English Corner

Results of the CCK08 Course Tools Survey

About a year ago, I launched a survey on the use of the wide range of technological tools used within the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Online Course (CCK08).

Thanks to all the respondents, I had a lot of significant data to work on!

I finally wrote a paper, The Technological Dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The Case of the CCK08 Course Tools, trying to summarize the results and make some hypothesis on the findings.

The study has now been published in The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) in its Special Issue: Openness and the Future of Higher Education edited by David Wiley and John Hilton III.

IRRODL is an Open Access Journal published by the Athabasca University (Canada).

Hoping that it can be somehow useful for participants and facilitators of future Open Online Courses…

Intro Open Ed 2007 Survey

As part of my PhD research, I’m now proposing a survey on the effects of the Intro Open Ed  2007 course in the professional life of participants, as a follow up at a year and a half after the end of the course and with special regard to technologies used and the very peculiar modality of participation (e.g. informal with unofficial certification).

So, if you are a former Intro Open Ed student (no matter if you completed or not the course),  please spend a few of your time in replying to the survey:


The survey will remain online until July 31st.

Of course, I’ll share the results with anyone interested.

Thank you in advance! 🙂

Winter School 2009 video

Thanks to Wolf image , or should I say ..Roddy image, here is all the WinterSchool2009 in ten minutes:

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TENCompetence Winter School 2009 (English)

image After the 2008 edition, I attended also the Winter School 2009, organized by the European project TENCompetence.

The programme was rich and full of interesting hints (the slides are available on slideshare).

The organization was perfect, thanks to all the OUNL staff and especially to Milos and Christian.

Like and even more than last year, teachers organized effective and involving workshops, not just lectures.

I can not report in detail on all the events because, as often happens (but here …more!) the real value was the exciting international environment and the sharing of ideas between colleagues and professors during breaks (very short, to tell the truth …), nights (as we can not complain :-)) and …skiing (only one afternoon, but very nice indeed!).

Memorable the Monster Academy workshop, prepared in every detail, and excellently imagemanaged by  Wolf and Sandra: a very fun and exciting example of PBL/role play. Bravissimi!

Interesting experiments by Christian and Hendrick on mash-up environments: ReScope (centered on del.icio.us) and ReMashed (a mash-up of different Web 2.0 services). Everyone can register and test both systems.

Always challenging the eclecticism of the inexhaustible Ambjörn, from blues to mathematics through concept maps and disagreement management… wow! :-).

Also suggestive the Albert‘s presentation: I would be curious to see if he really will succeed in spreading the use of its new product, TenTube, a sort of YouTube for professional development, among the top managers of multinational European companies…

A nice evening was spent in making predictions for the future, led by Jocelyn: a scenario for Lifelong Learning in 2020. We’ve tried to invent odd futures but we have not even approached the "visions" that emerged from the project led by Jocelyin in Holland!

Good news from the tools for Learning Design: under the TenCompetence project, a new tool,  Recourse, was developed and it is a good step forward in usability, compared to the previous enigmatic Reload tools :-).

So, it seems there won’t be a 2010 edition, shame!

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Edublogs Awards? No, thank you

It’s time for the Edublogs Awards again, and I still haven’t changed my stance. I’m totally against them, for reasons I shall explain. I wasn’t going to say anything as people who I like and respect …dougbelshaw.com, Dec 2008

I definitely agree! I can write impartially, since that is an only-English-blogs award 🙂

No competition, neither ranking for blogs!

CCK08 Course Tools Survey

image The Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Online Course (CCK08) is over.

First of all, thanks to the excellent facilitators: George Siemens and Stephen Downes!

Even though I wasn’t an… exemplary student 🙂 the course has been a good opportunity for my research.

As part of my PhD work (that is focused on learning networks for Lifelong Learning) I’m now presenting a survey on the use of the wide range of technological tools proposed by the facilitators (and by some students, too) during the course.

I try to investigate uses and approaches to the web tools available for the course (taking into account users’ profiles, motivation, technological background, language, etc.) and to understand whether the absence of specific constraints on the use of the web tools (e.g. rules on time and/or purposes) was an obstacle for the participants, by generating anxiety and confusion or, conversely, fostered their participation and outcomes.

So, if you are a CCK08 student (no matter if you completed or not the course!!), I ask you a favour: please spend some of your time in replying to the

CCK08 Course Tools Survey.

The answers are strictly anonymous.

In addition, I’ll be glad to share the results with anyone interested.

Thank you in advance! 🙂

CCK08 – Week 8 – What estate? A digression…

I was reading the Pierfranco’s post related to terminology issues about the term “estate“, as used in the paper by W.H.Dutton.

Well, we (in Italy) have another problem.

Actually, while reading the paper I was reflecting on the fact that the Italian title of a well-known film by Sidney Lumet (released in 1976) was “Quinto Potere” (Fifth Estate)!

But when I was reading the paper I was on a plane, without any Internet connection (this is also a point….), so I wasn’t able to realize that the original title of the film was “Network” (what a coincidence!!!), nothing to do with “Fifth Estate”!

In fact, “Network” dealt with TV and mass-media power and won several awards.

Here the most famous scene from “Network” (still valid today…):

Here the Italian version (“sono incazzato nero e tutto questo non lo accetterò più”).

In conclusion, the expression “Fifth Estate” is really new in English, but not in Italian….


