Dec 122013
 

Today I am at the IT Futures Conference, an internal University of Edinburgh event, and will be live blogging all day. There will be discussion throughout the day and you can add your own comments and questions via the #Itfutures hashtag.

We are starting the day with an introduction by professor john lee who is just setting up the schedule for the day.

Introduction from Tim O’Shea, Principal, University of Edinburgh

The conference is now being opened by the Principal who will give his perspective on disruptive technology. He will be talking about disruptions and what that means for the university. There will be predictions and there will be surprises… I think it is useful to think about what we know is coming, and what are actually big surprises and I think that’s an interesting question for us to think about, to be fairly clear about what will happen in the next two or three years. Who else has read Computer Lib? So many “surprises” were predicted here, every year more of ted’s predictions come true. But there are genuine surprises, people did not see Facebook coming…

I was intrigued in Sweden this week. I attended the most extraordinary ceremony where Peter Higgs picked up his Nobel prize. And I saw the chemistry Nobel lectures and understood the – they were all computer scientists effectively, tackling chemistry problems with computing.

So, if you go to a business lecture you see disruptions in terms of nouns and verbs, fire and tillage… But machines were genuinely important changes. Writing and printing were genuine disruptions, engines and electricity. I was dining with the UK ambassador to Sweden and for those types of roles! for world politics! the telegraph was an enormous disruption! see also the telephone! the television. And computers have been an enormous change, a computer is an amplifier of our cognitive functions in the same way a physical machine is.

And I guess if we think about education we need to think… Are MOOCs the disruption? And for universities we went from writing to printing… Do people still give lectures at university? Yes, they do. Do people still attend university rather than use television, computers, etc. when the open university was established – Harold Macmillans idea – there was some concerns over whether it would work, or whether it would destroy the sector. But now… Well it has brought about change, but it has certainly not destroyed the sector.

So, predictions… Well Moore’s Law is the big one. He predicted the idea of printing circuits. We have at least 8 years of that left before we even get into Nano computers. Metcalf’s Law looked at how traffic was going and predicted the internet would fall over in 2001. People were doing crazy things, pictures, small animations… The internet would fall over… It is a similar idea to Moore’s… But not true… Avid then we get Bayes’ law! an 18th century divinity scholar who was interested in gambling… Effectively Bayes law is just guessing… A few years ago in this very room I opened the machine learning conference and almost all of the papers were about statistical machine learning. It is key to what Google do – and I’ve told them that – and it’s increasingly important.

Semantic networks – like Google – we’re talked about in 1945, researched in the 1960s at this university… That concept and capability goes back to thinking that far back. The cloud was predicted, the idea of software as a service, was conceived of in a 1968 paper. Intelligent tutors were described in 1962. And then machine learning, my own interest.

Minor predictions… The personal portable (iPad) predicted in 1976. It took longer than expected. ICT Integration (iPhone). Robots, the concept is at least 2000 years old. Videophone (Skype) see decades of science fiction. Personalised instruction of similar vintages. Cybernetics also a major part of our world, particularly important now.

Big surprises? Well Moore’s law is still true. And Metcalf’s’ law is still false. Facebook and Twitter were genuine surprises. Google translate a surprise… The idea for Bayes law and the Rosetta Stone methods basically, a surprise. Very personal computing a surprise… And the Netscape business model was a surprise – the idea to give away for free and figure out the business model afterwards. People in our business school and others still trying to figure out that concept. So in terms of surprises it’s social computing and new business models…

Surprises? Well the World Wide Web, invented by Tim Berners Lee. Invented to deal with communications across time zones. lee never imagined its usage. I think Third World take up is a surprise, despite skipping the telegraph and fixed line phones. Uraguay is the one country to implement one laptop per child. They ignored teachers, ignored department of government. Used 250 bright young people and leapfrogging it into all the schools and communities. Face recognition now. Speech rego ignor now. Mouse and desktop (1968) – a slight surprise then but military applications influenced look and feel. Reliability better than predicted. And 500 MOOCs and 7m learners. The model May not be surprising but speed and take up is!

ICT characteristics. it’s a memory prosthetics, why remember things? It is ubiquitous. Reverse Time ravel is a great feature. Highly distributed. Highly redundant. Very cheap. Garage start ups. The point of a garage are the entry costs… Skype set up by two lads in an Internet cafe in Estonia. If you have shares in Facebook or Google or anything… Look me at the garages and be worried… Two people can set up a whole new disruption based on very little resource.

Educational opportunities. open Educational resources (such as fabulous 3D modelling software from birkberk). Natural languages – I love that people are translating MOOCs, able to expand learning rapidly to new areas around the world. Visualisation, modelling, simulations are hugely important opportunities. Wisdom of crowds. Our astro biology MOOC is still going, self organising groups continuing their studies. In plant taxonomy. And crowd sourcing or citizen science – in astronomy for instance. Big data, huge interested here with our parallel computing centre (EPCC). fast feedback. Universal access… The big surprise for me of MOOCs was the idea of access. The idea that anyone can access Harvard business people or edinburgh scientists etc, is hugely important.

Challenges? Well reliability… Is that a problem here? No! Reliability is so much better but it’s a challenge because it matters so much when there is any issue anywhere in the sector. Security is much more of an issue, who uses our systems, for what purposes. I was at an RBS dinner speaking to the head of cyber security – probably the most crucial person in that organisation. Platform sustainability – best prediction is always that ten years ahead a platform won’t be there. Jeff and his team have been great at planning for multiple platforms. Planned obsolescence. Enquirer to Alumnus – a challenge for us as a university. We want one system for the whole life cycle of engagement. But even in a collegiate environment like ours ewe have silos that we have to get rid of, but it’s really hard. People are in a. Hurry and technology is cheap to buy. And appropriate assessment, this is the place to get famous by being innovative. We use old fashioned assessment in this sector, our assessment needs to update to the modem world. Do that, you’ll have done something that really matters.

So what are the HEI implications? Well MIT and Stanford and such will be fine. Manchester metropolitan will be fine – a big skills based university. Top 100 probably ok. Probably. Hopefully edinburgh (top 20) is fairly comfy cosy. We have a brand, people come to us. If you are central and well connected, you are ok. But there will be a squeezed middle – small universities with a little research will be under pressure. Especially if less well connected, less well known, more remote… Much tougher sell. There will be student mobility. Pick and mix and credit accumulation is coming. The New York Times wrote a fabulous piece on MOOCs, saying people will go to Harvard for business, linguistics and literature at Edinburgh, etc. an interesting model. Go to the best university for the specific subject of choice.

So, what are our assets at Edinburgh university? Well informatics – we have more high rated computer scientists in this building that in Oxford and Cambridge combined. We have Europe covered, so that’s handy. HPCx, HeCTOR and Archer. Two Queens Prizes, both for eLearning, one for vets, one for surgery at a distance. EDINA is very very important. IAD and Global Academies. ISG, and real MOOC Momentum. We got ours up and running fast, we are seen by UK and European ministers as European leader for MOOCs. Not world leaders but massive momentum here…

What’s been happening? Well in the last ten years…

  • 5k ejournals to 50k
  • 1k ebooks to 1.25 million
  • 1 million ejournals article downloads to 5 million
  • 30k ebooks section downloads to 2 million
  • 1.5 million library visits per year to 2.5 million
  • 75% own own computers to 99%

Implications for UoE. There are two sorts of schools here… The clever schools madness the stupid schools… A clever school experiments with MOOCs, has at least one online masters. A stupid school has done neither. You have new opportunities if you try these thing… There is tremendous flow from online masters and MOOCs to the undergraduate classroom. Working on those things inevitably alters and influencers your undergraduate teaching programmes. We need advanced ICT partners. We have the world wanting to partner with us, we only want to partner with this who know more than us. So Stanford. With Delhi. And Peking university. But we have to be really selective. We have to stay in front, be highly selective. We want partners knowing more than us, particularly if in special areas, and we need to do radical experiments. Try it out. Learning analytics is key – I’ve just signed off a major new initiate this morning. We have an opportunity here. And eassessment.

Final slide here a fabulous slide from Mark Wetton… All the computing our students use… We engage with our students and have Dione for years and that is so important….

Q&A

Q) curious about term disruption, given negative connotations. Maybe time for challenge not change
A) I think organisers today used contemporary business school jargon. Usually applied on a very specific level. E.g. Amazon as a disruption. T I think there are huge challenges and opportunies.

Q – Jeff Hayward) you quite rightly applied that approach of comparing technology across the world. You assume the incumbent who has a brand is immune so why apply to university..
A) I don’t think we are immune. If you go to the world pre-MOOC there were British but less high profile universities making progress. Birkberk, open university, university of London. If you asked me then… And telo-university of Quebec. Or open university of Catalonia. Previous to MOOCs progress was form universities many of you will never have heard of… But MOOCs have done something strange… The scale of those are so interesting and enticing. The way the worlds universities have piled in is fascinating. Oxford has taken a bit of a nah-nah public position right now. We were a bit weird to charge in quickly but it is the big beasts doing that. But these things are never ace. If you can get the model the learners like, the entry costs are every low and success can be super fast, extraordinary. An unknown university anywhere in the world could charge in. It’s why we need to radically experiment! If half of you build on our success. The other half do apparently crazy things and experiment then we’ll be set!

And now over to Jeff Hayward to introduce our opening keynote, via video and then live Skype questions

Opening Keynote: Aleks Krotoski “Technofundamentalism: the next digital literacy”
Alex is a Visiting Fellow, Media & Communications Dept at LSE; Research Associate at the OII; journalist at The Guardian and BBC.

We accept information received via technology and yet elsewhere in the culture we regularly question our politicians, our sources… Why should the online world be any different. Are computers so different that we should throw away our critical faculties? In 1986 Phillip Krause predicted six laws about technology, placing it at a centre of our culture, this information connector and resource is also art.

So, what’s in the frame? And what is outside the frame? Computer software designers do this to but we are less sophisticated at understanding the ways they tell their stories. Technological systems have biases built in which we will most likely only see in retrospect. In thirty years when we look back at Google and Facebook will they feel as dated and incongruent as brute cologne or bell bottom trousers?

The way you think about the world and the way you deal with ideas is not just about those aspects but also about the social and physiological context in which you receive that information. And that machine is part of that. Software engineers don’t know that context and yet there are tools like search engines and social networks that seem to have cracked till, there are biases wwe have that suffuse our experience of the every day, there are psychological, temporal, cultural, emotional context. The computer suits Western English speaking world, but what about a banana farmer? And digital systems help decide what can and cannot be done with that system.

And for me there is a fundamental misunderstanding around how we navigate our online systems. When we think about who we are… Many things come in… Our sense of ourselves, the name on our bank cards, many factors… Classic case of namespace collision. Things that look and sound the same but can be so different. Our online identities are much more than authentication… Online identity is a set of factors that uniquely identifies us but it changes through our lifetime, and in different contexts. But those identities are so hard to capture in 1s and 0s. No matter who you feel you are, the work of software designers shapes us online, based on their own bias.

Google. Google decides who we are. There are decisions about who we are and what we want. Google wants to project an attitude… We don’t know all the processes that are part of the self though. Google makes judgement calls to assess what they think we want. And googles algorithmic path is designed around past success. Firstly that usefulness can be predicted. Second, just enough to be magical. They appear to give us relevance or usefulness, we don’t know what might have been. The world of information according to it. It’s what is within a frame, the google Mise En scene. There is a Barnum factor. We believe it, even if wrong. Third, all of the information is equal. That is the idea. Four, quantitative judgements are superior. Because nothing else is feasible at scale.

Facebook. Social networks are platforms for self expression and Facebook provides many tools for this, for creating our online identities. But there are limitations. You have to be proficient enough to express your identity in the way you went to your friends – not everyone is a great writer, has a digital camera, etc. You have to fit your identity within their profile builder, and that’s restrictive and based around advertiser and commercialisation needs. And finally you must use your real name. Facebooks big unique factor. It is possible to identify the person, zuckerburg said multiple identities shows a lack of identities. It is near impossible to play with anonymity and identity.

Life is about key moments. First day at school, passing a driving test… And big mistakes, a divorce, or moments of change and awakening. You change. And you want to move on. Not to delete the past but to be able to move forwards. You might want to look back, to connect and visit the last even if you don’t want to live there. But how often are objects of your last used against you, without any reference to the beast. Actions from past beats rarely taken as if they occur now as that is so uncomfortable. But why should it be different online… Ell the web never forgets… When you search for someone you get the full life story, every beat in a jumbled mix of beats, as if all happen now, as if we haven’t moved on, learned from our mistakes. The web allows no concession for your maturity, your social development… You could be a kid, married, an oap, even dead. The machine makes connections that may no longer be valid or may never have been there…

Googles chairman Eric Schmidt has said the internet nee a delete button. Others think that the web should have sell by day. Bent it’s not a technological issue. It’s a social issue. We can actually consider that people change. The problem? W are part of the problem. W look to the technology to solve the problems, we see Arthur C. Clark’s point of technology as indistinguishable from magic.

Educators are at the front edge of technology… Don’t assume your students know more than you. 1. Digital natives still need digital literacy. That theory is about fearlessness not skill. 2. Don’t use things you don’t understand just because it’s cool. 3. Be aware of different multiple fluid identities, encourage use of multiple identities in your students as part of their psychology social development. 4. Distinguish between digital skills and the critical skills to assess and understand information and credibility.

Make demands 1. Don’t assume developers have your best interests at heart. 2. Shape technology to you, don’t fit to it. 3. Express your identity and consider how the technology affords that on your terms. 4. Remember that technology includes biases.

Over years of newspapers, television.. We have become media literate, only now are we thinking about regulation. T we do not yet understand softwares agenda, it is expressed in more hidden ways, behind the screens, in the algorithms and those are proprietary and hidden systems. Rebecca mackinnon (2010) said that we do not understand online. And yet we allow it to change us. Melvin krwnsburg see engineers changing the world, he saw this in 1968, and saw their role as more important than politicians and decision makers. Their inventions bring profound change and disruptions. As an individual our issue is misunderstanding the state of being and the measurement and structure of the self, the version of identity web services offer us.

Unpredictable machines shale human interactions, and unpredictable humans shape machine designs. It is a complex relationship. Technological machines are subject to biases about designers ideas of what is human. Technology is only able to do so much. And we have to critical about that.

Response by Chris Speed, School of Design, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

Even this conversation is constructed with a temporal ubiquity. I had to watch you, ahead of them, in order to respond in real time. I’m an artist and I’m not great at the self… Earlier in my career I looked at the spaces that shape us… Different individuals do not have a consensual space, all individual’s view the same space differently, according to their own priorities and usage…

But thinking about beats… Maybe in the house making tea, or filling the dishwasher are “beats” in these spaces, around which others interact… And in my house I’m now much more aware of what I do in my space, sensors are installed around my house. A raspberry of on my router and modem… The power is measured. Sensors lush data back on humidity and light. And there is a sensor to indicate when you use the loo… You feel “oh, it’s seen me…”

So I thought the model was quite good, separating these ideas. Now I have a highly disruptive domestic concept… My kids wonder if the camera sees her… My Mise en scene is blown out now…

Aleks: firstly “you did this to yourself”. But I think your work reincorporating life into physical space and the psychical self. That sense of the quantified self for making sense of ourselves, to reflect. Huge issues associated with surveillance, siusveillance, and issues of validity of data… So I would ask you back… This is a fascinating project… And I might do it in my house – where I have wifi lightbulbs – but what is the purpose for you of these sensors and connectivity?

Chris: well it’s part of an AHRC project about opening up markets. It’s beyond internet of things… But some of the stakeholders think that the “thing” is the thing. But actually it’s about the experience. Having a coffee, not the coffee mug. Getting married, not signing a certificate. It’s about the beats, the experience and how it is constituted. The aspiration of the project is that, if things are contextual, need to think about correlated data…

Aleks: I heard about internet of things years ago, I didn’t get it… They were do forward thinking… They were talking about RFID on your pint glass to detect when pint is empty to alert the pump. This is connected fridge ideas. But I remember thinking, well that doesn’t as see the questions of going to the pub. Why would I want that in my world. I’m still not convinced about the relevance to my life… Except that, as I referenced in my video, I found an embarrassed diary that I read… It was such the wrong idea about who I was or am… They are good referential buckets… But I don’t see use of sensor unless there is feedback or similar purpose, egg. About water use. So whilst we embrace and sprint towards technology, it is always important to step back, to think about the politics involved, to question what the function is. To think further about the value of what you find out the value you find that you don’t expect, and those you do expect.

Chris: we did have to do this with consent around the house. It is very disruptive. I made that model of a living room of different sorts when I no longer had kids. I had been all of those roles… I carry so many different ideas around with me… We talk about lead people and disruption… At the end of the talk you warn about what kids should be involvement, but I want them to be lead uses… I need my kids to be lead users… My daughter asking that question raised key concerns too..

Aleks: part of it is allowing mistakes, to allow those questions, those stumbling a… Economise these as beats, as self awareness… Your life with the technologies… The context of what happens now. Let your daughter make mistakes. You have to be clear that you are learning too, part of the human conversation… Let them find the edges, break things, make mistakes… Let it…

Q&A

Q) you talked about beats… We always understood that artefacts are not people… We have social and conceptual tools, everything is just more permanent, published, accessible, searchable… We could always make that distinction.

A) we have always had that understanding. Those special moments have us look back to look forwards… But more than anything else the issue is not so much about that stuff being there, it’s about when you can find it… Our world is open and accessible. What’s raised is the issue of techno fundamentalism. We have social practices. We recognise forgetting, the place of information. E have those literalise. We don’t have the literacy to think about what the technology does, it is a tool for connecting us. It raises the challenge of what e need to do and how e need to converse about this… We have to question and query where this information come from…

Q – Cory Doctorrow) we have heard so called techno fundamentalists like mark zuckerburg… He makes these statements but what he is saying is that “kill privacy and I’ll make more money” but does that sort of normative statement about privacy actually change things?

Aleks) absolutely not. Even zuckerburg has made a walled garden here. But we need contingencies andc rosspoints for things to be normative. But that’s normative at a certain level. There are individual norms as well and that takes much more to change… When it comes to attitude and behaviour change. The fact that privacy is not dead reflects that. In terms of how we teratogenic those normative statements… Is someone makes a statement we have to see the ripples, to see what happens before we can see or say that that is a norm…

Q) about namespace… Between digital identity and online identity… The distinction between online identity and psychological identity. That there are arts points for software that picks you out… But from what I understand of psychological identity… Ell it’s data points by which the brain picks you out from others… Do you see a way in which those might become blurred …

Aleks) I think we will see more and more of that. AI communities are extraordinary for that… For years I had my “divorce conversation”, the idea of AI systems that are indistinguishable from humans for long periods of time. Aside from the Turing test we don’t have that. It is a slow and interactive journey for technology reflecting those slow contextual processes of being a human being… I have no idea what encompasses the whole psychological sense of self. Let alone how I might operationalise that… But there are definitely different ways in which that is being approached. I am not a fan of sentiment analysis but it has a role. Slowly slowly slowly we are reaching a point where we might see an indistinguishable sense of self. Does that involve sentience? But right now not enough in there to replicate or suggest the two are the same. Digital identity is about authentication. Online identity… If you think of your brain as a computer – and I don’t – then it is calling up markers, sense of self, expressions of self… But even then we don’t understand the brain enough to systematise that… To do logical things with those systems. So perhaps, but certainly not yet…. And I don’t see it for more than 50 years.

Q) I am personally fascinated by Jacques Aloo and he says that technology cares only about efficiency. I see destruction caused by lack of efficiency in terms of destruction of other mediums, about lack of conversations. But those beats are not about efficiency… Is it not efficiency that is destructive? Life is about experience not products, results or measurable outcomes…

Aleks) great question! Yes, efficiency is about keeping everything going. But rituals are social efficiencies… Weddings, coming of age rights… E can make assumptions of change in a persons life… Those are normative elements evolving over time in our lives and communities… W are efficient. We make heuristics. We seek hallmarks of authenticity and credibility, to make these efficiencies… E do also seek efficiency. W do so and learn about those efficiencies as we go about communities, online or offline, they can become explicit. But efficiencies are pretty unique to social groups or locations. The problem is identifying those efficiencies clearly enough into the technological system.

And with that we draw to a close with thanks from Jeff and much applause form the audience. (And a slightly show stopping fire alarm test).

And now, after a coffee break, and introduced by Jessie Paterson, we have our next talk…

Tim Fawns: “Digital disruption and blended memory: selectivity, creativity, engagement and reflection”
Tim is a PhD Candidate, School of Education, University of Edinburgh

I’m going to be talking about my research on the artefacts we collect and how they relate to memory. I don’t think there is a big distinction between biological memory and external environments. We need external elements to reconstruct our memory of events. blended memory gives us a way to engage with, reflect upon, and learn from our memories….

