information v informational society


  • information society: focuses on the role of info in society, communication of knowledge as it has always existed
  • informational society: indicates the attribute of a specific form of social organization in which information generation, processing and transmission become the fundamental sources of productivity and power because of new technological conditions emerging in this historical period /in parallel to industry and industrial where industrial stands for a society whose ind organization permeate all spheres of activity/ one of its key features is the networking logic of its basic structure which explains the basic concept ‘network society’, however, the rem doesn’t exhaust all the meaning of informational society



Castells, Manuel (1996, second edition, 2009). The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I. Malden, MA; Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22140-1, pp.21-24

Image available here

academic V applied knowledge


It is a second-order form of knowledge seeking abstractions and generalizations based on reasoning and evidence. It has four major components:

  • transparency: the source can be traced and verified
  • codification: the knowledge can be consistently represented in some form that enables interpretation by someone other than the originator
  • reproduction: knowledge can be reproduced or have multiple copies
  • communicability: knowledge must be in a form that can be communicated and challenged by others

applied knowledge is knowing how to do things, and hence by definition tends to be multi-disciplinary while academic knowledge is knowledge that goes beyond the here and now knowledge of everyday experience to a higher plane of
understanding (Gilbert)

It is equally important also to enable students to develop the ability to know how to find, analyze, organize and apply information/content within their professional and personal activities, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to be flexible and adaptable in developing new knowledge and skills. All this is needed because of the explosion in the quantity of knowledge in any professional field that makes it impossible to memorize or even be aware of all the developments that are happening in the field, and the need to keep up-to-date within the field after graduating.



Bates, A.W. (2015) Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing Teaching and Learning Vancouver BC: Tony Bates Associates Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-9952692-0-0., pp. 59-64

Image: Eden Morfaux, ‘Etude d’après Saint Jérôme dans son étude, Antonello da Messina, 1475’, 2008, available here

History of Open Education


  • Barth 1971: Open Education is used here to designate a general approach to teaching and learning which presumes the child’s right and competence to make important decisions; views the teacher more as a facilitator of learning than a transmitter of knowledge, and abundant alternatives and choice for students
  • Katz 1972: Open education movement is the commitment to humanistic values including self-determination, freedom of children and aesthetic appreciation.
  • Resnick 1972: while the open education movements and educational technology are often seen as mutually hostile, the challenge in education for the future is to find ways to develop the full range of each individual’s capacities
  • Paquette 1979: Open Pedagogy is not an assemble of pedagogical processes applied in a classroom that allow results as any other pedagogy. OP influences the way of thinking and acting, it is an innovative way to envisage the educational act (..) it is focused on the interaction that exists in a class between the students and the educational environment (…) it is founded a. on the respect of individual differences, b. on the individuals’ beliefs, c. on the indirect influence of the educator and d. on a natural process of apprenticeship
  • Paquette 1995: 3 sets of foundational values of open pedagogy, namely:  autonomy and interdependence; freedom and responsibility; democracy and participation.
  • Gremmo and Riley 1995: “Autonomous learning” has been shown to be a fruitful approach and one that impinges on every aspect of language learning theory and practice, in all parts of the world. However, one important lesson which has been learnt from this work is that self-directed learning schemes and resource centers have to be planned locally, taking into account specific institutional requirements and expectations, the particular characteristics of the learners and staff, including the socio-cultural constraints on learning practices. There is no universal model for setting up a self-directed learning scheme (…) One of the first “tailor-made” resource centres was established by CRAPEL at the University of Nancy (Riley and Zoppis, 1974; also in Riley, 1986)
  • Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke 2015: 1. open = agency — Learners are individuals and independent agents within the learning process. They are allowed to operate independently and explore with personal freedom./ 2. open = choice — Learners choose their own pace, their own direction, and their own connections./ 3. open = expansion — The learning network is an open-ended and ever-expanding network of nodes. Each node in the network represents is a connection, a possibility for learning. Everything in the network is a project./ 4. open = creativity — Openness translates to rich possibilities that inspire new perspectives and ideas./ 5. open = student-constructed — Learners take responsibility for their learning networks and are active participants in its planning and growth./ 6. open = open-ended problems — Learning design is focused less on specific outcomes or competencies than on process. It is about empowering learners to create real solutions to real problems./ 7. open: unmeasurable outcomes — Traditional outcome measurement implies the learning is static and closed./ 8. open = risk and goodness — Choosing often leads to unexpected and unpredictable results. While there is risk associated with the unknown, there is even greater reward and goodness.
  • Wiley 2015: open= free+permissions/ free and unfettered access, perpetual, irrevocable 5R permissions (retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute), open= democratizes innovation, permits innovation (…) open pedagogy: a set of things you can do when outcomes, assessments, and resources are open that you cannot do otherwise (…) openness facilitates the unexpected. 
  • Downes 2016: “In the case of personal learning, the role of the educational system is not to provide learning, it is to support learning. Meanwhile, the decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system, and principally, by the individual learners themselves”



