Sunday, August 7, 2011
As we collectively craft the Wikipedia definition of maasive open online classes, discussions recently are shifting to the "o" for openness. I have found the discussions fascinating. It should, of course be free and open to all. It should allow participants to drop in and stop out. It should blend both freedom and meaningfulness for all participants.
One of our upcoming discussions is whether we may want to launch a MOOC using a textbook - an open textbook, of course. We are finishing up an open textbook project among the three campuses of the University of Illinois - drawing upon the faculty expertise at the university. The topic is one that has broad international interest. And, an open textbook, combined with resources of the scale we offered - and the massive offerings provided by participants - could be powerful. An open textbook could provide a pathway -a roadmap - through the topic with participants and panels taking side trips along the way.
I am at O'Hare en route to the Penn State University for our annual Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (co-directed this year by panelists Larry Ragan and Bruce Chaloux). Much to learn there. I will be "up in the air" on my return trip for the upcoming collaborations, collective and clouds panel, but I will catch it on the recording.
Take Care! "See you online"
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
I did some hanging out myself today. I heard a bit more about how participants feel about eduMOOC - the good and the bad. I hear that we can pay a bit closer attention to our audio quality in the panels, but also that the streaming format (thanks again Tulio) is pretty cool. I hear that a lot of people are making new connections. I hear that many really like the MOOC. I hear that this MOOC is less controlled and structured than others.
I suppose that last comment deserves a bit of a response. We have approached this MOOC in a way similar to how we teach a graduate seminar. We respect the knowledge, diversity and innovative spirit of those who choose to participate in a MOOC. Our approach has been to create opportunities to learn; to mention thought-provoking ideas where we can; to invite some people who care about the topic to our panel discussions, and mostly to point people to interesting resources in the area of online learning. Our approach is not that we, the organizers, will teach in a traditional hands-on way, but that we will provide the opportunity to engage, interact, and learn. We set the original agenda, invited some panelists, created some spaces - though many more spaces were created by the participants - to give some form to the MOOC blob so people would have an idea what it might become.
Having set the stage, we are now caretakers of the forum; janitors of the classroom. It something breaks, we try to fix it; if someone or something makes an awful mess that gets in the way of others, we'll try to tidy it up enough that the others can engage, interact and learn unimpeded. We're the ones with the dustpans, mops and brooms. Sweeping, scooping and splashing. (This brings to mind mucking out the horse stalls at the Illinois State Fair which takes place each August here in Springfield, but I'll save that for another posting)
This week is going to be especially fun. I love technology. And, we have four of my favorite techno-leaders talking together on Thursday. You will find them all on twitter and in blogs and quoted around campuses and other places where tekkies reside to hide from the sun, choosing rather to bask in the glow of their tablet screens.
Most of our staff will be dispersed on the east and west coasts for various meetings, presentations, etc. during the week. But Carrie will be in charge, as I am reminded she is in charge more often than not. She and Lauren will keep the MOOC going when flight attendants have put the rest of us in "airplane mode."
So, a great week ahead!
"See" you online - hope we can hangout!
Won't anyone give this post a +1 ?
Friday, July 8, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
It has not gone without notice that some of the weekly resource pages for the coming weeks have been a bit... perhaps "spare" is a good term; or perhaps "redundant" of prior pages also applies. Perhaps some of you who have taught a new class with little available advanced prep time have experienced this - you are trying to keep one week - or one step - ahead of the class. We front-loaded materials into the first couple of weeks (thanks to Karen,Carrie, Shari, Emily and others) that we knew had to be ready in the first days of the MOOC. So, these past couple of days, we have been filling in some of our favorite resources and a few new ones into the middle weeks. As you look ahead, you will see that we have some more links and more complete bios for speakers. We are not done - we won't ever be done - but, know that we are tending to the site and adding materials.