My work is concerned with digital photography. selfie is the OED word of the year, and the Mandela memorial raised questions about acceptability. we capture more images and need to think about what that means. I normally talk about semantic memory but today I want to talk about reflection… It takes time, energy, engagement and sustained attention.

In terms of changes in photography… On 1990 it was normal to wait several days to wait for prints to be made from film, viewed, some shared in albums. By 2006 digital was bigger than film, more images taken, often managed on home computers. By 2011 more images taken on phones than on stand alone cameras… And shared widely. Will we become reliant on pictures for our memory. Linda ? Found that recall of something photographed, whether or not the image is viewed. Will we become as reliant on images as we are on spell checking? And does that matter? Well I think reflection. On our own memories and experiences are crucial.

I spoke to people at a highly photographed evenet – a wedding – and interviewed six people several years after the weddin with their images, asking them about their images and how they used them. The first thing I noted was that the was a lot of photography. Ogre 4000 images from just 6 photographers. The professional photographer had taken 2200 images and was the only person who had deleted any of them. People are not being selective.

We see people being similarly unselective and uncritical in music gigs – filming and photographing and detracting from the event itself.

Now speaking to my interviewees even the couple who got married were bode by the full range of images. When we look at these photos… They are only seen due to trigger events. So when showing others images – slide shows, catching people who were not there up with the event. Some meant to put some on the books. They ,want to delete some. Thank you cards – including images of people at the wedding – took months to do, not a major trigger event.

Some pictures were shared on flickr and Facebook. Here there was no interest in who looked at what on flickr. Commenting on Facebook there is discussion of a sanitised discourse around these events, because of the unknown viewer factor,ll, you can use flickr and Facebook in highly reflective ways, and you can flick through a physical album without reflection… But these sorts of platforms force us into shallower engagement with these artefacts, more information than we can process. And we lack strategies to deal with that. And there is a shift from the traditional function of photography to memorialise and record things, towards pictures as communication. But we need strategies to deal with that. Of the people I spoke to mobile images were seen as ephemeral, not important to preserve. And the fact that images can be communicated swiftly means instant communication functions…

So moving onto the broader trend… We see everyone recording their own experience of events, a kind of collection compulsion… My mendeley collection is vast. There is a folder called “to read” which accumulates too fast to read, and many never make it in as I will never get to them… Something strange going on in my own head here… Here is a graph of “intuitive statistics” – which means I made it up – of what I collect versus what I actually read….

But to the positive bit, the opportunities to reflect. I show this picture by Deb Ro, who reflected on images of his son learning to say the word “water”. But that’s a contentious process – recording everything, and thinking computationally about it. But a sustained reflection of something I’m his life. Touching on surveillance and identity. Jonathan Harris is more acceptable! he took an image every day and that helped him reflect on how he constructed his memory through photographs.

I am also interested in memory maps… There are hotspots in this area of northern island! a very different way to explore photographic archives…

How can we get students to think critically and reflectively about images? One way could be multimodal assessment, forcing them to think about the meaning of the thing beyond components of image, video, audio, to question the roles of student and teacher as well. Allowing them to use new tools to turn disperate information into a coherant whole.

As individuals reflection can be built in as part of disciplined, structured processes, projects that force us to slow down, to not multitask, to allow missing of tome stuff, to allow forgetting that leaves space for deep thinking. I worry that cultural trends move us from deep thinking to shallow thinking. It isn’t technology here though, culture is the disruptive part. Technologies provide as many opportunities as disruptions.

Q&A

Q) I kind of got a little confused in your talk between prescriptive and descriptive modes about reflection and memory and the plethora of memories and photographs. Are you suggesting we are doing something different, or suggesting that we should…

A) I think both. So spaces like Facebook disruptive. I see things that I am more interested in and I see things that are of no interest at all… Sometimes it’s friends who talk about things that are not interesting… Can see in photography images that are taken without thinking… I’m sure we’ve all had conversations about taking an image rather than seeing the thing. I’m being prescriptive about supporting our students, but generally I’m being descriptive…

Q) just pondering the quantified self and the interested in data they generated about their own life, the facial recognition software for instance… What are your thoughts on the future of reflection on photography enhanced by technology… And what that means for possibilities of reflection…

A) I think there are near and far future sale ts here. If you have facial recognition software that works, and other recognition software, you can analyse, say how often you sit near Jeff, versus how often you sit near Hamish…. There are people wearing Microsoft life cameras? That track what they do. They review footage with them… That research finds participants spotting patterns in their life, their behaviour, to reflect. But also important to look at individual events more closely…

Q) have you looked at blipfoto or snapchat, tools with restrictions…

A) bit odd as they are commercially run. Blipfoto is like Jonathan harries work. It allows reflection… But very artificial that idea of one image per day… And they have a way of reeling you back in, commercially driven, if you try to step away which is interesting… Victor Meyer schonbergers adelete, calling for information with a shelflike. Snap hat reminds , me of that… But seem to be subverted for purposes like sexting… Interesting to see how individuals take that technology and adopt it for things it was not intended for… These are pretty new tools though so it’s too early to reflect on their impact but I look forward to seeing what happens with them…

James Fleck: “Innovation and IT Futures: Impact and disruption”
James is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.

It’s a privilege and pleasure to be back in edinburgh. My passion over thirty years has been innovation and technology development, and more recently I’ve taken over the editorship of the Journal of Technology Analysis and Strategic management! having retired as head of the business school at the open university – itself a disruptive scale educator.

But first I want to reflect on what you understand by “innovation” and “disruption”? Down the pub if people ask me what I do I say “I study innovation and how ideas become reality”. And more formally that is about the commercial exploitation and impact of ideas. this has been a field for serious study for about forty years. It’s roots are however, as far back as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Joseph Schumpeter. W see increasing departments and plans for innovation. But we also see the term overused. The term “disruption” is similarly taking hold, having been coined in 1993. Innovation surely drives change? So I want to look at this and consider disruption in ICT.

Innovation has many forms. Often we think about technology but actually it’s about creativity and problem solving, risk taking versus vision, issues of persistence and failure. Risk taking has become positive. But innovators are not, sticty speaking, risk takers, they know their idea will change the world. James Dyson tried 3000 or 4000 prototypes of his latest vacuum. The risk takers, according to Schumpeter, are not the innovators but the funders.

So that’s the overarching concept. But there are many models of innovation. The standard view of innovation is as something incremental, a linear model. We see this reflected in mature businesses where there is a multistage process of invention; development; introduction to market; diffusion. You can also see a market pull model, where marketing finds demand and develops as well. This works well in commercial consumer products, for pharmaceuticals etc. but it does not work for ICT.

But we do see configuration all technology and innovation… Sometimes it is the construction, the package that is constructed, that is disruptive not the innovative level of the elements themselves. The iPhone is a great example here. Social networks also…

W also see platform innovation, the apps and mobile apps world… In the next few years we will hit two mobile phones per person in the world. Mobile penetration versus laptop penetration is seriously higher and reaches whole areas of the world where mobile is the only or main choice of connection.

If em look at technological change over time… There is an element of discontinuity. Christensen saw there being an inherent disruption of how technology interacts and engages with social life. It’s not the technology but culture and identity and how they are built and influenced by the technology that matters… Expectations change… technologies can develop faster and some do. Most stay within that expectation zone. Some technologies start very differently though, they come in from a more radical place, they push out existing technologies bringing all sorts of people who would never have used the technology before. Examples of this? Flats renew versus CRT, mainframes versus mini computers versus personal computers…

So all these types of innovation can cast light on what we mean by innovation and disruption…. So some examples….

The first tablet newspaper appeared in the mid 1990s, like an iPad but three times as deep and much heavier. But there we saw a reflection from the reader to the journalist and that is something we have seen emerging in the modern world of online newspapers. The Persona project looked at tracking fertility through the hormonal cycle via urine sample, conducted in participant observation mode with my wife – we now have five children! – but the issue was that this was about 94% effective. reasonably similar to a condom, but class action suit because of concern about the 6%. But whilst it looks like a failure as a contraceptive aid, it has become a success when marketed as a fertility aid, to enable pregnancies. That’s a configuration innovation!

Turning now to the Open University… The key to the OU success and high satisfaction ratings is all about the role of tutors, the pedagogical design and the level of support from tutors. Content is a commodity. The key to successful learning is the tutor, the learning support. Underlying that at the OU are standards, checks, QA of that support. For us in the business school we found a gap. We added a practice based learning loop, that added to the learning experience and we built that in. And yet the OU is not disruptive, it is strongly sustaining… Often OU students go on to traditional universities… It is an alternative model that works with the existing system. The main issue today is the pedagogy not the technology. We started with correspondence, now we use Moodle, but the technology is enabling and changing scope and access, but does not fundamentally change the basic model.

Let’s just look at MOOCs as I struggle to understand how they differ. If you look at late 19th and early 20th century correspondence courses saw 700 or 800 students. Not that different. And we see OU iTunes U resources downloaded 40 million times. The involvement of prestigious institutions and teachers matters but where does pedagogy come in, where does the role of tutors come in… Is that a paid for issue….

There is an ecology around Technology Enhanced Learning that brings in policy context, environment, funding, revenue generation… That’s very stable, it’s hard to disrupt that… To disrupt that pedagogy is at the core, and how that impacts all of those elements and communities…

So to some conclusions… The key is that the technology doesn’t stand by itself. The innovation is disruptive because the whole complex of factors is involved. There are so many stakeholders and agendas in the environment that it is hyper stable. I take issue with Tim O’Shea’s comment about a squeezed middle. It seems to overlook what university is for. I have had four children go through university and social factors are a big part of what has mattered to them… MOOCs are yet to grapple with that…

Let me finish with some interesting observations here… At a recent talk someone commented that the technology allows every single printed item to be captured… We have a vision of a world where everything is synchronously available. Our grandchildren will know much more about me, than I know about my grandparents. And my grandchildren may know more about my grandparents than I did. If eye are in the internet if things, with tagged items… We see Gallileos notebooks captured at hugely high detail of photography. Before that was a very restricted process to access these, what is that more open access going to do to scholarship? And what about the role of users, we are are all users and we are all potentially innovators! We all have a part to play in it.

Q&A

Q) I share your comment about MOOCs on the pedagogy. But I don’t share the distinction between pedagogy and content. For me that is a contradiction in terms… You cannot disjoin that… It is part of the same pedagogical landscape, it cannot be seen as a commodity. The MOOC favours that idea though… On the MOOC much can be said about the granularity… For some we are in a post-MOOC era, we’ve already peaked….

A) my content as a commodity… Google lets you find that… Pedagogy does shape use of content though. Yes content is part of it, but not all of it…

And, following a tasty lunch, Jen Ross introducing our closing keynote, the marvellous Cory Doctorrow.

Closing Keynote: Cory Doctorow : “You can’t solve problems by breaking the net”.
Cory (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of the bestselling Tor Teen/HarperCollins UK novel LITTLE BROTHER. His latest young adult novel is HOMELAND, his latest novel for adults is RAPTURE OF THE NERDS.

I’m starting with a non controversial idea. Computers are everything. And then something more controversial… This building is a network of computers… Modern buildings require computers to work, digital monitoring of inflows and outflows. And it’s not just computers. Your car is a computer…. You all hurtle down the road at 60 miles an hour. I flew back from Melbourne in a 747 which is effectively a Solaris computer with wings.

Computers are also of of our bodies. Cochlea implants of course, help people who would otherwise be deaf. But those of us who grew up with Walkmans, MP3 players… And we will all need hearing aids and those will be computers… They will be smarter than just a beige device in our ear. They may be surveillance devices too. And you may people with an implanted defibrillator, those are incredible devices… It gives you a shock when your heart, if you have that condition where your heart randomly stops, stops beating.

No one talks about clothing related bank robberies or traffic fatalities… But we do hear a lot about computer crime and computer problems… The reason is manifold… Computers are new enough and clothing is old enough that we think of computers as somehow differnt. And increasingly we see regulators looking to computers as a way to solve problems that computers are just involved in… Lawmakers look for heuristics that are very very inappropriate for computers, and that leads us to a dangerous situation.

So lawmakers look to see whether a technology is general purpose or special purpose… Most technology is generic. So a wheel… No one asks for a bank robber-proof wheel. You would cause more mischief than you could hope to prevent… But of I see drivers talking on the phone as distracted. I might suggest about phones being built into cars… We might question that but it doesn’t change the utility of the car. Lawmakers often apply rules of thumb… Simple things are often general, specific things are more complicated. Computers though are general items. They are simple and complex. They imagine a world where a computer runs all the programmes except for the owner we don’t like… We can’t do that… The nearest is to use spyware, that when you try to do something on your machine that triggers “I can’t let you do that Dave”. If we do that we just drag hal9000.exe to the trash. We stop the process… The only way to do that functionality is to build in a backdoor, to hide that functionality. This idea of a backdoor that undoes all of the computers functionality but it’s ok because it’s the good guys who use it… But that unleashes all sorts of mischief…

This is the sort of thinking, this calling for broken computers, gets louder all the time. But it doesn’t work. The idea of a double purpose computer itself – Turing amd his colleagues were working on computers to break siphers they designed computers for a single calculation…. You make a device for ballistic table solutions. For another problem you had to make a new one… Turing and his colleagues though looked to build a computer that could be Turing complete! programmes that can run all the programmes… Computer researchers have problems NOT making their machine Turing complete. They write little programmes… You have something like postscript, instructions to a printer… But it turns out that is Turing complete… You can write a virus in PostScript that hijacks your printer, sniff your network, hijack your machines, tunnel through your firewall, access your documents, and this proof of concept virus… It would accept a version patch… Show the new version but not update. It was only fit for a tip… So these security conferences show how pretty much everything is Turing complete. Magic the Gathering, the card game, with a big enough deck is also Turing complete. It’s a computer. Just a very slow one…. It runs all the programmes… Albeit over infinite time….

This is brilliant, this is difficult… We know how to build a computer that runs a single programme. We can build one that runs everything. No standard for Turing minus one. And for the “I can’t let you do that Dave” programme you need legal code, not just computer code. And no one will want that programme if they can, it won’t last long in the world. We have the non technological measure though, it’s a law from WIPO. It has the same standing with dumb copyright law that Mordor has to evil, it’s ground zero. Thery passed “internet treaties” that make these laws, that make it illegal to talk about how this spyware works…

It doesn’t work for piracy… The DVD locks, that stop you pirating DVDs about ten years ago by teenagers in an afternoon when they were bored..and HDDVD someone had a disk in the wrong region… Playing a disc you paid for in wrongly region encoded player is really really not piracy. This guy, meusli64, he figured there was a key on there somewhere… He decided to extract the key, add to players, can use the disc on all my players… He got the disc, saved a copy to his RAM and looked for and found the key, which he published. Reddit and similar sites had this 128 bit key. An illegal integer… Chosen for randomness with no meaning… The studios could not do anything about it… For a while this key was on 600k websites and the studios argued it a “trade secret”.

So let’s go back… Studios are not muppets (except Jim Henson) they can hire cryptographers, but the issue is what they are doing… The maths behind crypto… Is super complex but the primitives are basic and simple. In the world of crypto you have like three friends Alice and Bob, who are friends! and Carol who they don’t like much. So Alice and bob use radio. Carol is assumed to hear all that is said on radio. So they scramble it… But Carol knows how it works… Because to actually tell people what assumptions you make, spreading information far and wide, it actually don’t work. A parallel metaphor for the enlightenment and the end of alchemy… So you tell people how things are made, finding flaws, fixing them, etc.

So Carol know how the crypto works but she doesn’t have the key. Add they are secure. But in voodoo crypto world what you have is Bob who makes DVDs who gives them to Alice with a device with ALL the keys. And it isn’t just Alice, it’s everyone who wants to see a DVD. It’s a safe in a bank robbers living room… In many many living rooms… It’s a fold errand… It’s giving people the keys and pretending you haven’t and hoping they will not notice…

So why do they do this? Well it comes back to the laws…. So if you want to make a DVD player that makes a jukebox, like your computer does to your CDs. And you can do that. BUT if you have an identifiable address they will sue you down to your knickers. You can only use the keys with permission. That means studios can create anti-features, things the customer does not want, safe in the knowledge that an interoperable system can repair those issues. You see this with DVDs without no skip features to adverts. Why does that matter? Well that’s a much more profitable ad for the advertisers placing that ad. With PVRs and on demand, that’s one of the last non skipable ads. Region encoding did not work in DVD for reasons of cartels maybe. But it’s back in Blu ray! they are being pretty strict with that. It’s not about piracy…. You can legitimately want to watch the same disc in different playing. But they want arbitrage, they want efficient pricing. Regulations like DMRC let them do that. Embarks singly my home couny canada passed a similar law in 2008. Those law prevent region free players. The law says the exchequer will protect your business model at their own expense, to stop competition or disruption…

A thought experiment… It’s 2006, the year of the DVD. We go spend £1000 on DVDs and £1000 on CD. Put them in a vault… The only difference between the two is the thin veneer of anti piracy gubbins on DVDs that isn’t on CDs.Now the CDs are more valuable… You can rip, lend, stream, mash up, back music videos out of them…. How about the DVD? There has not been any technological advancement since they came out because of that lock down. All you can do is watch them, or re-buy them…

That latent value is oaicularly important for marginal people. Blind and visually impaired communities had to spend their own money to add features to make these formats accessible. These improvements only work through organisations, pressure groups, etc and it’s not just disability, it’s also economically marginal people.technoogy is rarely translated to minority languages. That means you have the challenge of technology mastery and language. But with free and open source software, or non locked down software, you just need one person speaking that language and nerd and you are set… Indeed sometimes the best technological advancements in the developed world are often based on those in developing world. Ubuntu, designed for sub Saharan African schools with little tech support, is also used every day across the world. People make the technology for themselves, but only possible with space to innovate.

Back to security. You cannot add a back door to a system and ONLY have it accessed by the good guys. Back a few years Sony released some remastered CDs which, if run in a CDROM, changed your operating system so that it was blind to any file named $sys$ from any process checking tools etc. they wanted to stop CDS ripping… But opportunistic hackers took advantages… As those files would be invisible to virus checking software. So all of their viruses got that $sys$ at the start! they estimated 300k US military computers were infected because of Sony.

There was a guy called Barnaby Jacks who, at a security conference, looked at hacking the wireless interface of implanted defibrillators… There is a reason Dick Cheney had the wifi interface of his implanted defibrillator switched off when implanted…

Just last year a school in Maryland handed all students MacBooks to all of its students… The school administration tracked keystrokes, took surveillance images…. And it’s not just schools… It’s German lawmakers with those they suspect of criminal activities. And in the US eight companies admitted using laptop recovery software to plunder hard drives for files, passwords, to film users having sex, their nude children…. And the regulators… They said that was not acceptable… Unless included in the fine print! If you bury it there, that will be ok. And it’s not just companies… It’s also criminals… In September Miss Teen America called the FBI because some “ratters” had take over her machine, they had captured compromised photos and logins and passwords… And this person threatened to share those images on her social networks if she didn’t perform a live sex act on camera for them… But she rang the FBI. And they found he had over 150 victims including minors, including some in the UK. And the latest snowden leak shows the NSA and security services doing that to….

So computers are everywhere. And security are crucial to that working. I am as freaked out by 3D printed guns or meth labs. I’m worried about self driving cars that drag race, I’m worried about terrorists… But this isn’t a fix… The bad guys will work around it… But the backdoor becomes available to use… And some bad guys think they are good guys. We have companies in the UK, like thin fisher, installing softwares for suspected terrorists… This is like producing land mines. You cannot do that. Historically when vulnerabilities appear in every day items – cars, hearing aids, etc… You would have reported it to the manufacturers… Now you are better selling it to the authorities.

These are genuine existential threats. One of the most important snowden leak was the quarter billion dollars per year being spent on edge hill, a project to discredit standards and make computers less secure…

Now you hear a talk like this and you can either go home, and encrypt everything. Do that stuff. But no matter how secure that stuff is, if everything you do is email to someone with gmail. You are only as secure as the people you interact with… So the other response can be despair….

Last year I was touring homeland, my sequel to little brother…. I was asked about security, a woman who felt unable to secure her devices. I said, well I struggle too! But if I talked unsafe water… We look to those who should protect us the people to take care of you, those in power, that they do the right thing…. OU lawmakers acre not venal or corrupt but they are vulnerable to these ideas of systems being a little bit insecure… But we can lobby it… The UK-based Open Rights Group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation are mainly focused on US but that has huge impact on US, and the open software foundation.

Q&A

Q) given that computers do what they tell them… Can can we look to a future of computers with their own moral sense…

A) that’s a bit above my lay grade. I’m not sure about AI, I have a little experience and some novels I have written on them…. But I don’t know that computers can be intelligent like we are intelligent… Particularly for morality… How do you talk to coral to discuss morals….

Q) how do

A) fear can work… Your computer using data against you… It’s the manure pile being bibber to find a pony…. Terror has been used to sell this stuff for years… Deranged delusional people…. They try stuff… All computers not listening to the humans in charge is a genuine existential risk to society…

Q) can I quote a bbc new story from Malcolm Rifkin… It would be foolish for surveillance not to use the technology that criminals use…

A) use it but don’t break it! There was a post snowden leak about the kremlin switching to typewriters. Of Roure they didn’t. They need secure systems. It’s not good hygiene to make your own network unsafe as a way to surveillance others…

Q) big data may be another way to invade privacy… You haven’t addressed that…

A) you are right but I’m talking security not privacy… Privacy is really complex… War on terror has some good corollaries.. Very few terrorists many many people…. Their connections are probably showing random trends, profiling a few false positives means a lot of innocent people…

Q) I was thinking more about that MacBook example, that data collection…

A) there was a great Dataset shared by ACLU about predicting drunk drivers…. Where they see drinking habits, mistress… And then they arrest for ore crime, right. A researcher ashti? Talks about two types of information… Information acting in your interests… Android just added a feature about not sharing location… But the phone company will know. So information you can keep private if devices honest… But the second type of data, that you have to share, that’s where regulation. Matters…. Stuff like retinas, hand geometry, fingerprints etc… You leave those everywhere… There are things you can’t help give up, and those things you can…

Q) are there things you can work to stop the “I can’t let you do that dave?” Or is this about relation

A) Lessig talks about legal code, software code, Norms and markets. We have computer code messed up because the norms are weird, the “I have nothing to hide” idea. Commercially no added value for privacy. Law makers not held up for good legislation…. And lots of lobbyists with cash from commerce wanting protection… The kd reactive overturned today… So we had an unholy cycle of bade norms, bad code, bad law, bad commerce. But I wrote a piece this week about us reaching leak indifference to security. The pew study, in September! an unprecedented number of those spoken to had taken security measures and or had known people harmed by security breaches. Now most of what had been done was useless but there are companies trying to act on this… But it’s the combination of all four factors that solves the problem, but you need a shift in the normative statement for that to happen….

Q) what role do you think design has to play in changing the face of the software we interact with… Are we good designers in hiding the underbelly of the software we design…

A) not necessarily the underbelly. It’s the frame. Maybe a browser shows you the beacons and the cookies… No market forces against those things but a browser doing that could shift that. AR glasses showing emissions from vehicles could do the same. But we need better design for encryption… There is an irreducible level of complexity but we are nowhere near that yet…. Great design could help a great deal there.

And finally….

Panel discussion: Mel Woods, University of Dundee; Chris Speed, University of Edinburgh; Richard Kenway, University of Edinburgh; Jeff Haywood, University of Edinburgh; Cory Doctorow; Sci Fi Author. Chaired by Ashley Lloyd, Business School, University of Edinburgh.

Richard Kenway here has huge experience on high performance computing and of big data, but also on David Willets committee, part of that policy landscape. Mel is interested in design methods for imagining the future… That’s why she is part of our panel today and we will have her kicking off with questions she thinks we should address…

Mel: thank you for inviting me along today… What I’ll do first of all to talk a little about a project I’ve led for the last few years, Selina, a project about serendipity, almost disruption. I’ve been working with AI, robotics and HCI experts… Looking where chances and insights combine to sagacity…. Eve been tried to design devices that support finding out what we don’t know we need to know… A serendipity engine… Bent we have found we can’t produce that right now. We have build prototypes and also some recommendations to support and encourage serendipity. Some parallels there… Serendipity the positive version of disruption perhaps?

So looking over the day we heard about disruption, it’s history, and also ideas of commerce and techno fundamentalism… And the idea of disruption as a social not or not just a technological issue. Are users the issue? Particularly as we see humans and technologies integrated together… They enable attention on behaviour, compulsions, use memory and time in ways we couldn’t imagine beforehand…. Perhaps the way to see the Mise en Scene your education…. So I have a frame of questions… Where are the new beats, the new ecologies… Is it about universal access, the wisdom of crowds… Where do end look in terms of disruption and innovation… By western terms… Or more eastern incremental innovation processes….

Richard: in terms of the theme of the conference… Disruptive technologies are one of the main drivers for research… One of the limitations is sometimes the technologies to explore those concepts. Tim mentioned Moore’s law! that’s been an essential driver for what became a new paradigm of science thirty or fourth years ago, around modelling data, in areas such as climate science. Where we see step changes is where we see paradigm shifts, or new paradigms adopted in research. That was a new paradigm… Either disruptive or resultant from new technology. Today I see another paradigm shift away from hypothesis driven approach to science, testing that idea to generate knowledge, towards a situation where you have all of the data that is or might be relevant… And seeing how we can use that and derive new knowledge from the data. Today I don’t think we understand that new methodology, we see some commercial use of that….

Coming on to teaching we may see precisely big data applied to our business… When I started here thirty years ago the only way to assess students was end of year exams. Now we can measure the learning experience at some many different stages, Tim mentioned today the possibility to use data we can… We could use that data to provide much more evidence based feedback to students to see how they do day to day as individuals interacting with learning and teaching on offer…. Ac ac extend to. MOOCs or whatever community wants education for, us. That could radically change education, move away from mode of vast amount of information… And then assessment.

Ashley: maybe such analytics might be about a wider set of metrics…. Efforts and attainment…

Cory: I came out of a very alternative education system which encouraged alternative ways to learn…. I am so skeptical of assessment. When I talked at the university of Southern California my colleagues were terrified of playguerism and playguerism from Wikipedia so every week I set my students to find Wikipedia pages relevant to the topics, and had them find errors, and add comments to those pages. It was unplaguerisable and we contributed to knowledge… Good assessment is about that kind of knowledge building. We need to think about what students learn and understand…. Otherwise universities move to be skills and vocational spaces and they are unsuited to that and why not go to trade college at a tenth of the price…

Collaboration costs we are well attuned to… Or neocortex’s size reflects the importance of cooperation, the need to do fpmore with fewer means… The internet lets us do that at scale, it’s more than amazing, it’s the realisation of the dream of our species. The internet is amazing for gathering people together to achieve stuff. If I was writing a MOOC I’d be thinking about making some larger thing, emerging from collaborative work between students. And that’s a more scholarly approach… What you’d do with analytics I’m not sure… But would let you feed back to students, with A|B split, and transparency to that data, and help them understand where their opinion on what did or did not work and why….

Richard: assessment could be a rabbit hole… We might move to evidence based approach to pedagogy, moving from theory and hypothesis, to something data driven… So is MOOC better than chalk and talk or is this assignment style work better than another…

Cory: won’t answer always be “it depends”?

Richard: I don’t know but we can move from theory to measuring…. Butstude ts are a well defined group, we can collect more data… Does that change how we think about education… And how does that inform us in terms of teaching and learning… Could be transformative change….

Jeff: (instructing us not to tweet about enforced microphone huddling!) I think we are now becoming sensitive to surveillance and security… That phase of being open to the world is shifting in… We see attempts by individuals to operate as part of a global environment. You used to know students as individuals… Work based on empirical knowledge of small group of learners… But as you massifs that doesn’t work… At big scale we see different possibilities…. For huge groups who we can personalise for…. And we see this with mobile phones, with twitter and Facebook…. You see your community scaling out… People seeing problems and reigning back in…. And photographs…. We try to turn ephemeral events into tangible, to find meaning, especially when scattered in time and space… And I think we are on the cusp of understanding how to personalise this world…. These experiments are a way to try to understand how we will work in a world that is much more complex than before and so much more fast laced than before… MOOCs are just one feature in this landscape…

Chris: very few of us have talked about data… We can’t talk about individualism…. Individuals don’t exist. We can’t claim an individual position. If you are off grid maybe…. This is about data… I write about learning outcomes as if biblical objectives… We should write some machine learning outcomes… We teach as groups, we assess as individuals, we graduate as individuals… I am sure well soon had collaborative PhDs at edinburgh… Data lets us negotiate invisible person in the room…. The known unknowns… Much more interesting of known know a of learning outcomes we are writing….

Ashley: so we have talked about collaboration, opportunities to work together… But difficulty in explaining to the individual….

Chris: no that’s based on your concept of the individual….

Cory: Metcalf’s law about the value of a network squaring based on number of networks is really useful…. There is this editor who says the use of science fiction writers isn’t about prediction of drive in… It’s about the sexual revolution…. And now… Will actually that ore it ion was about photo ids or have sexual congress…. The great science fiction writer looks at that database state… So for me thinking about the building of knowledge, a tall building is as complex as an encyclopedia… So if we have a patch of ground… We ask who has equipment, skills, etc…. That collaborative future is plausible… I think imagine any project now being a future of discussion of swarming internet people that’s a taste of the future…

Ashley: one comment we have is an alumni uncomfortable about the idea of being watched or surveillance or measured. Ore than they were as an undergraduate…

Jeff: I think a corollary to my mind of the benefits of your activities to be organised… Is that I coming to a university like this come wanting to study for a degree, should have a right to privacy… The idea of the London External University… The exam only option… The option of help to learn, and the option to just present oneself for the credits… Y need the right to not participate if that’s what you want. That will be an important requirement, needs not to be penalised.

Richard: I agree. Can only work as an opt in. Like Facebook is…. Those students would have to opt in… And those not opting in might choose a different educational experience… Has to be positive… I tend to agree that personally that’s thec wse, there could be big data backlash, we have to adopt technologies and methodologies that can be collectively be seen to be positive by those engaging with it….

Cory: I want to point out some moral hazards… Facebook isn’t just opt in but a skinner box to undervalue your privacy. This is deliberately manipulated to vary reward to make you make more and deeper disclosures… If you accept that the way to perfect education is by using such a Skinner box… Great teaching for sharing data… I did a presentation with kenn wemwei? Who wrote the big data book this year. He asked about data and health case and the role of collaborative health benefit, like vaccination… What’s in scope for health outcomes may not be food, excercise, air it may be stress, parts of City visited, friends, travel… Stuff in scope is effectively infinite…. Measuring and gathering data… The moral hazard is knowing everything students do in every last of their life for ever…. The need for bigger data… Not enough market data…. Need a bigger market! This could go on and on…

Chris: reciprocity matters… What you give versus what you get…. Kids for instance can be selfish little feckers… The reciprocity isn’t there…now… But maybe it’s a long game… When I’m old and infirm… Maybe reciprocity isn’t instant and isn’t symmetrical…. Isn’t that a condition of avatar. Students knowing what they are getting into…

Richard: isn’t it about trust? Might be happy for medical data to be shared with family, but maybe not worldwide. Maybe for institutions it is trust too… We are in to situation of considerable use and loyalty… This specific relationship in regard to education… The concerns may not be so manifest… Who will you trust with your data? And what do you think that trusting that institution with your data, you will get back. Yang relationship must be key for making something like this work?

Mel: can we flip the table, the idea of the individual holding data…. Education beyond the university… The data you gather goes beyond institutional walls and that should travel with you in life… Move against institution, towards non individual…

Ashley: how do you ores re access For all and equally if the individual has charge? All fine in theory but who is this student in actual fact… Is it about education better for individuals or education better for more customers?

Jeff: by definition… MOOC Courses are wide open, they are taught courses, people seem happy with them… Open courses of any kind can be successful… But do they reach the disadvantaged? Largely no…. But looking at data from our learners… If you look at who takes them it isn’t the peak in thirties and forties… It’s the non trivial number of people on the margins… Young people in school accessing university courses. Being able to be anywhere taking a university courses with those with a degree or two is liberating and with powerful effects. A small. Umber in special education can be life transforming. The real effects are the small numbers of people for whom these are significantly important educational experiences…. Perhaps crowd sourcing experienced learners to support that small percentage of learners might be important here… The really important meaningful features can be lost in big numbers, and disappearance of people in them… That’s not the importance stuff. The pearls are small in comparison to the oyster… It’s the pearls I’m after…

Ashley: on the tweets we are seeing the issue of trust and data and the issue of knowingly opted in in T&Cs is being raised…

Q&A

Q) there was that issue of trust and trust if our students,,, something in our student survey, a negative… many students said they felt like barcodes. I don’t think we have that trust from them, that sense of community gain. We either need to stop gathering data or explain that better…

Richard: thinking less about gathering form them, more about learning analytics, data that they can benefit from. We have a lot of understanding of how students respond to feedback and learning outcomes to particular learning exoteric ex. THat could be available to students to understand for themselves to understand that, to modify their behaviour. It can only work if individual student sees benefit from their data being shared with the university. Making that process more data driven, than professor x meeting you once and year and assessing how you are doing…

Cory: I think I know my skepticism here… In terms of big data it often removes idiosyncrasies… People with cancer, or people who want to learn calculus…. There may be needs we can’t see… Whilst interesting to get data from a bunch of students to try to decompose subject x, and those well suited to subject x in some other way…. The internet creates media useful to very small numbers of people, that’s what it’s great for…. Imagine if an auto maker could make a car for just three people… Something that idiosyncratic… When I hear MOOCs I hear “any colour as long as it’s black” or the Hugo factor. I hear big data and I think about personalised medicine…

Richard: I absolutely agree. I’m thinking big data. I’m not thinking MOOCs, I don’t see us being able to feedback to them at that scale…. MOOCs feed back into other classes… Baht personalised education only works if handled holistically… But hard to generalise form interactions with a particular MOOC…

Jeff: it’s a mistake to think of MOOCs being about interactions between learners and us. Is about learners learning from each other. In so,us respects they can demonstrate what they can do, personalised feedback from peer learners… Power of crowd and network. MOOC materials are the frame. The tutor guides. But we are not the important bit. In MOOCs your students are multilingual, they take and expand on your work. Local is not geographical, it’s language or interst… It’s a very different model… We have such a deeply embedded view of the learner… This isn’t like that at all…. That is disruptive, a different way to think about what happens in an educational setting…

Ashley: any closing comments…

Cory: I’ve spoke a lot, I’m good!

Ashely: I’m interested in personalisation and the long tail…. Hopefully next time we will have more answers…

And we are moving on to final comments from Jeff….

Jeff Hayward, CIO, VP Knowledge management – closing comments

What I will do is talk just a few minutes… It takes us back to where the Principal start of the day…. The senior management group went to a cold place in the highlands to think about the university in 2025, where we would want to be and what would shape the university…and I was thinking about our summary list… So much of this has come up today… To my mind the interesting thing was privacy, security, identity, malevolence… The time and energy we will think about personally and institutionally will go up, that will curtail much of what we do…. I’m not desperate about GCHQ and NSA… We maybe always assumed that… RBS a denial of service is a warning to us I think. We have to think about that… And the ethics and how we out that out there…

And we are also thinking ubiquity, mobile everything including wearable a… Internet of things. Aleks video included others, that routine recording already raises privacy issues too.

Semantic web, ubiquitous information, find and digitise on deem and, intelligent agents – threaded through what we do… For me the critical thing is how you replicate the tutoring model of sitting with a single student, the Lxbrigde model, in a way as good as the original. That’s the wholly Grail your me, especially if doable at scale.

Data driven world – analytics, predictively, on-demand compute…. Personalisation (me+free+easy models dominate)… MOOCs curiously can be more personalised… It is built to scale… Face to face is built in depersonalised ways…

And I think a set of interesting technologies coming through…. Video and audio is easier than text…speech recognition, any voice isnstantly… Real time translation of language and form and with quality. Combine the two we can have international education in equal time… That would be disruptive though…Digital-physical co-presence. Something like we had with Aleks but where the experience is the same at both ends of that video conference/work at a distance. Social internet – collaboration and mass/crowd sourcing. Not just technical abilities but also that it’s not unusual to collaborate digitally… Comparable to comfort some have in football crowds perhaps… 3D becoming fast and cheap…. This is more of a stab in the dark… Clearly bad uses… But in education, not sure…

None of this is left field. If this develops at pace. In 2025 the world will be very different… We plan four years ahead… What do end do for next four years towards that world…?

I have learned a lot today… Particularly to switch off all devices when engaged in intimate acts, thanks for that Cory! Thank you to all of our speakers, our panel, and our organisers for today! This has been an excellent event!

 December 12, 2013  Posted by at 1:22 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Dec 052013
 

Today I am at an annual University of Edinburgh eLearning Presentations Showcase event where eLearning presentations from other conferences and events are shared with the home crowd, colleagues working in and around eLearning

The programme for the day – including my own brief presentation (a revival of my Bright Club performance from this summer!) – can be seen below. I will be live blogging the talks but may not include previews if colleagues would prefer to keep these talks under wraps until they are officially complete and presented.

Sian Bayne – What’s wrong with ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’?
Submitted for Networked Learning Conference, April 2014 (abstract)

I want to talk about what’s wrong with technology enhanced learning. I’m not going to argue that technology in learning is a bad thing but about this phrase/concept and what this means.

I’m going to start by mapping the rise of TEL…. We moved from “learning technology” to “eLearning” and now to “TEL” being the dominant terms… These appear in research funding programmes (eg. FP7), in masters programmes…. A journal… Kirkwood and Price (2013) have a great paper about the literature around the term, and the absence of a clear meaning for it… But I want to look at those terms…

What’s wrong with “technology”. You get vague use of this word. You see it black boxed, out in a box and seen as subordinate to teaching practices…. We separate it from the social… We see teaching and learning as social processes, we see it as an instrumental. Something to further prior existing ideas. So it’s a very conservative process. TEL suggests tinkering rather than radical rethinking. It’s problematic Asa. Conservative to and problematic as an instrumental term. And you separate technology from society, separate from the other things that we do in education. It’s a problem with being critical about the role of technology in teaching and learning. Drawing on Hamilton and Friesen (2013/in press) here it’s about seeing education in socio technical spaces.

What’s wrong with “enhanced”. This is drawing on ideas of transhumanism… It’s an evolutionary idea… Technologically determinist and not a very helpful framework for us. Partly it’s about the relationshipm bwteen humanism, transhumanism and postmanism. Bostrom (2005) raises this question and the problematised idea of “humanist” as an approach for education and elsewhere… Bostrom and Sqndberg (2009) talks about “cognitive enhancement”, you see the resonance from this concept of amplification and enhancement to TEL. The enhancement idea can go further to the transhumanism idea of enhancement – genetics etc – and the remit for TEL.

I think it is more useful to see digital education as being an iterative relationship between the human and the non human – the university and the technology. TEL tends not go look beyond to decontextualise the idea of “enhancement”, not to consider broader ethical issues.

What’s wrong with “learning”? We’ll I want to draw on Biesta (2005) and the move to the “learnification” of education. That’s problematic because if you reduce education to learning to reduce the social and political landscape. It’s individualising move. It recruits education into the framework of an economic transaction. It becomes about education meeting a particular set of learner needs, a commodification model. So we need to talk about education more broadly. Learning never happens in a context. It’s goal orientated, political, conte stile. It’s difficult, not just about meeting needs. But TEL buys into this learnification idea, the commoditisation of education.

So, to conclude, as researchers and practitioners we need to move away from the notion of technology being in servitude to teaching and instead we need to think of them being bound up together.

Q&A

Q) what you seem to be problematising is like in my role, the idea of information handling… Some interesting socio-material ways of using information… The nature of the information shapes our interaction… I think I see something analogous…

A) yeah, it’s about taking the social and the material aspects together…. We’ve tended to overvalue the social and undervalue the material

Q) in my world I think it’s the other way around. Materials overvalued relative to the social… But I see this happening in social media…

Q) is digital redundant if you were writing a strategy for the UK…. More beyond digital

A) perhaps, perhaps it’s so embedded… But “post digital” probably not write….

Comment) but to be post digital ignores inequalities of distribution, the terminology is important when considering gals in access or skills. To assume it is embedded overlooks those without access or skills….

Maggie Carson – Fostering social presence by supporting students in an asynchronous online environment: can Jelly Babies help?

From the HEA’s International Enhancement Theme Conference: Enhancement and Innovation, June 2013. (abstract)

I am a lecturer in nursing studies. I am a novice to teaching online so I was asked to turn a face to face course online and this presentation is about this process. I teach a leadership course to masters level students. I had used the idea of a “jelly baby tree” as an icebreaker, to ask students – qualified nurses – to indicate how they saw themselves at this point in the course. To step into Sian’s trap here, I saw myself as a facilitator here…. This tool helped us see, each week, how the students were doing, how they were feeling about the course and their progression.

I was asked to create an online version of this course. This coincided with a secondment to the institute of academic development… So as I started to think this through I started to wonder if the jelly babies could follow me online… We adapted the image, we made it more visually appealing for online, we coloured it… We numbered the jelly babies. Again asked students to pick one and tell us about it.

