Posts referring to articles by brainysmurf

How revolutionary are MOOCs and their spin-offs? Some tentative predictions #change11 #opco12
brainysmurf, 127 - markusmind, May 22, 2012. I appreciate this analysis and respectfully disagree with several points.

I don't believe that moocs only have a place as an add-on or option next to a basic university course. I have acquired deep skills, knowledge and 'serious learning' through self-directed and facilitated learning in moocs over the past two years, both in quality and quantity that would be difficult or impossible to acquire if it were mandated and controlled by someone else. The speed, volume, depth and breadth of knowledge that I have been exposed to in moocs is unlike anything that a fixed curriculum and set of required readings could provide to me as a learner.

I disagree that "To unfold the educational potentials of these applications we need expert users that can provide scenarios for specific purposes." Each of us can *become* expert users of these tools through risk, effort, practice, failure and more practice. As a user, I become aware of the educational potential and limitations of social media applications as I try to apply them to my needs and circumstances. Again, I don't need an expert to do this for me. I might *consult* with experts for advice and guidance but I rely on my own experience to feel out what works and what doesn't in any given situation.

Moocs are far more than TV channel switching. They are opportunities to decide for oneself what to watch, read, listen to, discuss and create. And, if a mooc participant simply wants to keep switching channels, that's fine too. And therein lies the part that drives traditional education crazy: teachers don't hold the remote control anymore, nor do they control what is broadcasted.

Who will come to my MOOC party?
brainysmurf, 253 - ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios, May 17, 2012. Thanks, jupidu! What a great set of questions to reflect upon.

#change11 affected my personal and professional life in many ways. It solidified my belief in self-directed, connected, networked learning as the best way to learn, for me and for many others. I bring these principles into my daily life and work. #change11 reminds me to risk, to explore, to dare, to challenge and to have fun learning.

Like yourself and several others, I participated in all 35 weeks. It wasn't hard at all because I know that I have permission (from the mooc facilitators, participants and from myself) to be more/less active in any given week. That freedom is unique to moocs and I won't settle for anything less now.

Personal highlights:
- learning how to blog (thanks to Giulia, Bon, Jenny and Mark in NZ for the inspiration and thanks to all who viewed over 3000 times, read and commented!)
- guest blogging for my work and for this course (thanks, Liz!)
- finding usefulness in Twitter, HootSuite, FaceBook, Wordle, LinkedIn and Diigo (
- LOVED the presentations by Nancy White and Bon Stewart
- remembering to ask good questions (thanks, Jaap!)
- making time for diverse viewpoints (thanks, AK and John Mak)
- finally making a mindmap for #cck12 (thanks to what I learned in #change11)
- being able to articulate how I make time for social, networked learning
- having a classroom learning experience to compare/contrast with this mooc
- continuing to have access to brilliant minds like Stephen, George, Dave and Clark Quinn
- my interview for Colin's mooc research project (special thanks to Lou!)
- all the laughs and links and drawings and quirky comments we shared in the live sessions (thank you, all!)

In the future, I will always be looking out for excellent moocs that reflect the same practices they preach (not just any open activity that wants to call itself a mooc). I've registered for #fslt12 and can't wait to see what Jenny has in store for us. I'll use #change11 as a tag for as long as I remember to, particularly in my Diigo bookmarks.

My name is brainysmurf and I am a moocaholic. :)

The Bonk Show: "drinking from a firehose"
brainysmurf, 120 - EdTech - Insights, May 14, 2012. Thanks, George! Your catchy post title caught my eye and I'm glad I spent 15 minutes with your description and Dr. Bonk's video. His vportal looks quite interesting and completely relevant to my current project. Keep us posted! :)

MOOC Closing Thoughts
brainysmurf, 214 - Reflections on my MOOC experience, May 07, 2012. Congratulations on this great achievement! I hope your mooc experience will continue to compliment and challenge your formal education and bring you new insights in the years ahead. Cheers!

the unbearable lightness of
brainysmurf, 249 - » change11, Apr 30, 2012. Thanks, Bon, you've just painted such a clear image in my mind about navigating through digital space and time. I now see it as comparable with trying to get through the food court at Union Station in Toronto during morning rush-hour.

