Abject Learning

http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2010/10/open-access-week-at-ubc-2/
The audience feels closer in B than in A but also more distant. The audience in Version B no longer feels excluded because of the references to the location of the audience in Version A but the audience feels distanced as well because version B feels more formal. The register of version B, while still retaining many of the conversational interactions found in version A, feels more scholarly/professional. The footing has changed in version B and it is not as clear who the animator/principal is. The ratified participant is less clear as well, since the location markers of the audience have been removed in version B. Version B also seems slightly more objective because all of the uses of I have been removed.

http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2010/10/sustain-this/
There feels as though there is a ratified participant in version B. Version B also feels less like random thoughts and more like a coherent post with the removal of most of the ellipses. Version B engages the audience more, especially with suggestions that the audience read the articles mentioned in the post. The changes draw the blogger and audience together. Version B is less neutral than A, however, because the audience is specifically addressed in places where the animator possibly attacks the audience (but am wary of throwing hand grenades at those of you who are doing work that is well-intentioned and which ultimately I am not qualified to judge).

http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2011/03/why-go-open/
Version A is very polite and hesitant and does not have the assertive, knowledgeable register that version B has. Version A is also ambiguous about the ratified participant. In version A, you can be taken two ways: the faculty member who asked the questions or the person reading the blog. Version B more clearly indicates that this post is for the person reading the blog and not just for the faculty member. Version B is a bit more persuasive because it doesn't hedge and it doesn't hesitate in stating the benefits of content sharing.

I think Myer's claim is extremely relevant, especially his claim that the audience markers help assure readers that they are in the right place. With the few changes I made in the posts, it seemed to me that when the audience was made clearer I, as a reader, felt more engaged in the post and what the blogger was saying.
I think it is significant that bloggers trade a large audience for an engaged one. It's the old quantity versus quality debate. When a blogger aims for an engaged audience, he is attempting for quality over quantity. He is then able to make arguments and incite debates that are not possible for those who aim for a large audience to create. The blogger is creating a space like the bar in Cheers where people are able to gather and share their interests and find comfort and security in the wide, sometimes lonely world.
It is significant for readers of weblogs to be aware of audience markers so that they are aware of how the blogger is using his register to influence our opinions as readers. We are also able to better understand what the blogger is attempting to do in his posts/blog by understanding how he uses audience markers. We are no longer blind to the subliminal images slipped into the advertisements at the beginning of the movie we are watching. This is the same case for those who have not considered audience markers. If they are unaware of the way the blogger is playing with words to get a reaction from them, they are unable to make informed, intelligent decisions.


http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2010/10/open-access-week-at-ubc-2/

Version A

I have a few more substantive posts brewing, but until I get a few minutes and a few more brain cells to rub together…

I want to offer my congratulations to the team that has put together UBC’s contribution to the global event Open Access Week. The schedule of talks taking place here next week covers the gamut from open scholarship, to open data, to open source, to open government, to yes, open educational resources. And it’s all free of charge and open to the public.

Too many highlights to mention here, but a few of the sessions I won’t be missing:

* An introduction to open access and other open movements by Joy Kirchner, who has done as much as anyone to pull the UBC program together. Joy is just one of the Library people here doing heroic duty to promote openness in higher education.

* Dr. Michael Brauer will discuss the Cycling Route Planner, an essential resource for Vancouver cyclists that I previously blogged here.

* If that’s not enough open data goodness, Heather Piwowar, will be discussing open research data in the academy. And G. Sayeed Choudhury from Johns Hopkins will make The Case for Open Data and eScience.

* Novak Rogic and Will Engle will be showing off the UBC Wiki, which I rave about constantly.

* John Willinsky, Meike Wernicke, Reilly Yeo will be discussing “Scholarly Rights and Responsibilities in the Digital Age”… As longtime readers of this blog already know, I consider Dr. Willinsky to be one of the very best speakers in the business, I never tire of listening to him. I’ll never forget the meeting we had shortly after I started at UBC, from which I emerged an incorrigible open access zealot.

* I’m pleased to have Martha Rans come to UBC to discuss copyright issues as relevant to educators. Martha is Vancouver Project Lead for Creative Commons Canada, and as blogged here previously does indispensable work as Legal Director of the Artists Legal Outreach at the Alliance for Arts. Our intention for this session is to provide a clear overview of the impending Canadian copyright Bill C-32, with special focus on its implications for educators. While Martha is with us, I’ve asked her to discuss Creative Commons from her insiders perspective… and we’ll be sure to leave lots of time for the many thorny, nasty questions that always come up when we discuss this stuff.

* UBC students Goldis Chami and Gordana Panic will discuss “Student Advocacy for Open Access at UBC and Beyond”…
And there’s much, much more open yumminess! Looking at the breadth and quality of talent strutting its stuff next week, it’s hard not to feel humbled, excited and hopeful at the prospects of UBC doing great things in this space in the years to come.