In person everyone contributed, they articulated something about themselves, they’d used their voice… So when we got to discussions they had crossed that line they’re all spoken early on. So I tried to do the same each week with our asynchronous online course. I had a discussion board just for the jelly baby tree. Everyone needed to take part but this was open and ungraded…

In terms of the cohort we had 14 students, we have 79% female students! around half and half home and international students (the latter from a wide range of areas). The feedback looked good. The jelly babies humanised the course, made the course different from other leadership courses…

So now I want to focus on why an online community matters… Student feedback really valued this. I found that I was doing course design for this online courses was instinctively thinking about ideas, then checking the literature. Maybe the wrong way round. However isolation can be a real factor in online learning. Positive social presence also contribute to student satisfaction. Retention and satisfaction retention rates improve where there is a sense of online community. For us the jelly baby tree served that social function… Most students posted and responded to others’ posts. They would support each other…. They engaged consistently across the ten weeks of the course, never a dropping off of engagement… One reason was, I think, because they felt secure, safe and supported by each other and the course leaders through the medium of the jelly baby tree…

All 14 students who started the course, finished the course. They all engaged with the jelly baby tree. They all got involved in the discussions and activities each week. What came out of the evaluation was supported by the literature. Fabre and garrison (1998) on social presence as being essential for establishing a critical community. Cognitive presence. And also manifestos for online teaching. The jelly baby factor was also commented on here when feeding back on other courses.

Q&A

Q) I get the idea that interactions were supportive and softer side… Did you look at more practical comments and support.

A) yes, one of my separate discussion threads I titled “technical help”. I had 6 posts in total there… ,a inky because they used the jelly baby tree discussion space. There was practical advice there. I guess potentially they used it like a coffee room. But in BOS survey I out out to that cohort I asked about the same course with a different space. They liked the jelly baby tree. Many were honest that they were baffled by the idea at the start. But by the end of the week they were missing the jelly babies…

Q) I’m just interested into unpicking this more… Is part of the value that having made social contact you have an easy way to stroll in Nader ask questions…

A) absolutely, part of my PTAS project is to investigate that…

Q) any cultural issue around jelly babies

A) a little, unfamiliar to some students… I need a new term probably… But I think in a diverse cultural group no one was offended by the jelly babies. It’s quite safe and neutral… Someone asked me about the colours of the jelly babies and where they are on the tree… I really didn’t. Maybe I’d have done it differently if I had…

Comment) We are using that now in our course though!

Comment) a paediatrics course has a weekly case review… Students started bringing their own in and that started to build compassionate professional support community, almost mentoring, in that community too, as with jelly babies.

Gill Aitken – Staff experience of online education?

From the AMEE Conference in Prague, in August 2013. (abstract)

This presentation is adapted from an electronic poster… It’s very much some introductory discussions of ongoing work… I’d like all your options as staff involved in online education.

One programme is an online taught PG programme. 8 hours per week study time suggested most weeks. Uses Adobe connect for weekly synchronous tutorials. Most of our students are medics, about 70% are doctors. Mostly nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and our first vet this year. Again about 50/50 uk and international students. Gender about equally split as well. we have a weekly online lecture, them a weekly synchronous online tutorials. There is something very nice about these tutorials. We had 16 graduate last week and we met 14 of them in person, a most lovely but odd experience!

So I want to talk about staff experience about teaching online… I didn’t have lots of experience and wanted to see how others we’re feeling. I interviewed about 10 people. Some ran whole courses, some just did one off sessions, but all had been part of edlab liveries the programme, of being part of tutorials.

So my initial findings… The good: generally people liked it. One very experienced colleague found the online teaching “a lot more satisfying and cognitively challenging”. A definite sense of real difference between the face to face and online teaching.

My let theory here is that there is a control issue. Perhaps the more face to face experience you have, the more control you are used to having… If the technology needs wrangling, that’s not a space you control. Comment: online is quite different. Comment: replicating face to face practice can be really problematic. Comment: perhaps it’s about not having people in front of you… I had great trouble recording lectures for no students… Me: can be an issue of explicit cues/attention etc… Gill: because of video here you do have those social cues…

Q) you are contrasting face to face with online is this wholly online or blended? Teaching staff on campus increasingly used to use some mediating technologies…

Gill: I think there was a concern about people being rolled out into the course, given us pause about how we site that work…

In terms of challenging issues one of our participants noted “you do need to have quite a lot of information in reserve”.

There is an aspect of multitasking, the video, the text discussion boxes, the private messages, sometimes overwhelming or expectations…

For most people the technology let down the teaching we wanted it do. Variable internet connection was often a distraction to participation.

So my conclusions…. The technology requires further development to meet the challenge be’s required of it. Staff required different skills to teach online affecting their training needs. Online teaching does not take less time than face to face.

Q&A

Q) do you have courses that staff can take, to feel like a student?

A) the literature. Does back that up. One to one tuition has been the approach here…

Comment) and there is the IAD online tutoring course here.

Comment) one issue for me can be the relative chaos… If you have chat, images, or documents, or other things happening in second life… That’s extra stuff… You have this threading of topics in chat… Very different to face to face environments where parallel discussion is seen as rude. But in text chat you have to allow that… It’s stressful at first as a tutor… And you have to pick things up later on… Or moments of unfortunate timing… Conventions help but students find that hard too.

Comment) that’s why moderators can really help for keeping track. Having a moderator helps and reassures…

Comment) synchronous sessions may be challenging but they can be much more exhilarating… Can really drive forward the conversation… Asynchronous can be quite boring…

Gill: I do love our tutorials, they work well, but I want to get to the bottom of that warmth and engagement!

Ross Galloway – Using technology to facilitate a flipped classroom approach.

Presentation originally given at the Learning and Teaching Open Forum, University of St Andrews, April 2013 (abstract)

I am a physicist but my research is in physics education, I’m also the course organiser for our first year courses. I am uniquely lucky in having a huge playground here.. This may be a little instrumental for your tastes hopefully you’ll find this interesting…

So, you should all be familiar with Blooms taxonomy. In susceptible to face course we get the lower levels – remembering, maybe understanding…. Not much higher up the Pyramid. There is a concept of the inverted or flipped classroom… The idea is to get information transmitted first, so wee can get things moved up the pyramid… We’ve tried this for the last three years so I’ll be reflecting on what we do and how this works…

So to show the most famous graph in physics education (Hakes 1998), this is about measuring learning based on knowledge of concepts. Often discussing and processing does better for understanding, for knowledge. That’s the general idea.

So students come I’m and they get a personal reading, an online reading quiz via learn (multiple choice). And then a free response question “what I still don’t understand is”. In that week we have peer instruction lectures, then the following week we have workshops. W use the teaching studios in Appleton Tower. Workshops are for extended problems, group work with academic staff. And each week we have a pen on paper low tech hand in assignment… It repeats on a three weekly cycle…

So the reading quiz so you can get a good idea of what is understood. Free text lets you know what to focus on. When you say “I covered this in the course” you mean you said it once in class. We’ll have a biscuit! But the free text, the focus, let’s you really cover stuff. Add I like to make a word cloud of the free text and show the students… They don’t know that they are all struggling with the same things but this can really help focus our time and make them feel assured.

We ask students to do about three hours of study for every hour in class. Between the traditional and inverted models we see many more students actually studying in their own time when we anonymously survey them.

In our classes we use clickers a lot… You can use EVAF and it gathers responses to questions… It draws together what happened, again you can see how the class are understanding things. Students can view this too… Including their own answer.

The idea of peer instruction, what’s that all about… The cycle is… I pose the question. Ask them to think about it themselves. I ask them to vote, but only I see the response. If most people are right you can move on. If most people get it wrong I ask people to discuss this between themselves. And then they do. Then as discussion quietness, you poll again, and hopefully you get many more correct votes. Mostly that’s the pattern. Then as an instructor you confirm and summarise. That’s one example…

Looking at some older data…. You can see percentage moving from incorrect to correct answers. About .5 gain. Face to face didactic lectures typically 0.1 best of 0.2. So it works pretty well.

We have a Newtonian mechanics diagnostic instrument – taken worldwide – called the force concept in entropy diagnostic test results. We run this at the beginning of the year, very broad distribution. After the course we see a much better performance.

Conclusions….

Picture of a thirteenth century lecture… Remarkably similar to current face to face practice… I’d like us to do something different… Something more constructivist. Students working together… Constructing knowledge on top of what’s already known… In an image of workmen building teaching staff at the scarfolding…

Q&A

Q) do the students know where you’ve come from and where you’ve gone. Do the students realise…

A) students might be upset with that sort of wording. But I get to set the norms for first year physics. They take to this because this is their first course. E have a week of lectures at the start where we don’t have to convey content. We explain what we do and why we do. I show them data, I show them that it’s a better way to do things. Students are mature about this. The responsibility sits with them, take that on. A few but very few are vocally opposed. Most get on board rapidly. But I take care to justify this approach…

Q) have you moved to open book exams?

A) no, open note exam. Notes they have made themselves. Much better model for physics. Moves from recall to actually doing science. Why not textbooks? We’ll its a package. We don’t want that. Want students to create only learning resources. For students who’ve done that well those are a safety blanket. Some never open them. Some flick frantically… I can’t tell you the outcomes in advance…

Q) is this an approach applicable specifically to your type of content…

A) this is closer to modes of discourses of arts etc. than anything else. There is much of this in areas without objective right answers… Three main authors may have different positions… But you don’t have to ask which is right… It’s about getting students to think, no matter what the field…

Q) how do we get away from students thinking “I’ve paid a lot of money” and wanting to see someone in front of them?

A) I’ve been asked this. But this is so much harder. You have to know so much ahead of these lectures. You have to have expertise. It can go off piste in weird sorts of ways… You throw away ideas of timing! I’ve been 50 minutes behind schedule… I had a class who saw what I thought was an easy concept, as hugely impenetrable. This is certainly value for money…

Q) what about students who have difficulty learning from text on their own…

A) interesting issue. I have some students who prefer to have things said to them. But old style lectures are so mechanistic… Display and writing down… I don’t think there’s any meaningful learning there. But there are other resources – videos, staff members. I don’t think traditional lectures solve the problem, they largely do that anyway. But some students do say they have trouble…

Comment) when there are special requirements from students the most common request is sight of readings and coverage in advance, which this approach addresses better than those unhappy with handing out lecture notes in advance… If anything it’s more egalitarian. Better opportunities for students with particular requirements.

