Monday, 23 May 2016

5 week free xAPI course by experts, starting 26 May 2016 #xAPI

Online xAPI course, provided by the xAPI developers. You can pre-register for the course now, and it goes live from the 26 May 2016 (until 30 June). Full details are available on Course Hubpage on the Curatr website.

Join this MOOC to explore both the technical realities and the strategic possibilities of the xAPI. If you want to write your first xAPI statement and understand the difference between an Activity Type and a Context Extension, this is the place to be.
Equally, if neither of these things mean a darn thing, we are the community that will help you make sense out of your data strategy, and your roadmap for the medium term.
This MOOC will be open to contribution and allow you to explore the content and conversations that best fit your needs.

Starting late-May, the course will run for 5 weeks with full facilitation and a series of live events throughout June, and then remain open for the rest of the year. The conversation has already started on Twitter,  using the course ID as a hashtag #LearnxAPI – so why not head over to see what’s being said and to lend your voice to the conversation.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:

Demo access to the next version of Learning Locker

We’re running a demo version of Learning Locker v2 alongside this MOOC and you can connect up your activity to the LRS to get a feel for the next generation of Learning Locker. V2 isn’t ready for Open Source release yet, so you’re getting a head-start on the crowd by joining the MOOC.

Format & Events

Same as last year, we’ll be running two streams - one that covers xAPI strategy, and another which focuses on technical aspects.
We go live on Thursday May 26 to give you a few days to get started on the material before starting up 4 weeks of live events where we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at some of the key themes with a number of experts from across the globe:
  • Week 1 - Megan Torrance shares her been-there-done-that advice on getting started with the xAPI without breaking the bank
  • Week 2 - Sean Putman steers you through your xAPI-conformant Authoring Tool options, sharing best practice and advice along the way
  • Week 3 - James Ballard gives a view from down-under, discussing xAPI adoption in the Asia Pacific region and how vendors are working with clients to adopt more xAPI-enabled technologies
  • Week 4 - Aaron Silvers updates on the new Data Interoperability Standards Consortium (DISC) which aims to bring standardised conformance testing to ensure that vendors saying they ‘do’ xAPI, really do know their stuff.

Welcome to Learn xAPI 2016 #learnxAPI from HT2 on Vimeo.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Free multilingual MOOC opportunity for 1st time MOOC organisers #EUmoocs

This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone with a clear MOOC idea, but still wondering which platform to use. The EMMA platform supports multiple languages, which includes an automated translation of transcripts of your MOOC content to the other languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Estonian). 

The platform uses a wide array of learning analytics and survey tools, peer assignment options and a student toolbox.

20 MOOCs will be selected out of all the proposals that are sent in. To participate (= sending in your MOOC proposal), you only need to provide the usual contact information, a short MOOC description, your community of interested learners (for promotional purposes), and the languages you will use.
Deadline for submitting your proposal: 30 May 2016, although the deadline is close by, the information needed is doable in a short time span. Just do it, this is a great opportunity to have access to a great MOOC provider with multiple language options for free.

More information and the form to fill in if you want to participate can be found here. And quickly sharing some of their information:

What is EMMA?EMMA is a 30-month pilot action supported by the European Commission that provides an innovative system for the delivery of free, open, online courses (MOOCs) in multiple languages.
Hosting for selected MOOCs will be guaranteed for free until May 2017.
Benefits that you can have for free
  • Free hosting of your MOOC on the EMMA platform.
  • Use of the automated translation system for your videos and lesson texts (8 languages available).
  • Use of tools for peer assignment and student toolbox creation.
  • Use of learning analytics, tracking and ad hoc survey tools.
  • Use of the Blog.
  • The support of a professional communication service for student recruitment and institutional visibility.
  • Access to a community of MOOC providers willing to share their know-how and experience.
What is expected from you
  • Willingness to give feedback on the EMMA experience.
  • Willingness to edit automatic transcriptions and translations.
  • Willingness to collaborate on EMMA activities.
Submit the Request for participation FORMEMMA evaluation committee will select 20 MOOCs from amongst those submitted within 7 days of the closing date of the selection period according to the following criteria:
  1. Reputation of the teacher/expert/institution affiliated to a discipline.
  1. Presence of an active community linked to the teacher/expert/institution.
  1. Number of languages in which the MOOC will be delivered.
Only submissions received by the deadline will be considered.
Should your proposal be selected, our team will support you in the delivery of your MOOC.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Call for papers in Hawaii and Germany on innovative #EdTech #CfP

Two calls for papers/proposals below:

Open Educa Berlin or OEB2016
Conference dates: 30 November - 2 December 2016.
Deadline for submitting a proposal: 1 June 2016.
Submission page can be found here.
The OEB conference gathers over 2000 participants from around the world. It is inspiring, as well as a great networking conference. The theme of 2016 is 'Owning Learning'. Tomorrow’s learning is about ownership. We will own our learning. We will control what, where, when and how we learn. We will access, link, combine, interpret and interact with knowledge. We will be empowered as never before. We will make learning work for us. OEB 2016 is all about the new world of the empowered learner - a world in which learning is owned by learners.

Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences
Conference dates: 4 - 7 January 2017.
Deadline for submissions: 15 June 2016.
Dan Suthers, Maarten De Laat and Caroline Haythornthwaite invite papers for the Learning within Digital and Social Media mini track at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, (HICSS-50).

Pasting their call here:
"We solicit papers on how human learning takes place via interactive and social processes enabled or supported by digital and social media. We seek to bridge disciplines and research communities between system and learning sciences, so within this scope a broad range of research questions, learning settings, and theoretical and methodological traditions will be considered. Contributions may include new design approaches, theoretical perspectives, learning analytic techniques, policy implications and/or other research results relating to the relationship between digital and social media and learning. Studies may be situated in formal or informal learning settings, and we particularly encourage studies of learning "in the technological wild".

The shared theme across accepted papers will be on relationships between human learning activities and the technologies used. Topics of particular interest include:

* how learning takes place in networks, crowds, teams and communities that exist on and through the WWW and digital and social media;

* how the affordances of technological systems influence or are appropriated for learning via social processes, and how design of affordances can leverage these influences;

* how learning is (or can be designed to be) distributed and coordinated across multiple digital and social media;

* learning practices at the nexus of distributed work, socializing, and knowledge sharing;

* learning analytics in digital and social media: how to understand learning via the traces people leave in social media;

* new trends in learning and digital and social media, including issues and opportunities relating to information literacy, literacy and new media, ubiquitous learning, viral learning and entrepreneurial learning; and

* ethical issues relating to learning online, including issues relating to data capture, analysis and display, and learning about controversial subjects or anti­social activities.

HICSS 50 and the "Big Island"
The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, in its 50th year, is one of the longstanding scientific conferences and is highly ranked among information systems conferences. Diverse disciplines unified by a focus on information technologies are woven together in a matrix structure of tracks and themes. By attending HICSS you are not only reaching the audience of your track and mini-track; you also have the opportunity to learn about what is happening in related fields and meet leaders in those fields. Mini-tracks within the Collaboration Systems and Technologies and the Digital and Social Media tracks are particularly relevant.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Future of Education: merging quantified, qualified & connected Self #telepathy #telekinesis #quantifiedself

The people from the European Multiple MOOC Aggregator (EMMA) asked me to contribute my view on the Future of Education. So I recorded a talking head video (added below the slide deck), and accompanied it with a slide deck. In this This video proposes the Future of Education as the realization of human telekinesis and telepathy as a result of merging the quantified, qualified, and connected self. By reaching a telekinetic and telepathic state of mind, more time is left to dedicate to each of our personal learning goals. But in order to reach this connected state we must provide more curated content (like MOOCs), achieve a better understanding of how the mind works, and promote open access and open data. The video also offers two possible assignments.

Future of education for EMMA MOOC from Inge de Waard

And here is the full video:

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Free Informal language & MOOC conference call #CfP #MOOC #Language

Consider joining (by attending and/or presenting) at the International conference on MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility. It offers FREE registration for all, plus a potential 200 EUR to cover travel cost if you are coming from outside of the UK.

Deadline for submitting: 27 May 2016.
Notification of acceptance: 10 June 2016.
Conference dates: 20 - 21 October 2016
Location: The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Conference page.

Most of the time academic conferences require considerable fees to attend a conference, so take advantage of this one being internationally oriented, yet free. They even serve free coffee and tea!

Abstracts are invited for a 20-minute presentation or a poster in a titled attachment of not more than 300 words in length, with name, address and affiliation.  Email the abstract to: Hannah Leicester All submissions will be peer-reviewed and we will notify you by 10th June.  A selection of papers will be published in a peer-reviewed and open access online journal: Full paper submission date is 30th October 2016.

The Department of Languages at The Open University (UK), in conjunction with the Erasmus+ MOVE-ME[1] project, will host this joint conference

Call for papers 
In addition to MOVE-ME project presentations, we welcome research-related papers, presentations of case studies and projects as well as posters on MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility. Topics included but not limited to:  
·       - MOOCs - design, learning, teaching, quality assurance, etc
·       - CALL and its normalisation
·       - Mobile-assisted language teaching and learning
·       - Informal language learning
·       - Learning to learn languages
      Student mobility
      Virtual classrooms, eLearning, and ePortfolio

Confirmed keynote speakers are:
Professor Agnes.Kukulska-Hulme (The Open University, UK)
Dr Jeremy Knox (Edinburgh University, UK)

Registration: Download the registration form from here. Email the completed form to Hannah Leicester by 31st July 2016

[1] Six project partners are: Università per Stranieri di Siena, (Italy), The Open Unversity (UK), Federazione Nazionale Insegnanti Centro di iniziativa per l'Europa (Italy); National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland), Computer Technology Institute & Press Diophantus (Greece) and Nstitutul De Stiinte Ale Educatiei (Romamia)

Friday, 25 March 2016

2 Worthwhile courses: Personal Learning & Designing OER using practical instructional design

Two free courses that have started a while ago, but that are truly worth taking a look at.

  1. Instructional Design Service Course: designing OER while using practical instructional design
  2. Personal Learning (course built by Stephen Downes) using LPSS

Instructional Design Service Course
My colleague Johan Thys just sent me a link to a wonderful self-guided, instructor-driven online course on designing courses via a project-based approach. The course uses the CANVAS-platform and demands 2-3 hours of study time per week, and has a great course design template, uses practical frameworks (e.g. Merrill's first principles of instruction) and offers the participants a chance to make their projects (courses) available afterwards as OER.

"During this 12-week course, you will engage in a real-world authentic instructional design challenge that centers on the design and development of free open educational resources (OER) for adult basic education. This open service-learning course is facilitated by Designers for Learning (Links to an external site.), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. We coordinate service-learning opportunities with those who seek to gain experience creating instruction and other types of performance improvement solutions to support important social causes. In this project-based course, you will gain instructional design experience while developing instructional materials that will be made available for free to adult educators and their learners in the Adult Learning Zone group on OER Commons """""(Links to an external site.). "

OpenEdX course by Stephen Downes on Personal Learning 

This course explores the topic of learning in three ways: first, through an examination of research and development issues related to the topic; second, through interaction with a personal learning environment (specifically: LPSS) to take the course; and third, through activities supporting the development of a personal learning environment at a conceptual level. A quick overview of the themes per week can be seen here.

Course objectives: participants will develop an appreciation of different models of online course delivery, ranging from the traditional LMS through connectivist MOOCs to potential future models of personal learning and performance support.

Course environment: NRC01 Personal Learning will be delivered using OpenEdX and will include text-based content, videos, discussion, and exercises. Participants will be also invited to explore additional learning environments, including the gRSShopper, and Arke prototypes developed by NRC. In addition, participants will be encouraged to explore and work in online environments related to the topics covered in the course and report their findings in the discussion area or their own website. Participants may also be subscribed to a daily newsletter for the duration of the course.

Course Tag: #NRC01PL
Course Registration:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Learning amidst globalisation, solidarity, collaboration, & violence #brussels

Yesterday Belgian got his share of violence, and as it unraveled it struck me how much of the actions that are undertaken by all citizens, are similar to informal learning actions (but then I am a learning geek). And of course I do realize that being in an attack is by no means to be compared to learning... but still there is something that triggered my pro-learning mind. I lived and worked in Brussels, I am Belgian, and I hope peace can be achieved at some point. So this is my completely laymen view on some of the actions undertaken by people after the attacks on Brussels airport and one subway carriage. For it is clear that all violence is futile, and there is hope to see how people seek ways to help each other.

Over the recent years the European continent has had its number of violent attacks on civilians, no matter what age, background or religion. These terrorist attacks are carried out as a result of globalised violence, just like any other element of globalisation which reaches all of us. It would be strange that only 'good' facts came out of globalisation. At this point in time there is too much of a divide between regions to talk about effective, positive globalisation. Even primary education for all, a simple goal uttered for decades is still not realized, even though there is enough money in the world to put it into place.

