eLC Crew Holidays Recommended Reading

7 August, 2017

It’s summertime and the eLearn Center crew has thought about how to fulfill those spaces in which you would like to read a bit of your favourite topic: e-Learning!

We have made a selection of different format recommendations, highlighting the following e-Learning related topics among others:

  • Media and Digital Curation
  • Instructional Design
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
  • Ethical implications and moral dilemmas of the new technologies
  • LMS
  • The future of HEIs

We have also divided them by format, including several points of view. Some of them have been written some years ago while others are at the latest cutting edge. This was a deliberated idea: we wanted to rescue them in order to compare the forecasts of some years ago with the actual state of the arts. It is our time to read and to stablish conclusions. The last part includes a fiction novel, not everything is duty… we have been working hard and we deserve a bit of summer fun!

*Don’t forget to click on the title to access the links to the sources.



How One University is Working to ‘Humanize’ Online Teaching

A Conversation between Michael Berman and Michelle Pacansky-Brock, of Cal State Channel Islands

Jeffrey R. Young sat down with two folks behind the Humanizing Online Learning effort: creator and instructor Michelle Pacansky-Brock and the university’s vice president for technology and innovation, Michael Berman for the EdSurge On Air Podcast. In the poscast they share their opinions on how teaching online can involve personal emotions and effort and also widespread concerns from many professors that online teaching will be impersonal and transactional.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. They encourage you to listen to a complete version below, or on your favorite podcast app.

How One University is Working to ‘Humanize’ Online Teaching


The Power and Practice of Digital Curation

A Conversation with Allison Anderson and Ben Betts

This is one of the Podcast inside The eLearning Coach Blog by efining digital curation, curation and community, common mistakes new curators make, curation tools, etc.

ELC 042: The Power and Practice of Digital Curation




Using Storytelling to Support Social Learning & Achievement

Four best practices to activate social learning in your L&D initiatives

A short summary about storytelling to enhance learning. Creating a framework for achievement stories through your campaigns is an easy and effective way to activate social learning. Using stretch assignments supported by examples of earlier success, and providing a shared space in which progress and accomplishments are made visible, a learning group can stay connected and motivated over an extended time period. Having a formal re-convene session in which participants share their achievement stories with peers and managers is the best way to build accountability and pride in learning accomplishments. Signed by Katherine L. Granger, Fort Hill Company LCC President.


College is over

A polemic forecast about the future of universities

Roger Schank, educational leader, Founder and CEO at Socratic Arts, Professor at Stanford, Yale, and Northwestern and expert in AI signs this article about the future of college degrees and the importance of the expertise acquired through real labor market problems and other fields of application. Here is an excerpt of the article posted in Linked in, showing clearly the core of the problem:

“The truth of this can be seen when examining most any university program anywhere. I used to be the Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Yale. So, I was amused when two years ago the computer science undergraduates there had a mini-revolution, complaining that Google wasn’t hiring Yale CS graduates. The reason was clear enough. The faculty, many of whom were still there from my day, are, in essence, theoreticians. They may know how to program but they don’t really do it anymore and they want to teach about their new ideas and their latest theories.”


What fake news is doing to digital literacy

Where does digital literacy stand now

The rupturist educator, futurist, speaker and writer Bryan Alexander signs this article which summarizes his virtual conference about Digital Literacy and fake news and adds some light into this topic. He stands that “there is a shared genealogy of Media literacy leading to information literacy which grows into digital literacy.  There is a shared understanding that digital literacy involves a mixture of technical, social, and personal capacities.  And there is a rising awareness that digital literacy means learners are social, participatory makers.”  Alexander links directly DL with politics, having it into account when he makes future forecasts and projections: “People will use digital literacy – by any definition – to organize politically, across the full range of political spectra, from antifa to alt-right, black bloc to pro-government militias.  Those of us who teach or support digital literacy cannot separate ourselves from these uses, and we will have to rethink our practice



Abject. Interventions

“There is really no fun in bashing the Learning Management System (LMS) anymore”

Brian Lamb post in his blog Abject regards to LMS and is related to the paper Jim Groom is preparing, for which Jim asked Brian to bring some “examples of current educational designs, models, and formats that push the boundaries of higher education”. The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)  white paper on Next Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE) caused a revolution and Lamb makes an approach to the current state of it all. He talks about the fact that the full implementation of the NGDLE framework not only will allow the edtech industry to cement the powerful role that technology can play in solving our efficiency and effectiveness issues. In his words “[…] If the implementation of NGDLE seems beyond the scope of action for most educational technologists, how can we begin to address such deeply-rooted and disturbing realities while clinging to the promise of digital and networked tools to enhance learning?”  



