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There is growing concern that despite planning pregnancy women delay taking pre-pregnancy supplements like folic acid as advised by experts who argue that these supplements substantially decrease the risk of birth defects that can impact the brain. These concerns have been raised in newspapers lie The Guardian and the Nursing Times. A study concerned with the uncertainty towards …

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This week we explored ‘world making’ – where art both constructs worlds and creates a narrative or commentary about the world. We saw different ways of tackling the 2D aspects of flat planes to imply 3D space – with geometry, lines and grids in the Renaissance and with oil paints creating light to solidify subjects bursting out of 2D space, in the Baroque. We considered Mondrian’s refusal to accept this melody and illusion; stripping away shape and shading and texture in favour of flat paint in primary collars. Reality squared. Pollack’s definitely 2D dripped paint canvas, however, draws the viewer into the implied 3D, immersing in a something, an ‘other’, to experience. And thus we see how the artists create specific conversations with their ‘public’ – engaging – challenging – puzzling – distancing - immersing…The conversation created as much a revelation of the world view as the paint and light and canvas.
This week – Drum Roll - First Compulsory Assignments

The courses offers a Track A option – to produce an artwork; or B – writing; or both. In each case the whole assignment requires the preparation and submission of the piece PLUS peer review of three other pieces. If you do both A and B, you will have to peer review six other pieces in total. I chose to do both assignments. Both options were taken from Draw it with your eyes closed: the art of assignment (New York; PaperMonument, 2012). MUST GET THAT BOOK!!

Track B: Thick Description - required us to spend an hour with a work of art – being with it – recording thoughts and perceptions not just of the artwork but of its surroundings… After an hour we were required to organise our thoughts and write a 300-400 word essay, list or narrative.

Mostly it’s brown paper: spending an hour with a primitive portrait of my mother

I live half the week in the country not able to get to a real gallery till Monday, when I hope to see Hannah Hoch’s collages in the Whitechapel Gallery in East London, UK. I wanted to do this exercise with a real picture and not an image on the screen. I wanted to be with a real picture – and to see and feel that experience: to learn to really see a picture by being with it. So I chose a primitive portrait of my mother that I have hanging in the front room – and that was drawn by a friend of the family who is a self-taught artist. I thought that the sitting with the picture would be a meditation experience and that I would learn a lot from it… but again – only if it were a real thing. So even though this picture might not be classified as art by many – it is art to me – and it is real – so this is what I did.

The thick description:

The picture is about 12 X 6 inches on heavy cheap brown paper. It is pasted onto white paper and set within pale yellow card within a light wood simple frame. It is a head and shoulders portrait of Jeanne Marie Victorine Dierrieckx Sinfield – my mother. This picture seems to have captured her at about the age of 69 (1995) – but it is unsigned and un-dated – although I know the artist was Anita Melloche. 

The outline is sketched in with heavy soft black pencil which thickens as the hair is sketched in: unruly as if just back from working in the garden. The pencil outline is filled in with only three colours; water colour crayons of red, brown and white – they sketch in the hair, face, eyes and a red and white striped top. 

My mother would have hated the picture as un-flattering and not life-like; but whilst it is not exactly what she ever looked like – it really is ‘her’. It has captured her eyebrows – those slightly fine, thin eyebrows of old age. The eyes below are a bit doe-like, a bit cartoonish – not ‘real’ at all – but they have her direct gaze – and are somehow brave, strong – full of character. 

The character is also there in the closed mouth, the calm. The face is slightly at an angle looking to the right of the frame, her left. The left side of the portrait feels more three dimensional than any other bit of the picture – due to the white highlights that bring shape and substance – and push out that side of the face from the two dimensional plane. 

Mostly the whole picture is created by the brown paper; the very few bits of black, red, white and brown crayon create the illusion of the head, hair, face, shoulders and top by laying very few lines on the brown paper: carving the face from the paper. 

The background is simply brown paper; no contextual setting. The most in-filled sections are the hair and the top – but even there – brown paper peeks through adding another colour and another dimension to the portrait. The most amazing thing for me was seeing for the first time how much brown paper makes up the face – and I thought: it is mostly brown paper – and it is my mother. 

