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October 22, 2008
We'll be holding our live discussions today: 11:00 am (time zone conversion) and 7:00 pm (time zone conversion). Grainne Conole is scheduled to join the 11:00 am session, but may be late (or possibly cancel due to a schedule conflict. We'll know more tomorrow :)).
A Five-Step Program for Change
A slightly different focus than what we've looked at so far this week, but is largely the outcome of our course as a whole: "Let me start with a quote by James Duderstadt, from the book A University for the 21st Century: "We must take care not simply to extrapolate from the past, but rather to examine the full range of possibilities for the future." But there's a problem with that quote as far as I'm concerned – it doesn't resonate particularly well in universities. Why do I say that? Because universities relish the past. They're built on the history of centuries. They pride themselves on not changing. Scholars are taught by scholars who were taught by scholars. Teaching methods and cultural values have been handed down from generation to generation to generation. They actually resist change because they believe they've done it right, and the traditions are so ingrained in the culture." Martha Piper, , October 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]
Managing Complex Adaptive Networks
Roy Williams has been quite active in conversations in the Moodle forums since the beginning of the course. In a recent contribution, he links to a paper he presented in 2007 on complex adaptive networks. He introduces self-organization - a concept that fits well with our theme last week, but (due to time limitations) we didn't have time to discuss. Roy also emphasizes Actor Network Theory - a concept that has also come up several times over the last few weeks: "Actor Network Theory, particularly as described by Latour (2005), insists that a range of ‘uncertainties' are crucial to a sound epistemology of knowledge, for both the social and the natural sciences. Law (1992: 379) summarises the key tenets of Actor-Network Theory, or ‘ANT': "social relations, including power and organisation …[are] network effects … networks are materially heterogeneous … the task of sociology is to characterise the ways in which materials join together to generate themselves and reproduce institutional and social patterns" (ibid). Law goes on to say that ANT is "a theory of agency, a theory of knowledge and a theory of machines" [and organisations] (op. cit. 389), and that the core of the actor-network approach is "a concern with how actors and organisations mobile, juxtapose and hold together the bits and pieces out of which they are composed … and how they manage, as a result, to conceal for a time [the way in which] a heterogeneous set of bits and pieces, each with its own inclination [can be turned] into something that passes … as an actor (op.cit. 386). In short, Law is concerned with the way in which the agency of animate and inanimate things is constantly reconfigured, or as Latour would say ‘re-assembled': texts, machines, organisations, people and so on." Roy Williams, , October 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]
Lessons From Locke and Rousseau
Based on links in yesterday's edition of The Daily, Lisa highlights a few histories of instructional design. She then turns to Locke's and Rousseau's theories of learning: "Each, of course, considered education to be important to creating a productive and participatory citizenry. We have these same goals today. In Locke's view, those citizens were highly individualistic, where the government's job was to preserve life, liberty and property. People were inherently rational, and religion would instill whatever ethical training was needed: "Teach him to get a mastery over his inclinations, and submit his appetite to reason." Rousseau's goal was a more egalitarian, participatory society, whose general will determined government. He distrusted reason. It was in the nature of people to learn, and "civilization" ruined natural proclivities: "Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the author of things, everything degenerates in the hands of man." Nice chart contrasting the differences. Lisa Lane, , October 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]
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