My iBooks Collection

My iBooks Collection
My iBooks Collection: Some of my favorite books!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MOOCs are here to stay for good.

Came across another article!

This talks about how MOOCs are eventually evolving with corporations offering skill based MOOCs.

But what intrigued me more are the comments of people about MOOCs.

Lots of positive comments and I have the same sentiments.

Some comments that I like are:

"This will be the answer to all those who are skeptical about the success of MOOCs. There are more critics than supporters of MOOC.I believe that MOOCs are going to suceed in the long run. It is a question of finding a proper use and viable model which I am sure will emerge with time."

"MOOCs are here to stay for good. Every new phenomenon has its pros and cons. I guess MOOCs has more pros than cons, hence it is going to be a huge success eventually."

"Amazing courses, really its the future education system"

There are still of course, some critics who question how to verify if the student did the MOOC or paid somebody to do it. I guess there will be some ways to verify that because the lack of skill will show.

The MOOC hype is dead, but not MOOC itself.

Came across another article about Sebastian Thrun's announcement on moving from higher ed courses to vocational courses.

I would like to re-quote what George Siemens said -  “Make no mistake – this is a failure of Udacity and Sebastian Thrun. This is not a failure of open education, learning at scale, online learning, or MOOCs.” 

Also what Martin Weller said -  “Does this mean MOOCs are dead? Not really. It just means they aren’t the massive world revolution none of us thought they were anyway.” 

Quoting them is the simplest way to express what I also thought. Like I said in my previous post, this does not make me less interested in pursuing research about MOOCs. But instead, it even makes it more interesting because nobody really knows what the future of MOOCs will be.

Some people I guess just over reacted quickly about the MOOC hype and that is how typically human behavior is, they quickly reject new ideas and fear of changes.

Anyway... I am now soooooooooo outdated about MOOCs, I haven't been keeping myself updated because I have been too busy catching up with the MOOCs I actually enrolled myself with.

But relax Toni, all your MOOCs will end by 2nd week of December, then your next MOOC will start January next year. It means you have that free time to focus on your thesis now.

Wait. Free time. Thesis?

How about social life?

Ain't nobody got time for that.


I am such a nerd. But hey, I always look forward to weekends. Life of balance.

It's my 26th birthday this Sunday.

Looking forward to seeing my friends :)

The MOOC hype, is over?

I have barely even started with writing my concept paper for my MOOC thesis and now, it's over?

Well... It doesn't really affect my interest in still pursuing the topic. In fact the instability of MOOCs is the main reason why research is further needed.

I came across this article that confirmed that Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Udacity MOOC Platform has decided to get out from the university environment and focus on vocational courses instead.

Read article:

It basically says that Udacity failed to accomplish what MOOCs was intended for and that is free education for the Masses. The entire vision of free education for the masses failed simply because the masses don't even have access to the right technology to be successful in engaging with MOOCs in the first place.

I have always been positive with the future of MOOCs, but I also did not agree with the people who feared that MOOCs will disrupt or even replace higher education.

MOOCs, in my opinion, can never replace face to face education. But, it is still a promising innovation.

The question that we should be really asking is, how can we make use of MOOCs in our current education system?

I still don't want to reject the whole idea of MOOCs and just give up on it.

The idea is there, but we just need to do some tweaking. (by that, we mean research)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Learning Commons Approach #EDCMOOC why MOOC discussion forums are a pot of gold

Reading the forum discussions of my Blended Learning: Personalizing Education for Students Mooc, I encountered one thread that mentioned the "learning commons approach" and referencing it to a link about learning commons (

What came in my mind was our new university library in our new Henry Sy Building.

An additional building in our university that made our school even more classy and world class. They relocated our library into this new Henry Sy building (obviously donated by Henry Sy), and renamed the library into "The Learning Commons". Our library now had cool couches, lots of private rooms, very spacey, consisted of 3 (or more) floors, lots of computers, gadgets, couches, study desks, study rooms, meeting rooms, I haven't even fully explored it yet but it looked awesome. I thought the name change was just for the sake of making our library sound cool as it looks.

