Me barking (or barfing) about un-necessary (to me) Three Letter Acronyms is nothing new around here. And to be the honest, they cause more shrugs, yawns, than upchucks. Scott knows the sound of my tired old saw startting up. I might be boring myself.
But I love this photo. You can find it at the top of flickr interestingness be searching on tags for “sick dog”.
Let me clear that in the case of these Personal Learning Things as well as Open Education Resources, I am total agreement, and support to the concepts they aim to circumscribe- its been at the heart of most of what I’ve done for my Xx years in this game.
But to me they are things we name that do not really exist.
My gripes are:
- The suggestion that naming a thing makes it something that exists. My usual quip on PLEs is that they are mostly diagrams. (now I am ducking from the rotten tomato tossed by George Siemens).
- The last thing I want is to wrestle with definitions, but because of the unbounded way these things are described, Not only can’t I tell for sure what a PLE is, I cannot easily tell what is NOT a PLE. For example, the very exact way people introduce PLNs (“build a network in twitter”) — it is no different from the way I might create a network for my Personal Bicycle Network or My Personal Cooking Network (By the way, there is a great workshop next week on how to fine tune your PCN). It is not bounded at all what makes a learning network any different from any other network; there are really no boundaries beyond the little circles people draw on diagrams. It’s just a network folks. Throwing the “L” in does not make it any different.
Moreover, what really does the “P” add? Do I brag about the efficiency of my Personal Automobile Unit? How about my Personal Hammering Device? No it’s just “my car” or “my hammer”.
- Since the TLAs are so unbounded, almost everything can be one. Any way you can link to a person or their stuff becomes part of your PLE. Anything you can to in the open web is an open educational resource? Ok. I agree. If anything can be an OER…. well gaah.
Okay, I am just whinging here, but to me these terms are close to meaningless.
The web is my PLE.
The web is my PLN.
The web is where I find my OERs.
The TLAs are like group hallucinations.
Now, while the winge-o-meter is turned up past 11…. beware of things that look shiny with nice graphics of smiling happy stock photo people.
I’m going to talk about a site now that I expect will draw a response from the company explaining how wrong I am. It’s not a complete criticism of their ideas and ideals. I am expecting the corrections to fly my way. This was more of a knee jerk reaction, and I bet I have not seen enough… but, it is something that got under my fur, so I gotta itch.
Nixty is a site dedicated to “empowering education for everyone”. Who could argue against that? I don’t. College in my living room, bring on the power of DIY U!
Something about the About page made my chuckle recursively:
NIXTY is the Virginia-based startup that is revolutionizing education. The co-founders wanted to create a service with the outrageous goal of empowering education for everyone. They had experience in the eLearning/LMS market, but needed to learn more about open education. They consulted with several thought leaders, professors, and students around what a next generation learning platform might look like. The result is NIXTY!
If I try an interpret this it comes out like:
We worked in the LMS market, but wanted to do something different. We talked to people about open education, and the result is another LMS!
I clicked around a few of their courses. What they have done looks interesting at first. They have taken material from open courses (or repurposed those OER thingies) and given totally awesome credit. But I am looking at the learning that the guy in the quote above is doing from his living room.
- Please review the material and interact on the discussion board. Ask a question for others to answer or answer a question that others have asked. (Physics I)
- Please review the material and interact on the discussion board. Ask a question for others to answer or answer a question that others have asked. (Principles of Digital Communication)
- Please watch the course video, engage in the quizzes, and interact on the discussion boards. (Introduction to Biology)
Excuse me, but “Watch a video and post to a discussion board” is not really a comprehensive learning experience. It’s not to say that it might not happen among the poor souls who waddle through this, but the odds of many people learning in this manner seem slim.
This is where the promise and the reality of OERs stand on opposite sides of the canyon saying, “What are you doing there?”
Now I again, I am likely totally short shrifting Nixty- I have not looked at their ePortfolio tools or their continuing education credit bits, but what bothers me is this lovely, cleanly designed web site that to me, puts window dressing on what learning really is.
If this is DIY U, then give me that lecture in a classroom thing again.
Enjoy all your PLEs, PLNs, OERs, CBDs, TYAs, ORCs, JUTs, KWEs, I’m just hanging out on the open web drinking in as much as I can.