Historical Progression of Virtual Worlds, by Messinger et al, 2008


  • Arcade Games: element of real-time video interactivity
  • Console Systems: started as games for single players but subsequent generation permitted players to compete against each other
  • LAN Games: computer-based instead of console-based, unlimited number of participants
  • Internet Connectivity: 90s consoles with compact disks and 32 and 64 bit systems/ 00s ability to connect to the internet, the landscape of video games became more expansive
  • Unstructured Games: freedom for the player to roam around a large world, realistic features like the progression of time etc
  • Games with Player Generation of Content: near-total freedom to within the gaming environment, player omnipotence, players however, still played a game with online components but did not exist in a virtual world.
  • Worlds with Designer-Provided Objectives: avatars can wander where they wish but also gain skills and strengths by earning experience points (MMORPGs)
  • Social Networking Sites: not games per se but helped the creation of virtual worlds, profile creation and support of authorized viewers.
  • Open Virtual Worlds: social interaction between people and their avatars in 3d immersive environments with user-chosen objectives, user-generated content and social networking tools



Messinger, P.R., Stroulia, E., Lyons, K., 2008. A typology of Virtual Worlds: Historical Overview and Future Directions. In Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Vol. 1, no. 1, “Virtual Worlds Research: Past, Present & Future,” July 2008.

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Virtual Communities/ VCs, Porter 2004


VC Definition:

a virtual community is defined as an aggregation of individuals or business partners who interact around a shared interest, where the interaction is at least partially supported and/or mediated by technology and guided by some protocols or norms.

VC Typology:

The proposed typology of virtual communities includes two first-level categories: Member-initiated and Organization-sponsored (…) At the second level of the typology, virtual communities are categorized based on the general relationship orientation of the community. Relationship orientation refers to the type of relationship fostered among members of the community. Member-initiated communities foster either social or professional relationships among members. Organization-sponsored communities foster relationships both among members (e.g., customers, employees) and between individual members and the sponsoring organization.

VC Attributes:

The literature suggests that five attributes could be used to characterize virtual communities:

  1. Purpose : or discourse focus
  2. Place: as in a bounded location (structural) and a sense of shared values (socio-psychological)_ a virtual space is comprised by both a sense of presence and location
  3. Platform: determines synchronicity which in turn enables real-time interaction, focuses only in the technical design of interaction
  4. Population Interaction Structure: 1. VCs as computer supported social networks/ 2. VCs as small groups or networks/ 3. virtual publics versus VCs
  5. Profit Model: tangible economic value



Porter, C.E., 2004. A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research. In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10 (1), Article 3.

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How soon is now?


  • Real Virtual: virtual environments that represent the real world.
  • Virtual Augmented Real: use of ubiquitous augmented information systems connected to the real world objects (ie. GPS data, pilot’s line of sight measurement etc)
  • Real Augmented Virtual: information from the real world gets embedded into the virtual realm. (ie. Kinect Sports Video Game)
  • Fantastic Virtual: products of unrestrained imagination



Pak, B. Newton, C., Verbeke, J., 2012. Virtual Worlds and Architectural Education: A Typological Framework. In Proceedings of the 30th eCAADe Conference – Volume 1, Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Architecture (Czech Republic) 12-14 September 2012, pp. 739-746.

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Virtual Village ancestors and the concept of Design Correspondence


Three experiments on what became known as ‘design correspondence

01:1 991, The Samarkand competition gave an excuse for collaboration between two designers who lived far apart. The exchange involved correspondence via modem and included updated revisions of the project on a daily basis. Soon, they accumulated a large database that was hard to manage.

02: a joint workshop that lasted two weeks between 12 students of architecture who worked in a computerized design studio in Macintosh and UNIX environments connected by an Ethernet local are network. they were given joint areas later called “digital pin up boards” where they could edit and post notions about the common project. again there were difficulties in naming files, managing the resources etc.

03: 25 participants by two institutions far apart, Harvard University and the University of British Columbia. they utilized WAN. students were given the same problem, to design a pre-fabricated warehouse utilizing the technology of concrete tilt-up panels. the exercise lasted two weeks, week one participants downloaded reference material and developed designs for their elementary panel, week two they developed design models for the building. tutors acted as editors. final crit was realized via phone with speakers. review material was exchanged between universities so thatrecords were identical. the list of proposals was displayed on computer screens in both institutions simultaneously. this was the world’s first electronic jury.