 "The [DLSU] Learning Commons occupies part of the 5th floor, as well as the 6th to the 13th floors of the building. It showcases its indoor gardens, outdoor reading areas, lounges, discussion rooms, meeting/conference rooms, and multipurpose halls and wide-open spaces." - ( quoted from related article: DLSU Library, Now the Learning Commons )

The article merely described what our new library now looks like and the ways we can maximize the "new library", but it did not mention anything why it is now "the learning commons".

Coming across the thread in my MOOC, I discovered that the "learning commons" is a kind of educational approach after all (good to know the rationale about this). The description in the pdf I've linked above is exactly what our new "library" looks like.

All I could think of is WOW. I wouldn't know about this not unless I didn't enroll in MOOCs, moreso, if I did not interact with my MOOC classmates. There is indeed a lot of things you can learn in the discussion forum in MOOCs.

I have finished the requirements of my MOOCs and I have actually allotted this time to browse the discussion forums  (which I never had time before because I was too busy trying to catch up with the mooc deadlines and requirements)

Discovering what the Learning Commons approach is very overwhelming to me because its a kind of information that's not much needed, but good to know. It's more of like a trivia to me.

And I quickly shared it with my graduate school classmates and asked them if they ever wondered why our library was now called the learning commons.

Here are some pictures of our new library i.e. The Learning Commons. (Pictures taken from the DLSU article )

I have really learned a lot of things in my MOOCs that I wouldn't learn in my graduate school classes. And I'm glad that I enrolled myself in these things (even if I did over-enroll in too many moocs).

Like for example, I had a educational technology class in my graduate school program early of 2013 and that was the first time I was introduced in the Blended Learning concept. But I learned more about blended learning by enrolling in this current MOOC. It helps that there is still sort of structure in learning things, rather than just googling for information and you don't even know where to start. My MOOCs help me get some structure for independent learning and provides scaffolds on what kind of new things I wanna learn about.

Plus, the interaction of other people who are interested in the same field or topics that you are also interested in makes the learning even more substantial and the experience is overwhelming. MOOCs are really a very promising innovation and suits well for independent learners like me.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blended Learning: Personalizing Education for Students (final assignment)

The purpose of this assignment is to “try out” blended learning in a classroom or school setting. You may try one of the methods highlighted during the course so far, try something you’ve seen someone else doing elsewhere, or even try something you’ve been dreaming up and never had an excuse to attempt. 

During my undergraduate years in studying in the field of education, I have read something about next to church, education is the second institution that remains traditional or is slow in terms of keeping up with the times. There are still people (most likely including my own parents), who think of classroom learning where all the knowledge and information are provided or spoon-fed by the teachers. I can't blame them for thinking that way because there are still a lot of schools (probably majority of them, even) here in the Philippines that are "traditional". Which is also one of the reasons why I seemingly can't find a place for myself.

Change is going to be hard. But changes are also good. They say, that most teachers teach the way how they were taught when they were in school. Now, that poses as a problem. Because times have changed and we need to "keep up with the times."

An innovation I want to propose to the teachers here in the Philippines, is a small change that they will be able to quickly implement realistically and yet will have dramatic effects in student experiences and learning.

Through my readings about online education, I have been introduced to the concept of a "Flipped Classroom". By general definition, a flipped classroom is when students do at home what they usually do in the classroom and they do in the classroom what they usually do at home. Therefore the concept of being "flipped".

I think it all started when Salman Khan of Khan Academy uploaded math tutorial videos for his cousins (watch his TED Talk Video embedded below) and then he received comments from teachers who used his video as supplement in learning Math. Then teachers had given these videos of Khan, as a homework. So that when the students come in school, they can just do the exercises and work on clarifications about the lesson. Lectures, are done at home. And Homework, are done at school. Flipped.

Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

I like this idea because it can be applied in schools immediately. Without the need to buy tablets or rearrange classrooms or renovate the school to adapt with technology supported environment. All the teachers have to do is change their lesson plans and instead of giving worksheets as homework, they can ask students to go to you tube and watch a series of videos. They can learn at their own pace, rewind and pause lectures.

