Blog analysis


Blogs: open space for reflection/ forum for discussions/ portfolio of completed assignments/ opening up courses to a wider group of participants.

Blogs’major applications: maintaining a learning journal; recording personal life; expressing emotions; communicating with others; assessment and; managing tasks.

Blogosphere: blog interconnections as a. a social network and b. an ecosystem

Blog Benefits in learning environments: reading other blogs; receiving feedback on one’s own blog

Blog and Personal Learning Environment (PLE): use for personal info management; use for social interaction and collaboration; info aggreggation and management

Blog problems: fragmented discussions/ a lack of coordination structures/ weak support for awareness/ danger of over-scripting



Poldoja, H., Duval, E. & Leinonen, T. (2016). Design and evaluation of an online tool for open learning with blogs, in Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Vol 32, No 2, pp. 61-81.

Image available here


A Nomad…

  1. is an apt metaphor for the learner
  2. exists only in becoming and in interaction
  3. is intrinsically motivated toward the pursuit of learning
  4. is another phase of becoming
  5. appropriates the authority of some distant figure who often holds over it
  6. thinks of knowledge not as static, but rather as a flexible element to be alchemically interacted with
  7. is unconstrained
  8. is in constant movement
  9. is not as “losing one’s way” but is as “losing the way”
  10. is restrained from prefixed and definite articles
  11. space is smooth, open-ended
  12. mode of distribution is nomos (=arraying oneself in space), not logos
  13. moves in amorphous, informal spaces, nonlinear structures
  14. finds a viable milieu in the complex and chaotic structure of the web


Remembering Umberto Eco’s A Componential Analysis of the Architectural Sign /Column semiotic analysis through this stunning paper entitled; “Community Tracking in a cMOOC and nomadic learner behavior identification on a connectivist rhizomatic learning network” by : Bozkurt, A., Honeychurch, S., Caines, A., Bali, M., Koutropoulos, Ap., Cormier, D.




Degreed is a startup that aspires to become a credentials’ bank. It does so by trying to create a standardized assessment for skills no matter where the individuals got them. Only a year ago it was funded with a 21 million investment to fuel the continued growth of lifelong learning and skills’ measurement for companies and professionals. Degreed seeks to create a common language for grading.

In the log in process Degreed asks you to Use the Degreed free online platform to achieve your learning goals, whether your goal is to learn a new skill or polish an existing one. You then choose from a variety of themes the ones that appeal to you more and you begin attending related material offered to you in the platform. Degreed keeps track of any books, articles, videos or even courses you might read about or watch and accumulates the traces of this material to help you prove your competencies.

In this week’s Economist the article: The return of the MOOC: Established education providers v new contenders, introduces Degreed along with Pluralsight as two companies that are trying different ways to answer to the difficult task of assessing one’s capabilities. The author claims that as long any training gets recognized and accredited it is even more likely that more lifelong learners will receive a continuing education through MOOCs or any other form of adult learning.

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2016 MOOC Stats

COURSES: 6.850 from over 700 Universities (2.600+ new ones)

USERS: Coursera: 23million/ edX 10 million/ XuetangX: 6 million/ FutureLearn 5.3 million/ Udacity: 4 million

PROVIDERS-Coursera: 1700 + courses/ EdX: 1300/ FutureLearn: 480/ Miriada X: 350 (Spanish)/ XuetangX 300+ 9Chinese)




Image & Data retrieved here

Who is Open Educator?


Having established that open collaboration among educators brings quality and attractiveness to higher education Fabio Nascimbeni and Daniel Burgos seek to determine a framework that enhances openness among Universities. Despite the wide dissemination of open material -mostly through MOOCs-, Higher Institutions they say, are still reluctant to engage further. Nascimbeni and Burgos  focus on the role of the professors and teaching in matters of openness; it is the faculty they say that needs to change.

So, what they did was study the related literature and then sit together with Mackintosh, Mc Greal, Nerantzi, Teixeira and Weller and discuss on a potential conceptual framework. They came up with the following definition:

An Open Educator chooses to use open approaches, when possible and appropriate, with the aim to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning. He/she works through an open online identity and relies on online social networking to enrich and implement his/her work, understanding that collaboration bears a responsibility towards the work of others.

Their definition is further analyzed through the description of the Open Educators main activities:  sharing their ideas; sharing their educational content and teaching resources; fostering co-creation of knowledge by students; implementing open assessment practices.

The authors take this a step further and introduce a framework of self evaluation for educators (image on top). This table, they claim, will help educators determine their current position and relate themselves to develop accordingly in terms of openness. The three different educator profiles on the left column describe the three dominant trends; while the different qualities of openness in teaching on the right columns describe the activities they engage in accordingly.

Since not all educators engage in open practices in the same degree, the authors also describe a process of gradual transitioning from acquiring awareness to getting transformed into open educators.

First of all, I would like to say that I do like a good definition, but what I like even more is an good short and open definition. What the two authors came up with was a quasi page long text and even that wasn’t enough; they kept on explaining and analyzing it further. And the full identity of the Open Educator continues to elude them since at this point their research sample involves only a small percentage of active OEs. Their effort in my opinion is as futile as it is unnecessary; as long as educators are not educated to educate, any attempt to induce change will only be dealt with contempt. Traditional institutional figures can hardly grasp the meaning of transitioning from one point to the next, let alone giving up on their power of sharing knowledge on their own terms. That makes Open Educators the sole missionaries for change toward a new learning environment that treats all individuals as equals. And that is the only single lined definition I can come up with at this point.