The smells of cinnamon buns, Egg McMuffins, flavoured coffees and fruit purees add nasal distractions to the physical chaos of thousands of people getting on and off of buses, subways and Go Trains in the same small underground space. Have your coins in hand and stick to the right hand side and you might just get by. Go fast or go home, there is little tolerance for anything in between...

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 24, 2012. Great summary of Design thinking on last week's live Twitter event #lrnchat.

"Marshall McLuhan said that, 'we look at the present through a rear-view mirror,' and we 'march..."
brainysmurf, 214 - Reflections on my MOOC experience, Apr 24, 2012. And, in this digital age, I suppose we have to dance like no one's recording it for YouTube. :)

Goal Setting in MOOCs
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Apr 24, 2012. Thanks, AK, I purposefully chose not to set any particular goals for myself in this mooc or in #cck12 or #ds106. Like yourself, I am happy to find some leads to other bits of interest or to participate as little or as much as I wish.

Funny enough, the less others participate in the mooc, the easier it becomes for me to keep up with The Daily and read deeper into the items that are available. In the early days when the discussion threads and blog posts are fast and furious, I have to work a lot harder to filter through and find the gems.

Waiting for week 33 in the change MOOC – remaking education
brainysmurf, 253 - ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios, Apr 24, 2012. This is such an interesting and influential time to consider investing your "energies into new approaches." Imagine how many international contacts you would have through this mooc if you were looking for ideas or business partners!

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 23, 2012. It could be an operating system thing or maybe linked to the book itself. Here's another link

Noting that your source is an e-book is good too :)

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 22, 2012. Hi, Deb, here's one answer about Kindle page #s. Hope this helps?

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. One of the most exciting forms of expression I've seen online in the last two years is, ironically, the ability to draw with paper and pen. See RSAnimate on TED for examples. People who can tell well-articulated stories with good illustrations, done by hand, resonate with me just as much or more than the high-end computer animations that one can make now.

Again, it's all about DESIGN. What is the task? What is the point of the task? Are we using the right tools (digital or not) to accomplish the task?

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. And they should be recruiting, hiring and promoting with a design skill set as a pre-requisite!

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. P.S., once again it is a matter of how the presentation was designed (interactive/passive) not a matter of the delivery method (virtual/in-person). This is an argument I have used repeatedly with clients/coworkers who don't buy into e-learning simply because they have experienced poorly-designed e-learning in the past.

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. It would be interesting to analyze what happens in live mooc sessions regarding presenter:participant ratios of 'talk time'.

Over the past two years of my experience, there were certainly some presenters who invited/inspired considerable participation in the backchannel or on the whiteboard. And there were others who performed a more traditional talking head/bullet point presentation that either a) didn't invite or inspire participation or b) inspired participation on other topics in the backchannel as a recourse against the main presentation not sustaining interest.

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. To me, the issue of looking at teaching as a design profession is not about technology at all. It's about having a design mindset, a process or framework for designing an optimal learning environment and optimal learning products.

If the product happens to be designed using digital technology, that's great but not necessary. Example: teaching math, biology and chemistry by building a school garden.

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. Sorry, Diana, I was thinking specifically of a central Canadian context here where one generally doesn't get into teacher's college without high school grades in the 90s, a bachelor's degree and lots of experience and strong references to go with it. The one exception is teaching in the trades, where field experience can be coupled with a college diploma (Bachelor's not required).

It's something of a low-status profession as far as entry salaries are concerned but a seasoned teacher (esp. in high school, who are paid more than primary/junior) can be making upwards of $80K/yr.

