Friday, 16 September 2016

2 day online seminar (fee): explore opportunities for data & analytics #data

The eLearning Guild is organizing a two day online seminar on 21 - 22 September 2016 on the opportunities for data and analytics within the eLearning industry. The standard rate is 395 $, but there are discounts available (e.g. academics, non-profits, government: 35% discount). When looking at the full summit program you will see that the organizers provide a nice balance between technology, usability and theoretical frameworks on the subject.

There is a considerable amount of buzz in our industry surrounding data. Data continues to multiply, and so does the processing power available for analytics and interpretation. People are grappling with making sense of it all. At the Data & Analytics Summit, we’re inviting leaders from the data and analytics space (Ellen Wagner, Aaron Silvers & Megan Bowe, George Siemens, JD Dillon, MJ Bishop, Sean Putman, Tim Martin and a panel session putting data into perspective chaired by David Kelly) to explore the questions that our industry is struggling to answer and provide clarity around what we’re doing today and what’s possible for tomorrow. Each speaker session is about 60 min long, including Q&A. 

This Summit aims to give you a better understanding of the relationships between data and content, show you how to make data actionable within your organization, and prepare you to take advantage of the new opportunities that data is going to open up for learning in the future.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Free research papers on #MOOC, OER & online education #elearning

A new, free, research filled issue of the Open Praxis journal just got published. In it you will find a paper co-authored with Aras Bozkurt, Nilg√ľn Ozdamar Keskin and myself entitled: "Research Trends in Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Theses and Dissertations: Surfing the Tsunami Wave ", which I also loaded to academia.

Sharing abstract of our paper here:
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have attracted a great deal of attention by higher education and private enterprises. MOOCs have evolved considerably since their emergence in 2008, all the while given rise to academic discussions on MOOC impact, design and reach. In an effort to understand MOOCs more comprehensively, this study analyzes theses and dissertations (N = 51) related to MOOCs and published between 2008 and 2015, identifying research trends from these academic documents. Theses and dissertations within this research scope were gathered through a comprehensive search in multiple academic databases. For the purposes of the study, the research employed a systematic review approach. In order to reveal trends in research themes, emphasize theoretical/conceptual backgrounds, research designs and models, first a document analysis was used to collect data and this was followed by a content analysis. Our research findings indicate that MOOC research is generally derived from education, engineering and computer science, as well as information and communication technology related disciplines. Qualitative methodology linked to a case study research model is most common, and the theoretical/conceptual backgrounds are usually distance education related. Remarkably, nearly half of the studies didn’t benefit from any theoretical or conceptual perspectives. In sum, this study presents an evaluation regarding research trends derived from MOOC theses and dissertations, and provides directions for future MOOC research.

This Open Praxis issue contains six useful papers all covering research in the field of online education. The reason I like the Open Praxis journal that much, is because it really looks at international research (at least 25% of the references need to be from other regions than your own). This answers a bit of the concerns mentioned by Laura Czerniewicz, although she mentions the declining number of African-based research papers, I have a feeling similar trends occur with other non-western research papers. Open Praxis is one of the journals that tries to address this.

Research articles can be found here
Measuring the e-Learning Autonomy of Distance Education Students (191-201) by Mehmet Firat

Research Trends in Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Theses and Dissertations: Surfing the Tsunami Wave (203-221) by         Aras Bozkurt,   Nilgun Ozdamar Keskin,  Inge de Waard

Exploratory study of MOOC learners’ demographics and motivation: The case of students involved in groups (223-233) by Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck

Incentives and barriers to OER adoption: A qualitative analysis of faculty perceptions (235-246) by Olga Maria Belikov and Robert Bodily

Sharing of Knowledge among Faculty in a Mega Open University (247-264) by Sujata Santosh and Santosh Panda

Examining Student Perception of an Open Statistics Book (265-276) by Barbara Sack Illowsky,  John Hilton III,        Justin Whiting, Jordan Dale Ackerman

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Where are we going with all of us? What about peace?

