Thursday, October 25, 2012

The week that wasn't

The most important element that all MOOCs have in common is their incredibly high drop-out rate.
So that's why I promised myself I would NOT drop out.
So last week I went trough the required readings on Sunday night, but pretty quickly I discovered that there were simply too many of them.
The theme of week two was: Net Pedagogies: New models for teaching and learning
However the University of Central Florida's Blended Learning Toolkit is certainly one of those sites that I will be visiting again and again.
Once again there are three prescribed learning activities:
  1. Map what you are hearing to your institutional context. What parts are relevant to your institution?
  2. What might be your role in moving your school to a new model?
  3. Write a dialog/argument you would make to sell the administration on the idea of moving to a new model
Assignment 1
In terms of the institutional context the most important lesson from this module lies in Cavenah's (2011) defensive definition of "Blended learning": "Blended courses provide much of the flexibility and convenience of an online course while retaining the benefits of the face-to-face classroom experience".

So as far as the Faculty of Informatics and Design is concerned this is really what has been happening, particularly in the work done in the Department of Architecture.  They are following two models.  Firstly they extend the studio to the students' homes by supporting them via Facebook, and secondly they take the studio into the field in their Design Build activities, and then replace the conventional classroom-based briefing and support, by communication on Facebook.
In Public Relations the traditional "current awareness" lecturing has been replaced by a Twitter feed, and in Industrial Design students make videos to replace essays on field trips.


Wayne Coghlan sent me this excellent link to "Colour Theory for Everyone". Now here's the thing.  With such an EXCELLENT online resource WHY are we still teaching it the old way?  All we need to do is to develop an excercise for students to develop their own artefacts based on what they learnt on the site, and that's it.
The trick with blended learning is to do it in such a way as to maximise the LEARNING of the students by giving them learning tasks (real learning tasks, as opposed to "busy work") while minimising the work of the instructor by making such tasks "self-assessing".  By self assessing I mean that once the task has been completed, we will know that the student has achieved the learning outcome, because without that outcome having been acheived the student would not have been able to do the task.

Assignment 2
My role in moving the Faculty to a new model will lie in putting more pressure on innovative teaching. I was lucky in that Jolanda and Hermie decided to do their doctoral studies under my supervision, and so they are using the new pedagogies.  The problem lies in the fact that most of us teach the way we were taught. And not everyone was lucky enough to be taught by Renate Lippert at Masters' level.  So althouth many of the Faculty staff really want to change their pedagogy, and recognise the need to, they lack the knowhow and first-hand experience of how to do it.
So with our current "tablet project" I am planning to do exactly that - let them learn by experience.
We had our first tablet day a few Saturdays ago. Everyone brought their tablets along. But just about nobody could use them. Many had not learnt the interface. Nobody had set it up to work on the University Internet, and the University Firewall had not been opened to Android Applications. So it was pretty hectic.  But we learnt BY EXPERIENCE - that it may well be necessary to spend one session with students setting up their technology, and then another session teaching them how to use the technology something that we may well have omitted had we jumped straight into teaching with the new technology.
At the same time during "software week" a few weeks ago it was again brought to my attention that we spend an inordinate amount of time in a lab teaching students which buttons to press to achieve what, when we actually know that firstly good programmers teach themselves, and secondly there are Youtube videos and Queston and Answer blogs that teach the stuff much better than we can.

So next year I will be spending quite a bit of time with curriculum officers and staff generally interrogating the way we teach.  My secretary has already begun to set up meetings.

Assignment 3
This is the easy one. The administration has already bought into the idea. It is the academic staff who are lagging behind.  Nevertheless it may be a good idea to persuade administration to look at incentivising the move to new technologies and new pedagogies because, at least in the initial stages, they simply are more time consuming.  Consider the simple task of grading assignments.  If they are handed in on paper, you open them and grade them.  HOWEVER, if they are submitted through the elearning portal, a few things need to be done.  You have to log into the portal.  That means you have to find your password and hope that it has not been changed by the automated password expiry system.  Then if you are lucky and you get logged in, then you have to download each assignment into a directory.  This could take about 30 seconds per assignment.  Then you have to open each assignment and grade it using the "insert comment" feature.  Again this opening, inserting comments and saving could take a few seconds.  So, if you are teaching one or two, or even 10 students it doesn't really matter. But now when your class gets to 60, and you spend one minute downloading, opening, saving and uploading each assignment, then you spend 60 minutes doing busy work - work that has to be done by you, but that does not add any value.  So, that's an hour down the drain that you could have spent on getting your research output done, but it is an hour that was hidden inside of each of the assignments that had to be downloaded, opened, commented, saved and uploaded.
Now, even worse. If it were done on paper I could take it home and grade it while sitting on the bed.  If I don't have a laptop and a fast Internet connection at home, I have to do this at the office.
If administrtation does not see that the type of work has changed, and if admin does not compensate staff for their extra time, and for their extra bandwidth, and even for their extra equipment, then we have far to go.

Of course, the secondary objective (or maybe the primary objective) of my participation in this MOOC is to learn about them. So I have to report now on my learning so far.

What I am learning about MOOCs

The most important lesson that I have learnt from this Mooc is the same lesson that I keep on learning about online learning. It is about a mistake that I keep on making, and it is about a mistake that I keep warning my own stuents against.
The problem with learning on the Internet generally, has become one of too MUCH information, rather than too little information.
So what is making this particular course hard for me, is to decide which piece to distill for myself.
I realize that, as a constructivist and a post-modernist, I tend to do exactly what the designer of this mooc has done.  Give the learners as much information as you can, and then suggest to them that they contextualise it to their circumstances.  The advantage of that is that every learner therefore tailor makes his or her own learning.  The problem, of course, lies in deciding what is important, and in structuring it.  And maybe that is the job of the instructional designer. To help the learner navigate this world with too much information.
The analogy here would be for an instuctor to explain to a student of keyboard instruments that the note hanging from the bottom of the five staves is called D and that it corresponds with the piano key directly above the keyhole. The white key between the two black keys (as oppose to the set of three black keys on either side of the pair)  That piano key is called D. It is easy to remember because it is the D key, D for Donkey with two black ears.
Now, once you know the D key, as you go op one position, either onto the line or between the next, so you move one key up. And if you get to a "hash tag" in front of the key, you play the next black note instead.  And that's how easy it is. Now you can play anything on the piano that you like.
And that's why it is hard to learn to play the piano on your own.
And that is why it is hard to stay focused on a resource-based learning course.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have just joined a mooc.  This is my first mooc.  I joined it because I wanted to get to know what it feels like to be in a mooc. I also joined it to learn what the mooc has to offer.
The topic of the mooc is the future of higher education - CFHE12

The first task is to use my blog to comment on a number of selected readings and contextualise them to my institution.  Now isn't it a good thing that I have a blog.

There are eight articles in the leading list for this week.  Here, in the sequence in which they appear, are my comments of how the context of the CPUT Faculty of Informatics and Design resonates with the eight papers.  Each title is hyperlinked to its article.

