Living the Dreams: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds

That’s the semi-official name of the MOOC that Gardner Campbell, Jon Becker, Jason Coats, Jessica Gordon, Bonnie Boaz, and Patty Strong. The official name of the course is UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument. The course hashtag is #thoughtvectors. I’ll quote a portion of Gardner’s email description of the course. All the links were added by me so any weird stuff there is my fault. We’re doing an Alec-Couros-esque cMOOC this summer. The course will be offered for credit for enrolled VCU students and will be open to participation by anyone in the world who a) finds out about it and b) wants to participate. The topic? Well, on the books here the course is a sophomore-level course in research writing: UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument. We’re doing a fully online version that has an official designation as a DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT PILOT and what we hope is the intriguing alternate name of “Living the Dream1: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds.” The “dream” is the one (are the ones) outlined by Vannevar Bush (“As We May Think“), J. C. R. Licklider (“Man-Computer Symbiosis“), Doug Engelbart (“Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework“), Ted Nelson (“Computer Lib / Dream Machines“), and Alan Kay/Adele Goldberg (“Personal Dynamic Media“). Our goal is to awaken students to these powerful dreams, to […]

cMOOC vs xMOOC

I don't know the terms cMOOC and xMOOC. Can you send info? @mark_mcguire @jadedid @vahidm — Cathy Davidson (@CathyNDavidson) February 7, 2014 The language around MOOCs is confusing, even for the people involved.1 For the record, the whole conversation is here and Cathy later indicates she knows the difference.2 Anyway, I did see it as a positive sign that Cathy Davidson was willing to engage in that kind of open conversation and she gets bonus points in my book for commenting on Alan’s blog a while back.3 I attempted to draw out some of the conceptual differences I saw between traditional courses (xMOOC) and courses which use the community in ways that matter (c-ish4 MOOC). cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward 1 h/t to Jon Becker for passing the tweet on to me. 2 Although I’d disagree with commercial vs connectivist delineation. It seems to assume that profit, rather than instructional design, is the delineator. 3 It was good that no one LMGTFY’ed her. Who says the Internet is rude? 4 I think a full on cMOOC would be closer to Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic course but I think many people want the expert playing a more dominate role in the process. I […]

Suffering Massive MOOC Creep

Image by David Kernohan animation by Michael Branson Smith. I’m attending ELI 2014. MOOC seems to be synonymous with any online or blended “educational” offering regardless of size or openness. That’s a pretty open definition. Massive Massive (or massively) is a strange word to ignore. It is the first letter after all. It seems important to differentiate between online courses which have lots of participants and courses which use massive participation to change course possibilities. If a student can’t tell1 if they’re the only student in the course or if there are 5,0002 other students, you just have an online course. Please retract your media statements before the old school online learning people burn you in effigy. If you take your 5,000 students and break them down so they are in “normal” sized cohorts that proceed independently, congratulations you have several online courses. Please call your mom and tell her you might have overstated your MOOC street cred. If having 5,000 students actually hurts your students, you have an online mess. Punish yourself by reading YouTube comments until you lose hope in humanity. Massiveness should matter, otherwise what’s the point? It needs to be a design consideration in the course and leveraged in a way that opens possibilities, rather than an obstacle to be eliminated. You aren’t trying to duplicate […]

“Unlearning”

I have always been rather irritated1 by the quote attributed to Alvin Toeffler. It was used in the start of the History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education MOOC. The participants are all supposed to be life long unlearners. Cute, pithy, tweetable but I fundamentally disagree with what the words mean. First, the quote- The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. I went wandering to find more about Toeffler and the quote. Know thy enemy2 and all that. The book most often associated with the quote is Future Shock. I find only two uses of the word “illiterate” in Future Shock. I also found a full PDF copy online that returned the same information. I won’t link to it here but you could find it without much issue. I’m amazed what I find by adding filetype:pdf to my Google searches. Anyway, the quote below seems to be the relevant one and it turns out I’m not the first to wander down this path. He does quote Gerjuoy who says something close, but better and harder to quote. Psychologist Herbert Gerjuoy of the Human Resources Research Organization phrases it simply: “The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to […]

Data Viz Reviewed

As we prepare for the next theme in our MOO-ish thing, I figured I’d condense and summarize some of the products from this run. Gillian Lambert a wonderful English teacher from Moody MS opted to play along and visualized yearbook data for her school. Gillian documents the process and highlights how visualizing the information led her to new understandings. I think that’s one of the most neglected benefits of a process like this. Creating leads to additional understanding for both the audience and the author. Debbie found that sometimes the web 2.0 tools aren’t up to par. Her critique of the infogr.am and piktochart services echoes some of the problems I’ve had with services like this over time. They are fast and relatively easy but you give up some key elements of control that some people won’t be happy about. I think they have their place but you have to go in knowing the limitations of the tool and the impact of those limitations on your ability to control the narrative. Katie spent some time tracking happiness but with great common sense opted to move on to looking at Google Doc usage. She used mural.ly to layout the graphs from GAFE in a way that lets you see the big picture and drill down to the details. The infinite canvas […]