Our goal in the weekly resource pages is not to create a comprehensive reading library of materials on the topic. Instead, we hope to give you a sampling of materials. We included tweeters and bloggers because those are sources that keep on giving - day after day, they put out the newest information. They are perpetually renewable. We included sites that seem to be established and reliable so we would have touchstones to which we could return on these topics. And, we included journals and articles that seem to deal with the topic and are relatively fresh. In sum, the goal of the reading is to give you a sweet sampling on the topic where you can get some new; some established; and where possible, something thought-provoking. We know that you will freely run with the topics in wikis, blogs, tweets, moodle, video, and more.
So, in a sense the resources listed are like a little weekly picnic at which you can browse - we will work to catch up (ketchup anyone?) - and keep the salads fresh for your browsing pleasure.
"See" you online.
Monday, July 4, 2011
For me, this holiday means fewer calls and fewer emails, allowing more time to again reflect on what we are doing and why.
Two research teams are forming - one organized in New Zealand (http://wikieducator.org/OER_university/eduMOOC_planning_group), the other organized in Canada(http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2011/07/04/researching-open-online-courses/) - both drawing on volunteers around the world. They will be examining open online classes more closely than ever before. There are many questions to be asked, and much to be learned from this, prior, and upcoming massive open online classes (notably the expansive examination of "change" to start in September and run into May - http://change.mooc.ca/.
I am amazed that so many eduMOOC participants are networking, tweeting, blogging, discussing. Normally, I would need to motivate students in my classes to do this. Those students are paying tuition and fees. eduMOOC participants are not. Yet, they are the ones who are motivated, energized, enthusiastic. I ponder why that might be.
Perhaps it is the topic. Perhaps it is the time. Perhaps we have come to a point where people around the world are sophisticated users of the Web and social networking who can freely and comfortably engage in a MOOC. Perhaps we have come to the point that high-cost higher education is no longer sustainable, and people around the world are fervently seeking alternatives online.
People in small countries with few educational institutions and IT infrastructure resources, and people in large countries with many universities and resources are moved to learn, discuss, debate, suggest, test, and celebrate online learning.
Slowly, I get glimmers of understanding from the hundreds of postings and tweets. Ponderously, I come to realize just how complex this is. To me there is no simple, single apparent reason for the response to Moocs and to this particular topic.
And, so the research work of George Siemens and Wayne Mackintosh and their associates is important. They will gather numbers, assess, evaluate, analyze, interview, focus, and track. Turning over every stone in the river of MOOCs, they will discover some trends, patterns, and perhaps some reasons.
Out of these discoveries, we can all hope, will come some answers to meet the needs of people around the world.
Participants, know that you are being heard. We are hearing what you are saying individually and in small groups. We may not yet fully understand what you are collectively saying. But, the research teams will do all they can to more completely understand why, and what for, and what may be next.
"See" you online!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Our discussions of knowledge transfer or knowledge silos or shared experiences with varied contexts, all lend themselves to theory and research. And this leads to questions of how is this done best, or as good as, or better than, or different than. And, for whom does the online (school) bell toll? Or, the virtual personal learning bell?
So, it is with great anticipation that I await our readings, discussions and panel on research questions. It is research that identifies best practices, that uncovers new possibilities, that opens the minds of people to the potential of online learning.
Karen Swan, Phil Ice and Ben Arbaugh will comprise the expert panel on research in online learning. They will draw on their experiences in conducting research studies to help us get a better understanding of what we have collectively learned so far about online learning. And that is what I am anticipating most; the chance to hear these leaders in research talking together!
Much to look forward to. And, I look forward to "seeing" you in the discussions online.
Friday, July 1, 2011
I have known Bob Hansen for the past half dozen years. We worked together on projects in Maine and Illinois; now nationally with the UPCEA. He is perceptive, logical and brilliant. Bob is a great guy with whom to build such things as online programs.
