Special Issue IRRODL — Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning

This special issue of IRRODL provides an opportunity to step back and reflect on how these dramatic social and technological changes impact education. In 2004, connectivism was presented as a new theory of learning that addresses learning in complex, social, networked environments. Since that time, numerous articles, open online courses, and online conferences have explored connectivism’s application in education. As articles in this issue reflect, sharp criticism and support have been offered. We hope this issue will help to advance the discussion, to clarify areas of needed research, and to contribute to ongoing debate about the influence of the Internet on teaching and learning.


Adobe Museum of Digital Media, A lecture by John Maeda

From DSC:
If online courses could feature content done this well…wow! Incredibly well done. Engaging. Professsional. Cross-disciplinary. Multimedia-based. Creative. Innovative. Features a real craftsman at his work. The Forthcoming Walmart of Education will feature content at this level…blowing away most of the competition.


John Maeda -- Adobe Museum -- March 2011







This is also true for materials like the item below!



Tagged with:  

Get connected to the online learning culture — from Edutopia.org


Online teacher Holly Mortimer working from home


Professional Development: Starter Kit for Teaching Online
Get expert advice on how you can get started as an online educator.

Making the Case for Open-Source Textbooks
Futurist David Thornburg on why open-source textbooks have the advantage of being free of cost and provide greater value to the users.

Beyond Paper and Pencil
Technology expert Ben Johnson wonders how learning — and schools — would change if teachers stopped using paper.

Evidence of learning online: Assessment beyond the paper — from CampusTechnology.com by Judith Boettcher
…learning designer Judith Boettcher examines online assessment strategies beyond the traditional end-of-term paper.


Professional Work Products

  • Written and audio communications of all types, such as press announcements, white papers, briefs, summaries, memos, project management documentation
  • Creating and planning news events, such as announcements, interviews, or regular updates of interests, such as podcasts
  • Setting up personal or group blogs within different contexts of leadership, business, etc.
  • Setting up wikis for team projects, areas for monitoring developments
  • Many more listed…

The interview medium is a very flexible communication tool and can be used by both faculty and students for demonstrating understanding and eliciting the state of concept development. Here are some possible strategies that can require research, critical thinking, and writing.

  • Learners identify an expert or a person of interest to them in a particular field germane to the course and then prepare the interview questions, do the interview, and then post the results
  • Learners identify and interview the author of a textbook or article closely related to the course, possibly updating information critical to the course
  • Many more listed…

Audio, Video, and Visual Projects
What about other media such as audio and video projects? Today’s learners live surrounded by audio and video and the tools that make it possible for everyone to create and produce audio and video products. Here are some of the possibilities with audio and video spaces.

  • Podcasting resources now are very common so learners are familiar enough with the format to embrace creating audio and video podcasts of their own
  • Video shorts and ad hoc documentaries engage learners and draw in their friends and families
  • Creating and posting short reports via VoiceThread is another “writing space” to consider as are Flickr, YouTube, and Slideshare

Blogs are a very underutilized writing space. Blogs share many characteristics with journals and thus can capture snapshots of what learners are thinking, and when; plus they often can also capture the sources of some of their thinking. Blogs help learners understand the growth cycle of learning new concepts and how and why they think the way they do. Here are some ideas on how blogs, both personal and class, might be used.

  • Personal commentary and self-reflection
  • Capturing thought processes and generating new ideas
  • Assist learners in finding their “voice”
  • Many more…


  • Collaborating on group and team projects of all kinds
  • Capturing and developing ideas for solving critical problems and case studies and simulations
  • Developing “featured” Bronze star Wikipedia articles on specific topics in particular disciplines

From DSC:
The disruption continues. A sampling of the current online-based marketplaces / exchanges (pictured below) most likely represent  a piece of the future teaching & learning landscape.  Find a course, teach a course.


