Last Saturday I wrote a Journal article about CloudSocial and IMS Learning Tools Interoperability. I liked it a lot – I was asked to be “not so technical” – so I wrote the article focusing on the ideas behind CloudSocial and IMS LTI and how we hope it will change people’s perspective when they build content and craft learning experiences.
So I sent in my draft to my editor and he said “No”. He wanted a different article – one more focused on the standards and on the technical aspects and on the possibilities that IMS LTI opens up. Now those of you who know me well – know my nearly automatic reaction when someone tells me “No” :). But not in this case! He gave me really clear and honest guidance about what he wanted in the article. So I quickly decided to publish last week’s article as a white paper on the CloudSocial site as soon as my co-authors work on the text a bit. The nice thing about being a white paper is that we can stress all the concepts that underly the approach to CloudSocial even more strongly than if it were destined for publication in a Journal.
So this weekend, again I am writing a Journal Article – hopefully my editor will like this one better – it is more technical and focuses on what the IMS Tools Interoperability Spec is and how it works and some case-studies on how it has been used so far.
So far I am on my second cup of coffee and plugged back into the power supply since my battery was running our as I typed in my recliner – but I am up to 9 pages – aiming for about 15-16 pages and a complete first draft by noon so I can finish painting the Kitchen before I leave for the Conexions conference in Houston on Thursday and the IMS Quarterly meeting in Long Beach next Sunday.
Update: The article is finished – draft 0 at 11:30 AM – it is 15 pages long. I like how it turned out – lets see if the Journal editor likes it.
I include the Introduction of the article below. As always comments and suggestions are welcome.
I spent Saturday writing a draft of a journal article titled, “CloudSocial: Changing Teaching and Learning by Changing Perspective”. After a round of review from my co-authors I will blog the introduction to the paper.
Here is a cool quote I got from Wikipedia that I wanted to use in the paper so badly – but could not find a way to fit it in: “”Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference (or the result of this choice) from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another. To choose a perspective is to choose a value system and, unavoidably, an associated belief system. “ I like it – it sounds like talking to the Architect in Matrix 3.
Writing the journal article made me spend a whole day stretching my brain and got me looking beyond the current important issues and tasks of the next 6-12 months and instead wondering about the “future”.
Somehow as I got farther and farther into the future, my mind wandered back to an NSF grant I had written over 10 years ago where I laid out my view of where we needed to go back then. Of course I was never funded – the comments felt that the proposal was “too obvious” and not really “research”. I can’t disagree with the comments – I knew that everything I proposed in the grant was doable and feasible.
I had a sneaking suspicion that I might get some good design ideas about where to go next from my 1998 NSF grant application. It was interesting to jump back in time a decade and see which of my dreams had come true and which of my dreams still needed to be delivered.
You can read the grant application Using Asynchronous, Web-based, Video to Humanize Distance Education. Much of the proposal talks about my lecture capture system which I developed in 1996 called Sync-O-Matic.
Of course web lectures are pretty much a solved problem these days so I was more interested in the software I proposed to build around the lectures. I still do kind of like the lecture-centered UI of the LMS for certain distance education contexts. In a way Google follows the pattern by trying to put some video “above the fold” on every page they want to be a sticky/welcome page. It brings humans to the front and center rather than just text and icons.
Some of my favorite excerpts form my 1998 NSF grant proposal are below.
This is my weekly IMS report – portions have been redacted.
Worked on the following
– Write up several drafts of the LTI+CC document – it is looking pretty good – perhaps we should just call it a “best practice”
– Attend the LTI meeting on Thursday – presented and got good feedback on the LTI+CC document
– Had a meeting with John and XXXXXX – planning for a K12 TI demo – we came up with some possibilities
– Next week I meet with Bryan to go over the Microsoft IMS Compliant LMS that we will be demoing in Long Beach
– I have a meeting in two weeks with XXXXXXXX. He is interested in the Medical School work with IMS LTI.
My next plans are to take materials from the LTI WG surrounding the launch protocol and see if I cannot form them into a Best Practice” that we can quickly advance to compliment the LTI+CC best practice – that gives us a full/formal/approved solution for Basic LTI+CC
After that I want to go after Common Cartridge – I want to build some reference Java Artifacts that parse and interpret CC’s, as well as a Python Reference Implementation, and to see if I can extract some of Bryan’s .NET code to make a reusable artifact.
I am planning to get started work on adding CommonCartridge import to Sakai’s / Melete as soon as the Melete LTI work makes it into production and I can catch my breath. I expect to get some support and assistance in this task from XXXXXX.
In my research and teaching that happens to be related, I did the following:
– LTI Continues in solid production in the Med School – the dev team continues to improve the tools
– I wrote some slides that describe the LTI Launch Sequence.