I have known Bruce Chaloux even longer than Bob. Bruce is a scholar and a veteran policy leader. He sees the whole picture. He knows the field from technology to pedagogy to finding solutions when none seem possible, as we did with the Sloan Semester on which we collaborated - the initiative that served thousands of students who had been displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita with online classes offered from other universities around the U.S.
And, Witt Salley, the future of our field, whom I met a couple of years ago at our inaugural Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (founded by Gary Miller and Larry Ragan of the Penn State World Campus - Larry will join us for one of the panels later this summer). Within moments of meeting Witt you know he has vision, insight, energy, and savvy. He is a leader. It is special to watch him at work carving out our future.
The #edumooc tweets are illuminating. So many good thoughts are out there. Carrie mentioned the debate over knowlege transfer to me today. Does knowledge transfer take place in online (or any other) learning? I am not taking sides on this. But, it is engaging in the discussion itself that is worth more than winning this debate. And, that's part of what MOOCs are all about - questioning, discussing, engaging. Out of that comes better understanding of each other.
We are tweaking again. We have fixed the gadget that will "waterfall" the tweets in a window on the same page as the audio stream. We are wondering if we should suggest a unique tag for the panel? On the one hand, that would help assure that we get only tweets associated with the panel for the event (not having general #edumooc tweets interspersed). But, creating a new tag for each week might dilute the overall aggregation of the #edumooc. (or, are we over-thinking this?) As always comments are welcome.
Our registrations have settled down for now. >2,500. Countries represented: Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Belize Botswana Brazil Bulgaria Burundi Canada Chile China Colombia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominican Republic Ecuador Ethiopia Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Guyana India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan Kuwait Laos Malaysia Mauritius México Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Norway Pakistan Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Samoa Saudi Arabia Scotland South Africa Spain St. Vincent/the Grenadines Sudan Sweden Taiwan Thailand Trinidad/Tobago Turkey UAE Uganda UK Ukraine Venezuela USA Vietnam West Indies
Every time I see the list of countries, I think about the potential for greater understanding that can be nurtured online across continents and cultures.
It is late here on the prairie - nearing midnight. I hope to steal away early in the morning to wet my fishing line in the Sangamon River that winds through our region. Much like the knowledge transfer debate; it is not whether you catch the fish, it is the process of fishing that is the most meaningful.
"See" you online soon.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Today was the first live session. Bruce Chaloux, Bob Hansen and Witt Salley - all with years of leadership in online learning administration - shared their perspectives on where we are today. They are a veteran lineup who daily "live" the challenges and opportunities of online learning. They set a good context for our coming discussions. I have worked with them for years on a variety of projects, so it was a comfortable conversation about where we are today in online learning.
We will receive the analytics from ITS soon, but clearly many hundreds of participants linked into the panel discussion stream. The audio and video of the .ppt were clear and sharp. The front end discerned the type of feed required by the client and directed it to either the Flash or the HTML5 stream. I am told that it looked and sounded particularly great on iPads. We have already tweaked the design of the #edumooc Twitter scroll - it should be flawless next week. I am reminded that progress requires patience. It is well worth the time and effort. What we are learning may be useful to others who seek to send out live sessions to a thousand or more simultaneous viewers while making a visible, easy-to-access Twitter back channel. In terms of bandwidth use and economy, it is much more efficient to link the speakers rather than two-way linking of hundreds of participants via a Web conferencing system. The design and load testing today makes us all most confident about the using this for future MOOCs and other broadly disseminated events. Very exciting.
Em will trim up the recording tonight, and we will have it posted by morning. Thank you, yet again, Emily.