Online learning marketplace


Live Mind -- an online learning marketplace


Sophia -- a new online-based learning exchange


Forte Mall -- an online learning marketplace


cognn.com -- an online learning markeplace


OpenSesame -- another online-based marketplace for learning appears on the scene



Nixty.com -- education for everyone







Udemy launches Udemy Academic with 600 courses – 12,000 video lectures


The Power of Online Exchanges

‘Social teaching’ company bets buy-in from Capella Education — from The Chronicle by Josh Fischman

The basic idea behind Sophia is to identify the best teachers for any concept, put their instruction for that concept online, and students all over the world can use these “learning packets”  free of charge. For example, a professor who has a really great lesson on how to factor polynomials can package that lesson—complete with video and any other materials—on Sophia, and search engines like Google will let students find it and use it.

From DSC:
Will the Forthcoming Walmart of Education turn out to be that we teach each other, free of charge? Online marketplaces and exchanges continue to appear; the game-changing environment — filled with disruption and change — continues to develop.

But know this, teaching is tough. It’s not easy, and it’s not an exact science; it’s also an art.

Our minds — and the ways in which we learn — are unbelievably complex. After decades of trying, scholars still do not agree on how we learn. There are numerous learning theories out there (still) and though we’ve come a long way, there are no silver bullets of the teaching and learning world.

So if you decide to be a teacher, you better get ready to spend some serious time honing your craft…otherwise, your ratings on these types of sites will plummet and few will see your modules/contributions. conversely, if you are an effective teacher, your ratings will reflect that and your contributions will be seen/linked to quite frequently — from people all over the world.

Also see:

Sophia -- a new online-based learning exchange

Can journalism education rise to the challenge? — from Teaching Online Journalism by Mindy McAdams


Most journalism programs face the same challenges:

  • How to find, employ and retain faculty who are comfortable teaching new skills and techniques.
  • How to provide equipment and software to students (especially with shrinking budgets).
  • How to keep up with a rapidly changing field.
  • Perhaps most important: How to determine the best ways to prepare the journalists of tomorrow—our students.

Overall, considering programs of every size and at every kind of four-year college and university, I would say that just about everyone needs to do better. Yet the core issue really is that final point on my list—and I think every journalism program can address that and come up with satisfying answers.

Seek out new exemplars

The first step in determining the best ways to prepare the journalists of tomorrow is to go beyond traditional journalism organizations. Don’t look only at what newspapers, magazines, and radio and television news organizations are doing…

Blackboard Exemplary Course Winners for 2010

Example excerpts from 2010 University of Nevada, Reno

Best Practices

When asked to identify three best practices achieved by this course, one course reviewer wrote: “In all honesty this course is so well done that choosing three is like saying you have a favourite child. I really can’t do it.”

Organized and intriguing layout

  • The overall layout of the course is great. Students should not have any difficulty with navigation.
  • The content is provided in appropriate chunks in both text and as narrated presentations with a text transcript. I think this would appeal students of all learning styles.
  • Overall organization and consistent,uniform design of modules makes the progression of learning intuitive and exciting. The modules include introductions and objectives, a variety of media, self-checks, and multiple assessments.
  • Each unit is clearly defined with goals and objectives. The instructor does a very nice job connecting one unit to the next by providing a welcome at the beginning of each unit which recaps the previous unit and introduces the new unit.

Innovative use of technology

  • The extensive use of video and screencasts is wonderful.
  • The active use of the Voiceboard tools is fantastic.
  • The use of voice chats and voice boards make interaction and collaboration more effective than the usual discussion boards.
  • This course strategically places these tools where they can best be utilized to meet the objectives – this course not only uses great technology, but also uses it in a pedagogically sound manner.
  • The Soapbox Moment blog is a wonderful tool that allows the instructor to voice his/her viewpoints in the most appropriate place, helping him/her to remain neutral in other discussions and let his/her students’ thoughts flow freely. The soapbox uses current issues that are directly related to the course and allows students to apply what they have learned to real-world situations.

Interesting content

  • The Getting Started Activities, including a course tour and the use of Camtasia for the first week Assignment, were a really great idea.
  • The orientation is execellent. The instructor does a great job explaining the course goals and objectives as well as taking time to make students feel comfortable. In the orientation you get the sense that this instructor is available and accessible for students.
  • The self check exercises and varied assessments are appealling. The proctored exams ensure the integrity of the course.
  • The interactions and outcomes, reflected in student testimonials, show a community at work!
  • The inclusion of guest speakers is a wonderful design practice. Students can gain some real world experience by interacting with subject matter experts, who have experience in particular content areas.
  • I enjoyed the final discussion project, which incorporates the use of peer-review. Students are given the opportunity to engage with classmates, receiving and providing feedback.

