MDDE610 Intro to Current DE Technologies
Instructor: Craig Montgomerie
I will be using this wiki to help me create my e-portfolio for MDDE610. I want own my learning, keep all of my learning in one place--I have been using this wiki for years, and I haven't read the legalities for adding my learning to AU Landing or Mahara. Wikispaces' information rights, who is owned by Tangient LLC, states that they do
  • "not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service. However, in order to provide you the Service and maintain the Service, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service, including without limitation page content and comments you post to the Service, you grant Tangient LLC world-wide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free, non-exclusive, fully sub-licensable license(s) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, display, and translate, such content (in whole or in part) solely in connection with the provision of the Service."

Attribution CC BY
Attribution CC BY

So, I own my stuff and they get to use it if they want, no problem because I have licensed my content Attribution CC BY. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. And the whole purpose of this wiki, for me, is to share what I have learned with others.

Unit 2: E-Portfolio

Reflection: [Templates for] reflection support conscious and careful consideration about one’s actions and about the thinking that accompanies actions. One intended pedagogical impact to the process of reflection is to enable the learner to generalize lessons learned beyond the context in which they were learned and be better able to cope with new situations (Edutools, 2007).

My Questions:
  • Do we need e-portfolio management systems to gain the benefits?
  • Who owns the e-portfolio if it is created within an institution's e-portfolio system?
  • Does the institution own the evidence of your learning, similar to other student records?
  • If the e-portfolio is created within an institution's e-portfolio can anyone other that the student make changes to the student's e-portfolio?
  • Can institutions offer lifetime access to e-portfolios after they graduate? If not, can they be transferred easily into a usable format? or will info be lost?
  • Is the e-portfolio setup for students to demonstrate attainment of standards or deep learning?
  • Can you depend on the institution to maintain the integrity of your data? (AU went through quite a few versions and it was frustrating and time consuming for some students to fix-up their portfolios.)
  • What can and can not be added to an e-portfolio? (Some institutions can be quite fierce in protecting their intellectual property rights. See AU's stance > their intellectual property rights:
    • "AU owns the intellectual property rights, including copyright, in and to this Site, or has obtained the necessary licenses. Therefore, AU will take any appropriate legal action to enforce its rights. A number of words, phrases, names, designs or logos used on this Site may be trademarks, service marks or trade names of AU or of other bodies. AU's trademarked designs or logos may not be used by other parties without prior explicit consent."

What Are the Benefits of e-Portfolios?
  • Students
    • provide a means to reflect on their educational experiences (or better yet, develop a habit of reflectiveness)
    • showcase their best work in a digital repository
    • learning potentially could take on a new depth through the reflection process (when the e-portfolio is public even more so)
    • have an e-safe tool that can support peer assessment and collaboration (if it is a closed environment--walled gardens)
    • potentially could provide connections between theory and practice
    • can provide an opportunity to demonstrate individuality
    • students will have a tool for personal development, and a personal learning record
    • e-portfolio is a tool for feedback from teachers/peers/ in the form of comments, as opposed or in addition to marks
    • concrete way of showcasing strengths to teachers or future employers
    • provide documentation for prior learning assessment or program credits
  • Faculty
    • provide concrete evidence of student learning
  • Institutions/employers/companies
    • used to evaluate progress on meeting institutional goals
    • artifacts and student reflections can be used to help institutions assess learning outcomes at the course, program and/or institutional level

Alternative e-Portfolio Tools
Two years ago, Rodd Lucier over at the blog "The Clever Sheep" list of efficient e-portfolio tools.

Purpose of e-Portfolios
  • 1. Learning/Process: reflections on learning + workspace
  • 2. Assessment: newish addition to education and organizations;
    • My question: is the assessment of the e-Portfolio for what purpose?r
      • assessment OF learning = proving that the learner has learned something that is measurable for documentation and assessment purposes
      • assessment FOR learning = using info that is created through assessment to enhance instruction/learning (diagnostic/formative assessments, feedback, ...)
      • assessment AS learning = learner reflects and monitors their own learning progress and makes their own goal for the future.
  • 3. Marketing/Showcase: marketing, job, telling a story, accountability

Below from Dr. Helen Barrett's website:
Here is a link to a pdf of her document "Balancing the Two Faces of e-Portfolios"
E-Portfolio as Workspace/Process
E-Portfolio as Showcase/Product
  • The Collection or Digital Archive
  • Repository of Artifacts 
Personal Information
Reflective Journal
  • Portfolio as Process
  • Organization: Chronological – *eDOL (Electronic Documentation of Learning – Crichton & Kopp (2008) Documenting growth over time for both internal and external audiences
  • Primary Purpose: Learning or Reflection
  • Reflection: Immediate (focus on artifact or learning experience) - Reflection in the present tense
  • The “Story” or Narrative

  • Multiple Views (public/private)

  • Varied Audiences (varied permissions)
  • Varied Purposes
  • Portfolio as Product
  • Organization: Thematic – Electronic Portfolio documenting achievement of Standards, Goals or Learning Outcomes for primarily external audiences
  • Primary Purpose: Accountability or Showcase
  • Reflection: Retrospective (focus on achievement or thematic organization) - Reflection in the past tense
  • Reflection: Prospective (Direction) - Set goals for future learning - Reflection in the future tense
external image image002.png

Level 1: Portfolio as Storage/Collection
  • Collection regularly – weekly/monthly–with a Focus on Contents & Digital Conversion

external image image008.png

Level 2: Portfolio as Workspace/Process
  • Collection + Reflection
(Immediate Reflection on Learning & Artifacts in Collection) (regularly)
A Focus on Process & Documentation of Learning

external image image010.png

Level 3: Portfolio as Showcase/Product
  • Selection/Reflection + Direction + Presentation
(each semester? End of year?)
A Focus on Product & Documentation of Achievement

external image image012.png

I am not sure if I agree with Dr. Barrett's leveling of purposes. It reminds me a bit of Bloom's taxonomy where the depth of learning potential increases as one moves up the inverted triangle (or in the newest version the truncated inverted triangle). I have to think about this. I am thinking more of a Cartesian plane (x- and y-axis)... but I am not sure what would be on the axes (plural of axis).