I am really excited about the lineup to follow. We have top-notch panelists. I had hoped to have Seb Schmoller on today's panel (director of ALT in the UK), but he will join us for the look ahead at the future of online learning in August. That's going to be a great session with Cable Green, Curt Bonk, Bruce Chaloux, and Seb.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I puzzle over the depth and breadth of the reach of eduMOOC. Countries of those participating at this point are Argentina Australia Austria Belgium Belize Botswana Brazil Bulgaria Burundi Canada Chile China Colombia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominican Republic Ecuador Ethiopia Fiji Finland France Germany Greece Guyana India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan Kuwait Laos Malaysia Mauritius México Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Norway Pakistan Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Samoa Saudi Arabia Scotland South Africa Spain St. Vincent/the Grenadines Sweden Taiwan Thailand Trinidad/Tobago Turkey UAE Uganda UK Ukraine Venezuela USA Vietnam.
Surely the online learning infrastructure and support varies widely among these countries. I can imagine some are mostly served through mobile phone access. Some of those accessing the MOOC rely on part-time generators providing power for a few hours a day. Others have superior bandwidth to the home than we enjoy here in Illinois. Some countries have large open efforts, others do not. It is this range, in part, that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to apply a single set of learning objectives.
It is this that makes me think that the MOOC is closer to providing support for a matrix of personal learning networks than supporting a single ubiquitous set of learning objectives.
Tomorrow is our first synchronous session. More tests of the process today. Tulio, our director Educational Technology surprised us today with the installation of a brand new high-bandwidth, super fast, streaming server for flash. Our previous main streaming server will provide the HTML5 version to iPhone, iPads, etc. that will be auto-detected when you connect.
The streaming will be found online: http://www.uis.edu/technology/live/edumooc.html
Don't forget to click on the "play" button to hook up to the stream!
We will post the link to the recorded version as soon as it is available.
I hope to connect with you tomorrow... now to feed the other hungry blogs.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Some numbers on this sunny early evening on the prairie:
2,395 is the current registration count - I can't tell exactly how many countries are represented since we did not require that those registering designate location, but I stopped counting at 60 the other day.
3,250 is the number of Google Group eduMOOC page views. There are officially 1,275 members in the group, with 1,164 pending. So far, there are 477 messages in 43 topical areas.
58 is the number of members in the eduMOOC Wikispace - this is really worth visiting - http://edumooc.wikispaces.com/ . Eight formal groups. Some more information including RSS feed of the Online Learning Update blog. One of the groups is writing in Portuguese. Another is info for face-to-face meetings in NZ.
50 is the number of members in the Diigo eduMOOC group - there are some interesting bookmarks (links) to pages and comments on those pages there http://groups.diigo.com/group/edumooc .
79 is the number of Delicious bookmarks for edumooc (including one pointing to the Diigo edumooc page)! http://delicious.com/
145 is the number of network profiles listed now. You should enter your data so others can follow you - use the entry form to submit info that is then posted at the networking profile page. When you view the profile page, know that you can search the page by pressing ctrl + F.
Countless Tweets with #edumooc. (find them by clicking in left column of home site)
Countless blogs. (find them at the networking profile page!)
Still looking for something to do in the eduMOOC - add to the totals above by visiting, joining in, linking up!
In the tweeting and discussions....
I saw those who are seeking learning objectives. The participants are the ones who must determine their own objectives. You will decide what you want to learn. If you need help in writing out your learning objectives, a good resource is: http://tilt.colostate.edu/tips/tip.cfm?tipid=92 And, in the end, it is you who will decide if you succeeded what you set out to accomplish.
I saw some concern about repetition of the resources listed on the various weekly pages. As we get closer, to the designated weeks, those will be updated by the moderators. Weeks one and two have lots of resources specific to their topics.
I saw some concern that this might be a "stuffy" MOOC. Heavens, I hope not! I have never been accused of being stuffy before - and I don't want to begin now. If it seems stuffy in here - throw open the window. Post some cartoons! Send up some balloons! And usher out those stuffy buffoons!
Thanks to many of you who have chosen to follow my tweets @rayschroeder. I try to post at least one interesting item early each morning (US time) to help get us started on the right foot. Each one includes a URL to what I think is an interesting article.