Dr Vivien Rolfe, University of the West of England, Bristol UK. Open. But not for criticism? In Opened16 Conference, available here

Claude Paquette “Quelques fondements d’une pédagogie ouverte.” Québec français 36 (1979): 20–21. available here

MARIE-JOSI~ GREMMO and PHILIP RILEY , AUTONOMY, SELF-DIRECTION AND SELF ACCESS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING: THE HISTORY OF AN IDEA, System, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 151-164, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain, available here

NEXTTHOUGHT, Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke, Eight Qualities of Open Pedagogy, available here

David Wiley, The Open Education Infrastructure, Keynote presentation for Open Apereo 2015, available here (Frischmann’s,  Von Hippel’s and Thierer’s work)

Downes 2016, Personal and Personalized Learning, available here 

Tannis Morgan, Open pedagogy and a very brief history of the concept, available here

Image available here

That’s all FOLC!

FOLCThe Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) is a reduced social-constructivist learning model based on communities of inquiry model (CoI). FOLC particularly responds to four problems related to the transformation of higher education in an increasingly globalized and digitalized knowledge society:

  • the limitations of distance learning and MOOCs
  • the call for greater development of 21st century competencies desired by influential organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the Conference Board of Canada
  • the needs of transformative and emancipatory learning as conceptualized by Human Rights Education
  • the requests from some international partners for new models of learning aligned with democratic and socio-economic reforms

FOLC is based on the following concepts:

  • Social Presence: The ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally in a community of inquiry
  • Cognitive Presence: Four-phase procedural model, considered a generalization of scientific method, begins with a triggering event, and subsequently moves through phases of exploration, integration, and resolution
  • Teaching Presence: is here eliminated in favour of a more democratized approach to learning, one which places much greater emphasis on the community and learner empowerment.
  • Digital Space: FOLC recognizes four fundamental dimensions of human-computer-human interaction (technical, informational, social, and epistemological/computational) and their accompanying competencies as prerequisite layers supporting SP, CP, and collaborative learning. It offers well-established practices for the selection and use of digital affordances to foster fully online community learning.
  • Democratized learning: as a term, it is a loose, boundary construct with scattered presence in the literature: A. it deals with processes of learning not about democracy/ B. it addresses the fact that at the microlevel education tends to be authoritarian/ C. it emphasises on the deepening democracy/ D. it gains strength through digital technologies

Key themes emerge in relation to FOLC educational environments, including:

  • collective identity and responsibility: to build interpersonal relationships; to promote distributed responsibility for refining knowledge through challenging feedback that triggers cognitive dissonance; to encourage divergent thinking.
  • freedom and flexibility: adults share both structure and control of the digital space, respecting diverse personal learning needs, and working together to improve performance; individuals bring a variety of digital tools and skills to the FOLC
  • authenticity: an authentic context; authentic tasks and activities; access to expert performances; multiple perspectives; collaboration; reflection; articulation; coaching; authentic assessment
  • community and criticality: FOLC represents a joint enterprise understood and continually renegotiated by its members; fosters relationships of mutual engagement; establishes a shared repertoire of resources that members enthusiastically share



Todd J. B. BlayoneRoland vanOostveenWendy BarberMaurice DiGiuseppe and Elizabeth Childs, Democratizing digital learning: theorizing the fully online learning community model, in International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201714:13, DOI: 10.1186/s41239-017-0051-4, available here

Image available here

On “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon”


Edtech is:

  • a response to increasing price of higher education: check ASU with edX collaboration, the Minerva Project or the Georgia tech (…) Over the past 30 years, the cost of attending college in the United States has risen by more than 225 percent, while the number of students attending degree-seeking college programs has more than doubled (…) The Thiel Fellowship offers youth $100,000 to pursue a pathway other than college
  • caused by a shift in political thought from government oversight to free-market oversight of education: Reducing governmental involvement and increasing emphasis on market forces in education has provided a space and an opportunity for the edtech industry to flourish (…) If we view higher education as an economic marketplace, the reduced state support could be seen as an attempt to address the negative effects of government intervention on that marketplace, enabling the private sector to respond to market imperfections.
  • symptomatic of the belief that education, like training, is a product to be packaged, automated, and delivered: Despite a lack of empirical proof of efficacy, the quest for technologies to deliver training and education at scale has continued through successive waves of technological innovations, including radio and television (…) Personalized learning software — which tailors instruction to individual learners’ needs, skills, and interests — is another example of efforts to automate and deliver education (…) ts very idea is predicated on defining discrete learning objectives; identifying content to address those objectives; packaging content into discrete chunks; delivering it to individual learners according to various behavioral, emotional, or cognitive measures; and automating the process so that it can be repeated for many different learners in many different contexts.
  • symptomatic of the technocentric belief that technology is a solution to the perils facing educationtechno-determinism, which holds that technology shapes its emerging society and techno-solutionism, which holds that technology will solve societal problems

According to the authors (Veletsianos & Moe): edtech is neutral, ahistorical, and apolitical. It assumes positive impacts and is positioned as the answer to the strains and consternations of administrators, faculty, students, teachers, and learning institutions.



Veletsianos, G., Moe, R., 2017, “The Rise of Educational Technology as a Sociocultural and Ideological Phenomenon“, EDUCAUSE Review

Image available here

Global Freshman Academy


This is an Arizona State University (ASU) initiative in collaboration with edX to offer a full year of freshmen courses as MOOCs (for more click here) Students of these courses can buy their credit unit only if and when they are happy with their grade. The cost of a GFA class is 600 USD.


Image available here

The Minerva Project or The Death of the Lecture


MINERVA’S PROJECT: Founded by Ben Nelson. Minerva majors include are: Social Sciences, Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Business. Each one of these offers six different concentrations. Minerva uses the Active Learning Forum™, a platform that allows students to interact online. Instead of building a campus, Minerva chooses to invest to students co-living in a same physical setting, one that changes each semester across continents, while learning occurs only online.

The courses may occur online but they are not massive, says Graeme Wood, a journalist that reported on Minerva back in 2014 for the Atlantic.  Wood joined a course of inductive logic ran by professor Eric Bonabeau (physicist, Minerva’s dean of computational sciences). All of the courses in Minerva assume the form of online seminars. They do so however, by profiting from the existence of MOOCs. Ben Nelson, the founder, likens MOOCs to publishing and considers them to be in the future sole providers of content in terms of lectures.

Nelson bases the Minerva layout to his belief that ‘when you have a noncurated academic experience, you effectively don’t get educated’. He also insists that ‘the lectures’ model is dead, soon to be completely obliterated’. Kosslyn, a former Harvard dean and a renowned cognitive neuro­scientist who has joined Minerva as a founding dean, also claims that lectures might be ‘cost-effective but they are pedagogically unsound’. Kosslyn in particular, says Wood, in his 32 years at Harvard has realized an extended research on education and cognitive science and that now he has the chance to put this research into motion.

Claire Cain Miller from New York Times claims that Minerva’s faculty concluded that a key skill is being able to apply learning in new and different contexts. Toward that end, students keep blogs during their travels about how they’re using the concepts they learned freshman year. “As we define it”, adds Nelson in Bized Magazine, “fully active learning means that 100 percent of students must be engaged at least 75 percent of the time in every class.”

Wood’s article is the most thorough of all but is inconclusive as to whether this initiative will prove strong enough to alter the current educational practices of the ivy league institutions. It is also unevenly written as strangely enough, the author concludes the article with the ambitious expectations of Nelson instead of his stronger initial remarks in regard to Minerva’s courses seminar-alike setup:

For one thing, it was exhausting: a continuous period of forced engagement, with no relief in the form of time when my attention could flag or I could doodle in a notebook undetected (…)  I was forced, in effect, to learn. If this was the education of the future, it seemed vaguely fascistic. Good, but fascistic.

Three years later, in April 2017, the Minerva project is still on. In fact what started timidly with a small cohort of 33 students, was strengthened in 2015 with a cohort that reached 100 students, while this year, 150 new students have enrolled (Minerva accepted only 1.9 percent out of 16,000 applicants).




