Friday, November 23, 2012

The Impact cycle

The purpose of a social entreprise represents its impact. Hopefully one would expect to make a positive impact. But some unexpected positive or negative impact might happen. It is important to take into account these considerations about the impact of one's social endevour:

1. Define the expected impact.
2. State a measure of the desired impact.
3. Find ways to get information about the unexpected positive or negative results.
4. Record the results obtained.

In creating Open Popular University the primary impact I expected to create is for people to realize that   the accumulation of knowledge beyond the minimum is not a privilege reserved to a few. People have to realize how educational institutions can deceive people in attaining their educational goals. I have been myself deceived by some predators located behind some american so-called educational institutions. My realization is that the attainment of some degree of knowledge is not the prerogative of educational institutions, people with degrees or people with some exceptional cognitive abilities. Knowledge is not necessarily acquired from educators and educational institutions. Knowledge primarily resides in books and books are acquired by educational institutions. Now knowledge resides in the world wide web. Learning in formalized educational institutions is  managed by private and government administrators who decide what to teach and who can teach. However learning doesn't take place exclusively in this manner. Knowledge is acquired by oneself from books, the web, radio, television and from family members, friends, the community, etc. Knowledge comes also from one's personal inquiry, intuition, reflection, etc. Whether one wants it or not knowledge starts from birth and stops at death at least in that lifetime. Learning is a lifelong process.

Specifically for Open Popular University the desired impact is that students. professionals, self-learners worldwide access the site to satisfy their educational needs. I expect that many people come to the site, spend a reasonable amount and come back. More specifically the impact for students is that they can use the site to understand concepts they misunderstood in class and to deepen their knowledge. Professionals can use the site to review a subject that they learned in college, undertake new studies or study a subject related to a project, etc. Educators can enrich their curriculum  from the content of different subjects. More importantly the most important aspect of the impact is that people after spending a lot of time exploring the resources in the site are urged to cultivate self-learning and lifelong learning. I will measure this impact by surveying people who accessed the site.. This can be done by setting a form in the site asking people specific questions. It can also be done by e-mail and on other social media pages for Open Popular University. As in any human endevour there are unexpected positive or negative results. Unexpected positive results might be defined by people having obtained spectacular results from using the site. Unexpected negative results are that the site has made no impact on people. Unexpected positive results  can be assessed by asking questions like: " What huge benefits have you gotten by using the site?". Unexpected negative results can be assessed by asking questions like this: " What are the negative effects of using the site? In summary the impact can be defined by the number of people  accessing the site and the benefits obtained from its use.

In a follow-up to assess the impact I can report on the access of the site. Specifically I can say
1. I have had positive feedback from people using the site. Although there isn't a huge amount of people accessing the site but the number of users is growing.
2. As unexpected positive result I have seen the access increasing suddenly
3. I haven't seen any unexpected negative result.
The statistics suggest that people benefits from using the site because of a fair amount of returning users. The nature of the benefits cannot be assessed at this time but a protocol will be set for this. Cycling on the use of the site I will increase its marketing to make the access growing although the number of users suddenly keeps growing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Technological challenges for Educators

A few months ago I took an online teaching course and I had the opportunity to learn about the use of technology by "digital natives" (students born in the information technology age) in comparison to their teachers. I didn't like how adult educators were put down because their lack of using technology. In the discussion forum of this course I expressed my feelings about those allegations. Technology is only a tool. The old educators educated the creators of technology even though they didn't know about technology. Do the "digital natives" not owe some recognition to their educators? I haven't read anything about students blaming their teachers because they are more proficient than them in their use of technology.The irony is that educators were blaming themselves for that. I read a book by Will Richardson about the use of the web in Education and later I read his wiki. "Students are leading teachers by participating, collaborating and creating more", he noted in his wiki site. He related some statistics about the use of social software by students. “ 71% of students with online access use social networking tools on a weekly basis”. “75% of college students have a Facebook site”. Indeed students use Information and Computer Technology more than their educators but are they using it for educational purposes?