Thanks also to many of you who are following the Online Learning Update blog. I aggregated it at Wikispaces eduMOOC and it is tweeted @onlinelearningu. More blogs and twitters lined in the right column over here ->
I can't wait until our first panel discussion on Thursday. The streaming site looks great - and the auto java-enabled (or not) detect is very cool - will adjust for mobile listeners/viewers. I wonder just how many will connect for the live session... how many for the recorded sessions.
More numbers to numb my mind.
Best to you all,
Monday, June 27, 2011
The wikispaces discussion groups seem to be coming along. I wonder if I should link them to the relevant resource pages. On the other hand, I should probably just leave that up to the participants that created them. They will link if they want to link.
@Tektrekker was asking if we should just let loose and tag using Diigo, or should we report the tags into the Diigo group. I suppose that should also be decided by the users. Maybe they want to do both?
So, we have http://edumooc.wikispaces.com/ and http://groups.google.com/group/edumooc as options for posting, and discussions. That should help to address preferences
We have 125 listed in the networking site spreadsheet. Searching the sheet using ctrl+F works well - smooth and seamless. I hope we have hundreds listed soon. There is so much more out there.
I am really excited about the display site for our streamed live sessions. Live panel discussion sessions will be held each Thursday at 2:00 pm eastern daylight, 1:00 pm central daylight, noon mountain daylight, 11:00 am pacific daylight and 7:00 pm London time. They may be viewed live online at:
Your screen will look like this:
The audio of the panel and slides will appear on the left of the screen
The #edumooc twitter back channel feed will appear center screen
A Twitter compose gadget will appear on the right for those with Twitter accounts to upload tweets
The session will be recorded and be made available online for those who wish to view later.
Small steps, but the journey begins with just one...
At a reception this evening for the retirement of our chancellor - long time friend and associate Harry Berman - our Wepner Distinguished Scholar Dr. Matthew Holden, Political Science pulled me aside. He is interested in delivering a broadly attended class on the Civil War. It struck me that if (help me), we did this again next summer perhaps the Civil War might make a great topic.
I am falling asleep at the keyboard right now... storms all night last night kept me up. Soon, I'll rest and "try again" tomorrow.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I am learning that the MOOC never sleeps. And, that people are engaged everywhere.
I just published a new networking list. I hope we get more to fill out the networking form ... check out the blogs, Twitter addresses, home pages, wikis and more at the Participant Contact and Networking Page ! When at the page, you can press ctrl + F to search for terms or names on the list.
The MOOC belongs to everyone. We collectively build this learning opportunity through our engagement in the many activities open to us such as:
- Discussions in the Google Group
- Discussions in the Wiki
- Bookmarking and tagging with edumooc in Diigo
- Tweeting with #edumooc
- Other social networking
- Web pages
One of our participants whose name I have forgotten has mentioned that MOOCs are supposed to be messy, but also connected and distributed.
Thank you to all who are particpating!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I am concerned about making it as easy as possible for participants to create study groups, and to connect through social networking such as blogs and Twitter. We have made some progress this week, but it still is nagging at me.
Wayne Mackintosh's suggestion was a great one. He opened his wiki for a study group on OERu. I had already claimed edumooc wikispaces. So, while bouncing along through the weeds I decided to create the beginning of a template for a study group, seed it with a couple of questions and get the word out to the moocers that they could set up their own groups in the edumooc wiki or the edumooc Google Group. Of course any other site one wants to offer is welcome, but these are set up and are open.
Another suggestion from Jason Rhode and Tektrekker among others was that we should be sure to have a prominent place for moocers to share their blogs, Twitter, sites, and interests. We approached this in two ways - for the more experienced users, we opened a edumooc Diigo group; and we created a simple-to-use fill-in-the-blank Google Form that publishes to a web page for everyone. We resolved to review the submissions and publish the page daily. But, not too many people have used it yet. So, I made mention of it in the little video, I added it to the announcments, and I (thanks to Emily's suggestion) added a our little globe icon to the link for the page, hoping that this would draw more attention to it. We have 60-some profiles published as of this late afternoon.
