Nov 222010

lona2I confess I am not a big fan of megaconferences. It’s just too much of too many things, which makes it difficult to keep focus and develop meaningful conversations, the thing  I most appreciate in these events. That being said, ticEDUCA2010 had plenty of interesting moments and lots of opportunities for learning. The organization was very good – congrats to Fernando Albuquerque Costa and the team he put together- though more homogeneous sessions would have made it easier to choose what to attend and to engage in productive discussions. You can check the twitter stream to get a feel of what went on and visit ticEDUCA on Slideshare to see some of the presentations. Photos are also available on Flickr and there’s even a Youtube channel where some videos are expected to show up.

It was great to see some friends again, like Paulo Simões, Ana Dias, Ricardo Torres Kompen, Cristina Costa, Linda Castañeda, Gemma Ferrer, Luis Pedro and Carlos Santos – the kind of people you want to hang out with in a conference – along with many colleagues from Universidade Aberta.

I presented “O eLearning 2.0 na prática de uma unidade curricular de 2º ciclo”, which tries to depict  what I and the students have been doing in “Materiais e Recursos para eLearning”. You can see the presentation below. For the full text of the article, click here.

Keynote-wise, it was a good balance between Helen Barrett and Graham Attwell. Helen Barrett is certainly the place to start if you are interested in eportfolios, given the extensive work she has been developing for years. There was nothing especially new but it was a good, solid presentation. Graham Attwell was as edupunk as ever, with a challenging presentation around deschooling and a strong presence from Dave Cormier‘s community as curriculum approach.

There were over 400 presentations spanning all sorts of topics, too much for any attempt at summarizing anything. I think the best is to browse the abstracts and go from there. However, I’d like to highlight two moments, for different reasons.

The symposium titled “LMS e PLE: fusão ou choque!” (Ana Dias, Carlos Santos, Luis Pedro, Cristina Costa, Luís Borges Gouveia, Paula Peres, Paulo Simões, Sofia Torrão) was a huge success. The room was too small for everyone who wanted to attend and the discussion was lively and productive. I guess a very important reason for this success was the Facebook page created roughly 2 months before the conference, where the discussion took off. It seems a very effective way to go when presenting at these events.

The presentation by Carlos Santos in the round table “As empresas tecnológicas e a Educação: que convergências?” was a big let down for me. Not because it wasn’t good (which it was) but because it revealed SapoCampus, a great project I have praised many times, is heading a very undesirable way, IMHO. I know how aggressive SAPO, TMN, PT and telecomunications companies are in general, but I guess I hoped they could resist something like this (which, turns out, was clearly wishful thinking). Terry Anderson has a recent post about Facebook that is somewhat related to the kind of issues that trouble me here. I still very much appreciate the project, which has received a deserved international recognition, and hope the best for Luis Pedro and Carlos Santos. Maybe in the current state of affairs, this is the price to pay if you want to develop projects that require heavy funding and means, but anyway I look at this I feel it is not (it cannot be) the right path in the partnerships between public universities and private companies.

  12 Responses to “ticEDUCA2010”

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for your opinion about my presentation. It’s very good to get this clear feedback.

    Let me try to get a few more information and let me know what parts of the presentation where a big let down for you. Some of the things that I mentioned are on our roadmap for a long time and I was convinced that this solution is a good tradeoff for institutions and SAPO. But I might be wrong 🙂

    Let’s discuss on it!

  2. Hi! I also wish to thank you for your feedback.
    I agree with Carlos, in the end of the day it’s a tradeoff issue and it’s not an easy one to solve. What other ideas do you have related to this?

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paulo Simões and Carlos Santos, José Mota. José Mota said: New blog post with my notes on #ticEDUCA2010 […]

  4. Hi Carlos, hi Luis :-),

    I wasn’t aware that your roadmap mentioned anything like this, so that’s only my fault for not reading it thoroughly :-). I guess it all comes down to what one feels is an acceptable compromise, what one is willing to give in exchange to what one gets.

    I don’t think these are easy choices (I believe I implied that they weren’t in my post), nor that you made this decision without much thought and consideration. But the fact remains that these partners will advertise and sell directly within an academic community. To put it bluntly, it seems like Universities using this platform will harvest and fence in people, who are part of that community only because they are members of the university, and serve them as clients for these companies to target. This doesn’t seem right to me and is not compatible with the role and mission I believe public universities should have.

    I don’t know if this inevitable or if it will become a model for private funding of public universities, given the financial difficulties they face. Maybe I am making a big deal out of something that a lot of people will find a perfectly reasonable trade off. But as I said in the beginning, it all depends on where you set your boundaries, and different people will have different limits. This solution is way beyond mine :-).

  5. Not an easy topic but we must understand that free services do not exist. Recent news about Ning, and others are just a simple prove of that.