Unit 3: Course Management Systems & Learning Management Systems

What is the difference between VLE, LMS, and CMS?
Different platforms can can be used as a VLE or LMS or CMS. For example, Moodle could be used robustly as a VLE, or by not using all of the different features and capabilities it can be used as an LMS or CMS. (I am sure that most software starts out with a main purpose and then over time adds on extras to become more robust and versatile; hence the blurred line between these common seemingly interchangeably acronyms.)... I think. :)
1. VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) <---I think this is all encompassing or the most robust, student/student interaction, student/teacher interaction, student/content, interaction, data/student/teacher
  • generally used for formal academic courses (F2F, online, blended)
  • used to share/deliver resources
  • support learning activities
  • where students can collaborate (forums, blogs, wiki)
  • upload/grade assignments
2. LMS (Learning Management System):
  • generally used to track/deliver/manage employee training (think cooperate training and databases or think of Microsoft PeopleSoft)
  • used to share/deliver resources
  • support learning activities
  • provides primary management of learning
3. CMS (Course Management System)
  • authoring and manage content
  • provides primary management of content
  • I see this as pushing content out to the user
external image d2l-logo.png
Our College has a license for Desire2Learn (D2L), but has yet to start using it.
D2L Features that the college will be using
  • Social Profiles and Sharing: add social profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+) and a blog module
  • Course Design & Delivery: Classlist (student enrollment and management tools), Intelligent Agents (set flags to receive notifications for milestones, at-risk student), User Progress (compare one student to other students), Instructional Design Wizard (don't really know what that is yet), Course Builder (it says it is drag and drop now, which is good)
  • Collaboration & Communication Tools: third party synchronous apps, chat, LiveRoom; calendar; email; notification (email, sms, rss); discussions; instant messaging
  • Measurement & Assessment: quizzes, survey and self-assessments, dropbox, seating chart (drag/drop process of taking attendance), gradebook, competencies (we need this for our program as it is a TAFE certified program from Australia), rubrics
  • Learning Repository:I wonder if the college would be able to keep this up-to-date and functioning--very few people share
  • ePortfolio: three years ago, this used to look quite bad but it looks a lot better now.
  • But we have to find a way to integrate D2L with PeopleSoftand Gradebook.
  • A major reason why the college chose D2L... well there was no choice...all of Newfoundland uses D2L--John Baker, founder and CEO, is from NFLD.
  • I think the original reason the college wanted the LMS was for the purpose of ePortfolios. But it was so clunky years ago, that I couldn't figure out how the students would benefit. There were nicer alternatives, that the students would own and could depend on being there tomorrow.

The core team for supporting D2L is not pleased that we are"stuck" with D2L. I am not sure if D2L can be integrated into the college well, when when the major players do not fully support the choice.
It helped to let go of Moodle when I heard this quote, "Projects should be like goldfish. I could flush it down the drain and buy another." So, I no longer pine for Moodle, but am trying to fully and enthusiastically support the integration of D2L.

Unit 4: Selecting and Using Technology

from Bates, A. W., & Poole. G. (2003). A framework for selecting and using technology. In Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success (pp. 75-105). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Electronically reproduced with the permission of the publisher.

The SECTIONS Model, developed by Bates and Pool
The SECTIONS model is a more systems approach for determining use and choice of technology.

The SECTIONS model takes into the following factors
  • student differences,
  • subject requirements,
  • desired approaches to teaching and learning,
  • choice and use of technology,
  • the availability of resources and institutional support

Students: what is known about the students-or potential students-and the appropriateness of the technology for this particular group or range of students?
Ease of use and reliability: how easy is it for both teachers and students to use? How reliable and well tested is the technology?
Costs: what is the cost structure of each technology? What is the unit cost per learner?
Teaching and learning: what kinds of learning are needed? What instructional approaches will best meet these needs? What are the best technologies for supporting this teaching and learning?
Interactivity: what kind of interaction does this technology enable?
Organizational issues: What are the organizational requirements and the barriers to be removed before this technology can be used successfully? What changes in organization need to be made?
Novelty: how new is this technology?
Speed: how quickly can courses be mounted with this technology? How quickly can materials be changed?

Levels of Decision Making
Levels of Decision Making

I have modified the questions from the SECTIONS model (Bates & Poole, 2003) and incorporated questions from University of British Columbia’s technology assessment document, Assessing Technology: Using the SECTIONS Model (Underhill, 2010). Combining and modifying questions from both documents allows me to create a framework that could be used at our college to help instructors consider a technology more broadly when they want to introduce it into a course. Also, I have tried to write the questions in such a way as to provoke thought on topics but also, facilitate short and simple answers from the teachers—as to make efficient use of both teachers and management’s time.

Bates, A. W., & Poole, G. (2003). A framework for selecting and using technology. In Effective teaching with technology in higher education (pp. 75-105). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Underhill, C. (2010). Assessing technology: Using the SECTIONS model. Retrieved from

Unit 5: Videoconferencing for e-Learning

Types of Video conferencing

Personal video conferencing
  • Examples: Skype, iChat, Live Messenger, Google Chat
  • Cost: free
  • Use: user to user, including video image of the other person, primarily for personal use, unsuitable for holding group meetings.
  • Keep in mind: Conference calls require more bandwidth and the signal can easily degrade; stop all app that may be using bandwidth; make sure the newest version is installed;
  • Educational Use: to provide student to student connection and student to teacher connection
Web conferencing
  • Examples: WebEx ($49/month), GoToMeeting ($49/month), DimDim (Basic: free, Pro: $25/month), Adobe ConnectNow (Basic: free, Premium: $15/month), Tinychat (free), Elluminate Live! (Basic: free for three people, Academic: contact Elluminate for price; e.g. 10 people/year $7,000USD), Mikogo (free)
  • Use: Users to users; some tools available are: share screens, files, schedule video conference in Outlook, pass the presenter title from person to person, multiple video streams, mobile device integration, whiteboard with drawing tools, remote control of other desktops, chat, VoIP, recording of the session,
  • Web versus room-based: field of view is smaller than room-based, microphones are less sensitive than room-based, video is lower quality than room-based, less lagging with room-based, but web based is cheaper initially.
  • Keep in mind: Since these systems run from a central server there is not degradation of signal when more participants are added; assess costs with needs as their is a large range of prices and tools; everyone should complete a pre-flight check before attending the event
  • Educational Use:
    • to connect faculty, admin, staff for DE institutions, and students at a low cost, but only small groups
    • to bring in experts or simulations to enhance the curriculum
external image CV-market.jpg

Room-based video conferencing system

  • Examples: Polycom, Tandberg, Cisco, Sony, LifeSize (some as low as $7,000USD)
  • Use: to connect large groups of people together (group-to-group). It can be point-to-point or multi-point video conferencing
  • Keep in mind: requires special hardware: encoder/decoder or codec to encode/decode audio/video feeds and to connect to the internet; the device that contains the codec also controls microphones, wide-anglecameras, display monitors, and peripheral devices; everyone should complete a pre-flight check before attending the event; when choosing between web based and room based consider factors such as cost, size of groups, and expected performance.
  • Educational Use:
    • to connect with faculty, admin, staff for DE institutions (for professional development, consultations, monthly meetings, collaborations)
    • to provide instruction in a location that cannot provide the instruction themselves (lack of funds or subject matter experts) or to DE students
    • to bring in experts or simulations to enhance the curriculum
    • Perhaps this could be used to teach in virtual worlds, like Second Life, to allow for higher quality interaction with the virtual world

external image Video_Conference_Systems_Header_550x260.jpg

Unit 6: Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)

(Click here to go to my CAI e-portfolio.)

