ALS ice bucket challenge at UWC Physiotherapy

Earlier today the second year physiotherapy students at UWC completed the ALS ice bucket challenge as a way to raise awareness and a small charitable donation for ALS research. As part of the process, they challenged the students from UCT and Stellenbosch to take up their buckets as well. Well done guys, we’re proud of you.

Digital University Symposium at UWC

5691412616_02cbe62253_oEarlier today I was lucky enough to be able to attend a symposium on “the digital university” as part of a celebration of 20 years of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC). The event was hosted by the University of the Western Cape and included presentations from representatives at all four member institutions. Unfortunately I was not able to stay until the end. Here are the notes I took.

The digital university: A place for the communication and circulation of thought?

Prof. Laura Czerniewicz (UCT) (@czernie)

John Henry Newman (1824) – The idea of a university.

“Technology is not neutral”, it comes with affordances that shape practice

Technology influences the language of learning

  • Numerical representation: everything becomes data
  • Modularity: everything can be broken down
  • Automation: can feedback and teaching be automated?
  • Variability: multiple versions
  • Transcoding: computer logic influences how we understand and represent ourselves

Content:

  • Dynamic: how do you reference dynamic content. Read-write content
  • Communication becomes visible, it is a form of content
  • Sharing is frictionless and leads to multiplication of content, not division
  • Social media

How is scholarship changed with technology (from the perspective of a research paradigm)?

  • Conceptualisation of research is public and shareable (previously was private), enables communication and dialogue around the process, including other potential participants – being public has many advantages, including transparency
  • Research products available from early on e.g. research proposal becomes a resource for others
  • Massive changes in data sharing (previously data was not digital and so difficult to share), digital data can be linked to and reconfigured in different ways
  • Data can be created outside of academia (e.g. citizen science)
  • Findings (used to be shared in stable and authoritative formats e.g. journals) can now be shared in different ways and in different formats e.g. the concept of the “journal article” is changing
  • Authors can see engagement in knowledge output (e.g. sharing, comments, discussion, citations, saved -> altmetrics change the conception of “impact”
  • New kinds of outputs e.g audio files, photographic exhibitions, map and location data
  • New types of journals: those that actually show the research process, rather than simply describing the process
  • Engagement and translation: used to be expensive and static, one to many relationship, online sources limited to those registered. Rise of OERs, open textbooks, lectures, etc.

No longer clearly demarcated audiences, which enable new kinds of relationships in academia. Can take academics and scholarship outside the academy.

Digital does not necessarily mean Open. We are seeing the rise of Open Scholarship

Move from:

  • Products to services (tangible to intangible, control no longer with customer when purchased)
  • From ownership to access / license (buyer can not own, control or lend content)
  • Has profound impact on relationship to students

We need to think more carefully about rights that are affected in the move towards digital. You buy access to the platform but not the content, so the content is free (open access) but it’s presented in a platform that is not.

Are MOOCs open or closed?

  • They are (usually) free but that is not the same as open
  • You may be able to register for free, but you may have to purchase resources e.g. textbooks
  • Assessment and indicators of competence (i.e. a certificate of completion) may not be free
  • MOOCs not available under open licenses

Digital universities serve multiple interests. Be aware that the private sector has moved aggressively into the higher education space e.g. Figshare and Mendeley owned by private enterprise.

Digital universities must exploit the affordances of digital technology to enhance the university as a system of communication and thought, rather than simply as a way of being more efficient.

Enable the global, networked scholar

  • Reward and incentives for creating and sharing content
  • Support for online presence for academics, as part of the professional profile

Emerging technologies and changing teaching and learning practices

Prof. Vivienne Bozalek (UWC) & Daniela Gachago (CPUT)

The local contexts of “emerging technologies” are different, which changes how they are understood and used.

Challenges across higher education and digital universities:

  • Digital media literacy has been highlighted as an essential aspect of moving higher education forward.
  • Economic challenges

“Universities are preparing students for jobs that no longer exist”

Teachers need to be become facilitators, guides, etc. and students must begin work collaboratively, and to communicate in more and different ways.

Open University Innovating Pedagogy 2013 report

Discussion of a range of innovations in higher education and their potential impact on students’ learning, including MOOCs, badges, learning analytics, etc.

Asked the question: “In what ways are emerging technologies used in innovative pedagogical practices to transform teaching and learning across South African higher education institutions?

Used Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation curve / technology adoption cycle to analyse the results.

Saw significant difference when comparing SA educators to international educators e.g. with the adoption of Twitter, which is prevalent overseas but not yet very common here. “What is emerging in Paris may not yet be emerging in Parys

There is a lot of innovation happening in SA with “low-key” technologies. The biggest indicator of the use of technology was the passion of the individual. The biggest barrier to use was the institution they worked at.