Monday, I will contact the panelists for the first live session on Thursday. All are experienced with Elluminate and with panels. Each of them has done countless speeches and presentations. They are a good group. I had hoped to get some gender balance on this panel, but repeated invitations brought no response. I suppose they wondered whatever a MOOC might be. Sigh. Anyway, I will reinforce the value of using a headset/microphone with each panelist, and we'll go a little check inside Elluminate.
Our registrations now stand at 2,105 - the latest ones from Pakistan, Spain, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Ireland and the US. Amazing.
I picked some wild blackberries growing among the poison ivy this morning - time now to enjoy them while watching the weather channel and the storms rolling in this evening.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Actually we feel confident. We are confident in the quality and expertise of the panelists (I just responded to Karen Swan, Curt Bonk and Cable Green this evening - as with all of the panelists, these people are very experienced, dedicated and know whereof they speak) . We are confident in the importance of the topic. We are confident in the value of this MOOC. We are confident in the technologies. We know it will work; we just want it to work very well.
There is a lot of balancing to do.
How do we balance access. Early on in our planning we thought we would just use Diigo for sharing sites. The cool sticky notes and the nice social aspects of sharing via Diigo seemed right. But, as we watched the registrations mount up, it seemed likely that many of those signing up had not used Diigo or Delicious or even knew about them. And, we discussed whether using these might make some less likely to participate. And, could we teach a thousand people quickly how to use them. Or would they just see the words and "change the channel." So, we decided to do both - make both available - suggest an edumooc tag for Diigo and create an edumooc Diigo group. But, we would also create a fill-in-the-blank form for networking sites so people could choose to share via Twitter, blogs, Web pages, or wikis. Of course, having an open fill-in-the-blank form is an invitation to spam and worse. So, we would manually review the submissions at least once a day and upload the page. That would delay the process of listing networking, but at least it would protect the site a bit.
Two years ago we were the victim of a radical group of hackers from the Mediterranean - sigh - they marked up our New Century Learning Consortium site. So, we are still smarting from that a bit; it makes us a little extra cautious.
We tested the streaming site today - it worked wonderfully. We tweaked wording for the Twitter gadget - to make clear that you still needed a Twitter logon to tweet, but this way you could simultaneously watch the panel, watch the back channel and compose a Tweet on the same page! (thanks Tulio!) Pretty cool, we think. And, we believe that by keeping the size of the images relatively small, we should be able to reach many hundreds of people without any serious buffering delays. We keep asking ourselves, with more than 2,000 registered, just how many will tune in a 1:00 pm central time (US) live Webcast? We are guessing that about 1/3 or 1/4 will join the live events. The others, we conjecture, will be asleep in Australia or at work in Brazil. We'll find out on Thursday. The balance here is the size of the image to reduce bandwidth so that more can see it without getting buffered right out of viewing the panel.
I keep updating the presenters and the moderators with messages every day or two. I want them to know that this is a big deal - worth their time and attention. Today I sent them a pdf of the cities and institutions that people listed as an option when registering (NOT emails or names). But, the cities and institutions go a long way to making the size of this MOOC real. A balancing act - I don't want to overload presenters with emails, but I want to keep this on their radar. These presenters are very busy (several are traveling abroad today).
We keep struggling with Google Groups. It is working for most, but some are having difficulties. Another balancing act. We think that it is generally easier for the less experienced users than the other alternatives. And, it would great for 100 or 200 or so. But, after about 500, we began getting delays and time-outs from Google because we were uploading so many at a time.
Balancing interests, balancing experience, balancing access, balancing bandwidth - seeking input from several people on each issue to help make the right choice for the most people. That's what much of today was about.
