Posts by Sintjago

Graduate and Professional Student Involvement in the MOOC Experience

»Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

 

 

Graduate and Professional Student Involvement in the MOOC Experience

This blog post was first published at: http://wp.me/p1Mdiu-DH

At the University of Minnesota, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) has discussed various ways in which MOOCs and other emerging technologies are transforming higher education. It is still unclear how these changes may affect the future of academics and researchers. MOOCs exemplify how a rapid change can  substantially impact a system and raise new questions. To discuss the impact of emerging technologies, GAPSA held an Open Space Technology event, trained in the practice by staff from the University-wide Center for Integrative Leadership, on April 17th, 2013, with Provost Karen Hanson. Students at the Open Space discussed various topics including:

  1. the generational differences between faculty and students,
  2. the inevitability of technological change,
  3. the differences between face to face and online environments,
  4. methods to measure student improvement and student motivation,
  5. intellectual property concerns,
  6. and the fear and possibilities brought by these changes.

 

Since then GAPSA has been in discussion with various organizations such as the Center for Integrative Leadership, TEDxUMN, OIT, and Extension, about developing a unique MOOC platform. The idea is to help students learn more about the components of a MOOC and how they are or may affect learning in many spaces. In this post, we discuss our current outline for a an interdisciplinary problem-solving MOOC, other GAPSA MOOC-related projects, and invite other graduate and professional students to join us in this project. This is an overview of a project that has been evolving over the past months, and involves a series of collaborative relationships across the University. It will continue to change and grow, and may look quite different from what is outlined in this article, in the final product(s).

 

Creating More Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving Spaces Through MOOCs

MOOCs provide new possibilities for how “massive” environments develop; how “open” content can increase the availability of resources; how “online” environments help students to learn remotely and effectively about any subject; and how “courses” can vary in structure. With cMOOCs starting in 2008, and xMOOCs starting in 2011, it is likely that other types of MOOCs will be available to students in the near future. One of the ways by which to expand the MOOCs typology can is developing action-oriented MOOCs that address grand challenges or wicked problems. We also seek to create hybrid learning environments that incorporate some of the best elements of a face to face environment with an online environment.

GAPSA hopes to provide a virtual space to host discussions that are of current relevance to the university community. Every year new topics may be selected to address pressing issues. While these discussions are currently taking place at the University of Minnesota these spaces are usually limited to 50 or less participants. As open courses, MOOCs can allow for greater participation and for crowd-accelerated innovation.

Instead of developing a specific xMOOC or a cMOOC, GAPSA would create a MOOC framework that can be utilized for multiple topics. These topics will be framed through a broad lens so that seemingly unrelated stakeholders feel included in the discussion, and see potential opportunities to engage. These MOOCs will be short or mini-MOOCs lasting from 4-6 weeks. By the end of the MOOC, participants will ideally be invited to further develop specific projects from ideas generated in the session and apply for funding in order to move the conversation to action.

As online spaces, these problem-solving MOOCs will allow for asynchronous conversations, and extend the time available for discussion. Providing financial incentives for the best projects or ideas that are developed at the end of the course will hopefully increase participation.  We believe the idea of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, merged with online learning and civic dialogue about polarizing issues has great potential. In these MOOCs, an issue will be first discussed by subject experts via online videos or a live webinar to help frame the discussion then participants will gain access to shared readings and course materials, before participating in different group problem-solving activities.

Through the use of various Art of Hosting techniques including circles, appreciative inquiry, world cafe, open space technology, collective mind mapping, pro-action cafe, collective story harvesting, action learning, polarization mapping, idea generation, journaling, consensus decision-making, chaordic stepping stones, design thinking, and other group-based practices we hope to help participants collaborate in action-oriented groups to address a specific societal problems. Many of these techniques will be modified to meet the objective of the MOOC environment.

These MOOCs will be framed with a broad lense to encourage greater participation. These MOOCs will only last a few weeks yet have the potential to impact the university community, the broader conversation around the subject, and provide students with the opportunity to participate as panelists, participants, or as moderators throughout the project. These MOOCs will also benefit from the potential that a university network and a network of students can provide.

This MOOC platform includes the following characteristics:

Organic: ability to address societal and community problems soon after they become relevant

Experiential: ability for students to participate in different roles throughout the process.

Asynchronous: transferring elements of civic engagement & interdisciplinary courses at the U to an online platform

Idea Generating: Partner individuals in groups to address challenges from different angles

Inter-Disciplinary: Increase collaboration between academic units

Concise: Develop a MOOC that lasts only a few weeks with a clear objective

Current: Include presenters and area experts via presentations

Massive: By being larger than a regular course, better project ideas may be developed

Entrepreneurial: By obtaining funding for project it hopes to promote an entrepreneurial spirit

Interested in Joining to GAPSA MOOCs Work Group?

In moving forward with this idea, GAPSA is interested in recruiting various graduate and professional students who would benefit from working in this project, starting with development and testing in Fall 2013. These MOOCs will provide students with the opportunity to learn more about MOOC development, and to participate as subject area experts. In addition to this project, GAPSA is also developing various projects to provide students which additional opportunities to use emerging technologies in ways that may benefit their future careers. GAPSA MOOC team members will help to design a unique MOOC environment that encourages the use of crowdsourcing, and novel ways in which to have a constructive online conversation. The team will also work with TEDx in organizing one short course or workshop per semester. Participating in this project will provide for research opportunities, the possibility of being part of an innovative project, and to become more involved with GAPSA and the University community, while working to address graduate and professional student concerns. These MOOCs will discuss topics such as the cost of higher education, mental health in higher education, and other complex subjects.

Position Responsibilities:

  1. Work closely with the GAPSA Executive Board
  2. Transfer various face to face methods to an online environment
  3. Contact students and faculty members who participate as area experts
  4. Work closely with TEDxUMN, Center for Teaching and Learning, and the UMN Libraries
  5. Collaborate with other student and administrative groups in the university.
  6. Planning multiple events in collaboration with CIL and TEDxUMN
  7. Research projects and analysis

 

Estimated time commitment: 5 hours or more per week.

To join this conversation and help us move this idea forward, feel free to email us at gapsa@umn.edu. Thank you! Alfonso Sintjago and Brittany Edwards

Meeting Challenges and Offering Opportunities

In addition to developing a unique MOOC platform, GAPSA is also committed to promoting “openness” in multiple ways at the University of Minnesota. By promoting openness, we hope to help reduce the cost of education and increase the diversity of education resources available to faculty and students. As GAPSA is experimenting with what is possible through MOOCs, we encourage others to also experiment, and consider ways in which MOOCs can be of benefit to their organizations. A MOOC should not be limited only to an xMOOCs or cMOOCs but as there are many types of university courses emphasizing different student learning experiences, so too should educators consider others ways in which MOOCs and “openness” can help improve education.

Promoting greater “openness,” GAPSA has collaborated with the UMN libraries and other bodies to increase awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Access Journals (OAJ), and the potential of open textbooks. There are also many other ways in which openness can benefit the University of Minnesota and its students, including through Open Innovation, Open Science, and Open Hardware. GAPSA is also promoting a new system of Open Governance. Through increasing awareness by promoting legislation at the state level, discussing the benefits of openness with faculty, and helping to organize an awareness campaign, GAPSA has and will continue to promote openness.

Another way in which GAPSA is promoting emerging technologies is through a partnership with TEDxUMN

 to offer two video workshops where students will have the opportunity to learn how to deliver a TED Talk and use videos to share their ideas. Sharing ideas via video is a powerful way through which to reach a broader audience. By partnering with TEDxUMN students who may not feel ready to deliver a TED Talk can practice the different elements to improve their video presentations. Videos can be an effective way to reduce social distance and are a key MOOC element helping students access and revisit recorded lectures at their convenience. In addition to creating a MOOC platform we believe that it is important for students to learn how different MOOC ingredients such as online videos, and peer-grading can be useful to them as students and future professionals and instructors.

 

Brittany Edwards, HHH Alum, OLPD Grad Student, GAPSA President

Leah Lundquist, HHH Alum, CIL Program Manager

Alfonso Sintjago, PhD Candidate CIDE, GAPSA Executive VP

 

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Learning with 3D Printing – Infographic from TRTG Booksprint

»Posted by on Apr 18, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

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Learning with Augmented Reality – Infographic from TRTG Booksprint

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Learning with Robotics – Infographic from TRTG Booksprint

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Utilizing MOOCs to Solve Grand Challenges or Wicked Problems

»Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

Utilizing MOOCs to Solve Grand Challenges or Wicked Problems

April 9, 2013

Over the past year and a half, various authors have expressed their concerns about MOOCs and how they may impact the American higher educational system. [1] [2] [3] [4] These concerns are important to consider, as MOOCs are disruptive, innovative, and are likely to improve and expand in the next few years. [5] [6] [7] Most of these concerns center around the potential impact of MOOCs on higher education (HE) in the United States without emphasizing that most MOOC users live outside of America. [8] Like other disruptive innovations, the MOOCs of tomorrow will be different and will address some of the current concerns. Soon most instructors will have the ability to customize a learning management system (LMS) that facilitates the creation of activities, student groups, peer-review assignments, videos, and the development of a learning community or community of practice with unprecedented ease. Platforms such as UDemy, EdX and others may quickly improve over time to make this possible. [9] [10] [11] [12] The internet is also increasingly mobile, faster, personalized, and collecting user analytics. [13] [14] [15] By working together to address concerns regarding MOOCs, MOOCs 2.0 will quickly develop into a very promising educational technology. Currently, MOOCs are only at a beta state.

This paper highlights what may be possible to achieve with MOOCs in the upcoming years, and how to realize MOOCs’ potential. [16] [17] Among other positive changes, MOOCS may help increase the sustainability and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), educate millions worldwide, increase the visibility of new ideas, and form collaborative learning spaces where students work together to address grand challenges. [18] MOOCs can be this and much more, limited only by our imagination. [19] [20] [21] [22]

Defining MOOCS

To think of what else is possible to create with a MOOC, it is important to ask broadly what types of courses fit within a “Massive”, “Online”, “Open”, “Course”. [23] [24] [25] Here are the Dictionary.com definitions:

Massive (adj)

1. consisting of or forming a large mass; bulky and heavy: massive columns.

2. large and heavy-looking: a massive forehead.

3. large in scale, amount, or degree: a massive breakdown in communications; massive reductions in spending.

4. solid or substantial; great or imposing: massive erudition.

5. Mineralogy . having no outward crystal form, although sometimes crystalline in internal structure.

 

Open (Adj)

1. not closed or barred at the time, as a doorway by a door, a window by a sash, or a gateway by a gate: to leave the windows open at night.

2. (of a door, gate, window sash, or the like) set so as to permit passage through the opening it can be used to close.

3. having no means of closing or barring: an open portico.

4. having the interior immediately accessible, as a box with the lid raised or a drawer that is pulled out.

5. relatively free of obstructions to sight, movement, or internal arrangement: an open floor plan.

 

Online (Adj)

1. operating under the direct control of, or connected to, a main computer.

2. connected by computer to one or more other computers or networks, as through a commercial electronic information service or the Internet.

3. of or denoting a business that transmits electronic information over telecommunications lines: an online bookstore.

4. available or operating on a computer or computer network: an online dictionary.

5. by means of or using a computer: on-line shopping.

 

Course (Noun)

1. a direction or route taken or to be taken.

2. the path, route, or channel along which anything moves: the course of a stream.

3. advance or progression in a particular direction; forward or onward movement.

4. the continuous passage or progress through time or a succession of stages: in the course of a year; in the course of the battle.

5. the track, ground, water, etc., on which a race is run, sailed, etc.: One runner fell halfway around the course.

 

According to Wikipedia (April 7, 2013)

“A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education and often use open educational resources. Typically they do not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees. Only about 10% of the tens of thousands of students who may sign up complete the course.MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (or OER) movement. Many of the original courses were based on connectivist theory, emphasizing that learning and knowledge emerge from a network of connections. 2012 became “the year of the MOOC” as several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, emerged, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX.”

Current MOOCs includes different interpretations of those four terms. Terms such as “open” can extend beyond “not being closed” or Open Access (OA), to include the use of Creative Commons (CC-licenses) and OER. [26] [27] By incorporating open materials, MOOCs and their components could potentially be remixed, revised, redistributed and reused. [28] [29] [30] [31] Some MOOCs also seem to be moving towards a freemium model. While these MOOCs will remain free and openly accessible, resembling Open Access Journals (OA), some course elements may only be available at a fee. [32] [33]

Open CourseWare (OCW) and Open Educational Resources (OER) borrowed much of their philosophy from the Open Source Software (OSS) movement. As an educational technology, MOOCs are likely to borrow elements from the freemium economic model, which has fueled the economic growth of many companies such as Skype, or an advertisement-based system such as Google and Facebook. [34] [35] An online service is considered a freemium product when there are feature limitations (Skype), capacity limitations (Dropbox), seat limitations, customer class limitations (limited to educators, etc), effort limitations, support limitations, and/or time limitations (Pandora). [36] Whether or not they adopt this model, MOOCs would benefit by generating revenue and becoming increasingly sustainable. [37] [38] [39]

As with many other technology startups, MOOC platforms have focused on building first, and monetizing later. As massive courses, MOOCs may eventually rely on microtransactions for their operation costs and profit earnings. [40] With Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun’s connection to Google is it not surprising that some MOOCs are considering the potential of big data. Also, while I am a firm proponent of OER and in the importance of sharing to the commons and public domain, it is also important for a system to become sustainable over time, to benefit both the producer and consumer, and to develop high quality products. Not all OER and OSS products are as successful as Wikipedia and Firefox. It is important to keep an open mind when defining the term “open” in relation to MOOCs and experiment with different ways to create MOOCs that are sustainable. [41]

In addition, how many students are enough to constitute a “massive” course is also a good question with multiple answers. The premise of massive course is that, after a certain number of students, there are simply too many people for a teacher to manage the course without effectively using digital technologies such as the web 2.0. Educators can manage students via wikis, blogs, chat, and discussion forums, peer-review assignments, automated quizzes, and / or by creating a learning community where other students aid each other as peer-instructors during the course. [42] [43] In addressing this question, Stephen Downes sets the lower limit for “massive” courses at over 150 students. According Dunbar, 150 participants is a cognitive limitation in people’s ability to maintain stable social relationships. [44] [45] While Downes mentions 100,000 students as a potential upper limit for some MOOCs, having too many students within a MOOC can be addressed by dividing students into groups for certain activities. Nevertheless authors’ conclusions vary, and the point at which an OOC becomes a MOOC will likely continue to be debated. Part of this discussion arises from the objectives of different types of MOOCs.

cMOOCS and xMOOCS and Everything in Between

Currently, the two most common types of MOOCs are xMOOCs and cMOOCs ,which have generally had different enrollment levels. [46] [47] [48] While many MOOCs include elements of both xMOOCs and cMOOCs, xMOOCs are a more centralized learning experienced that mostly takes place within a learning management system (LMS) whereas cMOOCs are more decentralized.

While, given their structure, earlier online courses could be qualified as MOOCs, the first courses to be known as MOOCs began in 2008 with the work of George Siemens and Stephen Downes. These first MOOCs had over a thousand students and utilized blog posts, a daily newsletter, a website, and an RSS feed as the main course elements. Many of the first MOOCs focused on being open and utilizing OERs. Smaller MOOCs with only 30 or 40 students were considered by some to be OOCs instead.

Another type of MOOC can be defined as a project-based or task-based MOOC, a good example of which was Jim Groom’s DS106. The first cMOOCs discussed changes in online learning and education. While they were successful they have since been eclipsed in the media by the xMOOC efforts of Stanford, MIT, Harvard and other well-known institutions. The fact that, as with Facebook before them, Coursera and EdX were first developed and / or available at a top-tier institution, has made other groups much more eager to jump into the project than they were in joining Athabasca, Utah, or Manitoba in a cMOOC movement.
The xMOOCs started by Sebastian Thrun, Daphne Koller, and Andrew Ng enrolled a much greater number of students during their first iteration. While some cMOOCs had attracted over a thousand students, no cMOOC has registered over 10,000 users or more. However, it is difficult to know how many people benefit from a cMOOC as most of the student contributions are shared with anyone over the internet via openly accessibly blog posts. By having a focus on reflection and a personalized learning experience, cMOOCs, more than an xMOOC, can promote a continued discussion over the internet long after the initial course has been completed. In contrast, xMOOCs have been more successful in recruiting students but have been criticized for being lower quality versions of face to face (F2F) courses or more personal / smaller online courses, with a greater emphasis in transferring closed courses to a worldwide population. xMOOCs generally emphasize peer-grading, video lectures, discussion boards, automated quizzes, task-completion, and final exams or projects. xMOOCs encourage the completion of assignments and other course materials, and for students to receive a certificate or a badge, or potentially obtain college credit for completing a course. Various experiments are currently testing xMOOCs’ for-credit potential.

By contrast, cMOOCs have focused on creating a networked learning community, where participants engage to different extents with the learning objects and shared materials. cMOOCs are “connectivist” MOOCs that emphasize the importance of the node and the network. A cMOOC can be created using mainly a blog site such as WordPress, a list of discussion elements, a few readings, and a twitter backchannel. In terms of teaching and learning, cMOOCs ask participants to blog and comment on other participants’ blogs. These blog posts are then shared through a daily newsletter for further discussion and communication.

Some connectivist, cMOOC, principles include: learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions; learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources; learning may reside in non-human appliances; learning is more critical than knowing. [49] While connectivism has its critics, it was due to the connectivist research and the testing of its implications through a connectivist course that some of the first MOOCs were developed. The term was first coined in 2008 during a course on “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” which included over 2,300 participants, including 25 tuition paying students from the University of Manitoba. These first cMOOCs did not include a test or evaluation component. cMOOCs also emphasized the use of Open Educational Resources (OER).

xMOOCs have focused more on being “open” in the sense of openly accessible and not on the use of remixable, reusable resources. They have grown so quickly, with some courses enrolling over 100,000 students, and shared so many interesting subjects with the world, that some professors and administrators could not overlook their potential impact. Sebastian Thrun, a then tenured faculty member at Stanford and head of the X Lab at Google, felt so strongly about the revolutionary potential of these courses that he abandoned his tenured post to focus more on creating Udacity, an online platform for open courses which has focused primarily on computer science and engineering courses. [50] Venture capital has bankrolled various MOOC projects, and since then, Coursera has become the most popular xMOOC platform, with over 300 courses and over 2.7 million students already enrolled. [51] [52] With a motivated team, momentum and funding, these platforms are likely to continue to grow rapidly. It is also increasingly possible for individuals to set up their own MOOCs. Coursera already offers course in various languages and from universities in various parts of the world, including 62 universities and 13 countries.

The impact of xMOOCs and the potential they have as a disruptive technology has increased their importance and the attracted interest in e-learning among university administrations. Many universities are now experimenting or considering experimenting with these courses, joining the MOOC madness in order not to be left behind this change.

Improving MOOCs and their Future

MOOCs in their current state are promising but they are also expensive and they are yet to generate revenue. There are also still concerns about quality and assessment. Yet much of the fear and hype around xMOOCs stems from concerns about lowering education quality, furthering the commercialization of education and a general fear of change. [53] [54] While academia has maintained many of its traditions over time, the disruptive capacity of the internet and ubiquitous and cheaper information communication technologies (ICT) could impact the university in the same way wiki technologies, through Wikipedia, impacted encyclopedia Britannica. [55] [56] MOOCs are also redefining the library of the 21st century, as more individuals increasingly access digital copies of academic articles and ebooks through their tablets and ereaders. [57] [58] [59]

With online education studies demonstrating that online education can be as, or more, effective than face to face education in helping students master content, it will be interesting to see what current graduate and undergraduate students think about completing MOOCs in comparison to the courses they are currently taking for credit at their institutions. With many initial MOOCs having taken place simultaneously to F2F versions of the course, early results are promising. Yet, even if MOOCs have or will have the same quality in terms of content retention and application, what about the intangibles of a college education, the football games, and the personal experiences that students remember after completing their college years? What of college as a traditional American experience? Well, in many ways, while today students are expected to go to college, the idea of college as a rite of passage for all youth is a recent development. It is only recently that many individuals wait until their early to late 20s and sometimes 30s to begin their professional careers. Even then, students may graduate without professional experience. For this reason MOOCs should not focus solely on content, but like DS106 and various other MOOCs, they could focus on creating a product, or completing a task that could help showcase a student’s work to a future employer. [60] [61] Various MOOCs include project-based learning, but few are centered around problems. Later on in this paper I will discuss why Problem-solving MOOCs may be a welcome variation to the MOOC typology.

When thinking of the holistic, liberal arts education, it is important to highlight that education is not all about mastering content but also about making professional connections and discovering one’s personal preferences. [62] [63] [64] “Liberal arts are those subjects or skills that, in classical antiquity, were considered essential for a free person (a citizen) to know in order to take an active part in civic life. In Ancient Greece this included participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, and most importantly, military service (slaves and resident aliens were by definition excluded from the duties and responsibilities of citizenship).” [65] Formal education was therefore much more than content, and focused on forming citizens that have learned how to learn, including the critical thinking skills needed to solve most problems, and the ability to make good judgments. Neil Postman’s book “Everything I learned I learned in kindergarten” highlights that there are various other elements to a person’s education in addition to content mastery. While these skills can be learned in other settings, as universities move away from an emphasis on content, there should be a move towards greater attention to student advising and mentoring. [66] [67] [68]

MOOCs also raise the question of what students are paying for. Many students feel that they should not be paying for access to content as high quality content is increasingly available to anyone with a computer and internet connection and, eventually, a mobile phone. Instead of concentrating on content, brick and mortar institutions can focus on making sure that students do not fall through the cracks, that students have the support needed to surmount the challenges they may face in completing high school and an undergraduate degree. The achievement gap locally and the global lack of access to higher education are concerns that can be partly addressed through MOOCs. A MOOC can also serve as supplementary material for students. Working to decreasing the level of attrition in MOOCs will help to further legitimize MOOCs as a viable alternative for learners. The more alternatives there are, the more likely that a student will find the system that works best for him. Increasingly learners may separate the need to access information or content from the benefits of good facilitation and guidance. Developing a personal connection with a student and advising them requires a personal involvement and time, and concern for students. If more high quality information is accessible, perhaps universities should focus more on supporting their students’ non-content related needs, becoming, in a sense, a “flipped” university. [69] [70]

A university may be able to increasingly provide, not content but improved explanations, enhanced scaffolding, extensive mentoring, better preparation for the job market, and projects that are applied and influence the world around them. With xMOOCs and cMOOCs, along with TED Talks, RSA Animate, Khan Academy, YouTube Edu, Wikipedia, Gutenberg Project, Flat World Knowledge, along many other educational sites, content is increasingly available online and production of digital educational content will continue to increase at a very rapid rate. Just on YouTube alone over 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute. [71] Even if many online resources are of low quality, over time there should be enough high quality content freely available in most subjects to not simply have one Salman Khan but hundreds or thousands of online tutors, all of which have the potential to most effectively reach a particular student. Sophia.org and other platforms have promoted this concept. As long as the materials are released under a license that permits redistribution, these resources will be available online indefinitely. Some OER memes will be replicated and used much more than others, increasing their visibility, and the visibility of the ideas of its authors, increasing how long they will be easy to locate on the internet.

In addition to MOOCs, Code Academy, P2PU, Saylor, and many other initiatives are similar to current MOOC platforms but they may lack tutors or teaching assistants and every student may be completing the course on their own schedule. With individuals having different learning modalities, it is encouraging to see a large number of educational technology start ups exploring online learning and its future. Future MOOCs will be available for users on different platforms. As with different operating systems, different transportation systems, and other choices, which online learning system and what types of learning objects are best will vary from student to student. Technology adoption and which technologies become invisible over time is relevant to the context and the preferences of the learner. For youth today, the internet, mobile technologies, and online learning will not be new technologies. Just as Socrates had reservations against writing down information, many of those who fear some of the changes that MOOCs may bring to society are ignoring the fact that individual minds are malleable and that the way in which the children of tomorrow will relate with the world will be different to how we relate to the world today. [72] [73]

Similar to MOOCs many online open platforms have low completion rates as they rely on self-motivated individuals. [74] [75] [76] Because of their emphasis on self-motivation, MOOC participants sometimes complete them for professional development, to refresh their knowledge, and may increasingly do so as CEUs or as a job requirement, but it is very easy to become distracted with other endeavors as there are no costs to dropping out or not participating. [77] [78] Not offering credits, or a proven way in which they can increase course participants’ value in the job market, MOOCs are currently being overlooked by individuals who will later be interested in participating. As was the case with Ning, it is expected that MOOCs will eventually experiment with charging small fees for different benefits, starting with the costs of evaluation. [79] [80] [81]

An Extended Typology of MOOCs

While many universities include, within their objectives, the importance of contributing to their state, the importance of service, advising, and of helping students become better professionals, the pressure to publish, to secure grants and to conduct groundbreaking research can stress and limit the time available to instructors to spend in advising, teaching or in ensuring that students are completing their educational requirements. [82] [83] By having more resources available online faculty can devote more time to other needs of students. While for students there is currently pressure to succeed to avoid losing thousands of dollars during their higher education studies, by contrast MOOCs have no cost to students or guarantee any benefit that may result in a better employment in the future. If access remains low in cost, and content is increasingly available everywhere, perhaps a greater focus should be given to advising, mentoring, and preparing students for the market. MOOCs and increased access to information can greatly benefit everyone but it may require a shifted focus from content delivery to flipped classrooms and other forms of support for students. [84] [85] [86] [87] Moreover, MOOCs will increasingly improve and geographical location may play a role in some MOOCs as well as extension projects as some universities look for ways in which to comply with their land grant mission through the use of MOOCs. [88] [89] All of the ways MOOCs may change are difficult to account for, but through experimentation new types of MOOCs are likely to follow. While cMOOCs and xMOOCs are very different from each other, there may be oMOOCs, gMOOCs, pMOOCs, and many other types of MOOCs in the future. [90] [91] [92] [93]

 

A broader list including different types of MOOCs has been shared by Curtis Bonk. These twenty or so types of MOOCs include “types, targets and intents of MOOCs”, and many of them can be included within the same MOOC. These types of MOOCs illustrate the potential of having large-scale courses that anyone can access widely available. Unlike a regular course within an academic program, these courses can generate richer discussions, can allow individuals anywhere in the world and with different skill levels to contribute, and can reduce the barriers to participating in formal higher education. The pressure they are likely to create could help increase competition, increase options for some students, and over time address some of the concerns constituted within Baumol’s Cost Disease [94] [95] [96] For over a decade experiments such as Open Learning Initiative by Carnegie Mellon have looked for ways in which to make different types of courses available to the world. We may be increasingly close to that tipping point where businesses, theories, experiments, and religious groups, among many other objectives will be pursued through the use of MOOCs. A few well designed new tools, LMS, or increased access to more powerful computing devices and apps that facilitate the formation of personalized learning environment (PLE) may aid in helping anyone create a MOOC and reach potential participants. Facebook’s Graph Search, among other tools, could be used to effectively find potential learners. Bonk’s list of MOOCs share a good number of possibilities but ,with some imagination, we can brainstorm many more.

1 – Alternative Admissions Systems of Hiring System MOOCs

2 – Just-in-Time Skills and Competencies MOOCs

3 – Theory or Trend-Driven MOOCs

4 – Professional Development (PD) (Practical) MOOCs

5. Loss Leader (Dip Toe In Water) MOOCs

6. Bait and Switch MOOCs

7. Experimental MOOCs

8. Degree or Program Qualifier or System Bottleneck MOOCs

9. Personality MOOCs

10. Name Branding MOOCs

11. Goodwill MOOCs

12. Interdisciplinary MOOCs

13. Recruiting MOOCs

14. Marketing MOOCs

15. Conference MOOCs

16. Learning Room MOOCs

17. Religious Revival MOOCs

18. Rotating MOOCs

19. Repeatable MOOCs

20. Reusable MOOCs

 

In addition to this list, which I recommend further exploring through Bonk’s blog, I would like to go a step further by recommending a particular type of MOOC that would be beneficial for students as a MOOC laboratory with an emphasis in collaborative problem-solving. [97] [98] While some MOOCs have promoted project-based learning and even provided funding for some of the ideas developed within them, including Paul Kim’s MOOC, this has not been the focus of many MOOCs and a greater emphasis in the potential for MOOCs to create should be emphasized. [99] MOOCs can be ideal spaces for idea generation, collaboration, and for solving community or grand challenges. [100] pMOOCs or Problem-solving MOOCs as these MOOCs could be called, have the possibility of incorporating some of the strengths of idea generation and crowdsourcing such as http://ideacompetition.org/, http://changemakers.com/, http://openideo.com/, http://kickstarter.com/, http://indiegogo.com/, http://ideastorm.com/, https://ideasproject.com/, https://wbchallenge.imaginatik.com/, http://www.innocentive.com/, among others.

In addition to different forms of assessment, MOOCs, like regular courses, can and do include varying lengths and difficulty levels. Some MOOCs could take place only over a weekend as do some F2F courses and still provide academic credit, a certificate, badges, or some form of credential. MOOCs may include different goals, different delivery mechanisms and pedagogy. Some MOOCs could potentially leverage the geographical location of an institution. As there are within F2F higher education institution project-based, service-learning, experiential learning, research oriented, frequent assessment oriented, and courses that are primarily discussions, why can there not be an equally diverse landscape of MOOCs? Haven taken all of these types of courses for credit, with different assessment preferences, why are MOOCs standardized utilized primarily automated grading, peer-review or individual reflections. Why are some of them not functioning as innovation labs and why are they not utilizing crowdsourcing to solve problems? [101] [102] [103] Coursolve.org is one an example of a platform that is being developed to accomplish parts of this goal and create MOOCs that solve problems. However, greater capital and support should be invested for these courses to have a higher rate of success.