Ways of seeing

To spend this hour with a painting was both moving and illuminating. I definitely saw it differently by spending this quiet focused hour with it. At first I just sat and looked and looked – describing things to myself. After 30-minutes I started to sketch the picture and annotate. After that, I painted the sketch – using that painting as another way of analysing the painting itself. Then I free wrote a response – briefly looking at my notes. I could not get in all the information that I had noted down. When it was as edited as possible, I pasted it into the Module Box – and found that it was still 200 words too long. I managed in the end to get it down to 399 words! Dead chuffed with this – and I hope I take these eyes to the Whitechapel Gallery on Monday.

Track A: World in a Box: Using any means, materials or style– we were asked to put together a collection of objects and a means of displaying them. We could operate in 2D as well as 3D – we could make the objects or find them – we could create a narrative or not – it could just be what it is. We had to think about how to display them – and then how to frame them in the photograph.

I like to create spaces around the cottage that are curations or artworks designed to tease or please the eye – to create a look or feel or experience… So I thought that I would photograph and present one of these small spaces. Unfortunately I could not cut the photographs that I initially wanted to up-load (technologically challenged) – and so was only getting a third of whatever world I wanted to share. In the end I worked with this limitation, uploading a picture that would be de facto cut in the Module Box – to create the frame I was after:

Schwitter’s Bedroom: The Buddhist Temple

Schwitter treated his studio as a collaged art spaced – bit like my approach to my home – so a cool title was born. The submitted piece is just the left side of the above picture - just over a third and just under a half of the total width. This cut emphasised the contrast between the Buddhism trail up the bookcase - and the bloody detective fiction that frames it.

End: The Assignments this week were really engaging and thought-provoking. I learned a lot about looking, seeing – and really seeing. Activities that I want to bring into my real world teaching… (Oh and I got 14/15 for the quiz – and I DO KNOW what Baroque is – but obviously did not describe it well enough on the day L )

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While my 9 months old cutie is asleep and her sis is out to school,. again I am writing to express my views and understandings on online learning and teaching , although I do not have a strong experience online teaching, but being active and curious in...

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Composition in Scientific Inquiry: SeuratSpots, DiscoBalls, and the Making of Meaning in Science. Here’s a link to the slides from our presentation in Indianapolis, IN at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC):

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foliocoud.comDear friends like you notice I don't updated my blog because I don't have so much free time because I was very busy with my school activities/ projects, but dear teachers kindly I invite you to join my Erasmus+ Course developed in partener...

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The best MOOC professor at Coursera. He does not promote his school nor himself…. he just teaches. 

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“How Are You Positively Affecting the Data” Sign at Carver Vocational-Technical High School at Presstman & Bentalou | What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today:

How are you positively affecting the data?  Really?  How about, what are you doing today to help students?Or, what are you doing today to help make this a better place?  Or, how about, how are you today?

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Portrait, photomontage, studio, daguerreotype, self-portrait, caricature, comic book.
Creates the image
Selects the context
Shapes the meaning
Is subjected to the gaze.
By the gaze.
Essential science:
Innate characteristics.
Created by genes
Revealed in physiognomy.
Some are.
Some get to be.
We are text/context. 
Ask the slave.
Someone else’s story
(And so it goes.)
Some *are*.
Some have the power to *become*.
The camera lies
The ParisCommune
Legs sprawling
Showing – commenting – narrating…
That slippery slope of meaning-making …
Carrie Mae Weems
Re-claimed (those slaves)
With blood and fire.

Homework: two weeks - to follow!
This week's:
 Optional Sketchbook Assignment 2 Follow Up
Regardless if you did last week’s sketchbook assignment or not, or you are just joining us, I encourage you to try this out. For our second critique we are building on the prompt given in the first:

Visit the Sketchbook Assignment 2: Mental Map forum and choose an assignment. Try to spread your attention between assignments that have already received a lot of feedback and ones that haven’t. Prioritize finding an undiscovered gem or two.

Look at the student’s submission. Don’t respond immediately. Give yourself at least a few minutes to really look or study what the student has submitted. 

In your reply, describe, in words, exactly what you are seeing or reading in the student’s assignment.

Then, select two of the following and add it to your comment: What is one thing about the submission that immediately caught your attention? What is one thing about the submission that took you a little longer to discover? What are three questions you would ask this student about their submission? How does the medium/format that the student has chosen (drawing, descriptive text, photography, collage, etc. etc.) affect how you understand the meaning of the submission?

Repeat for another assignment. Try to comment on at least three assignments this round.

