Wrapping up - your final thoughts

Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by George Siemens -
Number of replies: 16
We're in the final days of this open course. It would be helpful for planning future courses on learning analytics if you could provide reflections on the course design, your learning takeaways, or general reflections. What worked? What did you learn? what didn't work? what frustrated you? how have your views on learning analytics changed as the course progressed?
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Apostolos Koutropoulos -
I had suspected that learning analytics had many masters (or perhaps a better analogy is that too many cooks trying to make something out of the raw ingredients) - this was confirmed for me. The take away is that data is abundant - we just need to play nice, share and analyze (for the benefit of the learner)

All things considered, the course was quite interesting, as my first MOOC. I would have liked to have seen more participation - personally when I read something I take it in, and sometimes I write something about it, other times not. If others are participating, there is an increased possibility that I will read and react to something that someone else wrote, thus (potentially) increasing the understanding of the subject matter. I guess I would have liked to have seen more participation from others, but I guess this is a chicken-egg type of thing :-)

I liked having all discussions in Moodle - having new replies come to my email was quite convenient.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Su-Tuan Lulee -
Hi, All,

I didn't participate the forum discussions often during the past six weeks. Most of my time for this course has been spent in reading the materials, experiencing the software applications recommended, and listening to the archived Elluminate recordings. I think they are great and I am grateful to have all of these for free. Thank you, George, for organizing and making the course possible!

One of the promises of open learning is "cost reduction". I am not so sure about that after taking LAK11. Phil Ice (DE Hub 2011) might be right about American Public Universities save $1.5 million month by using open access texts in top 20 courses. However, open learning is not only about content, it's also about communication and connection (Sorry, I forget the source). Look how much effort has George and other facilitators spent for LAK11: daily email contact, 1-3 guest presentations/ interview per week, ongoing forum discussions, emerging technologies, and more. I have never had a course that has the luxury of five facilitators. So, can open learning reduces education cost without lower its quality?

In reply to Su-Tuan Lulee

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Laurence Cuffe -
Interesting material, I'm still playing with some of the tools, Needlebase and some of the visualization stuff.

On the downside, I continuously had problems logging in, and often seemed not to arrive at the right place in the end, so I failed to get actively involved in the discussions. Having a new password sent by a real person was a problem here, because I am always losing passwords and looking for password reset links. I really did not want Sylvie Currie saying each morning "there's that Guy with Alzheimers from Ireland again...."

This was my second MOOK, the first was PLENK, and I'm not sure what made it work less well. It may well have been that because I had done this before, I wasn't putting the effort in to go and find all the locations where it was happening, or to use the resources provided fully.

The illuminate sessions were often too late in the day for me to watch them live, about 1AM local time over here, and I find watching recordings is kind of like videotaping something on TV, There is an immediacy to a live session which makes you sit down and watch it, while recordings tend to go on the long finger.

Thank you for all the effort, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to come to the plate!
All the best
Laurence Cuffe
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Eva Birger -

When human becomes data.

While subscribing to LAK ,I knew, I will become data.I will be a tiny little spot on whatever visualization tool for an upcoming conference about learning analytics. In advance I knew, that I am not going to be of any significance for the content of the course, just a data point with connections to other dots - open to the interpretation of the analytic skills of the facilitators. So, what is there in for a human, a woman, to participate in such a course, especially when he or she has no time?

First of all, I came along the importance of learning analytics during my self asigned learning in the net and at my workplace. I'm working on an open model using blogs alongside the tutorials. There I recognized, that the word-of-mouth comments of my students differ from the data of the blogs. For me the question was, does self estimation differ so much from actual course behavior? In my notion, learning analytics should be applied to enhance the learning experience of my learners, what kind of tools do exsist for measurement?
For all of these questions and despite of my reasons - in advance I knew, that my conduction during the course will be only peripherally - I was highly interessted in the subject. My estimation is, if you participate in the first course of a new subject in a MOOC, the possibility to meet highly skilled experts in the field is given. In my case, I hit the jackpot by meeting such a huge number of experts.

For me the  most compelling aspects of this course and for learning analytics in general is the collaborations between IT experts and educators, or those working in computer science, and those working in non-computational disciplines.

In hindsight, I can say, that I have not delivered much data. My visits to moodle were mostly as a guest, for the simple reason, that the access speed as a guest is faster, therefore, the actual time spent in the forums is not monitored by the widget. My summaries in my blog give evidence of my learning despite the lack of time . Netvibes, as the representation platform of the blogs was an interesting experience, but not an attractive one.
Admittedly,I  was unable to obtain a PLN, but the experts in this course have expanded my PLE and promise a further learning in various ways.

