Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Good bye ‘Death by PowerPoint’ hello ‘Sea-Sick and Confused by Prezi’.



Well I finally submitted to peer pressure and opened an Prezi for education account. I tried to rebuild one of my 'Advanced' PowerPoint presentations within the Prezi frames and it didn't 'do it for me'. Then I discovered this blog which explains my thoughts well.

Prezi imageI like new technology, but we shouldn't use just because others rave about it, we should use it because it suits the message we want to deliver. As Joby states:
For most though, Prezi is not the answer............. use whatever presentation technology you use effectively.

I for one will install the new pptPlex plug-in for PowerPoint from Microsoft and see what effect that has. Will I continue with Prezi?.... I will let you know after I have played with ppt a bit more. 
(Bill is my cheque in the post?) 

p.s. as someone who experiences motion sickness, poorly constructed Prezi means....[insert you own visualisation here]. Shawn presents Organization strategies to reduce motion sickness caused by Prezis

Icon Slides in Google drivep.p.s I confess I also use Google Slides, and can presentation via from my Google Drive account on-line if I choose to.

Public or private? Open or closed?

My personal struggle with using 'social media' continues....


Like it or not... my on-line profile is part of my professional and personal identity.
I am a nurse, and must "uphold the reputation of your profession at all times" (NMC 2008).  I am subject to public scrutiny 24/7 understandably this has made me a cautious user of 'open social media' . In my discipline it is essential to own what I say and do . Once shared it is out there and out of my control....

Over the years during professional development courses and in the roles I have held I have been 'encouraged' and at times 'required' to engage with social media. I confess I am still apprehensive in sharing my thoughts, beliefs, ideals with the world. I prefer to reflect privately and share with people who I trust. So what I post publicly will be a heavily censored and edited version my 'reality'.

Bizarrely, despite my reticence, I seem to have a fair sized digital footprint.


Friday, 19 July 2013

Activity 9 Success? Failure?!


If you only do one thing…

find out why things go wrong


Examine why projects fail.

I read Tom Cochrane’s 2012 conference paper on failures in mobile learning projects.
The six critical success factors for the mobile web 2.0 implementation with the reviews of the effectiveness of  three mobile learning projects sent me wandering down memory lane
Memory Lane


As tasked, I have provided a brief description for context and then listed the points relating to the “key successes” and “key failures” of the project (as memory permits).

Description:


Casting my mind back a few years ago, before smart phone were smart. I was asked to comment of a project which intended to provide nursing students with mobile devices to support reflection-in-action!

The proposal from colleagues was to issue mobile devices to students for use while in their practice placements and ask them to capture reflections in practice. 
This was the era when few students had their own mobile phone and there were public telephone boxes on street corners! 

The rationale was that students are often in placements at some distance from their assessor and the technology could be used to capture the reflections in practice so they were retained for feedback. Anecdotally students reported keeping written reflective diaries but may not do this in the moment but were reflecting at the end of the shift and potentially losing some of the detail and richness. They also did not submit the written reflection until the next meeting which was several weeks apart, so missed the opportunity for rich discussion in timely response.
The devices would primarily capture voice or use sms text messages and would be 'easy' to use. 
Once the student had completed their capture the intention was for them to send it back to their practice assessor (via mobile communication networks) so the reflection could be logged, analysed and feedback provided.
Device support, in the first instance the Telecom provider provided a handbook/ user guide for each device and the project team would provide the hands on introduction, set up account details etc.


Demo Cell Phones















Key failures:

Insurance (Disagreement in who would foot the bill to insure the devices, institution or students?)
Network coverage ( In the remote locations, there was no mobile network coverage).
Call/text packages (Disagreement on who would pay for the call/text packages)
Consent for use in Placement (Some naievity regarding this, it was thought that because there had not been any objection to students making written notes in reflective diaries that the clients would not object to audio recorded notes. Oops!)

Key success:

Colleagues were open to the use of emerging technologies for this purpose
Project approval gained, at this time it was significant as tech had not often been used in this way in nursing practice.
Funding secured, many projects don't get this far so it was a success point for the team.
Devices obtains (if my memory is correct we obtained something similar to the Nokia (Top right of the picture)
Support using the device while in practice was clarified, 
Students recruited

Foot note: if anyone who was involved in this project has clearer recollection of events then please add your comment below....

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Activity 8 Enhancement Strategies

Having reached week 10, I am stepping back and finishing what I started in week 8.... I always dreamt of being able to travel through time....

Escher’s Time - Saving by Light - on Flickr.


This week's focus is on enhancement strategies.
I will focus on this broadly as my current 'teaching' is limited to short skill workshops with small numbers of staff on campus and doesn't quite fit with the MOOC and Open Education model.


I really applaud the open education movement, but still wonder how it would be sustained as a global provision as a substitute to education through existing educators and educational establishments. How would the quality and credibility be affected if there were not the professors within higher/tertiary education, as used by Saylor.org, available to create these resources and provide peer review.

I love their tag line HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE EDUCATION FREE

Will the open education world develop its own 'professors' and critical peers through Badges and online reputation alone? or will universities still be required to do this? and at what cost and whose expense?


I really like the structured approach of saylor.org in their course delivery and that of the xMOOC (still getting my head around the cMOOC configuration).

As they are similarly structured to a 'traditional' higher education experience they may be more easily digested by academics seeking open content and students seeking to build their own learning experience.

Initial bullets: applicable aspects and challenges...
  • Motivation, we usually have a clear motivation for studying. The where and how are big factors in this. Choosing to study in an Open Education/ MOOC model may not suit all our learners. So I do hope we don't throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
  • Video delivery, I started doing this years ago (I don't record many of my own but enjoy the OERs of others. Academics where I work have been using slides, videotapes and DVDs for many years and are now moving to the digital version and are catching on to the rich resources on the internet and local creations which we stream. 
  • Digital media creation, this is something we are starting to do more of now. We slowly winning over academic staff to the idea that a video capture can be of value to the student in many ways. We just have to shake of the myth that face2face delivery is the only way. The biggest challenges have been cost for the equipment, servers, cameras etc, skill and time of the academic staff to create 'high quality' reusable digital media rather than live capture for one distribution.
  • Flipped teaching, I started doing this years ago but didn't know that was what it was called! Local interest is slowly growing. We have a few champions, who are an inspiration to others. 
  • Free access to books through digital devices. Fantastic and I already encourage this, I read lots of e and audio books through my smart phone (from my local lending library). Our limitation would be the licence provided by the publishing houses and student access to copyright content not published under CC BY. 
  • CC BY is great to show permission for content sharing and reuse. 
  • Peer reviewed resources add credibility and confidence to the courses.
  • Use of Professor consultants to develop course content (!adds speciality and credibility!) but as indicated earlier, at whose expense? 
  • Certificate of completion. Will this suffice in the professional workplace? Will it be possible for vocational professionals to become qualified entirely through Open Education? Is this the goal or are these the exceptions?

xMOOC

The final message in the video is that the MOOC is for those who are not the 'best of the best', those who are unlikely to get into the 'top universities'.

