Online EDUCA Berlin 2006

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Online EDUCA Berlin 2006


Hvem reiste

Knut Augedal, Hallgerd Benan, Linda Therese Johnsen, Susanne Kjekshus Koch, Gunnar Schei og Rino Skarpnord fra DML-gruppen var på konferansen Online Educa i Berlin 29. november til 1. desember 2006. Fra USIT hadde de med seg Bjørn Ness (stab) og Jon Lanestedt (SUF-sjef). Her er rapporter og suvenirer fra turen.


Konferansen Online Educa samlet i år drøyt 2000 deltakere fra hele verden, skjønt primært fra Europa. Konferansen er det største knutepunktet for læringsteknologi, nettstøttet læring og fjernundervisning i Europa.

Web 2.0 (a rose by any other name...) var gjennomgangstema på årets Online Educa. De mest interessante sesjonene vi fikk med oss var:

  • en prekonferanse om podcasting
  • social software
  • informal learning
  • social technologies in educational practice
  • institution wide adaption of learning technology
  • staff development and training


Norge er et av deltakerlandene med størst delegasjon, så konferansen er en fin anledning til å pleie bekjentskaper og skaffe nye kontakter.

Det er en mengde parallellsesjoner å velge mellom og selv om ikke alle er like interessante, får man et godt og nyttig overblikk over hva som skjer på feltet og hvordan andre universiteter håndterer alt fra institusjonell strategi til konkrete tekniske utfordringer.

Vi vil særlig trekke frem disse lærdommene:

  • Podcast som undervisningsverktøy er langt fra perfeksjonert og de tekniske løsningene er ikke strømlinjeformede. Det er spesielt viktig å tenke genre når man skal bruke podcast i undervisningssammenheng.
  • Universitetet i Liége har en god modell for kurs og rådgiving. De har blant annet svært tett oppfølging av kursdeltakere etter at kurset er gjennomført.
  • RSS i kombinasjon med mylderet av nettbaserte delings- og nettverkstjenester gjør at studenter i større grad skreddersyr læringsmiljøet sitt. Trenden går fra 1 -> mange til mange -> 1. På LMS-fronten fører dette til stadig mer snakk om PLE (personal learning environment).
  • Uformell læring er en viktig komponent i de fleste læringsprosesser. "Social technologies" skaper nye arenaer for uformell læring som aktualiserer fenomenet i universitetssammenheng.

Fronter var platinasponsor for konferansen og gjorde god figur. De er nå, etter eget utsagn, den største LMS-leverandøren i Europa.
Materialet fra konferanse-CDen er tilgjengelig på USITs intranet.

Podcasting and E-tivities Pre Conference Workshop

Gilly Salmon and Palitha Edirisingha

University of Leicester

Salmon and Edirisingha presented the results from their podcasting project Impala. They reported that there is great interest in and enthusiasm for podcasting in the academic staff at the University of Leicester. Both students and lecturers report it to be fun and useful.

The Impala project combined VLE, podcast and e-tivities. They found that this approach has real learning advantages:

  • Helps to organize learning
  • Facilitates informal and personalized learning
  • Develops digital skills

They developed reusable resources – downloadable to any device that can play an mp3 file. They did weekly podcasts, published on Sunday. The main purpose was pacing the learning and linking the curriculum from week to week.

What they made was not lectures. Podcasts should not primarily be a medium for content delivery. Learning, not distribution is the key to web supported teaching. The podcasts also motivated for learning, especially by coaxing students to take part in other kinds of online learning activities, and served logistical purposes. Many students go through the podcast over and over again.

Each Impala podcast was 8 to 12 minutes long. It took the lecturer about 2 hours to create and contained:

  • A short, personal, informal intro (1 min)
  • News related to the subject from the last week (2-3 min)
  • Feedback on last week’s work – forum, chat, assignments… (2-3 min)
  • Funny finish -- joke, song, story… (2-3 min)

There was some discussion on the technical solution that was chosen in the Impala project. And whether or not the solution actually could be characterized as a podcast. The mp3-files have to be downloaded locally to a computer and the transferred to a portable device. There are no syndication of the files (RSS). This fact prevents the students from subscribing and automatically download new podcasts.

