Boyer Lectures - Empire State 2009


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  • I personally want to thank Terry for a great presentation at Empire State College's All College Conference 2009. His suggestions for how ESC could consider transforming our educational model to meet the needs of our students and use the tools of the 21st century were very interesting and thought-provoking. Many thanks!
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Boyer Lectures - Empire State 2009

  1. 1. Opening, Mentoring and Connecting: Harnessing the Net for Teaching and Learning Boyer Lecture, March 2009 Terry Anderson, Ph.D. Canada Research Chair in Distance Education
  2. 2. Presentation Overview • Robert Frost’s poem on vicarious communication • The Impact of Openness on teaching and Learning • Relationships and the Net – Groups – Networks – Collectives • Openness, mentoring and Empire State
  3. 3. The Tuft of Flowers Robert Frost (1874–1963).
  4. 4. The Tuft of Flowers I went to turn the grass once after one Who mowed it in the dew before the sun. The dew was gone that made his blade so keen Before I came to view the leveled scene. I looked for him behind an isle of trees; I listened for his whetstone on the breeze. But he had gone his way, the grass all mown, And I must be, as he had been, - alone, ‘As all must be,’ I said within my heart, ‘Whether they work together or apart.’
  5. 5. But as I said it, swift there passed me by On noiseless wing a ‘wildered butterfly’, Seeking with memories grown dim o’er night Some resting flower of yesterday’s delight. And once I marked his flight go round and round, As where some flower lay withering on the ground. And then he flew as far as eye could see, And then on tremulous wing came back to me.
  6. 6. I thought of questions that have no reply, And would have turned to toss the grass to dry; But he turned first, and led my eye to look At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook, A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared. I left my place to know them by their name, Finding them butterfly weed when I came.
  7. 7. And fell a sprit kindred to my own; So that henceforth I worked no more alone; But glad with him, I worked as with his aid, And weary, sought at noon with him the shade; And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach. ‘Men work together,’ I told him from the heart, ‘Whether they work together or apart’. Robert Frost (1874–1963).
  8. 8. Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada Fastest growing university in Canada 34,000 students, 700 courses 100% distance education Graduate and Undergraduate programs All English, but many course Athabasca credit equivalencies with TÉLUQ * Athabasca University University Master & Doctorate – Distance Education Only USA Regionally Accredited University in Canada
  9. 9. Values We can (and must) continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, appeal, cost and time efficiency of learning. Learner control, choice and freedomare integral to 21st Century formal education and life-long learning. Education for elites is not sufficient for planetary survival “Today‟s learners want to be active participants in the learning process – not mere listeners; they have a need to control their environments, and they are used to easy access to the staggering amount of content and knowledge available at their fingertips” EduCause Horizon Report 2009
  10. 10. The compelling Case for Openness Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing. – Terry Foote, Wikipedia
  11. 11. Ernest Boyer (1928-1995) • quot;if a balance can be struck between individual interests and shared concerns, a strong learning community will result. We believe six principles -purposefulness, openness, justice, discipline, caring, and celebration-can form the foundation on which a vital community of learning can be built. Now, more than ever, colleges and universities should be guided by a larger vision.quot;
  12. 12. Charles Wedemeyer (1911-1999) Open Learning • Learning centered • Diminish dependencies • Open curriculum • Open accreditation • Ultimate learning environment is the learner themselves – Personal Learning Environment • Concern with learning more than instruction • Must be cost effective Charles Wedemeyer (1973)
  13. 13. Charles Wedemeyer (1975) • “the system accepts the learner and his environment as the environment for learning and concentrates that environment instead of developing specialized teaching environments” – p. 4 • Now the need to move from independent study to learner controlled, cooperative learning
  14. 14. Academic Regulations Social Prerequisites Collaborative, Cooperative and Time to degree Connected Activities Open Education Time & Space Autonomy Context in Use Freedom Affordability Paced &Unpaced Democracy
  15. 15. Empire State • Innovative, Open model • Successful • However “essentially the learning model has not changed much in 30 years, (Williams 2008)“ correspondence plus email! • Does the Net hold promise for a new vision of openess and innovation for Empire State?