So it could/ probably is a great opportunity for students who unlikely or unable to get into the elite universities. But we should not sell them short. Traditionally students are paying many thousands $ £ for their 'university education', there is kudos in the experience, the student makes friends and builds networks with others which can be an asset to their work and career. All of which can be replicated, to some degree, in the virtual world.

Personally I believe the big challenge is its massivity and open aspect of the MOOC. As a student I want and need to have flexibility to study in my preferred way, this includes place and time, and I want and need to feel part of the cohort. When there are many thousands of learners and possibly only one member of the 'teaching' team I anticipate this would be a challenge.

I think the challenge here is for the Higher Education and employment community to value learning and skill development through non-traditional routes.
I believe we are still in an environment where employers of those in 'professional' roles require tangible validated evidence of learning. The certificate, degree, statement of professional competence. Will the Badge take over?




Friday, 21 June 2013

Activity 7 Supporting Learners with Tutor and Peer Communications


This week I focussed on two activities.

Activity 7.2: The practice of peer review

Review a fellow participant’s post on Activity 7.1 – ( I selected http://www.megankime.net/models-for-supporting-learning-salmon-octel-7-1/ )   consider:

  • If the design / approach or mix of approaches is appropriate for the given context. 
  • Aspects of the design you think work particularly well. 
  • At least one suggestion for improving the design
  • Resources they might refer to in order to improve or extend the design.

I too am familiar with and use Gilly Salmon's 5-stage model.
I am intrigued to see you have flipped the model so it is top down rather than bottom up. I quite like the step visualisation that you are progressing upwards in the activity, however I also appreciate the need to step down and back up again with each new learning encounter. I like the idea of repeating steps 3-5 as each new learning activity is encountered a new set of technology skills may need to be mastered along with the acquisition of subject knowledge. So repetition is fine with me.
One improvement... echoing others  I think there is value in spending a little more time on socialisation. The wiki tool is probably ok, if there are clear instructions on how to use it (however it is also worth considering,  why do they need to learn to use this tool?) The socialisation could begin in the discussion tool (so they can master this before the learning activities begin. Participants could post images, music, voice files etc to introduce themselves.  Jim's suggestion of using Voicethread sounds like a good idea.
Although it might go against the MOOC grain, I also believe if we introduce 'required' aspects to a course the technology selected really should be delivered via institutional site licenses rather than student ploughing their way through EULA, institutional licences can be constraining but there is the bonus of support, stability and student ease of access.

Resources: You may find these an informative read.

Click this link to read my my comment published to Meegans Blog -


Activity 7.3: Reflecting on peer feedback


Having reviewed a peer’s contribution, reflect on:

  • Did the experience of reviewing someone else’s learner support design, help you to consider aspects of your own design? What skills could peer review help you to develop as an online learner?
  • Consider your own learner support design, and articulate what changes you would make to your own design as a result of having reviewed someone else’s

I liked Megans approach in alreading reflecting on her design as she presented it for critique. This experience did help me think about my own design. I find in blended courses the requirement for stages 1-3 to happen in the first week so the content delivery begins in week 1 highly problematic. There is always a small number who missed the orientation in week 0 and have not mastered the technology by week 1.

In my staff development workshops, I will spend a little more time on the face to face icebreaker activities before jumping in to mastering the technology. Pair work is really useful so encouraging pairs helps in the workshop and may also help foster a supporting partnership when people return to their offices to put everything into practice.





Activity 10.3

Activity 10.3

I had two questions...
  1. How will I/we/they (academics) know when/whether the technologies deployed have enhanced learning? 
  2. How can we identify when learners have disengaged from learning because the technology acts as something other than an enhancer? 

I am not entirely sure I have a succinct answer for either.. yet.

Right now I think my own experience for Q1 has helped me to feel more comfortable with the learner measuring this aspect. The learner will know if it has enhanced their learning, they can tell me this through evaluation of the learning activities I present. I think my role is to ensure that the technology I utilise in my teaching is inclusive/ used inclusively and where I make recommendations or use specific technologies, that they are freely available, easy to use, and suitable for the learning activities intended.

Regarding Q2, I got to this point personally a few times. Technology, even for the confident, can be overwhelming at times. A few times I did wonder whether the blog I began was enhancing my experience or creating too much stress ( from my over scrutinisation of my writing) to be worth the effort. A brief forum post would have been sufficient! I have Twitter but didn't really use it effectively, I have Google+ 'ditto', maybe I will use it more.... maybe I won't...

It was good to have choice, in the technologies and locations to post and build my evidence for my own learning activity. But to engage in meaningful discussions one to many, there was too much choice, this lead to my feelings of increased isolation. I think this view heavily shaped by my previous experience of online learning with clearly defined groups of members and communications in fewer locations. I have learned that I am an an apprehensive Blogger, Tweeter but can now reflect on experience.

I haven't felt a member of a cosy learning community but rather a knot contributing to create a huge Network...


So which knot are you?

I have enjoyed the MOOC. I have a few more weeks of materials to work through so I will continue my learning journey.

Just stuck my first badge on my backpack




Friday, 14 June 2013

Activities 6.1, 6.2, 6.3


Activity 6.1: Reading and reflection


Refer back to activity 6.1

Read pages 5 – 25 of Effective Assessment in a Digital Age (JISC, 2010), then consider the following questions.
  • How does your assessment approach(es) align with the four teaching and learning perspectives (page 11)?
    • Each of the activities oifs focussed on Associative perspectives with the subject/practice expert providing feedback to the students so they can develop their expertise in each delivery of the activity.
  • How does your assessment approach(es) align with the twelve REAP (Re-Engineering Assessment Practices) principles of effective formative and feedback (page 15)?
    • Broadly these opportunities were of a formative nature, however there were minimal marlks awarded to encourage completion of each part of the learning activity (a discussion point in itself).
    • Colleague 3 actively encouraged students to respond to their blog postings and has a dialogue with each student within the blog. C1 and C2 were primaily one way feedback to student with no follow up.
  • How would you describe your assessment design from the manager’s, practitioner’s and learner’s perspectives (page 17-22)?
    • The manager would probably be encouraged by the use of the institutions technology to develop skills of staff in ditital teaching and assessment, this is part of the institutes vision and strategy. Stability and equity are key drivers. They are also interested in student satisfaction in their online assessment experience. 
    • The practitioner in these scenarios, like the opportunity to access the students work remotely and to distribute feedback within the task. They did not express efficiency in work load as they were still reading and marking each contribution,. A quiz of technology administered test would present different workload demands.
    • The learner, might view the technology as useful for their access off site. Potentially they could engage in the reflection and critique activities and review their feedback at a time  which suited them. They wer developing skills accessing and using the technologuy which are transferrable and feature within graduate attribute profiles.