Design-based research chain of inquiry
brainysmurf, 23 -, Apr 20, 2012. Thanks, Rebecca, this is a great summary. I see your chain as a loop, where reflection can further shape or refine the theory on which the design was grounded, much like any validation or evaluation point in a design process that takes you back to (re)design and (re)development of the product.

Design is one of my favourite tags in Diigo. Here is my collection, for your interest:

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. In my experience, teaching as a design profession includes the design of many products (curricula, physical/virtual learning spaces, lessons, examples, models, aids, guides and assessment tools).

The actual design functions, for any of the above products, include:
- fully analysing the needs of the audience and the objectives of the products you want to create
- developing a range of possible solutions
- reviewing previous designs (one's own or others' ) for inspiration and to borrow elements that fit the new design
- testing the possibilities, refining the design
- using tools and technologies to create the products

I also think that showing students how to design is a fantastic idea. See this text Nuffield Design and Technology for design examples related to agriculture, textiles, mechanics and other topics:

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 20, 2012. Thanks, shukie, this is a fundamental shift to see teacher-student as a continuum or interchangeable role rather than a discrete category or otherness.

I also appreciate the tie back to earlier content in this course about pushing forward on Cs other than consume (connect, create, contribute and, in my opinion, commit).

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 19, 2012. Serendipity strikes again! A site tweeted by Clark Quinn as the topic of tonight's #lrnchat

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 19, 2012. An excellent article and counterpoint to individual excellence as the foundation for learning. Thanks for sharing! I've cross-pollinated it on the #cck12 Daily as well.

#change11 Motivation and education and resistance to change, curiosity
brainysmurf, 104 - connectiv, Apr 19, 2012. What a great perspective on change: that people embrace it where they need variety and resist it where they need stability. I will keep this in the front of my mental rolodex as my organization and clients continue to talk about 'change management'.

I know you like questions so here are the ones popping up for me:
- In what circumstances do we expect or seek change and are therefore pleased when change happens?
- If we feel prepared for change, are we less resistant when it happens?
- How can we develop change resilience or overcome change fatigue?
- If learning and working are integrated, and learning is all about change, then shouldn't we expect a lot of change in our work?

Thanks for sharing! :)

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 18, 2012. Well said! I forgot to add how pleased I was to hear of teaching thought of as a design profession, with which I wholeheartedly agree after working on a professional design certification a decade after getting my teaching degree.

Also found this post on questions that seemed relevant to the culture of teaching.

Do we train and recruit teachers who ask good questions? Not likely. Administrators don't like too many questions.

Re: Digital support for teaching as a design science
brainysmurf, , Apr 18, 2012. This is excellent and fits with things I've been musing about for awhile. I think we have to look at what happens in teacher education, both pre-service and in-service:

- Most teachers are successful products of traditional, formal education (sage on stage).
- They are typically "A" students in the command-and-control model.
- They are likely to teach how they were taught.
- Classrooms are often silos. They don't inspire collaboration among teaching peers.
- Staff rooms are breeding grounds for gossip and complaints, fatigue and stress. Again, not a source of inspiration or collaboration.
- Professional development (PD) days for teachers are treated as separate from the daily work of teaching. There is little culture of ongoing learning as part of the daily role of the teacher.
- Teachers are expected to know it all (or at least stay a chapter ahead of the students). What about student-centred or student-driven design?

These factors, and likely many more, do not bode well for a teacher being supported as an innovator, explorer, know mad or creator. Rather, the system perpetuates regurgitators. Not sure how we begin to unpack that, especially when seasoned folks like loewenbl above are the exception in digital literacy, not the rule.

What's in a name?
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Apr 12, 2012. Thanks, AK, you've reminded me of a great learning experience that I hadn't thought of in many years. During one of my undergrad courses (nearly two decades ago), I had an elderly psychology professor who offered all students a choice of delivery format:
1. A three-hour weekly lecture that he would deliver (very dry!) plus a few written exams OR
2. A biweekly seminar class led entirely by student presentations (twice each during the semester), without exams.