Jerzy Wojtowicz, James N. Davidson and Takehiko Nagakura, 1995, Digital Pinup Board-The Story of the Virtual Village Project. In Virtual Design Studio (ed. Jerzy Wojtowicz), Hong Kong University Press, pp. 09-23

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Sidney Pressey’s Automatic Teacher


Pressey wanted the Automatic Teacher to give the human teacher more time for individual students (…) The machine was built out of typewriter parts and employed an intelligence test with 30 questions (…) The user responded to text question using four keys; each time the user pressed a key the machine advanced the test paper to the next question, but the counter registered only correct answers (…) In December 1925 Pressey began to seek investors, first among publishers and manufacturers of typewriters, adding machines, and mimeograph machines, and later, in the spring of 1926, extending his search to scientific instrument makers (…) in contrast to his peers, investors failed to see the virtues of Pressey’s machine (…) multiple efforts were made by him to massively the machine (he even invested his own money) but high production costs and difficulties in alignment made dragged production to an halt (…) after several attempts Pressey publicly admitted defeat. In a third and final School and Society article, he skewered education as “the one major activity in this country which is still in a crude handicraft stage (…) The Automatic Teacher was a technology of normalization, but it was at the same time a product of liberality.



  1. Petrina, S., 2004. Sidney Pressey and the Automation of Education, 1924-1934. In Technology and Culture, 45(2): 305-330, DOI: 10.1353/tech.2004.0085, full text available here

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It is the name for the computer modelling approach to information processing based on the design or architecture of the brain. Connectionist computer models are based on how computation occurs in neural networks where neutrons represent the basic information processing structures in the brain.

All connectionist models consist of four parts:

  • units: they are what neutrons are to the biological neural network, the basic information processing structures. Most connectionist models are computer simulations run on digital computers. Units in such models are virtual objects and are usually represented by circles. A unit receives input, it computes an output signal and then it sends the output to other units. This is called activation value. The purpose of the unit is to compute an output activation.
  • connections: connectionist models are organised in layers of units, usually three (3). A network however, is not simply an interconnected group of objects but an interconnected group of objects that exchange information with one another. Network connections are conduits. The conduits through which information flows from one member of the network to the next are called synapses or connections and are represented with lines. (in biology synapses are the gaps between neutrons, the fluid-filled space through which chemical messengers -neurotransmitters- leave one neutron and enter another)
  • activations: activation value in connectionist models are analogous to a neuron’s firing rate or how actively it is sending signals to other neurons. There is a big variability between the least active and the most active neutrons expressed in a scale fro 0 to 1
  • connection weights: The input activations to a unit are not the only values it needs to know before it can compute its output activation. It also needs to know how strongly or weakly an input activation should affect its behaviour. The strength or weakness of a connection is measured by a connection weight. They range between -1 to 1. Inhibitory connection reduce a neuron’s level of activity; excitatory connections increase it.

Yet, the behaviour of a unit is never determined by an input signal sent via a single connection, however strong or weak that connection might be. It depends on its combined input. That is the sum of each input activation multiplied by its connection weight. The output activation of a unit represents how active it is, not the strength of its signal.

Connectionist networks consist of units and connections between units and have some very interesting features like emergence of behaviour. This does not reduce to any particular unit (liquidity in water). Graceful Degradation and Pattern Completion are two ways in which activations are spread through a network. They are not classical computers, their behaviour does not arise from an algorithm, they learn to behave the way they do.