Unit 7: Social Software Theory & Developments in DE

This was my posting to .
  • "Hi my name is Rebecca Hatherley and I am a Social Networkolic. I have been sober for almost two years now. I joined Twitter many years ago and I was a heavy user. I was connected to educators all around the world. I went to online conferences, participated in webinars, joined and participated in educational social networks, set up my own social networks, presented through Skype, and discussed through Twitter. I was connected. I felt like my head was immersed in a stream of knowledge and IT WAS AWESOME. But it wasn’t sustainable. I am married and with two kids. I have a job. I like to read and I force myself to exercise. I have face2face friends. And someone needs to clean the toilets! I couldn’t do everything and my real face2face life started to suffer. So, I stopped checking my twitter account and my social networks. I disconnected from it all and re-connected with my face2face life. Maybe I will try it social networking again one day. Maybe I can participate in small doses. But I love it too much and I know I can’t handle it. So, for now I need to let it be."

I pulled out of Twitter because my face2face relationships were suffering, and now that I am comfortable with how my face2face relationships are I have started to re-think re/entering Twitter/Google +... Unfortunately, only people in the immediate area are drawn into face2face conversations, whereas online I can choose from conversations around the world to engage in richer, deeper, topics. I can choose my topics and when people choose their topics out of personal interest rather than because they were sitting at your lunch table, the conversation can be tightly focused. I miss that. I have realized that it is about being mindful to be authentically present in my social interactions and when to go elsewhere when needed--whether it is online or fac2face.

A nice list of the pros and cons of social networking.
Examples of social media tools that can facilitate online collaboration,
  • Blogging/micro-blogging - Blogger, WordPress, Twitter
  • Social networking - Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Ning
  • Social bookmarking - Delicious, Diggo
  • Collaborative authoring - Wikipedia, Google Docs, PrimaryPad (formerly known as Etherpad), Wikispaces
  • Multimedia sharing - Flickr, YouTube, Qik, Vimeo
  • Web conferencing - WebEx, GoToMeeting, DimDim
  • RSS Agregators - Google Reader, Feedly (I am trying out Google Reader again as I have been using Protopage for years, but tested out Google Reader years ago, maybe it is time to upgrade. Conclusion: Protopage is a better fit for me, as it is very visual.)
  • Calendar - Google Calendar, Zoho Calendar
Some examples,
  • Instructors and students can use blogs or wikis to create/disseminate additional teaching/learning resources, and use the comment feature to discuss.
  • Discussions have become a major part of the learning in the online classroom.
  • Instructors can use Twitter, Facebook, or Ning to remind students of upcoming deadlines or other important events.
  • Diigo and Delicious have been used to create a pool of resources for specific courses, but Diigo's highlighting, commenting, and communities features creates the opportunity for deeper knowledge sharing.
Social media can help DE students feel that they are part of a community--a sense of belonging, whether it is just for their courses or on a greater scale--the institution. It can also help students have a greater sense of connection with the instructor and receive prompt feedback.

Unit 8: Web 1.0, 2.0, & 3.0

What is Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?..Web 3.0?
Web 2.0 relies on user participation and is about user-generated content-- not just passively browsing the net, but sharing, collaborating, and communicating. Web 2.0 tools encourage creating with and for others. Additionally, with web 2.0 tools there is movement away from being stuck to a desktop and creating on a desktop towards cloud computing--allowing people to create anywhere, anytime, and on any device... or is that web 3.0?!? Or is web 3.0 currently just used as a buzz marketing term and since it is just around the corner we are not sure what it looks like, but only can guess. However, web 3.0 wouldn't be very exciting if we could guess what it is going to be like--we will exceed our expectations.

external image webevolution.png

external image 1713.strip.sunday.gif

Humour: la différence entre le web 2.0 et le web 3.0, Flickr By La Fabrique de Blogs
Humour: la différence entre le web 2.0 et le web 3.0, Flickr By La Fabrique de Blogs

Is Web 2.0/3.0 Changing Distance Education (DE)?
Distance education, or correspondence education as it used to be known, used to be about receiving some books in the mail, you'd learn the material, and perhaps synthesize and create some new material. Then there was the introduction of slides and movies (motion pictures), then radio and tv, and internet, and now smart devices. I think that, over the years, what material and how the material was being delivered probably affected the learning just as much or more so than the medium, and that the education theory behind the use of medium was just as or more important then the medium.

Most teachers don't see that web 2.0/3.0 aligns more closely with current learning theories then older learning theories and that a lot of the changes in DE are do to with changes in the application of more current educational theories through the use of new technologies. McLuhan's 1964 statements "medium is the message" and "media are extension of man" are more easily understood now that we have smart devices on us 24/7. We can no longer ignore the effects of new technologies/mediums are having on individuals and society.

Unit 9: M-Learning–Podcasts

Two main reasons why I would want to use m-learning.
1. I am forever interested in how we empower our learners.
At the last m-learning conference I went to, Timothy Chester talked about the one-to-one world, one-to-many world, and what we have now the many-to-many world.
With the introduction of email and Skype
UPS died out
With the introduction of Amazon and Netflix,
Blockbuster and bookstores died out
Facebook and Twittter
One-to-many is about having the teacher disseminate information--high efficiency. This teaching style is fine for many circumstances, but can we do more?
Chester showed this slide, below, at the conference. In a one-to-one learning situation, the teacher has a power score of 1 and the students have a power score of 0.286. But in a many-to-many learning environment all members, teacher included, share a power score of 0.5.
external image Screen+Shot+2012-02-14+at+2.49.52+PM.png

In many-to-many 'classroom,' collaborations become more significant, there is even sharing between participants, and a free flow on info (this info is from his talk at the conference). Introducing a many-to-many learning environment has the potential to empower the learners. Is this new? Not really. The over used term "guide on the side, not sage on the stage" comes to mind and social learning/social constructivism. I asked Gary Stagerat a conference years ago, who was against the term 21st Century Learning Skills, why does it matter if people coin a term that represents something older, that is well researched, and documented, if it helps them jump on the bandwagon to change their teaching for the better. I can't remember what he said, but it was something about people need to know why it works and the research behind it. I am not sure I agree. Not all teachers will know the term social constructivism--we need to accept this--and Vygotsky's ideas are really news worthy. But the flashyness of term 21st Century Learning Skills has the media (formal/non-formal) in a frenzy. It is marketable and because it is marketable more people know about it.
Many-to-many environments, regardless of the terminology, empower learners.
2. Creating a sense of community in and out of my classroom has always been important to me.
I don't remember where I heard the following. (Disclaimer: I could be totally wrong in how I remember the following statements or the people that said them could be wrong, or the research was lacking in some areas.)
  • the number one factor that keeps students from dropping out is the connection they have with the instructor
  • a big factor that keeps students from dropping out is if they feel that they are a part of a community
I am interested in how can we help students access m-learning so they can connect with others (learners and instructor) to be part of a community and feel like they are part of a community. It would be cool if we had an app at our college that integrates with Facebook (that's were most of my students are) without the creepy tree house affect, a Dropbox-like app, and is accessible (easily) through any smart device? This is different than the main CMS/LMS I have looked at, in that, it's meeting the students where they are already--Facebook.

