Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

A short video on issues important to Digital Learning Environments

Posted on June 21st, by George Veletsianos in research shorts. No Comments

Digital learning environments are everywhere. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are used almost universally. People learn how to play the ukulele by watching YouTube videos. They learn how to grow organic veggies by joining Facebook groups. And they join a vast array of specialist communities that help them improve their skills, from knitting, to drawing, to managing their finances. All these technologies, resources, and platforms that people use to learn online, constitute digital learning environments. I wrote a chapter (pdf) that draws attention to four important issues that researchers and designers need to consider when designing/studying digital learning environments (organizational structures, design, guidance, and technology’s lack of neutrality). Below is a video I created with Laura Pasquini summarizing this chapter. And if you just want the audio, it’s available on my soundcloud channel.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital Learning Environments. In Rushby, N. & Surry D. (Eds) Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). Wiley.

Can you help us make sense of the discourse around openness and open education?

Posted on June 20th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. No Comments

Last month we invited applications from and provided funding to advanced doctoral students and early-career researchers to conduct research with our research group. Michael Paskevicius received one of these awards and we are supporting him in his endeavour to make sense of the discourse around openness and open education. You can read more about this project on his website. One of the steps involved in this process is identifying Twitter hashtags that are related to openness and open education. Below are the hashtags that we have so far. We would love your help. Do you know of any other hashtags used in the context of openness or open education? If so, could you please add them to this shared spreadsheet?

Once we have a list to start with, we’ll search tweets tagged with those hashtags for co-occcurring hashtags, and we’ll add those below as well.

Complexity, Mess, and Not-yetness: Teaching Online with Emerging Technologies

Posted on June 14th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. No Comments

What follows is a summary of one of the chapters included in Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. 

Digital learning is messy and complex. Yet, it’s often portrayed as a solution to the perils facing educational systems or as a cause of those problems. Ross and Collier call for a recognition of the messiness of digital learning. As emerging technologies and practices practices are not yet fully understood or researched, these authors provide a compass to help readers make sense of digital learning environments and their design. They argue that in designing digital learning we

  • should avoid emulating established practices,
  • could gain fruitful knowledge about the instructor’s role if consider the online instructors’ body, and
  • should consider how calls for accountability and data science are unsatisfactory for modern educational systems

Ross, J., & Collier, A. (2016). Complexity, Mess, and Not-yetness: Teaching Online with Emerging Technologies. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications (pp. 17-33). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

The Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices

Posted on June 13th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

What follows is a summary of one of the chapters included in Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications. 

The terms “emerging technologies” and “emerging practices ”are catch-all phrases that are often misused and haphazardly defined. This chapter defines those two terms. It argues that what makes technologies and practices emerging are not specific technologies (e.g., virtual reality) or practices (e.g., openness), but the environments in which particular technologies or practices operate. It is argued that emerging technologies and emerging practices share four characteristics:

  • not defined by newness;
  • coming into being;
  • not-yet fully understood or researched (i.e. not-yetness); and
  • unfulfilled but promising potential.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Defining Characteristics of Emerging Technologies and Emerging Practices. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning: Foundations and Applications (pp. 3-16). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.