 A survey of 25,000 students at the university of Wisconsin in 2008 concerning the use of technology by students showed the following results:
Only 3% don’t own a computer.
59% own an internet capable cell phone.
18% of freshmen spent more than 16 hrs per week on social networking.
Fine Arts use the least amount of technology. Engineering uses the most.
Students believe that instructors do not understand their IT skills level.
47% of students believe IT improves learning in courses. 37% were neutral.
 Only 26% believed that online recording of lectures tempt them to skip class more often.
56.7% use social networking to set up conversations.

The Do It Student Technology report showed the differences between the student and faculty uses of tech. Here are some results:
88% of students but only 59% use Wikipedia.
78% of students but only 39% of faculty use portable media devices.
85% of students but only 45% of faculty use YouTube.
75% of students but only 35% of faculty uses SMS.
41% of faculty use Google apps.
32% of students use a gaming console.

 The good side about the University of Wisconsin report is that a little less than half of the students surveyed believe that IT improves learning in courses (47%). This survey doesn't show the educational use of the Information and Computer Technology by students more than their teachers. “ We are entering a time of deeply personalized, passion based learning . Youth using new media often learn from their peers or adults, and notions of expertise and authority have been turned on their heads” (John Steely Brown). He continued further to state that this fact makes our curricula less and less relevant to our students. The learning expectation is to create and not to consume and creation is not coming yet.

The above citation from John Steely Brown showed that students use technology for educational purposes but don't state if they use technology more than their teachers for educational purposes.Technology remains a tool that helps to reach educational goals. Some cognitive skills and a willingness to use it for educational purposes are the prerequisites to reap its benefits in Education. The educational benefits of technology are multiple. Learners can create their own content. They can use technology to learn collaboratively and teachers can become more facilitators than instructors.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Market Cycle

 I have been thinking about the abilities exercised during this course. Doing some research in open learning, I found the concept of the four quadrants circle of a PLN (Personal Learning Network). The concept is drawn in a circle of four quadrants. The first quadrant is called the STAFF ROOM. This is basically learning from people in your social network. Twitter is referred as the best element for this part. The second quadrant is called FILING CABINET. This is the process of saving things you learned from and it is done using bookmarking sites such as Diigo and D.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. The third one is called NEWSPAPER. This is the process of having knowledge came to you using aggregate sites like READER. The fourth quadrant is called PORTFOLIO which is publishing one's content . This is done using a common media called BLOG. Blogs usually allow to reflect and produce one's own content. We have been using the blog to produce assignments content in this course. This allows me to clarify ideas that would otherwise not benefit of this kind of clarification. The practical aspects of the assignments allow to do so.

In this assignment it is required to identify the the people who benefit from the services offered, your means of communicating to them and your message. I used a Google spreadsheet to identify the characteristics of the different categories of potential people likely to use the site of Open Popular University. and my means of communicating to them. Even though I have identified these categories before this assignment allows me to identify several locations where these categories are located. The categories who benefit from Open Popular University are : High School students, University students, Professionals, Self-learners and Educators.

High School students

Demographics: they are adolescent students.

Means of communication: Social media and other means of communication.

Message: Open Popular University gives access to different courses such as Math and Science that can help you better understand the concepts taught in school. These courses are advanced courses that can help you to prepare for college.

Direct messages to parents: Open Popular University holds advanced courses specially in Math and Science that can help your children prepare for college. I invite you to have your children visit the site of Open Popular University

University students

Demographics: They are young adults and mid-life adults.

Means of communication: Social media networks and other means of communication.

Message: Open Popular University is offering courses in different academic disciplines. These can help you understand better the concepts taught in class. They can also increase your knowledge of the subject matter.


Demographics: They are adults and mid-life adults.

Means of communication: Several means of communication

Message: Open Popular University is a place that encourage lifelong learning. I encourage you to visit it to see if there is something that might be useful to you.


Demographics: They are adults and mid life and old adults.

Means of communications: Different means of communication.

Message: Open Popular University is a place for self-learners. Check it out to see if there is something that can interest you.


Demographics: They are adults and mid-life adults.

Means of communication: Several means of communication

Message: Open Popular University is a place for educators. Visit its site to see how it can help you in developing your curriculum

Cycle: This exercise allows me to set up a clear marketing plan and means of communication. In communicating about Open Popular University I will have to target specific groups and deliver the appropriate messages to them using specific channels of communication.