Of course, coming from a third world country, this isn't applicable yet in all schools because some students don't have access to the technology needed. But there are already a lot of schools who can implement this. If some teachers integrate the use of Facebook Groups or Google research in their classrooms, then they can definitely ask students to watch these videos outside the classroom hours.

In addition, I like the idea of a Flipped Classroom because teachers can maximize their classroom time in identifying which of the students are behind the lesson or those who need extra help. In traditional classrooms, most of the time are wasted in lectures. And if a student does not understand the lesson, the tendency of the teacher is to repeat the lecture all over again. This type of traditional teaching leaves little time for actual application of the lesson and the tendency is that "seatworks" generally become homeworks instead. What happens to the student who doesn't understand the lesson? He will go home and struggle in doing his homework. Most students would ask people in their homes for help, but sometimes they also have no idea or have a vague clue.

In a flipped classroom, students will watch lectures in his own time and pace (of course the job of choosing videos that are quality is upon the teacher's judgement and discretion or they may opt to make their own videos if they prefer). Students who still have questions about the concepts or lecture, will then come to class having those questions ready at hand. And the best part is that they will have people who are "experts" on the topic, such as classmates or teacher. Classroom time now is spent mostly on clarification and gaining mastery of the lesson, instead of repetitive lectures. In this scenario, students who are advanced can help classmates who are falling behind. Teachers will have time to give extra attention to struggling students as well.

The role of the teacher here, definitely changes. Instead of doing lectures in the classroom, the teacher becomes a consultant instead. Students learn on their own and consult the teacher if they have clarifications or want to confirm what they have learn from the videos.

Learning of the students become their responsibility. They own their learning because they are independently watching the videos and they become independent learners. They can control the pace their are learning and even opt to search for other sources which can supplement their understanding of the lesson. This flipped classroom technique will teach students that they do independent learning This skill is very important because when students graduate, they wont have teachers to spoon fed information to them anymore. They should develop that skill and habit that they can search for information and learn things on their own.

In this day of age, there is an overwhelming free information that is easily accessed by anybody. The skill that one needs to develop is to know which of these information are useful and reliable and are true. Students also need to learn how to verify information or know where to look for the right information. A flipped classroom will help them learn such skills..

The best part is (I have to repeat this again).. teachers can readily implement this next monday.. or even tomorrow.. They don't need to propose to the school to buy tablets or new computers or build a new classroom. They can work around with the current resources that they have and make big impacts on student learning.

I sometimes wish that I had experienced this in my own classroom. I guess this is similar to those "reading homeworks" that I never really read when I was a student. But not so similar because it's not blending technology. Just a couple of heavy boring texts (or tons of them), that are photo-copied in black and white. Not fun at all. But watching youtube videos as homework??? Now you have a reason to tell mom why you are on youtube on a weekday.

*Updated February 1, 2014: The essay above was for my Final Assignment on Blended Learning MOOC in Coursera. I'm updating this blog post to add on my thoughts about Flipped Classroom. This is a comment I made in one of my MOOC Facebook groups (i.e. in Rhizo14) regarding "Flipped Classroom" being a buzzword and sensationalized in mainstream media.

Monday, November 18, 2013

World Builder #EDCMOOC

"World builder is a short film which explores some of the same themes (simulation, immersion, artifice) as the Toyota advertisement, though in a slightly more nuanced way. What is your interpretation of this film? In what ways does it position ‘the human’ in relation to the technological? What does it say about ways in which human emotion can be manipulated by digital simulation?"

What a sad sad video!!!!! 

I think this video relates when people make a virtual image or creating their own vision of their utopian world inside the world of the wide web.. Once you go offline, you face reality. Those euphoric feelings you have while being online are just temporary emotions because it's not reality. 

But sometimes, it does feel good to have these temporary feelings, as long as you don't mix fantasy with reality. Much like the movie in Inception, when Mal woke up already but she believes she's still dreaming and the only way to "wake up" is to die. 

Sometimes, when I look at my photos, I wish I had the technology to relieve the moments I have during those times. Like what that Robinson's kid did in his science project invention the "memory scanner". 

(I'm a very sentimental person).

But like what the lesson of the animated film says, "Keep moving forward". 

