Sunday, 22 May 2011

Blog Thing 13: Wrap-up.

Blog Thing 13

About the Things:

  1. Which Things, or kinds of Thing, or just ideas, did you find most useful, or thought-provoking? Why those ones in particular? CAMTOOLS (if that counts as a "thing") is first on my list; Open-Syllabus comes in second...with no third.  In general, I appreciate anything that helps make courses of learning more transparent than they would otherwise be, without turning them into digital labyrinths or webs.  Simplicity (not narrow-mindedness or complexity in superficiality) is the KEY.  The problem with most "things" is excessive complexity betraying programmers' attempt to format courses of learning in vitro, as if what educators and students needed (today as ever) were pre-formatted "yellow brick roads".  CAMTOOLS (and to some extent OPEN-SYLLABUS) might come in handy (assuming most colleagues were to make use of them) by way of facilitating cross-course fertilizing.  When it comes to student usage, I remain weary, not wishing to promote the bad habit of viewing courses of learning as merchandise.
  2. Which didn't you find useful (at all)? CLOUDWORKS (too many irrelevant links and mostly self-serving, including advertisement sold as "educational"); VIEWPOINTS (too dispersive/complex: too much "stuffing" and too many options: becomes self-serving).  Are there any Things or ideas you think you will use in future? CAMTOOLS and possibly OPEN-SYLLABUS.
  3. Were any useful enough that they'd be worth mentioning to other colleagues, or promoting or offering more widely in the University? I wouldn't invest much beyond CamTools, and cannot see why this particular application could not serve as host for extensions (if need be), instead of having to set up parallel applications (if only linked to CamTools).  Otherwise, I should stress one more time that what would be helpful is a platform facilitating exchange (especially relative to bibliographies) between educators, and possibly for students to consult.  Beyond this, I fear to find only (or for the most part) open-doors for the further bureaucratization of education.  Ouch!
  4. About the programme:
  5. Looking back over the programme, what were the good bits about it for you? Ideas, tools, dialogue, reflection, something else?  Conversing with other  Secondarily, gaining a glimpse of the inner dynamics of academic bureaucracy.
  6. What could have made it better? The programme was well organized.  The problem was the quality of the material we set out to "test-drive" (esp. in relation to its purported utility).
  7. What do you think of the idea of an informal forum or network, for Cambridge staff interested in teaching and learning ideas? Is there a need? Would it interest you? I suspect most educators would not be interested, unless they were thoroughly convinced that they would benefit from it.  If the forum were dedicated to exploring new "tools" abstracted from a shared understanding of ENDS, then my answer tends to  Genuinely useful tools are a function of dialogue; not the other way around.  We're dealing with rather tough problems, but I remain unapologetic about this: t'was not I who opened up the can of worms.   
  8. If 13 Things were to continue, in some form, what should that form be?  Something recognized (officially) by departments and their respective chairs/heads.

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