Multinational Perspectives on Next Generation Digital Learning Environments

The need for flexibility is placing heightened demands on the future Digital Learning Environment of the institutions

In this article, we find an overview of the current desire of transforming the traditional LMS into something new and adaptable to the students needs and capabilities. As the UOC’s eLC expert Francesc Santanach states: “NGDLE stands for an ecosystem of tools, services, and platforms and the way they should interoperate to support learning methodologies and educational needs.” This opinion by Jeff Merriman, Associate Director, SEI Office of Digital Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology walks in the same line “Next Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLE) require a new generation of digitallearning infrastructure“.


 EDUCAUSE Review: Print Edition Volume 52, Number 2

On the front page: The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education

The March/April 2017 issue of EDUCAUSE Review occupies the intersection between the past and the future. Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, the authors of Blockchain Revolution, consider the much discussed but less understood topic of blockchain technology, particularly its potential to deliver real value for higher education as it gives us the opportunity to build on the past and look to the future. Likewise Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, grounds his discussion in broad historical understanding as he proposes a plan to transform physical libraries into digital libraries and unlock analog collections, making them available to millions around the world. Finally, John O’Brien, President and CEO of EDUCAUSE, offers a meditation that blurs seemingly simple terms like past, present, and future, concentrating on current insights to be gleaned from past imaginings of our edtech future.

Resultat d'imatges de EDUCAUSE Review: Print Edition Volume 52, Number 2 March/April 2017


Knowmad Society 

The world belongs to nerds, geeks, makers, dreamers and knowmads

Find out how to become an education builder in this free book edited by John Moravec. Knowmads are nomadic knowledge workers –creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. The jobs associated with 21st century knowledge and innovation workers have become much less specific concerning task and place, but require more value-generative applications of what they know. The office as we know it is gone. Schools and other learning spaces will follow next. This book explores the future of learning, work and how we relate with each other in a world where we are now asked to design our own futures. In this volume, nine authors from three continents, ranging from academics to business leaders, share their visions for the future of learning and work. Educational and organizational implications are uncovered, experiences are shared, and the contributors explore what it’s going to take for individuals, organizations, and nations to succeed in Knowmad Society.

Key topics covered include: reframing learning and human development; required skills and competencies; rethinking schooling; flattening organizations; co-creating learning; and new value creation in organizations.

La innovación pendiente

More pro-human than anti-machine

So far, digital devices have received all the attention. However, real changes in teaching and learning processes have been invisible. With the intention of providing these processes the visibility they deserve, professor and researcher Cristóbal Cobo invites us to think about education from a new perspective, arguing that real innovation lies in exploring new ways of assessing and recognising knowledge, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Considering technology is a substantial part of our lives, the perspective mentioned above emerges from the fact that every space becomes a learning environment and this certainly goes beyond the educational context. But don’t expect to find a formula for this approach. On the contrary, the input provided by the author comes from analysing the challenges created by educational technologies and the redefinition of knowledge in a society undergoing profound transformation. Some of the topics treated in the book are: Education, Learning, Teaching, Knowledge, Technology, Innovation and Future. You can download La innovación pendiente (in spanish) here.

Resultat d'imatges de La_innovacion_pendiente


Invisible Learning

Towards a new ecology of education

The book description by both educational designers Cristóbal Cobo & John Moravec is summarized in these words: “The proposed invisible learning concept is the result of several years of research and work to integrate diverse perspectives on a new paradigm of learning and human capital development that is especially relevant in the context of the 21st century. This view takes into account the impact of technological advances and changes in formal, non-formal, and informal education, in addition to the ‘fuzzy’ metaspaces in between. Within this approach, we explore a panorama of options for future development of education that is relevant today. Invisible Learning does not propose a theory, but rather establishes a metatheory capable of integrating different ideas and perspectives. This has been described as a protoparadigm, which is still in the ‘beta’ stage of construction.” The book is edited in spanish and available here.

