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Tag Archives: Everything Unplugged

Designing for Discontinuities

The Strength of Weak Ties

Learning Conversations; A key factor in the practical emergence of the current community of WikiSqolars has been the Everything Unplugged group who meetup every Wednesday for learning conversations. This exhibits the key quality of sociality, from which I see self-organised learning emerging, and have recently been having discussions about social learning, which Tony Hall is passionate about. The recent conversations have covered a range of topics which have, implicitly, helped me with my thinking about the post-institutional principles that inform the WikiQuals project. It has made me realise that what the current WikiQuals group needs to engage with, over our next cycle of activities, are the discontinuities of learning.

We are Rhizomatic; I recently took part in the excellent #fslt MOOC (first steps in learning and teaching) run by Oxford Brookes University, partly organised by Jenny Mackness who has been involved in organising and thinking about MOOCs for sometime. As I made clear in early discussions, I get the OO (Open Online) aspect but I don’t see the point of the MC (Massive Courses). I don’t think that learning scales like a product sells because learning is about engaging in social processes. I’m beyond being interested in the pedagogy of subject based-courses; subject-based study is not about learning it is all about *delivery*. However reflecting within the group on various MOOCs that we have been involved in recently has helped us at Everything Unplugged think about what appears to be the rhizomatic quality of (our) learning. Over the last few weeks I think we’ve come to an understanding that, as a group, we are rhizomatic in terms of our learning behaviours. The current global rush to MOOC everything is much more about extending the grip of institutionalised education.

Discontinuous Connections;  Read the rest of this entry

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WikiQuals Accreditation

“Solve the problem that annoys you most” 

Developing post-hoc accreditation processes; is the purpose of WikiQuals because high-stakes assessment (of education) is seen as the only valid social measure of learning; We disagree!

Introduction; We have been asked a question within the PhD group and consequently had some scholarly, and not so scholarly, discussions, concerning whether we should accredit the WikiQuals Ph.D or not. In part this is because we have had a very generous offer of some kind of twin track accreditation from an HEI in London (a doctorate by publication) and in part  because the purpose of WikiQuals isn’t yet fully clear to everyone. So I shall deal with the issue of post-hoc accreditation in a little more detail in this post.

Formal Learning; My main reason for developing WikiQuals, which grows out of the “formal” part of the Emergent Learning Model, derives from previous experiences I’ve had of discussing alternative modes of learning developed from various projects using CMC / CSCLICT / ICLT / e-learning / edtech etc., with policy makers let alone alternative learning theories such as constructivism and connectionism.  They always have one simple response, before they go on to dismiss anything just for it being new, namely “Ah yes collaboration is all very well, but how can you test what people have learnt individually?” Or put another way “but what about the high-stakes assessment” (in your bright new idea about learning). Basically all proposed changes in education which emerge from analysing how learning works are dismissed by using the trump card held by the system itself concerning the allegedly enduring value of individual assessment, or exams, if you want to *really* prove that the learning matters in the “real world”.

Network Society; Whilst I think that this issue is in fact a political one about the power and value of existing hierarchies, yet more of what Ben Hammersley calls the clash between hierarchical people and network people in the 21st century, I also think you should, to quote Philippa Young at the University Project workshop on WikiQuals, “solve the problem that annoys you most“. And being told that collaborative, or any other learner-centred learning, isn’t valid because it doesn’t have a high-stakes assessment process at the end of it to prepare you for an enduring life of stress, is what annoys me the most. So here is one possible solution.

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