Community Task – My experiences with this E-Learning 3.0 course

       I don’t know what your reaction was to the receipt of the two online surveys asking for feedback on E-learning 3.0, but I trashed both. To soon to say which part of the course I liked the best since we were not even halfway through it.
     However, this week’s task, Roland’s approach to writing about our experience and Jenny’s reflective post on her course experience has prompted me to pass along my two cents (and consensus to the task).
     I have participated in Stephen’s C-MOOCs since CCK08 and this one has a different feel. It seems a bit more intimate and I have enjoyed reading Jenny’s and Laura’s reflections and thoughtful comments.
     Stephen’s resources have always been my favorite piece of his MOOCs as they have exposed me to topics I wouldn’t normally explore on my own.
     The very technical nature of the topics is of less interest. Instead, the implications of how these technologies will shape the trajectory of our lives are my main interest. Trying to understand the primary, secondary and tertiary implication are what makes it worth the time (the insights from others is very helpful).
     The specific weekly tasks have focused me to think about the implications and the corresponding posts by Jenny and Laura have provided a quiet reflective conversation to parse through the uncertainties and concerns.
     As I commented earlier, concerns of trust, security, privacy, virus, scams, bad actors, etc. are issues that are not just applicable to a centralized or decentralized but to the future of a distributed network.
     Mentally I have moved towards the idea of reclaiming my internet identity by exploring some of the capability of these 3.0 tools and attempting to place them into my workflow practices (still a work in progress).

Thanks Frank

elearn 3.0 Week 6 Recognition Task

Now that I have awarded myself my first Doin’Stuff badge, I now need to do the three parts of the task. I created my WordPress blog on Doin Stuff with a post called elearn 3.0 Week 6 Recognition Task (which I hope you are reading). When Stephen provides the document, I can enter my RSS feed for my blog that I found on OERu Feed Fonder which is

Here are a few screenshots of which I shared the link to the badge to a fictional employer who then has the option of verifying (next under graphic). I must have missed a step in Badgr since the Issuer/Profile: is blank (see the 2nd graphic). I am not sure what the Verification Details Status: “1 warnings” means. Maybe it is a warning that I really have not completed the third task of “Enter(ing) the RSS Feed URL into the form Stephen will be providing” since Stephen hasn’t provided the spreadsheet yet. (;-)

There is an interesting addition option to the Badgr badge that can align it to an educational standard e.g Common Core or a competency model. That information may be relevant to people viewing a learner’s awarded badges, or to a potential learner deciding whether to apply for the badge. That type of alignment to an accredited/recognized standard that is verifiable is a nice value add to the badge.

In the context of Stephen’s  Recognition synopsis, I wanted to conduct a short thought experiment with Stephen’s activity data as a future construct of evidence of learning and see where the value-add idea of a badge’s alignment to an accredited/recognized standard that is verifiable may fit or not.

In Stephen’s future, we will essentially have a multitude of activity data outside of a school program that is more indicative of how and whether a person has learned through “evaluation services that use zero-knowledge methods to calculate an individuals status against any number of defined (or implicit) employment or position requirements.”

So in this future, as an example, an evaluation service calculates your match to the applied for job and the job offer becomes the “new certificate” as opposed to a diploma or a  certificate for a course completion or a badge, all of which are now activity data. (Ok, I ‘m good with that, I have a job and hopefully one that I can grow in and with. (:-) )

I would suspect that the foundational underpinnings of this future where the activity data is more indicative of the learner’s skills and capacity, is the modeling of the activity data types with the competency definition standards work that Stephen points to.

may fit or not?

I think it shifted and it is more than alignment. The shift is to the verification, validation, and accreditation of the modeling of the activity data to the competency definition standards that the evaluation services and its algorithms (also verified, validated and accredited)

– cranks out showing causality – why I know you can do the job.

What do you think?

Thanks, Frank


E-Learning 3.0 Resource Task

After becoming completely frustrated with the MS-DOS command line I walked away and bought my first Mac in 1985 – the computer for the rest of us – with its point and click substitute of the command line and a What you see is What you get (Wysiwyg) user interface.

This weeks Resource task brought all that frustration back in vivid technicolor. I hid in Jenny’s reflection when she recognized that she had reached the point, “where it was ‘too difficult to get my head round’ all this and gave up on the task.”  Me too and I gave up!

The nice thing about connectivism is that you do learn from others in the network. In my case- Jenny Mackness, Laura Ritchie and David Moloney- all Mac folks. David’s #EL30 – Resources Task saved the day but not without a struggle with the Mac’s Terminal command line which I have avoided like the plague all these years. Her is my IPFS link and Beaker webpage

Ok having relived CCK08 dive into Web 2.0 and having mastered the mechanics of those tools e.g. blogging/WordPress, I now can assert that I built two of the Web 3.0 tools for a distributed network – a Beaker website – Frank’s Doin’ Stuff and a distributed IPFS content management site.

I am still trying to get past the mechanics and think about the implications beyond Stephen’s use case for openly sharing’resources” through a distributed network vice a centralized network. Sharing resources is one thing. But finding “the” resource in the context of your intended use is still a problem. There are possibilities by using machine learning and AI introduced at the start of Elearning 3.0  but the issue of security and privacy are in the way.

Some of this is taking me back to the days when I first got access to ARPANET and was confronted with figuring out the mechanics of Usenet. Naive and ignorant is the best way to describe me at the time. No thoughts of a network virus or a scam. No particular notion of having my Mac hacked or the necessity for password security. Certainly no concerns about identity theft or issues of privacy. Did any of us at the time imagine a day when something called Facebook would be used by a foreign political actor to influence the outcome of a US Presidential election?

When I started the Resource task and opened the download URL for Beaker, my first thought was can I trust this site or will I inadvertently download a virus of some sort. I closed the site and thought about what I was going to get into with Beaker and IPFS. Was I opening up my computer to a set of unintended consequences?

Not so naive today but I trusted Stephen and after downloading Beaker I ran my Malwarebytes app.

Both IPFS and Beaker are in very early days. Beaker is in the alpha stage and not even in beta which reminded me of the early days with ARPANET its beta feel and my naivete and ignorance of the issues and concerns to come. I think those concerns of trust, security, privacy, virus, scams, etc. are issues that are not just applicable to a centralized or decentralized but to the future of a distributed network. The issue of or a lack of a trusted governance framework in a distributed network is an issue for me.

Mentally I have moved towards the idea of reclaiming my internet identity when I took the first step by signing on with Jim Groom and Tim Own’s Domain of One’s Own where “Doin’ Stuff” is hosted on. Here is a slew of example on the OU site of how faculty and students are reclaiming their internet identity, and sharing and creating innovative “resources” within their network.

Trying to understand the mechanics of Web 3.0 and distributed networks is just the next part of the journey started with my first Mac. But as part of that journey, I would like to hear some thoughtful conversation about security and privacy for a start.

Thanks, Frank

Frank’s Identity Graph – Week Three 2nd Task

My internet identity journey started with Web 2.0/CCK08 and the beginnings of trying to internalize what Stephen meant when he said

“that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks (of people and machine).

Exposed for the first time to the mechanics of WordPress and writing a reflective blog, shared openly, was a very different experience. The same went for navigating through the mechanics of RSS which was my first attempt to connect with other CCK08 folks and in fact learn from them. Some of those folks I still follow-  the CogDog Alan Levine, Jim Groom the Bava, Lisa Lane  (currently on sabbatical in England doing research on HG Wells and  Late  Victorian education), David Wiley, George Siemens, David Cormier, and of course Stephen’s OL Daily, which has steadily connected me to a whole universe of other folks. I now have a new set of heroines and hero’s Audrey Waters, Martha Burtis, Bryan Alexander, Mike Caulfield, Adam Croom, Tony Bates, with a current total of 150+ feeds. My day starts and ends with reading these feeds.

So when Google RSS folded I moved to Feedly and used it as a way to curate my own “news” feed based on my continued and changing interest. I ended up with categorizing the feeds like this -Thinkers, Connectivism, Ed Futures, Technology, Stuff, Visualization, Environment and a series of new feeds to Politico, the Atlantic, and Wired.

Jim Groom’s and Martha Burtis’s work at Mary Washington on reclaiming your internet identity caught my imagination. I moved on to Reclaim Hosting a couple of years ago. My Doin Stuff site was an attempt to reflect on my current set of different interest – Thoughts, IEEE’s Learning and Training Standards Committee (I am their current secretary), James City Shire 1634 ( I am on the county’s Planning Commission). These are facets of my digital identity. It’s out there and the only time I get comments is when I use it for one of Stephen’s course. One other site I migrated to Reclaim was my wife’s antique site Juno Designs. We started it 25 years ago with a kitchen table discussion of what we would do together after I retired. I gave up golf that day and became the blue-collar partner of her business. It is another facet of my digital identity.

Stephens’ question “What’s the ‘source of truth’ for your graph?” is an interesting question as I now think back on what I am presenting as my identity graph. First off I think “source of truth” is temporal in that my reflections do have a date-time stamp on them and what I wrote in 2018 may have altered for a variety of reasons – better information, points of view I had not considered or known about but heard/learned from my trusted network. Truth does have a date-time stamp on it and if that is true isn’t that part of the “ability to construct and traverse those networks” (of people and machine)?

The identity graph below is that story that started with Web 2.0/CCK08 and continues today with E-Learning 3.0. It is a reflective mechanism, a network, based on my interaction with people and machines. In some ways, it is my 21st Century diary for me.

“I think therefore I am.”   Rene Descartes

Thanks, Frank

A Response to Jenny’s “E-Learning 3.0: The Human versus the Machine”

A big THANK YOU to Jenny for responding to my challenge task with her recent response “E-Learning 3.0: The Human versus the Machine”

Jenny answers the question of what makes humans unique from a machine by saying that “a human being is able to relate to something ‘Other’ than itself that exists apart from us, beyond ourselves and may be ‘new’ or to some degree ‘unknown’. She follows that up with occupations as examples – “Priests, teachers, doctors, and similar professions do this as part of their jobs, through care, empathy, trust, altruism, kindness and compassion” and ” are able to put themselves in the position of the ‘Other’ and experience their experience.”  Jenny expands nicely on Stephen Downes’s “kindness and compassion” as a uniquely human characteristic.

Jenny’s “Other characteristics unique to humans are the ability to recognize and experience beauty, awe, and wonder, in art, music, dance, and nature, and to value wisdom, intuition, metaphor, ambiguity, uncertainty, flexibility, the implicit and the spiritual. Human beings experience emotions such as humor, fear, anger, anxiety and sadness, and affective states such as hope and optimism; they have a sense of self, an understanding of the uniqueness of the individual, and search for meaning and truth in life.”

I wish on this point, Jenny could have a conversation with George Siemens, because I think she has captured his thought on what “Beingness” might be and it different from Stephen’s “kindness and compassion”.  I glad that George was  not ready to give up on ‘Beingness”

Having defined her characteristics unique to humans she now comments on the question of what fields, skills, talents, and education that are unique domains of humans by saying –

“An education which values the uniquely human is one that focusses on learning the meaning of ‘Other’, recognizing the value of living things, nature and the unknown, learning how to think in an embodied way, and acknowledging that thinking and feeling can’t be separated.”

Stephen’s answer to this question was “The capacity to choose the capacity to make decisions to define what’s important”. I see Jenny’s reply to be the flip side of Stephen’s answer. Without the ability to “recognizing the value of living things, nature and the unknown” you will lack that “capacity to choose and the capacity to make a decision to define what is important.”

Jenny was not familiar with the “ghost in the machine” piece of the task and I apologize for the lack of context for the question and in the end, I think the question was redundant.

The context of the question was when Downes suggest a coexistence state between robots and humans, with the idea that we are the “ghost in the machine, a reference to Issac Asimov’s science fiction novel “I, Robot.”

Here is the missing part.

I view the story of “I, Robot ” as a cautionary tale on the ethics of artificial intelligence. Asimov frames his ethics in his Three Laws of Robotics*.  Sonny, the robot, is behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot Sonny applies the Three Laws of Robotics to the situation in which it finds itself. The “ghost in the machine” is “random segments of code that group together to form unexpected protocols that engender questions of free will, creativity and even the nature of what we might call the soul.”

Downes suggested a coexistence state between robots and humans, with the idea that we are the “ghost in the machine. “We will experience things from a different view than the machine and that we are the voice in the computer’s “head” that says I see it differently.”

Having said that I think my question to comment on the skills, talents, and education required for the “ghost in the machine” that provides that alternative view is best answered by Jenny’s post when she says –

“An education which values the uniquely human is one that focusses on learning the meaning of ‘Other’, recognizing the value of living things, nature and the unknown, learning how to think in an embodied way, and acknowledging that thinking and feeling can’t be separated.”

Thank You Jenny for your thoughtful reply to the task.

Thanks, Frank


* Three Laws of Robotics From the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”:

First Law – A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law – A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Third Law – A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.



E-Lerning 3.0 Week 3 Model Graph Task

I think I get the idea of AI and neural networks and that a graph is an abstraction of human functions like the zoo of neural networks described in The Neural Network Zoo .

However, I was a bit stumped with the week’s task to create a model graph besides the social network graph that Stephen used as an example. Then I remembered something from Vaidehi Joshi’s A Gentle Introduction To Graph Theory . By reading her post I was literally on a graph and so the idea of taking the E-Learning 3.0 Newsletter Week 3: Graph and creating it as my model graph.

The states of the edges are rather linear except for theGrasshopper E-Learning 3.0 Logo graphic Child Node that leads to the Sibling Node which is also a Child Node on to the Root Node. The Direct Link Leaf Nodes are a mirror of the Resource or Post  Child Nodes URL. The Course Newsletter/RSS Child Node Here is interesting in that it has the entire Page in a downloadable XML file.

It is a bit of stretch to discuss the model, in how knowledge changes in states in the graph might be used because of the linear nature of tree/graph. In fact, I don’t think it does.

But what I do think is that when you look at it from a design point of view it is rather consistent in design to Stephens OL Daily Newsletter not surprisingly.
The Resource and Post sections of the page with their Child Nodes have a similar format with the item hyperlink and then a curated description on its content followed by the same Leaf Nodes with the same functionality of the Direct Link. The Roor Node with the Newsletter archive link in design is the same as in OL Daily Year and date with the date hyperlinked to the OL Daily post.

The Sibling Nodes/Child Nodes with Leafs nodes is a nice design so that no matter where you are in the course that week you can find something you might want to go back to. It makes navigation through the site at any time during the course.

You can download an interactive model where the node links take you to the node’s connecting URL here –…ek-3-news-letter.pptx ‎

Thanks, Frank

E-Learning 1 and 2 Conversation with George Siemens – A Different Take

I had a very different take on Downes’s and Siemen’s Conversation than Roland Legrand’s elearn30 blog post “What and How to learn and teach in times of Artificial Intelligence?”  I think they actually answered the question and I would like to take their insight a bit further.

To start off here are the three salient questions that come out of their conversation –

1. What’s unique for humanity in terms of what computers can’t do?

This question was answered with this next question asking for unique domains for a human.

2. What is or are the final unique domain (s) of human control?

For Siemens, it is “Beingness” or as he says later on “contemplative processes of the ethical life. For Downes, it is “kindness and compassion”.

3. What does learning look like for humans when computers learn better and faster than we can?

Stephens reply is that in the future –

“The capacity to choose the capacity to make decisions to define what’s important that’s the role we will be playing in the future and that’s sort of skill and support that which we should be providing student, beginning now”.

So, in a world where AI/ machine learning robots are smarter and learn faster than we do, Downes suggest a coexistence state between robots and humans, with the idea that we are the “ghost in the machine, a reference to Issac Asimov’s I, Robot. Downes suggests that we will experience things from a different view than the machine and that we are the voice in the computer’s “head” that says I see it differently.

But what are the things we would see differently than we would define as an important choice than what an AI machine/robot would choose?

If you accept Downes unique human domain as “kindness and compassion” those tasks requiring empathy, “kindness and compassion”, come to my mind.

As an example, a machine learning diagnostic robot that has a 100% accuracy rate in its diagnosis and prognosis of a patient with terminal stage 4 cancer is a great aid to medicine and the doctor. But from the patient’s point of view, the delivery of that prognosis may be better delivered by a doctor instead of the machine who has the capacity to choose the circumstances and make the decision on the right manner to tell her patient the diagnostic results with empathy, “kindness and compassion”. That human “bedside manner” I think is an example of a unique domain skill over a machine and our capacity to choose and make decisions as the “ghost in the machine”

Here are two question and a challenge to the E-Learning 3.0 cohort readers of this post.

What are other fields of study that require empathy, “kindness and compassion”? Fields of study that require interaction with people come to mind like social services, healthcare, spiritual counseling, emergency management.

What are the skills, talents, and education required for the “ghost in the machine” that provides that alternative view? The field of computer science comes to mind with an emphasis on the ethics of AI and machine learning algorithms. Or the talent not to rely on Amazon’s “Alexi” for the degree of cooking successfully a 5 lb pork butt besides telling  “Alexi”  to “set my Hotpoint Oven at 325 degrees at  4:30 PM to cook the  5 lb pork butt for a time of 3 hours”.  The “ghost” may make the choice to extend or curtail the cooking time based on its idea of  “doneness” of the pork butt based on the reported internal temperature of the pork butt and a sense of how the oven maintains the cooking temperature or its own subjective view of “doneness” in its opinion of what “Alexi” is suggesting for “doneness”.