A Template for a Collaborative Problem-Solving MOOC

There could be many types of problem-solving MOOCs of different lengths and with different objectives. Problems can be large or small, and depending on the funding available through the course, a greater or smaller number of participants may be interested in being a part of it. These courses may also benefit from lasting only a short amount of time and being an intense challenge with clear stages for completing the shared readings or viewing different videos, a stage for group formation and for initial idea proposal to be shared, and then for the idea to be further developed into a proposal. Potentially the MOOC could then share updates with all of the community as the project continue. The frame for these pMOOCs may also depend on the request of the funding agencies.

In the same way that this paper discusses additional types of MOOCs should be considered, so should different arrangements for a pMOOCs. The template proposed in here is based on the work of the Center for Integrative Leadership (leadership.umn.edu) and their integrative leadership-based forums. By integrative leadership pMOOCs promote the importance of addressing Grand Challenges and the tenets of integrative leadership (http://www.leadership.umn.edu/what_is_cil/what_is_cil.html)

“Grand Challenges have significant consequences for the well-being of societies. They are novel, emergent, highly complex, and beyond the resources or knowledge of a single discipline, organization, or sector to address. Grand challenges do not lend themselves to simple or technical solutions. Single-sector actions to address these challenges often precipitate unanticipated and unintended consequences. Grand challenges are sometimes described in the literature as wicked problems or social messes”. [104]

From 2012 to 2015 – CIL will focus in addressing the following Grand Challenges:

• Regional economic and social vitality.

• Healthy development and educational achievement.

• Global food safety and food security.

• Post-secondary education’s role in society.

By adopting the elements of the Finding Common Ground (FCG) forums to pMOOCs, the University of Minnesota could help highlight some important elements that could be considered in problem-solving MOOCs. FCG forums emphasize the importance of collaboration through the use of art of hosting, world cafe, polarization mapping, idea generation, among other techniques which can help to discuss a topic with diverse stakeholders, even if there are large disagreements in their approaches, and identify shared concerns that can be collaboratively addressed. [105] [106] [107]

The Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota emphasizes the importance of solving challenges through dialog, levering opportunities and collaborating across differences. at the University of Minnesota, CIL works across departments and with different student groups to address community problems and provide leadership training to student groups. Increasing cross-boundary opportunities, and working across boundaries can help in the generation of better ideas, one of the strengths of crowdsourcing and crowd-accelerated innovation. [108] [109]

Over the past years the results of the FCG forums have been very positive. These forums have been held to discuss topics such as “Improving Animal and Worker Health and Welfare”, “Ensuring Food Safety, Whose Responsibility”, “The Use of Antibiotics in Agriculture”, among others [110] [111] [112] [113] . These events bring together individuals and groups with opposing viewpoints, such as gun control and gun right activists, into the same space to brainstorm solutions. By bringing individuals with contrasting viewpoints together there is a greater likelihood that different concerns are addressed and for propositions to be more holistic.

CIL techniques rely on finding different ways by which to discuss and better understanding complex challenges by framing these wicked problems not as problems that can be easily solved but situations that should be effectively managed. A way to illustrate the difference between managing a complex situation in contrast to solving a problem is by thinking of the difference between catching a baseball out in the outfield to juggling 3 or more balls in the air. When a baseball is caught the problem is solved, yet, when one juggles, one manages a situation or polarity, but the moment one stop juggling, the system stops working. Many of the wicked problems or grand challenges faced by society, such as global warming, pollution, costs of education, gun policy, welfare payments, and many others challenges include many stakeholders. Through collaboration with these stakeholders it might be easier to come up with the best possible solutions. CIL currently invite a few key stakeholders to FCG forums. Unfortunately, due to capacity limitations, many are unable to join in the discussion. By bringing these discussions online, individuals that were previously unable to join, many be able to participate and contribute through their expertise.

After various activities and rounds of conversation, FCG participants are eventually asked to brainstorm solutions to problems and participate in a grant competition. InCommons.org was a platform that was created with the purpose of organizing competitions around problems for funding that recently closed due to limited success, but the solving of problems through crowdsourcing has been successful in various other platforms and situations. [114] [115] [116] There are many remaining platforms with a similar objective. However, most of them are not courses but rather idea competitions. pMOOCs add to the posibilities for open innovation and crowdsourced innovation but include within them a course component. The course component would be helpful in framing the discussion. pMOOCs would provide an initial discussion space to help participants understand different points of view on an issue and the complexity of the problem at hand before trying to address it and compete for prizes. In this sense, participants would go from learning about a subject, sharing their ideas on the subject and discussing it, before looking for ways to address these challenges collaborative. Individual proposals could also be submitted but one of the benefits of the pMOOCs would be to allow for creative and capable teams to assemble.

Any participant would be able to join the MOOC as they would all first learn more about the problem, and then share how they believe the problem could be addressed. As a course, it would provide individuals with an experiential learning experience while they would also meet other individuals from different departments who may share an interest in the same topic. Other elements that form parts of the different types of MOOCs shared by Bonk could also be included. Concerns that impact land grant institutions or communities could potentially be addressed by these MOOCs. At the University of Minnesota, pMOOCs could address community problems and, through concentric circles of influence, discuss a topic that affects a broader group encouraging the broader community to participate. Because they can be framed to address a community or societal problem, these courses will benefit from being open, and massive. pMOOCs would potentially be shorter MOOCs in terms of content with perhaps a greater portion of time given to the idea competition portion of the course. While many other formats of problem-solving MOOCs can be developed, yet this is a way in which the University of Minnesota could provide a space for this type of course.

While a few years ago these courses were not possible, it is important to be creative and understand that the limitations for the future of MOOCs are primarily in our imagination. If a particular technology is not available in a particular platform, it can and may eventually be included. What’s more, most of the elements to make pMOOCs take place are already available. Crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter, Indigogo, InCommons, among many others, try to share ideas with a broader community and provide funding for the best ideas. Yet, they are not courses in that ideas are developed independently by groups of people and there is no common understanding of the problem beforehand. The elements that make FCG forums successful and the techniques applied by the CIL to solve grand challenges would help in making this platform a better learning experience and perhaps aid in the generation of even better ideas.

In addition, higher education institutions should harness the potential of having a very talented student body and encourage them to work in cross-departmental projects by promoting greater collaboration, idea generation, design thinking and problem-solving approaches. Listening to TED talks can help us become more familiar with brilliant ideas, but through pMOOCs we might be able to develop many more brilliant ideas and projects. These MOOC laboratories can more effectively harness the potential of crowdsourcing and being open. MOOCs can help solve problems and provide their participants various incentives, not only in the form of a certificate or a credit that pads their resume, but more importantly the potential to obtain access to capital and the potential for societal or community problem.

Paul Kim’s Designing a New Learning Environment MOOC from Stanford Venture Lab included the formation of groups, and over $20,000 was available for students to compete for and further develop their projects. This MOOC is a great example of a pMOOC, yet additional design thinking exercises could also be included. Concepts such as integrative leadership, polarity mapping, and collaborative problem-solving techniques can enhance these environments. MOOCs are a growing taxonomy and there will be many more types of MOOCs as we move forward. Not all MOOCs should include problem-solving elements or project-based learning but some should. MOOCs where individuals may compete for a grant at the end of the course could help encourage students to participate and stay in the course until it is completed. Other incentives, such as offering employment has also been tested. These are but a few examples of what will be possible with MOOCs in the future. If you believe that MOOCs as they are have problems, then we can work together to address them.

Current critiques of MOOCs downplay that MOOCs are an emerging technology that relies on multiple other emerging technologies, and that while some previous attempts at expanding online learning failed before as did AllLearn and Fhantom, even if this iteration of platforms and initiatives fail, another one will probably be just around the corner. [117] [118] [119] Various technologies that are currently in their infancy or second iterations will eventually reach a plateau of productivity. [120] New technologies also experience adoption challenges but they have improved consistently over time. [121] [122] [123] It is due to the unpredictability of the immediate future but the certainty in its direction that preparing for these changes and when possible investing in these changes can help improve the positioning of an organization while also aiding a particular technology to be more extensively adopted. Individuals and organizations have the potential to influence different versions of the future. In addition to Coursera, EdX, Udacity, various other platforms are already being developed for Europe, Australia, and for other languages.


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The Future of Ebooks and New Forms of Knowledge Production

»Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

The Future of Ebooks and New Forms of Knowledge Production

March 18th, 2013

The book market is rapidly changing, defying initial expectations. As digital objects, ebooks bring with them affordances that were previously unavailable in printed books. For example an open ebook using a Creative Commons license (CC-BY) can be easily remixed, reused, revised and redistributed by anyone online (http://opencontent.org/definition/). Digital books can also be dynamic and interactive. While ebooks are different in that they require an electrical device to be used and cannot yet be easily traded between readers, ebooks are increasingly adding new features and it is a technology that is yet to reach its plateau of productivity. What we think of ebooks today, is different, at least at the high end, from what an ebook will be in the second half of the 21st century. What an ebook can be will increasingly be defined by  publishers’ and authors’ imaginations.

How Far Into The Future – Gartner’s Technology Hype Cycle

While in their current stage, ebooks are primarily accessed via ereaders and tablets, they will also be accessible through other devices in the near future, such as Google Glasses, among others. Some interesting functionalities are already in use. Amazon Whispersync technology allows for ebooks to be synced with their audiobook equivalent from Audible.com allowing users to seamlessly transition between reading a book’s written copy at home to listening a different chapter while running on the treadmill. According to Gartner’s Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle, media tablets are less than 2 years away from reaching the plateau of productivity, but other technologies that are important to the future to ebook formatting such as BYOD (2- 5 year away) or HTML 5 (5 to 10 years away) are multiple years away from reaching their maximum potential.#

Despite many readers continued preference for printed books, arguments that most individuals will continue to prefer to read in paper overtime seems to be skewed towards tradition and may not withstand the test of time. Our current societal preference may be linked more to people who grew up reading in print as it is only recently that ebooks have started to become more popular, that the future preferences of those born in Generation Z or in the early 2000s and later.# This generational shift is similar to the differences in desktop use between digital natives and digital immigrants (Pre-1984 and Post-1984).# The change in book preferences is more recent, as it is only in the past few years that ebooks are available in devices that compete in terms of mobility and flexibility with printed books. To someone born in the 21st century, interacting with a touchscreen is second nature.