Image available here






An International Colloquium entitled: “The MOOC Identity” that took place in Napoli last summer, gave way to the creation of a MOOC now run by Federica EU*. Various personalities from all around the world -among which Stephen Downes, Rita Kop, Steven D. Krause and many more- express their views on the future perspectives of MOOCs. It has just started so, if anyone is interested there is still time to enroll. For more information press here

*Federica EU is the online platform of Federico II University of Napoli currently host to more that 300 online courses

Didactic/Reflexive Pedagogies


Cope and Kalatzis use this pair of terms to describe alternative pedagogical systems, and by using their special characteristics they demonstrate how technology in itself cannon produce change in pedagogy, it is pedagogically neutral. In fact, technology features such as flipped classroom and e-textbooks often reproduce didactic pedagogy principles. So,

Didactic Pedagogy:

  • balance of control is with the instructor
  • focus on cognition
  • focus on the individual learner
  • the learners must demonstrate that they can replicate discipline knowledge

Reflexive Pedagogy

  • the learner has considerable scope and responsibility for epistemic action (knowledge is dialogical)
  • focus is on the artifacts and knowledge representations constructed by the learner and the process of their construction
  • focus is on the social sources of knowledge
  • wider range of epistemic processes

In  their forthcoming book “e-Learning ecologies” the two authors present the reader with seven new learning affordances (see image above). They explore the way new media can be used to serve the reflexive model of education. At the moment they run the e-Learning ecologies, MOOC in the Coursera platform.



Kalatzis, M., Cope, B., 2015, “Learning and New Media“, in The SAGE Handbook of Learning, edited by David Scott and Eleanore Hargreaves, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, Pp. 373-387

Cope, B.,Kalatzis, M., 2015,”Assessment and Pedagogy in the Era of Machine-Mediated Learning” Pp. 350-374 in Education as Social Construction: Contributions to Theory,
Research, and Practice, edited by T. Dragonas, K. J. Gergen, S. McNamee, and E.
Tseliou. Chagrin Falls OH: Worldshare Books.

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New Coursera MOOC on E-Learning Ecologies


I have just started this today, and it seems very well made so far.Interesting presentation of James Paul Gee, I was particularly struck by his introducing phrase which I shamelessly plan to use from now on as an opening line for me too:

A lot of the problems that we have in the world were brought on by the way in which humans are so good at producing stupidity.

For more press here 

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MOOCs are not a place


Jim Shimabukuro, in his article: What’s Wrong with MOOCs: One-Size-Fits-All Syndrome, refers to the Malaysian impressive increase of MOOCs (from 64 to 300!) but also to the restrictive character of the Australian educational platform OpenLearning as the only one used for this purpose. Shimabukuro recognizes the importance of a ready made digital platform when introducing teachers to this new practice. He also notes, however, that this should be just a temporary phase in a long process of reorganizing the courses according to the new educational technologies:

any MOOC, isn’t a place. Instead, it’s a manifestation of a pedagogy that’s continually reconstructed by the individual participants, teacher and students. It exists not in the world out there but within each participant’s mind.

Educational environments such as OpenLearning, Coursera, edX can familiarize educators with online technology and offer them a easy start, but the parameters influencing the creation and the online articulation of a course can be indefinite. Therefore, trying to fit in the generic educational profile of the main providers may force teachers to leave out significant aspects of their courses and/or neglect the particularities of the audience they refer to. The problem is that the unwillingness of the academic personnel to rethink their educational practices in their unique circumstances or their awkwardness toward the admittedly unknown (to most of them) territory of online courses leads them to the ready made products offered by the main providers. This is not necessarily wrong, as long as teachers experiment with it instead of commodifying the process. If I may rephrase Shimabukuro’s quote mentioned above by paraphrasing my favorite Guy de Bord, MOOCs are not a commodity, but the manifestation of a need of the people to participate in communities of knowledge, interact and learn.

Image available here

Turning in-class lectures to online content


Determining the duration of the online videos of our course was a major step in its production. Before shooting the videos, we gathered all the lecturing content of each unit and collaborated with each lecturer to transform it into online material. Having read Guo’s article on video production we figured that content had to be condensed in 30 to 40 minute long lectures and further dismantled to max 7 minute self-contained videos. That is videos whose content could be seen independently and whose contribution to the meaning of the main core of the lecture content could be evaluated autonomously.  (For more please check my article in “The Creativity Game – Theory and Practice of Spatial Planning”: DOI 10.15292/IU-CG.2015.03.30-37)

In addition we used highlighted text to make terms and definitions stand out of the narration and we’ve also included images and diagrams of the narration of the specific entities of meaning we were presenting at the time. We also uploaded the transcript of each segment so that students who were engaging in the content for the first time could also follow the narration by reading it.

The effectiveness of lectures was also examined by Donald A. Bligh in his book “What is the Use of Lectures” (analyzed further by Tony Bates in his “Teaching in a Digital Age”), and he also supports the notion that lectures “should not be longer than 20 to 30 minutes – at least without techniques to vary stimulation”.

Our primary aim was to present those units as an expert’s insight on a subject matter. Each lecturer provided the students with a unique tool for urban mapping both in terms of content and representation. Therefore, the process involved more than the sole transmission of content; it was configured to describe a specific mode of thinking about the city.

Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning – See more at:
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2016 EDEN Annual Conference


Budapest, 14-17 June 2016

Looking forward to going there. An E-learning conference with a long tradition of excellent publications of related research around the globe. This time, we’re gonna be in it too!

Paper title: “Transformachines: transforming City Data to Architectural Design Strategies”, Olga Ioannou, Nelly Marda, George Parmenidis, NTUA