The (Personal) (Business) Impact of Open

opened-logo

Over the next couple days, I’ll be participating in the 12th Annual Open Education Conference #OpenEd15: The Impact of Open. It’s a conference I’ve always wanted to attend, but for various reasons haven’t been able to make it happen. This year, we’ll make it work.

For folks at home, tune in to the live stream keynotes, and a rich twitter stream. Expect to hear some of the most forward-thinking learning professionals discussing how open open educational resources (OER) can dramatically improve the quality of education. At the risk of telling you what you should do, don’t miss it.

Since starting my consulting business 2 years ago, I’ve had the good fortune to work on a number of open educational projects. I’ve just “run the numbers”, as some of them say. Here’s where my income comes from:

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 9.58.20 AMThere’s good work be done. Links to some of these projects below. Let me know if you’d like access to any of the source files, or if you have any questions.

My take on Desire2Learn’s Learning Suite 10: Elegant and Extensible

passing car

cc: flickr.com/photos/wwworks

or, “Get out of my way and let me do stuff!”

I was honoured to be asked to speak at Desire2Learn’s Product Announcement yesterday. The event focused on the launch of Learning Suite 10. You can read all about it on their site.

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Desire2Learn for over 12 years. I’ve seen the staff grow from a team of 5 coding in someone’s basement apartment over 400 people who make up the company today. It’s quite remarkable. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing D2L’s software mature over the past 12 years to the world-class product it is today. Learning Suite 10 marks an important step in their evolution.

One of the things that sets D2L apart is their engagement with their clients, and that they actively seek out and listen to feedback from the community of users. D2L knows that I love to get sneak peeks at new tools, and I have a bit of a reputation for speaking my mind. So, at Guelph we’ve had guest access to Learning Suite 10 Early Access for about a month, to kick the tires.

This release, in a word is ELEGANT.

The layout is crisp, the navigation is slick, and the tools themselves fade into the background, which is awesome. It lets users focus on what’s important…teaching and learning. In some ways the best tools are the ones you don’t notice you’re using. It’s important for software developers to know when to get out of the way and let users focus on what they need/want to do. We shouldn’t have to discover the proper combination of clicks and to figure out how the tool was created in order to use it properly. First impressions of D2L’s Learning Suite 10 are that was built with this type of usability in mind.

It’s an elegant design. And what it creates is a solid foundation to work with and build on. I was happy to see in this release continued development on D2L’s Web services. These APIs will allow institutions like ours to build, integrate, and extend their teaching and learning tools and services.

I’m excited to start working with Learning Suite 10. I’m anxious to see how instructors and students start to shape this platform, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with D2L on this and future developments.

Congratulations, John & Kenneth, Jeremy, the Brian’s, Heather…and all the rest. Great work. Keep it up!

What if you could rebuild the University from the ground up?

Some inspiration from from Michael Wesch:

Wait for the punchline at the end.

Learning Analytics: The Holy Grail for Education?

Learning and Knowledge Analytics is a conceptual and exploratory introduction to the role of analytics in learning and knowledge development….We live in digital times. The conversations that used to evaporate around the water cooler are now digitized, waiting for a clever algorithm for analysis.

(http://learninganalytics.net/syllabus.html)

I’m a bit late to the game, and just getting caught up on LAK ’11, a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). My first impression, is that the quest for the answer to how to effectively implement and use Learning and Knowledge Analytics is a bit like this:

Logically, if she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood, and therefore…a witch!

MOOC?! WTF?!

Excellent summary from @davecormier. We’ll need to know about this, for later discussion:

You can choose what you do, how you participate and only you can tell in the end if you’ve been successful. Just like real life.”

All I Want for Christmas is an Open Education!

Open

cc: flickr.com/photos/cat1205123

It’s high time I started another degree. I’ve been shopping around for a couple of years now, and (mostly), I have it down to a couple institutions:

Both very attractive programs, and I’m sure I’d learn a lot.

As I’ve been shopping, I’ve been reading Don Tapscott’s latest epic, Macrowikinomics. It’s a great book. I found myself thinking “Hey, I’m not crazy! Other people think like this too!” (Or, maybe more to the point, at least I’m not alone.) In Chapter 8, Rethinking the University: Collaborative Learning, Tapscott proposes that we need to embrace open and collaborative learning in a “Global Network for Higher Learning”. He questions,

Why is the university the unit of measurement when it comes to branding a degree? In fact, in a networked world, why should a student have to assign his or her “enrollment” to a given institution, akin to declaring loyalty to some feudal fifedom?

There’s been some great scholarship and initiatives on the concept of “open courses” of late. Shouts out to Alec Couros, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Bryan Alexander, George Siemens, David Wiley, Jim Groom and others for being trail-blazers on this.

What I’m after though is an open degree.

From what I’ve researched, a number of institutions will allow a small number of courses to come from outside the program and still be counted towards the degree (usually no more than two, although I’ve seen at least one allowing four…maybe under special circumstances, and with major administrative hassles). So, here’s my question, and my pitch: I’ll concede that I have to have a home institution, but what I’d like to do is take “one half less one” credits from other institutions, so that >50% of my credits come from my “home”.

Now, I may be missing something. There may be a program out there that allows this flexibility. If there is please let me know. If you work at one of these magical, enlightened institutions I will sign up! I am an excellent student. Believe me. And, if you want to help me with my quest, in any way, shape or form…