Relativity of Time and Impending Change

Time is relative and the technologies that we grow up using tend to become invisible over time.# When brainstorming the potential of ebooks, it is important that when we think of technology we remember that printed books are relatively a modern invention and that for thousands of years information was written on clay tablets, and scrolls, or passed on orally within cultures. In a broader sense, while homosapiens sapiens have existed in this planet for over 200,000 years, movable type was only created in China in 1040 A.D. and popularized by Gutenberg after 1454 A.D.# Most of what we think of today as “tradition” is a relatively modern invention that is likely to change over time.

In addition, the impact of exponential improvement rates are transforming our world into a constantly innovating society (CIS), approaching rates of unpredictable growth.# What a book will be 50 years from now is difficult if not impossible to predict as books in the future will take many shapes and forms. Instead of looking that far into the future, this essay brainstorms possibilities within the next 5 to 15 years. The use of visioning tools such as storytech, dramatech, and the futures wheel can help us to think of different possibilities.# It is important to envision the future as a plurality, where there are multiple possible futures and that our collective actions can help shape that future. The future is but a series of possibilities that are shaped by our daily actions.  As other technologies have improved and diversified themselves over the years, so too will ebooks and the technologies surrounding them. In the short term, there is already an increased acceptance of ebooks over printed books. From 2011 and 2012 alone, ebook reading increased from 16% to 23% of all Americans, while reading of printed books fell from 72% to 67%.# It will be interesting to see how these trends hold over time.

Advent of Tablets and Other Portable Powerful Mobile Devices

In 1968 Alan Kay envisioned the Dynabook and in 2001 Microsoft coined the term Microsoft Tablet PC, yet it was not until later that decade that tablets and smartphones became an influential force in the personal computer market. In 2010 and 2011, the iPad became the most successful tablet and represented in itself most of the tablet market.# Tablets are currently the technology that is most directly impacting the consumption of ebooks as tablets and other advanced mobile devices have a competitive advantage in facilitating leisure reading. These recent technological developments have transformed the personal computing device market. Following the release of the first iPhone on June 2007 and the first tablet in August 2010, similar devices are now owned by over 33% of adult Americans and their adoption is growing at a rapid rate.#

While laptops or desktop computers allow users to open multiple applications simultaneously among other work-oriented affordances, desktops and laptop computers have disadvantages in comparison to books that have limited their adoption as a primary ereading device. Laptops are helpful within the workplace for reading emails and in office work but are uncomfortable for leisure reading.  While laptops may reach processing speeds that are higher than any tablet, they include a fixed keyboards which limits their usability. In terms of thoughtful design elements, tablets have a greater usability, utility, and aesthetic value over desktop or laptop computers.# Their community of users is comparable. Many laptops or desktop computers are also more costly than most tablets and smartphones. While this is rapidly changing as high end tablets, in particular Windows 8 Surface Pro, dual as tablets and office computers, tablets tend to be more affordable than mid-range laptops.

In addition, whereas a laptop currently may take a few minutes to boot up and have a battery that lasts less than two hours, a tablet or an ereader allows for a longer battery life which can last six hours or more. Having a less powerful processor tablets have emphasized having a longer battery life. To reach some of the most remote locations, solar powered tablets such as the OLPC Tablet XO 3.0 are also in development, further decreasing energy requirements.# When discussing ereading for the 21st century, and the growing adoption of ebooks, is important to consider the impact brought by these devices in addition to the development of the Kindle reader (Nov, 2007), as it is through these and similar devices that users can read an ebook with the same ease as they can read a paper book.

If we take into account their portability and the ability to carry thousands of book on a single device, mobile devices are much more portable than a set of printed book. For anyone with a large library that has ever changed houses, or for someone taking a large number of books on a trip, we quickly come to the realization that while a single book is portable, a library of book is difficult to transfer. One of greatest benefit of ebook is their mobility as these books occupy only a small number of kilobytes or megabytes allowing users to take them anywhere.

Rates of Adoption and Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations

While every technology may grow to be adopted by a majority of people, most technologies are unable to reach a critical mass. In terms of adoptions, individuals can be classified as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.# Many technologies fail to extend beyond early adopter to an early majority, failing to reach the majority of the population. Five key factors that contribute to the rate of adoption of a technology are its relative advantage, compatibility, complexity or simplicity, trialability and observability. Rogers technology adoption model has been used extensively to explain or project the rate of adoption of a technology.

For ebooks, the rates of adoption were initially marginal, but have since increased rapidly following improvements in the battery life and usability of mobile devices. Apple has lead the way in improving touch user interfaces, followed closely by Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and other companies. In addition, the rates of adoption of tablets and smartphones are greater than those of desktop and laptop computers. Having a lower cost, greater simplicity, greater compatibility and a higher level of observability, these devices meet various of the criterias which can benefit the rate of adoption of a new technology. While feature or basic cell phones are likely the most rapidly diffused technology in history having reached over 6 billion mobile subscription worldwide in a short timespan, overtime many feature phones will be replaced by smartphones and phablets.#

According to Pew Research 45% of American adults own a smartphone, 26% of American adults own an ereader, and 31% of American adults own a tablet computer as of January 2013.# While only 25% of students currently prefer reading on a digital device, teenagers are increasingly accessing the internet primarily through their mobile devices.# As of March 2013, 95% of teens in the United States frequently use the internet.# This rapid rate of adoption of mobile devices helps explains the recent increase in ebook sales. In 2012, Amazon sold close to 383 million ebooks, a number much greater than the initial estimate of 252 million.# In total, Scott Devitt estimates that there were 859 million ebook sales in 2012 a number which was 45% higher than expected.  As explained through Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation Model the growing use of mobile devices and ebooks is likely to continue.

Increasing Functionalities, Decreasing Costs and Portability

The functionalities of tablet and ereader devices are also improving as the Kindle software along with the software of its main competitors now allow for multiple color highlighting, margin annotations, and cross-platform access to one’s ebook collection. One of the most useful functionalities are ebooks ability to collect notes and allow for social networking. Through kindle.amazon.com users are able to access their highlights and notes, as well as learn what are the most popular highlights in a book and what others are currently reading. While Kindle’s social elements are limited, they are improving.  Amazon has integrated Facebook and Twitter features.

Similar improvements are also taking place in the iPad and iOS which now links to users Twitter and Facebook accounts via the settings of the device.  Other sites such as Goodreads.com have also tried to capitalize on social reading elements, allowing readers to share their book collections and reviews of literary works. Within iOS devices, Mac users can now use iBooks Author at no cost to create media enhanced ebooks. Other powerful EPUB3 and HTML5 editors are also available. By creating ebooks with EPUB3 and HTML5 authors can include unique formatting elements and powerful features.

In terms of portability, tablets and mobile phones provide a new level of portability. Tablets and smartphones have also increasingly gone down in prices and many tablets and ereaders can now be purchased for less than a hundred dollars, a cost which is lower than the cost of a single textbook! New gadgets such as the Arduinos and Raspberry PIs illustrate the impact of Moore’s Law in personal computing. A barebone computer, the Raspberry PI, can be purchased for $35 whose video processor is as powerful as an iPhone 4S.# In 2011 India developed a low-end tablet for $50, a cost for which hopefully future individuals can obtain a mid-level tablet or smartphone.#

Overtime, ereaders and tablets are also likely to decrease the weight of students’ backpacks and the total cost of a student’s school resources. Students will be less likely to tell the teacher they forgot their books unless they forgot to charge their device. In addition, ebooks tend to be lower in cost than printed books which can help students and others parties to save hundreds of dollars. This is particularly true of textbooks. At the University of Minnesota, the College of Education and Human Development has provided iPads for every student since 2010.# The project has since emphasized the adoption of course packets and contributed to the creation of the UMN Open Textbook Catalog through which textbook can be rated and faculty are encouraged to try a free and open textbook reducing total cost of learning for students. So far, particularly within formal schooling, one of the greatest benefits of tablets has been their potential as high quality ereading devices. Many schools have since followed suit and implemented 1 to 1 iPad or tablet initiatives.

Operating Systems, Diversity and Convergence

One of the advantages of tablets over ereaders is that they allow for multiple programs to be installed within an operating system. iOS Appstore and Google Play allow users to access ebooks in many different formats and from different publishers from Inkling, to CourseSmart, to Kobo, to many other applications. Both stores now offer over 700,000 applications to their users.# The ability to access these programs in multiple devices will facilitate the implementation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies within workplaces and classrooms. While currently we can publish books on EPUB3, AZW, KF8, IBA, PDF, DOC, XML, HTML, among other formats allowing for extensive design and formatting possibilities, some of these file types are not accessible on all devices. iBooks for example are only available on Apple devices. In the short term future, there is strong need for these different file types to be accessible through different devices that may be used by students in the classroom. While unlikely, as some of these formats already contain extensive catalogs with hundreds of titles, perhaps overtime there will be a dominant format for publishing ebooks as the World Wide Web consolidated over HTML and CSS.

Yet for now, a move towards convergence and BYOD policies is organically taking place as more devices are able to read different file type. iBooks for example is able to read both PDFs and EPUBs, while Kindle can also read PDF files. Another way in which there is greater convergence is by viewers being accessible across operating systems. While Kindle began offering ebooks only through their ereaders, they have since allowed ebook owners to read and mark their ebooks on most devices including their cloud reader, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows 8, Linux, and more. Not only are file types accessible through multiple devices but ebook readers are also available in multiple devices.

