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Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education: a new paper by MobiMOOC Research Team in IRRODL

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I am particularly honored to see our paper published in The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) co-authored with the MobiMOOC Research Group, one of the greatest spontaneous collections of academics I have never met (aside from Rebecca Hogue and Nilgun Keskin at mLearn2011 in Beijing). We constructed this paper, helmed by Inge de Waard, corrected, edited, proofread, etc. all with minimal collaborative structure (no formal set of tools we used or anything, aside from Google Docs initially) and with no authoritative structure (Inge wrote the first draft of this paper, but we all took turns editing and adding to it-whoever had the ‘baton’ owned the paper for that stretch of time). I am convinced this is a good emerging model of scholarly collaboration and that we will see a considerable increase in the number of co-authored papers/research. It would seem a conceptual disconnect to not have more collaboration reflected in the actual outputs of academic research.

Most importantly, I wanted to thank the good people of The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) for their acceptance of our paper, their thoughtful suggestions, and even their patience trying to track down six author’s photos. Beautiful layout as well. 

So, take a look if you can spare the time as it begins to delve into the role of complexity and chaos in mLearning, a subject that I believe will receive considerable treatment going forward. Here is the citation and abstract:

  • de Waard, Inge, Sean Abajian, Michael Sean Gallagher, Rebecca Hogue, Nilgün Keskin, Apostolos Koutropoulos, & Osvaldo C. Rodriguez. “Using mLearning and MOOCs to understand chaos, emergence, and complexity in education.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning [Online], 12.7 (2011): 94-115. Web. 25 Nov. 2011

“In this paper, we look at how the massive open online course (MOOC) format developed by connectivist researchers and enthusiasts can help analyze the complexity, emergence, and chaos at work in the field of education today. We do this through the prism of a MobiMOOC, a six-week course focusing on mLearning that ran from April to May 2011. MobiMOOC embraced the core MOOC components of self-organization, connectedness, openness, complexity, and the resulting chaos, and, as such, serves as an interesting paradigm for new educational orders that are currently emerging in the field. We discuss the nature of participation in MobiMOOC, the use of mobile technology and social media, and how these factors contributed to a chaotic learning environment with emerging phenomena. These emerging phenomena resulted in a transformative educational paradigm” (de Waard et al, 2011).

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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