Last Post

The start of this course was the toughest part (so far, at least). Not having a single online “home” left me feeling a bit lost as evident in the earlier stages of the first page. Whilst finding my feet, and even beyond that, I resorted to what I knew: spending time (being frustrated) with the presentation layer, IFTTT, wordpress, pintrest et al, categorised as “meta”.

Progressing past that stage was important.  Doing so focused in on Twitter, despite my initial misgivings, as it was most efficient at dealing with images, youtube, links. Using Twitter to get across my thoughts and (hopefully/sometimes) substantive points in less than 140 characters soon became a lesson in brevity. I’m sure this new experience will serve me well throughout the MSc and beyond.

Typically there were four stages to each of my posts: 1 – read it; 2 – post it; 3 – fix it; and 4 – tag it. It became a streamlined process. Engaging with the content this way forced me to digest the reading or videos, consider the author’s intent; look for hooks; review it; and consider merit and clarity in my postings on the matter as well as the presentation. What worked well through the weeks was specifically referencing the point from the reading alongside my comment. I might have done more of this to explicitly tie my thinking back to the readings. Although some of my favourite posts did not: Community and creativity; Flipped Classrooms and the one about technology building sausage machines in education. I was also inspired by virtual reality, in part thinking I would focus my digital essay on the subject (which did not come to pass), but also because it seems suitably cyberpunk.

The course’s community events such as TogetherTube and the hangouts were also of great benefit to hearing different paths towards understanding. With more time, I would have liked to do more reading of, and commenting on, other students’ blogs. When I did do that, it presented some new ideas or helped toward confirming my thoughts. Some blog discussions never really took off, so I continued to favour Twitter

The process and outcomes of creating the artefacts was satisfying. Looking back, I’m proud of each one.

We are not here to merely to learn by reading or watching, we are here to learn by creating, considering, comparing, critiquing and communicating. The lifestream is a document of our investigation in to issues surrounding culture, technology and education.  The lifestream activity achieves that in a way that’s so different from traditional essay writing. I have learned to enjoy the lifestream process. Least of all because the activity directly represents elements of debate I have on a daily basis in my job at a university, the feedback from which motivated me further in my blog. So too did satisfaction from feedback from fellow students and the blog tutor.

The journey of this stream, as I keep reminding myself, is important to ensure I arrive somewhere. And as it started, so too does it end.

Week 11 – Round Up

I miscalculated. Despite my thinking that Week 10 was the last round-up, it’s actually week 11!

On Monday/Tuesday Philip posted an article about how AI should be feared according to tech-entrepreneur Elon Musk, who previously announced plugging us in to the machine would keep human development at pace with AI. I’m perhaps missing something here, but fighting fire with fire has its own risks for sure.

Thursday saw Audrey Watters’ excellent talk on “Driverless Ed-Tech” and the automation of education, which is particularly relevant to my intended subject for the Digital Essay. As was mentioned by others on the accompanying YouTube chat, I found it very engaging to be online, tweeting (11 times) and discussing the points I picked up. This level of engagement would be much harder in-situ. However, where my tweets have persisted, YouTube chat transcript has not.

Week 11 included April 1st, which I do enjoy. A MSCEDC-relevant fool from NVIDIA was examined briefly in a blog post which included a tweet and the video.

Some other blog-entries were lighthearted takes on serious issues. Take this look at how relationships and community form (or not) online in VR. Not everyone jokes on April 1st however. A sober lesson that even “techno-utopians” can be weathered down by constant exposure to some elements of the internet’s wider community also featured.

I was spending time reviewing my Lifestream, and I sorted out some issues, and also revisited some “old” posts, and themes.

I was looking ahead too, not just to the Digital Assignment, but also to the rest of the year. I look forward to seeing if 2017 brings about practical application of the trends we might expect to see.

Meta: Page Selector

As I draw this blog to a close, I found myself struggling to navigate with the default settings. So I’ve tweaked them a bit. At the top of the blog, there is a “page selector” menu item which allows anyone browsing to jump quickly to a page. I added this because the user experience of reading in reverse chronological order is otherwise very frustrating, but having ~400 posts on one page load is probably not a good idea either! However, without access to the PHP driving the site, or to add additional modules, I can’t see how to create jump links to the bottom of the page, you still have to scroll down to start reading in reverse chronological order.

Obviously anyone browsing this blog from start to finish could do so at an individual post level, in which case considering this additional feature is moot, but it’s there now in any case and was relatively trivial to set up.