I think I am off topic.... back to the course content--podcasts.

I am an avid listener/watcher of podcasts--video and audio I don't care--whatever is available on the topic, I choose. (My eyesight is fine for watching videos on a small ipod nano screen, iPhone, and iPad.) Sometimes when a podcast has no video, I am disappointed because I want to connect more with the podcaster. Other times when I have a video podcast I shove it in my pocket and just listen to it, as critical thinking and introspection are more important than connecting with the podcaster. Other times it is valuable for me to have the video as the podcast is enriched by the photos, text, video, presenter... and it wouldn't be as effective without it.

I have 'taken' courses through iTunesU and I really appreciate the time people take to make their work available to others, for free. I used to listen/watch to podcasts while waiting (there is a lot of waiting in Qatar), while I take the bus to and from work, and before I go to bed. I can really go through a lot of material in a week, when it is portable. However, I have found that there is a downside with the portability of learning; I spend less time with others and I spend less time reflecting--activities that I value. And so, last year people on the bus come before podcasts and I make a point of not listening/watching podcasts whenever and whenever I can.

"Sherry Turkle doesn't want to get rid of technology, but she thinks it's time to put it in its place" (January 17, 2011). I agree with Sherry, in that we need find a balance with technologies and be mindful in that how we use technology can change our relationships with others and even how we think.

Questions for thought:
  • If educators are introducing technologies that can be addicting, what are our responsibilities to our learners to help them remain balanced?
  • Will what we consider a balanced lifestyle presently, be defined the same in ten years?

Unit 10: Cloud Computing

I just checked when I first joined Gmail--February 17, 2006, so I guess I have been cloud computing for a while now. Other than online banking, the next cloud computing service was Foxmarks--keeping my bookmarks synced between the computers in my home. I probably joined late to cloud computing, as I was living up in the Arctic from 2000-2006 and access was through dial-up--memories!

I now use Dropbox, Gmail, Xmarks (aka Foxmarks).
external image cloud-computing-david-fletcher.jpgexternal image zOAQIQhtujC4OOS9giVgLjl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJexternal image cloud_84.jpg
I have never been a fan of Google Doc--I get it but it has never been as robust as I would want it. I prefer to use PrimaryPad for collaboration, and when the collaboration export to Word (or other app) for beautification purposes. I have found over the years, that trying to get people to sign up for a Google account and login and remember yet another password was a hindrance to collaboration (Now you can just use any email to sign up, but it is still a hindrance for some). Whereas with PrimaryPad, people just start typing and there is no login and no new password to remember. Also, I have experience true collaboration with PrimaryPad--they don't hesitate to fix or add to someone else's work, but with Google Docs I have only experience people placing their work side-by-side others' work--not real collaboration. There is something about PrimaryPad that evokes real collaboration.

A few years ago, I set up Dropbox with the Teaching & Learning Center at our college. Now, all of the mentors keep all of their documents in one place, which makes it much easier for them to find documents when needed and offers mobile access. Additionally, they can share their resources with other Teaching & Learning Center's at other institutions.

Some Benefits to Cloud Computing
  • Reduced Cost-- Cloud technology is paid incrementally, saving organizations money.
  • Increased Storage-- Organizations can store more data than on private computer systems.
  • Highly Automated --No longer do IT personnel need to worry about keeping software up to date.
  • Flexibility --Cloud computing offers much more flexibility than past computing methods.
  • More Mobility-- Employees can access information wherever they are, rather than having to remain at their desks.
  • Allows IT to Shift Focus -- No longer having to worry about constant server updates and other computing issues, government organizations will be free to concentrate on innovation.
This drives me nuts! "We should all start using iPads. It's better for the environment. Think of all the trees you are saving."
Apple claims that the total life cycle emissions of an iPad 2 will come in at 105kg CO2e, which is roughly just less than the per passenger emissions of a 1,000km flight. How green is that? Carbon footprint of the iPad 2

Unit 11: Change & Innovation Theory

(Take Good Notes for Committee)
Diffusion is defined as the process by which an innovation is adopted and gains acceptance by members of a certain community.

The four major factors that influence the diffusion process are
  • the innovation itself
  • how information about the innovation is communicated
  • time
  • the nature of the social system into which the innovation is being introduced (Rogers, 1995).

Why understand Diffusion Theory
  • IT people do not understand why IT products are not being adopted and blame teachers and an intrinsic resistance to change as the primary causes of IT's diffusion problem, orothers cite entrenched bureaucracies and inadequate funding (Schneberger and Jost as cited in Rogers, 1995, 1994)
  • IT is inherently an innovation-based discipline, which represent radical innovations. If we understand the innovation process and theories of innovation diffusion we will be better prepared to help IT products become accepted.
  • If we understand diffusion theory, then we can develop a systematic, prescriptive model of adoption and diffusion; which could help guide the process of adoption and diffusion that would have effective results

Four Main Theories
1. Innovation Decision Process
Diffusion is a process that occurs over time and can be seen as having five distinct stages
  • Knowledge--The decision-making unit is exposed to the existence of innovation--cognitive (knowing) or learning about the innovation. The knowledge about innovation might come through different communication channels. It could be in the form of advertising, word of mouth, formal education or training and it is not a passive exercise.
  • Persuasion--The decision-making unit forms an opinion toward the innovation (favourable or unfavourable)--affective (feeling) to be persuaded as to the merits of the innovation. The decision-making unit would actively seek information about the innovation of concern before developing an opinion.
  • Decision--The decision-making unit decides either to reject (rejection) or accept (adoption) the innovation. Usually, the decision to adopt or reject would be made based on a trial period. The result would determine either to adopt or reject the innovation. External parties might be involved by providing an opportunity to demonstrate the innovation.
  • Implementation--The decision-making unit actually uses the innovation--real action and involves behaviour change due to the implementation. In this stage, the decision-making unit would discover whether the initial knowledge and perception of innovation were true or not. The implementation stage would end when innovation becomes an integrated part of the adopter’s life or the innovation perceived as useless.
  • Confirmation--The decision-making unit confirms or reverses the decision to reject or adopt the innovation made in the previous stage, as the information received about innovation may have conflicted with the previous beliefs.
external image idpm.jpg

2. Individual Innovativeness
Individuals who are predisposed to being innovative will adopt an innovation earlier than those who are less predisposed.
On extremes of the distribution are
  • Innovators--the risk takers and pioneers who adopt an innovation very early in the diffusion process.
  • Laggards---resist adopting an innovation until rather late in the diffusion process, if ever.