UNESCO's Trends in Global Higher Education:  identify the following trends: Globalisaion, massification, inequalities in access, increasing student mobility; teaching, learning and curricula; quality assurance, accountability and qualifications frameworks; financing higher education and the public good-private good debate, the private revolution, the academic profession, the research environment, information and communication technology, demographics and the impact of the economic crisis. From my perspective as the dean of a faculty in a South African University of Technology that has a deep commitment to disadvantaged communities and a stated mission to be "At the heart of Technology Education in Africa" interesting tensions arise. We are all too aware of our position in terms of globalisation and student mobility with overtures made to us by so many international institutions that we are beginning to be quite selective in who we partner with. One of the biggest obstaces we face is in providing access in an unequal society, and, yes, our students are very mobile - many of them coming from neighbouring provinces and even neighbouring states. We have just emerged from, and are embarking upon a new set of quality assurance efforts. As a faculty, specifically we have made the re-design of our curricula our highest priority - even surpassing research. As a University of Technology we are uniquely positioned through work-integrated learning, to be very close to the public good private-good debate.  We have also instituted a number of initiatives to get our students to be economically active even before their studies have been completed. We find ourselves affected in a strange way by the private institutions around us.  They do not take away many students from us, but they take away potentially some of the best students. And the students with the deepest pockets. Moreover many private institutions provide a service of a quality that is not nearly so much better than ours as the costs are higher than ours; while there are a number of blatant fly-by-night operators who cost unsuspecting students inordiate amounts of money, and when they present us with their certificates to engage in further studies, they have to learn that these are of no vanlue. The Faculty of Informatics and Design is blessed with a very strong cohort of enthusiastic academics who see the challenge of growing the institution from a former technicon to a powerful university as an energising activity.  We are developing ourselves as scholars, and we are constantly building our networks. We have even developed our own flagship Design, Development and Research conference. In terms of information and communication technology we are in an ironic position that we have an oversupply of unreliable technologies.  Our ratio of students to computers is 2 to 1, in other words there is one computer for every two students. But our bandwidth is slow and our connectivity is unreliable.  On the other hand, like many other developing countries we have leapfrogged much of the technology by the rapidly increasing use of mobile devices for learning.  Thanks to cheap connectivity on the Blackberry platform we have started to make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter as communication channels to extend the classroom beyond the brick and mortar.  We realise, though, that we need to revolutionise our pedagogy to keep abreast of the expectations and capabilities of our students. As a faculty we have developed a main research focus in the pedagogy of teaching design with the aid of technology. In this way we are integrating teaching and research, thus enhancing the effectivity of what we are doing, and this is our main attempt at surviving the economic crisis.  All in all, I would say that the Faculty of Informatics and Design is reasonably well positioned to face the challenges identified by the Unesco paper.

In his brief summary of the proceedings of the 2012 conference of the International Education Society of South Africa, entitled Africa must lead innovation in higher education internationalisation, Hans de Wit argues that Africa with its very young population, and also with its position as the "most internationalised" contitnent in the world, is best positioned to drive innovation. This is a novel idea, but not misplaced.  Africa is geographically positioned inside the triangle of the three great forces of the US, Europe and the East. In the Faculty of Informatics and Design we are privileged to have both lecturers and students form a multitude of African countries, from as close as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania, to as far as Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Sudan.  This has enabled us to be the founding member of the "Network of African Designers". Our extensive collection fo African staff and students certainly place us in an excellent position to drive such innovation.

Joshua King provides 3 Reasons why India will lead EdTech in the 21st Century: Culture, Demand and Mobility.  Unfortunately for us we have only one of the three - the mobility.  How are we going to develop a culture of learning, and how are we going to create a demand for a high quality education?

Blogger "The homeless adjunct" explains How The American University was Killed, in Five Easy Steps. 1. Defunding, 2. Deprofessionalising and impoverishing professors, 3. Managerialism, 4. Corporate culture and corporate money, and 5. the desctruction of the students.  Luckily our university scores only 1 out of five in all this, which is the rampant rise of managerialism.  The systems around us are being tightened so much that our eyes bulge.  We are lucky in that our state funding has remained pretty much unchanged (i.e. we are not being defunded more than we have already been) and that we have not been able to get enough corporations that are willing to suck us in. So on the one hand we have been lucky.  On the other hand, we have been working actively at professionalising our academics.  We spend large amounts of money on the professional development of our academics as well as on the improvement of their qualifications and their attendance of international conferences.  The improvement of the quality of our staff is already showing in terms of the increase of standards at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.  And, if our academics are seved well, then so will our students be...  I often jokingly say that as the dean it is my job to staff the complaints desk.  And I am happy to report that, to date this year, out of a student body of 3000, I have had only three complaints, and of these only one was a complaint about poor teaching. The others have been administrative.  In fact, this year the number of messages of thanks and congratulations have outnumbered the complaints.

Kevin Carey describes The seige of academe, giving us a preview of what may replace the university, by mentioning any number of web 2.0 inititatives, such as Coursera and Udacity that provide massively online open courses. He then speculates that, sooner or later, participants in these courses will want their certificates or badges or attendance points recognised by traditional institutions.  Of course that will lead to the possibility of there being an institution that is accredited to perform valid recognition of prior learning, and to award legal and credible degrees without the candidate's having attended a traditional university... So watch this space for my own announcement of my own mooc, quite soon.