Optional Sketchbook Assignment 3: Characters Drawn from Life (and Death)

For this week’s sketchbook assignment we are offering two options: one for Track A learners (more visual-based), and one for Track B learners (a written response). Do one or the other, or both! Please note there is a separate forum for each track. 

Track A 

Look in a local newspaper or online source for death or marriage notices. Find one that is interesting to you but don’t choose one that includes a photograph.

Make a portrait of a person described in the notice (deceased man or woman, bride or groom). Use any means and style that you like--drawing, painting, photography, collage. Think about how much of the person you want to show, how s/he is posed or framed, how much context is given through background, accessories, etc. Whatever you choose to include in the portrait should say something about the character you have chosen to depict.

Important: In respect of others' privacy, do not include any names from notices, or link to them, or use images without permission.

In this forum ("Characters Drawn from Life (and Death) TRACK A"), start a new thread and post a scan of your image. Give your post a title, and submit!

Track B 

Find a public place. Sit down and make yourself comfortable. You might be here for a while.

Watch the people.

Choose one person and invent a life for them. Think about who might be in terms of occupation, relationships with family and friends, pets or lack of them, personal possessions or lack of them, personality quirk

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Joe Hoyle: Teaching - Getting the Most from Your Students: Is This Really Part of an Accounting Education -- Well, I Certainly Think So:

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Finally I made my first blog,after day dreaming for days and days.. I came to a point no longer day dreaming but lets get into action... interesting though ..
Today I some came with this article by Stanford news.. 

"How Technology Impacts the Pedagogy and Economics of Residential Higher Education."


This exactly what I want to emphasize in online learning. I as a person who is keen to learn, found my self taking the 2nd offering of Stanford HCI course offered in Coursera in 2012. Since then I have been actively engaged in different platforms of MOOCs(Massive Open Online Courses). 

While taking these courses I began to think,why our universities do not follow this method. In other words the pedagogical culture implemented by MOOCs seems hitting the thresholds of effectiveness in online learning. 

I will quote some of the interesting points in the ONLINE LEARNING SUMMIT held March 7-8 sponsored by  MIT, Harvard, Stanford. at University of Bekerly

1.----Higher education is in a "period of great experimentation" in the field of online learning, successes and failures will lead to new approaches to teaching that will benefit student.

2.----Colleges and universities will be taking a more scientific approach to online learning than in the past, relying on their schools of education to measure student learning and to provide feedback

3.----Come out with pedagogical approaches that are truly a step forward in terms of helping our students be better learners 

4.---- Technology makes it possible to expose students to a wide variety of learning opportunities.

5.----We can flip classrooms, because we can also then have those follow-up seminars. We can give that 'high touch' in person, as well as true customized forms of technological supplementation."

6.----With a little bit of technology, a community of learners self-assembles around a course and forms a group. They do peer grading. They interchange. They exchange conversations and they learn the material together. I think we'll see this happening. It would be a wonderful thing and great for the world."

7.----Great Point----- the challenges faced by instructors whose MOOCs attract students with a dynamic range of abilities – some without the background necessary to succeed, some who would like to move more quickly through the material and others who need to move more slowly. Sometimes instructors don't know there's a problem until exam time.

8.----Now, take an exam to a school where perhaps the students are not quite as capable and give them that exam and you're going to crush them,. "So we've got to figure out how to tailor and customize these courses much more appropriately for the level of the student, the rate at which the material is going to go, the rate at which the students are going to move.

9.---- Over time, this will happen. We've just got to continue to push it there, and make the adaptation to individual ability and to the classroom setting in that particular institution.

10.----one thing that MOOCs do very well is "educate the educators" in other parts of the world, allowing them to use the material to prepare courses for their students.

11.----Flipped" the classroom – delivering lectures online and meeting in the classroom for one-on-one interaction and hands-on projects. While those early indicators are positive, he said, controlled experiments would be the key to understanding how well students are mastering the material in those settings.

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Syllabus – Topics and Readings   Week 1 (13 January 2014) – Introduction to the Course The first lecture introduces the course content, rationale and requirements of the course. Relevant Book Kotler, P. & G. Armstrong (2013). Principles of Marketing. Harlow: Pearsons. Core Readings Humphreys, L. (2005). “Cellphones in Public: Social Interactions in a Wireless …

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a worldwide phenomenon, as  interested folks from anywhere in the world can participate. Some MOOCs attract huge numbers of students, many coming from countries where access to higher education may be difficult or not available at all.  In some cases, students completing a MOOC are able to earn […]

The post Making MOOCs truly open appeared first on Communicating Across Cultures.

