Dusting off the old blogging site

I am close to the final 4 weeks of my module of study and last week we looked at blogging as part of our reflections. As a result of this I felt that there was real value in reigniting my interests to blog again. I admit that I lost interest in blogging as I felt that it was not my style.

So a question occurred, ‘where do you find your inspiration to blog?’ Firstly look around people you know or have read their blog pages, what did you like about their reflections? Are there any leading thought figures that you enjoyed watching their TED talks or are there any books that you read that had made a positive impact on your life or work career practice? These can be good starting points and looking within specific subject specialist areas will help you find other inspirational blogs too.

Social Media as a space for crowdsourced knowledge

I found that by browsing social media channels can bring up similar interest based posts to your own practice. The following web based spaces help me with my specific interests.

Twitter – I follow many educational technology evangelists from around the world. Including specialists at my current and past organisations that I worked at. One downside to this approach is that you would be restricted by the bubble that we are in and exposed to. We will only follow and view opinions and interests similar to our own, and not completely new concepts that are out of our circles of interest. The 140 character limit ensures that information is shared into bite size chunks.

Instagram – I use this application for following artists, art galleries and museums from around the world. The beauty of this idea is that the art galleries exhibitions are brought to you all in one place. Trending artists share their work, and past famous artists are remembered through the art galleries.

WordPress reader – This is a great way to follow similar interest blogs to your own and by following leading academics can expand your understanding of their practice. This can also lead to you discovering new connections to other networks of specialist interests that you can learn from. This approach enabled me to build up my knowledge and understanding of other networks and communities which could introduce me to further opportunities.

LinkedIn – Great resource for linking up your professional work resume with your network of colleagues and companies that you worked with. I enjoy following specialist articles on personal development and leading organisations with similar interests to my own personal interests.

Reddit – Nice application for asking questions or learning about special topics. This too contains hashtags that will enable you to find and share similar posts by themed tags. This helps you to find topic specific content so that you can filter the information from the wealth of knowledge available. A good example of Reddit being used effectively is the hashtag #Accessibility, with lots of useful shared links to this tag.

Academia – This is a social media channel that is tailored for the academic world. However, recently the site received some quite negative exposure in the media as the site had been found to collude with plagiarised content. Plus as a profit based organisation had been known to request extra payment from academics to increase the popularity of their research papers (Forbes 2016).

ResearchGate – Again another social media orientated site that offers research papers for open access. Recently RG came under scrutiny as reports claimed that the site had not taken plagiarised content accusations seriously (Wikipedia n.d).

Google Scholar – By far the most diverse collection of research papers that are freely accessible. However not all papers are always up to date and some may be found to be uploaded without the original authors permission. As this platform does not need institutional login access this makes Google Scholar a huge favourite as a reference point for great free learning opportunities.

Your turn

What are your favourite online social media channels that you find useful in gaining knowledge from a range of subjects? Have you found that some applications come and go or you found one application was outdated by a much better application?



Activity 8

Design your own module…for OER purposes

Okay this seemed a great idea initially toying with rapid production methods and agile DSDM working methods, and safe to say that yep, its work in progress. But this is what I liked so far out of all the MOOCs out there in the big world wide web. Lately I have received many updates from SkillShare to sign up. So I took a look at what they had to offer, visiting SkillShare, and this is what I saw. https://www.skillshare.com/home but you get to watch the teaser introduction and need to redeem the 1 month free subscription. Then for data protection reasons you will need to add your bank details and just in case you forget then SkillShare will bill you after you forget to cancel your 1 month free membership. Ouch that will hurt initially and will be forgotten later on your bank statement. For argument sake I took screenshots instead and that will do for me.

I had a slight brainwave and realized that YouTube is a great OER video platform. But when it comes to closed captions and subtitling, they don’t score very well especially in the accessibility area. That was when I decided to look at YouTube and searched SkillShare there instead. I came across a few free videos like https://www.youtube.com/user/Skillshare.

Overall I enjoyed the concept and idea behind the way the presenter creates an organised space for the learner to choose a course and to follow a learning plan. With some simple steps the learner gets a chance to navigate in screens step by step and will be able to choose a project to finalise what they learnt.


Fig 1: Screenshot of my SkillShare dashboard

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Activity 5: The case for learning objects

After reading Downes (2001) case for learning objects it brought back my memories of working as part of the OU Anywhere team in 2012. During this time we extensively problem solved as many tagging issues as possible to ensure that the EPUB would be able to be rendered correctly. I worked as part of a closely knit team, almost like we were code making as opposed to code breaking at say Bletchley Park. But the whole operation was well organised and this always came up in my mind that would we be able to recreate this scenario again? Anyway this is a topic that I could discuss another time, for now lets look at Downes (2001) paper: Learning objects: resources for distance education worldwide.


H817 Block 2 Activity 1 – Set up technology

This is my blog post on my experiences of using open education over the past 5 years. I studied on various courses after graduating from the London Met University in 2002 to keep my Career Professional Development skills fresh and up to date. I studied the following courses:

  • 2004: AS Level Graphic Design – Face to face further education setting, evening class
  • 2006: City and Guilds in delivering teaching to adults – adult educational evening class
  • 2008: Voluntary work practicing artist at an Arts charity
  • 2009: T183 Design and the Web at the OU
  • 2011: PGCE teacher training for secondary Design Technology at the OU
  • 2014: H800 TEL: practices and debates, OU module.

These were mainly a mix of different types of learning organisations, in terms of open education I studied the following courses:

  1. Udemy MOOC How to become a web developer
  2. Signed up to various FutureLearn modules and really only completed 1 out of 10
  3. Which was how to succeed in interviews
  4. How to become a blended learning designer, with Canvas network Blendkit15.