*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

Offline Communication: Digitally Unplugging myself #EDCMOOC

As communicating with people became more convenient with the help of technology, it actually made people feel more lonely. I picked that up somewhere I just don't remember where.

It is true though.

When I was in the states for almost half a year, my family and friends could easily contact me through variety of instant messaging medium. It was as if I never even left. There's iMessage, What's App, Viber, Voxer, Facebook, Skype, Twitter ... You would think that it would make me less melancholic, but it was otherwise.

Eventually, I grew sick of virtual communication and I wanted to socialize with people in person. The digital means of communication just highlighted the fact even more that I was very far away from the people I was so attached with, making me a lonely person in the other side of the world. (Not that I hated being in the states though, I just felt lonely at times).

So I put myself out there and tried to take advantage of being in the states and meeting people who I can physically interact with and it has even given me a lot of growth, may it be because of socially interacting with people of a different culture or may it be gaining new friends.

It came to a point that I told myself, when I get back to the Philippines I will detach myself with virtual communication and actually meet people in person if I wanted them to be updated with my life (and vice versa). Of course I already considered the fact that we cannot completely remove virtual communication in our present lifestyle, but I was determined to lessen it. It is still also more convenient for virtually communicating to those people who are geographically far away. But for those who I can afford to meet in person, I would rather meet up with them, no doubt about it.

I am no longer active in Facebook as I used to be (even if the Philippines has been named social networking capital of the world because it really is now PART of our culture). That is a very huge step already. A lot of my friends have told me to stop deactivating my facebook because I've gone missing. In the Philippines, everybody seems to have Facebook. And if you come across somebody who doesn't have Facebook, they'll be surprised and ask,"Why?".

Next, is my mobile phone. When I came back to the Philippines, I had to get myself another number. I left my iPhone in the states (don't ask why because it's a stupid story) and now, I am back to using a not so smart phone which solely provides a primary usage of merely texting and calling. I would buy myself a new iPhone, but then... it made me think that my life would be better if I didn't have 24/7 access to unlimited data anywhere. I still have my iPad but it's not 3G. I love my iPad because it really has been very helpful with school, work and travel. But to have an iPhone again... would give me access to 3G, and would succumb me to a temptation of being socially connected to the internet wherever I go and whatever I may be doing and be mentally absent to where my body is actually is.

I have regretted that during my first month in the United States when I had made a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends. While I was at this new friend's house, a friend gave me the wifi password and I ended up virtually talking to my other friends while being in this new friend's house. Later on, when circumstances did not give us another chance to hang out again, I regretted that I didn't grab the opportunity to actually get to know these new people when I had the chance. I was totally mentally ABSENT because I was virtually talking to people. From then on, I made it to the point to tell myself to live in the present and not to take the physical presence of people for granted.

I eventually grew the habit of not being attached to my cellphone. Which is why leaving my cellphone in the states did not need so much of an adjustment (but I am still devastated). And ever since I arrived here in the Philippines, I keep forgetting where I placed my phone. One time, my best friend picked me up and I realized I forgot my cellphone at home. And even after a few days, I had to tell her to call my phone because I cannot find it... only to remember I left it in my car.

My cellphone number was new, so roughly less than 15 people know about my new number. The only texts I annoyingly receive everyday was info texts from my network provider which is really SO ANNOYING. It has come back to a point where my cellphone's purpose is primarily for emergencies when I am outside the house. Ironically, I keep forgetting to bring it when I am outside.

I do not have a smart phone but it has given me much more freedom. 

Last weekend, my high school friends and I went on an out of town trip. Every time I see one of them drowning their faces in their smart phones, I would make a remark "Why are you on your cellphone?!??". It may sound bitterness of not having a smart phone (maybe partially.. but no.. I really don't care anymore)... But I was merely trying to point out that we should have fun and enjoy the fact that we are physically together because it wasn't always that we had a chance to have a reunion like that.

Ah. the simple things.

Not having a smart phone did have it's benefits. And maybe, in the long run, I would be deserving of giving myself a new iPhone, just because I can be "responsible" enough to use it only when it is appropriate and necessary.

I would always go back to that memory of losing the opportunity to gain awesome new friends because of being mentally absent.