Thank you all for sharing your expertise


In reply to Eva Birger

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Sandra Mudd -
Thank you for the course.  My expectation at the beginning was to become familiar with learning analytics which I now feel I have as well as recognizing the concerns about the use of such data.  I am not currently teaching and had no practical applications for the material unlike other participants and didn't think I had much to add to the discussions but nevertheless appreciated others' input.  The final week I wasn't able to make 2 of the 3 sessions and I'm really hoping that the recordings will be made available soon. (1st and 3rd).  I also enjoyed Dave Cormier's blogs. Thank you also for the experience of a connectivist approach and the opportunity to participate.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Hans de Zwart -
I will be on vacation for the next week or so, but promise to write one more reflection and give a decent here, when I come back.

@George: Thank you very much for getting this course together.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Nicola Avery -
Thank you very much to all the facilitators for a very interesting experience and thanks especially to Sylvia for helping me access Moodle initially too. Feel like toes well and truly dipped in - compared to first day when sitting with Steve at Surrey and we were looking at each other trying to decide what learning analytics might be.

What worked?
The structure was very good - as in how different content areas introduced, felt that it seemed to work in terms of what might be thinking about as weeks went on. Having previously done other MOOCs, format and opportunities to explore and comment elsewhere good. Live presentations excellent. Distributed conversation still always interesting whether anyone has preference for Moodle, or for Twitter or blogs etc

Dave Cormier's slackers post were a nice touch to getting going, esp in first couple of weeks.

What didn't work?
Not a what didn't work, but its only really this week, that realised have not personally done any analytics of any kind about what have been doing over the last six weeks, so difficult to evaluate own personal progress as such

What frustrated you?
Not a frustration just questions leading to more questions than answers and feeling that need to spend more time on some of the weeks which could have been six weeks in themselves as themes/topics

How have your views on learning analytics changed as the course progressed?

Understanding some differences between what has been defined as academic analytics, the differences between the more organisational/institutional business intelligence analytics compared to an individual learner looking at their personal progress. Also how the analytics are captured.

Interesting time to look at analytics as universities / education continuing to redefine itself and its relationships with people who come to learn through them. I.e. if universities looking at a more lifelong relationship through alumni and continuing professional development, the role of analytics may be different at a number of levels and the administration / accountability of these analytics.

There might be ongoing need to define who is responsible for what and it may be that as learners understand different ways in which they can measure / evaluate their own progress that some of the more organisational analytics (which may drive some of the education strategy / policy) may no longer be as relevant. And institutions may decide that it is too expensive to drive research into it.

Have some outstanding questions/areas:

1. Privacy, consent and ethics. Depending again on deciding whether its lifelong learning, or an institutional course learning provision may result in different answers. Some people may be happy with some levels of consent to some analytics but not others. A learner may not get to make that choice because the data may be available anyway and there are issues around human rights. Bill Fitzgerald's points about who decides what learning is and learning processes that are taking place.

2. Visualization and information processing. Depending on how often a learner is presented with some form of visual information / graphics, different research about
- colour design and theory
- choice/ placement of images and theory
- changes in decision making based on these over time i.e. do we respond differently to different analytics on different days or can patterns be extracted.
- use of text, language differences
- visual only. I.e would it make a difference if there was some form of audio analytics as opposed to just visual signals (such as e.g. dual coding theory for images/text; verbal/visual coding, multimodal etc. I don't know what the equivalent of red and green sounds like, hopefully something more sophisticated then bells and buzzers or animal sounds ;) Maybe celebrity voices like SatNav!

3. Engagement - if there was a lot more use of academic and learning analytics would students who were disengaged, become more engaged as a result of feedback of what they are doing. Its possible that it would take a lot of experimentation and possibly some harm done whilst trying to find ways in which a student might be persuaded to participate more actively or at all.

4. Criteria used for prediction. What can realistically be used as evidence to make a prediction for how the learning process takes place.

A colleague and myself are writing a bid over the next couple of days in the hope of launching a small project to research and hopefully do a small pilot with environmental health - the practical nature of this course has been extremely helpful in trying to decide how this might fit together and hopefully can lead to further discussion with other colleagues too. Thank you !

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Shahrinaz Ismail -
I have to admit that I was only slightly active in the first 2 weeks, and totally 'tied up' with my other things during the rest. Haven't had time to catch up with any of the lost weeks also, but the daily #LAK11 paper.li kinda helped me a bit (when I have time to browse through the headlines, though).

Even though it was only for 2 weeks, I learnt a lot especially on the tools. It got me all excited, until we started to have long public holidays here in Malaysia and I had to hit the books again for my PhD study etc. (hahaha!)

Anyway, the structure of the course is good, quite organised despite the abundant resources supplied, but then again, if you're used to it, you know that you don't have to really go through all, so it's kinda less stressful for an experienced MOOC learner.

Honestly, for me to use this method in my teaching, I have to 'train' my students or let them experience a simpler or smaller scale MOOC before really implementing something like this. At least, I can estimate some expectations from them.