An opposing view comes in the form of an essay entitled "Why the Internet is not going to end college as we know it".  The author argues that until the financial model for college education changes we will not have Internet-based colleges.  Of course, that is only half the story.  Just about every technology from 35mm slides, 16mm movies, U-Matic cassettes, Television, Radio, or even in the "Sixties the Encyclopaedia Britannica, whatever, has been punted as the disruptive technology in Education.  But people are missing the point.  The point of education is to give learners LESS knowledge, not more. My parents bought the Britannica. They subscribed to the yearbook.  We never used it.  It was just too overwhelming.  The good teacher is not the one who teaches you most. The good teacher is the one who teaches you the one thing you need.  And that thing, most often than not, is not a piece of information. It is more likely to be a piece of attitude.  And the more the Internet grows, and the more Web2.0 communities we belong to, and the more moocs we attend, the more we will yearn for that brief period of intimate physical human contact.

David Schaffer of the University of Albany highlights The Growing Role of Higher Education in Economic Development:  Higher education institutions and systems that are successful in this arena, the report said, appear to rely on a combination of four key factors:
  • Innovation — that is, using their research power to create knowledge that can have economic impact, and then actively working to help move new ideas into the marketplace.
  • Knowledge transfer that helps businesses grow and prosper, through programs such as job training, technical and other consulting assistance, and assistance to startups.
  • An activist role in revitalizing the communities in which they are located, such as efforts to help local elementary and secondary schools.
  • And their core mission of producing the educated populace that’s needed to build, run and work in the innovation economy.   (Schaffer, 2010)
It is astounding how close the Faculty of Informatics and Design is to these goals.  In Industrial design we have a project in which students learn, in their degree year, to move from product to profit. It is our hope that they will exit the university as employers rather than employees.  The department of Information Technology have their own "Hub" that directly addresses the element of knowledge transfer, job training and assitance to startups. Furthremore we are in negotiations with local incubators to locate our students with them.  The department of Architecture, with their Design Build project at St Michaels school fulfils the activist role, specifically with an elementary school.  Finally the whole faculty's research question, "What do people do, and how do we design solutions for them" resonates with the last factor.  However, the aspect that fascinates me most about this, is that the four factors listed by Schaffer, might as well be our very own rationale for the construction of our "Design Park".

