Sunday, June 16, 2013

Connectivism, Online Learning, and the MOOC by Stephen Downes

Watch the video here for the session by Stephen Downes

Connectivism, Online Learning and MOOCs: Stephen Downes

Learning and Teaching Online: Moodle MOOC on WizIQ

As a part of Week 3 activities, Stephen Downes was kind enough to share his thoughts on connectivism, online learning and moocs for the Moodle MOOC on WizIQ on15 June 2013.
The session began with Dr Nellie elaborating on the Power of Learning Together.

Taking the session further Stephen explained three kinds of knowledge:
(a) Qualitative (represented by properties, qualities and relations...)
(b) Quantitative (represented by number, mass and proportion etc)
(c) Connective (represented by patterns, networks, causes, impacts etc)

On what 'knowing' is, he contended about old (universals) and new (patterns) whereby rules and categories are now seen as similarities or in coherences. What we believed that the knowledge is in the network is now being treated is as the knowledge is the network!

He further cited the distributed representation of the concepts / problems / issues on Hopfield-like neural networks, learning being central in connectionism. There is definite pattern of connectivity between a target, a cause and the clue, which are processed through sigma pi layer in distributed representation. It was compared with an organisation where we can group knowledge into two:

Personal Knowledge (organisation of neurons)
Public Knowledge (organisation of artifacts)

Graph theory, Connectionism or Social Network Theory etc support a common underlying logic. Stephen argued that if a human mind can come to 'know', and if a human mind is, essentially, a network, then any network can come to 'know', and for that matter, so can a society!

"Downes Theory" of Pedagogy was also elaborated where a Choice within the dimensions of a {Model, Practice, Reflect and Demostrate} acquire an Identity and finally leading to Creativity. Role of democracy vis-a-vis education was also discussed. Stephen said education is not about remembering a body of predefined content. It is about the citizens communicating what they know with each other. It was further debated that the owners of education are the citizens of a society not the governments and corporations. Significance of Open Educational Resources (OERs)was highlighted and while citing Papert and Freire on the Future of School, it was concurred that OERs are necessary for this democratic vision of education. Stephen put across that not only the OERs enable people to pursue their own personal interests in their own way, they become the medium of communication. He called upon for treating OERs not as resources created by publishers at great cost, but as created by learners to interact with each other!

Overall, it was a wonderful, lively, interactive and informative session. We look forward to hear more from you, Stephen!

Thank you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

testing for open license

To show how to award an open license to a content say a presentation

Creative Commons License
Food Services by sameer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Costa Rica License.
Based on a work at

Transforming Indian Education with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

Beginning August 2013 we would be facilitating some MOOCs. 
Here is the message from Program Conceptualisers and Architects

Almost everyone in India is conscious of the importance and urgency of the Challenges in Education and these are reflected in several other parts of the world as well. Some of these are the challenge of numbers, of relevance, of Quality, of access, of costs and of speed. 

There is sometimes a sense of paralysis at the enormity of the challenge and the apparent impossibility of managing conflicting expectations. But we need a change in direction, as suggested in the scenario painted by Edward de Bono.

 “Imagine a ship at sea that is in trouble. The lights keep going out. The engine is faltering. The rudder is unreliable. The first mate is drunk. The crew is very demoralised. The service is appalling. The passengers on the ship are very dissatisfied. Then a new captain and first mate are brought in by helicopter. Very quickly everything changes. The morale of the crew is lifted. Service improves. The engine is fixed. The rudder is fixed. The lights stay on. Everything is fine. 

But the ship is still heading in the wrong direction.” 

The solution to these multiple challenges probably lies in a number of disruptive innovative solutions. These include inculcating self-learning (building on meta-cognition), measuring learning, collaborative and co-operative learning, personalisation of learning and learning analytics. 

However, in addition to new systems or technologies, we need a fundamental change of perspective. Education is seen as the responsibility of the State and the system is based on authority and licenses and permissions to allow education to be transacted in modern times this is unlikely to work. As Henry Maine had said ' as society progresses, it moves from status to contract'. So must the educational system build contractual relationships between the learner and providers of learning as more important than statutory authority. 

A very promising technological and pedagogical model that has received a lot of attention during the last few years and adoption by Stanford, Harvard, Duke and almost 100 of the world's top ranking Universities to teach millions of learners is that of the MOOC. The MOOC is considered on the one hand as a panacea for education and on the other as a defilement of the sanctity of the higher education tradition. The truth will probably lie somewhere in between and we must explore the potential of MOOCs to create a model of simultaneously teaching on-site and off-site learners, using synchronous and a-synchronous teacher learner interactions to deliver high quality learning to large numbers , maybe evolve a model for a classroom of 10,000 learners. 