In terms of books that are customized applications or mobile apps, the highly creative and engaging works of Touch Press, Push Pop Press, and Game Collage are currently only available via the iPad.# Unfortunately, while these companies illustrate what is possible in ebooks that integrate multiple types of media and interaction, they also show how for now, this is a process that will only be available for unique / special titles.

Increased Openness and Interesting Projects

Another important project that will transform ereading will be the Google Book Library Project. Having scanned over 20 millions of books and continuing to work with libraries to scan millions many more despite having slowed down due to lawsuits, Google Books can provide access to a large database of resources that would otherwise be underutilized.# Some of these books were before only available in a single library and can now be access by anyone over the internet. Google estimated that there were 180 million original works in libraries many of which are out of copyright and could be shared with anyone in the world once scanned.

Unlike a paper copy of the book which can only be used by one person at the time, through the internet there is no tragedy of commons and a copy can be multiplied indefinitely. Even more, by digitalizing these books comparisons between books over time are now possible through Google’s Ngram viewer (http://books.google.com/ngrams). Through the Ngram viewer we can analyze how certain words increase or decreased their appearance in published works. Other sites such as the Project Guntherberg also allow for access to over 42,000 books that can be downloaded by anyone with an internet connection.# With their affiliate libraries there are over 100,000 free ebooks available. These ebooks can be downloaded in multiple formats.

Other open book projects include Wikibooks, Wikipedia, Curriki, OpenStacks, Wikieducators, Saylor, Connexions, Siyavula, Boundless, along with many others. These and other projects allow for multiple individuals or anyone over the internet to contribute in the creation of a book. These books are shared openly and can be modified by anyone who has a copy of it. The ability for anyone to contribute to the creation process has led to the organization of booksprints and other events that attempt to create books in a short period of time.# A booksprint, is a process that borrows heavily from the hackathon process where experts get together, divide their responsibilities, and create a product in a short period of time. These new creative processes are possible due to technologies such as Github, Google Docs, and other collaborative platforms that include versioning control systems. Openness and increased collaboration has increased due to increased connectivity. Greater connectivity provides us access to a greater amount of information than ever available before, and also allows us to join in the creative process. These are changes that are now possible that will only improve overtime. With greater total production, perhaps a greater emphasis in collaboration will also lead to an increase in quality in addition to quantity.

Anyone Can Publish, Anyone Can Contribute

Another benefit of the impact of technology in book publishing is the new ability for writers to publish their books independently. Hundreds of thousands of books are increasingly being shared as through websites that have not been formally published but are impacting the education of those who read them. While a published book obtains an ISBN number and can be easily located, many internet works lack these numbers. In addition, the boundary between some reports, children books, workbooks, and other shared digital files can be blurry. Books that are distributed as applications through the Apple App Store can also lack ISBN numbers despite being ebooks with unique features.

It is difficult to tell how many works are being produced and share online. From recent publishing figures it is estimated that 328,259 books were published in the United States in 2010 and approximately 2.2 million books were published worldwide that year, however that number is even greater when we account for all of the ebooks that were shared through the internet.# The internet is growing rapidly partly due to user generated content. The blogosphere is one way in which news stories and experts share information. Some books are created using WordPress and are very similar to blogs, and a series of best blog articles could potentially be collected and shared as a book instead. Books about twitter messages have also been published.

To have a better idea of the growing extensiveness of internet content, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt mentioned in 2010 that while there were close to 5 exabytes of information created from the beginning of time to 2003, that quantity of information was now being produced every two days.# The rate of production has only increased since. EMC estimated in 2011 that the internet would reach 1.8 zettabytes by the end of the year having grown by a factor of 9 in five years.# A similar growth is true of every media as a result of improved communication systems. Uploads to YouTube total more than 72 hours of video every minute.# As the internet has grown, so has the ease through which an author can create a book. Displacing the publisher, many ebooks enter the market independently. It is increasingly simple for a writer to publish their own ebook through Amazon, iBook Author, or various other authoring programs.

What Else Is Possible?

Having been born in 1984, the year Apple introduced the personal computer, I consider myself a digital native, a person who has never had to clearly outline a paper or worry about typing the right word the during a first draft with fear of being unable to fix a typo or a poor word choice. Being both a second language learner and moderately dyslexic, the personal computer allowed me to produce written works whereas before 1984, I would have been too error prone to work or maintain a high level of productivity as an author. The diverse benefits of technology for people with disabilities are well documented, but some of these changes affect us all, affecting how most of us now interact with a particular tool. In the case of ebooks, it is a media that is increasingly but not necessarily multimedia rich, and one that anyone with good content and time can create for.

While our ability to type in word processor and reformat any part of a paper has been available to individuals writing a draft since 1984 and for some before, published works have remained static, printed works in particular were only modified with each edition. With static text there is a need for publishing new edition of books, or for a newspaper to publish a correction in the following edition. As we move into a digital landscape, correction can also be made to the virtual editions, and new editions of ebooks can be pushed to individuals through their Kindle, iBooks, Kobo or other ebook management system. Similarly to how we receive updates to mobile apps, so too can ebooks be improved, enhanced and updated overtime. By never being printed, an ebook can potentially remain open as a perpetual final draft.

These and other changes are likely to take place in the near future. While predicting the future is difficult and point us into multiple possibilities, books are likely to increasing their flexibility and connectivity over time. Increasingly, everyone will also have access to tools that allow for the creation of high quality ebooks. Rather than emphasizing the importance of access to the tools of production, having or producing high quality content and having an effective marketing structure will be an author’s main limitation in producing ebooks and other types of media for a living.

High quality tools are currently available but as a fragmented market authors currently most choose between the benefits of one system over another. Overall, ebooks are likely to gain flexibility in terms of the types of media that they integrate and allow for greater for modifications and transferable between devices and individuals. Increasingly, there will be more tools available but not every book will require every tool, rather selecting the right tools for the right audience will be a part of an author’s challenge.

As we move into the second decade of the 21st century we are able to already experience books that include games, interactive infographics, hyperlinks, movies and images that react to the user who is navigating through the ebook and also explain a subject in multiple ways to the reader. Touch Press and Push Pop Press have pushed the limits in iOS publishing by creating highly interactive books. These books allow users to rotate 3D objects and to modify variables in infographics. They are very original but also difficult to produce. For example, In Al Gore’s Our Choice a person can blow through the microphone to simulate wind and activate a virtual windmill.

Media rich books are great, and may be increasingly important for engaging students, but with greater production of media, we must emphasize diversity. Not all books should integrate multimedia but it may be useful for many. The future of the book and the ebook is a future of greater diversity, and a future where authors need to learn about the different licensing and distributing tools available. This greater flexibility and plethora of possibilities is likely to increase diversity and further personalize and improve an individual’s learning experience!

Hope you found this article interesting. If there are particular changes that are taking place that you feel should be added to this article please add them below in the comment section!

Thanks. Alfonso

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MESI Conference 2013 – Mobile Learning Workshop

»Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

MESI Conference 2013  – Mobile Learning Workshop

March 7, 2013

Presenters:

Alfonso Sintjago – Brief Explanation of Event and Overview of Mobile Apps for Evaluation

Presenter

Application #1

Application #2

Alfonso Sintjago

Haiku Deck

Grafio

Alison Link

Evernote

Hootsuite

Brittany Edwards

Voice Record Pro

Prezi

Tryggvi Thayer

Goodreader

Timekeeper

Patrick O’Leary

iMovie

Adobe Connect

Daniel Woldeab

Timekeeper

Google Drive

Ann Fandrey

Flipboard

Roam + Support

Ahmed Essa

Dropbox

Roam + Support

Jessamay Thompson

Roam + Support

Quicktap Survey

Matt Finholt

CloudOn

iThoughtsHD

Kacie Kline

Roam + Support

Keynote

 

Image

 

After an initial presentation on mobile learning, participants will be placed in a group which will then travel as a unit through 8 different tables. Each table will have a presenter that will share an app and answer questions in a brief 5 minute presentation. After the 5 minutes are over a time keeper will indicate to participants that it is time to move to the next table. The same process will be repeated until participants visit all of the tables. There will then be a 10 minute break before participants are again asked to rotate throught the tables. This time presenters at each table will present on a different application that may be of interest to evaluators.

Applications were chosen based on their capability, quality, cost, and how helpful they can be to evaluators utilizing mobile devices. We hope you enjoy the different presentations. Each table will have two iPads. One iPad will be used by the presenter while another iPad will be available for participants to test the application. Participants are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices. While the workshop will cover only 16 applications, it will also briefly explain various categories of apps and how these categories include many other applications that can be as useful to evaluators. We hope that participants leave the workshop with a better understanding of different posibilities and a higher level of comfort with mobile devices. This guide includes a number of links that participants are encouraged to visit following the culmination of the conference.

This workshop is based on the work of Treden Wagoner and Sheila Hoover from Academic Technology Services in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota

 

Image

 

Mobile Learning Theory

(Link)

UMN CEHD iPad Initiative

(Link)

App Dating Explanation – Brief Paper

(Link)

App Dating Explanation – Presentation

(Link)

Download App Sheet

(Link)

Email Completed App Sheet

(Link)

App Categories – Presentation

(Link)

Learni.st Board – Evaluation Apps

(Link)

Pinterest Board – Interesting iOS Apps

(Link)

Various App Evaluation Rubrics – Folder

(Link)

 

Categories

Category Description

Note-taking

The iPad’s software includes a note-taking apps which can be synced to a one’s Google and iCloud account. Other note-taking apps such as Evernote includes many additional features and a large number of apps that work in conjunction with Evernote. For Microsoft Office users there is a OneNote version for the iPad that can help desktop users to continue using the same program for accessing their notebooks. Notability and Simplenote are other good choices.

Voice Recording

Some note-taking apps such as Evernote and Audionote allow users to include audio recording within their notes. Unfortunately, these recording may have a limit of 90 minutes or less depending on one’s product subscription. There are also advantages to having a separate audio file. Evernote requires a subscription for greater space. Using a program such as iTalk (iPhone) or Voice Recorder (iPad) allows users to record audio in the background for hours and for audio files to be sync to a cloud storage service.