Finally David Staley and Dennis Trinkle identify ten "faultlines" that contribute to The Changing Landscape of Higher Education.  I will comment briefly on how these resonate with the faculty of Informatics and Design.
#1 Increasing differentiation of higher education: Interestingly South African higher education is currently characterised by institutional drift with Technikons having achieved Univeristy status, and some Universities entering the domain of "professional" courses.  On the other hand there is much to be said for the renewed emphasis on FET colleges that the minister of Higher Education is wanting to model on the American Community Colleges. Here the Faculty of Informatics and Design is well-placed with existing MOUs in place between the IT department and some FET colleges, and the initiation of talks between the Design department and the College of Cape Town.
#2 The transformation of the general education curriculum: Need I say anything.  Not only is curriculum transformation the key activity of the Faculty. It even drives our new Faculty structure, and will determine how we plan our physical spaces during our consolidation phase.
#3 Faculty faces of the future: The Faculty of Informatics and Design recognises, more than most, the value of the development of Faculty, as well as the recognition of Faculty endeavors.  We spend a quarter of a million rand per year sending staff to the Design Indaba. We have six staff training and development days per year. We have had the highest number of ad-hominem promotions in the Institution.  Furthermore we are pioneering the use of ICT in education in a number of ways. We are at the forefront of using video essays and digital stories, we lead in using Twitter and Facebook, and we have just launched a project using Android tablets.
#4 The surge in global faculty and student mobility: Although there are some lecturers and professors who seem to be abroad more than they are on campus, we still lag behind in the mobility of our undergraduate students. Fortunately for us we are visited regularly by foreign exchange students, and, thanks to our DDR conference, if we can't visit the world, we at least get the world to visit us.
#5 The new "invisible college": We are in the process of developing extensive personal and institutional networks by being represented on any number of boards and academic institutes. We are harnessing the electronic media to ensure that, although we are geographically far removed, we nevertheless remain close to the action on a number of fronts.
#6 The changing traditional student: Here is our biggest weakness.  We have lost touch with how our students think. We still beleive that we can send them emails. We still beleive that they should hand in paper-based assignments that have been printed out. We still believe that they should work by hand and by desktop machines. When we have our annual media conference we sit there and we see what our alumni look like, and what our future students will look like. And then we go back and we teach in a traditional classroom and complain about the lack of air condiditoning.
We have an interesting mix of youg and old, rich and poor students, but we are still stuck to a predominantly morning-based, studio-based teaching system aimed at the middle class. We are doing very little to accommodate students who have to work. We are doing very little to encourage students to get work and integrate that work into their learning experience.
#7 The mounting pressure to demonstrate the value added of a college degree: In South Africa, unfortunately, we do not sit with this problem. The problem here is the reverse. Many students just want a degree - no matter what the degree is. Studying has so many financial and social advantages that the economic value of the degree is sometimes neglected. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that there is such value.  As I mentioned earlier, we must change our aim from producing job seekers to producing job creators.
#8 The re-valuation of middle-skill jobs: This resonates so well with the renewed focus on the FET colleges.  The challenge for us, therefore, is to adjust our selection criteria upwards significantly, so that the colleges can find really good material in the middle sill market. No longer should those with middle skill abilities drop out of our courses. They should not enrol with us in the first place. Proper career guidance and proper selection is needed to protect students from making expensive mistakes.
#9 Higher education as a private rather than a public good: Once again it is a reassuring factor that South African Higher Education has been spared the pressure of being abandoned by Government. Although we are part funded, there is not the clear drive to continually reduce our funding, and thus, at this stage anyway, we remain a public good - and that is where we should be.
#10 Lifelong partnerships with students: Speaking for myself as a professor of education, rather than as a dean I can categoriclly state that I have maintained a very strong bond with just about every student ever to have graduated with me.  I have done this through the "Catts" mailing list, and through the "Elearning Update" conference.  I have done this by helping my alumni in their job-hunting efforts, and I have done this in assisting them with career counselling.  I meet them in person, I meet them online. Not only do I meet with them, I have created a community of them.  And that is what should be happening in the Faculty. Fortunately the PR department is taking the lead here by running alumni events, and, of course, by inviting their alumni to the Media Conference.  But yes, unfortunately the last "faultline" is actually a huge weakness in the Institution and in the Faculty.  But I have had a conversation with the new director of advancement, and he assures me that this is one of his key goals for the near future.  On the other hand, at a more intimate level I know that there are many of the Faculty staff who have similar networks with their alumni that I have. So we have something to build.

So there then are a number of elements that we need to consider in checking the extent to which the Faculty of Informatics and Design is ready for the future. I look forward to your comments.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two amazing conferences - Part 2