Showing categories of individual innovativeness and percentages within each category
Showing categories of individual innovativeness and percentages within each category

3. Rate of Adoption
Innovations are diffused over time in a pattern that resembles an s-shaped curve; innovation goes through a period of slow, gradual growth before experiencing a period of relatively dramatic and rapid growth. Following the period of rapid growth, the innovation's rate of adoption will gradually stabilize and eventually decline. (Critical mass or tipping point is around 10% to 50%, depending on what you read.)
external image fig1.gif

4. Perceived Attributes
Potential adopters judge an innovation based on their perceptions in regard to five attributes of the innovation.
  • Trial-ability--can be tried on a limited basis before adoption;
  • Observability--offers observable results;
  • Relative Advantage--has an advantage relative to other innovations (or the status quo);
  • Complexity--is not overly complex;
  • Compatibility--Is compatible with existing practices and values.

Perceptions of compatibility, complexity, and relative advantage have been found to play a significant role in several IT-related adoption studies.
  • one study found relative advantage and compatibilityto be significant perceptions among potential adopters of instructional technology in high schools.
  • another found compatibilitywas the most important attribute among students and school administrators.
  • another found relative advantage, complexity and compatibility were important adoption considerations (weather forecasters regarding computer based training).

external image 46844-Wiki_Storyboard-sfull.png

external image 47578-Storyboard_wk__-sfull.png

external image 47020-Wiki_Storyboard-sfull.png

external image 47573-Storyboard_wk_6-sfull.png

Roger's sets out strategies for reaching critical mass
  • targeting highly respected individuals
  • influencing individuals' perception (e.g. convincing them that critical mass has already been achieved)
  • targeting intact groups who are more likely to adopt (e.g. a research and development unit0
  • providing incentives for early adoption

Surry, D., & Farquhar, J. (1997). Diffusion theory and instructional technology. Journal of Instructional Science and Technology, 2(1). Available at:

Applications of diffusion theory to instructional technology can be grouped into two major, categories with distinctly separate goals.
1. Systemic Change Theories (Macro)
  • Reform and restructuring of educational institutions
  • Goal: develop theories of organizational change, most commonly school change, in which technology plays a major role.
  • These theories, often referred to as systemic change theories, typically involve the adoption a wide range of innovative technologies and and practices--broad scope and systemic change

2. Product Utilization Theories (Micro)
  • Increasing the adoption and utilization of specific instructional products
  • Goal: develop theories of technology adoption that will lead to a more widespread use of instructional innovations.
  • Theories in this category are not concerned with large scale, systemic change, but focus on the adoption of a specific innovation by a specific set of potential adopters--focus on specific innovations and specifics environments.

external image full-map.png

Horizontal Axis--In what direction do the influences flow? That is, does technology “impact” culture, does culture shape technology, or do both happen simultaneously?

Technological Determinism.
  • technologies impact an adopting culture culture in a kind of one-way, deterministic relationship.
  • Technologies are seen as a powerful, non-neutral forces that carry with them moral consequences, and produce deterministic effects.
  • Extreme technological determinists also tend to think of technology as an autonomous force that actually guides and determines its own development. (link)

Instrumentalism (or social determinism).
  • Extreme social determinists see technologies as completely neutral artifacts that can be used for good or for evil depending on the desires of the adopting individual or culture.
  • view technology as a tool--a knife is a tool and can be used for either good or evil, depending upon the intentions of the person employing the tool
  • This kind of position is wonderfully summarized using that well-known motto of the National Handgun and Rifle Association (NHRA): “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” (link)
  • all technology is a tool, largely under human control, that can be used for either positive or negative purposes.

Differences between Determinism and Instrumentalism
  • Determinists see technology as the most powerful force for change, instrumentalists see social conditions and human aspiration as the primary causes of change.
  • Instrumentalists view the growth of technology as an evolutionary process, not as a series of revolutions or technological leaps; technological growth is viewed as the ultimate culmination of a long history of slow, gradual expansion. (link)

Social-Shaping Perspective.
  • The position at the center, the social-shaping of technology (SST) perspective, acknowledges what is obviously true about both of the more extreme positions:
    • technologies certainly due affect an adopting culture in significant ways;
    • but historical cases also show quite clearly that engineers and adopting cultures play important roles in reshaping those technologies to better fit with their existing social values.
  • SST sees technology and culture as “mutually constitutive,” (MacKenzie & Wajcman 1999) each creating and shaping the other. In other words, “guns don’t kill people, but they sure make it a heck of a lot easier.” (link)

Vertical Axis--moral attitude taken towards technological change.
Techno-Optimism (Utopian),
  • a belief that our technologies are making the world a better place.
  • techno-optimists elevate technology to the position of savoir, the ultimate tool with which we can save ourselves and create a utopia on earth.
  • This position is excited about the possibilities of new technologies and says “full steam ahead” to any and all technological development.
  • technology is a positive and uplifting force that will, over time, mitigate or eliminate most or all of the ills that afflict humanity.
  • They believe technology is leading society towards an ever more utopian existence.
  • Karl Marx, Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler.

Techno-Pessimism (Dystopian),
  • a position that sees technology not as a savoir, but as a destroyer.
  • Techno-pessimists think that technology is making the world a worse place, inherently evil, or dehumanizing, force that will lead, inevitably, to the moral. intellectual, or physical destruction of humankind, and that it might just end up killing us all (think nuclear holocaust, genetic engineering gone awry, sentient robots that turn against us, etc).
  • This position tends to pine for the simpler days before industrialization, and is sympathetic towards Romanticism.
  • Jacques Ellul, George Orwel

Double-Edged Sword (mid-point)
  • This position argues that every technological change brings with it a wide array of consequences, some of which can be considered ‘good’, others ‘bad’, depending on your perspective.
  • The costs and benefits of an innovation are never equally distributed in a given society, so whether you think a given technology is making the world better or worse largely depends on whether you received more of its benefits and less of its costs, or vice-versa.

external image surfig4.gif

Developer Based (Determinist) Theory (link)

  • Goal: increase diffusion by maximizing the efficiency, effectiveness and elegance of an innovation.
  • The developer, or architect, of superior technology is seen as the primary force for change.
  • The underlying assumption of developer based theories is deterministic in its belief that superior technological products and systems will, by virtue of their superiority alone, replace inferior products and systems.
  • Developer based theories of diffusion see change as following directly from a technological revolution.

Superior Product
  • Developer based theories in instructional technology assume that the best way to bring about educational change is to create a system or product that is significantly superior to exiting products or systems.
  • Potential adopters are viewed as being predisposed to adopt innovations that are quantifiably superior
  • Top down reform efforts seek to diffuse educational change by proposing educational systems that are superior to existing systems.
  • By specifying goals, organizational structures, managerial philosophies, instructional products, and fiscal strategies that have been proven to be, or at are least theorized to be, superior to existing practice, top down school reformers are counting on technological superiority to bring about change.