Blog Post Stats

I wondered about my blogging patterns given my recent increase in posts. I didn’t bother pulling out Jim Coe’s posts from back when this was a joint blog but the data is good enough for my purpose. Anyway, I started messing with it and am working towards a visual way to represent it in a way that makes sense to me. I’m totally unhappy with this graph. Totally. I messed with some color pallets etc. but it just didn’t do what I wanted at all. I then went to the opposite end of the spectrum and wanted to see what sparklines might show me. Sparklines are a favorite of Edward Tufte who is on the super minimalist side of the data visualization spectrum.1 At first I didn’t think there was enough data to make the sparklines work. I then tried compressing the horizontal axis and it improved things but it’s still not what I want. Here’s another stacked year graph that I might work on some more. I ended up wandering into Adobe Illustrator and found out there are some interesting tricks for making graphs in there. I will explore it more in the near future. I’m learning a lot of things. Here’s a messy (deliberately) stack of the graphs above with the opacity set to 20% or so. It […]

More Storage Visualization

I have meant to play around more with the Google Chart API for a while and I wasn’t happy with what I made earlier to visualize the network storage differences among the schools and users. I thought a treemap would be a more powerful way to show just how much space a few teachers used vs the masses. Knowing your options and picking the right one to help illustrate your point is an important element of data visualization. After all, we aren’t ignorant savages who believe –Isn’t this about visualizations, basically a form designed for those who won’t (or can’t) read? Kinda like remedial explanation for the 99%.” You can see the Google example for this kind of graphic here. This is my first time messing with it so I started by copying their example into my text editor. Their example was pretty close to what I wanted in terms of the structure of the information. They had Location, Parent, Volume, Color as the main variables. I wanted something pretty similar. Instead of ‘Global,’ ‘HCPS’ was my top category with the schools taking the place of the countries. Pretty simple but I sure didn’t want to write all that data by hand. I already had the basic data in Excel, I just had to come up with the right formula. […]

07

Networked Storage Data

We have 668 high school teachers using at least .1 MB on a shared network volumes we’ve collectively dubbed “Virtual Share.” Those 668 high school teachers use 2019.7 GB or 2.02 terabytes of storage. What’s particularly interesting to me is the disproportionate usage between teachers. The top user, a single person, uses 180 GB or roughly 17% of the total.1 The top 10 users use 733.2 GB of storage. The top 20 users use 993.6 GB of storage or almost 50% of the storage is used by roughly 3% of the users.2 These are just embeds of the data from Google Spreadsheets. Nothing fancy, not much control but I think it does paint a decent picture of the extreme differences in resource usage. I do continue to have trouble with the interactive chart embeds outside of the spreadsheet. I do like the unintentional psychedelic effect on the pie chart. 1 No judgements on quality of use, just amazement that they are so far out there. 2 Makes me reconsider the whole 1% thing as even more screwed up.

07

Why I Talk This Way

I spent quite a lot of time with my wife and oldest son looking at the dialectic survey map1 and trying to figure out which one of us said a particular phrase or pronounced a word a certain way. About half the time I answered “all of the above” while my wife was tried and true Massachusetts for just about every one.2 I figure my wandering ways are to blame so I figured I’d take a shot at visualizing that. I did recall that Google Spreadsheets would let you visualize spreadsheet data on map with no trouble at all. It’s an option under “insert chart.” All I needed was a location in the first column and the numerical value for the circle in the second column (years in this case). Said and done.3 Too easy. Mine is immediately below and is followed by my wife’s map. Turns out it has a rough time with two different data sources from one document- even if they’re on different sheets. I could have made an additional spreadsheet but I don’t like this enough. Easy-ish but not much control. I’m going to look for some other options. Image Version Turns out I’m starting to hate these as there are more issues than they’re worth. I don’t know how to allow access to the interactive […]

06

English in the Wild and Mapping Thoughts

Word Games/English in the Wild I made a blog focused on the idea of English in the wild. The goal is to look at language and how it works outside of school, to capture the things people find interesting, odd, or broken about English as they interact with it. Essentially, I keep finding things that are interesting (at least to me)- strange phrases, interesting sentences, games comedians play with words1, even a little Scottish poetry recently.2 I thought it might be useful to aggregate content like this. Naturally, it’s just me at this point but I’ll invite/beg some people to join me at some point and hopefully it’ll map out to students as well. This content can then become fodder for all kinds of reuse. I see aspects of it falling short of the weight of Defective Yeti’s book review posts but containing elements of them. His structure would make a grate template for larger scale project and I like his “Words I Looked Up” at the bottom of the post and his neologisms (and I had to look neologism up). So between neologisms and paraprosdokian you have some unfortunate names but interesting items. This idea may be something that was submitted Henrico 21 at one point. Gaynell remembers it but hasn’t provided me with proof yet. I went through […]