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I can only post a sort of ‘marker’ blogpost for this week; too busy for words: student conference – music improvisation event – all the usual work – started a new F2F course – finishing another MOOC - tons of marking. Hey ho.
But this CalArts course is so excellent, I need to capture it here; if I cannot do all the work this week, I can at least re-visit it later and catch up with myself. I foresee a very visual summer!

Art as story

We explored art as public storytelling, and history- and meaning making from the caves of Lascaux to Persepolis via Davide, Jericho, Monet, Picasso, Kerry Kames Marshall, Jeff Walls, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler …

A key implicit theme was power: who gets to tell the stories – who has access to the traditions, resources, vocabulary, training, tradition, time… the cultural, semantic and semiotic capital to make the meanings that count – that stick – that help us become who we are – or that deny us alternative ways of being who we might become.

Out task this week is to tell our tale of who we are in ten images with a very brief commentary: one for after the marking!! But a wonderful additional task for this week is to go back into last week’s assignments and to engage with another participant in a deep and thoughtful way. I have posted useful questions, suggestions and resources below – and these are definitely things that I will be embedding in my own practice as soon as humanly possible.

W2: Assignments

Optional Sketchbook Assignment 1 Follow Up

Regardless if you did last week’s sketchbook assignment or not, I encourage you to try this out. Some of you are already commenting on the work that’s been posted to date, but let’s make our first attempt at critique with the following prompt:

Visit the Sketchbook Assignment 1: My World and the Art World forum and choose an assignment. Try especially to spread your attention between assignments that may have already received a lot of feedback and ones that haven’t. Prioritize finding an undiscovered gem or two.

Look at the student’s submission. Don’t respond immediately. Give yourself at least a few minutes to really look or study what the student has submitted. 

In your reply, describe, in words, exactly what you are seeing or reading in the student’s assignment.

Then, select at least one of the following and add it to your comment:

a.                            What is one thing about the submission that immediately caught your attention?

b.                            What is one thing about the work that took you a little longer to discover?

c.                            What are three questions you would ask this student about their submission?

d.                            How does the medium/format that the student has chosen (drawing, text, chart, etc.) affect how you understand the meaning of the submission?

Repeat for another assignment. Try to comment on at least three assignments this round.

Optional Sketchbook Assignment 2: Mental Map (Tracks A & B)

It’s good to try to know yourself as an artist and visual thinker. And it’s interesting to learn from others. This week I’m asking you to tell your own story in images and words, and learn about things you might not know from other people’s stories.

1.                 In your sketchbook, assemble ten (10) images, books, films, or even music/songs that provide a history and context for your current work or interests in art, animation and/or gaming, whether as a practitioner, viewer or player/participant. Choose works that are important to the way you think, and just as importantly, works that inspire you in ways that you can’t always perhaps put into words. Reach back into your childhood (where you may perhaps find some unexpected sources of inspiration) and look around you to collect some contemporary resources. (This assignment is particularly well-suited to a digital sketchbook, like a Tumblr or blog, but as before, if you are posting content that is not your own, please cite where you retrieved each image with a link.)

2.                 Sequence your images/items in a way that makes sense to you, chronologically or thematically or some other way.

3.                 In this forum, start a new thread. Give your thread a title, write a short intro (100-200 words), and post your images/list of links, or a link to your digital sketchbook/blog where you created your sequence.

4.                 Click “Create New Thread.”

Further Readingand Web Resources:

See the work in fine detail, panel by panel.

A simulated walkthrough of the caves.

Marshall’s 2012 Elson lecture at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Importance of Being Figurative, is worth a listen (recorded March 12, 2012).

A list of some photographers working in a way similar to Jeff Wall:

Persepolis (the book), 2003, and Persepolis (the film), 2007

Marjane Satrapi’s 2003 graphic novel is highly recommended, and we encourage you to see her 2007 animated feature, too. It’s available on Netflix if you have access to it in your part of the world (membership required), or on video.

Charles Baudelaire, “The Painting of Modern Life,” in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, 1964.

Baudelaire’s seminal collection of essays has been republished widely. Check your library.

