Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Writing Week 1 - 57 papers?

Last week we as the openlearn research team decided to have a writing week. To start this process off we had a brain storming session to get ideas for writing. This could take the form of papers, reports, technical descriptions or whatever form we wished to employ. The point was to get ideas, and to get some writing done.

After the brain storming session we identified a number of areas to write about. Each of us had particular priority areas, and the rest of the areas were distributed randomly between us. There was then a little shuffling around of some subjects to those who wished to write about particualr areas. However, not too much of this was done so that it gave an opportunity to explore areas that did not necessarily fit with one's current expertise.

The topic areas are diverse and interesting and a full list for myself, Andreia and Patrick can be found at

As Patrick later jockingly suggested - 57 papers!

So if we get this lot done we woul never have to write another least for a number of years.

Anyhow, wishful thinking but a helpful start. I have included my list of topics below and will talk more about this in subsequent blogs. The aim was to prioritise one or two topics and then to write 5 or more shorter paragraphs on some of the other topics (all though to tell the truth I would like to do this on all of my topics). These topical paragraphs, or abstracts could then be shared with the others in the team. I will probably publish some of mine within my blog (if they are not too long).

In the case of the higher priorities each of us would become the lead author for our priotised paper but with the other two acting as second authors. That's the general jist of things but there is a lot of flexibility in all of this.

So, here is a list of my topics and priorities:
  • Learning taxonomies
  • Reflections on research using Activity Theory and Action Research (Denmark) (priority)
  • Feedback from pilot studies (tech report?)
  • Open research methods – remote research etc.
  • Ways of looking at the process of making open content and size of initiative.Story of the initiative.
  • Impacts on the host organisation: marketing, benefit, changes,
  • Learner experience: stories and patterns of use and wider contexts for learning
  • What XML does for us
  • Literature review of field of Open Education
  • Action Research in practice
  • Just in time learning through open content
  • Subject matter in open content: folksonomies and new subjects
  • Constructing short term communities for learning
  • Learning theories and their roles in open content.
  • Detecting paths of learning from user behaviour
  • Learning designAffordances – do people do what they can do with tools.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

At the OCW conference

16:30 At the Open Courseware Consortium conference in Santander getting near to the end of the second day of the course and some delegates are getting up to give good ideas. Battery is running low so may not have long to write.

Recommendation for new starters - visit someone else that already has one going such as MIT and TUFTS (and us of course at openlearn).

CORUS - group of students in Asia, Africa, USA. How to present open course to difficult and resistant institutes or countries. Course for 'mankind'. More discussion on usage.

Number of courses being studies - not just potential students - pick and combine materials as their own courses...this is what people often do with text based systems. Annotating and adding metadata a tags to data.

Aggregate, collate, all resources that exist.

Quoting former tutor form MIT 'Why are we here...two reasons - one it to have interesting ideas...the other is to make music'. Education allows us have to good ideas. Next year the group will have to fit into the stadium and Pedro will have to make music for us.

Talk about languages...start learning Spanish...see brochure on the table. Everyone in the world to be comfortably fluent in two languages.

Closing Remarks

Shortly we will be having a session where people will be able to present their projects. I shall be going along to this with Laura and others from the team.