  16. 16. Educational Change • ”To eradicate that intolerance of variety in educational practice so characteristic of the academic man of the past, and to diminish in future generations his equally characteristic opposition to changes involving adaptation to new conditions, is to render one of the greatest possible services to educational progress.quot; • Norton, A. (1909) A History of the Medieval University. p. 3
  17. 17. ESC Master Plan 1976 A. Chickering
  18. 18. The Mission of Empire State College • enables motivated adults, regardless of geography or life circumstance, to design a rigorous, individualized academic program • Committed “To develop, implement and assess new approaches to learning that recognize the strengths and needs of adult learners.” Empire State College – America‟s First Open University
  19. 19. • Does Individualized deny opportunity for social processes? • in·di·vid·u·al·ize 1. To give individuality to. 2. To consider or treat individually; particularize. 3. To modify to suit the wishes or needs of a particular individual from Latin in- ‘not’ + dividere ‘to divide’.
  20. 20. Taxonomy of the ‘Many’ Dron and Anderson, 2007 Group Conscious membership Leadership and organization Cohorts and paced Rules and guidelines Metaphor : Access and privacy controls Virtual classroom Focused and often time limited May be blended F2F 20
  21. 21. Formal Learning and Groups • Long history of research and study • Established sets of tools – Classrooms, – Learning Management Systems – Synchronous (video & net conferencing) – Email • Need to develop face to face, mediated and blended group learning skills
  22. 22. Groups as Communities of Practice • Wengler’s ideas of Community of Practice – mutual engagement – synchronous and notification tools – joint enterprise – collaborative projects, “pass the course” – a shared repertoire – common tools, LMS, IM and doc sharing
  23. 23. LMS and Distributed web 2.0 Group Tools
  24. 24. Problems with Groups • Restrictions in time, space, pace, &relationship - NOT OPEN • Often overly confined by teacher expectation and institutional curriculum control • Usually Isolated from the authentic world of practice • “low tolerance of internal difference, Relationships sexist and ethicized regulation, high demand for obedience to its norms and exclusionary practices.” Cousin Paulsen (1993) &Deepwell 2005 Law of Cooperative Freedom • Group think (Baron, 2005) • Poor preparation for Lifelong Learning beyond the course
  25. 25. • Groups and Empire State’s Distance Education programming • Groups are necessary, but not sufficient for quality learning.
  26. 26. Network Shared interest/practice Fluid membership Friends of friends Group Reputation and altruism driven Emergent norms, structures Activity ebbs and flows Rarely F2F Metaphor: Virtual Community of Practice 26
  27. 27. 2. Formal Learning with Networks • Networks create and sustain links between individuals creating flexible communication and information spaces • Networks link diversity, span boundaries, enable communication among disparate individuals • Each of us may belong to many networks • Networks can connect self-paced and independent learners to cooperative study activities • Networks last beyond the course - basis for ongoing support and advise from alumni and professional communities Network: An integrated system of resources and people 27
  28. 28. Networks – Provide resources from which students’ extract and contribute information – In school one should learn to build, contribute to and manage one’s networks – Transparency provides application and validation of information and skills developed in formal learning – Provides role models for new students 28
  29. 29. “People who live in the intersection of social worlds are at higher risk of having good ideas” Burt, 2005, p. 90
  30. 30. Networks Communities of Practice • Distributed • Share common interest • Self organizing • Open • No expectation of meeting or even knowing all members of the Network • Little expectation of reciprocity • Contribute for social capital, altruism and a sense of improving the world/practice through contribution (Brown and Duguid, 2001)
  31. 31. Creating Incentives to Sustain Contribution to Networks The New Yorker September 12, 2005
  32. 32. Building Networks of Practice in Education • Motivation – marks, rewards, self and net efficacy, net-presence • Structural support – Exposure and training – Transparent systems – Wireless access, mobile computing • Cognitive skills – content + procedural, disclosure of control • Social connections, reciprocity – Creating and sustaining a spiral of social capital building Nahapiet&Ghoshal (1998)
  33. 33. Network Pedagogies • Connectivism – Learning is network formation: adding new nodes, creating new paths between people and learning resources – “Learning can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn are more important than our current state of knowing.” Siemens, G. (2007) • Complexity – Learning in environments in which activities and outcomes emerge in response to authentic need creates powerful learning opportunities – Learning at the edge of chaos – Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education See the Networked Student by Wendy Drexler 33
  34. 34. Network Tool Set (example) Text Text 34 Stepanyan, Mather & Payne, 2007
  35. 35. Access Controls in Elgg
  36. 36.