People in SA who are using emerging technologies at a very high level are also those who are thinking most carefully about teaching and learning in authentic contexts (only a limited sample of 21 case studies, but the correlation was evident)

Results:

  • Context matters – an LMS may be “emerging” in certain contexts
  • Passionate educators use agency to overcome institutional barriers to still implement transformative changes in practice
  • We are learning differently, there is a focus on meaning learning in authentic contexts
  • Must give power and control to learners and community

Repositories: Benefits and challenges in changing scholarly communication

Ina Smith (Stellenbosch University)

Universities generate a diverse range of outputs (e.g. patents, articles, datasets) that are published elsewhere. They also invest a lot of money and time in faculty and need to determine their return on investment.

They need to keep track of the outputs of scholars, even when those scholars retire or move on. An institutional repository allows this to happen, even when individual’s profile pages are removed.

What is Open Access?

Two routes to open access:

  • Green: Institutional repositories offer “green access” (self-archiving) to scholarly research. Using DSpace open source software to manage the repository at US.
  • Gold: Access through open access journals. Author or institution may need to pay for publication but anyone can read for free. Usually peer-reviewed papers.

Repositories play a role in the dissemination and preservation aspects of the research life cycle.

What is the institution’s Open Access policy?

  • Increase access to outputs for a diverse audience
  • Increase visibility of outputs for academics
  • Create high quality metadata to enhance visibility
  • Preserve research output
  • Contribute to the body of literature
  • Able to maintain relationship between data and final output e.g. video and audio clips

Benefits of open access institutional repositories

  • Increase international exposure
  • Contribute to research success
  • Contribute to teaching and learning
  • Connect academics
  • Social responsibility by giving the public access to research

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-09-19

  • @edtechdev never thought about using WP, might be interesting to explore. Thanks for that #
  • Looking for open source journal management software with “social” components. Any1 have any experience with any of these http://ow.ly/6xBD0 #
  • @mpaskevi looking for journal management tools, want faculty journal to go open access. Any experience with any of these http://ow.ly/6xBAU #
  • @ihorpona Not necessarily, but beautiful spaces can be inspiring. The aesthetics may add value over and above the physical space…? #
  • @RonaldArendse when you die #
  • UCT moving towards open education practices http://t.co/0hSK5Ad #
  • Rethinking e-Portfolios http://t.co/TxAFYj6. Nice overview of the different uses of portfolios #
  • via @perkinswill_EDU: beautiful learning spaces http://t.co/yn7v5PZ #BLC11 #
  • What improvements in medical education will lead to better health for individuals and populations? http://t.co/8s3BBGY #
  • @whataboutrob Haven’t read 1 or 2 yet. Just finished Book 1 of GoT, also almost finished Girl who played with fire…it’s OK #
  • Does God Exist? Ricky Gervais Takes Your Questions – Speakeasy – WSJ http://t.co/VmSg7k3 #
  • A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist http://t.co/XzjZURb #
  • @whataboutrob Very cool. Loving Game of Thrones btw, you read Waylander II? Have another copy if you want it. How was London? #

CHEC course: teaching and learning (day 3)

Image taken from YMCA cultural diversity office

Yesterday’s CHEC session was presented by Jeff Jawitz from UCT, who looked at tools for addressing diversity in the South African university classroom. I’ve seen Jeff present before at conferences and he’s got a really relaxed way of introducing and working with often highly controversial topics, like race and gender. I was especially excited to have the opportunity to learn more from him during this session. Here are my notes.

———————–

In what ways are students diverse? Which of these matters?

There are many different differences, and any one of these might be highly significant for one person, but insignificant for everyone else → we can’t take all of these into account when we’re working with groups. Yet, we must be aware of all of the differences nonetheless

No single aspect of diversity addresses all of the issues

What does diversity mean in a South African context?

Diversity enriches the classroom

Learning styles (e.g. Felder-Silverman) can be used to change teaching practice to take diversity into account, rather than categorising students. Bear in mind that the most aspects of diversity in education deal with the issue of cognitive diversity i.e. ways of learning, but there are others e.g. language

Language can be used to communicate effectively, but also to engage deeply with the academic discipline. These are two different things and can be developed in different ways (See Cummins, 1996)

“Every time a student sits down to write for us, he has to learn to speak our language, to speak as we do, to try on the particular ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding and arguing that define the discourse of our community. He must learn to speak our language. Or he must dare to speak it or to carry off the bluff, since speaking and writing will most certainly be required long beofre the skill is learned” – Bartholomae, 1985, 134-135

Discourses are ways of being in the world, which integrate words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes and social identities, as well as gestures, glances, body positions and clothes…a sort of identify kit” – James Gee

Where do discourses come from (Gee, 1996, p.137)?

  • Primary – acquired early in life within the socio-cultural setting of the family
  • Secondary – learned / taught as part of socialisations within schools, religious communities and other local, state and national groups

How do discourses cause discomfort among others?

Socio-cultural dimensions of diversity:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Class (“income diversity”)
  • Religion/culture

What resources do students need in order to complete a task?

How comfortable are you using race as a descriptor?

What are the problems with using race as a descriptor?

What is the value of using race as a descriptor?

“Am I a racist if I think about race in my courses? Shouldn’t I treat all my students equally?” – Milner, 2003, p.176

How does one address the significant difference in retention and graduation rates between black and white students at university in South Africa without reference to race?