While typing ferociously to get the phd draft for my promoters done by the end of this week, many violent things have happened in a short period of time (Brussels airport blown up, Orlando night-club shooting, brexit and its resulting discrimination, and now once again Istanbul airport). Each time I told myself: just type, give the world a rest, just keep on typing. And I did. But with this last bombing in Istanbul, I will use my keyboard for 20 minutes of blog reflection on the question that keeps popping up in my mind: where are we going with all of us?

A question that my family is familiar with, stemming from before and after WWII. I come from a mixed religious family, catholic and protestant. My parents have had two nationalities: Dutch and Belgian speaking flemish . And different members of my family have had different experiences during worldwar II, some due to political reasons, others due to the unforeseen circumstances of life. All of this means that debates regarding politics, nationality, religion, difference in language... came up from time to time. But at the end, for those of my family coming out on the other side of the war, one thing was clear: nobody wins, violence needs to be avoided at any cost, and whichever nationality or religion you feel you relate to, we are all just human, trying to belong here on our bit of land we call earth and see our children come to fruition. This is also why I believe in research, it adds to our body of knowledge, it might benefit all of us, and it provides an international basis for discussion, critical yet positive discussion.

It is needless to say that violence is happening once again (and yes, in some places it has been going on for far too long), but violence is spreading once again in areas that were able to provide some peace for some of its citizens for a relatively longer time. And now it seems as if history is again repeating itself. I am not saying we are heading for war, but I can hear the squeaking sounds of history rearranging itself to prepare a serious bit of historical madness (just as Yanis Varoufakis mentioned to Owen Jones). As soon as old labels come out of the closet, and are placed on people, you know that the devils playground is growing again. As humans we really have the possibility to be informed, to use science to our benefit, to seek out peace and actively sustain it. But, why is not this happening?

The aftermath of the brexit referendum showed increased, or shall I say outspoken, discrimination towards everyone not speaking English, and not having a white complexion, even though all of us can be just as british as the one's defining it in their own name to separate us. This type of discrimination does not come overnight. The people from Rwanda know this, the former Yugoslavians know this, the Jews know this... it is a fueled process. First you fuel those who are highly interested, and then some of the others are pulled in. I guess it is similar to the uptake of technology, within the diffusion of innovation (might be the diffusion of discrimination). With early adopters, right up until the late majority and laggards (in terms of taking up).

During the Yugoslav wars I met with women in black, at the time a worldwide grassroots movement. As my friends from women in black warned me, nuance will become ever more scarce. It is all about pushing people to have mandatory opinions, radical opinions. Without radical opinions protest marches cannot be lead. Citizens will be pushed to have opinions, whether these are valid or not. Based upon facts or not. False facts will be disseminated, to feed these mandatory opinions. A bit like the leave or remain campaign of the brexit referendum. The non-dissemination of real facts are to be blamed on all of us, or non of us. For critical thinking is as much our own responsibility, as it is the system's responsibility (in my view, there are wonderful philosophers with wonderful arguments for all sides, even the middle). But for me, being a feminist, I believe the personal is the political, and as such it is the full set of stakeholders or participants who are responsible, each within their own reach.

Somehow, and amidst all the increasing propaganda that focuses on either nationality, or religion, or whatever works to infuse mayhem, somehow we need to keep talking and nuancing to have some kind of energy that pushes back this new wave of violence and negativity. For violence that can culminate in regional aggression based on whichever opportunistic reason, takes everyone down. We all loose if this rush towards violence is not stopped. All of us will loose family and friends, either mentally due to difference in opinion, or physically due to violence, feeding on violence.