Cutting the Pay TV Cord, Chapter 5: Unlimited Internet TVfrom Phil Leigh


In short, often there is no reason why modern flat panel TV screens cannot function as giant monitors for up-do-date computers.

Thus a growing number of us are attaching computers to our TVs.  The trend is especially prevalent for WiFi enabled computers because they can connect over a home network and thence to the Internet. In such configurations computers – commonly dedicated laptops – function as Internet gateways for televisions. They transform TVs into dual function devices normally controlled from a comfortable viewing distance with ordinary TV remote units.

Also see:

From DSC:
I have it that higher education has reached the point where we need teams of specialists to create and deliver the content. (This is probably also true for K-12 as well.) If we want to engage the (already developing) new type of student these days, things have become far too complex for one person to do it all anymore.

  • You don’t walk into a hospital and only see one type of doctor listed there.
  • You don’t see only one person’s name who was responsible for building that spectacular new building on your campus.
  • The credits at the end of any major motion picture don’t show one person’s name.
  • The list goes on and on.

Often, for complex endeavors, we need teams of people.

To be fair…given that we use textbooks created by publishers, I suppose that we already employ teams of people to a significant extent…but it is not enough…at least not yet. This point was brought home to me again while reviewing the article, Online Education: Budgets, Leadership Changes Drive Restructuring by David Nagel. David states that “the vast majority of online program managers claimed in a recent survey that faculty resistance is a significant hindrance to the expansion of their online education programs.”

This should not come as a surprise for several reasons (at least):

1) Faculty may not have taken a course online themselves yet. They may not have personally experienced this manner of teaching and learning. They may not have seen how effective it can be (if it’s done well and properly).

2) Secondly, it must be very difficult to invite other people to the table or to let others bring their chairs up to the table.

3) Thirdly, and more of my focus here, is that learning how to teach online is a new ball game — requiring a variety of skills and interests — of which few have all of the skills and interests involved and none have all of the necessary time required. Teaching an effective online course requires a great deal of time and work to understand what’s possible in that particular teaching and learning environment, and which tools to use when, and to pull together the resources needed to create effective, engaging, multimedia-based online-based materials for the first time. Heck, we instructional technologists struggle to keep up here, and it’s but one piece of the puzzle.

The problem is, with this new environment, a whole new set of skills are necessary, as captured in this graphic I created a while back:

Daniel Christian -- higher ed needs to move towards the use of team-created and delivered content

In citing why restructurings are so prevalent, the following caught my eye:

  • Most (59 percent) cited budget issues, while 38 percent also cited coordination of instructional resources as factors


Now that “coordination of instructional resources” probably covers a variety of needs, requirements, and goals. But one of those goals/needs, at least in my mind and based upon my experience, is the need to create a team of specialists.

No longer can we expect to be able to put everything on the plate of one person. Because rare will that faculty member be who has the all the new prerequisite interests and abilities and software and hardware. And if they are that good, they won’t have the time to do it all anyway.

Solving the problem of online problem solving – – from FacultyFocus.com by Ellen Smyth 

When first visualizing an online mathematics course, I saw a barren, text-only environment where students learned primarily from the textbook and where instructors provided text-based direction, clarification, and assistance. But typing is not teaching and reading is not learning. Students deserve more from online courses than regurgitated textbooks and opportunities to teach themselves. With today’s technology, we can create a rich learning environment.

So if we don’t teach with pure text, what do we teach with? Traditionally, we write, draw, and talk students through the problem-solving process while we encourage students to actively work along with us. Online, we should aspire to sparking the same level of comprehension, achievable using exactly the same techniques – writing, drawing, and talking students through problems.

But how do we write, draw, and talk to students online? Fortunately, we have a wide variety of tools available to help us available to help us do it digitally.

From DSC:
One of the types of tools mentioned were the tablets from Wacom.

Tablets from Wacom

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