Video Recording

Recording interviews can be a very unique and useful way in which to use an iOS or other mobile devices. Apple’s iMovie is one of the best and most user-friendly movie recording programs available in the App Store. iMovie retains a lot of the functionality of is desktop counterpart. Other programs such as Pinnacle Studio allow for a similar level of editing capability and customization. If videos are recorded for social media purposes, Vine or Socialcam, among others can be used to quickly share video snippets.

Surveys Tools

There are multiple survey tools available for iOS but few are as powerful as QuickTap Survey. QuickTap allows for both online and offline data collection. QuickTap is not web-based and it allows images to be uploaded for multiple choice questions. While QuickTap is the best option available other programs such as TouchPoint Business are good alternatives. If a connection to the internet is available tools such as a Google Form or SurveyMonkey, PollDaddy among other web-based survey tools could be used effectively.

Presentation

Various presentation applications are available in the iPad that allow you to create and share very attractive presentations. In terms of capabilities, Apple’s Keynote is probably the most powerful presentation tool on the iPad. It allows you to add 3D graphics and other attractive features. Prezi is another application that can help deliver a unique presentation experience for the viewer. Using a 3D landscape Prezi can help zoom into key points in a presentation

Presentation Part II

There are multiple powerful presentation apps on the iPad. CloudOn allows users to access their PowerPoints and other Office documents, edit them and share them through its interface. Another presentation tool worth mentioning is Haiku Deck. Haiku Deck is a free application that allows users to create a visually stunning presentation using only Creative Commons images or images available in your iOS device through its useful search engine for Creative Commons images.

To Do Lists

As mobile devices iOS devices are easy to activate and accessible in most places. Because of their connectivity and accessibility they are a great way to stay up to date on relevant events. iOS applications include a large number of attractive to do lists, pomodoros and timers to help increase productivity. These apps help users to effectively stay up to date with their schedule providing users with regular reminders. There are many apps available to fit each organization style including Toodledo, Any.DO, Clear, List!, among many others.

Mindmapping

Among the various apps that can help to map an idea or a project are iThoughtsHD, Grafio, Popplet, and Mindnode. These apps can be expensive but can help in brainstorming ideas and visualizing connections. Some such as iThoughtsHD allow for images and for easy export into other platforms. Grafio provides attractive visuals and allows for finger drawing shapes and intuitive touch formatting

Planning

Project planning is a skill that benefits most evaluators which requires effort to master. As portable, connected devices, iOS devices can help in the planning process. Some applications include multiple functions and many of the tools needed to organize and share a project. Bento 4 and Beesy are two of the best known apps in this category. These apps include calendars, allow for note-taking, to-do lists, audio notes, Evernote exports, picture imports among many other features that can simplify the execution of a project.

Online Conference

Online conferencing apps such as Adobe Connect, Fuze, or GoToMeeting allow for meetings to be hosted or attending via an iPad. This can be helpful when conducting synchronous online focus groups and online discussions. These same applications are used for webinars and some of them include recording features. Adobe Connect allows for the use of polls, drawing and other tools to help increase interaction. It also include a live chat feature.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is increasingly being provided by many companies. Two of the highly recommended programs are Google Drive and Dropbox. Other programs such as Sugar Sync, Box.net, or SkyDrive also have large communities of users. Most of these programs utilize the “freemium” marketing model. These programs allow you to maintain copies of files in the cloud across different computers so your files are always accessible. They also allow for collaboration in projects as folders and files can be more easily shared.

Pdf Annotation

Two of the most powerful Pdf annotation tools are Goodreader and iAnnotate. Other free options such as PaperPort Notes are also available. These programs allow for various types of edits to be made to Pdf files including highlighting, marking, and signing. These applications can also sync to different cloud storage programs to ensure that the most recent copy is quickly available across devices. Some of them allow for files to be edited, text to be added, and for the completion of form.

Social Media

Social Media is increasingly an effective way to connect and even obtain feedback from others. There are various applications that aggregate social media information. Some of them aggregate both a Twitter and a Facebook feed. Flipboard and Tweetbot are too good examples and different takes in effectively using and managing social media feeds. Flipboard also facilitates the management of RSS feeds and other news sources.

 

Categories

App Example

Download Link

Video Tutorial

Note-taking

Evernote

(Link)

(Link)

Voice Recording

iTalk

(Link)

(Link)

Video Recording

iMovie

(Link)

(Link)

Surveys Tools

QuickTap Survey

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation

Keynote

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation – II

CloudOn

(Link)

(Link)

To Do Lists

Toodledo

(Link)

(Link)

Mindmapping

iThoughtsHD

(Link)

(Link)

Planning

Beesy

(Link)

(Link)

Online Conference

Adobe Connect

(Link)

(Link)

Cloud Storage

Google Drive

(Link)

(Link)

Pdf Annotation

Goodreader

(Link)

(Link)

Social Media

Flipboard

(Link)

(Link)

 

Categories

App Example

Download Link

Video Tutorial

Note-taking

OneNote

(Link)

(Link)

Voice Recording

Voice Recorder

(Link)

(Link)

Video Recording

Pinnacle Studio

(Link)

(Link)

Surveys Tools

TouchPoint

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation

Prezi

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation Part II

Haiku Deck

(Link)

(Link)

To Do Lists

Any.DO

(Link)

(Link)

Mindmapping

Grafio

(Link)

(Link)

Planning

Bento4HD

(Link)

(Link)

Online Conference

Fuze

(Link)

(Link)

Cloud Storage

Dropbox

(Link)

(Link)

Pdf Annotation

iAnnotate

(Link)

(Link)

Social Media

HootSuite

(Link)

(Link)

 

Categories

Additional Review

Additional Review

 

Note-taking

(Link)

(Link)

Voice Recording

(Link)

(Link)

Video Recording

(Link)

(Link)

Surveys Tools

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation

(Link)

(Link)

Presentation Part II

(Link)

(Link)

To Do Lists

(Link)

(Link)

Mindmapping

(Link)

(Link)

Planning

(Link)

(Link)

Online Conference

(Link)

(Link)

Cloud Storage

(Link)

(Link)

Pdf Annotation

(Link)

(Link)

Social Media

(Link)

(Link)

 

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Restructure of GAPSA and the Importance of Integrative Leadership (CIL)

»Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

 

Based on feedback gathered over the past two years, these resolutions address the need to transform GAPSA into a more representative body by promoting integrative leadership skills and modifying the structure of GAPSA so that it transforms into a more representative body. While GAPSA represents over 10 different councils on many years it has included members from only a few councils within its executive board. The goal of these resolutions are to increase the organization’s focus on collaborative leadership and make the organization more representative.

February 28, 2013

RESOLUTION: University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Restructure

Author: Andrew McNally, COGS Executive Vice President; Alfonso Sintjago, GAPSA Executive Vice President.

Topic: Internal Affairs


 

WHEREAS the University of Minnesota requires a space for graduate and professional students to convene all communities and constituencies on their campuses, to share knowledge, and promote mutual understanding, and

WHEREAS the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) should strive to promote a more inclusive voting membership and help build on-campus community to address Grand Challenges facing the University community, and

WHEREAS GAPSA functions best when affirming and serving graduate and professional student councils, and

WHEREAS Assembly meetings best affirm graduate and professional student concerns as a forum for expressing graduate and professional student concerns and for setting the organization’s broad agenda, and

WHEREAS Assembly meetings function best in an environment in which all participants accept the norms of mutual respect and in which the day-to-day operations of the organization are delegated to the Executive Board,

 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED

 

1.GAPSA’s Assembly will, beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, meet a minimum of 2 times per semester with the possibility of calling for additional meetings as necessary.

2. The basis for current voting memberships from each of the councils will remain the same, plus the new executive board members. Up to 10 optional at-large members may come from the general graduate and professional fee-paying body, and be elected by the General Assembly. These appointments are subject to the approval of GAPSA’s Assembly. They should reflect representation from groups which desire to advocate in graduate student governance but which are not directly represented in the graduate student council structure.

3.  Assembly meetings should be conducted in a spirit of conviviality and affirming all graduate and professional student concerns and viewpoints, respecting differences of opinion and recognizing the outstanding work that all graduate and professional student organizations perform.

4. GAPSA’s Executive Board may invite graduate and professional student councils or organizations to present, on a regular basis or more occasionally, to share their concerns and all ongoing projects with the larger GAPSA Assembly in order to promote a spirit of mutual understanding and problem-solving among the graduate and professional student community, and to present any resolutions regarding their concerns for the approval of the Assembly. The Assembly will adhere to the following tenets of integrative leadership:

· Integrating intuition, reason and imagination in making decisions and deploying resources;

· Anticipating and leveraging windows of opportunity;

· Hosting dialogue, debate and deliberation;

· Mapping polarities and balancing paradox;

· Designing inclusive structures and decision-making processes;

The GAPSA Assembly should also be regarded as a space for the appropriate advertisement of all graduate and professional student organizations’ social and academic events and for building a larger graduate and professional student community at the University of Minnesota.

4. The general purpose of the Assembly will be regarded as setting the broad agenda for the organization and for providing an affirming outlet for raising student concerns and challenges.

The ‘broad agenda’ will be defined as, but not limited to:

 

  • Proposing, debating, and voting on resolutions—any member of GAPSA, voting or non-voting, may propose a resolution.

  • Reviewing and approving the finance and grant reports.

  • Providing feedback in GAPSA’s current or proposed courses of action.

  • Advertising and making known events on campus that affect graduate students

 

The Assembly will be dedicated to exploring challenges that the student body faces, and to have discussions based in established civic engagement practices, in order to find actionable solutions. It will also have a brief business section that allows for passage of grants and finance reports once a semester. These reports may be submitted digital before the GAPSA Assembly.

5. The GAPSA Executive Board shall have the authority to make all changes to the Constitution and Bylaws to make these changes effective, with the approval of GAPSA’s current Assembly. All changes necessary to bylaws and constitution will be subject to GA approval by the end of this semester.

6. For changes to be valid, representatives must be provided with copies of both current and proposed versions before voting. These copies may be digital, or upon the request of a representative, can be provided in hard copy form.