Social software

Michael Kerres

University of Duisburg-Essen

When learning with Web 2.0, learners become creators, learning is ubiquitous and learning equals performing.

E-learning with social software is not an island online, but a town square – not isolated, but a gateway to the web:

  • The course provides a guide to learning among all the resources on the Web.
  • The learner configures her own learning

At the University of Duisburg-Essen, they use Drupal, an open source content management platform in the spirit of Web 2.0. In the Drupal based web space they

  • Document and share anything
  • Get feeds from all their pages
  • Are encouraged to network

They do not require particular tools, but use media that can be enjoyed and proliferated through free, online tools and services.

Peter Jacobs

University of Leuven

Jacobs described s project using wikis for 1st year engineering students who are writing a collaborative essay. They use MediaWiki as a supplement to Blackboard. Each wiki is password restricted and can be accessed only by the students who use it for their paper. In my opinion, this is shrinking Web 2.0 to fit the 1.0 paradigm :(

Why did they choose wiki?

  • Flexibility
  • Versioning/history
  • The writing process becomes visible and the tutor can give feedback not only on the result, but also on the process.
  • Each group has a separate page for the paper and the work log.

Why did they choose Mediawiki?

  • The students are familiar with Wikipedia (which runs on Mediawiki)
  • It scales nicely to large groups of courses and students
  • Open source, good quality code

They found that working in a wiki inspired and facilitated informal learning. The threshold for contributing to the paper was relatively low.

Advanced formatting and editing requires that you learn the MediaWiki editing codes.

Informal learning

Jay Cross

His book Informal Learning promises to be a lot of fun.

Informal learning works. It’s

  • How you learn your first language
  • How kids learn to operate a PC
  • 80 % of how us learn to do our job

Informal learning is basically talking – by the water cooler, by email or on IM. Throw out half of the cubicles in the office and replace them with nice sofas and an espresso machine and watch how people start learning from each other. Treat learners as people, not students and see how the situation changes.

You turn to the people closest to you for answers, not necessarily the person with the answer. To find the right people for the right question, knowledge businesses really need to make sure their employees know each other socially, not just formally.

Communities of practice are an enormous resource. If you have an interesting dialogue going at work, set up a blog!

Kevin Wheeler

Education is becoming more and more customizable.

We have separated learning to do from learning to think (I'm not sure if this is true in Norway, though)

  • Leaning to do is easy
  • Learning to think is difficult and mission critical
  • When they melt back together, it will be Natural Learning

Gen Y learning lessons:

  • Interactivity and involvement
  • Do it yourself
  • Do it online
  • Do it right now – instant fulfillment
  • Do it your way
  • Invisibility of technology
  • Fast paced change
  • Flexibility as a virtue and a necessity

Toyota Scion, the customizable car:

  • Their motto is: “We relinquish all power to you”
  • In informal learning, we need to relinquish the power to the learner. Perhaps in higher education, we should relinquish some power, trust the learners and let them customize their learning to a greater extent?


Q: What is the potential of immersive environment simulations like Second Life for informal learning?

A: This is the next thing. Both Sisco and IBM are working on this. From a learning point of view, the alternate identities that people tend to take on in VR are a challeng

Q: More about Wheeler’s hypothesis of learning to do/learning to think

A: Most courseware is about training for skills and not about sharing knowledge. The Informal Learning movement is a step in the right direction.

A: Sharing knowledge requires a culture of sharing. Encourage a culture of sharing by rewarding/recognizing sharing and by emphasizing ”what’s in it for you”. Hoarding information is bad for you and for the organization.

  • Informal learning is unpredictable
  • What about group bookmarking for you and youe colleagues?
  • Tagging and folksonomies have awesome power and are going to be very, very big.
  • Trust the learners!
  • Stories facilitate informal learning. Video and podcasts are good for telling stories.