  37. 37. Network Group Collective „Aggregated other‟ Unconscious „wisdom of crowds‟ Stigmergic aggregation Algorithmic rules Augmentation and annotation More used, more useful Metaphor: Data Mining Wisdom of Crowds Never F2F 37
  38. 38. 3. Formal Education and Collectives “a kind of cyber-organism, formed from people linked algorithmically…it grows through the aggregation of Individual, Group and Networked activities” Dron& Anderson, 2007 • Collectives used to aggregate, then filter, compare, contrast and recommend. • Personal and collaborative search and filter for learning • Smart retrieval from the universal library of resources – human and learning objects • Allows discovery and validation of norms, values, opinion and “ways of understanding” 38
  39. 39. Collective Tools 39
  40. 40. • Explicit recommender systems: Explicit 40
  41. 41. Collective Examples for Educational Application • Artifact Ranking systems: Google Search; CitULike; • Tag Clouds: What do collectives find of interest? • Recommendation Systems: People like me, like ….. • Wikis: Contributions from the crowd • Folksonomies: Bottom up and emergent classification systems • Voting and auctions: Perfect market? • Prediction Markets: • Net based psychology and sociology
  42. 42. Collective Examples: Determining our Effect • Analysis of blog postings using semantic and matching techniques Potential uses: uncover suicidal ideation mental health of the community understand evolving communication genres measure impact of popular memes understanding and predicting early adopters See Mishne, & de Rijke (2006) Capturing Global Mood Levels using Blog Posts 42
  43. 43. Hive mind? Borgs? Group consciousness? • Collectively managing planet Earth • What does it mean to be aware of each other? Collectives operate as mirrors to monitor and learn from our collective selves (Spivack, 2006) 43
  44. 44. Collectives, Privacy & Identity • Best way to protect personal integrity is by creating a robust but realistic web presence. • Your actions are being mined, best to be a miner rather than a lump of coal! • Active social net users are more socially active and integrated than non users (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007) • Use of Blogs reduces feelings of alienation and isolation among online learners (Dickey, 2004) • When perceived interest and benefits increase, willingness to provide personal data increases (Dinev& Hart, 2006)
  45. 45. Web Tool Affordances Content Presence Communi- Reflection Collabor- Discovery cation ation Blogs Social Tagging Twitter Web Conference Web CT
  46. 46. Role of the Empire State Mentor 1. Designs programs and contracts 2. Offers appropriate instruction 3. Assesses and evaluates 4. Manages and Develops Instructional Resources 5. Counsels and Advises – (Bradley 1975)
  47. 47. The emergent role of the Tutor • Tutor’s Role: To encourage and “facilitate the process of developing the “whole learner” meaning development of knowledge, intellectual capacities, values, attitudes, behaviors, psycho social maturity, and integration. “ Wallace 2008 • this study seeks to determine the competencies of successful online mentors in the Center for Distance Learning (CDL) at ESC.
  48. 48. • “Despite the fact that mentors and students now engage in email communication as a part of their mentoring, largely to replace postal mail as a means of turning in papers as well as to set up appointments to speak on the phone, essentially the learning model has not changed much in 30 years, and therefore the competencies of mentors working in these programs have not changed either”. Williams 2008
  49. 49. 1.Designs programs and contracts • Net tools help develop, plan and archive the Learning Plan? – Cloud computing – Filing – Versioning, – Permanence, – Ownership – transparency
  50. 50. 2. Offers appropriate instruction • Appropriate: – Anytime – Any need – Individual & grouped – Archived – Voting – Texting – App sharing – Develops net efficacy Web conferencing – like
  51. 51. Offers Appropriate Instruction • Transparency – Allows monitoring, encouraging, supporting high expectations • Students as content creators • Participatory Pedagogies Does mentoring become more or less powerful when shared among more than one learner?
