… what happened to the idea of free education for all?

Too Many Opportunities

making the impossible possible?

I thought the idea was to engage the unengaged in education? To provide opportunities for those that need it most? I thought it was about bringing people together and create new and exciting opportunities for exchange, learning, development, collaboration and experimentation?

Help is only a friend away.

finding each other

What happened to altruism? What happened to academic freedom? Are businesses taking over academia? Are we sold anachronistic ideas in new packages and are for some strange reason mesmerised by these?

I thought we agreed that transmission of information is kaputt. Doesn’t work! Dead! I thought we said it is not about content! We are drowning in stuff!

Social Media Information Overload

information overload?

What is blinding us and why? What are we afraid of?

Massive Container Freighter Ship MSC TOMOKO PANAMA in the Santa Barbara Channel  8400 TEU

all contained!

Is there too much noise about MOOCs? Are all MOOCs MOOCs? And why MOOCs? Is the MOOC acronym loosing its original meaning? Has it lost it already? I am wondering and am looking a bit closer at the individual concepts and letters this acronym stands for… and share some thoughts and questions here to enable perhaps a wider dialoge and debate.

Massive – yes, some of them have been as far as registrations is concerned. But even not so massive ones were quickly labeled as such. MOOCs became trendy! The ‘M’ I guess is quite handy… could also mean, mini, micro,  medium etc. But do we need the ‘M’ in MOOCs? From MOOC to OOC

Open – yes, some of them have been truly open, probably the first ones, the now called cMOOCs. These days we find MOOCs that are called open but are really half-open, or not that open at all. Open as in free to join? Open as in free to pay? And what about free to use, re-use and re-purpose? We seem to be moving away from open as in open educational practice. Small print and restrictions, provide providers, big money dreams? What do we really mean by the ‘O’ in MOOCs? Do we need this ‘O’? From OOC to OC

Online – yes, the offer is online but is learning happening only online? We still go to libraries, we still meet people, we still learn in the workplace and in practice. We learn in the physical world. Learning is a mix of individual and collective experiences in different places, spaces and times. So are we talking about blended? Do online courses present blended learning opportunities? And if this is the case, what about the second ‘O’ in MOOCs? Could this be scrapped also? From OC to C

Course – there seems to be a debate about this as well, in the context of MOOCs. Some claim that completion rates are irrelevant in the context of MOOCs because individuals pick certain aspects of a MOOC and their engagement is more targeted or focused at specific events and/or resources. I thought we were talking about courses? A course has certain characteristics. We start a course, we engage or not, in a course and we complete a course, or not. This is at least my understanding. … if we no longer talking about courses in the context of MOOCs and feel that completion rates are indeed irrelevant, why do we keep calling them courses? And if these creations are something else, do we need the ‘C’ in MOOCs? Does this need to be replaced too? From C to ?

So what is left? Not much from the orginal MOOC. Are we leading or experience already the signs of massive commercialisation of education? Massive business dreams?

What happened to open educational practices? What happened to bringing people together, learn together? Collaborate? Discover together? What happened to the idea of free education for all? I hope you will help me discuss this further and gain a deeper understanding of what we all experience.

participating in open course on open badges

badges for learning

badges for learning

Well, I want to learn more about open badges since we, Cristina and I, are considering introducing them to open TESS and other academic development activities, including the PGCAP. I already have some ideas of how I could use badges for 3 actvities on the LTHE module with our new cohort and the P2PU has 3 mini courses that would fit well with my plans. I think I am going to give it a go, but first I need to find out more about open badges.

While we are already thinking about the design of our own badges, and have a designer as well, not really a surprise, I think I need to do some serious learning around open badges and I found a way to do this.

our inspiration

our inspiration for the design of our badges

I signed up for an open course at P2PU where an Open Badges course is offered. This course is about open badges and I will get my first 2 open badges, I think, if I complete this successfully. Somehow it already sounds better than just completing a course. Do these badges remind us of stickers, or in my case stamps we got in school for work completed well?