Social Technologies in Educational Practice

Sarah Guth

University of Padua

Students today need to have additional skills when they enter the workplace, no matter what they study:

  • Collaborative and creative project-based skills
  • Information literacy
  • Critical, reflective thinking skills

With wikis and blogs and learning support they can. In her course, Guth used free, open, net-based tools

The course taught English writing, reading, speaking and listening skills for BA students. She used a wiki based on the Cultura model from MIT. The students created pages, structuring content, listing their sources…

The teacher guided in the digital literacy issues. She found that:

  • It’s not easy to edit a wiki at first
  • It’s not easy to let go of your ownership of the text
  • It’s not easy to correct the work of others. Students were originally intimidated, but turned out to be inspired and had lots of learning experiences
  • Wikis challenge the epistemological position of most institutions of higher education

The students each had a blog on Blogger. The context was:

  • Searching for blogs in Technorati
  • Bookmarking with
  • Aggregating feeds in Bloglines
  • Each students has an individual blog with audioblogging/podcasting from Odeo

The students are interactive with an audience, get comments from strangers and come to enjoy this. Bloging promotes their pride of their work and their sense of community, local and international. Blogging and “wikying” inspire creativity and sharing and make modest students more outgoing.

A wiki lets you assess the individual and the group, the process and the result.

Guth found that in this project, students all participate and keep their deadlines. They are inspired by the medium and by the fact that they learn both English and ICT skills.

Teaching young students about quoting, naming sources, and the dangers of plagiarism is important for projects of this type.

Steven Warburton

King’s College

Steven shares his presentations at Slideshare.

Internet and social software are part of the informal sphere and can be perceived as disruptive if you stick to traditional pedagogy. The overlapping space between VLE and social software/open web activities holds a lot of tension.

Online blogging is a “contribution to the art of the self”. (Miller 2004)

Educational blogging is situated in an educational, formal context.

Ethical issues and web 2.0

  • What about disorientation and information overload?
  • What about plagiarism and quality issues?
  • What about issues of student privacy?
  • The permanency of blog posts?

A question I would have liked to ask Warburton: What about unpredictability as a catalyst and the necessity of trusting the learners?

Institution wide adoption

Gilly Salmon

At the University of Leicester edu. tech. is divided into 2 categories:

  • Core Tech (LMS etc), which is constantly developed
  • Periphal tech (blogs, wikis, podcasts), which is organized as research projects. These projects may later become core tech. or be abandoned.

The teachers at Leichester are "forced" into using tech. They have to work with it, and are organized in small interdisiplinary groups which meet regularly, discuss projects etc.


  • A help to the sceptical professors
  • A site exclusively for faculty members, not students
  • Teachers may try tech. adapted to their level of competence
  • Pets house: Simple tech, easy to use (core)
  • Safari: More advanced tech (core)
  • Breeding zone: New "obvious" tech (periphal) such as podcast
  • Exotic zone: Periphal tech for a possible future, such as social tech.

Staff development and training

Herbert Thomas

  • Underlined the importance of a wide net of local "champions" in all departements. (such as Wiltil at HF/UiO)
    * The central support system needs to offer complex and dynamic solutions because a University is so complex. It is impossible to offer one solution and expect that everyone will conform.

Beatrice Lecomte

LABSET - support lab for telematic learning

One organization incorporates:

  • Research on edu. tech.
  • Training and staff development
  • Knowledgebuilding, such as design and production of e-learning courses
  • Service and support

LABSET is DML+OI+Intermedia+FUP

A typical teacher training process:

  • Analysis of the particualar needs of a certain teacher/professo
  • Training session in group
  • Face-to-face follow-up (after 3 months)
  • Evaluation after one year
  • Continued follow-up.

Lecomte's foils (PPT)


For annet år på rad hadde vi stor felles middag på den italienske restauranten Filou (Bleibtreustrasse 7, mellom Kantstrasse og Kurfürstendam). I år var vi 17 i alt med gjester fra blan annet Fleksibel læring og Uninett ABC.

Vi oppdaget også noe som må være Berlins beste sushirestaurant, Kuchi (Kanstrasse 30). Der spiste vi store mengder vidundelig sushi -- vakker, velsmakende og spennende. De har i tillegg en forholdsvis stor blandet asiatiks meny.