Connectivist Enterprises

I wrote this in 2011 but it seems almost current in terms of relevance. Some links may not work. Introduction Education has morphed across centuries of foundational thought and practice on what is learning, teaching and knowledge. Whether they are ancient practices and beliefs like in the Vedas or are contemporary like Connectivism, the landscape... Continue Reading →

Did someone just learn?

Most of our education system is geared towards a particular conception of a student and her specific way of learning. Let's face it. We give our children the same amount of time to learn every day. It is the same time in the day for learning. It is mostly the same cohort with which you... Continue Reading →

#Rhizo15 Week 6 The Practical Guide to Rhizomatic Learning

A brief introduction Rhizomatic Learning is an important way to think about learning and teaching. It describes a learning experience where learning itself is organic and emergent, deeply driven by personal context, flexible boundaries and multiple pathways. It describes a teaching experience that sets the context, facilitates the inter-connections of ideas through conversations, and empowers... Continue Reading →

#rhizo15 Week 5 Communities are the same

Dave Cormier asks many interesting questions in his challenge for Week 5 of Rhizomatic Learning. He asks: This week take a critical look at the rhizomatic approach. Are we just replacing one authority structure with another? Trading tradition for community? What does this mean in our classroom? How can this get us into trouble? What... Continue Reading →

#rhizo15 Week Two – Counting networks

A rather belated post on #rhizo15 week 2! How do we count or measure learning in our networks or learning rhizomatically? How do we begin to "grade Dave"? "Counting" evolution of our learning networks is very important. How does a network or community form? When does it acquire critical "mass" of conversation? How does it... Continue Reading →

A school without textbooks

Not without books. Books are great. I mean textbooks as they are academi-factured (if that can be a word to denote academic manufacturing) and used now. The written word that becomes the gospel truth for 250 million students and millions of teachers in school today in India. Seriously, the textbooks we produce are perhaps the... Continue Reading →

Whither Indian MOOCs?

Today, India is at an important crossroad when it comes to MOOCs. Much has been written and spoken about the potential of MOOCs in this country. Unfortunately, most of the conversation has been around platforms. It has also centered around xMOOCs or XBTs as I term them, ignoring the rather rich discourse around the cMOOCs.... Continue Reading →

MOOCs have arrived…what next?

First published in The Souvenir, FICCI Higher Education Summit 2014 Viplav Baxi makes the case that MOOCs have arrived in India. Now is the time to reflect on what pitfalls we should avoid and how we can fully leverage them in the Indian context. The past few years have seen the rapid growth of Massive... Continue Reading →

Is the classroom a machine?

In a Big Think article, Why Technology Won't Save an Inefficient Education System, with Dr. Madhav Chavan, and in several other similarly argued contributions, particularly like the ones from Sir Ken Robinson (read a critique here) or Sugata Mitra. Education over that past 200 years has been fashioned like an assembly line. Children get placed... Continue Reading →

Faculty shortage or learner shortage?

People keep on going on about there being so much shortage of good quality faculty. That, they bemoan, is the most important factor behind the problems that we face in K12 or Higher Ed today. It is definitely true to an extent.I believe the bigger challenge is to find learners. Not students. But learners. Or... Continue Reading →

On Teacher’s Day

There is a teacher in everyone of us. It is useful to acknowledge that a whole lot of things are learnt without someone actually teaching us, and that perhaps someone is right now learning from us without our even knowing it. On the Internet, this is possible at a very large scale. We learn from... Continue Reading →

xMOOCs and cMOOCs – do we even care?

First published by EDU Tech on 24th July, 2014 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are an exciting new development in online education. In this article, Viplav Baxi explores the origins of MOOCs, their two main (‘c’ and ‘x’) variants and why it is critical to appreciate the distinction. October 2008. Three Canadians, George Siemens, Stephen... Continue Reading →

India MOOCs and eLibrary

Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs) and OERs have captured the imagination of our polity. The new Government's election manifesto clearly specifies MOOCs, although not under school or higher education, but under Vocational Training as a means for "working class people and housewives to further their knowledge and qualifications". Further, there is a firm push, although... Continue Reading →

Blended Learning in India

There are many positives happening in EdTech in India. A government led mission called the National Mission on Education using ICT (NMEICT) has created massive amounts of content for engineering, arts and humanities, social sciences and natural science. It has also delivered the under 50 USD tablet, Aakash and a slew of innovations including Virtual... Continue Reading →