Instructional Development
  • Diffusion through technological superiority is the implicit goal of the process.
  • Andrews and Goodson (1991) list four purposes of systematic instructional design:
    • Improved learning;
    • improved management (of the ID process),
    • improved evaluation (of products);
    • theory building.
  • Three of the four purposes center on the creation of technologically superior products.
  • The instructional development process assumes that technological superiority is a sufficient condition that will lead directly to the adoption and diffusion of innovative products and practices

  • utilization -- Instructional development is based on the research, development, and diffusion (RDD) paradigm, which result in the creation of instructional products that are pedagogically sound and technically advanced. BUT instructional technologies greatest challenge is not developing effective products, but developing effective products that people want to use
  • technological superiority -- is not enough to guarantee the adoption of an innovation. In fact, some would argue whether technological superiority is even a necessary condition, at least at the beginning of the adoption process (MacKenzie, 1996).

Adopter Based (Instrumentalist) Theory (link)
  • focus on the human and interpersonal aspects of innovation diffusion.
  • inherently instrumental in philosophy because they view the end user -- the individual who will ultimately implement the innovation in a practical setting, as the primary force for change
  • reject the assumption that superior products and practices will automatically be attractive to potential adopters.
  • Adopter based theories seek to understand the social context in which the innovation will be used.
  • revenge effects is central to many adopter based theories--occur when "new structures, devices, and organisms react with real people in real situations in ways we could not foresee." Predicting and account for probable revenge effects caused by an innovation is a defining component of many adopter based diffusion theories.
  • argue that a variety of factors, most unrelated to technical superiority, influence the decision to adopt or reject an innovation.
    • QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard example--classic example of how human, interpersonal, and social factors often play a more significant role in adoption than technological superiority.

User-Oriented Instructional Development (UOID)
The opinions, needs, and perceptions of the potential adopters are seen as the primary forces that influence adoption (assumes the end user is the most important force in the adoption of a new product). Five steps:
  1. identify the potential adopter
  2. measure relevant potential adopter perceptions
  3. design and develop a user-friendly product
  4. inform the potential adopter (of the product's user-friendliness)
  5. provide Post Adoption Support

Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM)
  • example of a Macro (Systemic Change) theory of diffusion that is instrumentalist, rather than determinist, in philosophy.
  • change facilitators understand change from the point of view of the people who will be affected by change.
  • The idea of CBAM is to bring about systemic restructuring by understanding the social, political, and interpersonal aspects of the school.

external image surfig5.gif

In order to maximize the potential benefit of diffusion theory, instructional technologists should adopt a more instrumentalist philosophy of technology. No reasonable diffusion theorist would suggest that technological superiority is the only necessary condition for diffusion. Instructional technologists have been seduced by the simplicity and basic logic of technological determinism. The decision to adopt an innovation, however, defies simple logic. The best products are not always the ones people want to use. As MacKenzie (1996) writes: "Technologies . . . may be best because they have triumphed, rather than triumphing because they are best" (p. 7).

Superior technology does not always steam roll inferior technology, as the determinists believe. Nor does a superior technology explode onto the scene in a glorious, perfect form -- it creeps along in fits and starts. Technology's advance may be inevitable, but it is gradual. Instructional technologists should, therefore, look to the potential adopters to show us ways to gradually introduce our innovations into their societies.

Of course, while a less determinist philosophy would be beneficial to instructional technology, a totally instrumentalist philosophy would be disastrous. Turning out technically inferior and pedagogically weak products that people want to use is not the answer. Every technologist is inherently a determinist. There is no danger in being driven to improve society by improving instructional technology. The danger is to ignore the society we are attempting to improve. (link)

Hansen, S., & Salter, G. (2001). The adoption and diffusion of web technologies into mainstream teaching. Journal of Interactive Learning Research 12(2/3), 281-299. Available at:

This article posits that diffusion processes are occurring in the uptake of web technologies in main-stream teaching at four levels:
  • global,
  • institutional,
  • teaching staff,
  • students.

The main elements of the diffusion process of new ideas and innovations are that an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system. (p. 284)

The Innovation
The characteristics of an innovation that are relevant to its adoption are its: (same as the Perceived Attributes Diffusion Theory mentioned above)
  • relative advantage, the perception that an innovation has an advantage over its predecessor;
  • compatibility, the perception that the innovation is consistent with the existing needs and values of the potential adopters;
  • complexity, the perception of the ease of use and understanding of the innovation;
  • trial-ability, the degree that the potential adopter may experiment and make use of the innovation on a limited basis; and
  • observability, the visibility of the results of the innovation to others.

The Communication Channel
  • The means by which knowledge of innovations travels throughout the social system.
    • mass media that broadcast the knowledge from a central point to many “listeners,”
    • passing of knowledge from individuals to individuals.
    • formal communications such as “advertising,” training, or organizational directives;
    • informal methods such as personal contact, individual example, or social chat.
  • emphasis the importance of peers and “near-peers” in the communication channel and their status and standing in the perceptions of the potential adopters

Innovation Decision Process
Has five phases: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. According to this descriptive model, potential adopters of an innovation:
  • Knowledge--(need to learn about the innovation)--The decision-making unit is exposed to the existence of innovation--cognitive (knowing) or learning about the innovation. The knowledge about innovation might come through different communication channels. It could be in the form of advertising, word of mouth, formal education or training and it is not a passive exercise.
  • Persuasion--(are persuaded as the merits of the innovation)--The decision-making unit forms an opinion toward the innovation (favourable or unfavourable)--affective (feeling) to be persuaded as to the merits of the innovation. The decision-making unit would actively seek information about the innovation of concern before developing an opinion.
  • Decision--(decide to adopt the innovation)--The decision-making unit decides either to reject (rejection) or accept (adoption) the innovation. Usually, the decision to adopt or reject would be made based on a trial period. The result would determine either to adopt or reject the innovation. External parties might be involved by providing an opportunity to demonstrate the innovation.
  • Implementation--(implement the innovation)--The decision-making unit actually uses the innovation--real action and involves behaviour change due to the implementation. In this stage, the decision-making unit would discover whether the initial knowledge and perception of innovation were true or not. The implementation stage would end when innovation becomes an integrated part of the adopter’s life or the innovation perceived as useless.
  • Confirmation--(confirm/reaffirm/reject the decision to adopt the innovation)--The decision-making unit confirms or reverses the decision to reject or adopt the innovation made in the previous stage, as the information received about innovation may have conflicted with the previous beliefs.

In addition, the uptake of an innovation may be influenced by the inherent “innovativeness” of the individual or organizational unit, the prediction being that individuals/ organizations who are predisposed to being innovative will adapt an innovation earlier than those who are less predisposed.

The social system. (p. 285)
The set of interrelated units with a common goal (such as an educational institution) and a structure. The social and communication structure of the system can help or impede the diffusion of innovations. The social system will have its:
  • norms, its sets of behavior patterns;
  • opinion leadership, the degree an individual is able to informally influence others;
  • change agents, individuals who attempt to influence others innovation decisions;
  • change agency/agencies, a unit or units whose purpose is to use change agents; and
  • aides, individuals used by change agents to intensively interact with the clients.

