Throughout weeks 7 and 8 of LRND 6700 Kayleigh Williams and I researched the work of future theorist Stephen Downes and created a presentation using Animoto. When I found out that we would have the option of using either Glogster or Animoto to create our presentations I was excited because I have been using Animoto for the past year to create slideshows for my wedding photography. Since I was already familiar with the program and had a pro account it made the assignment fairly easy to complete. However, it was a little challenging to figure out how to present our research in short segments so that it could be timed to music. Basically we just broke down the information so that we were displaying a single point for each slide so that viewers would have enough time to read each slide and comprehend what they were reading. Our presentation can be viewed at the following address: http://animoto.com/play/RxNVpt111oMJA4q7e6Imqg.
I will say that deciding what to include in the presentation was our largest challenge because Stephen Downes is a prolific writer. We decided to stick solely to the information provided on his website (http://www.downes.ca/) to make our lives a little easier. There had to be over a thousand articles and presentations on his website which was overwhelming to sort through. Needless to say we did not have time to go through everything.
What we did learn was that Stephen Downes studied epistemology and the philosophy of science at the University of Calgary and completed his PhD at the University of Alberta. He then worked as an instructor at various colleges as well as a senior researcher for the National Research Council of Canada. He specializes in the fields of online learning, new media, pedagogy and philosophy. After the Internet became commercialized in the 1990s he started to focus in e-learning and with the help of George Siemens developed the first massive open online course (MOOC) in 2008.
In one of his presentations Downes defined a MOOC as a forum for dialogue and reflection on topics and experiences. It is a place where people can discuss topics with international experts in the field and train and update ourselves in trends worldwide. MOOC’s are based on the connectivist theories that learning and cognition happen in a network. He believes that as the world in changing, education and the way we learn is also changing and the MOOC is his response to those changes. Within a MOOC the connections between people are more important that the content itself. MOOC’s are made possible by various e-learning 2.0 tools and various forms of social media. I think this picture is hilarious and does a good job describing the anatomy of a MOOC.
I think that MOOC’s are a great way to connect people on a global level that might never have come into contact before. I am interested to see how the concept catches on and the impact it will have on education in the future.