Well, I could just read on my own about badges, couldn’t I? Yes, I could but would it be the same or better? I don’t think so… participating in a course about open badges for open badges (this doesn’t sound so good now what I just wrote and makes me wonder if learners would just zoom through a course or activities to get the badge and learning would become less important…), well, for learning and open badges will enable me to experience first hand what it means to learn in a more structured way and get my badges at the end, if I do well enough, to evidence that I completed his course. Do open badges make a difference for open learning? Can they act as motivators in open environments? I am curious to find out.

I started the P2PU course yesterday and noticed that other people are taking it but so far it feels like a lonely journey. I would like to connect with others and hope that this will happen so that we can share experiences and help each other gain a better understanding of these open badges but also learn about how others are thinking to use badges.

Today is a day of reading so that I get a better understanding about open badges. I will do this and am sure, that I will have loads of questions. Hopefully I will be able to ask a few questions and get some answers from peers. I plan to use my personal learning network on Twitter for this purpose as well. We will see how this goes.

Ok, I guess I better do some reading. Will be back here to capture my learning journey on the P2PU course on open badges. Anybody would like to join me? Sign up here 😉

capturing thoughts while reading

capturing thoughts while reading

I have now completed the reading of the resources made available through the P2PU open badges course. The above photo captures the notes I made based on what I felt was important. Some of the texts where more technical and there are others I will go back to. The course suppose to be completed in 6h. Not sure if this is realistic. I think in 6h you would probably be able to zoom through it by skimming all resources and links but meaningful and deeper engagement will, I think require more study time. The good thing is that you can do the tasks one by one. And completing individual tasks makes you feel that you have achieved something and you know that you are gettig closer to completing the course. But it shouldn’t be just about completion. In our courses we focus on the journey, the process of learning. Will badges create more assessment driven learners? The text that stood out for me was the 7 things you need to know about badges.  This provides a comprehensive overview of open badges for students and teachers and I plan to use this for our PGCAP course when introducing badges.

But also the below clip with Doug Belshaw from Mozilla


So, far, I have now completed the tasts up to joining the Google group on open badges. This was a useful discovery and will help me during but also after the completion of this course, to stay in touch with people who are exploring open badges. I noticed that conversations are happening there and questions are answered. So there is peer support out there and I hope to be able to help others too when I have a better understanding of badges and share my experiences linked to these with the group.

Looking forward to the rest of the course. Definitely feeling that I am learning. I love the expressions Badge Backpack and Baking Badges. Is there an open badgemaker available? Just wondering.

I have now completed 2 challenges at http://openbadges.org/en-US/, even before completing this course, and received my very first open badges. The backpack is no longer empty and can be accessed at http://beta.openbadges.org/share/9916d57574c211dd2dbd1becb10fea96

Tried to find a way to find the code of the badges and add to my WordPress portfolio, but I seem to be unable to do so… ;( Help!!! I hope I will work it out somehow. Must go back to the Google group and ask the question there.

There more I read about these open badges, the more opportunities I see, using open badges for tasks on the LTHE module of our PGCAP programme. I identified already 3 very specific opportunities which I am listing below:

open badges via P2PU for

  • creating an eportfolio (this happens at the beginning of this module and the basic functionality is introduced then. Great to discover that there is a badge for the successful completion of this task)
  • editing a wikipedia page (the task is to edit a wikipedia page around a specific learning theory. I then discovered that we could get a badge for doing exactly this)
  • creating an educational game (we play a mixed-reality game and this badge would be an extension to this and exploring application in own practice, ideas and reflections could be captured in the e-portfolio)

BTW, I am definitely spending more than 6h on this open badges course but it is worth it. Discovering so much useful stuff that I am going to trial this semester with my new LTHE cohort. This is all very exciting. Also looking forward to designing our own badges for TESS with Cristina Costa.

Task 4 is next and I will add my reflections and thoughts here when ready, probably tomorrow 😉 Tomorrow arrived, a few days later… unfortunately.