A bit of personal history. My grandfather was in a camp in Germany (he was put there as a prisoner) for two years, the camp was on the later Eastern Berlin side. When the Russians came to the camp, they thought it was populated by Germans, so they started putting the workers with their back to the dormitories they were in, and shooting them one by one. My grandfather saw them coming, co-workers falling down... and then one colleague prisoner of his started stammering in Russian, he was able to attract attention, and as time passed by very, very slowly, that war prisoner was able to make the Russian soldiers understand that they were actually in a work camp, shooting war prisoners. The shooting stopped, the remaining prisoners were free to go. My grandfather started walking. He walked all the way back to Antwerp, starting in Berlin. As he walked he first saw other refugees, trying to get home by whatever means they could, being dressed in whatever they could find. Everywhere he went he saw bodies decomposing as everyone was living in chaotic times. As he passed the German border, he than saw Germans soldier refugees, trying to get back home, they faced insecurity, as some people simply took shots at returning Germans, literally shooting them in some kind of revenge.
When my grandfather got home, he contacted my grandmother who could not believe her ears. She thought he was dead, not having heard of him for those two years. Just like her best friend was dead, dead because of a bomb blowing up a cinema. She was supposed to go and see this movie in the cinema with her best friend, but as luck has it, her father forbid her to go that evening. My grandmother very rarely spoke about the war, and when she did she mentioned foreign soldiers that freed Belgium, but never in terms of fabulous gratitude, but on the fact that they raped. My other grandparents had a big farm, and my grandmother had a sense for business, so she smuggled food to different places. She nearly escaped this act of treason, as she was pulled of a tram on her way to the city (where she used to smuggle some of the goods to), but she reacted to a gut feeling, and left the parcels behind as she was taking off. She got lucky as the germans did not find anything on her. And once the war was finished she sold goods to everybody (everyone, also those who were on the 'wrong' side of the political spectrum). One sister of my grandmother lost her partner in the war (soldier) and on the very day Belgium was liberated, her only son walked onto a mine and died. Violence is not simply killing those that take an active part in it, it affects all of us. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Free bidding for funding seminars for early researchers #PhD #EU #funding

While I am nearing the end of my PhD journey (which is basically: 'type until you drop' and 'what do you mean there is an outside world with real people?'), I am now confronted with: what happens next. I am lucky to have some options (one as a pedagogical adviser which I like), and I also applied for a Marie Curie-Sklodowska fellowship (a highly acclaimed 3 year academic scholarship). But to be honest funding is a main issue for any academic. Which is why I am happy that the KMI (Knowledge Media Institute of The Open University) has made two free webinars available which focus on the act of bidding for funding. Including why you should apply as well as how.

The bidding for funding seminars are aimed at doctoral students as well as early researchers, so an interesting and timely mix. Gladly sharing the description:

"The Bidding for Funding: Opportunities for Students workshop aims to provide an overview of some of the major sources of funding for research and knowledge transfer within UK and EU available to postgraduate research students. It will deal with funding to support their phd projects as well as looking at opportunities to support their research beyond their phd.  Dr Hitesh Patel will provide an overview. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to hear from Dr Sam Eden in the Dept of Physical Sciences, Science Faculty. Dr Eden will share his experience of securing external funding through a range of schemes to develop their academic career. He currently holds an EPSRC Accelerator Fellowship and also had funding from an EU Marie Curie Fellowship. There may also be an opportunity to hear from a PhD student and learn from them about how they have gone about sourcing funding for their phd project. The workshop will cover topics such as:
  • OU support for seeking external funding and sourcing funding opportunities
  • major sources of UK and EU funding
  • submitting proposals
  • developing external funding bids – opportunity to look at some successful and unsuccessful proposals and discuss and review these
  • questions and answer
Select from replays below to look at the recordings (approx 50 min).
10:00 am Dr Hitesh Patel
11:00 am Dr Sam Eden

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

#CALRG16 Lightning presentations – quick topics

Interesting start using non-text assessments in online courses. Creative non-text artefacts for assessment use. Presented by Soraya Kouadri Mostefaoui based on research that has started in 2010. Set of 6 criteria. Content criteria: meeting the brief, factual accuracy & understanding. Presentation criteria: appropriateness of components used, ordering of ideas, technical level, and narrative. Soraya is looking for people with similar interests or who have already implemented similar non-text assessments in their courses, so feel free to contact her (Her linkedIn profile here).

Chenxi Li reporting on Chinese undergraduate students' online English language learning experiences and perspectives. This is a study of synchronous English language classes through audiographic conferencing tools in China. What are Chinese students’ online language learning experiences of audio graphic conferencing classrooms and what do they think about them? What are the major problems for audio graphic conferencing ELT classes in China? This study attempts to answer these questions above through questionnaires and interviews with online English teachers and learners. An innovative data collection method proved to be very effective which combines an online survey tool (Survey Star) with a popular social networking mobile App (WeChat). The quantitative findings will be mainly reported in this presentation: big classes in one conferencing class: so almost no students get individualised feedback, tech problems, people are still happy about the overall experience. many students complain that teachers cannot deal with the tech problems (not always correct assumption), 86% students say they have interacted but it does not compute with the actual interaction stats. So maybe their interpretation of interaction is limited to very small, basic interacting: "hello". Some students feel it is hard to concentrate. lack of online teacher training in these contexts.