Activity 6.2: Evaluation and review

Please visit the forum to read my contrubution 

Activity 6.3: Discussion

  • What is your own experience of feedback (either as a tutor or as a student) in technology enhanced or online programmes?
  • Snail

    • From a student perspective my experience is very limited. Feedback during the MOOC has yet to arrive, probably my fault as I am behind in the work but I had hoped there would be at least one person in the course team following up snails like me.

  • How can we ensure that students engage with, and act on, in a timely manner the feedback provided?
    • Should we be striving to ensure students engage with feedback, if they own and are responsible for their learning isn't it up to them whether they engage and if they do what the then action.
    • I personally value feedback so need little motivation to seek and consider it. 




Activity 6 Timely, Effective Assessment and Feedback

Timely, Effective Assessment and Feedback


Technology enhanced learning 
  • How does the assessment align with the course learning outcomes?
  • What kind of feedback would the learner receive and how would this contribute to her progress
  • Which technologies would support this?



Several colleagues have adopted the use of CampusPack Blogs within Blackboard LMS to support students reflection on learning and their practice. The students are required to submit a blog posting to record their skill progression and reflect on their journey.

Colleague 1)  has created separate weekly blogs, each one a separate blog because they wanted to control student access and close and open the blog to permit marking activities. The learner recieves written feedback after each weeks blog. There is no clear progression between blog postings as skills can differ each week.

Colleague 2) has created separate blogs, there are four separate blogs three have prescribed themes for the student ro reflect with models/frameworks provided to guide reflection. The fourth blog the student decides from the three previous models/frameworks and then undertakes reflection on their theme. The student recieves feedback on the application of the model/framework to their reflective writing and on their skill in academic writing. The is clear progression between each blog for development of reflection skill and academic writing.

Colleague 3) created a course level blog and discovered that students were reluctant to engage in critical discussions on discuss challenging situations in their practice experiences in view of their peers, the postings presented were at a superficial level. (I can relate to this as I still find writing in this Blog a challenge at times, who is reading this?) We had to rebuild the blog so it was private reflection. The students were being assessed on their critical discussions and their academic writing.

Each of these colleagues had identified the reflection and academic writing within thir course objectives, neither had identified learning to use the blog tool as an objective. Students were given deadlines for work to be submitted so there was no distinction made between little and often or all at once submissions.

In each instance the Blog tool was not the appropriate tool for the activity.

C1 - will use Private Journal next time.
C2 - is likely to return to online assignment submission with feedback annotated on work 
C3 - still wants to use the blog tool and is considering face to face ice breakers to build student trust and ability to discuss critically in the online environment.


Activity 5.2 and 5.3


Activity 5.2: Practicals




  • What is your current virtual learning environment or the main technology you use? 
    • Blackboard Learn 9.1.9 moving soon to SP11.
  • How does it differ from the ocTEL platform? 
    • It is a closed environment where the institution validates membership and access. The Course team decide on the look and feel of the course instance and use tools to create content. Students and staff are constrained by the LMS/VLE. In ocTEL there is more openness, the forum can be read by anyone without log in, blog pages are also public. This may be a concern for those students who are still feeling their way around the subject and may not want their learning experience broadcast publicly. 
    • Our LMS/VLE environment is not available to the student after they leave the institution :-( Students creating a personal portfolio of their digital learning would need to export course resources and contributions from course into another environment to save for posterity. I am also doing this for ocTEL so I have my own personal archive. 
  • What learning styles does it afford that ocTEL cannot? Where is it restrictive? 
    • Blackboard provides style sets for various teaching styles These can be used to structure the course to focus on different learning styles. The challenge however, is when schools create standard templates to provide a common visual presence for their students then the teaching style templates get forgotten so everyone is presented with the same top level options. 
    • The tool settings are restrictive. The limitation is that the content and interactions are within Blackboard and, anecdotally, some students find the steps for logging in to the environment and navigating to the activity too tedious to bother! The desired route would be a unique url for the tool activity with direct login so you can just click and post. 
    • The visual presentation is restrictive, our design and artistically driven staff find the visual layout uninspiring and constraining. 
  • Is it ‘open’ in the sense that you can develop or configure tools that fit your pedagogy (e.g. the learning styles above), or does it command a certain pedagogy? 
    • It is not fully 'open' you are constrained by the tools within the environment and limited to their configuration. However, anecdotally, that is probably a blessing for some as they still just about manage the basics. Too many options and people start getting lost in the set up. 
    • The limitation is that the content and interactions are within Blackboard and, anecdotally, some students find the steps for logging in to the environment and navigating to the activity too tedious to bother! The desired route would be a unique url for the tool activity with direct login so you can just click and post. 
    • To increase functionality and provide 
  • What are the wider implications of enforced platforms and technologies for higher education? 
    • I struggle with the term enforced, my assumption is that technologies have been piloted and selected by institutions as being the best thing at the price they can afford at the time. They seek something which they can handle, maintain and have a support and archive package. It takes a brave HE institution to say we do not provide a technology environment to support your learning you can use what you, like when you like, how you like, and fix it yourself when it goes wonky. And for the academics choose what you like to create and deliver your content, we will not provide any platforms or technologies. 
    • I think the challenge is the middle ground, better response from the product vendors, more customisation/personalisation/flexibility in the tools. Greater institutional support for students who want to build their own personalised learning environment which is joined seamlessly with anything the institution provides. Free access to a portfolio for alumni. 
  • How can your learning platform promote inclusion? 
    • The learning platform is the tool, it is what the academic does with it which counts. 
    • Accessibility needs to ensure the resources./ tools can be used by all students regardless of ability or technical skill. It needs to be accessible across all platforms and devices so students can engage with their own devices (if they have them). 
    • Resource needs to be made for students to access and engage where they do not have their own personal device. 
    • Activities need to be designed to bring students together, discussion, reflections, group work, in a respectful and valuing way. 
    • Most importantly the student must feel safe and a valued member of the class when using the learning platform. It is an extension of the real classroom, it is ok to ask questions and challenge each other and the academic must nurture and support this interaction to 'include' all the students equally. 


How I use Google apps - link to document here (Timestamp 14/06/2013 01:15:31)

My thoughts on synchronous delivery - view my forum enty here

Activity 5.3: What does Open Source mean to you?

For me OpenSource means, the creator has given the user (co-creatoe) free rein to adapt, modify, enhance their code. I have been a long time visitor to SourceForge to try things out for my own use.
  • Do they force a certain pedagogical approach? If so, what are the benefits or drawbacks of that? 
    • Depending on the design and architecture, the level of collaborative learning varies significantly from MOOC to MOOC. MOOCs have the potential to be flexible for the learner.
    • Each MOOC requires the learner to engage with different software and applications and learning object file types. 
    • I think that those learners who are less experienced or less confident with technology then the MOOC may not be their first choice, and there will always be the fun and need for face to face learning and skill development with the real object in real time, learning a craft, and art, etc.
  • What difference would it make if the platform were Open Source?
    • If we had sufficient expertise and resource we could have a platform with the look, feel functionality of 'what we want' rather than what it does out of the box.
  • How does it differ from past initiatives for open content such as iTunes U or Khan Academy (mentioned in Week 4)? I see these as OpenResources not Open Source.You use these rather than manipulate it entirely.
  • How does open content differ from open education?
    • Opencontent is the content is freely available, usually open license for reuse, repurpose (Creative Commons  CC BY) for learning and teaching activities. 
    • Open education is where the person creats their own learning pathway to meet their personal learning need, using existing resources, outside an 'educational' establishment. They set their learning goal and only they know when they have reached their goal. They may 'validate' their learning through communities, online reputation and badges, or through 'reputation'.
    • I have added a comment to this weeks forum on this - read it here.




Thursday, 6 June 2013

Activity 5.1: Course dimensions

Read the Methodology and Pedagogical Dimensions sections of Hill et al (2012) paper and think about the four dimensions mentioned (logistical, practice based, pedagogical, participation).
  1. Which of these considerations is the biggest driver towards your adoption and choice of technology?
  2. How do these dimensions change each time you run the course and what effects does this have on technology choices (e.g. ‘scale/capacity’ of certain activities for class size, physical location of activity)?
  3. How does this relate to the learning activity dimensions you may have identified in Activity 1.2?

1) I am not sure I can separate these out neatly so I will present my thoughts and reflections. Currently the course type activity features most strongly in my institution. The activities of students and staff are defined by the categories identified by Hill et al (2012), these are delivered according to the logistical categories they also identify. My observation of staff where I work is that many faculty members would identify themselves as researches who teach rather than teachers who research.
Contact environment is also key, VUW promotes itself as New Zealand's capital city University providing students with a unique Wellington experience. The focus towards an on-campus experience complemented by teaching technologies (LMS) and digital library collections.
Student 'attendance' in person on campus appears to be considered by many as 'compulsory'. Teaching technology is primarily used to provide student access to wider tailored resources for independent study outside the Lecture and Tutorial times. Courses vary from the web-supported through to web-dependent. Technology is in some instances used to deliver content for students to engage with before attending the face to face tutorials (flipped classroom).

Distance delivery is provided in a few subjects, rationale varies from widening access to geographically distant students and to offer choice to those who are local but may need to add further courses to their programme without the constraints of time for physical attendance on campus.

Recognition of the extent of web work in a given course remains an area which would benefit from greater clarity. Anecdotally staff have identified what they want to do on-line but seldom plan sufficient time within their workload to deliver. There is a reluctance to take time from elsewhere in the 'teaching activities' and utilise it for on-line facilitation/ moderation.

The decisions are shaped by the academic staff, their programme team and school as well as their faculty. My role is in essence to assist the academic to choose the right tool/technology for the teaching/learning activities they intend to undertake and to guide them to develop the skills to use the technology.

In my LMS workshops for academic and support staff my colleague and I have created a structure which presents the tools against heading for the tool type. This is to assist with orientation to the tool and activities. The institution has chosen not to provide a standard template encouraging the individual academics to work with their school to develop their own. Participants on the workshops are oriented to the Teaching style template options available within the LMS to gain ideas for their course layout and style.
We have a corporate colour scheme however this is not enforced so the individual academic or their school will decide on the look of the on-line course environment. I encourage each course instructor to attempt some uniformity across courses within their school/subject/programme to help student orient and navigate within and through the on-line courses. We also have on-line delivery outside the Institutionally supported LMS, which presents another 'experience' for the students and faculty members to master.

The most frequent layout used is based on the LMS 'traditional' layout with a home page, content areas for learning materials, collaborative activities and assessments with the use of course links to present activities beside content.

2) For the workshops I facilitate the size of the group may vary but the other components within the dimensions primarily remain unchanged. I teach in the same technology rooms, with the same hardware, software and IT infrastructure the main differences are updating resources and ensuring relevance and currency and the introducing ideas and alternative technologies in response to particular staff questions or response to staff challenges. 

On a previous course (when I worked at OBU)  I found the variables changed,  I would regularly re-purpose my resources for use in different student cohorts would adapt and/or reuse resources from other teaching colleagues. The room I taught f2f changed each delivery,but was usually on the same site. One winter, due to weather and travel challenges for the students, I changed delivery of two weeks to on-line only (WebCT VLE) and we used a flipped approach with students undertaking guided reading and watching video (professional YouTube channels) and reflecting on their practice experience, then engaging in synchronous discussion followed by asynchronous discussion. I have previously developed my own course template, which was adopted by my colleagues. I used a weekly theme approach presenting the introduction, learning activities, reflection activities, discussions and reference list on each weekly page. If I were to replicate this structure within Blackboard Learn I would probably use the 'Lesson Plan' content type. 

3) My learning dimensions in 1.2 I used these workshops as examples when I did activity 1.2 so no change but more explanation.... My current students are faculty and support staff in the University, the range of skill and experience with technology varies from those who require clear direction in its use to those who are autonomous and may also be innovators. I ask for individuals learning outcomes in advance of the workshop so I can anticipate and prepare for substantial variance from my lesson plan. I also start with an icebreaker which introduces the participants to each other and gives me more detailed information on what is expected and required from the workshop. 









5. Platforms and Technologies

Kolb and Learning


Having read through the three key questions and considered my responses, I totally agree with Sandra's (ocTEL participant) comment.

I too try and include a range of ways of engaging my audience, my personal interaction and selection of technologies varies depending on the topic and the environment of delivery.

I start by recognising how I prefer to learn and the journey I have undertaken learning the subject matter and how I have learned to use the technology. I consider the value in the learner engagement with the technology, development of transferable skills.

In my role I am usually assisting staff to learn a specific technology for their own use in teaching and would use other complementary technologies and resources to assist.

In learning how to use the institutions VLE (Blackboard Learn), staff are exposed to the following technologies and tools, and may use them at ant stage of the learning experience depending on the outcome of the learning activity.



  • Staff account 
  • email 
  • Web Browser 
  • Tools within Blackboard (Bb) 
    • content collections (text, image, video, URL collections) 
    • quizzes 
    • surveys 
    • assignment 
    • discussion 
    • announcement 
  • Third party tools and applications provided through Bb 
    • CampusPack (CP) blogs 
    • CP wikis 
    • CP journals 
    • CP lab reports 
    • Turnitin 
  • Video (VStream (Echo360) and YouTube 
  • Document creation - html (Bb), Word or similar 
  • PDF - Creation and Reading 
  • Presentations - PowerPoint, Prezi, Notable 
  • VPN - Remote access to networked drive 
  • Images - VUW collection, Flickr 
  • Library resources 
    • Hard copy texts 
    • Digitised texts 
    • Dynamic content through the library collections 
    • Digitised database collections (internally hosted) 
    • Digitised database collections (externally hosted) 
    • eTV 
    • bibliography software- endnote, zotero 
  • Social media 
    • Facebook 
    • Twitter 
  • Participant response technologies - installed hand held devices and web devices 
  • OER - what these are and how to find them for NZ 
  • Copyright and Creative Commons NZ 
  • Student submissions during class activities for for assessment, 
    • Text 
    • Audio 
    • Video 
    • Image 
    • Cloud storage solutions 

Teaching space technologies - They would also learn to use the technologies in the teaching spaces, document cameras, white boards, they would also master specialist equipment and technologies of their discipline.


and more ...


Participant response technologies (clicker technologies) have the potential to be very powerful tools. With skilfully crafted questions, engaging activities and skilled facilitators/ moderators to receive 'back channel' questions and conversations, students can experience a rich and rewarding learning experience synchronously, whether face to face or on-line, and asynchronously via facilitated and moderated 'back channel' communications after the event.

Having participated in both mode of delivery and in face to face and on-line environments using web browser clicker technologies I am excited about the opportunities 'clicker technologies' provide learners.


The challenge is to choose the right technology/tool for the learning activity, the  learner and teacher and then use them well. 

Friday, 31 May 2013

Wikipedia:Academic use


Wikipedia:Academic use


"Wikipedia is not considered a credible source."

A fantastic opening statement. 
Should I add a poll here?

Do you Agree or Disagree with that statement?

a) Agree

b) Disagree

Information Obesity - sketches



So true, so many important points to reflect on.
So while developing skills in my use of social media am I adding relevant and rich information rather than just increasing dross.
Those who know me know I have lots to say, I just have an aversion to writing it down and publishing it publicly! I am wondering how useful the information in my Blog might be ;-)

Activity 4.3: Creating your own material


Have a look at one of the following tools (choose one you are not already familiar with) and consider its application in your context:

Xerte
Glomaker
Cmap (click the small document and tool icons)
Camtasia or Jing
Screencast-o-matic.

Please respond to at least one of the following questions:
  • How easy was it to understand how this tool worked?
  • How quickly and easily would you find it to use?
  • How could you apply this tool in your own teaching?
  • What does this tool offer that has advantages over your current practice?



I would have liked to explore Xerte or Glomaker, however like my colleagues reflecting in the ocTEL forums, I too am constrained by the securities and permissions regarding installing non institutionally supported technology on my work PC.

Screencast-o-matic certainly looks like a good tool, thank, Jim, Sue and others for your feedback as a users. I like the interface and found it intuitive and easy to use. I like the option of distribution via an existing YouTube account and the change to either share publicly or unlisted. If we didn't have an alternative then this is likely to be the freeby for me.

Fortunately we have a screen capture software (Echo360) in pilot so we will have an institutionally supported equivalent. Our capture recordings are uploaded into an authenticated environment so at the moment the default is private. Our intention is to have the option to create public viewable resources soon.

Activity 4.2: Evaluating a resource in your area


Evaluate a learning resource you would consider using in your teaching and learning practice


These are two of the resources I selected:
Lecture capture - an introduction - http://dspace.jorum.ac.uk/xmlui/handle/10949/16121
Lecture capture - the benefits - http://dspace.jorum.ac.uk/xmlui/handle/10949/16122


How do you decide when a resource is worth adopting? 
I run through the following questions as I use the resource. I try to engage as both the learner and the facilitator so I get a feel for the resources/asset/object.
  1. Is the learning object appealing overall? 
  2. Is the experience of using the learning object a pleasant one? 
  3. Are the technical requirements easily understood and easily met?
  4. Is it easy to find your way around the learning object?
  5. Is the content complete and correct?
  6. Are the activities appropriate to the content?
  7. Is the scope of the learning object suitable: neither too limited, nor too general for your purposes?
  8. Does it meet the educational goal you decided upon?
  9. Are there any potential 'accessibility' issues?
  10. Is the 'message, information' in the resource relevant and applicable to my location with minimal adjustment? 
(see: NMC (2004) GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS OF LEARNING OBJECTS http://archive2.nmc.org/guidelines/NMC%20LO%20Guidelines.pdf page 20)



What are the advantages and limitations of this resource?
Advantage is that it is a short overview to Lecture Capture and concisely explains what it is and why academics might do this.  Clear succinct explanation and short duration makes it comfortable viewing, no need to scroll through to the relevant bits.
Limitations, the branding and logo of a legal group overseas may be a distraction for some as the legislation differs here in NZ, however the content remains accurate and relevant. There is no provision of closed captions so is less accessible that it could be.

How could you incorporate this resource into your teaching? 
This resource will be included in the collection of resources presented to staff for independent study regarding 'Lecture Capture', the existing resources are text based so these video resources provide a more visual and audible resource. 

How will this help your learners?
The resources give clear information and are an academics perspective so may be more easily received than the text alone.

Are there any limitations to the use of this resource for your learners?
None that I can think of at the moment, 

Please comment if you feel differently.
Thanks

Activity 4.1: Comparing resources

Take the perspective of a learner
  • What elements of these do you think are appealing to different kinds of learners?
  • What kinds of learners, if any, would they be inappropriate for and why?
  • How do each of these resources differ from that of the resources we’re using in ocTEL?
  • What ways can you see to improve the effectiveness or potential reach of these resources?

I chose to view and compare  iEthics V ElearningExamples.


The iEthics resource is really good for the activities presented. It provides the learner with a realistic scenario, clear information and can be self paced so the learner can view and review the materials. Visually very nice, clear audio.
Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learners. Relevant to people in the health field.
It is produced for a specific purpose, audience and use it is a relevant technology for professional development.
Include an interactive element (asynchronous discussion tool) so the learner can reflect on each part of the content and opt to reflect with other learner's who are also engaging with the resources.
Links to the resources identified in each section so the learner can read up, e.g M.M.S.E. tool.


Elearning Example, I used Gauging Your Distraction
This is a fun game for a serious subject. It will appeal to those who enjoy keyboard games and want to be challenged to multi task on the screen. Reading and responding and also moving around the screen with keys and mouse simultaneously. Initial I ignored the text message and just focussed on the control keys, as soon as I looked at the text screen I crashed. I couldn't actually do both!
Again it is visually pleasing, worked well and was fun. This will suit a Visual/ Kinaesthetic learner but also one who reads the instructions before use.

We have been introduced to games for education in the course so we are engaging with them in ocTEL but the ocTEL course has made use of existing resources rather than seeking to create it's own stand alone resources. The iEthics resource would be quite costly to produce and may need the resources within it to be updated.The Distraction game is probably lower cost production and maintenance,

Both are specific for the intended audience, however the Distraction may also appeal as a concentration game as well as a powerful safety message.


4. Producing Engaging and Effective Learning Materials

Look for a resource in an area which is important in your teaching in one of the following resource banks.
  1. How easy was it to find a relevant resource?
  2. How could you incorporate this resource into your professional practice?
  3. Which source did you find more useful (and why) – the ‘official’ resource bank or the open search?
  4. Are there any limitations to the use of your preferred resource for your learners (e.g. copyright licence; login requirements)?
  5. Would your own students agree that the resource you prefer is accessible?

My primary role is to support academic staff with their professional development in relation to TEL so the resources I need must have the 'academic' voice. Staff have commented on the appropriateness of some resource which are aimed at the 'FE/HE student body' on previous occasions.

So I set out to search for resources which would be beneficial for  academic staff who are developing their own digital literacy skills. and focussed on "Lecture Capture".

Where available, I used the advanced search in each repository to try and locate sources only for my particular audience.


  1. Finding the resource - I did not have any problems with conducting a search however the filtering of results was variable. Jorum and YouTube provided the most appropriate resources, reviewing the abstracts to determine suitability was time consuming.
  2. Once I have reviewed the results I selected the most appropriate resources and linked them as supplementary resources in the resource collection we are compiling for academic staff. The resources need to give examples of Lecture capture, or reinforce  'good practice'.
  3. I found both sources useful however the software provider has branded examples on YouTube which are product specific (marketing style) but clear messages. Several YouTube are usable but as they refer to another institutions use some may struggle with feeling a connection with the resource. Were the other resource banks ‘official’?
  4. Regarding limitations, Copyright legislation will be the main one as the resources are not NZ based so legislation is different. However providing access to the actual resources was not problematic.
  5. I hope so.
These are a few of the resources I selected:

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Early Days of Videotaped Lectures

Video taped lectures
My historical reflections on the early 1990's: there were regular late night TV broadcasts for professional development from the Royal College of Nursing.  As part of my Nursing professional development I used to tape them on VHS and then watch them while I completed the workbooks and readings provided in the professional journals. I played, paused, rewound to my hearts content! I only recently threw the tapes and workbooks out. Those old TV recordings were something else!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Activity 3.3: Designing or reviewing a learning activity

We hope soon to be launching our new streaming service with Lecture and desktop capture capabilities.
My colleague and I have drafted a programme for our presentation and workshops and intend to include an activity similar to this within the launch events.


  • Title of activity
    • Creating video using PCAP (VStream/ Echo360)
  • Intended learning outcome/s
    • To use PCAP (VStream/ Echo360) to create a 2 minute video
    • Upload video to VStream echo centre
    • Locate the URL to distribute your video
  • Activity description
    • Using VStream and PCAP software, you will create a short video introducing yourself to your students;
      • Refine your script/prompts/notes
      • Log on to the computer
      • Open the PCAP software
      • Configure your webcam
      • Create your recording
      • Review and edit your recording
      • Open your preferred browser
      • Log in to VStream EchoCentre
      • Upload to the VStream EchoCentre
      • Once the file is processed, locate URL to share with students
  • Time
    • 20 minutes
  • Prerequisites
  • Link to technology used
  • Links to additional resources
  • Follow up activities
    • Edit your file, add closed captions, add bookmarks
    • add link to specific content area in your Blackboard course

Activity 3.2: Active play

Game-based learning has grown as a form of TEL.

  1. What do you think you could learn playing this game?
  2. What (if anything) did you find engaging?
  3. What (if anything) did you find demotivational?


  1. Could learn observational skills working against the clock, mouse dexterity.
  2. The story was intriguing, being set challenges and completing them in a given time frame.
  3. The music was awful, I had to turn it off, the scree was difficult to resize in order to view in a size large enough for me to see the items. 
I used to enjoy the Lara Croft Tomb raider games on XBox when they first came out, I did the observation and thinking bit and my friend controlled the joy-pad. 

Not to be defeated I then tried.


I managed to get to level 4 and then thought, why am I doing this? The information about the puzzle and hints were puzzles in themselves. If this were a course with those completion/success rates it would soon be axed.
  1. Resilience, observation skills, not really sure as I didn't really
  2. umm
  3. The gambling adverts, Frustration out-weights the potential pleasure and feel good factor in solving the puzzle. My life is too short for this one.

Role play: Runescape


  1. hand eye coordination, spacial orientation, following instructions, 
  2. I have heard about Runescape and it is visually appealing and you can create the story and explore the virtual realm.
  3. As a free game you have to subscribe :-(  I didn't want to create an account so I stopped there. Combat games don't really appeal to me so that would also be a demotivator.

  1. Follow instructions, hand eye coordination, turn taking, 
  2. I quite liked the idea of journeying around the wild west, the graphics were al-right  the screen layout was logical, the prompts and instructions really helpful.
  3. Once again the sounds, event muted were irritating. 

I do however value Simulation software, this is especially valuable in nursing where we need to replicate clinical scenarios for the students to rehearse and practise their response safely and educational games to develop knowledge and skills in a subject.



Activity 3.1: Theories of active learning


Activity: Write a short discussion piece on how you would relate it to
  • how you learn;
  • your current practice;
  • the design of Technology Enhanced Learning activities

Primarily I learn by doing and reflecting on what I am doing and have done.

My professional background is Nursing, RNLD (UK);  RN (NZ), so I am informed and influenced by nursing theorists as well as educational theorists. Where I am engaging with or delivering TEL, I am always mindful of the learning styles and preferences of others.

My current practice I move through Kolb's cycle,
  • Initially undertaking the activity (spontaneous or planned) (DO); 
  • I observe the impact my activity has on others, the environment, the technology and myself (Observe); 
  • I consciously think and reflect in and on the activity,what is happening?  is the activity progressing as intended, anticipated, desired? (Think) I overlap here with reflecting in and on practice and often draw on the work of Professor Chris Johns [See: Johns, C (1995). Framing learning through reflection within Carper's fundamental ways of knowing in nursing. Journal of advanced nursing 22 (2): 226–34. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1995.22020226.x. ]
  • Having considered my actions and potential outcomes I then plan my next action (Plan) and identify how I will determine its success. 

As a registered nurse I am accountable for my actions and omissions and must be able to justify my decisions, this extends into my academic professional life too.  I am shaped by my professional role identity and professional reputation. I acknowledge applying the same scrutiny to my adoption and use of technology in my own learning and acknowledge my 'biases' when I am assisting others with exploring and undertaking TEL.

When designing TEL activities I begin by asking the learner to identify their outcomes (plan) to become aware of what they want and need to do to meet their personal learning goals and map this against my intended learning goals for the TEL activity.
I include technologies and activities which provide the learner with the opportunity to actively participate and or create (do) e.g. produce an artefact, video, audio, text, image, discussion etc;
 offer encouragement to observe their activities or outcomes and the impact this has on others, environment etc e.g. reflective discussions, writing individual diary, journal blog etc;
 provide time and opportunity to think about the learning, this might be through personal reflective journals, asynchronous group discussions or blogs or face to face in person or through technology i.e. skype;
 and develop plan and revisit and refine the initial plan/ personal learning goals, as the learner engages with their learning I encourage them to plan.





What is Learning?

Designing Active Learning

What is learning?
Activity: Think about the last time you learned something. Describe what you learned? How did you go about learning it? What strategies did you use? Consider this overview of categories of learning “suitable for instructional design planning“ in the table 


My learning activity, to use Twitter purposefully.

Two birds in a nest tweeting
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/ 
I learned about Twitter some years back, but didn't feel the need to sign up until I attended a conference last year where they really promoted the value of Twitter for live participation during the events (think).
I needed something tangible to convince myself of the need to Tweet. The conference gave me a purpose. I signed up for a Twitter account, for work purposes only (IIa, III) (plan). I think I made two Tweets during the events (do) and observed people face down in their phones rather than facing the speaker (which was weird for me) (IV) (observe). I also sough out people and groups of interest to 'follow', my motivation here was 'is what they were Tweeting of genuine interest or value to me'? (IIa, IIb, III) (think).
So knowing why I want to, need to share my thoughts, ideas, instantly with the world via Twitter (Ia) was my first challenge in learning the technology. Knowing what Twitter is, what it isn't, the benefits and limitations are and how to develop protect my personal and professional reputation are also key (IV) (observe, think, plan).
I recently created an embed code so my tweets and those of ocTEL appear in my blog page (IIb) (do), I also added instructions in my Bb course environment for those colleague who want to embed Twitter into their courses (II) (do).

I recently posted several tweets, because there was a button on the page I was on, not because I really felt it was valuable to share my activities with others (do). Although I am happy to share my thoughts with those I now and trust within my personal and professional circles, I have yet to overcome my anxieties about Tweeting, warts and all (IV) (think). I admit that I am periodically Tweeting during this ocTEL course, but don't prioritise my time to follow all the tweets of those I follow or seek out new tweets (IV) (do, observe, think, plan). Having said that when I do get round to logging in to Twitter I always find something to visit from those I follow (do).

I am confident and comfortable in explaining the value and terminology of Twitter to colleagues,  I appreciate the value in a technology like Twitter for sharing thoughts, ideas, links etc to others. I will continue to reflect  on 'why I follow the tweets of others', 'why I Tweet' and seriously would anyone really miss it if I didn't! and continue to develop my 'Twitter Literacy' .

Key: A small typology of learning types



I attempted to fit my reflection on learning within the typology of learning types identified as "suitable for instructional design planning" but found I was drawn more to David Kolb's learning styles model and experiential learning theory (ELT) http://www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html  it is more fluid and feels less hierarchical.
Image : http://www.businessballs.com/images/kolb's_learning_styles_businessballs.jpg

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

MOOC via Blackboard!?!

COURSEsites

This looks interesting, a VLE/LMS for delivery of free online course, MOOCs. With the familiar branding and reputation of Bb... hmmm... one to explore sometine soon.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Understanding Learners' Needs. 2.2 pt 2


Activity 2.2: Researching themes in learner needs

Consider the implications for your teaching approach/delivery and implementation.

Accessibility

There are some really great resources in these collections:

  • Learning to teach inclusively http://www.wlv.ac.uk/Default.aspx?page=24685 an OER (Open Educational Resource) module for Higher Education staff that aims to help you gather information about your own diverse students and, in light of this, redesign an aspect of your curriculum for the engagement and assessment of  all students.
  • JISC TechDis promote inclusive practice in teaching and learning and provide advice and resources to support learner needs. You can explore some of the possibilities for inclusive use of technology at the site http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/userneeds
  • EDUapps provide a range of software collections to support a diverse range of user requirements.  These can be downloaded for free at http://eduapps.org/?page_id=7


While I worked in the UK I was fortunate to visit the TechDis team and have been a fan and advocate of their resources for many years.

Responding to BrianH comment in the Forum post.

I don't think the fully online course can be 'accessible to all'. But I do think we can do our best to make it accessible to many/most.
If we develop learning resources with an awareness of functionality with screen readers, closed captions, adjustable font styles sizes, colours. software and apps which work across platforms and devices. Offering relevant language options in multilingual institutions.
With robust process for learners to inform us of their specific support needs and processes in place to provide assessments which are not detrimental to the student who has known support needs.


Further resources: 

Accessibility is something I promote to my academic colleagues - http://www.cad.vuw.ac.nz/wiki/index.php/Accessibility

Whether the challenge is technology or something else, inclusive teaching is something we should all aspire to deliver - http://www.cad.vuw.ac.nz/wiki/index.php/Inclusive_teaching


Understanding Learners' Needs. 2.2 pt 1

Activity 2.2: Researching themes in learner needs


Firstly I will consider implications of digital literacy.

Here in New Zealand we have a concept 'Ako' this means both to teach and to learn. It also encompasses reciprocal learning relationships and values learning from each other, so social and collaborative literacies are very important.

Digital literacy

Image of my digital learner profile
Digital learner profile- Results
My areas for development
Learner Networker Your Score = 5
You may not be comfortable collaborating and sharing ideas online – perhaps you prefer to do this face to face or you like your social networks to be kept separate from your college work. You may not feel confident that what you know is worth sharing.
Digital Sceptic Your Score = 4
If you have a low score in this area you are confident and enthusiastic user of digital technology. However, you may need to reflect more deeply on why you use the tools and services you do.

For those who 'really know me' there are no surprises there then ;-)

21st Century Literacies (Rheingold, 2009) 45 minute video of talk in London http://blip.tv/howardrheingold/21st-century-literacies-2393998

Howard is a really engaging speaker, always enjoy his presentations. I appreciate his reflections on the development of technology as a participant observer.

Being a discerning user, developing critical appraisal skills or Crap Detection 101: How to tell accurate information from inaccurate information, misinformation, and disinformation. (Howard Rheingold).

I especially enjoyed the observation of classroom behaviour and the A+ student, many of my colleagues express concern about students using technology in their classrooms with a fear that students are not paying attention. The skill of multitasking is really key in this situation. I think his 'attention' activity is great. 
Tutor/ students adding notes on the wiki during class so the others can contribute after class sounds like a neat approach.

Aaargh, (17.45) now Howard draws our attention to the 'excruciatingly painful boring blogs and twitter accounts' out there! (Note to self, I must try and keep mine interesting and useful and participate in a valuable way). 

Online reputation (31:00), thanks Howard, music to my ears. one of the reasons why my Learner Network' score is so low and my desire to keep my social (online profile) separate from my professional (online profile) is part of my desire to protect and nurture my online reputation.

The joy of a 'flexible' environment.

Think points!

Master 'Search credibility' (aka Crap detection).
Queue or flow!  Act as a Triage nurse! sample the flow.
Keep your eye not just on the technologies but on the literacies.
Five competences/ literacies identified by Howard Rheingold (2009).
Be aware of your online reputation.

Understanding Learners' Needs... Webinar



Webinar

Digital literacy - how is it determined? What is digital literacy?

Beetham and Sharpe (2010) Digital Literacy Framework
Ask, what learners do rather than what they are good a may elicit more honest and genuine responses.

How we can find out about our learners - Finding out about learners' experiences with technology. The comments in the chat window were varied and it is reassuring to read that where the opportunities arise face to face verbal enquiry is used along side the technology such as polls, surveys for feedback.

Merging social (personal) with learning media, do students understand what this entails? personally I am trying hard not to merge my media.

This is an interesting overview... STROLL  These students have a range of technologies available and are using them to meet their study, home and work needs. I especially like the quote regarding studying at night sleeping during the day "when the nothing else is happening apart from lectures". This student obviously values independent study using the digital resources provided by the university above attending lectures in person. I also thought it was interesting how another student praised the 'boring' StudyNet ( VLE/LMS) environment but said how great it was because everything was in it, easy to navigate, well organised easy to search and it was provided by the institution and "quite possible the most useful thing you could use at university".

Using skills developed in social (personal) to use of learning media, many students do appear to do this adequately but recent observations show a distinct divide between those who do transfer skills well and those who struggle and regularly seek assistance.


Action to follow up:

Re read: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/developingdigitalliteracies

The design studio - resources. http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/65634841/Resources%20for%20OcTEL%20week%202

Facebook groups for schools - https://www.facebook.com/about/groups/schools

JISC learner experiences of e-learning  http://oro.open.ac.uk/30014/
Special Interest Group - The net generation and digital natives: implications for higher education

Understanding Learners’ Needs


Activity 2.1 - Survey experience.

  1. Using the ‘readiness for online learning’ themes that you identified in the previous activity, discuss the extent to which they feel ready to engage with TEL.
  2. What expectations and concerns do they have about using TEL?
  3. Do these expectations resonate with your experience of this course?
What is the purpose of the survey?
Who is it for?
Does the university retain the data from the survey? What do they do with it?

I can see the value for the student in helping them to prepare/decide to undertake online learning. The survey would only be valuable if the student could access further support to become 'ready' where they are motivated to study at a distance and on-line.

The four surveys are rather simplistic but I can see their relevance.
I have fielded a few calls recently where students just haven't appreciated the demands of a blended course where the majority of their time is out in practice (Nurses) undertaking study online from work and home (and anywhere in between) and appear to have little confidence with the technology and skills they needed to keep going. The main challenge was their motivation, the course is a mandatory aspect of their professional development. Geography required their undertaking the course in blended delivery.

In this situation I am unsure how these survey tools would assist the learner is answering the question 'is online learning for me?'  

For the student who is deciding on whether to undertake online learning and has not done so before a survey may help them decide.



I completed http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/pedagogy/selfEval.asp

I scored 11.  Their response for the survey was "You are a great candidate for online learning."

I selected yes against, When it comes to schoolwork and deadlines, are you a procrastinator? Because I am. It is amazing how interesting the Ironing can become if the topic I am studying isn't engaging.

The important aspect of this type of survey is it sets out the technology expectations and requirements for the course and the attributes of the learner in a simple easy to follow survey. It may be a little too simplistic regarding Internet availability and service. Here in NZ you may have a computer and phone line but may limited Internet capability.

and
http://distance.uh.edu/online_learning.html

A more comprehensive survey. I scored 206. The feedback only went up to 201 so I am 'more than ready to go'!

As before my skill and mastery in procrastination when I am not feeling engaged mean't a few questions were lower rated.  This survey may provide potential students a greater feel of their readiness for online learning.


Responses to questions:

Having read through the posts in this weeks discussion forum, I observe a variety of participant views and experiences. There are many who are highly digitally literate, innovators, early adopters , digital natives (more Jargon I hear you cry!)  and there are those who are novices, potentially new users on distance/online learning as students, (perhaps some who are bravely trying out the MOOC to see how it feels to be a student in this environment).

Concerns focussed on their own student readiness. However the stronger voice questioned the value and validity on the survey, questions about who is the survey for?

Reflecting on the withdrawal of individuals from the ocTEL email list at the start of the course, would a survey question which asked about 'familiarity or usage or email lists have prepared these users for the volume and frequency of emails received?