Getting my head around cPanel

Computer nerd

So I sat through a recording of the second ‘call-in show’ for Connected Courses last night.

This was the one I was waiting for to be honest. I am a fairly proficient WordPress user (albeit a dotcommer rather than a dotorger), and much of the first half of the show that focused on the functionality of WordPress I was comfortable with. The critical information I’m after is how to set up the ‘mother ship’ — so to speak — so that I can create courses in a Levinesque way with Groomlike confidence.

I dug deep into my inner nerd, and clung to their every syllable, pausing and rewinding on a number of occasions, but I still haven’t quite cracked it.

If any of you #ccourses folk out there can help plug gaps and provide sage advice, it would be much appreciated.

So here’s what I know …

  1. I know I need a web host. I used to have one for my website years ago, but then I found WordPress could do everything and more, so I simply pointed my domain name at wordpress.com
  2. Once I have got myself some space with a web host, I think I then need to go to wordpress.org and do an installation.
  3. I think I also need to choose a web host that has a cPanel licence

Equipped with this basic infrastructure, I think I can then go and tinker and experiment and see what comes out the other end.

Any major oversights here? Some hot tips perhaps from @jimgroom or @cogdog ?

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Nude emperors

So I signed up for Connected Courses.

It may reboot one of my blogs — if nothing else — which have become increasingly neglected as I have become more of a microblogger these days.

Amazingly, I just sat and watched a YouTube without shuffling in my seat for one hour and six minutes courtesy of Jim Groom, Howard Rheingold, and Alan Levine. (I even smiled at their blokey in-jokes.) Seriously, though, these guys need to be taken seriously. I will stick this course out if it kills me because there has to be more to life as a university learner than the ‘LMS’, and I’m confident these guys have the answers.

If I can learn how to deliver high quality courses in an engaging, creative and inexpensive way, that frees my institution of the albatross around its neck that is BlackBoard, I will be one happy little vegemite. There is no doubt in my mind that the LMS has become an anachronism, but to hint that the emperor is wearing no clothes — at this stage, anyway — is unlikely to win any popularity contest.

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Connected Courses

This looks like it might be fun.

(Will I stick it out?)

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The internal marketing of participatory pedagogy

I was invited to give a presentation to new students and alumni of the Griffith University MBA last night on the future of higher education. I routinely talk about this topic with my colleagues but far less so with the learners themselves. It occurred to me that what I might say would confuse, worry, or excite them, according to how well acquainted they were with the current debate about the direction of the higher education sector. In the end, I decided it was important to lay out everything that is going on in terms of the economics of higher education, the disruption caused by technological innovation and, most importantly, the latest thinking on pedagogy.

Ultimately, it’s all about pedagogy because in an increasingly user-pay system, learners must see value in their investment in higher education.  Or that’s the theory, at least! I have encountered students over the years who feel they are being short changed if they aren’t suffering a little. In other words, “this course can’t be any good if I’m not experiencing the pain of long, boring lectures and cramming for final exams”.

It is important, therefore, to manage the expectations of learners, both those who have been through the system and those just entering it. They need to understand the logic behind the restructuring of course delivery and the benefits of a student-centric learning design. Also, that they can be active stakeholders in shaping the learning models of the future.

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Those who teach, can

In this presentation, I argue that of all the elements within a university, the business school ought to be best placed to insulate itself from technology-driven disruptive innovation. After all, business academics write books and journal articles about how it affects other industries, so they should be especially sensitive to its dangers.

Well, not so, according to an article that recently appeared in The Economist entitled Those that can’t, teach (a play on a quote from George Bernard Shaw.)

It is inevitable that some schools will not make it because they lack the requisite leadership to ring the changes. Those that do ride the wave will have moved incisively, and built a strategy around higher quality at a lower cost, convincing prospective consumers of business education that they will get a solid return on their investment.

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Redefining Transnational Education

This is the slide deck I presented at the AIEC 2013 in Canberra last week.

The key message is that traditional notions of internationalisation are likely to break down as capacity grows in emerging economies and the cost of studying overseas escalates. The growth in international higher education enrolments is forecast to decline between now and 2020,  There is also an expectation that the flow of international students is more likely to be intraregional as, for these students (‘glocals’), there are fewer obstacles to mobility (e.g. within the EU or ASEAN).

Does this mean that with fewer students travelling we can expect a less internationalised landscape as a consequence? My sense is that this will not be the case and that transnational education (TNE) options will multiply if universities — awakened from their slumber by the ‘MOOC movement’ — become more sophisticated in the way they digitise and deliver their course offerings.

The branch campus may have had its day given the risk and associated expense, but there are opportunities for universities in established markets like the US, UK, Australia and Canada if they ‘unbundle’ their curricula and seek new ways to leverage their intellectual property. Rather than supply the hardware (bricks-and-mortar in country), innovative use of the software (online delivery into a partner institution) may be a lower cost and lower risk option.

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The drag-and-drop MBA

A few days ago, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania put the first year of its MBA online for free (with the help of Coursera). This is hugely significant and here’s why.

Currently ranked no. 3 in the world by the Financial Times behind Harvard and Stanford, Wharton doesn’t need to do this. Whether it is philanthropy, a profiling exercise, or a nice little earner at some stage because of the huge volumes involved, this does not affect core business. The exclusive on campus MBA degree will still cost in the region of USD200k and anyone completing the freebie online would not get any advance standing into the on campus program even if you pay the USD49 per course for a Verified Certificate.

But this is where it gets interesting. Around 700,000 students in 173 countries have already enrolled in Wharton MOOCs which, staggeringly, is more than the combined enrolment in Wharton’s traditional MBA and undergraduate programs since the school’s founding in 1881! Now if, hypothetically speaking, you were a second or third tier business school struggling for student numbers, is there a possibility you might be tempted to give credit for Wharton MBA courses if they were accompanied by a Verified Certificate? The courses are from Wharton after all.

On the other hand, if you hold firm and only grant credit for courses completed via the traditional means, can you be confident that your $2500 ‘Introduction to Marketing’ course delivered by Dr Joe Blow will carry more weight in the market place that the $50 ‘Introduction to Marketing’ course offered by Prof Big Shot from Wharton?

Three months ago, I blogged about how business schools ought to be preparing for MOOCs, and I suggested that, in the wake of the Georgia Tech-Udacity tie-up to offer a USD7000 MSc in Computer Science, it was probably time for business schools to start preparing for a top 100 business school getting in on the act by offering an MBA for $7000. This will still happen in all likelihood, but the Wharton development adds a whole new dimension to the debate because the notion of a DIY drag-and-drop MBA may now not seem quite such an outrageous proposition.

Ultimately — whether academics like it or not — the market will decide. So, picture this caricature: the smart, hungry, entrepreneurial 30-something from Mumbai who, through edX, Coursera and Udacity, manages to pull together their own MBA curriculum using Verified Certificates (or badges) from courses from Ivy League business schools versus the slightly less bright and stodgy 30-something middle-manager from Midtown paying $30k for an unaccredited MBA. Who would you employ?

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