So the rain/drizzle has stopped and I have had a nice chat with Ana Donaldson about her trip to Northern Ciprus.  But now I am in that sort of information overload mode that one has after a conference. Checked of of the room and sitting in the lobby waiting to go to the airport.
I really like the ICEM. It is a small, intimate association that is truly international, and even though there were probably not even 100 people at the conference, every continent was represented.
I did a keynote with Piet Kommers last year in Aveiro, and this year here in Cyprus.  I really think I will be going to Singapore in 2013.
So here are the highlights.
Design Thinking and Learning Design, Nicosia, Cyprus 26 - 29 September #ICEMCY12
John Hedberg set the tone with a keynote in which he showed much new technology, and then asked the question - are we really extracting maximum value from all this technology.  Somehow we cannot get to overcome Larry Cuban's criticism of so many years that technology has simply not lived up to its promise.  But then, if one compares that with the final keynote by John's colleague Matt Bower, then the answer becomes a resounding YES, or NO...
What I take away from this conference is that we MUST re-think what we do. And we must be brave, and we must be radical.
Why on this green earth are we still expecting students to write conventional essays and illustrate them with conventional pictures if there are mobile devices and apps that cannot be embedded in conventional writing - and if what we are getting students to write about, is much better exprienced than described. Hats off to people like Veronica Barnes and Rael Futerman from CPUT who are brave enough to let students make videos instead of write essays.  Hats off to people like Jolanda de Villiers Morkel and her colleagues in Architecture who have extended the studio into the pockets of her students by using Facebook.  Hats off to Ayesha Toyer and her blog teaching, and Marian Pike and her Twitter teaching.
What really concerns me though as I reflect upon this and other conferences, is the number of times that I suggest things at work only to be told by my seniors or my juniors that it will not work.  Then when I get to conferences I hear that other people are trying it out, and then I read online that there are even "rules" for it.
One case in point.  In discussing our Unviersity's computer budget I have been saying, why does the university provide technology - either to staff or students. Why don't we ask people to provide their own technology - within certain parameters and then incentivise it.  Then I was told it can't be done.  Then John Hedberg actually gives it a name. It's called BYOD.  Bring your own device.  THEN there are online articles such as "Five rules for 'Bring Your Own Device" teams".  In other words, the answer to the naysayers is "Yes, it CAN be done, if you follow certain rules".  When I argue with people about what a studio is, I get called a cretin and someone who simply does not understand design education.  And then John points to artciles about SKG "Spaces of Knowlege Generation" - and then I find articles about it such as this very new one by Riddle (2012).
While I am wondering how we can use a tool to portray our new modular curriculum visually, John shows "Lino" - which is a shared pinboard for education.  BRILLIANT.
While I am wondering how we can use android apps on the tablets that we bought for our ECP students, John points us to Kathy Schrock's "Bloomin excellent" classification of Apps according to the new version of Bloom's Taxonomy.
So the conference was really good for my soul - and really good for my self-confidence in terms of where we should be going as a faculty.

The keynote on day two was Professor GrĂ¡inne Conole who took design thinking in learning to a whole new level.  The whole concept of Learning Design, rather than Instructional Design, offers an amazing set of solutions to the re-curriculuation problem in the Faculty.  I have invited her to spend some time with the Facutly and we'll see if we can combine this with a trip that she will be doing to Unisa anyway. The slideshow of her talk is an absolute must read for anyone who is in the process of designing any form of learning event.  And
THIS PICTURE simply had me drooling.  I WANT ONE for the whole Faculty's offering. Learn to use Linoit, everyone.

Matt Bower's presentation made it so clear that we simply cannot continue the way we are working. There's a whole new world out there.  Two years ago, at a Faculty Training Day I said: "Mark my words, the future lies in APPS"  Retha and her team took it hook, line and sinker, and I am so proud of what they are doing now.  The only real comment from the floor was "We need to think holistically about where we are going first, before we can fragment it all with apps. We need to ask 'what apps for what purpose' first."  And, of course, nothing happened.  So we have fallen even further behind.  We MUST get together and have a workgroup on apps.  Check out this blogpost of Matt's and you will see why.

Then, just to complete my experience, at the end of the conference I went for my frst swim in the Mediterranean in Larnaca.  The evidence is on Facebook, but I will not link to it.  It was after the swim that Antia Stangl introduced me to the magical world of Geocaching.  She logged in on her Cellphone. Then we followed the GPS and solved a little puzzle. And there, hidden under a bench was a tiny cannister about the size of half a thimble. Inside the cannister a little scroll. We opened the cannister, she wrote her name on the scroll, closed it and hid it away again very carefully. Then she logged into her phone and announced that the task had been successfully completed.

And just like that the magic happened for me.  In one simple act of finding a little magnetic tube and adding a name to its contents, and then recording that in the cloud the real world and the digital was made to connect. Here in the world of the Geocacher lies a whole new way of connecting with people, with retaining the actual artefact, and yet linking it to everyone else.  The implications of this for work-integrated learning still has to be plumbed.  I think I have found a new thing to be hooked on, GEOCACHING rules ok.

But it is drizzling again outside.

Two amazing conferences - Part 1

I had planned to do first bit of Geocaching today, but, in a very strange turn of events it is actually DRIZZLING in Nicosia in summer.  What makes this even stranger is that it is during their national holiday - so it will rain on their parade...
But that allows (no forces) me to sit down and reflect on the two conferences that I have just attended.  One in Pretoria, one in Cyprus.  Both amazing in the way in which they have been able to integrate where we are with technology, and where we are (or are NOT) with education.  There seems to be this constant disconnect between what technology allows for education, and what we will allow it to do for us.  We keep on under-utilizing it.
So, here then a couple of notes and links regarding what I have learnt from the two conferences.