Meta: Very useful tip about editing WordPress categories

Generally speaking, if you think something would be a good idea with any popular web application such as WordPress, someone has already thought of it. If you’re lucky, then there’s a plugin to help. If you’re really lucky, then it’s already part of the native capability of WordPress! In this case, I wanted to fix a category mis-match between a couple of IFTTT recipes I’d made and not corrected. Apparently, I can do this in bulk. WordPress has an awesome community built up around it. This has helped to lead it to its massive popularity for sure. Here’s a link to the guide I found via Google:

Assigning or Changing Categories for Bulk Posts in WordPress

Feature image source:

Comment over on Comments for Eli’s EDC blog

Comment on Tweet! Sometimes marketing is about too much bling by cmiller

I’ve been arguing that lecture capture is so “old-hat” that those who haven’t already adopted it should be looking to leap-frog the technology entirely. From a pedagogical perspective, I might expect you to agree with that, though I’m not entirely sure what the alternatives would be, I think they would involve some sort of lo-fi portable recording as per MSCEDC weekly intros, or maybe hi-tech virtual reality or AR lectures, streamed online… anything that improves attendance virtually or in-person would be a productive project to pursue!

from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog

From Blogs: A post on Algorithms

I’m reading around algorithms for my digital essay, though the topic will include Plagiarism Detection or similar. I’m also reading over MSCEDC blogs. It’s a great experience. I found this post on Eli’s blog post about Algorithms to be very thought provoking. I wonder if students realise that their work submitted to turnitin is available almost in perpetuity, long after they, and probably their lecturer’s, have left academia…..

Pinned to #MSCDE on Pinterest

Comment over on Comments for Eli’s EDC blog

Comment on Tweet! Battling with IFTTT again so I can try some alternative tools by cmiller

So much IFTTT frustration abounds on #mscedc. And to think that IFTTT are currently soliciting votes for some award for making our lives easier…

from Comments for Eli’s EDC blog

From Blogs: The singularity

[spoiler alert] If we combine algorithmic culture and cyberculture, we translate our own atoms in to light particles capable of faster than light travel. The singularity where machine learning happens so fast it is no longer possible to measure it… thanks to Matthew via Eli for that entertaining thought!

Don’t talk in front of robots? 5-min drama from @guardian, worth a watch: Probing re. ethics, us & the end. #mscedc

From Twitter: Big Data – Every keystroke indicates your mood?

From Twitter: Testing the algorithm on Google Play

Hipster algorithm? I wasn’t explicitly looking for Ghost in the Shell soundtrack, but the algorithm picked up on “trends” and presented it anyway. As it happened, it was also just the type of music I was looking for!

Another brick in the wall – My part II

Looking back over my blog, Nigel and I had an idea that the anthemic Pink Floyd Song “another brick in the wall part 2” might have relevance to the First Block of Education and Digital Cultures.

On review, I think it probably has more to say about Block 3. Not that I’m trying to shoe-horn this song in to my life stream, but I did grow up with Floyd.

If the metaphor is changed from thinking about student rebelion, to governmental control, as suggested in the blog post by Walter Benjamin it is much easier to look at the issues surrounding algorithms in education. Particularly with relevance to any perception of “loss” of teaching as a human-only skill, in favour of the AI, Microlearning, and adaptive pathways for students.

The sausage machine metaphor could readily sit with xMOOCs too.

Trends of E-learning for 2017

Going forward in to 2017 I have no doubt that the items listed in the infographic above feature in the pedagogic, deterministic, budgetary and strategic discussions variously held throughout UK Higher Education. I just wonder how quickly they will permeate down to the experiences of academics and students in the classrooms, and which institutions will be among the first to make the most capital out of each one.


From Twitter

Starbird sighed. “I used to be a techno-utopian. Now I can’t believe that I’m sitting here talking to you about all this.”

The depressing reality that people are people no matter what tools they use to express their humanity.

From Twitter- April Fool with an algorithmic twist

This April Fools from NVidia was very well done. It would be no surprise to hear that it pulled some people in. The thought that machines can play your game for (or against) you is nothing new. “Bots” have been in existence for years that would do just that, either as opponents in your game or even autoscripts to take on the more mundane tasks in video games or just play for you entirely. But this video suggests something very much more appealing. “Deep learning algorithms” which will even “talk or emote” on your behalf! It’s like you never left your seat… I wonder if NVIDIA will ever release the numbers of sign-ups they captured on that page

From Twitter