When I told another friend about my attempts to digitally unplug myself in virtual communication, she said that it was a good idea. She said that probably the reason why she and her boyfriend are becoming so distant with each other is because they spend too much time talking virtually that barely there is a reason to meet (add the fact that instant messaging can lead to a lot of miscommunication). But if there was less virtual communication, people would actually make time to meet somebody up even for just a quick coffee.

Face-to-Face interactions still make a huge difference.

I remember the first time I met with my best friend, a day after I arrived in the Philippines.

She went to my house at 9:00pm and we were talking for hours until 1:30am, on a weekday! (which means she had to go to work the next day). We kept talking for hours and I was so overwhelmed that I could express myself with hand gestures and facial expressions. Nothing that instant messaging and emoticons could ever justify.

There's an iOS application that I discovered over 3 years ago called POSTAGRAM and it allows users to turn photos into postcards and send it to friends via post-mail. Every time my friends would receive my postcards they would be delighted! Nobody gets real mail nowadays... if it isn't bills or junk mail that is.

Digital Age has pros and cons, and it really does depend on how we make use of it.

Either we control our digital usage and decide how we use it, or it will control us.

I am glad that I was able to experience the feeling of being lonely and realizing that talking to people virtually really sucks. Because it made me change my perspective of how I want to run my life. For a moment there, technology almost dictated my life, but no... I am still HUMAN!! with a FREE WILL.


Grabbed this photo from a friend's instagram. He proposed that when people are in a social gathering like dinners, they should put their phones at the center of the table and the first one to get the phone will pay for the bill. I suggested to get a non-smart phone.. it's cheaper too... :)) 

*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

Sorry, but your soul just died #EDCMOOC

"There is no longer any excuse for anyone to be depressed or unhappy; even "normally" happy people can make themselves happier without worries of addiction, hangovers, or long-term brain damage." - Francis Fukuyama

The way the future is envisioned is when technology would eventually develop drugs that will allow nobody to experience negative emotions. But.. but... as "heavenly" it may sound like, (and despite I hate the feelings of melancholy, depression or heartaches), it is during these dark stages of our lives that we grow and learn from our experiences. These are the emotions that makes us... human.

"...advances in stem cell research allow scientists to regenerate virtually any tissue in the body, such that life expectancies are pushed well above 100 years"

My mom used to work in a pharmaceutical company during those days where stem cells weren't so popular yet. It sounded like a wonderful invention. But fast forward to the future, it will probably make people immortal. Think, OVERPOPULATION. I remember I had a friend who would always gladly greet a birthday celebrant and then accompanied with "may you live a very very long life". At first it may sound like that my friend is being thoughtful, but in reality his greeting was more like a taunt. My friend would joke around that may the birthday celebrant live a long life even when everybody else he knows is already dead. When you come to think of it, living a very very long life isn't that amazing when all of your friends are dead and the remaining family members that you have are less than half your age. Mortality is what makes us human.

"the wealthy routinely screen embryos before implantation so as to optimise the kind of children they have. You can increasingly tell the social background of a young person by his or her looks and intelligence; if someone doesn't live up to social expectations, he tends to blame bad genetic choices by his parents rather than himself."

I had watched a video before where scientists can remove diseases or abnormalities of an unborn child, or even put traits such as blue eyes. It sounds like a cool idea... I've always also wanted to have fraternal twins (one boy and one girl) ... But but... manipulating fertilized ovaries doesn't guarantee normality does it? Unless science can make it perfect... but... being imperfect is what makes us human...


*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

same problems since 1998 #EDCMOOC 

When I read the abstract of this article, I told myself I should note this down because it would be a good reference to put in my thesis about MOOCs. Considering that 2012 was the year of the MOOCs, it gave rise to a lot of issues in higher education. But when I checked the date it was published I was surprised to see that it was published in 1998. 

Amazing! 1998 and higher education already provided courses online???? 

Although, when you think about it… 1998 and the issues regarding online education are somewhat the same issues today in 2013? Wait a minute... somehow, somewhere, something must have gone wrong. 

quoting the 1998 article “This Fall the student handbook distributed annually to all students by the York Federation of Students contained a warning about the dangers of online education.” – this is very alarming, it seemed that the reason why online education still remains to have a lot of pressing issues even up to this date is probably because we are slowing down the growth on exploring the potential improvements and benefits that online education can provide the society. 

