Saturday, February 16, 2008

Should a PLE "push"?


Good point Tony, but I think we are talking about different uses of language here. The PLEs won't "push", but as the managers of this project, we have been asked to educate students in constructing a PLE, and how they might use it to meet the requirements of a particular medicine module. I was using "push" in my previous post in the context of making students aware of relevant resources which they can choose to incorporate into their PLE, using technologies of their choice, if they choose to do so.

Am I off the hook? :-)


  1. I was picking up on:

    we are using features such as RSS and social bookmarking to push key learning resources to students at the appropriate point in their course. Students can then use these resources at the stage in their module when it is immediately relevant to their learning. These might include short online video tutorials, collections of key resources students can add to (using collaborative social network tools), and online tutorials.

    One of the problems with content discovery is getting content to students at an appropriate time. Fortune favours the prepared mind, so if you use twitter/delicious and glance at the info streaming by, you can pick out the stuff that's of interest to you.

    Students don't necessarily have this skill in their subject area, so to prevent info overload, we maybe need to find ways of filtering content that streams past them so that relevant stuff happens by when it is relevant...

    One of the thing people get with OU courses is a course calendar as well as scheduled continuous and end of course assessment; at a trad university, pacing comes via the lecture and seminar schedule. Dumping all the course material on VLE in a huge clump removes that structure; same with OERs - the real world isn't (one reason why i think the daily/personally scheduled RSS feed is worth developing).

    If we have a channel to students whereby we can push them information in a timely way, this by its very nature may on the one hand help provide/reinforce an element of pacing (if the students use our feeds to help them set their schedules) OR if we can push info when we detect the student entering a particular context, we can make sure the stuff we are sending them is relevant.

    Think Google ads on Gmail - sniff your email and give you relavant ads is the theory i think.

    I bet you any money we don't use learnersense (cf. adsense) to see what students are putting into their MyStuff portfolio (when it isn't down ;-) and then pushing them links to appropriate additional info...

    Anyway, the idea your post prompted in me, brainstorm style, was if the institution saw a PLE as an opportunity for us to push relevant content to students (exploiting something like adsense running over their PLE) we could influence their personal learning journeys... we'd also haeva metric - like with adsense - on how often they clicked through to our material! (which may or may not be a good thing! ;-)

  2. Thanks for fleshing that out Tony.
    The modules we are planning to use this approach on are unusual for a traditional university, intensively taught and very much student-led. We will lay out options for students early on and the "push" part comes in when we are Twittering, bookmarking, etc, resources which may be of interest to them – but the choice will be theirs. Hopefully this approach give students as much latitude as possible in the technologies they use, but because they ultimately need to satisfy professional requirements (GMC), their activities will be assessed via a portfolio which they assemble. That will give us some data, but this is not primarily a data collection exercise. And I agree that if a university ever had any substantial influence of students' PLEs, they would no longer be PLEs, but VPLEs.