This week in learning innovation – 10.19.14

[This is the 3rd in a series of weekly posts chronicling examples of learning innovation that come across my Web radar. All of the weekly posts are tagged as twili.]

I had to scramble to find items to include this week. That’s not a great sign, in week 3. But, remember, This Week In Learning Innovation (TWILI) is all about rainbows, puppies and unicorns interesting learning experiences. So, negativity is not allowed…



For DALMOOC, our focus is on timely help, social learning, persistence, and adaptivity through assignments. Even this seems like a slightly heaving set of alterations to the traditional MOOC. As with previous MOOCs that I’ve taught, the intent is to provide learners with a range of tools, technologies, and approaches and provide learners with the opportunity to sensemake and wayfind through complex information spaces. All the fun (and deep learning) happens in that process.

This week, George Siemens and a merry band of folks take to the edX platform for a MOOC on Data, Analytics and Learning.  George is one of the cMOOC pioneers, so it’s interesting to see him take on the edX platform. But, per the blog post I link to above, they’ve taken note of the limitations of the xMOOCs and added some key “features.” I really wish I had the time to devote to this learning experience, but I’m already way behind on the Coursera Social Network Analysis course I promised myself (and Laura Gogia) I’d get through.


The Depot of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts

“This is one [coworking space] that’s really designed for our students to take advantage of and it’s very much open to the rest of the university,” [Matt] Woolman [xecutive director of entrepreneurship in the School of the Arts] said. “We’re zoning out the different spaces like a coworking facility where you can come in and reserve just a table for an afternoon for a team session. Or you can reserve the conference room, or a classroom if there’s space and time available.”

Last week, I featured the new learning space in the daVinci Center at VCU. This week, I’m highlighting The Depot, a new space created by VCU Arts, the #1 public school of the arts in the nation. I’ve been working with a colleague in the School of the Arts to get a full tour of The Depot, but we haven’t found a common time yet. I’m really looking forward to seeing the space. For now, I’ll settle for this video featuring the Dean of the School of the Arts, Joe Seipel.


UC Santa Cruz Department of Computational Media

“There’s always been, in the heart of computing, a concern with human communication and media,” said Noah Wardrip-Fruin, an associate professor of computer science at Santa Cruz. Mr. Wardrip-Fruin and Michael Mateas, a professor who will become chair of the new department, argued this year in a university report that computational media is an interdisciplinary field, not one that simply applies computer science to arts and humanities projects.

I’ve mentioned my interest in interdisciplinary work before, and it’s a bit sad that interdisciplinarity is “innovative” in higher education. But, the Chronicle article about the new Department of Computational Media caught my attention.

Or, I may just be sharing this because our own Assistant Director of Learning Media Innovation, Molly Ransone, is a super proud graduate of UC Santa Cruz. It’s hard to tell.

Either way, I also appreciate the take by Ian Bogost in the article:

“It’s not just What can we make? and Can we do it fast and cheap? but Should we?,” Mr. Bogost said. “It’s about reconnecting computation to culture and creativity in a way that makes us ask the questions we don’t ask about the role of computers in our lives.”

If that’s what this new department will offer its students, their students will have amazing learning experiences of the sort that Molly always brags about…

1 thought on “This week in learning innovation – 10.19.14”

  1. Aaaaaah, but if only UC Santa Cruz had kept the option of narrative evaluations instead of letter grades, it would really, really be somewhere to brag about. And then I might just have to return there and double major in Computational Media and History of Consciousness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.