Jo-Anne Murray – Participants’ Perceptions of a Massive Open Online Course.

From the AMEE Conference in Prague, in August 2013. (abstract).

I going to speak about something I’ve been involved with recently. We’ve developed a Massive open online Curse in the school of veterinary science. So the MOOC, as the name suggests is massive. We had about 20k students…. Some courses at UoE had a 100k registered. And in the virtual learning environment they appear as week by week blocks. We used coursers, the university has also signed up to future learn but for now we are sticking with coursera.

You can select the course length and so these vary. There is little tutor intervention, it’s about resources, discussions, student participation. No prerequisites, super flexible, available online no matter where students are based. It can be missed some weeks, caught up with again later… So we’ve found that for some students considering university, this lets them explore. You sign up, but you don’t have to finish the course.

The course was on equine nutrition and we had over 24k registrations. So this works as prerecord end lectures. Some formative assessments, some quizzes. Some drag and drop, some multiple choice. There was a forum but little one to one instruction. We had a board on technical feedback, on assignments, and week by week discussions. We have three teaching assistants monitoring these and looking for key issues and concerns. And at the end of each week we did a Google hangout, a chat between teaching staff. You have choices with assessments but this course leant itself we’ll to multiple choice questions. We did weekly quizzes and an end of course quiz. This time we’ll just do the weekly quizzes. Those that did take assessments did them we’ll. we had 98k quiz submissions over the course of the 6 week course.

30% actually completed the course. We asked them if they had taken a MOOC before… And asked some questions about them… We had over 4000 responses from our 19k active students. Most spend 2-3 hours per week (what we asked for) but interestingly the majority of respondents went through to week 5. Most people watched weekly videos . When asked about discussions not everyone took part every week – perhaps because overwhelming for the,. Quite a lot engaged with revision quizzes, fewer with assessed quizzes. I asked about learning materials… They liked the talking head lectures, seeing someon talking to them (not just slides) and they seemed to enjoy quizzes too… The course content was rated well but interactions with others were not rated so highly. W asked if ine to one interaction had been expected by our students…. We didn’t actually give information at the start about what to expect… We went back to do that in used two, so we wondered what they expected. They didn’t actually expect that but they seemed to want that – posting and reporting questions…. But overall they seemed to feel the course either exceeded or met expectations…

So in terms of interactivity the students did seem to want interaction with the tutor. Round ups help but a lot of reading and time each week to do that…. It is a different experience to other online courses. Hard not to respond or support every student… But that’s not realistic…. And I hadn’t appreciated… There is no one type of students, no prerequisites. In terms of their interactions… Rally varied compared to what we expect of our students. So this time we will set out clear expectations about interacting with each other. Sometimes people would jump in, some would not be constructive in their criticisms, etc. we need to give them guidelines up front. But it was good fun and a very different experience. And much learned from this to take to credit bearing courses…

In conclusion the participants raged course highly. Further work to look at interactions. Run again in 2014. And we have new courses in edge elopement. That will be really exciting too!

Q&A

Q) your course had higher retention than other edinburgh MOOCs, why do you think that was?

A) I think it was because it was such a specific subject area, already very interested and keen audience wanting to complete it.

Q) to follow up on students liking talking heads… Did they get a mix?

A) no. But I asked them whether they would have preferred the slides. I was working from slides which I shared as PDFs . I asked if they would have preferred that, the majority said no… But weren’t given the other approach, based on what they thought it would be like….

Q) one question asked about MOOCs: why do these?

A) one of the things we were looking to do. We have an equine science masters and we wanted to raise awareness especially in America. We were struggling to do that… Coursera is North American based company and I thought that would help raise awareness. This is a different course to the msc but we can indirectly market – saying who I am, about the programme. Also wide remind participation aspects here, and potentially improving welfare of horses. And there were unexpected research and masters projects opportunities that happened…

Q) is three recruitment from MOOC to MSc?

A) yes, we’ve got nine students who came to the programme as a direct result of the MOOC. A real benefit as perhaps we’d saturated the Uk market.

Nicola Osborne – Social media ettiquexpert
Not noted here for obvious reasons… I revived my Bright Club: Scotland’s Fringe stand up set for one afternoon only! Nicola draws upon her research for her 2012 MSc in Digital Education dissertation: “Continuing Professional Development in Collaborative Social Media Spaces” (https://sites.google.com/site/cpdaandsocialmedia/)

Susan Rhind – Peer Generation of Multiple Choice Questions: Student Engagement and Experiences.

From the AMEE Conference in Prague, in August 2013. (abstract)

I was looking at Peerwise with our students. They we’re given short presentation on best practice for writing MCQs. Students liked this at first… But I was looking at how participation varied by which point their participation took place. In year one a mark was awarded but no MCQ in degree exam. Year 3 ,works were awarded and MCQs were in the exam course. And in a later year they actually requested that MCQs be brought in because they had enjoyed it. There seemed to be a weak positive correlation between MCQs and exam performance. Not in the course where they requested it though.

When we looked at third year versus first year cohorts, and whether it mattered when staff oversaw the process… Younger students we’re concerned but year three students not as bothered, confident in ability of peer group to manage MCQs.

The students altruistically asked for MCQs to be helpful to later students with high stakes MCQS exams… So in doing that we got third year students to create transition questions for themselves and for year two Incomers. And we had fourth years writing questions for year four students and final year students . Some students found those transitional questions for second years useful, some not bothered either way. In terms of answering questions… Final year students clearly used MCQs in revision, particularly on the last day. We asked students how they found this… One student commented that Peerwise helped them revise when too exhausted after labs. Some felt questions misleading and sometimes poorly written… No plans to police these despite some student feedback that they’d want questions overseen.

The way we’ve gone on to use this… Is to engage students in how we set standards in assessment. We have some workshops to get students to understand pass mark on MCQ exam, on how to assess MCQs. And students are actually good at setting standards, particularly when they know the material better.

But in terms of qualitative results… Students felt that students have a view on the course that teachers and examiners may not. Although students understood where the pass mark is… They felt uncomfortable taking exams where they didn’t know the pass ark. Age it’s led into some assessment literacy work… And interesting to get students to try examiners shoes. There was certainly a theme of students being involved in standards setting… But they are nervous about floating pass marks. The assessment literacyissue is for students and staff both, looking further at that…

Q&A

Q) why do you think students get wound up in policing? Is it that it looks like a test?

A) they are really competitive our students. Perhaps also a time thing… Once used to being responsibility for own learning… Starts to help them understand their own responsibility in their learning process.

Q) has that changed over time?

A) always competitive… But stress etc. seems to be getting worse… But hard to see in the short time we’ve used Peerwise. T earlier we make them feel like a community of learners, that will help.

Q) does tool let you up vote better answer…?

A) you can rate and comment on questions. Generally errors are picked up. Rating isn’t just about quality of questions… I always give out a few selection boxes for best questions as rated by peers.

Q) you said of course they participate because they get 2%… Not a lot…

A) it’s the value we feel comfortable with. They are so competitive they really want those marking. We felt more marks would mean more freeloading – copying and pasting.

Comment) but this is fundamentally about learning vet medicine. We’ve made a rod for our own backs here… They work for the mark…

A) I disagree to an extent actually…

Comment) is the fact that this is fun important here… It’s work but it’s fun to do…

Q) what value did question creators get out of treating them.

A) many students did bare minimum, most was 18 questions. But students admitted writing MCQs was hard. Re qualitative stuff that we could do there…

Q) do vets do the concept of you watch one, you do one, you teach one….?

A) we do. It does fit with this idea… When you teach something you have to learn it really well.

Margaret MacDougall – Integrating statistical e-learning and clinical learning within programmes for health professionalls through feedback and collaboration.

From the Annual Meeting for Teachers of Medical Statistics, University of Oxford, September 2013. (abstract)

I am a statistician, at least that’s my hat here. My background is mathematics but my interest is in educational research.

Statistics is not always flavour of the month for students. So when I think about designing resource for medical students I have to think quite differently, to get a sense of their motivation. We have to integrate statistical learning in clinical learning, not as an add on or parallel course. That’s where I’m coming from.

So the actual work is grounded in two projects. The old MAths, stats and OR network (2007-8) and three 1 year funded from the principals eLearning fund. The key outputs from these projects have been three sequentially arranged collections of Computer Assisted Learning Objects (CALs) for use in preparation for future student learning and assessment.

So the CALs looks at risk. They cover a wide range of concepts involving risk estimation. Designed to empower learners to make the right choices from the range of available risk notions in medicine. That includes examples of misuse as well as correct use.

So what sort of thing are here? Comic strips between confused students. Also confidence intervals… Standard deviation etc. it’s an interactive conceptual side…. The comic strips are student actors… And we have integrated optional online story books withnCAL materials accessed by all students. The story book lets you get an overview – particularly useful for dyslexic students but others too. And for those who want to delve deeper that’s available too… It won’t be many of them but it’s helpful for them to be able to explore technical details if needed. And there is a huge range of materials that can be linked to and engage with. Including applied, not just conceptual notions of risks.

And this brings me on to the UoE Principals Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) Scheme. This work is about identifying needs for statistical resources and information that enables us to step in at points of need for the students.

The CAL interfaces includes lots of pages… But that’s off putting… So we have broken up the material into modules… So that someone can focus on topic as a separate entity, just work through one section at a time. But they are sequentially presented to. And we are asking students to give feedback and talk about how modules fit into different years… There is a notion of sequential learning but also a sense of having places to stop at the end of a day/a study period.

And I welcome colleagues from other courses who might benefit from the CALS, I’d love these to be collaboratively developed too.

Q&A

Q) something coming up in different contexts is this idea of personal learning. That you can go through materials like this based on what you know or feel comfortable about… I wondered if you had any thoughts on that sort of quite usable approach etc. and the idea of measuring, of identifying a need to work through again.

A) firstly you remind me of a course I hope to be part of, a masters in clinical trials. There students come in from different learning backgrounds and I hope we can build a foundation course to establish what they do and did not know, and perhaps optionally offer the CALS to help manage gals etc. but the second part of the answer… I’m aware that medics are so achievement orientated with set requirements… It’s harder to get that personal learning into that. And not all pick statistics courses. I want to weave statistics into other courses, huge issue (as with students) of them doing work if not assessed.

Comment) I think statistics need to be delivered in a just-in-time kind of way, that’s how they need it. That integration and embedding really matters.

Marshall: thank you to all of our presenters for a really diverse range of speakers!

 December 5, 2013  Posted by at 1:34 pm Uncategorized No Responses »