Monday, April 23, 2018

Hello Networked Learning Conference , possible links to sound / video

This blog post is a sort of extended tweet, catchup since previous Networked Learning conference in Lancaster. I am still interested in video and also sound, now working mostly on Phonic FM. Daytime music shows with some chat. I will be doing a session on Management Theory at Work in Radio as part of a 10 year celebration of Phonic. My take is that digital disruption is real. FM may soon fade away and local radio continue as social media.

There were two proper conferences - Management Theory at work - in Lancaster a while ago, mixing theory and practice. So I am struck by the paper from Shane McMordie on theorising a "manager" capability, based on something missing from previous conferences. The Management Theory at Work scope included practical management, maybe this is what I would like to get back to. So I will look out for discussion around this one. Also the papers on the MOOC. I have followed reports from Class Central on how Coursera and maybe others are now making significant income from degrees and contact with companies. I realise this is a bit off topic but recent UK talk about Open University and Futurelearn has assumed this is a bottomless pit of losses. Not sure this is so.

Assume that some form of sound / video included in education resources. Radio now often working with video so similar needs for production. We mostly depend on low production standards and a tolerant audience. But this is changing as social media gets a higher proportion of professional content.

One idea I have is to record on the Lancaster campus for linking clips. Once the Spine is finished there will be an excellent backdrop to move between tech, business, library, and theatre. But still a building site at the moment so continues as sound only from remote.

Sharon Boyd on digital compost could help me here. Seems to be about debris from cached trips. Look forward to the full paper, have found a blog version.

Also interested in the "Unbundled University" as this is closer to what radio is. We cut previous shows into clips and then mix with records and a small amount of new chat, some of it worth keeping but maybe not.

Continues as tweets and links, maybe more later.

Actual event is on June 9th at Phoenix in Exeter. Mostly music with some theory on the edge.
See blog

Suggestions welcome for video to link to, show extracts.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sound Clip on Futurelearn, what is happening, how to relate to Exeter?

I have put a sound clip on YouTube from @wenotno show yesterday. Opinion that Futurelearn should be supported. No info recently on how the assumed change in OU policy will effect support.  I have found that three courses expected in Exeter - Weather ( with Met Office ) British Empire ( repeats one I have done) and clothing. So assume these will still happen.


So I have sort of lost it trying to construct a neutral story about this. So far all I can find on twitter or in newspapers is broad support for reversing the Peter Horrocks policy. I realise there are problems in finding the resources but moving Futurelearn into degrees seems sound both as education and as a business plan. The talk from Class Central at South by SouthWest could be on another planet. Most of the UK seems out of it.

So this topic is definitely part of the Management Theory at Work in Radio discussion. To some extent any campus will be part studio.

Still finding interest in vinyl from Austin. A bit weird but on the music aspect the tech issue will be how to play it. FM studios not equipped in some cases.

Monday, April 16, 2018

My problem situation, YouTube as in mtwr and RGB 2, also voice robots

Not sure who will turn up for Management Theory at Work in Radio, June 9th in Exeter, and sometimes people cannot be that open about problem situations. But I can either fill in the time talking about myself or expand in the is blog if time is limited. ( I think the whole event is turning out to be a sequence with variable timing )

I meant to start a YouTube channel as Rougemont Global Broadcasting. Filled form in wrong so actually just my name, Will Pollard. I mix music performance and tech theory so makes sense to me but not a channel. Very low production standards.

So when I heard about YouTube RED I set up two more defined channels and tried a new production level. "mtwr" for Management Theory at Work in Radio ( could include other conferences ) and RGB2 for general entertainment somewhere near Exeter ( as far and wide as suggests possible viability) . However so far no news of YouTube RED in the UK. Also all the info I get suggests that YouTube offer very little money in return for content. Record companies may see it as promo for other platforms.

So either this will change or maybe other routes. Wild fundraiser scheme with offer of 30 day advance access to unedited clips? Stranger things seem possible.