Image available here


Virtual Design Studios


Bradform, Cheng and Kvan describe their impressions of a VDS realized in early 1994 between the University of Hong Kong, MIT, ETSAB Barcelona, Cornell University, Washington University of St Louis and UBC in Vancouver.

Authors describe VDS as an experimental environment for design education that allowed students to work collectively with colleagues from different cultures. Content was exchanged through a shared server. Communication mostly occurred via e-mail (asynchronous). Real time collaboration (synchronous) occurred less often via teleconferencing software and various interacting whiteboards.

The Virtual Design Studios main tools that were used were:

  • CAD
  • Internet
  • Teleconferencing
  • Whiteboards

The main problems noted were: lack of constant interactivity, student poor representational skills through digital media, lack of collaborative attitudes.



Bradford, J.W., Cheng, N., Kvan, Th., 1994, Virtual Design Studios_eCAADe Proceedings, available here

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The Not-Yetness term.

Openness as transparency between students; communication between students and the outside world; interdependent relationships between educational institutions and external practices ( Dalsgaard and Thestrup). This paper asks if openness is a absolute positive.

The authors claim that:

  • a. the binary between open and closed is false: closed is associated with hierarchy and repression while openess represents creativity and innovation, a total liberation from the constraints of formal study (…) all forms of openess entail forms of closed-ness (Edwards), educators decide what forms of openess are justifiable pedagogically and ideologically.
  • b. the overemphasis on access homogenizes learners and contexts: not all individuals require simply access to content in order to learn; OER emphasis on replication presumes uniformity of learners (…) complexity reduction is problematic (McArthur)
  • c. open does not attend issues of power and inclusion: OERs could be reproducing asymmetric power relations between those who produce and those who passively assimilate the offerings (…) access is not enough unless it is seen in a context of social inclusion and justice

Not-Yetness is a response to dominant discourse of using technology in education: accepting risk and uncertainty of practices in flux while setting boundaries and looking for alternative modes of openness in digital education where there is an emphasis on the learners’ connections and not just content. Openness as a quality of relationship amongst students, teachers, technologies, texts and an unknown audience.

Example No 1: while wikis promote consensus around dominant voices, a federated wiki allows individuals to manage and control content, they resolve to multiple servers

Example No 2: blogging provokes an awareness of audience and voice but student bloggers rarely have the option to experiment with identity or set their own limits of exposure

Example No 3: exposing learning to an unknown and therefore unpredictable audience (the agents beyond the course) may lead students to making decisions based on the awareness of that audience.



Collier, A., Ross J. 2016. For whom, and for what? Not-yetness and thinking beyond
open content. Open Praxis, vol. 9 issue 1, January–March 2017, pp. 7–16 (ISSN 2304-070X), available here

Five emerging technology concepts


The principle that traverses all five points is the blending of the virtual with the real.

  1. Centaur Mentality: The term “centaur” is used to describe a human working with the assistance of machines (…) the term was coined by Kasparov (…) new form of chess playing where human could confer with gaming machines (…) we will come to leverage the capabilities of our inventions where appropriate.
  2. Biosyncing: it refers to biomechanical symbiosis  when a human and a machine are in a reactive, performance-augmenting loop (…) we will work with our inventions and we will learn to communicate with them through “wearables” or the “Internet of things”
  3. Social Immersive Experiences: Augmented reality and virtual reality are now coming together and so are the possibilities of greater social interaction (…) with VR comes the ability to create human connections through shared simulated experiences
  4. Situated Media: Triggers for additional information will increasingly remain affixed to physical objects and locations
  5. Digital Inclusion as a Human Right: On June 27th of this year, the UN passed a non-binding resolution declaring Internet access a basic human right: “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.”



Denis Hurley, Looking forward from 2016: Five emerging technology concepts to watch…December 16, 2016, full article available here

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Oh, I even love the word itself, but what are they, really? Well, it is a type of artificial neuron that takes several binary inputs and produces a single binary output.

What one needs to know are the binary inputs and their relative weight in the decision-making process (…) by varying the weights and the threshold, we can get different models of decision-making (…) a perceptron can weigh up different kinds of evidence in order to make decisions (…) another way perceptrons can be used is to compute the elementary logical functions we usually think of as underlying computation, functions such as AND, OR, and NAND.



Michael Nielsen, Neural Networks and Deep Learning, Chapter 01, full book available here