But here I am now. I completed all tasks and am in the process of finalising Task 7 which is actually this account here. I have to say that I have found this course really useful. It enabled me to gain a better understanding of open badges. More importantly, I know now where to go for help. I will keep in touch with badgers on Twitter to continue the conversation.

We are definitely interested in open badges and the more I think about it the more it makes sense to use these in accredited but also non-accredited academic development provision. They could also be linked to CPD Frameworks. I feel that the opportunities are endless. We just need to be careful and craft and clear pedagogical rational. It shouldn’t just be about collecting as many badges as possible or just collecting any badge! The main thing is learning and using badges as a recognition for this. Therefore I think we need strong peer review processes. Not sure yet how these could look like and any ideas are very welcome.

As I am starting the development of our Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL) module of the PGCAP, and this is an open access module, I definitely think that we could make use of badges for non-credit learners and also on other PGCAP modules and the TESS programme as mentioned earlier in this post.

A big thank you to P2PU for this course which gave me so many ideas. We might even run the FDOL module within P2PU. We will see.


let’s visualise together! Day 3 #moocmooc

Our task yesterday was to capture participants’ pedagogies. I would say learner’s pedagogies and assume that learning can’t happens without participation since it is not something passive.

I thought that we could visualise our ideas and thoughts and together co-create the big picture. Didn’t know that we could do this Google doc. I had found www.flockdraw.com which did look impressive as a doodling tool but I couldn’t make it work to co-create a picture, unfortunately. Google worked but it is not really than intuitive. Never mind. If anybody knows anything about flockdraw or a similar tool that is out there, I would love to hear from you.

learners' pedagogies

our evolving big picture (15 Aug 12)

Our drawing space is available at https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1jnzjgeigIt7bj-bLXvt7yZFTSIpqYcIe0D9WfhVczSw/edit This is the live canvas. Feel free to think visually and add your idea, if you haven’t done so already or if you would like to add a bit more. Thank you everybody for contributing so far.

My question now would be, looking at this picture, what can you see? It would be lovely if you would share your comments with us all.

(not) funny? Day 2 #moocmooc

Well, I should have added this yesterday but I didn’t. I guess it is never too late… or is it? Anyway. Very little time yesterday but we, my boys and I, managed to create a video clip and share our view about where learning happens. We used my iPhone and the wonderful cover with integrated stand made it really easy to do the recording and then upload straight away to YouTube, no editing nothing at all! We are asking a question at the end and would love your thoughts on this. Feel free to leave them here, on YouTube or on Twitter (@chrissinerantzi). It is up to you.

We also decided to release the directors’ cut so that you can see how much fun we had in the making. Here it comes. Enjoy 😉

big and fast… Day 1 #moocmooc


Come on! All on board! But who are we?

Will it be a meeting point for rich exchanges?

A meeting point for (rich) exchanges

driving into the sea?

Is around and around leading somewhere… anywhere?

where will you take me?

What about travelling smaller, slower with less? Just you, you, you and me.

under the moonlight

It is dark… but there is some light, you and you I know… can we travel together?

on board and the sun is out! Let's find out what we can discover

on board and the sun is out! Let’s find out what we can discover (together)!

Play ‘n’ learn to spice up teaching in HE – please vote #CMC11 MOOC @pgcap

Celebrating your creativity!

Celebrating your creativity!

Hello and thank you for stopping by,

Stage 3 of our mixed reality game ‘Sell your bargains’ is now officially completed.

First of all I would like to thank all our teachers at the University of Salford who participated in this game with such passion and for their creative energy to spice up their teaching.

Today, we are inviting you to vote for your favourite digital story presented here and created by teachers in Higher Education who are currently studying towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at the University of Salford (UK).

Teachers participated in a mixed-reality game (a mix of problem-based learning, game-based learning and experiential learning to explain threshold concepts using creative problem finding and collaborative creative problem solving techniques and possibility thinking) which took place in real and virtual spaces.

(Stage 1) The task was to think about a session they are going to deliver and try and foresee a difficulty explaining something that students really need to grasp.