————–

RESOLUTION: University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly—University of Minnesota

Author: Alfonso Sintjago, Executive Vice President, Brittany Edwards, President, Andrew McNally, COGS Vice President.
Topic: Internal Affairs

WHEREAS the University of Minnesota requires a space for graduate and professional students to convene all communities and constituencies on their campuses, to share knowledge, and promote mutual understanding, and

WHEREAS the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) should strive to promote a more inclusive voting membership and help build on-campus community to tackle Grand Challenges facing our University community and

WHEREAS GAPSA functions best when affirming and serving graduate and professional student councils, and

WHEREAS Executive meetings best affirm graduate and professional student concerns as a forum for addressing graduate and professional student concerns and for setting the organization’s specific agenda, and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED

1. GAPSA’s Executive Board will, beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, meet 2 times per month, with the preference of having one meeting be dedicated to leadership development, supported and advised by the Center for Integrative Leadership.

The other meeting will be dedicated to business and actions to implement changes beneficial to graduate and professional students. When possible, professional development opportunities will also be available to the General Assembly

2. Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, GAPSA’s Executive Board will be made up of a student appointed by each council, at their council’s discretion, through each council’s independent selection process. Additionally, the President will be elected by the student body through the current ACEC structure. A Vice President will be appointed by the executive board of the previous academic year, or within the current academic year, if the position is not filled.

Up to two student representatives to the UMN Board of Regents may be appointed by the process shared with MSA, and they will also serve as members. This will result in a board of 13-14 Members. If a council neglects to fill their allocated position, the council president must select a representative. If no representative is selected, the Executive Board may appoint an at-large replacement, to serve until formally approved at the next available Assembly Meeting.

3.  The Executive Board may consider an ongoing, developmental program evaluation of itself and the Assembly, including an annual student body survey. The objective of the evaluation will be the continued improvement of the organization. Evaluations may include interviews, focus groups, and other forms of data collection that can help inform future improvements.

4. The GAPSA Executive Board should also promote the Assembly as a space for the appropriate advertisement of all graduate and professional student organizations’ social and academic events and for building a larger graduate student community at the University of Minnesota.

5. The general purpose of the Executive Board will be regarded as setting the specific agenda and actions for the organization and for providing an affirming outlet for raising student concerns and addressing Grand Challenges, at the University, State and Federal level, integrating the wide-ranging perspectives and disciplines of the graduate and professional student body.

The ‘specific agenda’ will be defined as, but not limited to:

– Pursuing the resolutions passed by the Assembly, bringing them to the attention of the administration, etc.

– Keeping the General Assembly informed by means of progress reports before or at each meeting. The reports may be submitted online and shared before the start of the General Assembly.

– Reports may be made on the progress of different resolutions, relevant meetings, events, and announcements.

6. The Executive Board will be charged with promoting integrative leadership and civic engagement practices in its governance. This effort will be supported and advised in partnership with the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota using the following tenets:

· Integrating intuition, reason and imagination in making decisions and deploying resources;

· Anticipating and leveraging windows of opportunity;

· Hosting dialogue, debate and deliberation;

· Mapping polarities and balancing paradox;

· Designing inclusive structures and decision-making processes;

7. The GAPSA Executive Board will control and support the day-to-day activities of the nonprofit and governance structures it embodies. GAPSA’s Executive Board and President will have the authority to enforce this spirit of respectful and relevant discussion.

8. The GAPSA Executive Board shall have the authority to make all changes to the Constitution and Bylaws to make these changes effective, with the approval of GAPSA’s current Assembly. All changes necessary to bylaws and constitution will be subject to GA approval by the end of this semester.

9. For changes to be valid, representatives must be provided with copies of both current and proposed versions before voting. These copies may be digital, or upon the request of a representative, can be provided in hard copy form.

 ————

RESOLUTION: University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Restructure

Author: Brittany Edwards, GAPSA President; Kevin Lang, GAPSA VP for Finance; Chet Bodin, GAPSA VP for Public Affairs; Alfonso Sintjago, GAPSA Executive Vice President.

Topic: Restructure (Center for Integrative Leadership)


 

WHEREAS the University of Minnesota requires a space for graduate and professional students to convene all communities and constituencies on their campuses, to share knowledge, and promote mutual understanding, and

WHEREAS the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) should strive to promote a more inclusive voting membership and help build on-campus community to address Grand Challenges facing the University community, and

WHEREAS The Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) is dedicated to examining and advancing a new vision for cross-sector leadership by addressing challenging issues of our time for a greater good, and

WHEREAS CIL is a premier forum for the study of leaders and leadership that crosses sectoral and geographic boundaries. A work which results in processes, programs and initiatives that, coupled with community engagement, apply integrative leadership in practical, effective ways, and

WHEREAS CIL engages in collaborative teaching, community outreach, and research initiatives with other University centers, and external community partners and believes that the practice of integrative leadership has the greatest potential to advance the common good.

 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED

1. GAPSA will partner with CIL in the formation of a Student Leadership Team which aspires to aid graduate and professional students in developing leadership techniques to better address the challenges of the 21st century.

2. GAPSA will promote civic engagement techniques that encourage to more constructive conversations such as World Cafe, Art of Hosting, Polarization Mapping, Idea Generation and other techniques that can aid in finding Common Ground and resolving or managing problems more effectively.

3. Together with CIL, GAPSA will contribute to the organization of student-led co-curricular initiatives supporting the development of integrative leaders and provide professional development opportunities for members in any of the graduate and professional councils.

4. GAPSA will promote the hosting of Grand Challenge discussions on pressing societal issues to bring greater clarity, mutual understanding, and potential points of action to bring about positive changes.

5. GAPSA will encourage a spirit of conviviality and affirming all graduate and professional student concerns and viewpoints, respecting differences of opinion and recognizing the outstanding work that all graduate and professional student organizations perform.

6. The Assembly and the Executive Board will adhere to the following tenets of integrative leadership:

· Integrating intuition, reason and imagination in making decisions and deploying resources;

· Anticipating and leveraging windows of opportunity;

· Hosting dialogue, debate and deliberation;

· Mapping polarities and balancing paradox;

· Designing inclusive structures and decision-making processes;

 

7. GAPSA will aid in the advertisement and promotion of graduate and professional student organizations’ social and academic events and for building a larger graduate and professional student community at the University of Minnesota.

8. GAPSA will be dedicated to exploring challenges that the student body faces, and to have discussions based in established civic engagement practices, in order to find actionable solutions.

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Are We There Yet? The Redefinition of the Book as We Know It

»Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

Are We There Yet? The Transformation and Redefinition of the Book as We Know It 

One of the most important technological changes to take place in human history was the invention and adoption of movable type printing presses. Since then, the production of books has changed substantially and today many books are never printed but transferred digitally. The e-book is increasing in popularity and many of Amazon’s and other major retailers sell books sometimes solely as e-books. This paper, will explore the current transition to e-books and what comes next after e-books.  How is an e-book different from a regular book apart from being access through a different medium? How information is currently shared in published format and how will it be shared as we move into the future? This paper will analyze the different licensing options that are currently available, and ways in which e-books are transforming learning.

Some of the topics that will be highlighted will be, the development of wikibooks, and booksprints, along with other different ways of producing books and how these are different from the traditional forms of production. The growth of information and our capacity to manage this growth in information production will also be emphasized. This paper will invite the reader to wonder about the meaning of a book in the 21st century, and how these changes are impacting our access, consumption and retention of information. Formatting changes will also be discussed. As we move into a future with Google Glasses and other mediums for the consumption of media, how are these changes impacting the development and distribution of books? Do images, videos, and interactive infographics enhance books? What is beyond Touchpress and the Gutenberg Project? How is the University of Minnesota tacking this modern challenge? How will the library look in the future (5, 10, and 15 years from now).

 

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Open Education Week Handout (11-15 March) 2013

»Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Spring 2013 | 0 comments

OPEN EDUCATION WEEK (11-15 MARCH) 2013 

Open Education Week 2013 (http://www.openeducationweek.org/) emphasizes the importance of open content and open educational resources (OER). OER are freely accessible, openly formatted and openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, education, assessment and research purposes. An increasingly important OER are open textbooks and their potential to decrease the total cost of education. OER was a term originally coined by UNESCO in 2002.

For more information about OER visit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_educational_resources)

CELEBRATE OPEN EDUCATION WEEK

This year Open Education Week will emphasize open textbooks. Open Textbooks can help to greatly reduce the costs of education by promoting the use of books that are licensed openly and can be revised, reused, redistributed, and remixed by instructors. Open Textbooks are available freely in digital format and at a low cost in paper format. Many of these books utilize Creative Commons licenses (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/)

To celebrate Open Education Week students have agreed to wear open textbook shirts and share with colleagues and friends the concept of Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources. More information about Open Textbooks is available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_textbook

The College of Education and Human Development through the creation of the Open Textbook Catalog has promoted the review of open textbooks in the hope that some of open textbooks may be adopted by faculty across the university, Minnesota, and the United States. Open Textbooks can save every student hundreds of dollars a semester and can save millions of dollars to students nationwide. Various states have noticed that potential of Open Textbooks in impacting education. Just in California alone, 50 open textbooks are currently being developed in the most common undergraduate courses. Other organizations such as Saylor.org are also encouraging and creation of Open Textbooks (http://www.saylor.org/otc/)

By increasing awareness to the Open Textbook Catalog (http://open.umn.edu) we hope that more faculty members become aware of this valuable resource and contribute to the review of Open Textbooks. Currently various universities across the United States and in Canada are utilizing the Open Textbook Catalog which will increasingly include more resources and detailed reviews of different textbooks. For more information about the cost saving impact of open textbooks visit http://www.studentpirgs.org/campaigns/sp/make-textbooks-affordable

OPEN EDUCATION WEEK AWARENESS RAISING MATERIALS

You will find Open Education Week outreach information, including possible scenarios where you could bring up the topic of open access, and basic talking points to introduce the topic, at http://z.umn.edu/oeweekideas

 

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