The Learning Revolution is Here

I didn't know it at that time, having been born just a few months later, that the revolutionary Open University, UK was born in January, 1971 with 25000 students. Of course, my parents didn't know that either when they named me Viplav (my Sanskrit origin name literally means "revolution"). It's just one of those weird... Continue Reading →

The hard problems in eLearning

There are some key challenges that we are facing in eLearning today. And I am beginning to think that these are pretty much invariant to scale. I am beginning to think that perhaps many of them happen at smaller scale in traditional face-to-face education. Here is an indicative list. High dropout or low completion rates... Continue Reading →

Design of Complex Learning Environments

This year I will focus my efforts on the design of learning environments that are complex - adaptive, emergent, self-organizing, chaotic and personal. As a project description at TU Delft states: In these situations system content, system structure and system boundaries shift and evolve without any global or central coordinator. Instead, order and regularity emerge... Continue Reading →

MOOCs are ecologies not episodes

There are two ways one could think of the life-cycle of a MOOC. MOOCs could be thought of as one-time and episodic. They could also be thought of as ecologies, sites or environments for continual learning (for example, a series of MOOCs on the same topics, such as CCK), not use-once-and-throw episodes of learning. I... Continue Reading →

The Outcomes of our Educational Systems

Does a particular type of education system tend to produce the same outcome irrespective of the underlying environment? Or is it that the underlying social, economic and political environment will cause pretty much any educational system to tend to produce the same outcomes? Or is it that the outcomes emerge as a result of the... Continue Reading →

MOOCs are not books

A startling post by Bernard Fryshman - Books Are MOOCs, Too, leaves me with conflicting thoughts. If he is talking about xMOOCs, I could perhaps agree to a level. If he is talking about cMOOCs, I couldn't disagree more! Bernard makes the points that books are mobile, ubiquitous, accessible, excellent supplementary material for your degree... Continue Reading →

Offline Connectivism

In 2008, when discussing the critical role of technology in the existence of a Connectivist learning environment, Stephen commented:Take the steam engine, for example. It works through a process of burning coal to heat water, which turns to steam, which it then fed through a turbine or engine in order to produce power.You need quite... Continue Reading →

The subversion by MOOCs

Stephen Downes puts it succinctly when he says: MOOCs were not designed to serve the missions of the elite colleges and universities. They were designed to undermine them, and make those missions obsolete. Yes there has been a great rebranding and co-option of the concept of the MOOC over the last couple of years. The... Continue Reading →

Confused MOOCThink

I came across an article by the progenitors of #EDCMOOC on their initial thinking around MOOC pedagogy (MOOC pedagogy: the challenges of developing for Coursera). Riding on the Coursera engagement with the University of Edinburgh, the team designing the eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC on the Coursera platform (that I missed enrolling for, though) was... Continue Reading →

MOOCs as instruments of democratic politics

Democracy requires intellectually armed political activism to succeed. MOOCs (cMOOCs) provide an unprecedented occasion to demonstrate the power of connective learning for democracy, just as much as they demonstrate the democracy of connective learning. The four letters that make up the MOOC abbreviation are as apt as a stage for political protest as for our... Continue Reading →

Business and MOOCs

Jay Cross anchored a fascinating conversation on Google Hangouts recently. Thinkers and practitioners on both sides of the MOOC divide (x-MOOC and c-MOOC) such as George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, Lal Jones-Bey, Jerry Michalski and Terri Griffiths came together. The purpose was to discuss how MOOCs could possibly be used by businesses. Dave (at around... Continue Reading →

xMOOCs: Inside the box thinking

I had an occassion to present a session on MOOCs to some really bright people a few days ago. My thesis was that MOOCs (cMOOCs) represent an invention (they add vocabulary), while other models (xMOOCs, Flipped Classroom etc.) represent innovation that is more inside the box than outside it.

MOOConomics

Carlos Salerno over at Inside HigherEd wrote a piece on the Bitter Reality of MOOConomics. The major point he makes is that because students need to acquire credentials from top universities/colleges for better employment prospects whereas colleges are loath to provide these credentials through MOOCs because they have no barriers to entry (in terms of... Continue Reading →

MOOC Dropouts

Audrey is grumpy and unhappy about the massive dropout rate vs. the hype of the open courses. She writes: I’m starting to get more than a little grumpy about MOOCs, what with all the hype about the revolutionary disruptions and game-changing tsunamis. I’m tired of the mainstream media punditry and their predictions that Stanford University’s experiments... Continue Reading →

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