When discussing diversity in the classroom, it’s as much about who we are  (i.e. teachers) in that discussion

Authority doesn’t only come from what you know, but also from what you look like. The notion of authority has huge racial overtones in South Africa

Knowledge in the blood” – Jansen

“Race reflection” – Milner, 2003

  • How might my race influence my work as a teacher?
  • How might my students’ racial experiences influence their work with me? What does it mean for a young black student who has never even had a conversation with an adult white male, to be told to come and see the teacher anytime, when that teacher is an adult white male?
  • How do I negotiate the power structure around race in my class to allow students to feel a sense of worth?
  • Am I willing to speak about the injustice of racism in conservative spaces?

“We are a nation struggling to come out of our history”

References

  • Bartholomae, D (1985). “Inventing the university”, in Rose M (ed), When a writer can’t write: studies in writer’s block and other composing precess problems.
  • Cummins J (1996). Negotiating identities: education for empowerment in a diverse society
  • Felder, RM (1993). Reaching the second tier – learning and teaching styles in college science education. Journal of college science teaching, 23(5):286-290
  • Gee J (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: ideology in discourse
  • Milner HR (2003). Teacher reflection and race in cultural contexts: history, meaning and methods of teaching. Theory into practice, 42(3):174-180

Additional resources

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-08

  • Designing for Social Norms (or How Not to Create Angry Mobs) http://ow.ly/1vmJzH #
  • @alisa_williams Do u think it’s because no1 has shown them the value of collaboration? The system expects and rewards individual performance #
  • Anatomy of an incident: Helicopter crash at UCT http://ow.ly/1vmlK3. Interesting analysis of how the info spread #
  • Tell me again what you did? http://ow.ly/1viz3M. Useful framework for writing and brief insight into a no online learning community #
  • It’s easy criticise….and fun too (apparently) http://ow.ly/1viyT1. Writing papers is hard enough without nasty reviewer comments #
  • British man survives artificial heart transplant http://ow.ly/1viyNA #
  • elearnspace › 5 ways tech startups can disrupt education http://bit.ly/pxMWHf #
  • @RonaldArendse Been thinking about how much disruption can really happen in the institutional context. Can we disrupt at all? #
  • If you could throw everything out and start again, what would your classroom look like? Would you have a classroom? #
  • Visions of Students Today http://bit.ly/nIbERY. Another video by Michael Wesch #
  • Create a Research Space | Learning Journey http://bit.ly/nVyPhF. Great tips on using a framework for writing #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-11

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-03-07

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-30

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-21

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-01

  • Revisiting the Purpose of Higher Education and Courses. Why teaching content isn’t enough http://tinyurl.com/yg7ttj8 #
  • First two weeks of OpenContent at UCT http://tinyurl.com/ygtm9wx #
  • The Open Source Way: Creating and Nurturing Communities of Contributors http://bit.ly/bTDcGp #
  • Why technology is not disrupting the university sector http://tinyurl.com/yhk3boy #
  • @weblearning I like it, thanks for the heads up 🙂 #
  • RT @weblearning: “key difference between informal and formal learning is .. permeable classroom walls” writes @bfchirpy http://bit.ly/90f17e #
  • Establish Authority by Creating Value. A few suggestions on ways to better establish yourself within your field http://tinyurl.com/ygv2nfl #
  • Highlighting E-Readers. Short comment by Downes on a post highlighting issues with e-readers for scholarship http://tinyurl.com/yghqbnf #
  • Short post on the predominantly content focused nature of course planning http://tinyurl.com/y9v4u64 #
  • RT @melaniemcbride: one of the downsides of fewer [bloggers] is a preference for the shotgun-share over [hard work & analysis/commentary] #
  • @KEC83 #Diigo ed. acc? Been trying on/off for 6 months with not even a single response from them. Very disappointing #
  • @RonaldArendse looks interesting, but I think it’s going to be a while before we’ll see anything like that locally 🙂 #
  • Policing YouTube: Medical Students, Social Media and Digita Identity http://bit.ly/crA5yi #
  • Sunset at Mont Flour in Stellenbosch is beautiful #
  • apophenia » Blog Archive » ChatRoulette, from my perspective. Thoughts on the video service by danah boyd http://bit.ly/9TU4O3 #
  • Johannes Cronje: Wendren’s PPC Bag. Cool example of South African innovation http://bit.ly/aKdy3O #
  • @meganbur welcome to the revolution 🙂 #
  • At http://montfleur.co.za/ for UWC writing retreat. There are worse places to be. Some good insight into the writing process #
  • @sbestbier Thanks for the suggest, much appreciated 🙂 #
  • Science in the Open » Blog Archive » Peer review: What is it good for? http://bit.ly/cxzR6o #
  • It’s not peer review if you aren’t familiar with the subject « Connectivism http://bit.ly/1PIqDK #
  • elearnspace. everything elearning: Scholarship in an age of participation (Siemens) http://bit.ly/bigAMm #

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