For me, this was a no-brainer: give me the seminars, please! I found it strange that only a dozen or so of my peers chose this route. The others didn't seem to want the responsibility (or anxiety?) of developing and delivering 90 minute presentations of their own, so they chose to grind it out through the tedious Friday-morning lectures and subsequent exams.

In five years of post-secondary education, he was the only prof to offer us this option. Looking back, I'd have to call him pretty progressive for his time.

Learning a lesson
brainysmurf, 237 - Con sabor educativo, Apr 11, 2012. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm not sure how many adults would have the courage to tackle this skill, especially after a lifetime of difficult experiences with it. Your conclusions are applicable to so many circumstances. Gracias!

Commentary on Commentary on Comments
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Mar 30, 2012. Hey, AK, thanks for this. There seem to be fewer blog posts and comments/discusion threads in this mooc overall but I'm not sure the length of the course is solely to blame. I continue to see a lot more Twitter action in The Daily than in previous courses so maybe folks are opting for that platform out of convenience or preference or that's just 'where they already are' (nod to Jane Bozarth on that one). There are also several moocs happening simultaneously (#change11, #cck12, #ds106 and maybe others) so perhaps people's participation is divided among them.

I'd like to think I'm part of the 'core' that was visibly active in this course, more so at certain times than others, and I haven't departed. I'm still here, just as interested and active and reflective as I was last fall. I don't think I'm alone in that regard, even if you don't always 'see' what I'm doing with what I learn here. Cheers :)

Re: What am I doing in this MOOC? #change11
brainysmurf, , Mar 29, 2012. Serendipitously, your Diigolet is attached to Stephen's overall blog (not just the one post in particular), so I found his wonderful piece on that something beyond leadership and management today. Thank you!

What am I doing in this MOOC? #change11
brainysmurf, 331 - learn, teach, repeat, Mar 29, 2012. Great list of self-directed accomplishments in this and other moocs! I hope Colin and his colleagues can use that insight for their survey.

You seem to have covered all 5Cs (consume, connect, create, contribute and commit), which is a participation framework that I had thought about back in October.

Keep up the great efforts and the paying forward! :)

Comment to Bioramaxwell: Learning diary Vs blogging a story of motivation #change11
brainysmurf, 311 - LEARNING RETENTION, Mar 19, 2012. Hi, folks. Back in November, Jaap posted some useful advice on blogging that you might enjoy:

In particular, I have found it helpful to ask more questions in my blog and to save a draft for awhile and re-edit before posting. Cheers :)

Learning Artifact for Week 25, Stephen Downes' Presentation
brainysmurf, 214 - Reflections on my MOOC experience, Mar 14, 2012. I like this artifact. It's straightforward and relatable and applies the practice to something outside of the classroom.

Vast Lurker and No-lurker Participation in Open Online Courses: MOCCs and the AI Stanford like courses respectively.
brainysmurf, 343 - osvaldo rodriguez, Mar 06, 2012. Thanks for this analysis, Osvaldo, it's making me sit back and think, which I appreciate.

I have some trouble with using the stats on visits to a mooc home page as a basis for tracking participation. In #change11 or #cck12, for example, I rarely visit the course home page because my primary source of information comes to me by email in The Daily. Therefore, I don't *need* the course website unless I want to check out the course outline or something, which I might only do once a month.

In my opinion, the phenomena of lurking and participating are particularly difficult to track when participants might be consuming and applying the knowledge in more private ways (e.g., internal websites or SharePoint at work, keeping written notes on paper, sending emails to friends, etc.) I think we also have to ask ourselves why tracking even matters and to whom it matters.

Wisdom of the Masses and Course Creation
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Mar 06, 2012. Thanks for this question, AK. As part of my instructional design role a few years ago, I was part of a working group responsible for test-driving an LMS to see if it would be a good fit for a large organization (over 25,000 users).

