SoLAR Flare UK wrapup

The first SoLAR Flare UK ran last week, and was a great success. There’s a really excellent organiser of information from and about it on the event page on the SoLAR website, including the slides presented.

Several others posted liveblog or similar notes, including Sheila MacNeill, who also links to Martin Hawksey’s archive of Twitter data from the #flareUK tag, and a video with some photos from the event, and  Myles Danson who was particularly on top of the JISC CETIS Analytics series of publications that are coming out now. The plenary sessions were all captured on video and should be available for replay soon.

My estimable colleague Naomi Jeffery made PDF versions of my liveblog notes for easy reading on the Kindle, which is cool, and  – even better – she’s passed them on in case anyone else would find them useful, so here they are:

Thanks Naomi!

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SoLAR Flare UK – morning presentations

[Kindle-friendly PDF of this post.]

Liveblog notes from the SoLAR Flare UK, #flareUK, held on 19 November 2012 in the Jennie Lee Building, The Open University, sponsored by JISC.

Simon Buckingham Shum welcomes everyone, on behalf of his co-chairs, Rebecca Ferguson and Doug Clow, Sheila MacNeil from JISC CETIS.

Prof Josie Taylor, Director of the Institute of Educational Technology, welcomes everyone to the building and IET. We think learning analytics is going to be very important, for a wide range of people. Wishes everyone a happy, stimulating and argumentative (in a good way!) day.

Simon Buckingham Shum, SoLAR

This is the first national gathering of people interested in learning analytics, hopefully the first of many. Self-organising, rapid dissemination. Not much lecturing, lots of networking opportunities. This is a rapidly exploding area. In Stanford, with Roy Pea and MOOC people – this is massive there. TIME magazine cover story was MOOCs. EdX – is about big data to allow us to ask big questions about learning. The data scientist is the sexist sexiest job for the C21st. Big business intelligence companies see an exploding market in education – IBM, SAS. Big data, small data, fine granularity of trace too to understand learning.

Similar SoLAR Flares have happened in Purdue, and elsewhere. SoLAR – bringing researchers in to dialogue with senior university managers, companies, practitioners. A systems kind of dialogue. Now incorporated as a not-for-profit, with founding institutions: Athabasca, Open University, UBC, U Queensland, U Saskatchwan. Open Learning Analytics white paper.

Image and story-based activity using cards activity – LAnoirblanc – pick an image and say why it tells you something about learning analytics, post it to the Tumblr.

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I’ve been reading Clay Shirky’s latest essay. He takes the usual Clay Shirky line: technological change, in the transformatory shape of the internet, is evidently about to profoundly disrupt a large sector, and the current incumbents are not going to be able to do much about it. But the good news is that more people are going to get more of what they want than before, and for a lot less money. He’s ridden this line over the last ten years, with classic essays like “Help, the price of information has fallen and it can’t get up” which analyse – usually presciently – the disruption that’s happening to industries like music, books, newspapers, TV, video, film.

In this latest essay, the industry facing change that is almost literally inconceivable to the incumbents is higher education, and the current shape of change is the MOOC. His prognosis?

“We’re probably going to screw this up as badly as the music people did.”

He’s a better essayist than me, so really, in all honesty you’d be better stopping now and reading his writing instead.

Android invasion

Continue reading “MOOCs, OER and Wikipedia FOR GREAT JUSTICE”