Monday, September 27, 2010

more literacies, networks, knowledge, etc

I'm doubling up on PLN related open / online courses. Too tired to come up with a name both right and clever. Do enough and I may even get a handle on them - if only on the acronyms. 

Platforms are another issue. I remember D2L from when it was a study skills and how to learn site. LMS (Learning Management Systems) are becoming increasingly complex and admin oriented, more about micromanagement and surveillance. I first used WebCT (if memory serves) around 2001 or 2002, creating and loading most of my own course materials, all of which went into the belly of the beast. Course back-ups only opened in WebCT through the university account. You leave, your course material stays. 

Now the trend is for colleges and universities to subscribe to WebCT pre-loaded with course materials as well as automatically upgraded, adding (imo fake) "social media" features. Why would an informed student want to keep a private personal blog shared with not just instructor and classmates but sysadmin to boot?

LMS can be seriously clunky, some more than others. The more intrusive, the clunkier. UC Davis' course listserv did everything I needed, and the Tech in Teaching program was developing a nimble LMS DTA or Distance Teaching Assistant, designed for flexibility and customization. Now they've gone to one of the commercial systems.

I still think online and hybrid classes could run just fine on a collection of free applications, e.g. a blog, a web based/archived email group, microblogging for short notices, document sharing, chat for office hours. That opinion also has more than a little to do with edu punk leanings, which is why I'm giving all this a spin, including the PLN/PLE. Forget e-portfolios though. No more evaluations, which is what that particular artifact is for. I prefer the network approach because it can allow weaving in community, academic advocacy, learning materials (whether for local or global users).

My current, sort of related project (obsession) is filling gaps - teaching materials, course pages - as best I can. Portfolio but as memoir and biography.  An electronic CV for someone no longer on or in the market, which means I am free to do it my way. If it the self-paced study group works, I'll think about putting up something self-paced (that I already have material for) for community use.

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