That title is actually two differnet topics just bunched together under one blog post. They aren’t related. Heading out to Beijing on Monday for mLearn 2011 conference (#mlearn2011) where I and several colleagues from around the world will be presenting on a recent MobiMOOC course and its applicability as a pedagogical vehicle for connectivism. Basically, it investigates the intersection of the MOOC format and mLearning and its pedagogical foundation, connectivism. I will post the presentation here as soon as we have given it, but I suspect we will be tinkering right until the very end. A related paper will appear this month we all co-authored in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) on the applicability of chaos theory to the MOOC format (as told through MobiMOOC), the brainchild of the MobiMOOC creator, Inge de Waard. A third paper is forthcoming involving some textual analysis of the MobiMOOC discussion boards, Twitter streams, etc. in an attempt to spot disengagement or increased engagement with the course. Verbal cues, that sort of thing, that might affect retention. Either way, slow going but forthcoming.
So, off to Beijing on Monday and I will share with you my Google Map of what constitutes my orbit for the event (when I am not at the conference hall). Think a lot of restaurants, palaces, and bizarre novelty shops (North Korean bizarre pseudo-realism paintings). Either way, in the interest of full disclosure:
View Beijing: mLearn2011 in a larger map
What had me originally start to write this post, however, was a cursory glance at the usage statistics for the JSTOR Plant Science Vimeo page and the surprising levels of viewership for what are, essentially, home movies of herbaria. We range anywhere from 4000-10000 views a week (500,000 since we started), which is modest in comparison for some sites, but certainly respectable for this specialized field. It is my belief that they humanize this discipline, which could, perhaps, be viewed as rather staid by some. I find these people incredible and I am happy to coordinate this video activity. The ones from Nepal in particular are engaging and I am so happy so many herbaria have decided to contribute. So, if you want, take a look at what I think is the power of low-tech storytelling. It is real and at times clumsy and altogether endearingly human. Passionate and intelligent people doing their bit to help the world help itself. This one, I think, is my favorite: