Archive for March, 2013

Weekend funny – Mysterious exploding glass, high speed cameras and science geekery – what could be better

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Mystery of Prince Rupert’s Drop at 130,000 fps from  Smarter Every Day

exploding glass

MOOCs Australian style – Open2Study- Open Universities get in on the act.

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’ve mentioned Australian Open Universities before in posts about the logical application of MOOCs in the Australian context.

Well great minds and all that.  Open Universities have launched a MOOC platform.


opento study mooc

Monash is part of Open Universites Australia, so maybe this is way for us to dip our toes in the water.

Some of the latest reportage on MOOCs

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

For those who need their MOOC fix I offer up these.

Who Owns a MOOC

“Faculty union officials in California worry professors who agree to teach free online classes could undermine faculty intellectual property rights and collective bargaining agreements.”


Learners Are People, Not Isolated Test-Taking Brains: Why MOOCs Both Work and Fail

“MOOCs are good at certain things and terrible at others, and we need to understand the difference if we wish to educate human beings, not just workers with credentials.”


Emerging Student Patterns in MOOCs: A Graphical View



The Oddity of MOOCs as OER and the Issue of Integration Cost

“What to make of this? There’s a lot of cynical (and true) things I could say. Certainly the vast incestuous relationship of Silicon Valley startups and tech journalism has something to do with it — with VC-funded PR dollars to spend, getting MOOCs onto the front page of every newspaper and onto every TV news program is the full time job of an army of well-funded marketers in a way that OER/OCW never was. And the fact it comes from Silicon Valley facilitates the sort of co-dependent backscratching journalism that that area excels in.

The message that MOOCs would destroy education (not save it) has also been helpful. The OER/OCW message was rather hippie-ish in nature, and could never tap into the interest of the Lou Dobbs/David Brooks set.  It felt too 1967. The MOOC as destroyer meme, on the other hand, has quickly propagated through conservative circles, and with it the hope that colleges (perceived as the last power base of liberalism) will soon be a thing of the past.”


Group work advice for MOOC providers

“The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.”

A guide for flipped classroom videos – Explain it like I’m five.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

There a couple of things I’ll say about this ongoing series of videos.

  • Complex ideas can be explained simply (if you are prepared to put in the effort).
  • There is value in recording not just content, but interactions as well.
  • Explaining just one aspect of a complex idea in a simple manner isn’t enough, you have to have a plan to explain all the related issues simply as well.
  • Students need to be encouraged to interrogate additional resources so they challenge and expand the message being delivered from the front of the class.
  • Some parents need to have a discussion with their kids about the use of violence to resolve conflicts

explain like im five

Name change

Monday, March 18th, 2013

You might have notice that I’ve changed the name of the blog from Accounting and Finance eLearning to eLearning Meanderings.

Our department is going through a change.  Accounting and Finance are parting ways, so I thought I’d move to a more generic name.

It’s the same blog and the same person doing the same thing.

Weekend funny – Failure shared – Had One

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

We all stuff up at times.  Look at this site and feel better.


Online course on Open Eduction Resources and Australian copyright (starts next week)

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Do you want to find out more about Open educational Resources and Copyright?

There is a facilitated online course starting in the next couple of weeks but you have to enrol by Sunday 17th of March.

Copyright 4 Educators (AUS)

Who should take this course?

Any educator in Australia who wants to learn about copyright, statutory licenses and open educational resources (OER).

What will I learn?

This course will equip Australian educators with the copyright knowledge to confidently use copyright material in the classroom. It will also introduce OER and teach you how to find and adapt free, useful resources for your classes.

The course runs for seven weeks, as split up to the left and below. Each week has a different task to complete, which is due the following Sunday. Tasks may take anywhere from half an hour to three hours or more, depending on how much effort you and your group wants to put in that week. Like most things in life- the more time you put into it, the more you will get out of it.

Course Breakdown

  • Week 1 – March 25: Welcome to the course!
  • Week 2 – April 1: Group meet and greet
  • Week 3 – April 8: Copyright basics
  • Week 4 – April 15: Statutory Licences
  • Week 5 – April 22: Copyright Exceptions
  • Week 6 – April 29: OER
  • Week 7 –May 6: Tying it all Together

There’s more info on other courses at the Creative Commons School of Open

Open Education Resources – A commercial support model

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I have been banging on about Open Education Resources for a while, but the general response is, it’s all a bit hard.   Where do you look?   Is the information going to be reliable?   How much additional work do I have to do to make sure I get the product I want?
Much easier to ring  a couple of publishers and get them to chase you with a bundle of ready made resources.

Well, David Wiley, who has been championing OER for a over a decade has set up a company to address this issue.

The model is a bit like how Red Hat provide commercial support  for Linux, or Moodle Rooms and Netspot support Moodle.
Lumen Learning
We help institutions adopt an evidence-based approach to using open educational resources to eliminate textbook costs and improve student success.”
“Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a copyright license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, journal articles, and any other tools or materials used to support learning. For a more in depth discussion of the meaning of OER, see The Open Educational Resources Definitions.  In short, OER are educational materials that provide users with the “4R permissions.” These include free permission to:

Reuse Use the content in its unaltered / verbatim form (e.g., make a copy of the content)
Revise Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the content (e.g., translate the content into another language)
Remix Combine the original or revised content with other OER to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
Redistribute Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., post a copy of the content online for others to download)

I’m not sure the model is that viable in Australian Higher Ed where our textbook funding models are different.  When it comes to the cost of student texts we don’t really have ‘any skin in the game’.

There would have to be institutional support for a shift to OER and a commitment to spend some cash to drive the uptake.  I don’t think OER is high enough on the agenda yet.

Perhaps at a local level the initial strategy could be training for our specialist librarians so they can create discipline specific OER lists.  The library or our Blended Learning team could then provide training on how to customise OERs.

I’ll have to give it some thought.

Weekend funny – Match moving trick

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Here’s something to try if you find yourself at a loose end this weekend.

spinning match

PowerPoint Tip 3 – Presenter view and lecture notes

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The common practice of using PowerPoint to provide the presenter with speaking points is bad practice.

It creates text heavy slides that unconsciously focus the presentation on the needs of the speaker rather than the needs of the audience.

This approach results in slides that are a  mongrel hybrid of speaker prompts, presentation slides and lecture notes.   The worst possible outcome for all concerned.

PowerPoint is for re-enforceing (not delivering) the message to your audience.

I strongly recommended you use the Presenter view option in PowerPoint

ppt presenterview1

First, create slides that support your point and put all the text in the Notes section.  You can put your speaker prompts here, and any activity reminders or instructions.  If you want you can load this section with detailed notes and background information about the point you are making in the slide.

ppt notes

The other advantage in using Notes is you can create a pdf version of the presentation for students that includes your detailed lecture notes and explanations.

powerpoint print notes

When you hook up to the projector the students will see the slides and you will see the Presenter view below.  Everyone’s a winner.

ppt presnterview

Watch this video more detail.

PPT presenter view