Meanwhile I will continue with existing channel and radio on Spreaker. I have done edits of clips from the Wild Show and @wenotno but recently low numbers on YouTube. there is more content there with better production if less content and also I have no budget to promote on other platforms. So currently best to promote the complete shows on Spreaker.

#mtwr will have a wide range of sound / video recording , low level edits. Maybe an edit budget much later, not sure how.

Could change scope of RGB2 to be discussion of other video available in Exeter. Just a chat format. But also good to look at voice robots for forms of radio. So far I have not fully convinced my colleagues on Wild Show and @wenotno that there is a future in automated voice. Alexa is taking over in car and kitchen so radio must cope somehow. Adobe has shown a sneak look at voice based on samples. Characters that left Exeter and reported back are possible. we will have to voice the robot ourselves till the tech is ready and we have a budget.

Comment welcome, update before June.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

temp on #Futurelearn

Seems there is a large gap between the people tweeting about Peter Horrocks and the audience at South by SouthWest. As far as I can tell in the UK there is almost no awareness of what was being suggested as a digital shift. Almost no reporting in Guardian or Daily Mail about Futurelearn ( bit more in Mail as a surprise) and no statement I can find by anyone to reassure on Futurelearn funding.

I should say something about learning theory but would rather find something with academic cred that links MOOC with whatever it is the OU is going back to. My problem with most of the research is that it assumes the learners are in a bubble of just the course being studied. And that they intend to learn on the timescale intended. Nobody reads a book in that manner I think. Skip through the contents page and then put it to one side. Come back later as something crops up. Maybe just me. So a MOOC course can be mixed with another one, discussed in some aspect with a group. Or just sampled and forgotten for a while.

Even more dodgy is my take on the finances. My guess is that music is about 5-10 years ahead of academic publishing / courses. Early phase somewhere between piracy and efforts to launch a streaming service that failed because of bad user experience, lack of funds, no support from labels too used to an older model etc.

Thing is, failure is possible. So any of the current MOOC platforms could turn out to be just an early version of something else. If all that is reported about Futurelearn is that it was a vanity project waste of money that has now been cut back, there are many other possibilities.

Another thought is that the Guardian may have reasons not to feature social learning, ways to relate social media to online courses. They did trash Guardian Unlimited Talk. The star journalist upfront is admired by loyal readers. Citizen journalism another wrong direction to move back from. The courses they sell in London are mostly on the star idea, not sharing views. Anyway, something to look out for on a Tuesday.

more later

Friday, April 06, 2018

Another update on Futurelearn and OU

Just heard BBC Radio 4 The World at One. Report on vote of no confidence in Peter Horrocks, but no mention of Futurelearn. The OU is not what it was and there is competition for distance learning. Similar with Guardian, again deploring future as "digital content provider".

Not sure why there is not more on Futurelearn. Is the BBC as worried as newspapers about social media or however they describe the web? More on this later.

Not sure how to compare valuation of Futurelearn with Spotify. See another blog for meeting on management theory in radio. More detail by June 9th but there must be some way to compare. Music / sound ahead of HE as a timeline but the trends may be similar. Large audience with free content, smaller proportion paying for wider range of tracks or certificates and support. Spotify still loding money but worth something, over $20b in New York terms. How to translate this to UK?

Recently at a meeting to celebrate 5th birthday, Futurelearn announced five new postgrad courses for late 2018 / 2019. No details yet but it is quite possible some income is expected.

Peter Horrocks said “FutureLearn has been a fantastic innovation for the OU, but it’s so much more than that. Five years on it has the potential to be the very tool needed to make digital collaboration across HE/FE and Government a reality.”

Simon Nelson from Futurelearn said “We are no longer just a mooc platform for our partners – but a trusted partner in their digital transformation.”

another clue the word "mooc" may get extended or replaced.

I realise the education aspect is just as important but there should be some reporting on Futurelearn as an asset. Maybe the USA venture capital mentality is too alien.