Robert Stufflebeam, 2006. Connectionism: An Introduction (pages 1-3), in CCSI (Consortium on Cognitive Science Instruction) supported by the Mind Project, full article available here

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The ‘University Networks’ project by George Siemens


It involves working with a small number of universities, or specific faculties and departments, that are committed to rethinking and redesigning how they operate. 30 universities over a period of 4 years will rethink and redesign university operations to align with the modern information and knowledge ecosystem. The intention is to offer innovative teaching and learning opportunities, utilizing effective learning analytics models, integrating learning across all spaces of life, and creating a digital and networked mindset to organization operations

  • cohort model where universities learn from each other
  • centralized consultancy
  • universities working with a fraction of the investment needed in working with a traditional corporation or consultancy firm
  • serve the advancement of science through modern universities while actively researching systemic transformation in higher education

Full text available here/ Image available here

OEB Mid-Summit_Donald Clark’s 10 recommendations


  1. HE must lower its costs and scale
  2. Develop different and digital HE model for developing world
  3. Stop talking past each other, talk to each other: Higher Ed has a widespread and deep anti-corporate culture
  4. Don’t lecture me!: ognitive psychology and educational research showed the redundancy of the lecture as a core pedagogic principle (…) we learn through the correction of errors, yet teaching methods fail to recognize this core cognitive fact
  5. Research is not a necessary condition for teaching – break the link: Research skills require systematic thinking, attention to detail, understanding of methods and analysis. Teaching skills require social skills, communication skills, the ability to hold an audience, keep to the right level, avoid cognitive overload, good pedagogic skills and the ability to deliver constructive feedback
  6. Build less. Balance out the capital budget with a substantial digital budget: It is perhaps time to consider, what John Daniel called, a ‘default to digital’ for some courses.
  7. Open up to outside, not just with technology but culturally: there’s some good and real change happening within HE but they tend to be, and remain, outliers; the core system is in stasis
  8. Embrace transformative technology: the complexity of the problems we face and the need for smart, technological solutions in education
  9. Strategic, costed initiatives with change management: recognizing the issues and taking a strategic approach to solutions
  10. Rebalance academic and vocational: pleas for more learning by doing and more apprenticeship

Full article available here/ Image available here

Jane Gilbert’s, ‘Catching the Knowledge Wave’


Knowledge society: the social, economic and political changes that are taking place as countries move from the industrial to the post-industrial age

  • based on developing and exploiting new forms of knowledge
  • shows increase in the creative, technology or service based industries
  • linked with developments in information and communications technologies while people’s understanding of time, space and place are changing
  • new forms of info, new ways of presenting info and new forms of money emerge
  • more complex forms of personal identity
  • in economic terms new work order based on fast capitalism and new forms of production and new management systems. this changes the meaning of knowledge, innovation and learning. knowledge is now innovation, innovation is quality and quality control is knowledge management. knowledge, in the Knowledge Society, has a different meaning from the one it has in educational contexts.

Castells: knowledge is not a thing; it is energy; it is defined by its effectiveness in action and the results it achieves; it’s what causes things to happen; it is sth produced collaboratively by teams of people; it is constantly changing. [The Network Society]

Lyotard: he too advocated for knowledge as energy or ability to do things (performativity); used in an as-and-when-needed basis; many reasons, many truths, many knowledges are possible and desirable; traditional disciplinary boundaries will dissolve; new conceptions of learning will develop; people will develop and understanding of an organized stock of public and professional knowledge to pursue performativity, to apply it to new situations. [The Postmodern Condition]


  • process, not a thing
  • does things
  • happens in teams
  • can’t be divided into disciplines
  • develops in an as-and-when-needed basis
  • develops to be replaced, not stored


  • involves generating new knowledge, not storing
  • is a group activity
  • happens is real-world
  • should be just-in-time not just-in-case
  • needs to be a la carte

Minds are not containers, but resources that can be connected to other resources for the purpose of generating new knowledge

To summarize then, developing a Knowledge Society education system involves approaches that can:
Develop new knowledge – through real research, not teacher-initiated projects. Knowledge Age schools need to be producers – not consumers – of knowledge;
Develop multi-modal literacy (understanding and using non-print modes of making meaning – images, sounds, gestures/body language and so on);
Foreground the relationships, connections and interactions between different knowledge systems and different modes of representation;
Emphasize difference and diversity, not sameness and/or one-size-fits-all approaches;
Foreground process not product;
Help learners build a sense of themselves as active knowledge- builders – as having a unique niche, role and/or point of difference/contribution to make.



Jane Gilbert, 2010. Catching the Knowledge Wave. In Education Canada Vol 47 (3) www.cea-ace.ca,  ISSN 0013-1253

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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

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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