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

Category: sharing

Educational Technology and Related Education Conferences January-June 2013

Posted on November 26th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 7 comments

The last version of Clayton Wright’s list of educational technology conferences that I posted on this blog was for January to June 2011.  Clayton has once again provided the community with an updated (extensive) list of educational technology conferences for the upcoming 6 months (Jan-Jun 2013): Clayton Wright Educational Technology and Education Conferences January to June 2013 (.doc)

MOOCs, credit, accreditation, and narratives

Posted on November 20th, by George Veletsianos in moocs, online learning, sharing. 22 comments

I’m working through my thoughts with this blog entry, as I’ve been trying to use this space to think out loud about my work and what I see happening in online education and higher ed.

A lot has been written about MOOCs and accreditation, and a lot more will be forthcoming. For example, see Terry Anderson’s post on this.

Today, I run across this quote in an article at Time Magazine:

…if Liu passes the graduate-level Harvard course she is taking for free through edX — one of the leading providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs — she will be granted 7.5 credit hours, which her school district has agreed to accept as a form of professional development that can help her earn a higher salary. Liu might be among the first students nationwide to turn free online coursework into tangible college credit, but that number may soon grow exponentially.
Critical educators have done a good job on exposing systems of oppression and unequal distribution of power that impoverish learning experiences. I believe that such a lens is increasingly important in the work of any researcher and educator thinking about the future of education. To illustrate, the description above is not just a narrative of the success of open education. It’s also a narrative of moocs  “carving new markets” rather than innovating the way higher education functions for the masses of people that could not have attained a degree in the first place. I think that we need to keep an open mind with regards to the potential, as well as the aims and pitfalls, of such initiatives. To explore a different perspective, I suggest that you read Richard Hall’s analysis on how the profit motive is threatening higher education.
Contrast this with the TechCrunch perspective that  “the school system, as we know it, is on the verge of extinction”as “it’s inevitable that online courses will in one way or another replace schools.”  The question to ask here is not whether this prophecy will come true. We know that it won’t because universities are valued social institutions that are embedded in the culture of their times, and even though they may change, they won’t disappear. An analysis of educational technology predictions of the past also shows that hype is rarely realized (pdf). What is important to ask however is this: Who benefits from the narrative of “extinct schools?” Is it the student? The edtech startups? The investors?


Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship

Posted on November 1st, by George Veletsianos in emerging technologies, moocs, my research, NPS, open, papers, scholarship, sharing. 15 comments

What is the value of a critique?

The value of critique is to help us see a phenomenon through a different lens, to help us make sense of something in a different way, and to spark a conversation. This is the purpose, and value, of a paper we recently published with IRRODL on the topic of open scholarship.

The paper identifies the assumptions and challenges of openness and open scholarship and attempts to put forward suggestions for addressing those. A summary of our paper, appears below:

Many scholars hope and anticipate that open practices will broaden access to education and knowledge, reduce costs, enhance the impact and reach of scholarship and education, and foster the development of more equitable, effective, efficient, and transparent scholarly and educational processes. Wiley and Green (2012, pp. 88) note that “only time will tell” whether practices of open scholarship will transform education or whether the movement “will go down in the history books as just another fad that couldn’t live up to its press.” Given the emerging nature of such practices, educators are finding themselves in a position in which they can shape and/or be shaped by openness (Veletsianos, 2010). The intention of this paper is (a) to identify the assumptions of the open scholarship movement and (b) to highlight challenges associated with the movement’s aspirations of broadening access to education and knowledge. The goal of this paper is not to frame open scholarship as a problematic alternative to the status quo. Instead, as we see individuals, institutions, and organizations embrace openness, we have observed a parallel lack of critique of open educational practices. We find that such critiques are largely absent from the educational technology field, as members of the field tend to focus on the promises of educational technologies, rarely pausing to critique its assumptions. Selwyn (2011b, pp. 713) even charges that our field’s inherent positivity “limits the validity and credibility of the field as a site of serious academic endeavour.” Our intention is to spark a conversation with the hopes of creating a more equitable and effective future for digital education and scholarship. To this end, this paper is divided into three major sections. First, we review related literature to introduce the reader to the notion of open scholarship. Next, we discuss the assumptions of openness and open scholarship. We then identify the challenges of open scholarship and discuss how these may limit or problematize its outcomes.