Coming back to the Brussels attacks, the actions taken by people after the attacks struck me. It might be that I am too deep into my learning research mind at the moment, but it seemed as if people's actions paralleled learning actions: solidarity, using their network, collaborate... And maybe that is what is going on during those events. In order to get to grips with a new devastating fact, each one of us relates to what they know, and move forward based on their experience of what is perceived as efficient. People help people out, the government is only part of the solution, or to put it into learning terms: peer learning is in many cases more efficient, while the central curated content is delivered by recognised institutions.

Listing some actions:
  • Connecting to your personal network: after each attack, I take a look at those I know live/work in that city, just to see if they are alright. The same happened now, people tried to get in contact with those they know, and of course those they love. Social media got set up, e.g. Facebook Safety Check. It is simple and useful, if you are in an area struck by a disaster of any kind (and if the network is still working), you can 'check-in' to let others know you are alright. 
  • Press communications from government: the first official press releases took some time to get aired. A bit like lectures, it takes more time, and it is more of a general update on what has happened, less on what is happening at that particular time for specific people. 
  • Citizens helping all victims: on each occasion there are people who jump in and help others. For some it is part of their background to be able to help, for others it is simply helping people, acting upon a drive to get everyone to safety. The same with learners, some simply jump in during discussions, as they feel that what they have to share will help others. Even if that is simply being supportive in some way. 
  • Governmental structures get rolled out: there are known options that can be taken to relief the chaos after any attack or disaster. Which is part of the governments readiness to roll-out help. In this case all hospitals and medical personnel got sent out, together with the security people. These roll-outs are based on evaluations of prior disasters, otherwise they would not have been in place. 
  • Reacting to real-time needs: while people were being evacuated, thousands got stranded across Brussels. Once Brussels was in lockdown, trains, metro's, public transport were shut down, and all the people without a car were stuck in and around Brussels. The government let people know where the evacuation points were, but also informed everyone NOT to come to Brussels, as it was already completely chaotic. However, grassroots solidarity started to happen: people who were in Brussels by car, got word out through twitter that they had X places in their car heading to city Z. People who did not know each other helped each other out. Others simply picked up people with destinations written on cardboard on the side of the road. 
  • Get news out in real time: again twitter was mainly used to get the latest updates out to the public. A bit like a back-channel in education. It was not the government, but the twitter operators of the institutes struck by the attacks (e.g. brussels airlines), and most of the time people learning from each other, and sharing it asap. 
  • Personalisation, collaboration and solidarity: people organised themselves and others, those left to their own devices in Brussels, got word out to people in their communities to pick-up children after school. Those who were safe took action after hearing how they could help, even in a small way: e.g. giving blood as the blood reserves were rapidly depleting. 
  • Mobiles as primary communication: all along mobile devices were used, as these allow the quickest response time to actual events. Of course the amount of content shared is smaller: real time actions are shared through twitter, instagram, ... while news articles are read to get an idea of the overall situation. 
  • Societal action to safeguard children: one of the first strategies shared on the news was related to children. As a society, it seems that we care about the effects of atrocities on our children. Strategies on how to talk to your children about these attacks were sent out around midday, only 3 hours after the initial attacks.  
  • Societal solidarity: just like in any other city struck lately (e.g. Ankara, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Paris) actions depicting solidarity and non-violence through joining hands emerged. People gathering at central locations in the city to share their fear, and build on the solidarity which they want to show. Similar people join hands, those who believe a new world is possible. The same happens in online learning, similar people come together, feeling at ease by connecting to those who they can relate to, with (mostly) similar views. 
Learning is of course a very soft version of surviving. But whether we like it or not, it involves others, even those we do not know. The learning goal might be different from the goal for survival, but nevertheless goals are set, and the motivation is central to any action taken.