– Development on the LectureTools IMS LTI integration continues – I wrote some of the above slides to help me explain stuff to fellow developers more efficiently.
– I rewrote the Python LTI code to support multi-tenancy really nicely – I need to go back and convert the PHP LTI framework to being Multi-Tenancy aware.
– I wrote some slides about Data Models for Multi-Tenancy in an LTI Tool
– I built a new IMS LTI Tool and put it into production. It is a multi-user online game for folks to explore the notion of “Free Riders” in public goods situations – it is not much fun unless you find 6 other people to play at the same time.
– One of my students is working on a FireFox Plugin to launch LTI tools as an independent study
– My other independent study student working on LTI in Python went to the Inauguration so she was not so productive this week :)
– This morning I am writing a first draft of a Journal article about how LTI can change the way we think about authoring content, teaching, and learning. You know we academics must write Journal articles from time to time or we vanish.
Reading: Chapters 5-8 Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Describe the difference between a coordination problem and a cognition problem.
Give an example of a coordination problem that you have experienced that was not used in the book. Come up with something where some non-trivial decisions were needed (i.e. avoid – everyone needs to find a chair in a room).
How do norms and conventions help us solve large-scale coordination problems?
Give a clever example of a cooperation problem – where the participants needed to avoid pure self-interest to achieve the greater good. How did the participants know to make the right decisions?
Describe the experiment with the Capuchin monkeys and its conclusion. What does its outcome potentially tell us about ourselves?
Often capitalism is described as being “heartless” and “every one for themselves”. Describe how in some ways, honesty, trust, and considering the long-term impact of choices is seen by some as an essential underpinning of successful capitalism.
Why is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” valuable? Have you ever used the seal to get your money back? Why not?
In the Fehr / Cachter experiment there are generally three types of people when it comes to their approach to free-rider problems. Describe the three types and the approximate number of each type we might find out of 100 people.
When the free rider experiment is run many times, on average what percentage of people are free riding at the beginning of the experiment and what percentage of people are free riding at the end of the experiment?
Define “Strong Reciprocity”. Give an example in your live where you have seen strong reciprocity and an example where you have not seen strong reciprocity.
I also include my rough reading notes from the Chapters below:
As many of you know I do some part-time consulting with the IMS Global Learning Consortium (www.imsglobal.org) in addition to my UM teaching and other stuff. One of the cool features of IMS is a weekly report that we just send around to each other. Given that we are pretty distributed, a weekly report helps folks know what is going on.
I decided that I would start putting an edited version of my weekly report up on my blog. It will help me remember what I have done when it comes time for my annual Faculty report. I redact the sensitive bits and particular vendor names.
This is an excerpt from my upcoming O’Reilly Book on the Google AppEngine. Chapter Three is about Python programming and toward the end it has this section on the “Zen of Programming”. You are welcome to review the rest of the chapters at:
CloudSocial: A New Approach to Enabling Open Content for Broad Reuse
CloudSocial is a new approach to socially enhanced learning that allows learners to move among any web-based resources and have their learning environment and co-learners move with them. CloudSocial enables web-accessible learning content to be used by a wide variety of formal and informal learning environments without requiring the information to be copied into each of the learning environments. Instead, the learning systems integrate themselves into the content. This will allow dramatic increases in the accessibility, flexibility and interactivity of most all web content, but especially of open content, no matter what its format. It will thus be possible to integrate open content more easily into a wider variety of teaching and learning contexts and potentially increase the use and value of open content. CloudSocial enables the formation of informal learning cohorts who can work together to collaboratively learn a subject using content from a wide range of sources outside of, within, or alongside of current formal learning environments. Courses will add a “map” of Internet resources to access and use—as the learners move between web resources their chosen learning system will follow them. CloudSocial is not a “single LMS’ – rather it is a set of extensible protocols and capabilities that allow any LMS to interact with the CloudSocial enabled content.
CloudSocial makes use of the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability protocol to integrate the learning systems into the content. CloudSocial is currently under development by the the University of Michigan Medical School and OpenMichigan project. CloudSocial is in its early stages of pre-alpha rollout.
Contact: Charles Severance at www.dr-chuck.com
This will be presented at the Connexions Conference 2009 in Houston, TX – February 5-6, 2009.
I was giving my first lecture in Python Wednesday morning about Python and talking glowingly about Python and implying that other languages like C++ were obtuse. The class started a discussion about “obtuseness” and it really made me think.
A few of the class comments are included below and then my reaction.
Trek says that NASA did a study that concluded this: If you are reusing a piece of software once you modify more than 15% of the software – it is more efficient to just write it from scratch. Posted from the Hacker Jam.
The original post from Lars Pind