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

Category: sharing

Networks, Communities, Online spaces… Oh my!

Posted on January 7th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 4 comments

I am working on a paper that looks at online spaces and online participation with regards to online learning and part of this paper deals with understanding the sorts of entities that function within online environments that are open ended (networks, communities, groups, affinity spaces, etc). I have been trying to visually map these entities to make sense of them, and seeing Andy Coverdale‘s blog entry today (on mapping activity systems) encouraged me to post my mindmap of this work. Think of this is as a literature review skeleton. Enjoy!

Conceptualizing digital spaces

This image is available at a larger scale on my Flickr account.

2010: Blog Analytics

Posted on January 1st, by George Veletsianos in open, scholarship, sharing. 1 Comment

A new year always brings with it a reflection of the past, and what better way to do so by looking at some of the data behind this blog. In no particular order, during 2010, this blog was

  • visited 8,475 times
  • by 5,693 unique visitors
  • who viewed 13,709 pages.
  • The most popular page was the About me page that was viewed 1,175 times.
  • The second most popular page was my publications page with 1,067 views, and the third most popular was the draft paper I posted on participatory scholars (916 views).
  • The most popular date was September 7, with 204 visits. This was the result of posting my Introduction to Instructional Design syllabus online and sharing it on ITFORUM.
  • Visitors from 127 countries came to this blog, with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and India, being at the top of the list. Cyprus (my homeland) only sent 55 visitors during 2010 (where’s the love?!)
  • The most frequent sources of traffic were from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Athabasca University Press (a result of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education being published in August 2010).
  • The most frequently search query used to reach this blog was my full name.
  • My last name was spelled in 16 different ways when individuals searched for me (there’s pros and cons in having a unique last name I suppose!)
  • During 2010, I posted 30 entries. My hope for 2011 is to post more entries, more frequently, and to post more entries related to my in-progress research.

Thanks for reading… I look forward to 2011!

Consultation on the promotion and validation of non-formal and informal learning

Posted on December 22nd, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

The European Commission is seeking input on the promotion and validation of non-formal and informal learning. The implications of an EU-policy on this issue would be far-reaching, especially if it were to devise an accreditation initiative or  framework evaluating informal learning experiences (e.g., through those gained via open courses such as the ones offered by George Siemens, Alec Couros, Jim Groom, Stephen Downes, David Wiley, & Dave Cormier). A summary of some of the interesting ideas from the consultation call appears below:

We are all constantly learning in our daily lives at work and through our leisure, cultural and social activities. But, all too often, the knowledge, skills and competences we acquire through our work and life experiences remain hidden representing a waste of the talents of EU citizens. Making this learning visible and giving it value is important…The validation of learning gained through work and life experiences has been a cornerstone of EU lifelong learning policy since 1995… Increasing numbers of Member States are introducing validation into their legal and institutional frameworks but across the EU as a whole much more needs to be done to make validation a practical every day reality for all interested citizens…The Commission considers it is very timely to address these issues now as a series of EU initiatives covering qualification and credit systems in general, vocational and higher education and training have been introduced which support a learning outcomes approach…The purpose of this consultation is to collect views on whether further action is needed to make the learning acquired through work and life experience visible and give it value and, if so, what type of action is required and which policy priorities should be focused on to ensure future measures are well-targeted, relevant and respond to real needs on the ground.

BJET adds “practitioner notes”

Posted on December 20th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 3 comments

The British Journal of Educational Technology will now be asking each author to submit “practitioner notes” with each submission (a screenshot of the information requested appears below):

The purpose of this change is to aid practitioners in applying the reported research to their day-to-day work. Even though this change maintains that there is a researcher-practitioner binary, it nevertheless explicitly asks authors to keep in mind the applicability of their research for day-to-day practice, and that, to me, is a positive development.

What’s in a name? “Ed Tech” program names

Posted on December 15th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 4 comments

The “educational technology” field has had an identity crisis for a while (see Lowenthal and Wilson (2009) for a valuable discussion on this, which includes the following quote from Morgan, 1978, pp. 142): ““some would say that a discipline about whose name there is no certainty is no discipline at all, and educational technology has a variety of other labels—instructional systems development, instructional design, and, occasionally, educational engineering.”)