Here timesis my challenge to all the E-Learning 3.0 cohort and a task associated with course module E-Learning 1 and 2 Conversation with George Siemens. Please comment on what fields, skills, talents, and education that you think are unique domains of humans like Stephen’s “kindness and compassion” and the skills, talents, and education required for the “ghost in the machine” that provides that alternative view.

In closing, the cynical ”ghost” inside of me says the world is and will continue to be dangerous as long as there are the inequalities, the haves, and have-nots and that the flipside of kindness and goodness – unkindness and badness – will also be part of that final domain of ours. Dealing with that flipside is also our unique task as humans.

Thanks, Frank

P.S. For Stephen Downes – This blog post also meets the 1st task for week 2 “use the course OPML file to subscribe to the course feeds which led me to Roland Legrand”s elearn30 blog post “What and How to learn and teach in times of Artificial Intelligence?”  Which I have commented on in this blog post. I also hope that I will meet week 2’s second task with my challenge task to the E-Learning 3.0 cohort on requesting comments on what fields, skills, talents, and education that they think are unique domains of humans like Stephen’s “kindness and compassion”.



E-Learning 3.0 – Conversation with Shelly Blake-Plock

“Technology is easy, Culture is a bitch” Col. Bob Reddy DARPA Program Manager.

From my distant past efforts in implementing new technologies into training, education products, Bob’s words echoed into the present as I reflected on Stephen’s and Shelly’s conversation.

In the year plus that I have interacted with Shelly with his IEEE LTSC xAPI WG and ICICLE effort to define what a learning engineer is, I have found him to be consistently thoughtful and pragmatic. His leadership and energy were a great part of successfully leading 100 odd folks in the development of the “xAPI: A Guide for Technical Implementers” document.

The conversation with Stephen did a great job on presenting a xAPI 101 tutorial with Stephen as the straight man in the duo asking leading questions and getting at the xAPI “so what”. In the “xAPI: A Guide for Technical Implementers” you can take a deeper dive in how folks from K-12, HE and Industry are implementing the technology in the Case Study section of the guide. I am sure after reading that section, you will walk away intrigued with the idea of collecting a variety of experiential data besides course completion that can potentially provide you the course designer or you the student with some idea on how effective the material or activity was and how you are progressing. Because of the breadth and variety of experiences that can be instrumented it is easy to imagine capturing all of those lifelong learning experiences from K-HE and your work career to include the context of those experiences.

I wasn’t surprised to hear Shelly’s response to Stephen’s line of questions on how you might roll up experience data from multiple application data and from multiple LRSs (26:40 min) when he said it was “more of a policy question than a technology question”

He goes on to say in the example of data coming from a Higher Education institution and employer that the issue is one of their policies that allows them to work together. From the corporations’ point of view, “the training may contain intellectual property rights or trade secrets and methods”. Not openly sharing that traning data becomes a policy issue for them of protecting their competitive advantage.

I get that but…… isn’t it my data? Not so much is the answer.

The issue for me is open transportability of our longitudinal training, education, and performance data.

A bit of a digression to a previous blog post of mine “What, Why and How“, which was a reflection on Dexter Fletcher who I consider to be the godfather for  Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). and the man behind SCORM’s Phil Dodd.

In 2005  Fletcher publishes “The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)Vision and Getting From Here To There”, that essentially repeats the 1997 ADL vision with updates on new and maturing methods and technologies e.g Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS), Semantic Web, Web Services, Personalized System of Instruction (PSI, and adaptive learning

One of the more salient points in his comment on structural and organizational changes when he says –

“With or without ADL, fully accessible, anytime, anywhere education, training, and performance aiding seem inevitable. They are likely to require structural and organizational changes in current procedures and practices. Sooner or later, existing organizations must deal with this evolution and its emerging processes, capabilities, and opportunities. It may be time to begin addressing the procedural and administrative opportunities and issues presented by ADL technical capabilities.”

Leaving out the references to ADL and substituting Corporation X or Institution Y for ADL, Dexter’s insight applies to today and the issue of free and open transportability of our longitudinal training, education, and performance data. The conversation with Shelly and Stephen on this issue of policy highlights and reminds me of the need for all of us to identify structural and organizational changes in current procedures and practices. Privacy and data governance are the top policy issues on my list if we are to leverage the possibilities of an instructional tutoring system or machine learning in the areas of training and education but also because I believe I have a right to share and access my data.

Maybe my “right to share and access my data” also lies with Tim Berners Lee’s SOLID project combined with my attempt to reclaim by internet identity with Tim Owens and Jim Groom’s Domain of One’s Own

Thanks Frank