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Online Learning in a Networked Age

by Professor at Faculty of Education, University of Regina on Mar 10, 2013


Presentation given at SUNY Learning Networks SOLSummit in Syracuse, New York on February 28, 2013

Presentation given at SUNY Learning Networks SOLSummit in Syracuse, New York on February 28, 2013



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  • petelaberge Pete Laberge A few points regarding slide 19, one of the few I can see clearly.

    Consuming vs Creating:
    Except, you can have ALL the creators you want. If the creators have NO consumers... Well... I don't suppose you heard what happened to the US and the global economy? There has to be a balance between the 2. Take this slide show of yours. If no one consumes, if no one comments, you have no feedback. You may as well cry in the wind.

    Scarcity vs abundance:
    The trouble with most of the stuff on Youtube is it is junk. Or it is repetitions of already existing stuff. (eg: 12 copies of Sudbury Saturday Nite, by the late Stompin Tom.) And this huge Quantity, makes Quality hard to find. I have seen cases where one week I can find a certain video, but 10 days later, I cannot. It is likely still there, but not find-able. (It might be 26 pages in!)

    And one cannot favourite everything, or subscribe to every channel. (In fact I find myself now trying to get rid of stuff. And I am not the only one.) The challenge today is in organizing this in a useful manner. Solve that and.....

    Standardization vs personalization:
    As for standardization, well, we do need more of that in a lot of areas. Standardization can be good. it can also be bad. The same thing for personalization. They are just tools. There is great need for both. You cannot be on youtube, pinterest, twitter, facebook, email, socialcam, google+, and all the other 100 and some 'platforms' all at once. else you will be spread too thin, and your whole life vanishes in a maze of web postings. You have to pick and choose just where you will direct your efforts. (And hope you guessed right!)

    So here, standardization is needed. You can have too many resources, too many 'platforms', just as you can have too few. (Unless you are a big company, and hire people just to do that stuff for you. And even then, I am sure you are familiar with some recent pitfalls and disasters.)

    Indeed, I have seen cases where Microsoft, for example, has taken away a lot of personalization abilities and choices in it's products. They are not the only ones, just an easy target!

    The trouble, is that people, today, more than ever want to interface and share, and communicate with real people, eg: individuals.... (The networks, while needed, are also a tool.)

    And we cannot all just sit here, and type, Skype, and webcam away. There are still MANY real (and important) jobs that need to be done in the world.

    Locally, I know of a man who needs a good electrician. Can't find one. Another needs a master tin-smith. Not to be had. And one needs HVAC techs, easy to find.... Unless you seek true competence and ability. And then, horrors! Same for finding a good plumber. Try find a master brick-layer or a mason. Not just a guy who can lay bricks...

    And these things, well, you CAN indeed teach SOME (maybe even a lot of) theory online. But say, there is a Youtube video on how to fix the brakes on your car.... Now, would you trust yourself to watch the video and do that? No, you want a guy who maybe has watched the video, but who ALSO has had some formal hands-on training, and who preferably ALSO has done it before. And even if he has several years of experience, you might still want the job double checked.... And if you or your kid is walking down the street, I am sure you feel the same way about that oncoming car....

    Indeed, experience is badly needed in many places. Our challenge, is to see that it 'gets there'. And content, by which I mean good content, is still king. Don't believe me? Well the 'content' might be a well sung song. Who do you want doing it? Answer: Someone who can deliver. Same for your car brakes, or an electrical panel installation. Or a well cooked meal. Or a medical test and resulting report. If the content here fails, loss, injury, illness, even death can result.

    I do income taxes. I always put the return away for a bit, to double check later. When I worked at Block, and others, there were other people to double check. (I did it myself for others, and hated the work.) And even then, even with computers, the CRA double checks submitted returns. Why? Because and error, can be very significant, and not only financially.

    One hopes, that soon, some of these other huge challenges will also be addressed. Else, all the videos in the world, all the moocs in the world, all the educational theories on the world will not save us.

    But then you see, i come from the world of business, and the world of contracting. I (and others) have peeked in on the educational world. Might be time for the educational world to peek out on the real one. You might be able to make a useful contribution.

    Anyhow, take care, and consider some (or all) of these points. They might just inspire you. Which if they do, then I achieved my humble goals....
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Online Learning in a Networked Age Online Learning in a Networked Age Presentation Transcript