Week 4 General discussion Cloud

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Diana Laurilllard
13 January 2013

This Cloud is for discussions related to the Week 4 activities.

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This I like very much it is simpel to understand the holistic view of disigns, this was the best for this week

  Type of learning activity       Learning through
             Assimilative                             Acquisition
             Information Handling               Inquiry (in the sense of using and manipulating sources of information, e.g. library work)
             Communication                       Discussion
             Production                               Production
             Experiential                             Practice  
             Adaptive                                  [Could be an aspect of Practice]
            Assessment                            Production

Ebba Ossiannilsson
13:38 on 3 February 2013

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Diana Laurilllard
7:45pm 13 January 2013 (Edited 11:23pm 29 January 2013)

In Week 1 David Jennings made the point that "most learning provided by institutions is over-designed, over-engineered, over-specified". This may be true for the learning done in what we used to call 'contact' hours, when teachers and students are together, but there is a lot of other 'guided' learning that students are expected to do beyond the classroom or campus. This is often rather under-designed and under-specified. That will vary between education sectors, but certainly in HE lecturers struggle to explain how their students are meant to fill, say, the 300 hours of a 30 credit course, because most of it happens away from their gaze.

I think we have a duty to help students spend that time well, and to think through how long they are meant to take in reading, making notes, comparing texts, doing problems, writing up, arguing and discussing, testing ideas, designing and making and critiquing and experimenting... and then make sure they have the means to do all this. It is even more important when we take courses online. That's when they need even more support. Of course they may ignore it and go their own way, but many students need more support, not less.

The Patterns Collector is a way of specifying and desiging in some detail, exactly how we expect students to work with the ideas and skills they are trying to learn, whether f2f, online, as individuals, or in groups. But David's point raises the question - do you think this is 'over-designing'?


Diana Laurilllard
11:23pm 29 January 2013

"What is the relationship between precision and creativity?" This was an interesting question raised in the discussion in Week 3 (Ideate). Don saw the two as oppositional, but Leslie saw a link because "Precision in creative output is generally a step-wise refinement of an original idea". Sui Fai suggested that "Precision in learning design gives people a definite framework, the box, if you would like to call it. Creativity in learning design goes beyond such framework".

They sound like opposites because we think of precision as being constraining - but creativity can come from constraints as well as from freedom. The music analogy is nice because musical form puts severe constraints on the infinite possibilities of musical combinations of notes, chords, sequences and rhythms. But doesn't that assist the creative process? I'm not at all creative but there is a wonderful game we play sometimes call 'Pastiches'. You have to write a poem in the style of... in 10 minutes. The game also requires the group to agree the form and a random word that must be included. I would be completely unable to begin, except that having to write a sonnet that includes the word 'dandruff' somehow makes the creative juices flow fast enough that everyone comes up with something in 10 mins. It's a kind of precision that makes that happen.

This week we look at a tool for design that imposes some constraints. it's not like writing a short description of your design - there is a kind of precision required, which is what makes it possible to attach metadata to the design, and to interpret it as a design to run in Moodle. But does the 'precision' constrain your creative processes or might it sometimes trigger them?

Jonathan Vernon
9:35pm 31 January 2013 (Edited 10:07pm 31 January 2013)

I spent yesterday afternoon at my alma mater (or one of them at least). The School of Communication Arts, partially industry financed, develops the creative talents of would be advertising creatives. 'Precision in creative output' is the perfect definition of what is taught. Working to the exceedingly tight parameters and demands of a creative brief to sell or promote a product or service, the creative teams (there are always at least two people assigned to a problem) must come up with an idea or concept that meets the demands of the brief ... and then craft, cling onto, nurture, protect, raise, build and sell their idea. A creative director in this situation will try to help maintain the precision which permits the creativity. If David Jennings worries that learning might be over designed, over engineered and over specified, then reading the above may suggest that I am just adding another layer that wants to see learning as a commercialised, branded, designed and marketed product. My hope is for something less complex, demanding or expensive than what you may think I  imply - it is about working collaboratively, so trying to bring academics into a new kind of working practice, those in research out of their cupboards and those in the class or lecture hall away from the crowd of students to bravely do something as a joint enterprise - and yes, build on what others have done before. It matters that a team is made up of a visualiser and a wordsmith - to this mix I would add a programmer to think how to make the learning experience 'smart' and the fourth - a learning designer.

When it comes down to it all I'd like to see are ideas that are confident, and wear the thinking behind them expressed with skill. I hope I haven't got the wrong end of the stick! I know from some good experiences that when you get the thinking right the outcome might be easy to deliver on a microbudget ... and if a budget is required one would hope that the quality of the thinking behind the idea will help it get financed. I know this is education, certainly not advertising, or even 'corporate training' - but aren't things like TED lectures and the Khan Academy neat expressions of a simple idea? Another one I can think of is Qstream - a spaced educational delivery system developed by a Harvard Medical School Prof. 

Diana Laurilllard
9:50pm 31 January 2013

A couple of great phrases to hang onto there, Jonathan:

it is about working collaboratively, so trying to bring academics into a new kind of working practice...


all I'd like to see are ideas that are confident, and wear the thinking behind them expressed with skill.

It would be good to come back to those at the end of this week to see to what extent we have lived up to them.

TED lectures at their best, like any lecture, would be a neat expression of quite a complex and powerful idea, wouldn't they?

Ann Davis
2:48pm 2 February 2013

For Actvity 2.1, I was dissapointed that there were nothing in the "Other" category and that there was not a category for the corporate environment.  I am having a hard time finding anything that I thought might work for me - I think I will just have to look for something interesting.

Diana Laurilllard
2:57pm 2 February 2013

Ann it's true that they have not used categories of audience outside education, but that does not necessarily mean that nothing there is of any use in the corporate environment. If you filter on HE, for example, you should find principles that are quite adaptable to topics you might be interested in? Keep looking, but also, could you suggest the sort of issue you would like to see being represented there?

Ebba Ossiannilsson
12:52pm 3 February 2013

I think the discussion on overdsigning learning and education is interesting. Agree that sometomes one can overdesigne and not let the learner take control and to go "outside the box". I think it is important to have the deisgn frame and tehn a lot of creativity and innovation can just explore, depending the individual and teh group development. Then learning can happend

Diana Laurilllard
2:07pm 3 February 2013

Some patterns going into the PPC are not being displayed because the instructions don't say replace at least one term. Apologies for that oversight.

Please re-open your saved pattern, ABSTRACT it by replacing at least one term with a generic version (it can be a dummy term) and share. The Guide explains that you do this by highlighting a term in the lefthand pane, type in a generic version of it, Return, and it replaces all occurrences of that term in the righthand pane. Then you can share it and the pattern will appear. It's a technical issue we're trying to fix.

Diana Laurilllard
4:42pm 3 February 2013

All patterns that were submitted without abstraction (so not visible) have been abstracted and modified by Dejan (who programmed the PPC) and are now there with an M label, and visible as either an instance or a generic version.

Thanks Dejan.

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