Teaching and Learning in a Net-Centric World
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  1. Terumi Miyazoe Terumi Miyazoe
    April 8, 2009    

    Hi Terry,

    In my view, as a virtual attendee of the Moot, it looked as a complete failure of online event and distance education — just from my very limited scope and impression I had by our being separated online from F2F.


  2. April 9, 2009    

    Thanks for your insights into the different hostings. I still sense the reluctance of opening the walls when it comes to higher and further education. Not all educators and learners are ready for it as yet, especially when their needs are different, and they don’t feel secure under an open learning environment.
    I resonate with your view on dancing between the 3 hostings. The educators need to have the sensitivity (EQ and SQ) in responding to the needs and expectations of learners under different context, and adjust where necessary.
    What do you think about the networks or community approach such as our http://connectivismeducationlearning.com.au towards formal education? Will universities be considering the adoption of such approach in hosting “courses”?
    Great to learn from your stimulating post.

  3. April 9, 2009    

    I agree that the best possible world is to be able to choose from a robust selection of all three solutions. A challenge I find in juggling all three (though our ‘front yard’ is almost empty) while designing for distance programs is that the expectations for technical support, ID management and interoperability that were developed in an LMS environmnet are transferred to a Web 2.0 tool. Students and faculty are used to navigating within the LMS and hold out for Web 2.0 tools that will embed within them. This is often possible but in some instances comes with additional complications. As an example, PBwiki discontinued its embeddable ‘1.0’ version in the middle of the last semester, necessitating a live migration to the next generation. The benefits of a distributed yet connected set of tools for an online course (front yard and someone else’s yard) would be easier to demonstrate to an audience that spent less (or no) time in the LMS.

  4. Stu Berry Stu Berry
    April 9, 2009    

    Thanks for this Terry

    I think the issues you raise go beyond formal institutional practice and culture and reach down to the understandings and values of faculty as well. I liked your last sentence as I think it can offer a more reasoned approach to the balance of the multiple interests that are invoked in your blog.

    I work with many faculty who fundamentally believe that we need to tie down everything and these same faculty appear to get quite twitchy when the institution talks about opening things up a little more. There are huge control issues and I better understand some of the institutional concerns than I do the concerns of my faculty peers.

    Web 2.0 and the flood of social software that is being used by students needs to be understood and valued and managed to the advantage of all instead of being seen as something inappropriate. We expect students to become capable and independent learners and so don’t we (faculty and related institutions) need to offer opportunities within these ever evolving worlds to offer a more egalitarian learning environment.

    This may not be exactly what you were thinking of in your post but when I think of institutional issues I think of faculty values and how they ultimately influence a more common garden approach.

  5. May 5, 2009    

    Nice post Terry and thanks for your reflection on this subject!

    At the University of Aveiro we’re currently developing a project called SAPO Campus (http://labs.sapo.pt/ua/sapocampus). Our approach is to provide an institutional solution that relies on a mixture of “Hosting in the Front Yard” and “Hosting in Someone Else’s Yard”. We’re trying to avoid the disadvantages that you mentioned on the two scenarios and, of course, take the best from the advantages.

    Best Regards!

  6. Clayton Clayton
    May 12, 2009    

    Thanks Terry for your detailed description of choices. Yes, a mixture of all three would be ideal, but as long as an institution must:
    – keep records of student activity,
    – ensure that the privacy of individuals is maintained, and
    – protect against the intrusion of foreign authorities (e.g., Homeland Security) into course and student information banks,
    it is likely that proprietary and open-source LMS will be kept within institutional garden walls.

    If students cannot have access to their work after leaving an institution, then the material must be in a form that students can download onto their computer. If the issue is about giving access to outsiders so that they may participate, then I don’t see the difficulty in setting up a discussion outside of the LMS.

    For many institutions, providing storage to hold students’ assignments and e-portfolios long after students have left is ideal, but cost prohibited over the long run. (Yes, the cost of disc place is declining, but maintenance and broadband access is still required.) Perhaps the files should be held for a reasonable amount of time, say two years in which students could download their materials, but then the institution would need to give access to those who are no longer students. If institutions thought that they may be able to encourage more alumni to donate funds by keeping student files, I am sure that they would consider it. If there was a suitable business case for keeping student files for lengthy periods of time and keeping LMSs outside of the garden, I am sure institutions would consider it. The belief in lifelong learning may not be enough.

    Clayton Wright

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