Outer EDU collection

Reasoned opinion on education and digital society

Outer EDU has born with the objective to publish propositive and innovative reasoned opinion texts with an exploratory spirit, on the world of education. It has been created by experts from both the academic and professional worlds. In terms of content, the approach is varied, presenting both particular proposals and experiences, concepts, tendencies and ideas that have a transformative potential on education and society.

We could summarize the editorial guidelines in four main concepts:

  • Interaction between education and digital society.
  • Multidisciplinary perspective towards education.
  • Exploratory look towards the future.
  • Orientation to an audience beyond the educational agents.

The aim of Outer EDU is to stimulate an interest on the readers for the before mentioned issues, from an optimistic and critical view, and invite them to leave behind the frontiers of the also known to enter the deep space of the universe of education. Some UOC’s eLearn Center members are involved in the collection such as Xavier Mas (director of Outer EDU and author of one of the volumes), Guillem Garcia Brustenga and experts such as Raúl Santiago and Daniel Amo.

Teaching in a Digital Age

Guidelines for designing teaching and learning for a digital age

This free e-book is written by the e-Learning leader Tony Bates. It examines the underlying principles that guide effective teaching in an age when all of us, and in particular the students we are teaching, are using technology. A framework for making decisions about your teaching is provided, while understanding that every subject is different, and every instructor has something unique and special to bring to their teaching. Teaching in a Digital Age enables teachers and instructors to help students develop the knowledge and skills they will need in a digital age: not so much the IT skills, but the thinking and attitudes to learning that will bring them success. It is aimed at teachers and instructors anxious to make the best use of technology for teaching.


Technology and the threat of a jobless future

Martin Ford book tries to answer the next questions: What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries—education and health care—that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work. We must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading to understand what accelerating technology means for our economic prospects—not to mention those of our children—as well as for society as a whole. A review of the book made by our UOC eLC expert Guillem Garcia Brustenga is also available in spanish.

Resultat d'imatges de rise of the robots by Martin Ford


Educational Challenges of the Liquid-Modern Era

How education should teach citizens

Educational Challenges of the Liquid-Modern Era by the sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman takes a look over the liquid modern era educational challenges from several points of view. A liquid modernity, where the traditional certainties have become fluid and blurred, presents a major challenge for education. The world is changing so quickly that homo sapiens, learning animal par excellence, can no longer rely on strategies acquired through learning experiences, let alone those derived from traditional values or wisdom. The excess of useless information creates a glut. When saturation level is reached, accumulation ceases to be a sign of wealth and becomes undesirable. Knowledge is confined – discarded like refuse – in the infinite capacity of cyber-computers. What should we humans keep and what should we reject in this process? In times of liquid modernity, how and what should our children be taught in order to be able to develop survival strategies throughout their lives?

 Resultat d'imatges de Educational Challenges of the Liquid-Modern Era Zygmunt Bauman




The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer

A nanotechnology-based dystopic novel

This is a postcyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. It is to some extent a science fiction coming-of-age story, focused on a young girl named Nell, and set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence. We recommend it as it includes AI related topics and also focuses on teaching and personalized learning (from a science fiction perspective, of course, but anyway, are we far from that?).



This blog entry has been made with the collaboration of several experts of the e-Learning and Educational Technology fields which are members of the following UOC areas: eLearn Center, Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications (EIMT) and Oberta Publishing. Many thanks to all the peers who have collaborated.

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About the author
Desirée Gómez Cardosa
Specialist in educational innovation in the Observation Operative Group of the eLearning Innovation Center of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Her speciality is the detection and analysis of educational trends, innovation and technology in the Observatory of Educational Trends and Innovation of the eLinC. She holds a BA and MA in Art History from the Universitat de Barcelona and a Postgraduate Degree in e-learning Management from the UOC.
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