Common assumptions and challenges are summarized as follows:

Common themes and assumptions Challenges
Open scholarship has a strong ideological basis rooted in an ethical pursuit for democratization, fundamental human rights, equality, and justice. Are these ideals essential components of the open scholarship movement or are merely incidental to those who are pioneering the field?
Open scholarship emphasizes the importance of digital participation for enhanced scholarly outcomes Scholars need to develop an understanding of participatory cultures and social/digital literacies in order to take full advantage of open scholarship.Need to redesign university curricula to prepare future scholars to account for the changing nature of scholarship.


Open scholarship is treated as an emergent scholarly phenomenon that is co-evolutionary with technological advancements in the larger culture Technology both shapes and is shaped by practice.Technology is not neutral, and its embedded values may advance tensions and compromises (e.g., flat relationships, homophily, filter bubbles).
Open scholarship is seen as a practical and effective means for achieving scholarly aims that are socially valuable Open scholarship introduces new dilemmas and needs (e.g., personal information management challenges; Social stratification and exclusion).

Given the topic, the best home for this paper was the International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, through which you can download the paper for free in an open access manner:

Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning,13(4), 166-189. [HTML access or PDF access]


Learning Designer job posting for edX

Posted on October 26th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 5 comments
My colleague Dan Surry shared this job posting on Twitter, and I thought I’d repost it here. A positive outcome of the booming interest in online education and educational technology are the jobs that will become available in the industry. I am happy to see this job posting because the lack of educators and learning/instructional designers in these initiatives is unfortunate. At the very least, input from instructional designers can help these initiatives avoid the pitfalls of the past and assist educational technology innovators think beyond efficiency and consider effectiveness, engagement, and social justice.
Title: Learning Designer
Req Number: mit-00009144
Department: edX
FT/PT: Full Time
Employment / Payroll Category: Administrative

LEARNING DESIGNER, edX, to plan, develop, and deliver highly-engaging and media rich online courses as part of the content and development team. Will determine and apply sound pedagogical strategies to unique situations and a diverse set of academic disciplines. Responsibilities include working with producers, product developers, and course staff on implementing instructional design approaches in the development of media and other course materials; articulating learning objectives and aligning them to content design strategy and assessments; writing effective instructional text and audio and video scripts; coordinating workflows with video and content development team; identifying and sharing best practices; creating course communication style guides; developing use case guides; serving as liaison to instructional design teams located at X universities; designing peer review processes; applying game-based learning theory and design to selected courses; using learning analytics and metrics to inform course design and revision process; working closely with the content research director on articulating best practices for MOOC teaching and learning and course design; and assisting in the development of pilot courses.

REQUIREMENTS: a master’s in educational technology, instructional design, or related field; excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication, project management, problem solving, and time management skills; flexibility; ability to work on multiple projects/courses, meet deadlines, and manage expectations; capacity to develop new and relevant technology skills; experience using game theory design and learning analytics to inform instructional design decisions and strategy; and experience with video and screencasting, LMS platform, XML, HTML, CSS, Adobe Design Suite, Camtasia or Captivate, and web 2.0 collaboration tools. Experience in higher education and in a start-up or research environment desirable. MIT-00009144-P

Application Information

Contact: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Online App. Form:

A list of educational technology academic journals

Posted on October 10th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 46 comments

My colleague Jon Becker posted the following question on Twitter and brought it to my attention:

I find that the decision of where to publish one’s work requires a lot of thought. Issues to consider include open access, readership, reputation, audience, institutional norms/expectations, and perceived fit. For those of you interested in only open access journals, you can visit the list of open access educational technology journals that I put together and have been crowdsourcing since 2009.

Given the wide range of factors that one needs to consider, this list is incomplete (which is why Jon clarified that he is looking for more than the journals in the open access list). I personally have published in the following discipline-specific journals (at times more than once), and consider them as worthwhile outlets:

Computers in Human Behavior
Computers & Education
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education
The Internet and Higher Education
British Journal of Educational Technology
Quarterly Review of Distance Education
Distance Education
Journal of Research on Technology in Education
Journal of Computing in Teacher Education
Interacting with Computers
Educational Technology
Journal of Interactive Learning Research
Journal of Educational Computing Research

Again, this list is incomplete. For instance, I want to publish a practitioner-oriented piece with Tech Trends, and haven’t yet got around to do that.