Ralph Mercer talks energetically about online learning: an exploration of the last 20 inches. The last 20 inches referring to the last bit where students have learned and interact with teachers/trainers... Can we built a system where learners self-assess and develop learning agency, as this will affect learning positively. What are the key attributes for starting to self-assessment: self-report good and bad learning day, to learn to build better learning days in general. Looking for common threads using self-regulated, cognitive factors. If the student is more motivated, it will result in better learning. So moving towards Learning Wellness Framework. It is a personalised tool, where the students themselves built a sort of fitbit for learning, for themselves. And which they can compare to external feedback or people afterwards: e.g. teachers, trainers expectations. Ralph's abstract: "My research will look at the physical and social spaces that surround online learners and explores how the attributes of those personal learning space influences online learning habits and effect learning goal achievement. From this research I intend to demonstrate that the adoption of a learning wellness framework could increase self-regulated learning habits and minimize the influence of personal learning spaces. Learning Wellness is described as the convergence of personal learning informatics and self-regulated learning combined with physical/emotional wellness principles to persuade (nudge) learners to develop self-agency and learning skills to succeed in the online learning environments ."

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

#CALRG methods & findings on Self-Directed Learning in FutureLearn #MOOC #SDL

This morning, during the CALRG conference, I shared some slides describing the methods and main findings on informal self-directed learning inside FutureLearn MOOCs. In hindsight, I had better added extra information on my findings, less on the rationale behind the methods. So to balance the presentation, I added a couple of slides related to each of the 5 learning components comprising the FutureLearn learning experience as perceived by the participants, and as their data was interpreted by me.

My study looks at adult learners with at least 3 years of experience in online learning (could be actively using social media, having engaged in online courses (elearning or mooc or spoc...)). And I wanted to understand how these learners self-directed their informal learning inside of FutureLearn MOOCs. The initial findings pointed towards five components influencing the learning process: context, individual & social learning, technology, organizing learning and individual characteristics. However, once each learning component was investigated to see which were the most influential inhibitors and enablers of learning, two main inhibitors or enablers of learning emerged: intrinsic motivation, embedded in the individual characteristics of the learner, and personal learning goals, which influenced how the learner organised their learning. Although motivation and learning goals were categorized to one specific learning component, each of these inhibitors/enablers of learning influenced each of the other learning components as well.

#CALRG Keynote Allison LittleJohn professional and digital learning #liveblog @allisonl

Allison Littlejohn opened the CALRG conference day focusing on FutureLearn MOOCs. The keynote had two objectives to keynote: showcase work from OU, and encourage at the end the contributions add to the body of knowledge.

Professionals learn for present and future work.

Littlejohn & Margaryon (2013) technology-enhanced professional learning (triangle with learning in the middle and learning processes, work practices ad tech use.
Driver for learning is tasks, work-processes.
Formal and informal learning: Eraut (2000 – 2004) learning can be intentional (formal, non-formal) and unintentional (recognised, unacknowledged).
Context, resources … and their impact on learning.
Self-agency, driving learning from your own perspective is central to both self-directed as well as self-regulated learning. Learning work is dynamic, so there is a distinction between learning as a student and learning as a professional.
SRL factors: self-efficacy, goal setting (adapting according to need), task strategy, task interest (motivation), learning strategy (ability to integrate new with existing knowledge), self-satisfaction and evaluation, help seeking, learning challenge (resilience to challenge).  
Learning opportunities such as workplace context influence learning activities.
Interesting in study Littlejohn is the profile with negative help-seeking, overlap with individual learner witness.

Key factors in MOOC learning

Context counts (introduction to data science), Hood Littlejohn, milligan (2015) context counts.