CCK08 – Connectivism at work

To me, it’s hard to make sense of connectivism as a learning theory. So, since the course started, I often have been searching examples of connectivistic situations in my daily work.

Here another little story of daily life connectivism:


Since weeks, I’m struggling with the writing of a research paper.  The work is proceeding quite slow.. Unfortunately I’m not so well inspired..

The story:

Yesterday afternoon, I was NOT working at the chapter nor had desire to do it… 😉

Instead, I was lazily browsing my Google Reader, with no specific objective.

Suddenly, I stumbled on a post by Thieme Hennis about Wordle, an online tool to make tag clouds from a text. Note: I (virtually)  knew Thieme last year, on the occasion of the OpenEd 2007 course, and simply kept the RSS feed from his blog in my reader. In brief, he’s a very little part of my network…

Wow! What a coincidence! I needed to make a tag cloud from a piece of text for my paper but I didnt’ know that such a tool existed, even though I am sure I tried to search it googling with no success (I found how to generate tag clouds from sites and RSS feeds but not from text files..)

So, I was able to re-start to work at my paper and had my nice tag cloud!!

Yes, I’m aware this is a little, very ordinary case of serendipity, but I argue it’s also a good example of connectivistic knowledge: the useful information (knowledge) emerged from my network, that was also supported by the technology of RSS and Google Reader. Furthermore, the serendipity had a positive effect on motivation, since it leaded me to resume my work..

All this only due to a simple, mostly silent, little connection…

CCK08 – Week 5 – Groups, Networks and Collectives

A little premise: I’m following the CCK08 at my own pace.. So I’m still working on week 5 stuff…

I’m very impressed by the Dron & Anderson’s paper on groups, networks and collectives.

The authors succeed to detect the key concepts on which most network technologies are grounded.

While reading, my internal connections 🙂 lead me to remind a very nice diagram by Scott Wilson. Maybe it’s not so popular as his first one about PLE (the well-known Future VLE graph) but to me this new version is more meaningful.

The new Scott’s diagram shows a three-tier structure, in which I see very well an overlap with the concepts of groups, networks and collectives.

The networked learner belong to all these three types of structures and presumably is going to use a variety of tools.

So, this is my remixed version of the Scott’s diagram, with very simple annotations on groups, networks and collectives:


From right to left, from institutions to individuals, I suppose it is likely to find groups/networks/collectives-oriented tools.

To me, it’s very interesting the middle tier, where I see systems like Elgg, a sort of middleware between institutions and individuals, i.e. between formal and informal learning, i.e. between groups and collectives.

In the perspective of Networked Lifelong Learning (that is the main topic of my PhD..), I guess that this intermediation may be a key point: groups are often too closed and limited, collectives may be dispersive and confusing, networks may fit well.

CCK08 – Short Paper 1 – Position on Connectivism

Well, it ‘s time to write the first short paper. I take this assignment as a welcome advice from the facilitators because, despite I found nothing interesting to say regarding the issues of weeks 2 and 3, I now need to verify where I am..
So, my position on connectivism…
Easy! I feel literally immersed in connectivism! But it’s a feeling, something “instinctive”, as Andreas says.
Perhaps it is natural, since I am a professional in networking, communication, education. It’s easy for me to be connectivist, while I navigate through my RSS feeds, write a post on my blog and comment on some blog friends. I’m a quite skilled user of a lot of technological gizmos that allow me to feel, almost physically, the flow of reticular knowledge to which I feel to belong.
But I wonder whether and how that feeling can really become a theory of learning and whether and how this theory can be validated and extended to all.
And yet I wonder: should people be aware of connectivism to adapt their behavior to it or is it an implicit theory that works anyway?
Thinking back to some principles of connectivism (mostly from Knowing Knowledge) I wonder if these are universal and can be applied in all contexts: for example, I’m pretty sure that the multiplicity of views, which I think is always an element of great importance, is not so well received everywhere.
Try entering a strictly hierarchic organization (e.g. the military…) and there you will see that the dissenting views are not so well accepted … Does it mean that in certain contexts learning does not happen? Or that there are context in which connectivism does not work?
The ability to learn new things is more important than what we already know: I identify myself in this definition because my life has always been oriented to news, to know more, but I wonder how much this ability to learn is actually determined from what we already know?
By reducing the importance of “static” knowledge, maybe we are in danger of losing the ability to access the dynamic one? For schools this is a crucial point: the growing unease of teachers in front of the (often naively) connective learning styles of young people is a proof. Neverthless, schools should give that base on which anyone could build his/her own dynamic learning future paths.
More: sharing seems to be another key element of connectivism. But even this is not a universal value: there are areas where the confidentiality and secrecy are more important than attitude to sharing which, in contrast, is not encouraged.
Finally, I wonder if connectivism can exist without technology. In fact, social networks have existed since mankind appeared on Earth. The difference nowadays is that technologies can eliminate the barriers of space and time. But at the same time they are creating other kinds of social and cultural obstacles. To what extent therefore does the digital divide affect connectivism?
As I write these brief notes I realize that, after all, I have not yet a precise position on connectivism but still many open questions. Perhaps the course will help me to answer, but I feel that it is more likely it will raise more questions instead, as indeed seems to happen to other participants.. Is it another property of connectivism? 🙂

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