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22nd September 2014


Connected Courses

I was aware of this activity, and had the intention of signing up earlier, if only to participate very peripherally. Tweets by Mariana, Simon and Maha made me decide to take a look. T
I am still very interested in some of the issues that came up in rhizo14, particularly around notions such dialogue, participation, community, learning and silence. Perhaps this course will be a place in which to explore these.

Tagged: ccourses


13th July 2013


PLE Conference

I was definitely a Legitimate Peripheral Participator on that MOOC. Wonderful as it was, events took over.

This blog is probably one of the slowest on the planet, but it will do for today.

The light-hearted closing session of the PLE conference yesterday was a little ad-hoc. Here are the complete words, the song I wanted to sing! With apologies:

I don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through,
Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history.
We’ve played all our cards and that’s what they’ve done too,
Nothing more to say, no more ace to play.

The techies take it all

Pedagogy standing small,

Rebranded VLE,

That’s our destiny.

I was in Moodle thinking I belonged there,
I figured it made sense, building me a fence,
Building me a home, thinking I’d be strong there,
But I was a fool, playing by the rules.
The ministries throw a dice, their minds as cold as ice,
And a child who was free loses autonomy.

The techies take it all,

Pedagogy has to fall

It’s simple and it’s plain,

Why should we complain.

But tell me, do you learn in the way you could learn,
Does it feel the same when you play their game.
Somewhere deep inside you must know learning’s different,
But what can I say, rules must be obeyed.
The techies will decide, the likes of me abide,
Spectators of the show always staying low.

The game is on again,

Administrator or friend,

A big thing or a small,

The techies take it all.

I don’t wanna talk if it makes you feel sad,
And I understand you’ve come to shake my hand.
I apologize if it makes you feel bad

Seeing me so tense, no self confidence.

But you see

The techies take it all

Pedagogy standing small,

Rebranded VLE,

That’s our destiny.


10th February 2013


SEGAN Webinar on Learning Transfer through Games

I am part of the SEGAN Serious Games Network, an EU financed initiative, at

We organise regular webinars around the subject of games in learning. The next is on Monday 11th February 2013 at 1800 CET and will be led by Gearoid OSuilleabhain, of the Department of Education Development of the Cork Institute of Technology. The subject is “Learning Transfer through Games”

All are welcome. The address is

I will post details fo further webinars in the programme shortly.


16th January 2013



In the #etmooc orientation session that I participated in, the notion of transparency came up. Transparency seems to me to be treated sometimes as intrinsically “good”. It often comes hand in hand with the notion of sharing. Sharing is a vital part of the cMOOC, however I would suggest that the way we share and the choices we make when we share can affect the value and meaning of sharing, and that indiscriminate sharing may actually devalue the act of sharing itself and what is shared.

The notion of transparency relates to the idea of trust. We present ourselves in different contexts in different ways, making choices about what we reveal and what we share with others. Trust is not wished into existence, though we may try to behave in ways that will facilitate the emergence of trust, rather it is built slowly through a process of negotiated self-disclosure. Joinson and Paine[1] write interestingly about this. The consolidation of trust requires this process, and we select what facets of ourselves we make transparent to others, while others remain private. We are selectively “transparent”. It is the same with sharing, we do not share everything we find indiscriminately, we are all curators of the things we encounter.

In my view part of the value of the #etmooc context (or any other cMOOC) resides in this process of curation. While the stuff others share is useful, interesting even exciting, and the process of exploration and discovery is rich, it is what we decide to do with what we encounter, with whom, when and where we share, and what we share, that is especially valuable, as it is at this point that we build, through that process of curation, our understandings.

The other key process, I think, is reflection. This involves chewing over, processing, questioning and assimilating what we have discovered. Though we may do this together with others, it is also valuable to do it alone. The literature on second language acquisition has identified what is called the “silent period”[2] in which children thrown into a second language environment often remain silent in the second language context (such as the new school) for months, before then suddenly starting to speak the language very capably. The silent period for them involves assimilation, and they speak when ready to do so, until then their participation is peripheral, and legitimately[3] so. They are linguistic “lurkers”. Perhaps this silent period is present in other learning processes.

Reflecting on this, it seems to me necessary to question the idea that “transparency” ought to be a central notion. It may function as a kind of compass North that can orient our participation, but it is also valuable to be selective, to curate what we share, of ourselves and what we find, and it is also valuable to be silent at times. You have the right to lurk.

[1] Joinson A.N. and Paine, C.B. (2007) ‘Self-disclosure, privacy and the Internet’, in Joinson, A., McKenna, K., Postmes, T. and Reips, U.D. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology, Oxford, UK, OUP.

[2] For example Krashen, S.D.(1985) The input hypothesis: issues and implications, London, Longman

[3] Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge, University of Cambridge Press

Tagged: etmooctransparencytrustcurationsharingreflectionlegitimate peripheral participationsilent periodlurkers


14th January 2013



Another year, another MOOC.

I shall use this space to blog as part of my participation in etmooc. The name refers to the warning given by police in the US to supsects when making an arrest, the wording of which includes the phrase "You have the right to remain silent" and the warning that “anything you do so may be used against you in a court of law”. This is useful advice for someone who is under arrest. 

The Miranda warning exist because the suspect’s statements may be recorded. In the current context of the Net, the same kind of diligence is not generally observed. Though warnings about the use of our data or our statements exist, they are largely buried under mountains of legal verbiage, and thus effectively hidden. Some of the subject areas of ETMOOC (arguably all of them) are affected by the tensions between privacy and transparency, and the degree to which the individual can act and interact freely on the Net. Miranda Warning therefore seemed an interesting title for this blog.

The name Miranda, to me also evokes the character Miranda from Shakespeare´s “The Tempest" and her innocent wonderment on arriving at the island: "Oh brave new world, that has such people in it" she exclaims, and the reply of her father, Prospero: "’Tis new to thee”. This exchange seems apposite with respect to the Internet, and indeed to the number of xMOOCs appearing at present. This one appears to be closer to the original spirit of the cMOOC.


Image: Miranda - The Tempest by J.W.Waterhouse

Tagged: etmoocmirandaprivacytransparencyidentityMOOC