Sadly, we did not have our business requirements fully fleshed out when we started. That would have been quite helpful. We learned that the LMS (Saba) could do just about anything we wanted it to do and could be customized and configured to the nth degree. It was quite overwhelming in terms of options.

The knowledge and skills necessary for an instructional designer using and/or evaluating an LMS will vary, depending on the scope of the job and the system used. For example, is the designer developing content inside the LMS (I believe Desire2Learn does this) or is the content developed in other software (Word, PowerPoint, Captivate, other) and then loaded into the LMS? Is the designer or someone else doing the loading? A short list of knowledge and skills might include:
- comfort with navigating new software
- attention to detail
- excellent keyboarding and mousing skills
- basic understanding of web architecture (comfort working with menus, forms, tables, editing commands)
- excellent organizational skills (dealing with multiple files, formats, images, video clips, etc.)
- a bit of knowledge about HTML might help for troubleshooting (particularly when quirky things happen with formatting when copying something from Word or the internet into an LMS).
- comfort developing assessments for an LMS
- strong background in e-learning design and/or adapting materials from classroom to e-learning

Hope this helps?

week 25 Activities - I
brainysmurf, 207 - lucidTranslucent, Feb 29, 2012. Gracias! Your highlighting of Stephen's presentation was very inspiring for me. :)

Social Media: An Interview
brainysmurf, 1 - Half an Hour, Feb 28, 2012. This is a fantastic interview/essay, Stephen. Thank you so much for detailing the mechanics "in the middle". There *is* a great deal of effort involved in playing with and selecting the right tools for one or more purposes of communicating, learning, sharing, connecting and collaborating. I'm not sure that enough newcomers to the scene understand that it isn't all instantaneous and easy. I believe it takes diligence, practice, reflection and intentional action to derive significant benefits from social media.

And, for brave folks like yourself, George, Dave and Jim Groom, it takes even more courage and effort to create something new like gRSShopper, #change11, #cck12 and the #ds106 experience.

I would also be very curious to see all the mechanical stuff shown as an image or flow chart, if you were so inclined. The interactions between so many platforms are fascinating, as noted in Matt Bury's recent image of his PLN.


#change11 MOOC - Week 20
brainysmurf, 342 - Reflections on Learning - A Personal Work in Progess, Feb 15, 2012. Hi, Dennis. For more ideas on how to incorporate social media into corporate training, you may enjoy the work of Jane Bozarth in "Social Media for Trainers". She gives very concrete examples of how to use Twitter, FaceBook, wikis, blogs, SharePoint, etc. to increase learning before, during and after formal learning events.

Google her work - she has a blog, book, on Twitter, etc. Cheers :)

Sensemaking in a MOOC
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Feb 14, 2012. Thanks, AK, I find my relationship to moocs evolving all the time as well. I have a fairly clear understanding of how they work and don't work and I feel very comfortable choosing my level of participation, which fluctuates on a daily or weekly basis. This journey has taken me about 18 months, though, in which I have been able to relinquish a lot of old notions about structured learning, teacher as sole authority, etc. I feel very empowered and content and thankful for all of the connective and collaborative tools available to do this more easily.

Re: Personal cyberinfrastructure - neat idea...but...
brainysmurf, , Jan 27, 2012. Good point, AK, about having to take exams for the purpose of filtering students into a required course rather than bypass or 'test out of' a course altogether. It's scary how many forms of numeracy and (digital) literacy are expected in younger grades but not reinforced for the sake of keeping kids moving forward with their age groups, which I think is ridiculous.

In some parts of Canada (maybe all of it, not sure), the idea of failing a kid is pretty much non-existent so the struggling ones continue to get fed upstream where their lack of math, English and maybe digital skills become more problematic and either more obvious or more deeply hidden and shameful. A pretty damaging cycle!