Version B

There are a few more substantive posts brewing, but until there are a few minutes and a few more brain cells to rub together…

Congratulations are offered to the team that has put together contributions to the global event Open Access Week. The schedule of talks taking place next week covers the gamut from open scholarship, to open data, to open source, to open government, to yes, open educational resources. And it’s all free of charge and open to the public.

Too many highlights to mention, but a few of the sessions that won’t be missed:

* An introduction to open access and other open movements by Joy Kirchner, who has done as much as anyone to pull the program together. Joy is just one of the Library people doing heroic duty to promote openness in higher education.

* Dr. Michael Brauer will discuss the Cycling Route Planner, an essential resource for cyclists that was previously blogged here.

* If that’s not enough open data goodness, Heather Piwowar, will be discussing open research data in the academy. And G. Sayeed Choudhury from Johns Hopkins will make The Case for Open Data and eScience.

* Novak Rogic and Will Engle will be showing off the Wiki, which is raved about constantly.

* John Willinsky, Meike Wernicke, Reilly Yeo will be discussing “Scholarly Rights and Responsibilities in the Digital Age”… As longtime readers of this blog already know, Dr. Willinsky is considered to be one of the very best speakers in the business, and one never tires of listening to him. After an unforgettable meeting with Dr. Willinsky, one emerges an incorrigible open access zealot.

* Martha Rans will come to discuss copyright issues as relevant to educators. Martha is Project Lead for Creative Commons, and as blogged here previously does indispensable work as Legal Director of the Artists Legal Outreach at the Alliance for Arts. The intention for this session is to provide a clear overview of the impending copyright Bill C-32, with special focus on its implications for educators. While Martha is at the talks, she will discuss Creative Commons from her insiders perspective… and there will be lots of time for the many thorny, nasty questions that always come up when this stuff is discussed.

* Students Goldis Chami and Gordana Panic will discuss “Student Advocacy for Open Access and Beyond”…
And there’s much, much more open yumminess! Looking at the breadth and quality of local talent strutting its stuff next week, it’s hard not to feel humbled, excited and hopeful at the prospects of doing great things in the years to come.


http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2010/10/sustain-this/

Version A

I’m still finding my way with regards to the ‘sustainability’ part of my job. I know I’m new to this, at least professionally, so I’m trying to focus on getting to know people and to offer support when possible to those who are already doing interesting work. I’m enjoying myself much more than I expected heading in… which says a lot about how much about how much I like and respect the people I am working with…

The David Korten (audio) and Stewart Brand (audio) talks kicked off the UBC Reads Sustainability series in wildly successful style, pulling in remarkable turnouts given the short notice and depending on grassroots promotion. The energy at both events was palpable, and it was exciting to get the sense that here is an opportunity to do some worthwhile work that is meeting an obvious need in the UBC community. The past couple weeks represented something of a guerrilla pilot project, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds…

I’ve been thinking a lot about how sustainability might fit with open education, so I read with interest Teemu Leinonen’s typically smart take on sustainable development and education in the digital age.

I’m still working through Joss Winn’s radical position on a similar question, which I had the privilege of first hearing in person when he presented it.

I grow even more frustrated with how narrowly defined the discourse around “open educational resources” seems to be right now, but am wary of throwing hand grenades at people who are doing work that is well-intentioned and which ultimately I am not qualified to judge. More on that soon.

It’s been a frantic couple of weeks. I told myself to write what I could in the time I had… that sloppy blogging was preferable to no blogging at all. I leave it to you to judge whether that is indeed the case.

No time for reflection, I’m headed in a new direction…

Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.

Version B

You know, I’m still finding my way with regards to the ‘sustainability’ part of my job. I know I’m new to this, at least professionally, so I’m trying to focus on getting to know you and to offer support when possible to those of you who are already doing interesting work. I’m enjoying myself much more than I expected heading in, which says a lot about how much about how much I like and respect you and the people I am working with.

I’m sure you know that the David Korten (audio) and Stewart Brand (audio) talks kicked off the UBC Reads Sustainability series in wildly successful style, pulling in remarkable turnouts given the short notice and dependance on your grassroots promotion. You could feel the energy at both events, and it was exciting to get the sense that here is an opportunity for us to do some worthwhile work that is meeting an obvious need in our UBC community. The past couple weeks represented something of a guerrilla pilot project, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how sustainability might fit with open education, so I read with interest Teemu Leinonen’s typically smart take on sustainable development and education in the digital age and I think you should, too.

I’m still working through Joss Winn’s radical position on a similar question, which I had the privilege of first hearing in person when he presented it. If you weren’t able to hear it in person, you should definitely look into his position.

