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Digital Learning Spaces

Jen Ross, 15 April 2013


on 16 October 2014

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Transcript of Digital Learning Spaces

In this talk
Every course design is philosophy and belief in action
Place is differently, not less, important online
Community and contact drive good online learning
When networks and flows replace boundaries...
Conclusion (there are many ways to get it right)
1. Every course design is philosophy and belief in action.
Digital Learning Spaces
2. Place is differently, not less, important online.
4. when networks and flows replace boundaries...
3. Community & contact drive good online learning
There are many ways to get it right...
Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Online courses do more than embody the pedagogical values of the teacher.
They are also affected by the nature of the environments where teaching and learning take place.
The idea of the ‘platform’...fits neatly with the egalitarian and populist appeal to ordinary users and grassroots creativity, offering all of us a ‘raised, level surface’. It positions YouTube as a facilitator that does not pick favorites, with no ulterior motive other than to make available this tidal wave of [user-generated content].... Whatever possible tension there is between being a ‘platform’ for empowering individual users and being a robust marketing ‘platform’ and being a ‘platform’ for major studio content is elided... (Gillespie, 2010)
The emergent mobilities paradigm ... undermines sedentarist theories present in many studies in geography, anthropology, and sociology. Sedentarism treats as normal stability, meaning, and place, and treats as abnormal distance, change, and placelessness.
...[it takes] bounded and authentic places or regions or nations as the fundamental basis of human identity and experience.
Sheller, M. and Urry, J. (2006) The new mobilities paradigm Environment and Planning A 38, 207-226
Matthew Gillon: In a strange way, I didn't feel that I wasn't in Edinburgh.

Phillip Walley: I may not be physically on campus, but … the campus goes with me - as part of my cognitive real estate if you will.