Now that 99% of my learning is virtual and I have no idea what age many contacts are, I wonder if we can get away from the age group bullsh&t and just let people learn with whomever they want to?

Re: orchestration of credibilit
brainysmurf, , Jan 24, 2012. Thanks, Theresa. I believe that switch-tasking exists (moving quickly between two tasks) and multi-plexing is an interesting concept but multi-tasking is a myth. My beliefs are heavily influenced by this author:

Cheers :)

Personal cyberinfrastructure - neat idea...but...
brainysmurf, 106 - Multilitteratus Incognitus, Jan 24, 2012. Interesting questions, AK. I think the computer and information literacy stuff should start a lot earlier than college, perhaps in primary or junior grades or as an ongoing part of a multi-year curriculum? Then a person could complete some kind of prior learning assessment as part of college entry to ensure basic digital literacy requirements are met? All that being said if one continues to value the role of formal training institutions, which is becoming rather questionable in my mind lately. :)

Ritual Dissent (#Change11)
brainysmurf, 331 - learn, teach, repeat, Jan 24, 2012. Thanks for this. I think the water cooler experience (or staff lunch room or mail room) might look like dissent on the surface but they seem to wallow in lethargic group think. Water coolers, mail rooms and lunch rooms might be the first safe places in which people try to voice complaints but I've seen them turn too quickly into endless griping without solutions or actions taken. As such, I've spent over a decade eating at my desk, my home or a restaurant, not the lunch room. :)

Re: Hugging the cactus
brainysmurf, , Jan 23, 2012. Thanks, Joe, I appreciate the reminder about echo chambers. Great dot-connecting between speakers in this course. Cheers! :)

Talking while the teacher is talking: learning in the back channel of #change 11
brainysmurf, 331 - learn, teach, repeat, Jan 09, 2012. Here are some additional ideas on how to set up discussions so that more than one person is 'talking'. They were designed for public service managers (and were developed before social media really took off in workplaces) but they seem adaptable to a classroom audience armed with collaborative technologies.

New projects starting while others end #change11
brainysmurf, 75 - Change MOOC Reflections, Jan 09, 2012. Congrats on your launch, bioram. I like the idea of a 'pseudoMOOC' as another option on the learning menu, which takes into consideration the reality of a traditionally spoon-fed audience. Best of luck! :)

Transformational Tasks
brainysmurf, 335 - Web Tools for Teaching, Jan 09, 2012. Thanks, Maryanne, I appreciate your concrete examples of how the model could be considered in practice!

Going Off the Record at #durbbu
brainysmurf, 328 - EduTechLand, Jan 06, 2012. Thanks, Ben, this is one to make me sit back and think as well. My instinct would be to record it all as well, as someone who has frequently benefitted from inclusion through asynchronicity. Then again, does one lose incentive to 'show up' if it will all be recorded later? Must ponder further...thanks for the food for thought. :)

Surviving Education: #change11
brainysmurf, 331 - learn, teach, repeat, Jan 06, 2012. Thanks, Joe, you echo a point about professional blind spots that I have been struggling with for some time: teachers are typically excellent students themselves who are able to complete post-secondary studies with high grades as well as successful practice teaching rounds. Thankfully, I had a dean of education who insisted that we learn something new before we graduated, in order to remind us of the challenge/struggle to learn, to fail, to keep trying. I tried to explore piano as an adult and hated it, though I learned a great deal from it!

Sorry I'm late for #change11
brainysmurf, 331 - learn, teach, repeat, Jan 06, 2012. Welcome! Thanks for sharing your intention to arrive late as well as the traditional educational concepts that beg to be questioned in an open course. There is lots to experience and reflect on in this environment about authority, authenticity, accountability, time management, priorities and so on. Enjoy the ride and please keep us posted! :)

Joining #change11
brainysmurf, 328 - EduTechLand, Jan 05, 2012. Welcome, Ben! Thanks for jumping into a new role as a visible participant. We're glad to have you. :)