I grow even more frustrated with how narrowly defined the discourse around “open educational resources” seems to be right now, but am wary of throwing hand grenades at those of you who are doing work that is well-intentioned and which ultimately I am not qualified to judge. More on that soon.

It’s been a frantic couple of weeks. I told myself to write what I could for you in the time I had and that sloppy blogging was preferable to no blogging at all. I leave it to you to judge whether that is indeed the case.

No time for reflection, I’m headed in a new direction…

Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.


http://blogs.ubc.ca/brian/2011/03/why-go-open/

Version A

It’s been an ungodly amount of time since I updated my blogs. I thought I might reproduce an email I just sent off to a faculty member at UBC that I am trying to convince of the value of opening up a course reader. I do this because…

* as Jon Udell might say, I am conserving keystrokes

* it’s possible somebody else might find this useful

* it’s more likely that somebody can suggest how I improve such communications in the future

The questions posed by the faculty member are in bold text.

Hello [name redacted],

Please forgive how long it has taken me to respond to your questions. [It's amazing how many of my emails start out this way.]

Can you please let me know what the UBC Wiki is or its purpose?

The UBC Wiki is meant to be a platform for the simplest possible content creation and sharing, for the UBC community and beyond.

It is used for course administration, communication and content sharing: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course

It’s used for documenting all sorts of tutorials and resources created by the university’s service units: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation – scroll down for examples.

And it’s used for all sorts of other uses that benefit from easy collaboration and the free flow of information: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Main_Space

It also allows you to re-purpose information that is published there in multiple places. For example, this wiki page…

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Faculty_Resource_Guide/Contents

…can be republished on any number sites, such as here: http://frg.sites.olt.ubc.ca/

Any content can be quickly converted into custom PDFs via a nifty “Wiki book feature”.

And any wiki content can be republished anywhere, even WebCT. So this…

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Social_Web_Tools/Elearning

… is syndicated here: http://wiki.ubc.ca/images/9/97/Social_web_tools.jpg

The republished content adopts the look of the new site automatically. And any time you update the wiki, those updates are reflected on all the sites where it is syndicated.

What will be the advantages of having [course name redacted] “out there” as a source of information?

I would suggest:

1) Students who take the course will be able to access the materials anywhere. They will also be able to access these materials after they have completed the course.

2) This open framework will make it easier, and cheaper, to maintain course materials. Future migrations (such as the one planned for next year) will be much easier.

3) This content will likely be useful to others at UBC, other universities, and the wider world.

4) There is little evidence that open content (such as that practised for “virtually all MIT course content”) harms the sharer. After all, if a student wants feedback, discussion, and accreditation, they still need to take a course. There are some new studies that suggest that open content courses see a slight increase in enrollments.

Version B

It’s been an ungodly amount of time since I updated my blogs. I thought I might reproduce an email I just sent off to a faculty member at UBC that I am trying to convince of the value of opening up a course reader. I do this because…

* as Jon Udell said, I am conserving keystrokes

* other faculty will find this useful

* you, the reader, can offer improvements for such communications in the future

The questions posed by the faculty member are in bold text.

Hello [name redacted],

Please forgive how long it has taken me to respond to your questions. [It's amazing how many of my emails start out this way.]

Can you please let me know what the UBC Wiki is or its purpose?

The UBC Wiki is meant to be a platform for the simplest possible content creation and sharing, for the UBC community and beyond.

It is used for course administration, communication and content sharing: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Course

It’s used for documenting all sorts of tutorials and resources created by the university’s service units: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation – scroll down for examples.

And it’s used for all sorts of other uses that benefit from easy collaboration and the free flow of information:

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Main_Space

It also allows you to re-purpose information that is published there in multiple places. For example, this wiki page…

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Faculty_Resource_Guide/Contents

…can be republished on any number sites, such as here: http://frg.sites.olt.ubc.ca/

Any content can be quickly converted into custom PDFs via a nifty “Wiki book feature”.

And any wiki content can be republished anywhere, even WebCT. So this…

http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Social_Web_Tools/Elearning

… is syndicated here: http://wiki.ubc.ca/images/9/97/Social_web_tools.jpg

The republished content adopts the look of the new site automatically. And any time you update the wiki, those updates are reflected on all the sites where it is syndicated.

What will be the advantages of having [course name redacted] “out there” as a source of information?

1) Students who take the course, especially those who live off campus or are interested in continuing the work they start in the course, will be able to access the materials anywhere. They will also be able to access these materials after they have completed the course.

2) This open framework will make it easier, and cheaper, to maintain course materials. Future migrations (such as the one planned for next year) will be much easier.

3) This content will be useful to others at UBC, other universities, and the wider world.

4) There is little evidence that open content (such as that practised for “virtually all MIT course content”) harms the sharer. If a student wants feedback, discussion, and accreditation, they still need to take a course. Open content courses see a slight increase in enrollments.
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