I’ve been discussing degree program names with my colleague Joan Hughes, and she suggested we look at program names to get a sense of how programs choose to view and define themselves. I thought that this was a great idea, but I also thought that degree program name changes were also valuable to look at. A few minutes of scavenging on the AECT website revealed the following information on degrees and programs/departments:

Florida State: Educational Psychology and Learning Systems (previous name: Instructional Systems)
University of Minnesota: Learning Technologies (previous name: Instructional Systems and Technology)
University of Georgia: Department of Educational psychology and Instructional Technology (IT merged with Ed Psych)
Georgia State University: Learning Technologies (previous name: Instructional Technology)
Purdue University: Learning Design and Technology (renamed: Fall, 2010: previous name: Educational Technology)
Indiana University:  Instructional Systems Technology   // Learning Sciences

These changes aren’t that surprising  given: (a) the increasing emphasis on learning (vs. instruction), (b) overlapping interests between educational psychology and instructional design, and (c) the rise of the learning sciences and learning design fields.

Do you know of any other name changes that may be relevant to this discussion?

Reference

Lowenthal, P., & Wilson, B. G. (2009). Labels DO Matter! A Critique of AECT’s Redefinition of the Field. TechTrends, 54(1), 38-46.

Visualizing Data (and digital scholarship)

Posted on December 8th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 2 comments

The video below comes from a BBC program called the Joy of Stats, and features Hans Rosling. The video, and much of Rosling’s work, as shown on his TED talks, demonstrate the usefulness of data visualization, dynamic data representations, and narrated video in clarifying difficult concepts and making strong arguments. I am posting the video as a way to reflect upon educational research practice. How do new technologies, such as NodeXL, allow us to visualize data and how can we enhance our understanding of learning and participation processes by employing richer data mining/representation techniques? The extent to which we are able to benefit from these technologies, depends partly (a) on the value placed upon “digital scholarship” and (2) on the extent to which researchers actually capitalize on the opportunities available to them to visualize and represent data in different ways. While the print-based culture that permeates educational journal publishing limits our ability to create and publish dynamic representations, the academic world also needs to develop frameworks for evaluating diverse forms of scholarly practice.

Enjoy the video!

Data Analytics on our Open Access e-Book

Posted on November 14th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

Last August, I announced the publication of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, a book I edited for AU Press that was published concurrently in print (for purchase) and in e-book format (as a free download). I am very excited (and surprised) to announce that Athabasca University Press is gearing up for a re-print! First of all, thank you to all of you who bought a copy, thus providing support to AU Press to continue publishing free versions of their books online.

I am surprised because I haven’t paid any attention to the printed version of the book. I’m also surprised by how quickly this happened (3 months – this could also mean that only a small number of books was printed). Either way, my interest on the printed version stops at the printed book’s ability to finance the free dissemination of the electronic version. I am more interested on the book’s reach and impact and a snapshot of these factors is provided below:

In relation to the reach of the book, here’s what Google Alerts and some simple tracking tells me:

– Every single day since publication, the book has been mentioned at least once (on blogs, twitter, and other social media)
– The e-book was bookmarked 81 times on the del.icio.us social bookmarking site.
– A number of libraries have bought copies of the printed book.
– Five instructors have used parts of the book in their teaching
Elizabeth Wellburn has been summarizing the book chapter-by-chapter on her blog.

As far as download statistics go, this is what AU has to provided:

– The book was downloaded 350 times in August, 329 in September, and 316 times in October.
– Individual chapter downloads were: 506 times in August, 1,263 times in September, and 861 in October.
– From August to October there has been 306 visits to the book on the Google Books site.  283 of these visits have resulted in actual pages being viewed.
– From August to October there has been a total of 3, 311 pages of the book viewed on Google Books.

One final note: The book does NOT owe its popularity to me. The book is popular because of the authors who contributed their knowledge to this project (see complete list on this pdf file), and to well-known and well-connected individuals who have mentioned/used the book in their work. These include Terry Anderson, Alec Couros, and George Siemens (this list looks suspiciously Canadian!)

I don’t know how to end this entry, but to say a big thank you.

CFP: International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education 2011

Posted on November 9th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

This CFP was emailed to me the other day – My colleagues presented here last year, but I was unable to attend unfortunately. Last year’s program looked quite interesting.