University of Pretoria Library Services e-Strategy Symposium: Out of the e-box 19-20 September 2012  #Fablib

After a nice opening in which Prof Stephanie Burton, DVC Research of UP presented a few really good challenges to the library, Dr Adele Botha of the CSIR did another one of her stunning presentations about Mobile learning. This link is to another presentation of hers, but she is VERY worth listening to.  I don't know if she is the one who coined the term, but what I now know best from her presentation is about the quest for the ever elusive "3G-spot"  that place, somewhere in a tree in Africa, where there is fleeting 3G reception. And under the three there is budding commercial activity...  Huge cudos for Adele is that she managed to tempt a very busy DVC who had a day of interviews ahead to stay till the very end of her presentation - while constantly saying to me "I have to go - please tell her I am sorry I missed the last bit" - and then she stayed to the end.  Well done, Adele.

I did my "Seven ages of Technology in Education" Then there were two Skype presentations.  One by Robert Miller about the Internet Archive Book Digitization Project, where they are in the process of digitising EVERY BOOK that there is in the world.  They already have made a backup of the INTERNET.  Yes, they downloaded the entire Internet onto hard disks and stored it in a HUGE shipping container.  The mind boggles.  This resonated well with a presentation by Michelle Rago about the World Digital Library.Put the two presentations together and one wonders why there is still a need for an institutional repository.  We need to sit down and think very seriously about information provision at a university.  It it not better to hire a really good human who can search for information, rather than to hire yet another subscription to yet another commercial repository.  Will the university library of the future consist of a few highly skilled helpdesk workers?  I hope so.

Then the metrics of scholarship came under fire.  Leslie Chan took us on a journey towards "Re-imagining research impact in the open knowledge environment", which made me wonder: Do we really still need impact factors and H-scores if there is  The very concept of measuring readership as an indication of quality has made me wonder.  If we see how many people mention you - regardless of whether that is a social citation or a citation in an accredited journal - using that to measure quality should then place "50 Shades of Grey" way higher than "The great Gatsby"  And this could have interesting repercussions for designing high school reading lists.

In his paper about Libraries, technology trends and researcher expectations, Theo Bothma took us on a whirlwind tour of URLs and technologies, most of which I tried to capture in my Evernote file. Two things that come to mind immediately upon reflection is Flipboard, and the Youtube clip about the Social Media Revolution, 2012.

The next morning Dr DR AMALEYA GONEOS‐MALKA presented a powerful analysis of "Marketing to young adults in the context of a post‐modern society".  This resonated so strongly with what we have been saying so long about learners in a digital age.  The point is, we really have to re-think the learning tasks we give students, as well as the way we assess their learning.  This was a very strong theme at the Nicosia conference as well. My perception of this, after the past three weeks, has changed severely.  I can no longer complain because my phone and my ipad cannot do what my laptop can do. Neither can I complain because my laptop cannot do what the other two divices can do. And then, of course, together with the "Smart TV" I have to realize that we live in a Four-Screen world.  And that, therefore, the learning that we expect our learners to do, should become four-screen learning.  And where does that leave paper and pencil?

Nicholas Clarke and Karel Bakker wowed us with the amazing digital repository of Architecture that they have created for Pretoria.  I immediately followed up with Andre van Graan, and we will be continuing along these lines for Cape Town. And now that I know about Geocaching - the mind boggles.

Dolf Jordaan showed UP's very impressive moble app - which I have now downloaded.  I wonder if we have a CPUT mobile app?  Interestingly, though, the student feedback on the APP store, shows that what UP gives, and what students want - are still not all that well aligned. Yet, is is an amazing app. Well done, Dolf.

Tim Walter of Nashua Mobile and Bryan Nelson of Google   presented some futuristic stuff that is available now.  I am dying to try Google Hangouts, for instance. 

So now I have to check out of the hotel and I have only reported on ONE.  Thus, rename this post Part 1 and hope that ONE DAY I might report on the Nicosia one.