It is clear that not everyone is reading the entire home page; they are missing important things that would make the MOOC a better experience for them. So, I decided to record a short message. It shouldn't hurt to give this a little bit of a human touch. But, we knew we needed captions and the option to translate for some of our MOOC members. So, I recorded in Em's office (she has the full Camtasia suite on her computer - and we could save a step in the process by recording right into Camtasia) - wish I had better eye contact - and gave a three-minute tour of the page. We could have made a production out of it - cutting in to each part of the page when I talked about it; instead, we decided to put the video in a little window and ask people to look around the page while I talked.
A long day punctuated with laughter and a crowning event of passing 2,000 registrations. Closing now to feed my five other hungry blogs.
PS - Just saw a nice article will be in our local Springfield, IL paper tomorrow:
Thursday, June 23, 2011
- We needed to find a resource to help our participants understand Google Groups. I hadn't been able to find anything in YouTube or text. I asked Jason Rhode of NIU to check around. Instead, he created a custom video tutorial just for our users. Wonderful!
- We needed a "networking central" to provide social networking addresses and interests of participants in order to facilitate hook-ups and collaborations. @tektrekker jumped in and created a Twitter list. And, Emily crafted a Google Form, developed the database and associated .html page. We confirmed that ctrl-F worked for search and put it in the header. We will manually update after scanning each update for spam and other inappropriate material. It should work well for the purpose of sharing contact and networking info.
- In the beginning, we did not anticipate that thousands of people would sign up for the MOOC. We thought the 100-seat Elluminate (now Blackboard Connect) classroom would suffice since many will not be able to make the synchronous sessions each time due to work schedules, etc. But, as the numbers mounted, it became clear that 100 seats would not be enough. We checked the possibility of complimentary "bursting" for those sessions to 400 or 500; something that Elluminate had done previously for us (we have received recognition for our work with Elluminate in the past and they were happy to reciprocate). But, the new owners, Blackboard, were not inclined to help the MOOC. Tulio Llosa, Director of Educational Technology at UIS created a custom streaming page that displays a mini-browser with Elluminate and a neat little twitter gadget below to display a back channel. The test today was flawless. If we keep the image space small we should be able to support 500 or perhaps more streams via the larger flash server. And, Tulio will look at opening the mobile-friendly non-flash server as well. Doing this during the summer when there are fewer demands on bandwidth will help us as well. We will run more tests tomorrow.
- Carrie has been working on keeping the Google Groups uploaded with new registrations. But, Google will block her after an unspecified number of uploads - several hundred. Then, she is blocked from group uploads for a period of hours. Meanwhile, new members of the MOOC are impatient, even though we warn on the home page that it may take a day to enroll them in the group. In addition, there are lots of individual problems that must be solved; some participants fail to receive their invitation from Google, others use corporate Google Apps email addresses which won't allow them to register, still others find that Google is blocked by their work firewalls. One by one Carrie is working with them to resolve problems.
I promised to keep these postings short. Soon, I will blog about the challenge of balancing the desires of the tech savvy for certain advanced applications (such as Diigo) and the practical desires of those less savvy who have little experience beyond email and web browsing.
All in all, it was a highly productive day. In between MOOC work; Carrie, Emily and I did an hour-long Webinar on Alternative Search Engines. Carrie kept up with teaching her intensive summer class. Shari worked on selecting one more panelist to cover the "cloud" aspects of collaboration and tested the streaming with Tulio. Emily and I picked up the work in the Sloan Consortium Workshop we three are coordinating.
We had just a few minutes of a shortened lunch which we shared, somewhat sadly, with our good friend Harry Berman, Chancellor. Harry has been a champion for our online learning efforts. He and I arrived on campus as young faculty members in 1977. Harry will retire next week after a highly productive and supportive tenure of 34 years. So, it was a fifteen-minute lunch with an unspoken sadness that he will leave, but also a few laughs about Mac vs. PC and praises for the new iPad 2.