Framing my #edcmooc artefact

"Beyond access and cost: a primary benefit of open education insofar as it is not merely open but opening, is the opportunity for networked transcontextualism. A planetary double-take."Gardner Campbell, Open Ed'12

“Beyond access and cost: a primary benefit of open education insofar as it is not merely open but opening, is the opportunity for networked transcontextualism. A planetary double-take.”
Gardner Campbell, Open Ed’12

Very unlike myself (a prolific starter and a rather feeble finisher) I managed to submit my digital artefact for “final assessment” in the #edcmooc. I have to say that I was rather excited…

The format of the assessment and the experience of an assessed and assessing learner was interesting in itself and it warrants a separate thinking episode…here it will suffice that I reiterate the edcmooc team’s descriptor:

a digital artefact which expresses, for you, something important about one or more of the themes we have covered during the course

What is a digital artefact you ask?

something that is designed to be experienced digitally, on the web. It will have the following characteristics:

  • it will contain a mixture of two or more of: text, image, sound, video, links.
  • it will be easy to access and view online.
  • it will be stable enough to be assessed for at least two weeks.

The best bit was the encouragement to:

Try to have fun with this and use it as a chance to think broadly and creatively: anything goes in terms of the form of this essay.

Why a digital artefact you ask?

Text is the dominant mode of expressing academic knowledge, but digital environments are multimodal by nature – they contain a mixture of text, images, sound, hyperlinks and so on. To express ourselves well on the web, we need to be able to communicate in ways that are “born digital” – that work with, not against, the possibilities of the medium.

What is your response to that, you ask? >>>Left asking: What is OPEN learning?

(Unfortunately, ThingLink images are not embeddable in a blogs so you will have to follow the link to experience its full glory;)

Of course, we cannot go without words entirely so here are some thoughts on why and what (for how see this post – will be ready in a day or so):

Medium. I was inspired to chose ThingLink through the work of the MSc in Digital Education students who joined us for week 2 of #edcmooc and provided their digital responses to its themes and conversations to give us some ideas for our own creations (thanks in particular to Chantelle Meckenstock @cmeckenstock – and Steph Carron WP – for their ThingLinks;) .

Non-linear. I wanted my artefact to reflect the multichannel experience of #edcmooc not only in a sense of the multitude of participant’s voices and their formats, but also the number of ideas being generated and competing for attention in my own mind in response to the course material and experience. This extended to the links I have been making across the courses, e.g. #etmooc digital storytelling theme feeding into the artefact creation in #edcmooc.

Open. I liked the way the course seemed to consist of a stream of open-ended questions to get us thinking. Questions which do not have answers – or have complex and context-dependent answers. The binomial past-future, distopia-utopia, human-machine tensions set up through the readings opened many themes for future exploration (you should see my draft cache for this blog!). The overarching message – be open to questioning everything.

I wanted to reflect this – hence you will only find question marks in my ThingLink:)

For a while I toyed with allowing others to add their own so that the work can evolve. I decided against it because there was a risk somebody may make its essence disappear before it was assessed (ooo – here pops another question on the nature of made-re-made web and ownership over your creations;). I was somewhat mollified by the option for others to leave their mark via the comments box (PLEASE DO!).

I chose to focus on open ed as this is a concern shared by many moocers and educators in general, and a thing I am experimenting with at the moment  – but also inspired by the fact that the course itself was an example of an open connectivist MOOC design ‘delivered’ within what is commonly seen as a closed Coursera system (one of the reasons I took this course in the first place).

And – I thought making the piece about open ed would be an excellent introduction to the activities I will be getting into over next month or so: #etmooc is running an OpenEd theme over the next fortnight (overlapping  with OpenEd week activities) and OU’s OpenEd MOOC (#h817open) starts March 16th for 7 weeks.

Animated gif. Yes, I am a bit obsessed. But not indulgent! There is a good reason. Jim Groom, Tom Woodward, Michael Branson Smith, Brian Lamb,and  Zack Dowell convinced me that an animated gif is a perfect storytelling artefact for the digital era (here is their #etmooc presentation + a fab gif collections for the whirlwind tour of revival of gif storytelling). It is sampled, remixed, decontextualised, slightly illicit, inherently playful and beautifully succinct (perfect for the ADD web audiences).

After listening to Gardner Campbell‘s OpenEd’12 keynote for week 3 in #edcmooc, I became convinced that it is also a perfect medium to convey or create the “double-take” learning moments – including his own “planetary double take” (#ds106 folk tried to warn me – once you see a gif you end up seeing them everywhere;). And since I think that #edcmooc was a bit of a planetary double take – I made this to include in my artefact.

Unfortunately, I did not have much time to gather found #edcmooc gifs but managed to snap up very accomplished work by two fellow edcmoocers:

  • Maiji Huang – I used the open-ing gif which Maiji shared via the course forums as a background image for my thinglink.
  • Guilia Forsythe –made me laugh so hard with her terrorist hummus gif on her blog putting a dystopian twist on the utopian Microsoft ad.

Please let me know if there is more of them out there!

Interconnected but not networked. I have been a part of a couple connectivist moocs now. Yet I still find the experience is largely a solitary one where the demands of delving into the materials, digesting them and creating a response leave very little time to truly engage with others and their work. Perhaps it is the next step in the evolution of my digital competencies;)

Yet the edcmoocers’ work and conversations have been in my peripheral vision and prompted thoughts, emotions and giggles throughout. I included some of my finds in the artefact to reflect these loose connections and show my appreciation for everybody’s presence.

I have also been trying to get my learning done via web-based tools to truly immerse myself in the digital. So far the experience is also quite disjointed and I am just beginning to set up somewhat coherent workflows – I tried to connect some of my own digital spaces through the artefact. But for now these still stand as unconnected dots in the wider landscape of openness…

In the spirit of some more linking of things:

  • You can find links to the MSc Digital Education students’ week 2 response artefacts here.
  • And one of the places edcmoocers are sharing theirs is WallWisher. There is also a Facebook group but you must be a member to see that.
  • And just for completeness – here is a list of most of the readings and some videos (needs a bit of TLC at the moment so stay tuned).

It was such a fun ride! Thanks edcmooc team and my fabulous co-learners!