Saturday, 16 February 2013

Good, Bad and Ugly - Videos in MOOCs

I've not had a chance to do much Moocing in the last week or so due to being busy at work and also having friends to stay and generally being out and about doing interesting things.  This way of engaging with learning suits me quite well as I like to be able to come and go as I please.  I don't think it's the best way but it's one way.  So I'm now trying to catch up with EDCMOOC - I didn't know which week was the current week or where I was up to so it is very useful that there is a clear table of what is happening each week with dates.  

Last week was week 2 and focused on future visions of technology and education.  The future of information technology as 'always on', ubiquitous communication, embedded in and with us.There are a number of videos to watch.  Video clips are tricky to get right for learning purposes for a number of reasons. They have to be of good quality.  This is not difficult these days as equipment and devices are sophisticated and can produce good videos.  The only instances when it doesn't matter is if it is impromptu and the audience is part of the context e.g. if you were filming something very quickly as part of a lesson or group activity and you needed to play it back immediately to point something out to offer immediate feedback.  However if the video is going to be shown to a wide audience and kept for a period of time then it needs to be good quality.  

The first film recommended in the week 2 resources was Film 1: A Day Made of Glass 2. (5:58)Corning and the second film Productivity Future Vision (6:17) Microsoft.  
I 'liked' them both, typical advertising videos as they're perfect.  Everyone is clean and calm and healthy.  As far as the technology is concerned, everything works (first time with no hitches) and is smooth and white and clear.  I love the touching and gestures and wish everything was like that so you could pick things up out of air and move them about - that would be great.  But it's not reality despite some of the things being real and others no doubt will exist quite soon. It's appealing but you know that it's advertising so it quickly becomes bland and boring.  (One thing I would like to know is what do those children need to take rucksacks to school for anymore - what do they keep in them? Surely they just need one beautifully portable device to do anything and everything?) 

But the videos are too long and this is my main objection to many video clips - 3 minutes is surely the optimum time, if you can't show or tell it in 3 minutes then you have to take on board that people are going to switch off - unless it is absolutely amazing.  The next video clips were Film 3: Sight (7:50) - a person lying on a rug on the floor pretending to sky dive as part of a game.  Ok, fine then it moves to preparing food and how cutting up ingredients is part of a level of a game.....boring.   And there's more than 7 minutes of this with a person with weird eyes....Next film Film 4: Charlie 13 (14:20) 14 mins about a teenage boy and a bleak future....I'm really not that keen on watching this...... Film 5: Plurality (14:14) so for the finale 14 minutes of something with strong language and offensive content - thanks but no thanks.  There are millions of videos out there about technology and education and society - why have something with offensive content?  And why more than three minutes? Yes, I'm being picky but after all, I am the audience and indeed the learner. In a learning environment where there is a massive amount of available content being produced rapidly and continuously, it has to be short and sweet to be successful.

Next two blog articles about MOOCs.
First is 
Shirky, C. (2012). Napster, Udacity and the academy., 12 November 2012. 
I found this interesting, I don't agree with it all but I appreciate the comparisons with music.  A live concert or performance is not the same as a recording and we don't expect it to be.  A live conference is not the same as an online conference, face to face / campus education and learning is not the same as online learning and we shouldn't expect it to be.
 “The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies”.

This blog article was in response - yes, MOOCs are better than nothing, anything's better than nothing so let's wait and see.

Bady, A. (2012). Questioning Clay Shirky. Inside Higher Ed, 6 December 2012.
"MOOCs are only better than nothing and speculation that this will someday change is worth pursuing, but for now, remains just that, speculation. It should be no surprise that venture capital is interested in speculation. And it should be no surprise that when academics look at the actual track record, when we try to evaluate the evidence rather than the hope, we discover a great deal to be pessimistic about". 

The final part of the week was Responses which included digital artefacts by students currently participating in the longer, Masters-level course that has inspired this MOOC: E-Learning and Digital Cultures.  I enjoyed watching and reading them.  They were all interesting and as ever the simple ones were the best.  Amy Woodgate's "Learning to Listen" video was very clever - about noise and not being able to hear everything but listening out for interesting bits.  Gina Fierlafijn-Reddie’s “Education of the very best sort” used Pinterest and I liked the format and layout as it was a great way to display a lot of interesting information.  I also liked Candace Nolan-Grant’s “A day behind glass” which had some very good parts but I'm not sure that prezi did it justice especially the embedding of the video clips.  

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