I, for one, am very positive about online education. I believe that MOOCs have a promising place in the future. I am not sure what kind of future MOOCs will have, but I think it will find itself very useful.

*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#thirdworldproblems #unesco #EDCMOOC

"A key principle in using technology in education is to start from the learner's needs, not the teacher's needs." - John Daniel

I live in a third world country. 

And after being in the U.S. since May 2013, I just arrived a week ago being greeted by a storm. Thankfully, the storm did not do so much damage from where I am located at. In the southern part of the Philippines however, the situation is closely defined to a zombie apocalypse where people are doing absolutely anything just to survive even to the point of committing crimes such as robbery, gun threats and the like. Despite growing up in the Philippines, I never imagined that a chaos like that can actually happen. 

A friend messaged me and said she was crying because she has friends in those locations who had to sleep inside their cars with their guns. I haven't watched TV ever since I arrived in Manila, but the situation in my country seem to be really worse to the extent that my friends in America are actually more updated than I am. They extend their concerns towards me and the whole of Filipino community and I would express my surprise that they know what is happening in my country. The state of calamity is world wide news and I am updated via social network rather than media. 

I am multi-tasking myself between reading the UNESCO article recommended by my E-Learning & Digital Culture MOOC class and instant messaging with my friends regarding the situation in the places hit by the storm.

The two things I was doing seemed to be totally unrelated but they had one common thing that couldn't get out of my mind and if I had to make a hashtag to unify these two things it would be #thirdworldproblems.

I just came from a long break living in the United States, a first world country, and the comparison is just extremes. But it helps to experience and be aware of both ends because it also contributes in expansion of our knowledge and be exposed to various ways in addressing different kinds of issues and problems. 

There was a research article I read way back about MOOCs as a solution to helping solve the education problems of developing countries but it turns out that most MOOC users are actually from those countries that are developed already. I think MOOCs is a promising innovation, but it has a long way to go before it fits to be a "utopia". 

The UNESCO article that I was reading talked about how technology contributes to the quality of education. One thought that struck me, is that society doesn't necessarily need to produce learning technologies to contribute in the quality of education but we have to go look further into the needs of the learners.

An example given was about women's need for technology in making housework more efficient so that they would have more time to study

I really liked the article despite an information overload of my brain right now. But I am overwhelmed by how well the ideas are written and shared. My thirst for knowledge grew even more than before (which is why I don't even have time to watch news on TV). I liked the article and the advocacy so much that I actually went to the UNESCO website and checked the "careers" portion because I would love to work for UNESCO. Their mission, their advocacy, their projects, it's a community that I would yearn to be exposed with. 

Amidst the seriousness of the things that are going on right now (and the heavy rainfall that is really distracting and scaring me), there was a part of the article that made me laugh. Shallow may it seems, it felt really good to laugh at a time like this. 

Below is the portion about the donkeys =), very witty:

"Another example of the need for broad thinking about technology comes from Latin America. How do you get children to school in a rural, mountainous region when they live a good way away and you don't want them to arrive at school already tired out? The answer was that you get hold of some donkeys. The problem is that it is difficult to buy donkeys under the United Nations procurement guidelines. These guidelines require performance specifications, tendering and suchlike. The solution is to hire the donkeys as consultants, which is fine under the UN rules. Donkeys also have one great advantage compared to human consultants - they do not write reports."

Those lucky ass. 

*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera

Bendito Machine III #EDCMOOC

This is a very interesting clip. We do treat technology like gods huh? Obsessing not to scratch or drop it and act like it's the coolest thing on earth (on that specific moment in time, and well.. IT IS the coolest thing on earth). But then as soon as another invention comes out, we just disregard the old ones and move on idolizing the next big thing.

We are robots.


No wonder being in the I.T. industry will make you millions.

Is it too late to shift my career?

*EDCMOOC stands for E-learning & Digital Cultures Massive Open Online Course provided by Coursera