Clinical strength solutions

How do you gain consumers’ trust? By listening to them and knowing exactly what they want. And by turning this knowledge into innovative and compelling products. (Beiersdorf, brands overview) The thing about jetlag in America is that it leaves you stranded in the middle of the night with nothing to do but watch middle-of-the-night American TV. And so last night I learned about “stress sweat”, which is apparently a much worse kind of sweat than the regular kind. To protect…

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Visions always belong to someone

The awkwardly titled Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age that was released this week has generated a ton of coverage, which is interesting given its niche provenance. An apostolic group of North American educational stakeholders, including some very high profile names, got together and co-authored a fairly wordy document about the values and entitlements that we might protect in the name of online learners. What I’ve found useful is that most of the people involved…

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In the grupetto

No-one sat on and everyone drove as hard as they could. Matt Stephens, Life in the Grupetto Here’s the thing about professional cycling. It’s not the lycra, it’s not the drugs, and it’s not the spectacle of Lance talking about himself in the third person as that flawed guy who did the bad things. It’s the grupetto: the paradoxical collaboration that breaks out among rivals who are struggling at the back of the race, once the whole thing starts climbing…

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The time we give each other

In the second week of the new summer course, we spent the day together in class. Because summer in Australia is already snapped in two by Christmas, a whole lot of other weirdness can go on while no one’s looking, so we’re flipping the normal timetable and going with two all-day workshops supported by online reflections and activities. Thanks to Steve Wheeler, I’ve also discovered that we’re also haphazardly and instinctively following a primer on the 10 characteristics of authentic…

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Under pressure

It’s week one again, and I’m up late reading students’ introductory posts at the start of a mostly online course.  They don’t know each other, and in sharing photographs and writing publically about why they’re taking the course, they’re showing quite a bit of trust in strangers that they haven’t met in person, including me. This care that they show each other is really why I still choose to work online, after a year immersed in the blither of techno-futurism,…

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The view from here

Here come the planes They’re American planes.  Made in America. (Laurie Anderson, O Superman) Being a terrifically slow learner, I’ve signed up for another MOOC.  In my defense, I enrolled a while back and forgot, and now it’s come around just as I’ve been forced to admit that there are only so many chocolates you can eat or stuff down your cleavage before it all falls over. So now I’m in with x thousand others, trying a constructivist MOOC focused…

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It’s not you, it’s me

So, I signed up for a Coursera MOOC, and almost immediately the experience turned into Lucy and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a scene that suckers itself onto almost any stressful situation.  Lucy and Ethel take a job putting chocolates into wrappers.  It’s a conveyor belt scenario, and the task itself is simple; the challenge is to keep pace. Lucy’s enjoying herself, messing about.  But one stumble leads to a recovery problem, and before they know it Lucy is eating chocolates…

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The revolution might be televised

The first time I watched the awful EPIC2020 videos I was so irked by everything about them that I never went back to look carefully at the details of their campaign to reform higher education. But now I have, and I’m beyond irked. I’ve been boosted into the realm of appalled fascination. They’re going to “shatter the paradigm that the future will be anything like the past as well as facilitate discussion and accelerate actions to bring about the transformation of the…

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Guarding the well

Something I learned in high school history has come back unexpectedly while I’ve been brooding about Jonathan Rees’ opposition to MOOCs and his views on what they threaten. A couple of miles away from the place where I grew up is this beautiful Iron Age hill fort: Within the inner circle are the remaining stone foundations of an original castle, and—critically—the well that stored water for the whole settlement. Soldiers controlled the resources in the middle, and the villagers and…

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Scare tactics

OK, so clearly there’s a move on in the world of elearning conferences and events to shake academics out of our usual torpor.  As everyone knows, we don’t have much to do, and what we do pull off shows not a skerrick of imagination or even rudimentary competence. So let’s get the email about Blended Learning 2012 out of the way first.  The event seems like a reasonable affair, but it’s clear that the pricing structure doesn’t anticipate someone like…

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