This event is a step in that direction. We are experimenting here with mounting 10 MOOCs in a variety of subjects, for different target groups delivered by a team of Internationally renowned resource persons. We will be exploring several technological platforms and pedagogical models to find answers to a few interesting questions:

  • What is the right size of a learning cohort that is empowered with technology?
  • What is the right price for tuition?
  • What would be the most appropriate technology platform for mass education?
  • What is the best way to cope with linguistic diversity?
  • What course programs are best delivered as MOOCs?
  • What skill sets must learners have to benefit most from MOOCs?
  • What skill sets must educators acquire to teach effectively with MOOCs?

I welcome and thank all those who are contributing to make this unique exploratory endeavour a success. 

M.M. Pant

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Moodle MOOC on WizIQ Layout and Navigation

This was the first live online class for MOODLE MOOC on WizIQ. The facilitators discussed about the layout of the courses and specifically on the layout of a Moodle course. The layout of a Moodle course includes activities, resources, and blocks.

This Moodle MOOC is being moderated by Dr. Nellie Deutsch, and facilitated by Dr. Ludmila Smirnova, Dr. Nancy Zingrone , Dr. Ramesh Sharma , Judith Behrensand Jason R. Levine also known as Fluency MC

Moodle MOOC - Week 2: Creating Engaging Activities with Dave Cormier

(Image Credit: Aakanksha, Student of BFA-Animation)

Creating Engaging Activities with Dave Cormier

The session today ( Saturday, June 08,  2013) will be presented by Dave Cormier showcasing how to create engaging activities on Moodle and beyond for meaningful lifelong learning. 

(Image Source:

Dave will talk about "One Moodle activity - an experiment in rhizomatic learning"

The talk will explore rhizomatic learning as a story for learning on the open web and then talk about one activity that tries to marry the advantages of Moodle with those of the more rhizomatic open web.

Read more about Dave through his Blog: 

Dave’s Educational Blog: Education, post-structuralism and the rise of the machines



Teaching Fully Online and Blended Learning & the Flipped Class

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have attracted a lot of attention off late and there are many initiatives by scholars and institutions to offer interesting courses to anyone interested. 

Moodle is one of the most popular Learning Management Systems (LMS) employed for online delivery, interactions and facilitating instructions and learning. 

With the purpose of providing training on Moodle, this MOOC was designed and offered via WizIQ

Course Description

Teaching with Moodle is a self-paced 4-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for teachers and anyone interested in teaching online using Moodle, WizIQ, and other web technologies. The course takes place in the month of June 2013. The MOOC is in the spirit of open education and is completely free.

Participants will become acquainted with Moodle as a course and learning management system. They will learn how Moodle can be used in fully online, blended learning, and the flipped class. The course will include both asynchronous (not dependent on time) and synchronous (time dependent) elements. The course is self-paced with ongoing discussions (facilitator and technical support available), live online classes (recordings), videos, and other relevant content.

Unlike the traditional MOOCs that stress content and course delivery, Moodle MOOC will focus on active learning, reflection, sharing, and collaboration. The aim of the course is for the participants to learn through meaningful connections and social interactions. The MOOC and the live online classes will be coordinated by Dr. Nellie Deutsch and facilitated by Dr. Ludmila Smirnova, Dr. Nancy Zingrone , me and Judith Behrens (doctoral student).

Participants will be able to ask questions in advance and throughout the course through the following google drive document. The live online classes will be recorded for future reference, so don't worry if you cannot attend or if you'd like to review the content. 

Course Highlights
  • Moodle Layout (Activities, Resources, Blocks)
  • Creating Engaging Activities
  • Learning & Teaching Online
  • WizIQ on Moodle
  • Going Beyond the Moodle MOOC for Active Lifelong Learning
Language of Instruction: English

Live Online Classes on WizIQ
The opening ceremony was on May 31, 2013 when Martin Dougiamas, the founder of Moodle spoke at the opening ceremony at 9 PM EST New York and at 9PM Perth (Australia) time. In addition, special Learning2Gether event with Vance Stevens and Nellie Deutsch (check your time zone for the exact time)" and 5 live online classes are planned. The live online synchronous classes will take place on WizIQ on Saturdays at 10 AM (EST). Please check your time zone (June 1) for the exact time. Recordings will be available.
Invited Guests Further, there will be other guest appearances by Stephen Downes, who will be talking about connectivism and teaching/learning online and MOOCs on June 15, 2013, and Bryan Alexander , who will be presenting on June 22, 2013. Both Bryan and Stephen started the first MOOCs. In fact, Bryan Alexander is said to have coined the term MOOC with Dave Cormier. George Siemens will also be helping out behind the scenes. He may still surprise us with an appearance if his Internet connection is good.
Live Online Classes
  1. Opening Ceremony with Martin Dougiamas, Jason R. Levine (Fluency MC), Facilitators of the MOOC, and other surprises.
  2. Week 1:Introduction to the Course & Moodle Layout
  3. Week 2: Creating Engaging Activities
  4. Week 3: Learning & Teaching Online
  5. Week 4: WizIQ on Moodle
  6. Final Session: Going Beyond the MOODLE MOOC for Active Lifelong Learning