Learning is difficult to capture in frameworks, but it can be captured in its human capacity, as part of most of us, in a natural setting which always pushes us forward. I do not quite understand why I needed to fit the attacks of yesterday in something that I could understand, or at least from where I could start to see new hope... but then again, that might just be the reason itself.  But I do belief hope, and solidarity needs to be kept alive at all times, for we - as humans - can. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Self-regulated learning for measuring motivation & self-esteem in #MOOC #motivation #SRL

For those interested in self-regulated learning, building upon the knowledge which is created over the years, I gladly share a recently published paper, which is part of the eMOOCs2016 proceedings. The project is briefly explained, and in this paper we (the authors) also refer to the self-regulated learning instrument which is used to monitor young students (16-17 year old) while they follow MOOCs to enhance their personal interests. The goal of this project is to increase (online) lifelong learning skills. The paper includes a reference to a SAM-scale for attitude and skills measurement, focusing on language skills (i.e. practical use of language: speaking, listening), and digital skills such as critical thinking.
The paper gives an update on a year long project which runs at GUSCO, a large and innovative secondary school in Kortrijk, Belgium, for which I lead the research end of the project (in participative mode with the teachers and directors).
The paper can be seen as part of the conference proceedings here, or downloaded from Academia here, the paper is entitled; "Ensuring Self-Regulated Learning outcomes in a MOOC and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) in a k12 project. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Finding jobs as a post-PhD: strategies & opportunities #PhD #research #job

Today Koula  Charitonos and I are sharing some pointers on how to guide your career to where you want to go (as an academic or TELearning professional). The session is part of the valuable CALRG seminars, which are held at the Open University (UK) and are part of academic professional development and reflection. The incomparable Rebecca Ferguson and Liz Fitzgerald drive all the events and make it into an increasing success. 

Below are my slides on getting to the next career move after obtaining a PhD (which admittedly, I am finalizing still) and to find those positions that align with the personal life as well as personal ambition. [After giving my presentation, I got a tweet from Anne Krook who has some amazing links to help post-PhD students to find their next job, either in academia and/or corporate world, so gladly referring to her resources here.]

In running up to this presentation, I also wrote down some steps that makes up a PhD journey for those interested in taking up a PhD challenge and stretch their research horizons with a formal degree. Those PhDjourney slides can be found here (with links to probation reports, an example of a PhD call proposal, etcetera).

Here are the post-PhD career options slides

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Visual self-directed informal learning in FutureLearn MOOC #mooc @futureLearn

Finishing a Phd can be a slow process for some (on the positive side, I have been told by Bart Rienties that it is slower for holistic, creative thinkers as they tend to work in peaks... so with some slack in between). Anyway, I am now on iteration Z of my quest to build a visual to portray the self-directed informal learning as it is described by experienced, adult, online learners engaged in MOOC of the FutureLearn type. The visual is a way to grasp what all the findings mean, how they relate to one another, and how I can structure the findings in a way that enables the reader of my thesis to see where I am going.

The findings of my study were obtained from 52 course participants, involved in 3 FutureLearn courses, filling in Learning logs during their MOOC experience and getting interviewed on specific questions. To analyse the data I used a grounded theory approach, more specifically, I constructed a grounded theory following Charmaz's (2014) latest guidelines and pointers (while adding some of mine as well).

While sifting through the data, I found that the learning ecology of FutureLearn MOOC could be represented in 5 learning elements to embrace the whole online learning ecology: technology, context, learner characteristics, social versus individual learning, and organising learning. Admittedly, any learning could be covered by these 5 learning elements. But when focusing on FutureLearn courses, the data from the experienced, online learners provided some specific actions describing their informal, self-directed learning inside of these courses. This makes it possible to some kind of comparison to self-directed, informal learning in FutureLearn MOOC versus learning in classic online courses.
The information inside of the second circle is related to FutureLearn MOOC, outside of the second circle are some online course elements.

While going through the data numerous times (creating research vertigo in my head), I also got the impression that the key inhibitors or enablers of self-directed, informal learning are: motivation and learning goals. These two elements were most frequently mentioned in active relation to each of the 5 learning elements covering the online learning ecology. Which is why I put motivation and learning goals at the center of the 5 learning elements. The reason why I put them at the center are many, but briefly: if there is no (intrinsic) motivation, the learner does not even start to register in MOOC. Once registered, it is motivation (in most cases intrinsic motivation) which keeps them wanting to learn more (which is not the same as following all the content of the MOOC, but simply absorbing that content which is relevant to the learner). If the learning goal/s are not felt as being benefited by the MOOC, learners stop engaging in the MOOC. The learning goals (which can be professionally or personally driven, or both for those happy with their jobs) are what make learners move above and beyond: they will solve tech problems, they will connect to others, they will overcome lack of confidence, they will organise their learning against any time constraints they encounter.

With this visual drawn... I am going to rewrite findings, and add discussions to get my final chapter ready... that is the plan... yes, plan. *inner voice: "Please brain help this poor lass on getting all the words on paper. Will provide extra chocolate"*.