    SAPO Campus advertisement model is not related with the PT universe. It’s just a place to put ads like any other service of SAPO but, in this scenario, limited to a unique MREC with some special constrains:
    – pre-negotiatio with institutions to decide the type of ads that are considered acceptable by the institution;
    – blogs are free of ads;
    – all PLE services are free of ads;
    – Institutions are able to use the MREC space to advertise their own services but they need to pay as any other company. Also, they are able to be the only advertiser in their own institution.

    This looks to me “a perfectly reasonable trade off” 🙂

    The tmn store is available but with a low level of presence in the platform. The only entry point is placed at the SAPO Campus mobile page. Products available are also available across the campus during the freshmen reception and special academic weeks. This is not particular different from what happens in the campus and much less intrusive that the presence of a national bank responsible for the identity cards of all students and staff from the University.

    “Things” cost money… 🙂

    PS. The project roadmap is not public available.

    • Hi Carlos,

      Thanks for sharing detailed information on how things will be put in place. As you may understand, this was not at all obvious in your presentation and makes for a much benign scenario, IMHO.

      I know that things cost money and that free services are always paid by someone. But I don’t think we can look at companies like Ning, or Facebook in the same way we look at a public university – their nature and mission are completely different.

      I assumed (sincerely) in my previous comment that you put a lot of thought and consideration into this and in trying to get the best deal possible, and this information you shared clearly shows that – ad-free blogs and ple services, along with a saying on the part of the university on the type of ads that are acceptable are very good points.

      In the case of a private university, I’d say this is a very good trade off. As for public universities, it’s still beyond what I personally consider acceptable at the moment, though not nearly as bad as I thought it was. Maybe it’s just me getting older and a bit old-fashioned :-), but I think we agree this is a tough, gray area where different people will have a different perception of what might or might not be acceptable. I still think you’ve done a great job with SapoCampus, though :-).

  6. Hi.
    Carlos and Luis, a question has to do with control or supervising of what is done in terms of content. I know you want everything to be perfect even though I read somewhere that you find this a nightmare. I also know you point out good examples to guide people. I’ve seen some comments of how foreigners deal with the matter, they just set limits and trust people. They say that legal action will be used against who goes beyond and that is almost enough. Of course that supervision has to occur but shouldn’t you lighten up? Because I think that what is natural is better and might surprise you in a positive way. Maybe only newbies will need more feedback or guidance.
    Exactly my point, José Mota.I also think the project is very good but shouldn’t it have a public dimension too? I believe it would be a huge success. I really do. There are always other options but this should be an area to explore too.
    Maybe I got it wrong but these are my thoughts about your project. Good work!
    Leonor [email protected] Santos

  7. Hi.

    Free services do exist for users. Until now I use Ning and others for free. I just had to be more selective if money was involved. But I would pay for quality and utility, of course. 🙂

    Leonor [email protected] Santos

  8. Thanks Leonor.

    Not sure if I understand the question 🙁

    Don’t know about the “nightmare” thing. I’ve used that world but related to a technical question about session management across all services of SAPO Campus and the authentication federation. It’s only related with Shibboleth, cookies and service sessions. Tech stuff 🙂

    Supervision was one of the key issues when we started the project. We still do it but we decided to put our development efforts in other areas. Until now we didn’t need to take any action related to content. It looks like that the ToS and the sense of responsibility of our community as managed this issue by itself. And that was a great surprise!

    Nether the less we think about this issue and we’ve a plan to develop a supervision tool. The approach for the development is based on a very close communication between institution staff and users. If something is wrong (or could be wrong) then the institution should be able to communicate with the user and explain the institutional perspective. Maybe the user should change the content or maybe the institution need to understand that the content is not a problem.

    We do trust in the community and it has been great!

    Also, SAPO Campus has a very big public dimension. All content is by default open to the public. People from outside is also able to participate in the discussions using the comments mechanism.

  9. Hi.
    Thank you for the clarification to all. Now I had clear feedback.
    Leonor [email protected] Santos

  10. Hello. Yes José, it’s a gray area and being one of the first attempts to make a tool with these features available in a public setting brings headaches. I’m a witness of that as I assist daily at Carlos decision-making processes in all that surrounds SAPO Campus. As for the solution reached I also do think that it is a fair deal. Leonor, as for as content supervision is concerned, we strongly believe in community regulation and, until now, there were no problems at all 🙂
    Thanks for your comments!

  11. Hello. Yes José, it’s a gray area and being one of the first attempts to make a tool with these features available in a public setting brings headaches. I’m a witness of that as I assist daily at Carlos decision-making processes in all that surrounds SAPO Campus. As for the solution reached I also do think that it is a fair deal. Leonor, as for as content supervision is concerned, we strongly believe in community regulation and, until now, there were no problems at all 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

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