The players then worked together in pairs to discuss ideas and possible solutions (Stage 2) and identify a prop while in Manchester City Centre that could be used in their session to make this difficult or threshold concept accessible and understandable to their students.

(Stage 3) Their ideas were then developed further into digital stories (using photographs and videos taken during stage 2 to aid reflection and the further development of their idea) that are now available as Open Educational Resources.

Please access the participating stories by clicking the links below, study them carefully and then vote for your favourite one by ticking the box next to the name of the player. You are also invited to leave your comments in the online spaces where the stories are captured and engage in a conversation about the interventions.

– Innovative use of a prop
– Rich and deep reflection
– Creative digital storytelling

Participating stories
1. Neil at http://asboallstar.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/stage-3-jackanory/

2. Frances at http://francespgcap.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/frances-tale/

3. Fabrizio at http://fabriziopgcap.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/stage-3-of-the-game-behind-every-word-there-is-a-culture/ (our winner: added on the 27th of November)

4. Kirsty at at http://kirstypope.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/a-journey-of-discovery-excitement-and-challenge/

5. Deaglan at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgcap/sets/72157628012947138/

6. John at http://johnmcmahon1.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/mixed-reality-game-sell-your-bargains-part-3/

7. Fiona at http://fionapgcap.wordpress.com/sell-your-bargins-a-digital-story-about-innovation/

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. The winner has been announced.

Thank you very much for providing your comments and voting for your favourite story. The overall winner of the mixed-reality game “Sell your bargains” will be announced on Twitter. The deadline to submit your vote is Wednesday the 2nd of November 11, midnight GMT.

The prize is the wonderful book by David Gauntlett “Making is connecting” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Connecting-Meaning-Creativity-Knitting/dp/0745650023/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319454048&sr=8-1) A complimentary copy was provided free of charge by the publisher Wiley (www.wiley.com).

Please feel free to forward the link to the form to others.

Chrissi (Nerantzi) the game organiser
Twitter: @pgcap
University of Salford

ps. If you would like to adapt and organise such a mixed-reality CPD game for your programme team to spice up teaching and learning at the University of Salford, please get in touch with Chrissi at c.nerantzi @ salford.ac.uk (without the spaces)

pps. If you would like to find out more about this game from the organiser and the players, join us on the 8th of December at 4pm (GMT) during a webinar organised by the Creativity and Multicultural Communication MOOC. We have been invited to share our experiences and first findings then with a wider audience. More info about this webinar and the #CMC11 MOOC at http://www.cdlprojects.com/. Please note, the ‘Sell your bargains’ game will also feature in a game-based learning book published next year.

embracing #CMC11 MOOC

What does it really mean to you, you and you?

What does it really mean to you, you and you?

I can see the world through my eyes, only through my eyes?

I can see the world through my eyes, only - ONLY through MY eyes?

We are all different, unique in fact...

We are all different, unique...

Diversity, what for?

Diversity is a fact - but what for?

coming together, to enrich...

An opportunity. Coming together, to enrich...

... empathise

... to accept, respect and empathise


... to unlock


... to connect

celebrating differences

celebrating differences, that is what embracing means to me.

Why go separate paths when we can work it out?

Why look away, ignore, disconnect - when WE can work it out?

Is walking away really the answer?

Is walking away really the answer?

Taking for granted? #CMC11 MOOC

... seeing

... seeing

What if we couldn't?

What if we couldn't?

Would sounds be more intense?

Would sounds be more intense?

... through textures, feelings?

... and feelings?

Would I taste more?

... and tastes?

Would smells be more intense?

... and smells?

How is the world without them?

How does the world look like without them? Felt so sad yesterday morning...

through language

Do we see through language?

through somebody else

... through somebody else?

through imagination

... through imagination?

How would a green apple look like?

How would a green apple look like?

Close your eyes. What do you see? What if you had never seen before?

Close your eyes. What do you see? What if you had never seen before? What would this apple.. the world look like then?