And if one needs more options, my colleagues and I at the Learning Technologies program recently compiled a list of journals to help us navigate this process. That list consists of the following:

Educational Technology Research & Development
Journal Of Educational Computing Research
Journal Of Research On Technology In Education
Computers & Education
British Journal Of Educational Technology
Computers In Human Behavior
The Internet And Higher Education
Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning
Learning Media And Technology
Australasian Journal Of Educational Technology
Educational Technology & Society
Interactive Learning Environments
Research In Learning Technology
Journal Of Interactive Learning Research
Journal Of Educational Technology Systems
Computers In The Schools
American Journal Of Distance Education
Interdisciplinary Journal Of Problem-Based Learning
Journal Of Technology And Teacher Education
International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Research.
Distance Education
Journal Of Distance Education
Journal Of Educational Multimedia And Hypermedia
International Journal On E-Learning
Contemporary Issues In Technology & Teacher Education (CITE)

Higher Education over time and in transition

Posted on October 2nd, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 6 comments

For class today, my students are studying the pressures that higher education is facing and the trends that are suggesting that change is imminent. As this is a topic that is of interest to others, I thought I’d post the readings that we are working with, as well as the questions that I am using to guide our discussion.


Siemens, G., & Matheos, K. (2010). Systemic changes in higher education. in Education, 16(1).

Morrison, J. (2003). U.S. Higher Education in Transition. On the Horizon, 11(1), 6-10

Katz. R. (2010). The Gathering Cloud: Is This the End of the Middle?

Discussion questions

Based on these trends, what sort of institutional, pedagogical, and societal changes can we expect to see in the future?

What are some surprising/interesting concepts that you’ve come across in your reading?

Are there trends/pressures that you see that are not contained in the reading?

What are some changes predicted (e.g., by Morrison) that did not not actualize?

“The old hierarchical, geographically based university is dying.” Is it?

At present universities add value to society by: content creation and navigation, interactions between learners and faculty, and accreditation. These are being contested. How else can universities add value?

Designing MOOCs for powerful learning experiences

Posted on September 19th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 6 comments

I have proposed a session for the SXSWedu conference. The sessions to be presented are partly decided by community votes and comments. If you feel that my proposal is interesting or worthwhile, would you consider voting for it? You will need to create an account and register to do so. Here’s my proposal in detail:

Designing MOOCs for powerful learning experiences

Description: The mass media have embraced MOOCs and celebrated the disruptive nature of online education and the death of higher education institutions. On the other hand, critics’ responses to MOOCs have ranged from fetishizing face-to-face education to questioning the potential of technology. Both of these positions miss the research surrounding online education and the potential role that MOOCs may play in society. In this presentation, I will discuss how some MOOCs can be more appropriately described as commodified education, rather than the type of open education initiatives suggested by their acronym. The goal of this critique is to help us envision MOOCs as a means for powerful learning experiences and personally relevant/meaningful transformation. This can be attained through the following:
– Design opportunities that allow engagement beyond course activities
– Design for lasting impression
– Design for intrigue, risk-taking, and challenge
– Design for engagement and reflection

Questions Answered:
How do we create MOOCs that are exciting, that pull learners into the experience and hold their attention?
How do we design MOOCs that foster powerful and meaningful learning experiences?
How do we use emerging technologies to create learning *experiences* rather than efficient products?

online education, mooc, research

Format: Solo Presentation

Category: OER and MOOCs

Level: Intermediate

Speakers: George Veletsianos,  The University of Texas at Austin

Call for the 2012 AECT/NSF Early Career Symposium Participants

Posted on September 10th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 3 comments

A great opportunity from today’s email inbox:

AECT’s Research and Theory Division is proud to announce the call for participants for the 2012 Early Career Symposium sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The AECT/NSF Early Career Symposium has been held at the annual AECT International Convention over the last few years, and for 2012 has merged with the AECT Faculty/Mentor Program! The symposium will be held all day Tuesday, October 30th and Wednesday morning, October 31st during the annual AECT International Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The symposium will engage participants in a day and a half of focused career mentoring and networking.

The symposium will reimburse each participant with the following:
$200 for transportation
2 nights at the conference hotel (at conference rates)
Conference registration fee ($195 for graduate students, $400 for faculty)

We are looking for Nine Early Career Faculty and Nine Advanced Graduate Students to participate! To apply, please go to . Due to the late notification of funding, we are on a tight timeline for application and application review. All application materials must be submitted no later than 12pm Eastern time, September 15th, 2012.