All I can say is thank you very much to George and everyone, for allowing me to learn from each other and this network. Hope I can still visit and refer to the content of this course whenever I have the time (can, right?).

All the best to everyone.
- Shazz, Kuala Lumpur
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Nelly Spanjersberg -
'I have to admit that I was only slightly active in the first 2 weeks, and totally 'tied up' with my other things during the rest' Shazz from Kuala Lumpur said.
It was about the same for me. The experience was overwhelming since it was my first MOOC. (I enjoyed the MOOC-items om you tube very much)

I'm very glad with the materials and references. They offered a broader view on learning and knowledge analytics.

Right now we are finishing a social network analysis of our network on learning and development, using all the (big) data we can get. So I'm focusing on LAK and SNA tags.

Thank you George e.a.

All the best to everyone,
Nelly Spanjersberg, The Netherlands

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Paul Bond -
I like the idea of a massive open online course. I haven't figured out how to best take advantage of one yet. As one of the facilitators (Dave, I think) said, it's best to skim and dive. I found there was too much material for me to handle in the time I had available. Much of it felt over my head, or outside my area of experience, so it was difficult to pick what to skim and where to dive. I wasn't sure how to participate, or what I had to bring to the table.

I liked having all the recordings available, since the Elluminate sessions were rarely at convenient times. If they remain available, maybe the course could be not only open, but open-ended. Maybe some of us can work through readings, discussions and reflections at our individual paces.

The pace frustrated me a little, although that had less to do with the course and more to do with all the other demands on my time. That appears to have been a common problem.

I truly appreciate the efforts of George and the other facilitators, and the contributions of all the other participants. Thank you all.
In reply to Paul Bond

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Cris Crissman -
I very much appreciate your description of the "open-ended" course, Paul.

I was able to keep up with the readings, the tools, and most of the sessions until the last couple of weeks when I got swamped with my own course. But I still intend to review what I missed and bring some closure to the course according to my own schedule.

Did I learn what I'd hoped about learning analytics for an open Web course? Well, no, but I have much better questions to ask and explore now.

Special thanks to all of the facilitators, guest speakers, and participants for their contributions.

In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Borivoj Brdicka -
Many thanks to all organizers for so big effort and mostly voluntary work. I am sure the course was and maybe will be even more useful for my personal progress. Just now I can say it help me to better understand the Horizon Report 2011, which has the Learning Analytics as a theme of interest in 3-5 years period. I already mentioned the LAK11 and MOOC in several of my articles (unfortunately in Czech only). Best wishes to all participants.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Adam Weisblatt -

This was my first MOOC and I really enjoyed it. I got a lot out of the course even though I didn't put as much time into it as I wanted. I definitely wanted to see it through to the end. Here is a link to my blog post summing up the experience: http://weisblatt.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/learning-analytics-course-lak11-final-thoughts/

Thanks to George and all the other facilitators. I appreciate everything you put into making this available.

Adam Weisblatt
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by Vanessa Vaile -
I may now know enough about analytics to learn about them next time around, until then to ask better questions, be more aware of how they are used and misused, understand data collection and gaps. In other words, a start.

The part of me that wants to avoid becoming (especially unawares) data whenever the opportunity presents itself is better served by understanding the process. Taking charge of and managing my data.

Unfortunately, blogging slowed from a crawl to a halt, maybe from needing to process more, not to mention networks IRL intersecting and making demands on my time. Those intersections are part of the networkz too.

I did better keeping up with reading (sometimes just skimming) discussion threads and a number of blogs, although not commenting as often as I could/should have ~ but often not in ways that contributed to data unless both email and both rss subs get counted. I do log in when I go to the site. Still, my bad. The course is free, but I tried to skip the check, e.g. pay in data.

Mostly, though, I worked out what was most efficient and least time consuming for me, working with an old slow computer on dial up - too expensive in the remote rural area where I live. I gave up on Elluminate sessions via dial-up several EVO workshops ago.

The course ~ organization, materials, etc ~ imo worked better than PLENK 2010. Partly for my having a better handle on moocking it, but you and Stephen are learning too. Great readings. I particularly appreciated the transcripts and mp3 files ~ and of course the crib sheet blog posts

Yes, there was still too much, especially at the beginning. How can I decide on a focus without looking at as much material as possible? I accept responsibility for trying to consume too much at a sitting. All you can eat buffets have always been a weakness. I'm sure more tweaking will help but have no idea what.

It will be a while before the final final thoughts are ready. In the meantime, there's still
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Wrapping up - your final thoughts

by merce galan -
Hi all
I want to thank the facilitators for organizing this course and all the people involved with their posts. I'm still reading texts and doing tests with the software provided on the course. I think I still go into this forum to continue reading and reviewing a topic for my rather novel.
Thank you very much and keep in touch.