In a social system, Rogers classifies four main type of innovation- decisions. These represent the various ways decisions are accepted by the individual. (p. 286)
  1. optional innovation decisions, the choices made by individuals are independent of others;
  2. collective innovation decisions, the choices are decided by consensus and then adopted by all in that consensus;
  3. authority innovation decisions, choices made by a few with power and are then adopted by the whole (usually by some form of directive); and
  4. contingent innovation-decisions, choices made by one or more of the above, but only after a prior innovation-decision.

Organizational model for the adoption of innovations.
  • consists of two broad phases
    • initiation phase--information gathering, conceptualization, and planning for the adoption of an innovation, leading up to the decision to adopt. This phase involves agenda setting where general organizational problems are articulated and matching where these problems are matched with potential innovations.
    • implementation phase--processes of redefining, restructuring, clarification, and routinizing.

Adopter- and developer-based instructional development. (p. 286)
  • developer-based model (Determinist)
    • the assumption is that a top-down approach of a developer with a supposedly “superior” technological product will increase the diffusion, along with the assumption that potential adopters are viewed as predisposed to adopt innovations that are quantifiably superior.
    • usually based on either an organization or the developer choosing the authority innovation decision process outlined above.
    • assumption: the client will either adopt through the power/authority social structure or will “intuitively” recognize the relative advantages of the innovation.
  • adopter-based models (Instrumentalist)
    • focus on the human, social, and interpersonal aspects of innovation diffusion.
    • view the end user, as the individual who will ultimately implement the innovation in a practical setting, as the primary force for change.
    • reject the assumption that superior product and practices will automatically be attractive to potential adopters.
    • the innovation decision is a combination of the optional innovation decision (independent individuals) and the collective innovation decision (decisions made by a collective of individuals).
    • Burkman (in Surry & Farquhar, 1997) have developed particular development models based on the “individual,” which can be readily applied to a collective and indeed to an organization when taken as an “individual unit.” The Burkman model makes use of a combination of elements as identified by Rogers, of the “adoptiveness” of an innovation, the channel, and the social structure to develop a practical developer model with the needs and perceptions of the potential adopters as being the primary forces that influence adoption. This model consists of five steps each of which is concerned about the characteristics of the individual adopter:
      • 1. Identify the potential adopter.
      • 2. Measure the relevant potential adopter perceptions.
      • 3. Design and develop a user-friendly product.
      • 4. Inform the potential adopter (of the user-friendliness).
      • 5. Provide post-adoption support.
    • In pragmatic terms, the primary force for adoption is the end users, that is the staff and students involved.

The Process for University of Western Sydney

1. Adopter (or staff) perceptions were sampled in terms of real or perceived problems first in existing traditional teaching delivery, and second in moving to web-based teaching

2. Concerns grouped into three main areas:

The main concerns with traditional teaching delivery are grouped into three main areas.
  1. general administration problems in subject delivery dealing with student enrollment, timetabling, and resource availability;
  2. general and specific communication to/from students resulting in student (and staff) confusion of procedures, requirements, and where to obtain needed information; and
  3. student participation and attitudes towards attendance at lectures and submission of assignment work.

The main concerns for moving into a web-based modes were grouped into three main areas:
  1. Developing and learning web technology. Except for a few innovators the bulk of the teaching staff were reluctant spending time and effort in learning how to produce and author web-based material.
  2. Making use of existing materials and resources. Since most staff had developed considerable amount of material in traditional form (typically quizzes, notes, and slide presentations) over the years, a major concern was how these could be easily incorporated into web delivery.
  3. Technology and network issues. The typical concerns being student access, bandwidths, multiple passwords to access various websites, and available computer facilities

3. Infrastructure needed work
  • provide up-to-date, automatically provided student enrollment information,
  • incorporate the uploading of a wide range of legacy material formats in an easy manner
  • have a single entry point for students and staff, from which subject delivery, messaging and other information can be accessed.
  • to cater for the wide range of web and technical experience of academic staff, it was proposed that a range of activities at different levels of complexity be incorporated rather than fixed methods and activities.
  • needed to be able to accommodate future changes and developments in the web medium

The PlatformWeb specification was drawn up as:
  • single home page entry for staff/students into all functions of the system;
  • automatic setup of the background ‘housekeeping’ for staff to use the system;
  • ability to upload resource material and have it automatically entered and tied into the system;
  • targeted delivery access based on a student authentication/ registration system integrated into the existing information systems;
  • ability to fully and automatically report on student responses for all elements in the system, including date stamping, elements visited, number of responses, entry into results databases, and statistics of responses for the online packages;
  • ability to integrate automatically into the system other developed HTML/XML applications;
  • a flexible builtin component for online quizzes that incorporated legacy material particularly in the form of word processor documents. Besides automatic marking, review, and progression reporting, the quizzes needed to be flexible to cover a wide range of use and methods of administering;
  • secured, online uploading of student material;
  • secured reporting to students;
  • simple online messaging system to students;
  • forum, discussion, and group components for staff and students;
  • online tutorials on how to use the system for both staff and students;
  • modular and extendable system design;
  • ability to incorporate other and future web-based products, in particular to accommodate teaching delivery packages such as WebCT, TopClass or Blackboard;
  • integration with the institution’s administration to provide up-to-date student data and supporting information (such as online tutorial registration, enrollment data, student results, staff intranet facilities); and
  • integration into the institution’s resource units to provide access to these resources (such as library, student services, career, course, and subject information).

Summary of Platform Web Usage
Pilot for one term
  • staff participation (19 teachers) purely on a voluntary basis
Semester 1
  • 50 teachers
  • with staff workshops being run from staff demand (24 workshops at the start of the semester~for 200 staff in the second semester)
Semester 2
  • 200+ teachers
Semester 3
  • 300+ teachers

I am an innovator, but with the belief that tech integration MUST stem from a pedagogically sound methodology--I don't innovate for the bling factor.

Are You a Determinist or an Instrumentalist?
I would rather view the extremes, determinist and instrumentalist, from a perspective of a balancing act or dance rather than dualities in opposition--mutually constitutive.
There is a dynamism between technology and society and these tensions help create the rich interface of our current society. Technology is what makes our current society possible--we even have new forms of social life--Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and Second Life. Technology and new forms of society are now co-produced and to talk of society independent of technology, just doesn't make sense.

What would the Arab Spring look like without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter? What would have happened?
( the early sixties there was the civil-rights movement in the US—and it happened without e-mail, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.)
external image 1f5f7f172e262dd62f099c6c899f-grande.jpgexternal image egypt.jpg
external image thanxfacebook-egypt-375x281.jpgexternal image qeebn-375x281.jpgexternal image egypt_protests_5.jpg<----love this one.
This weeks readings has me thinking a lot, as I am part of a group of people at our college that are trying to figure out how to get more tech usage at our college. I feel that I am starting to have a more focused idea as to what we should do to help foster tech integration. Our group just talks about ideas and brainstorm, which is good buy very unfocused; but these readings (and the game) offers structure and when these ideas are brought with our group it will help give focus to our initiative and help us create goals.

I have been thinking of
  • how to target highly respected and connected individuals at our college that are using something techy (regardless of how I feel about their pedagogy behind its use)--early adopters, not innovators--and show them off
  • try to figure out how to influence individuals' perceptions for when we need to—through media or connections (e.g. convincing them that critical mass has already been achieved)
  • how to we find and target intact groups who are more likely to adopt--early adopters
  • discuss the idea of providing incentives for early adoption

Unit 12: Presentation of Group Projects

Group Assignment: Camtasia
Watch as our group assignment is being created:
Click on the time slider on the top right of the screen.

Participation in Discussions

What are some purposes of group discussions?
  • exchange/explore/discuss/analyze ideas/information/issues/concerns
  • expand and clarify knowledge
  • kick around ideas
  • provide mutual support
  • solve problems
  • answer questions
  • enhance understanding and knowledge of a subject or topic area more deeply
  • provide opportunities to change attitudes and ideas
  • provide opportunities to hear thoughts and ideas of others

Before beginning this course, I was already knew a lot about and have used each technology introduced in the course, except for room-based video-conferencing (I have never used it, but easy to understand). The SECTIONS model by Bates and Poole was new and very interesting as it is very structured and simple to implement. Also, I had a spark of inspiration surrounding an application of diffusion theory for the institution with which I work.

Most of the discussions in the forums were about learning/exploring/clarifying knowledge about the technologies introduced in the course and in turn, this discussion did not offer me many opportunities to expand my understanding in the areas with which I wanted. I enjoy learning about the deeper meaning why some technologies work and others do not in the class--based on pedagogically sound reasoning. I enjoy discovering novel ideas or applications of technologies around the world. Also, I enjoy (but not as much) current news on happenings in the world that affect or are the effect of implementation of technologies; the course had quite a bit of this current information incorporated into the discussions, which I appreciated.

When posting to the discussions, I am not one to post things like, "Great post" or "Thanks for sharing." I am more likely to post ideas that make you think BIGGER, like introducing people to information
  • about echo chambers or filter bubblesin the Web 2.0 forum;
  • Sugata Mitra's projects (e.g. Hole in the Wall) demonstrate how a ratio of computers many:1 ratio is a great model for real learning versus 1:1. (This is not mainstream news like 1:1 computing.)
  • gaming the game (Diffusion Simulation Game) using actual research on the game. Not only do we need mathematical formulas/research/doctorates, but we need people who are experienced with the context. We can do some preparation (theory), but what really matters is context--we need people who understand the culture of the institution and that have been around for a long time, who are intelligent risk takers, who will weigh their risks and responsibilities. If we choose to do much less then we pretend to be able to do, then in the end we probably could do more.

So, perhaps I didn't engage in the discussion forums as much as I could have, but my unfortunately learning objectives did not align with the courses' objectives. Many students in the course highlighted that they were struggling in the course, and so I showed respect by limiting how many of my ideas that I would add to the discussion forums. It just didn't seem the place for these discussion, but perhaps I misjudged this.

As for the discussion of our small group, one group member Sheryl took the initiative to try and get us talking and for the most part it didn't work--she tried, but perhaps the other group members were having discussions that were meeting there needs elsewhere. However, she and I emailed back and forth and had Skype calls. The relationship ended up such that I offered her a lot of support, which I didn't mind. Let me note: It is important to understand the difference between someone who is lazy and asks for help, rather than using Google, and someone who is so overloaded that it they need to reach out or they may drown. Through conversations with Sheryl I had the sense that she was overloaded, I could see that she was learning the course materials at a high rate, but her initial starting point for learning was very different from my starting point. I enjoyed the contact I had with Sheryl and it was very different from any course I have taken from Athabasca University--I had never really made significant contact with any other fellow student (I have taken 10 courses through AU). It was nice for once not to be completely alone on my journey through the course--thank you Sheryl.

Another place that interaction took place was at my wiki: A long time ago Stephen Downes said in one of his videos, Web 2.0 and Your Own Learning and Development (time: 5:55) that "It's hard for other people to share what they know with you, if you're not willing to share what you know with them. Interaction is the sort of thing a lot people say, 'well... I just don't have time... it takes too long.' But really, you have to make it a priority, you have to make it a habit, you have to make it the sort of thing you do automatically every day." So, when I write in my wiki foremostly I write for myself, but I keep in mind the people who will read my wiki--I also, write for them. And as you can see from the stats below (Jan 1 2012--Apr 7 2012) that people are reading my wiki. I can drill down into the stats and link together the stats and which classmates read my wiki. (I didn't add the stats that shows the individuals that are repeatedly returning--I thought that this would be a privacy issue.)

I have had a few emails from other AU students, not just MDDE610 students, this thanking me for my wiki, asking for advice of future courses, workloads, and such. I like to think that my wiki has been helpful to some--I say this with humility not arrogance.

What is the point of my learning if I don't share it? This is where I can share my ideas or ideas that I have found or extraneous topics that I get lost in. This is how I share.


Course Improvements

  • Needs more showcasing how other institutions are using the technologies. Perhaps a wiki where students/instructor could add real applications of the technologies mentioned in the course. This wiki could grow over each term.
  • I think wikis should be showcased as an option for e-portfolios. It's easier than the other options and the skills are easily transferred to the classroom.
  • CIA should probably be moved closer to the beginning of the course, to lighten the heavy load near the middle and end. More learning can happen when the work is more easily dispersed and students are not so stressed.
  • Fix all of the incorrect deadline dates
  • Sometimes questions were quickly answered by the prof, that could have been answered by students. Sometimes this is good, but it can also create the climate of I don't need to respond/help as the prof will jump in and helpkind-of-attitude. This could have just been my perceptions.
  • update broken links
  • The e-portfolio instructions are very specific, which caused me internal conflict. Bravely, I decided not to follow the instructions and write about things that I was learning that were more relevant to me. During the first few weeks, I followed the instructions, readings, and it wasn't fun--I almost bailed from the course, as I take courses to learn, not for the credits. After the first few weeks, honestly, I stopped reading the required readings...first. I looked at the topic to be learned, spent hours Goggling it to learn about it, and only then did I go back and read the required readings. When I started doing this, I had much more fun, and I learned much more on topics that were relevant to me. So, I think it would have been helpful if there was a note that the e-portfolio can go beyond the bounds of the course. Even as I say this, I don't know that what I have done will be looked upon favourably or frowned upon for not following the "rules'. :(
  • Group Project: The evaluation of the group project should not be wholly based on the group project, but should include the assessment of individual, as well as group, learning and performance. There are always some people that know that others will carry the load and do the minimum. When accountability is incorporated into group projects, I am guessing the overall learning would improve (higher level of engagement and discussion from all members) and thus a higher quality and richer end product. Here is an example of a tool that can be incorporated for accountability purposes--peer evaluation. This document can be converted into a survey in LimeSurvey (or other similar products) to facilitate the ease or interpreting the data. Even if this survey was created, students completed the survey, but the data was never used by the prof, I am guessing there would be changes in some of the group members participation.