By the way

Checking on the Durham IAS lecture series that Peter Horrocks has been part of finds another upload to YouTube.



The slides are at UCL

Future of science funding shows that money is an issue for HE . Spotify shares not far off topic.

Positive effect of Futurelearn will be when it is normal to edit in the slides before uploading to YouTube.


Priority for Management Theory at Work in Radio #mtwr

I will concentrate on the June 9th event, maybe for a few weeks after this date as well. Recently maybe too much on Corbyn, BBC bias etc but will come back to this later.

I  am trying to get more perspective, stand back a little. Describe things in ways that can link with academics. Appear calm on the radio. There will be others at the event so I can be brought back if raving off topic.

New blog for June 9th, more detail there.

One aim is to compare education and radio / sound . Possibly disruption starting in education to compare with what has happened with music. Notes posts will be updated.

Blog on Fleet Street in Europe and Cyberspace continues with looking back as fits with current developments. I still find the reporting or non reporting on Corbyn the miost obvious thing about recent media. My bias is to think of brexit as a disaster so regret the lack of reporting of his views during the referendum.

There may be a tension between an older audience for newspapers and a younger one for social media with differing views on Corbyn and Brexit. But meanwhile mainly concentrating on #mtwr.

Continues Management Theory at Work, two conferences in Lancaster. Check #mtw3 for previous online links. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Update on OU Futurelearn controversy

There have been reports of major cuts in OU budgets for existing activities, to cover lost income and to develop digital. Guardian quotes lecturers claiming the OU will be reduced to being a "digital content provider". Question in House of Commons uses the same term.

So far almost no mention of Futurelearn, associated pedagogy, or a valuation. I realise the finances are not the only aspect of Higher Education. But there can be time for discussion on whether Oxford and Cambridge should allow the pension fund to be mixed with the other ones. So finances can be allowed as an issue. At South by Southwest recently there was a talk about MOOCs moving on to viable systems based on monetised certificates including degrees. Some info was available on numbers and trend in income, but only for platforms based in the USA.

Maybe the UK will never think in Silicon Valley terms. But there are examples of web platforms that lose money although they appear to be worth something. Maybe this will turn up as an aspect of Parliament discussion about the OU.

Continues on @wenotno today 12 - 2. ( Mostly a music show, just a small space for chat. Radio is being disrupted just as much as the campus so it sort of fits together) Find Online at @phonicFM

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Intro on #mtwr / Wild Show and MOOC trends

I have started another blog on the event for Management Theory at Work in Radio. This will be on June 9th at Phoenix in Exeter. I will try to keep that blog fairly calm, just maintain a structure for the discussion. So strong opinions will be in this blog, maybe with a link sometimes. Not sure how this will turn out.

Meanwhile Chris Norton on the Wild Show has given me enough time to play a lot of a talk on MOOC at South by SouthWest. You can hear the full talk here or a clip on show as broadcast, Go about 30 min in, look for lower sound level.

Listen to "The wild show - 2018-03-15-1000" on Spreaker.

It is a bit strange, usually I have 30 minutes talking to JD while Chris arrives. Then we found the link that worked was on his phone but not good sound held up to a microphone. We got the cable sorted during what is normally music. So the Phonic FM audience now has a better understanding of MOOC situation. Dhawal Shah writes for Class Central where there is much more info.

I think this is a significant talk as it suggests online education is at a point where it could be viable. Coursera was at Learning Technologies in London earlier this year. Futurelearn was at BETT but presumably are getting some contact with larger companies that need volume training. Much could be clear by next year. My guess is that this will turn out similar to music. Streaming can be free though subscriptions are now gaining scale. Still not obvious that much is viable but there are some strong trends.

The objections to Futurelearn reported by Peter Wilby are not just about the business model so still much to discuss. But there is clear energy around "business and tech". May reach the rest of education later.

We will try to mix the content for June 9th with the radio shows. Suggestions welcome on clips to include.