TJ Clark, The Painter of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers. Princeton, NJ: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1985.

A revised edition was published in 1999.

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I have a couple THANKS to offer this week – one is to all those that have buoyed me up during #rhizo14 – and the other is to the student team who devised and delivered this year’s student-facing Get Ahead Conference. They are my answer to this week’s ‘what next’ question: we need a re-schooling rhizome and creative learning space!!

W8: Demobbing Soldiers (Mar 4-?)

“the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed [is] to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.” Paulo Freire via Maha Bali

Question: "How can we take people who've spent their whole lives believing that [BLAH] is 'learning' and MAKE them … [plan towards their obsolescence] ? (Remix of Dave's thoughts from week 2 and week 6.)

Demobbing soldier

W8 Challenge: Help us think more clearly (big challenge!). Do we demob soldiers? Do we de/re-school soldiers? Do we mob soldiers? Who needs soldiers? Who is we?

And Sandra says, Thank you to all of you whose blogs, poems, songs, voices and stories have made this such a special special rhizome. Many of you are in the auto-ethnography project – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mSrZFBt1cYjDSAaFc6Et-BAZ95oEEBMi-AvAX8Fz8Qs/edit- and you are in my mind and in my heart. 

My small rhizome…

… and one possible answer to this week’s question: keep fighting for creative learning spaces for students. Our non-traditional students especially need physical real world and real time spaces to be with each other to feel their power – to gain their voice – to SING! And that is where our Get Ahead conference comes in.

Get Ahead

Get Ahead is our conference by students for students. Ostensibly an event that promotes study and employability success – it becomes a student generated space where students have permission to be with their University and each other: to experience university as a place of opportunity, energy and excitement.

We sponsor one annually – and each year we recruit a team of students to design the day – to get students to present - to drum up interest – to run the day itself. It is hard work for a small team whose other academic work goes on regardless and relentlessly – and who may also have paid employment and families to support.

So THANKS to the Get Ahead Team! They were fearless in their attempts to drum up interest in the Conference – talking their way into lectures - talking about Get Ahead and talking people into the Conference. It was a buzzy, exciting and engaging event – and they were amazing: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/get_ahead_conf/

Where next - and how: Staff Buy-in to student as agent

For this student initiative to work, we need Lecturers to sign up to the Get Ahead idea and help to engage their students with the Conference.

One of the Education Studies tutors worked with a Team of Education Studies students – including a couple of our first year #becomingeducational students - to produce a session for other students. They chose ‘Networking’ and spread the rhizome! The Get Ahead Conference and that session were flagged up in Education Studies Team meetings - and those staff recommended the Conference as an Enhancement Week event. Our own 'Becoming an Educationalist'  students had Get Ahead as their Enhancement Week activity - they knew about it – we made time for it - and they attended with a sense of excitement and expectation.

Initiating big ideas like 'student as partner', 'student as producer', 'student as change agent', ‘student as rhizome’... takes investment of mind, body and timetable. We think that it is worth this time and effort...

But how?

One thing this year's Team suggested is that they build on what they have learned this year - and run next year's Conference. They have also suggested that the Conference is 'built up to' from the very beginning of the year - this way staff can write it into module handbooks - and the students can run pre-conference events - with *staff* and students.

The pragmatics

We would love it if staff substituted engagement with the Conference for one small piece of course work; we can offer a menu of possible 'buy-ins': students from one Module could put on a poster exhibition - perhaps students from Work Placement can present about that - perhaps Computing students could run something ICT - Maths students could run a Quants session...  Events Management students might still run the Conference - and if so - Events Management staff would ensure that attending the conference was either a module requirement or an enhancement Week activity for *ALL* Events Management students...

We could go International?

As a second year literature student our Tom ran the first ever International Dario Fo Festival. This event was a mix of academic symposium and Theatrical workshop and performance. Alongside an International Fo Symposium, to which students were also invited, there were theatre workshops for students and people from the local community... And there were big theatrical performances as well – including Fo’s ‘The bosses funeral’ (!!).

This mix of the academic and the theatrical or the more fun elements seems a great model - we can help students do better with their studies and with their job applications - but we also provide opportunities for some of the cultural and play events that the University also offers.

De-schooling society

If students are to embrace different concepts of learning – and the what – where – why and how of it – staff have to buy in to that as well. Or… ‘that’s all folks!’