Motivation matters (introduction to data science). External motivation for (self-perceived) low SRL,   intrinsic motivation for (self-perceived) high SRL. The latter not necessarily following the course structure, but learning what they needed in terms of learning goals. Emotional language difference in terms of how they share their learning. The low SRL tend to follow all the course elements, while high SRL select more often. Help seeking: Qualitative difference in terms of high SRL and low SRL, as high SRL tend to be less present in forums, yet more goal-oriented in seeking help (in-side AND outside course), including network peers outside of the course. While low SRL were active in forums, yet less focused.
Goal setting was different for low SRL and high SRL.
Milligan, littlejohn, hood, learning in MOOCs, a comparison study, proceedings of the European Stakeholder Summit on experiences and est practices I and around MOOCs (EMOOCs2016).

Integrate to innovate: we must integrate informal and formal (Tynjala, 2008). Delphi study on MOOCQ – MOOC quality. Quality based on the learner experience, is a unique experience, and a huge challenge in terms of quality measures. (eg. Semantic analysis, how people discuss what they are learning, Helen Crump). From a government perspective the quality post-MOOC is important in terms of return on investment towards society (employment, life quality…). The way quality is measured is also a Power measurement, as quality perception is related to power dynamics. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Free papers on mobile learning from #IMLF2016 conference #mlearning

This is a really wonderful set of papers that encompass the latest mobile learning realities and implementations. The proceedings were disseminated before the actual IMLF2016 conference start in Bangkok, providing a nice bit of reading.

Papers covered in the proceedings :

  • Empathic Technologies and Virtual, Contextual and Mobile Learning in VR/AR/MR Environments
  • Mobilizing the Troops: a Review of the Contested Terrain of App-Enabled Learning
  • Moving Toward a Mobile Learning Landscape: Presenting a Mlearning Integration Framework
  • Enhancing A Mobile and Personalized Learning Platform Through Facial Analytics and Interactive Quizzes
  • Using wearable technology to improve the acquisition of new literacies
  • A Snapshot of Teacher Educators’ Mobile Learning Practices
  • The growing tendency of mobile-assisted language learning development in Kazakhstan
  • The QR Code→ as a Mobile Learning Tool for Labor Room Nurses at the San Pablo Colleges Medical Center
  • Teachers’ Readiness in Using Mobile Devices for Mathematics Teaching and Learning: A Case Study in Banten Province, Indonesia
  • The Effect of Multimedia Blurb on Second Language Narrative Reading Comprehension
  • Developing Hong Kong Community College Students’ Digital Literacy through Digital Storytelling
  • The role of Universitas Terbuka-Indonesia as an Institution of Higher Education in Establishing the Existence of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia through Multicultural Education
  • LOWA operator in application on online student assessment
  • The Development of An Open Educational Resources (OER) Model based on Connectivism Theory to Enhance Knowledge Sharing between Thai OER and Malaysian OER
  • Utilization of Online Radio for Learning Media. Case study at Universitas Terbuka
  • Design and adoption factors of an m-learning application to support self-exploratory guide visit
  • The Impact and Benefits of Internet Usage in Presidential Election Campaign

I only started reading the proceedings, but for all of you looking at integrating mobile learning into a learning environment for all levels (learner, teacher, society), based on a combination of mLearning frameworks and latest insights, have a look at Helen Crompton's paper on "Moving Toward a Mobile Learning Landscape: Presenting a Mlearning Integration Framework", I can sure understand why she is one of the keynote speakers. Every page got me thinking and gave me new ideas related to my own interests. To give you an idea, I am adding the abstract of her paper here:
Mobile devices transcend the educational affordances provided by conventional tethered electronic and traditional learning. However, empirical findings show that educators are not integrating technology effectively into the curriculum. In this study, a thematic synthesis methodology was used to develop and present a framework for thinking about the integration of mobile devices in teaching and learning. The mobile learning (mlearning) integration framework is comprised of four main parts: beliefs, resources, methods, and purpose. These four areas are elucidated to reveal the many sub-components that determine how technology is integrated. An ecological framework is then presented to demonstrate how the individual parts of the initial framework operate through a complex, interconnected network of systems involving personal and environmental factors.

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.