Lilia Banton: [to be at Edinburgh university] means to be online but also mentally, intellectually and even emotionally engaged with the course. it's not about where you live and breathe, but what you're reading about, studying, researching, creating. i think for me being at Edinburgh is being intellectually stimulated, thrown into uncertainty, sort of crisis, living with it, embracing it. i don't think i would do it while 'in' edinburgh cos the sheer physicality of the place could overpower me.
Eleni Zazani, EDCMOOC participant
Massive - enrolment numbers
Open - no mandatory prior qualifications
Online - fully
Course - structured, temporal
Why did Edinburgh get involved?
building on a strong culture of digital education;
exploring new teaching and learning environments;
expanding its reach.
Online distance learning in higher education is growing internationally, with many institutions providing programmes in this mode (White et al 2010), funding bodies encouraging further growth in its provision (Brindley 2011), and institutions investing in order significantly to grow their numbers of off-campus students (for example the University of Edinburgh is investing £4.5 million over five years in new online distance programmes).
c42,000 enrolled users
c5,000 active in week 5
60% female; 40% male
36% aged 25-34 years
60% employed in education
61% have a PG degree
made by Ary Aranguiz @trendingteacher
4,820 in the student Facebook group
1,945 in the student G+ group
c700 #edcmooc tweets a day
26,859 twitter accounts 'reached'
1,416 #edcmchat tweets in the last chat
915 blogs being pulled into EDCMOOC News
8,000 posts in Coursera forums (4,700 comments)
that doesn't include comments on blogs, posts and exchanges in FB and G+, or commentary and discussion going in in YouTube, Vimeo and other spaces
made by Cathleen Nardi
made by Angela Towndrow
Mary Huang - "what becomes of us?"
Ilze Levina - Lost in transmission
Pat Lockley http://www.ruschagram.com
diary of a teaching machine, by [ ed ]
"Beliefs about knowledge and the nature of learning are... revealed in the ways in which teaching spaces are designed." (Toohey, 1999, p.45)
whose beliefs?
"tacit beliefs about education are not purely an individual matter. They surface in the language that is used to describe educational goals, in the choice of what is to be taught, in the design of teaching spaces, in the allocation of time within the course, in decisions about assessment." (p.44)
"recognizable patterns in higher education... are the result of choices that have been made, sometimes consciously, sometimes without much consideration of what the alternatives might be. Those choices have been made according to the predominant values in the academic community. (p.48)
What characterizes knowledge in our discipline or profession?
How does learning occur
and how is it best facilitated? What should be the role of teachers and what should be expected of students?
What goals and objectives are worthwhile and
how are they best expressed
What content is essential and what is desirable? And
how should it be organized
What purposes do we need assessment to serve and
what form should it take
resources and infrastructure
are needed? (Toohey, 1999, p.48-9)
fundamental questions of course design:
whether we recognise it or not
If the spatial organisation and visuality of the screen both represents and creates a value system and an ontology, what social and pedagogical practices does the VLE interface reflect,inform and inscribe? What meanings does it produce? What version of pedagogy does it ‘make visible’, and what alternatives does it blind us to? (Bayne, 2008, p.397)
technologies work dynamically with pedagogies, not for them, and in the process they become mutually determining (Cousin, 2005, p.118)
learning spaces:
"the space has given me an opportunity to think about what we're doing in the classroom differently" - Kim Sawers, SPU
learning spaces
what does it mean to be "at Edinburgh"
but not "in Edinburgh"?
place, trajectory, network
"One might almost see the classroom as the epitome of immobility..., representing not only conventions of material structure but also conventions of teaching practice, of schedule, of seating charts, and seatwork routines. If we deliberately “destroy the appearance of solidity,” however, what might we observe? What types of materials (books, clay, earthworms, mounds of trash), energies (electricity, gas), resources (federal money, lottery surplus), information flows (Channel One, Internet, parent phone calls) permeate the classroom from every direction? Moreover, what of the diversity of children and adults entering the classroom doors, with their associated histories and geographies?" (Leander et al 2010)
"Anyone in the back row of a 500-seat lecture theatre is a distance learner."
(Jeff Haywood)
"I learnt so much from my tutors and my peers and felt that we (as students) were treated as members of a learning community - ideas were listened to and thoughtfully responded to. I was given the opportunity to think beyond a set curriculum by choosing my own topics and areas for exploration and engage in a variety of new learning experiences. I was encouraged to take risks with my learning and rewarded for entering into these wholeheartedly."
If you study with us, you will:
be in small classes, with other students you will get to know, led by tutors you will get to know
experience rich and varied digital environments
engage in activities that will challenge you intellectually and creatively
learn from other students in formal and informal groupwork settings
work independently on projects that matter to you
get rich, supportive feedback on your ideas from tutors and peers
study in a setting where research and theory are highly valued
become part of a community of researchers and practitioners from all over the world
If the web is worldwide, the university is the nation state. The latter finds safety in small numbers, proximity, intimacy, familiarity, definable boundaries, disciplinary and tutor authority, linearity, role separation, fixity and hierarchies. The former posits the limit beyond the skies, all is possible, the map is the territory, the medium is definitely the message, the message being that all contact, fleeting or sustained, is possible. (Cousin, 2005, p.127)
What would a digital pedagogy look like which engaged purposefully with ... fluid, haunted space? It would be one ...in which the material‘distancing’ of teacher from student and student from student was not seen as a question of compromise (distance learning as ‘second best’) but as a positive embrace of a different kind of presence, one which opens up new ways of defining and re-thinking ‘contact’. (Bayne, 2010, p8)
I have studied all over
generally I read at home
on paper
but i have had bouts of travel
so have studied - reading and [discussion board] in hotel rooms
all over
hotel rooms are good
cos it feels like pleasure
and it is a link to my normal life
I feel I am getting time that I wouldn't normally get at home
...always on my own, at home or in hotels
no one else around (Penelope Carerra)
"Conversation is king.
Content is just something
to talk about" - Cory Doctorow
Claire Forsman
Full transcript