  52. 52. 3. Assesses and evaluates • E-portfolios for assessment • Assessment/feedback beyond the group • Authentic assessment • Mobile technology in service learning • Peer review and evaluation
  53. 53. 4. Manages and Develops Instructional Resources
  54. 54. Open Education Resources (OERs) Vision + Affordance • “At the heart of the open educational resources movement is the simple and powerful idea that; – the world’s knowledge is a public good in general – the World Wide Web provides an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse that knowledge.” Hewlett Foundation Smith, & Casserly. The promise of open educational resources. Change 38(5): 8–17, 2006
  55. 55. OER Granularity – Diagrams, photos – Articles (Open access publications) – Games, simulations, activities – Units of learning (IMS LD) – Units and courses – Programs Special Issue of IRRODL edited by Dave Wiley fall 2009
  56. 56. OER’s are Open (Mostly) • Meaning you can: – Augment – Edit – Customize – Aggregate and Mashup – Reformat – Re-published • But they need to be licensed – – not just put online See Scott Leslie‟s 10 minute video at
  57. 57. The Emerging Political Economy of Peer Production: Michael Bauwens • a 'third mode of production' different from for-profit or public production by state-owned enterprises. • Its product is not exchange value for a market, but but use-value for a community of users • “produce use-value through the free cooperation of producers who have access to distributed capital”
  58. 58. Prod-Users - From production to produsage - Axel Bruns (2008) • Users become active participants in the production of artifacts: • Examples: – Open source movement – Wikipedia – Citizen journalism (blogs) – Immersive worlds – Distributed creativity - music, video, Flickr
  59. 59. Produsage Principles • Community-Based –the community as a whole can contribute more than a closed team of producers. • Fluid Heterarcy – produsers participate as is appropriate to their personal skills, interests, and knowledge, and may form loose sub-groups to focus on specific issues, topics, or problems • Unfinished Artifacts –projects are continually under development, and therefore always unfinished; • Common Property, Individual Rewards – contributors permit (non-commercial) community use, adaptation, and further development of their intellectual property, and are rewarded by the status capital they gain through this process
  60. 60. Open Educational Resources Produser Model Produser/Consumer Ex. WikiEducator Ex. MIT OCW Open participation Restricted participation Emergent governance Staff production Unrestricted licensing Institutional governance Mass growth potential Non commercial license Mora, M. (2008)
  61. 61. 5. Counsels and Advises – Benefits – convenience The online environment minimises social cues, – Travel costs creating an illusion of – Access privacy that may decrease – Confidentiality perceptions of interpersonal risk and make it easier to • Student Online Support communicate about groups and networks emotional issues (Wellman, 1997). – Online counseling: a descriptive analysis of therapy services on the Internet. Chester & Carolyn A. Glas (2006) Can you Counsel online?
  62. 62. Building relationships with the ‘whole learner’ through social software • Through sharing of profiles, tags, reflections, photos and artifacts, enhanced teacher/student relationships are afforded - leading to transformative learning?? • See McCarthy, (2009) Social Networking behind student lines with Mixi – Breaking barriers new cost effective ways to work with, motivate and mentor students
  63. 63. Value learning-mentoring processes that: • emphasize dialogue and collaborative approaches to study; • support critical exploration of knowledge and experience; • provide opportunities for active, reflective, and creative academic engagement.
  64. 64. • Importance of the Competency of Constancy “constancy” is defined as the mentor’s ability to stay engaged with the student for all of the steps― • reliable, loyal, and never too busy to be available to the student. (Williams, 2008) • Technology affordances re constancy • Archives • Organization • Capturing (utube, podcasts etc.) • Transformative learning “takes longer to occur than the time these students spend with their mentors or spend in reflection”
  65. 65. Changes required for 21st Century Learning Students’ not teacher’s role to: Define problem Retrieve data, human and learning resources Validate information Sensemaking Negotiating, collaborating, producing with others Applying to authentic problems Creating and building artifacts Reflecting
  66. 66. Conclusion • Though successful yesterday and today, the use of new net based tools will propel teaching and learning at Empire States to new accomplishments, increased transparency and openness, efficiency and effectiveness. • The adoption of these disruptive technologies is worth the gain!
  67. 67. • “The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward (1921 – 1994)
  68. 68. quot;He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” Chinese Proverb Your comments and questions most welcomed! Terry Anderson Blog: