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WQ-Newsletter#5 May 2012

Thankfully most of you have been doing stuff, and WikiQuals is about learning by doing and the post-hoc accreditation of that, so cool. In the WikiQuals first annual report, the writing of which actually convinced me to continue, it was possible to reflect on what WikiQuals has to offer and how it might develop, which I  discuss below;
CROS & WikiQuals
I was recently in Romania and gave a paper, jointly written with Violeta Maria Șerbu, comparing the alternative university of CROS and WikiQuals. The paper was entitled ‘A comparison of the social media learning models of WikiQuals and CROS‘ and used Vio’s model for analysing the use of social media in HE. From her 3-part model it is clear that the first stage, based on a “complex set of social practices” is the critical one. After which the ‘learning environment’ and the ‘use of social media tools‘ evolve. Discussing our two initiatives helped clarify how we differ and what we do, because.
We Are Rhizomatic
The key difference, both theoretically and practically, is that CROS is student-centred and WikiQuals is learner-centred. WikiSqolars embody rhizomatic learning, that is they exist in multiple communities each of which reflect parts of themselves allowing them to act in different contexts and learn from those actions. A key realisation is that any educational project or institution that you ‘belong’ to actively defines you, whereas in WikiQuals you own your identity. What you do is up to you, the purpose of the WikiQuals project is to give you ‘permission’ to be yourself and reflect it in your chosen learning activities (which are always the right ones). In WikiQuals identity is something you work on for yourself rather than something you are given (by the institution). Some people have gently drifted off, or received offers, such as Bridget Mckenzie who has been offered a publishing deal for The Learning Planet, and so doesn’t need WikiQuals as a vehicle for that (great stuff Bridget), and that is fine
New Sqolars
We have a number of new Sqolars,
Oliver Ashton, now of the OllieBars energy product, my co-conspirator in the PeerPayMe digital P2P project that is now with Reconomy and the Transition Town Network. Ollie has been blog on our work on his blog. We are “changing the constitution one transaction at a time” More of Ollies ideas on his blog;
Timothy Scholze, who is our first American WikiSqolar, being supported by Ilene in Minnesota, and who is interested in how he can accredit his learning in the expensive US context and bring up a family with four kids. Tim is most active on his Twitter account.
Pamela McLean, who is active in Everything Unplugged and runs DadaMac,  has an idea about sharing her idea of a ‘landscape of change‘ which helps her make sense in our times and will try to codify based on the diagrams and ideas she uses in workshops.
Elena Dobre, the graphical whizz of CROS, had many chats with me in Romania and wants to do a WikiQual around marketing. Elena  is the graphics whizz for CROS and can be seen at her Apple Mac on one of the rotating images in the CROS header leading a session.
Eylan Ezekiel of #creat_ED
I’m not sure about this but I am helping Eylan on the Creat_ED conference that is a one-off filler for Learning Without Frontiers to be held on June 21st at the Barbican. I explained WikiQuals to Eylan and he was keen to join after the conference.
#creat_ED & WikiQuals TweetUp
The worlds first flipped unconference #creat_ED might, as well as having the perfect acronym, feature a WikiQuals thread. I’m going to post some resources online on June 17th and run some social media events on June 20th. If you want a tweetup on WikiQuals for an hour or so on June 20th let me know.
Affinity Partners Training
The biggest lapse in WikiQuals this year has been in not setting up the Affinity Partners process effectively. I discussed this with Elena as she will lead on WikiQuals in Romania and will need support and guidance. I intend, or hope, to set this up by the end of June.
WikiQuals Lab
One of the key ideas I had whilst writing the paper with Vio was that we now had a model to take to Universities, or other institutions, so they could set up WikiQuals Labs (?) as liminal spaces where they could use their resources to support learner-centred learning. Leicester University, for one, are interested in this.
Kawai Man, from Occupy Hong Kong and Dim Sum Unplugged, had agreed to be our first Citizen Journalist, but has been back in Hong Kong for some time. I had a good chat with her and Andrew Gordon, who asked me to set up WikiQuals in the first place, but we havent followed it up yet.

WQ-Newsletter#4 May 2012

Lucy Johnson WQ10;
Lucy, a key participant in Everything Unplugged, has joined and created her page based on application to do a Ph.D at LKL last year (with Carey Jewitt) So she has already provided a lot of information on her intentions on her Sqolarly Page looking at how teachers might use social media. In our opening conversation I realised how frustrated Lucy became by the management system of education in schools and for various reasons I said she might want to work with Summerhill. Here is a great film the BBC made about Summerhill. It is school v OFSTED & guess who wins? No really!
Affinity Groups
Thanks to the reflexive collaborationist Tony Hall WikiQuals had it’s first group meeting appropriately enough on May 1st (Lucy, Tony, Nigel, Fred). It was a rolling meeting at that going to the RSA, a JISC lobby, a resto and a hotel bar (where we were most lucid and the conversation, like the tea, flowered up). Like Unplugged but with a different purpose we covered a range of topics related to WikiQuals, London Planning decisions (Ken v Boris v people) and photography. Tony is keen on groups of 3 or 4 working together (agreed) and I am keen on WikiSqolars partnering up with specific others as More (or Less) Able Partners as Luckin (& Mitra) describe them. So I realised we need to develop Affinity Groups, as suggested by Tony, and I will be blogging on that.
Curated Conversation
As a consequence we also discussed the curated conversation idea and, as I have worked on 4 and David, Nigel, Philippa and Gavin have taken part, I want to hold a WikiQuals Curated Conversation as part of Everything Unplugged one Wednesday, maybe in 3 or 4 weeks time. Or elsewhere, I could bok the London Knowledge Lab, or Bridget could suggest a place. They last one hour and you need to give me 50 words in advance on the topic. I’m suggesting “What I think WikiQuals is” as a starter. The most successful Curated Conversation on line was Education Innovation but in some ways I think the Social Innovation for a Network Society was the most interesting as it was the most diverse. Comments on dates and topic titles appreciated.
Open Academic Practice MOOC
I’ve created a blog called Open Academic Practice as I need to use one for a new MOOC being run by Oxford Brookes University (the estimable George Roberts and Rhona Sharpe along with Jenny Mackness). I’m commenting on WikiQuals there as I see it as represting a different kind of Open. The OAP project is about access to Universities, and there for traditional kinds of success in a failed world created by traditional models of success. So I welcome the OAPs to the new world of learning.
Event; Bridget McKenzie has organised Dot Dot Climate Dash as part of Climate Impacts Day on May 5. report on that next month
Someone said that I should have a page on WikiQuals, what do you think? Is the OAP blog enough?

WQ-Newsletter#3 March 2012

Lot of news to brief you on; new members, Tony plus another in discussion, new Sqolarly updates, a possible international partner and some comments on MOOCS

Tony Hall; Tony, a founder member of Everything Unplugged, Learning Conversations, and I have had two long discussions about his involvement and he is working on a project called “the iPhone is post-modern university” Brilliant!

Philippa Young; Philippa gave an excellent talk at TEDx Warwick as part of her initial WikiQuals statement and, even better, was well-received by the audience.

David Jennings; David has updated his page and gained his QR Code outlining his ideas concerning Agile Learning; Ace!.

CROSQuals; I was invited by the CROS group in Bucharest Rumania to come and discuss with them on how to set a WIkiQuals project in Romania. More info on the CROSQuals blog. I am going back there in August to their summer camp to work in detail on how to set this up.

MOOCS; Some discussion on Jenny Mackness blog on the philosophy of MOOCs helped clarify my thinking on connectivism (which uses the network as metaphor – and thinks of knowledge as networked) and rhizomes (which use ecology as a metaphor – and thinks of knowledge as emergent) Interestingly the first Massive Open Online Course enrolledd 2000 but only 24 completed; some insights about WikiQuals. Discussion here.

Books; Mark Narayn, who gave a great Everything Unplugged talk on Sound, recommends NetSmart by Howard Rheingold, I think in some ways Cathy Davidson’s book Now You See it says a little more, but I am getting the most from Richard Sennett’s Together at the moment and his discussion of the process of curiosity leading to empathy and creating dialogical (dynamic but not pre-determined) processes of collaboration, because I think that is what we are doing

WQ-Newsletter#2  January 2012

Individual updates and programmes; As expected, and as described to me personally, everyone is currently at a different stage of development in their studies. We will be learning from this process as we go through the year.

Bridget McKenzie has the most clearly, and tightly, defined programme already in place and we met last week. Like everyone else Bridget wants to write a book, in her case called The Learning Planet. She is interested in looking at ways of learning that reflective collaborative and communal qualities and which are cognisant of environmental issues. She has scoped out 9 ways in which this might be addressed and from which she might learn. Bridget will be updating her blog on her work regularly.

Nigel Ecclesfield wants to build on the work he has done in using the concept of “Public Value” as a measure of social effectiveness and applying it to the ethos of public service in a networked society. Nigel will be using the blog Architecture of Participation to support his work on this.

Kai Graf von Pahlen is looking at the legal issue of men and pain and reviewing what the law concerning ‘Pain Men” might mean concerning television in an age when “human rights” are applied broadly. We are meeting in Liverpool next week.

The other Sqolars are in differing states of readiness and we will provide updates on their position next month.  A learning researcher from Minnesota State University, Ilene Dawn Alexander, currently at Salford University, is interviewing me about WIkiQuals and, hopefully, chatting to Kai as well.

Wearable qualifications; As a signifier of having completed sufficient information describing their intentions on their Sqolar page we provide a QR Code which points to the latest update concerning their intentions and activities. The above-named Sqolars are QR-coded. This could be seen as a gimmick but ties in with the deeper WikiQuals idea of transparency. Scholarly activity by Sqolars is carried out in plain sight as part of the assurance process. The idea of the QR Code is that it can point to work in process and can be accessed by anyone at anytime. Once a QR Code is created then the owner of that code, the Sqolar whose work it points to, can use it as they wish. Suggested by David Jennings they could be wearable qualifications, Philippa Young is thinking of making a T-shirt with hers, but it could just as easily be jewellery, a scarf, a coffee mug, or any format in which a QR Code can be simply represented. With a QR Code anyone’s scholarly status can be updated and accessed at any moment; in real time.

Co-qualification; We have had an offer from a London-based HEI (see below) to map Sqolars work to a Ph.D by publication. This had mixed responses from the Sqolars from “no way” to “yes please.” As a result we will have taken advantage of this offer to review our processes, which I will discuss in the next section. However it is a very exciting opportunity for Sqolars, which enables them to choose between three final outcomes.

WikiQuals Redesign as M.Phil and D.Phil; With the co-qualification offer in mind there was less necessity to design a learning programme based on a traditional “three-year” doctorate cycle if the range of possible outcomes can be varied. Consequently we can now identify three possible outcomes for Sqolars.

1) A Ph.D equivalent book, which reflects a depth and breadth of suitable work.

2) A Ph.D by publication, which is completed at a sympathetic HEI into which WikiQuals activity is mapped across to.

3) A book, which is published by a reputable publisher because of its scholarly value.

In each of these cases we could say that we can define a common core, or stem, of activity, which helps prepare Sqolars for any eventuality. In discussion on this recently the comment was made that this initial “common phase” could be seen as a “feasibility study” from which either a) traditional accreditation, b) collaborative accreditation or c) publication

To make this work we will have to design a set of criteria that can represent the core dimension of scholarly study. We will outline this by the next newsletter in February 2012.

WQ-Newsletter#1  December 2011
1) M.Phil / D.Phil structure; Following Ian Cunningham’s offer to transfer people into D.Prof at Middlesex Uni on a Ph.D by publication, I think it is sensible to structure the WikiQuals Ph.D into 2 parts. Preparation for the Book (M.Phil level for 2012) and Delivery of the Book. This means you have 3 modes of completion; WikiQuals complete (an publication by Kindle, etc.), transfer to D.Prof by publication, or writing a bok if a publishers comes in for you.
2) Monthly talks by the group; I had lunch with Philippa yesterday at the RSA, she is a new young fellow (and I’m not!), and discussed a number of ideas. She likes the idea of an M.Phil opening phase. I mentioned that I want to have monthly presentations to the group on your work, and that you should each do one during the year. I think she volunteered the first; the Camel as Metaphor
3) Personal Statements; several people have contacted me and said, where is your subject list what are you accrediting; so they havent RTFM! However I think everyone should look at their Sqolar page and get something down quickly, even if it is only your proposed book title; preferably answering the headings I put in place. Nigel is doing his on Public Value (nPV?) which he was in discussion with Warwick Uni about (I think?).
I’ve changed the setting on WikiQuals so you have Author status (if that isnt any good let me know and I’ll make it Administrator status – anyone know best on this?)
Digital Resource; XTLearn You might find this a useful content aggregation tool for tracking web-based resources. If you register you can also upload content into your user space. We could set up a shared user space for WikiQuals. There is a JISC OER call that I might bid into to look at the design of content for appropriation (Jan 27th 2012)
Vocational Ph.Ds; Incidentally in France they have Vocational Ph.Ds & Academic Ph.Ds and my friend Valerie Borne did a vocational Ph.D. She is moving from Brussels to work for Amnesty International (in Hoxton) in the New Year so I could invite her to an Everything Unplugged session on vocational Ph.Ds in the New Year?
WebStats; Oh and 1,000 hits on WikiQuals blog, 300 this week alone.

4 responses »

  1. Hi, the book I began constructing last year at the Centre for Creative Collaboration has a QR Code and a web site that is the QR Code. The ‘iPhone ‘Edge’ University’ will probably become part of that book.

    I use the ‘QR Code’ in relation to ideas around coding and encoding, representation, and in a metaphorical way.

    The book and probably my ‘thesis’ is about photography as a social practice.
    I’m still trying to find a way of ‘writing’ this book that I feel comfortable and confident about.

  2. That’s great Fred, I’m glad this is still going…I have recently ‘passed’ 4/5 of a unit on research methodologies through the OU (at vast expense) and am quite interested to engage with the OU and the ‘student experience’ particularly as it is now so expensive…applying to do some sessional teaching at the local FE college (run by Dick Palmer, I think you two know each other)…what would be really helpful is an institution email, I have been onto Goldsmiths to provide me with one (I did my MA there) and similarly the OU. There is an on-line research ‘community’ that I need to join that I need the email for!

  3. Let me know about progress with “Affinity Partners” please and the Lab idea.


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