderated than the others. Summaries etc appear that help you keep track of things and pose development questions.

Those that are interest groups have a very loose and flexible structure. I think with them the idea that you have the interest at heart i.e. "passion"- is taken to mean that you will make sense of all of that for yourself.

My son belongs to 3 discussion groups that are open and unfacilitated and he says that often he finds it very frustrating that threads seem to be left hanging.(I did ask him why he didn't do something about it, but that was not well received!!!!)

Moderation is an essential aspect of all these groups. the moderator checks posts and comments for libelous/vulgar etc contributions And in one group, requests for membership are put out to all members.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

politics discussion group

This is an open discussion group on US politics that anyone can join and where messages from new members are moderated.

I found it quite difficult to find open groups really- many that interest me seem to be closed. I wonder if the Blog is taking over from the open discussion group.
I do notice though that webpages such as the e-portfolio page will often have what amounts to a discussion for people who are trying technical things in the application.
Also the Communities in platforms such as the AkoAotearoa one must surely be discussion groups.

Friday, August 14, 2009

scratching or is it hunting?

you can look at Nan's Blog for several interchanges about teacher,facilitator,moderator. Is this one the hunter?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Some days just seem like this don't they? some of us wandering with heads out of view, some scratching around on the baseline. An ideal online day is one in which all the images match all the perceptions, or is it? Which of these creatuires is the teacher? which the facilitator? which the moderator?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

community online?

Community carries for me notions of shared purpose, some reason for relating, some suitable level or frequency of contact. We have work communities, geographical communities,communities of interest, and in this instance a community of learning and possibly also a subgroup- the community of practice.

Online is simply a community- a group- that functions in the ether. (or doesn't as the case might be. I have just spent several minutes trying to establish a hyperlink to a 2007 presentation by Stephen Downes around access to personalised technology with no success at all, so here is the URL and you will have to find it for yourselves. )

There is much discussion (often quite heated) around the use of technology to create or inhibit community and I found Michael Wesch's ethnography of YOU TUBE quite compelling. He uses (as you could expect an academic to do) his discipline to interpret the phenomenon of user driven and generated contirubtion, filtering and editing, distribution control. He points out that a significant portion of the material on You Tube is personal and targeted at a domestic or family audience. Issues of authenticity and identity get posed. I was interested in the "looking glass self" a concept from psychology
being invoked as a way of looking at identity where context that we are used to collapses. I wonder if this both inhibits and encourages a sens of community to those who are comfortable inhabiting the ether.

I guess for me there is an professional imperative to learn to move in this environment as I have to relate at a distance to people I work with and will not meet f2f. chromatic writes in O'Reilly that online communities develop a sense of ownership of their space and develop a shared history and culture. I'm curious to observe this community and myself in it in this regard. (He? also remarks that the first visit needs to be successful to encourage return visits. How many times is the technology not what it promises on a first visit? OH my.)

Stay strong people.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

memory lapse

I have forgotten how to edit a saluatation shoudl read ka kiti ano.
it means be strong. (and don't we need to be!!!!:) )

facilitating online learning communities

Well folks.
I'm Willie Campbell, a staff member at the Otago Polytechnic's Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning.
WEll yes????? (there is usually several questions in there )
We work with people to explore and reflect on their experiential workplace and lifeplace learning. THEN to shape that into a presentation targeted to the profile of a qualification to a panel of assessors.
We work increasingly with folk away from Dunedin, so need to become skilled in working online. hence my prescence here.
You won't need to have done the mindreading course to know that I am fairly basic in the use of digital and online tools, so forgive any blunders.
I look forward to the presence of you all in my current life.
Kw kiti ano.