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Reflection and the need or otherwise of compulsory interaction in e-learning

Assessing your capacity to reflect ‘on your development’

  • In the Masters in Open and Distance Education Course Guide for module H808 (p.7) it says that “we regard [the reflective commentary] as equally academic because it deals with knowledge that is constructed during the course. (Although this knowledge is more subjective and not intended to be confirmed or refuted, rather it is self-knowledge for the writer)”
  • Cognitive Housekeeping

    • Moon (2001) draws on other theorists such as Schon, Dewey and Kolb in her paper. I had never questioned why certain work events make me reflect and others do not, but I think the point about reflecting on complex and challenging issues/events, as a means of ‘cognitive housekeeping’ resonated with my personal experience. A Student.
    • I think assignments are designed as prototype reflections for the final course assignment, perhaps to help with the unfamiliarity/unease and get us used to reflective writing before the assignment (as Moon suggests, reflection as a gradual process aimed at getting students started, then deepening their reflections). Another Student.

    ‘involving emotions helps to promote reflectiveness.Moon (2002) cited in Salmon (2002)

    Moon (2005) describes reflection as an essential component of good quality learning and the representation of that learning. A Student

    (Moon, 1999a) as the reflection itself helps learners realize the depth of their knowledge and understanding therefore the notion of reflection functions as means of learning something new as well as harmonizing prior knowledge and experiences in the process. A Student

    This process of arriving at an idea of what is absent on the basis of what is at hand is inference. What is present carries of bears the mind over to the idea and ultimately the acceptance of something else.” (Dewey 1933:190) A Student

    Jenny Moon suggests that learners undertake either a deep or surface approach towards a learning task.

    A deep approach is seen when the learner understands the meaning whilst a surface approach focuses on memorizing the material as it is by not trying to connect it with previous understanding. Developing a deep approach to a learning task as an ideal path can be well achieved with the help of giving learners the chance to represent learning in different ways, in the form of a presentation, graphic display, mind mapping, essay writing, forum posting, keeping a learning journal, logs, diaries, portfolios, peer-reviewing and personal development planning. Another Student

    Phyliss Creme (2005) The compulsory nature of core activities might support the underlying approach that reflective activity “should be recognized part of the assessment process; otherwise students would not take them seriously”

    Building our professional development portfolio in four areas of competency; practice-related, communication-related, technology-related and research-related support formal assessment with different ways of thinking rather than the traditional means.

    Especially at initials stages of a reflective activity learners would need a reader to reach at for feedback and this is possible with the help of blogging tools.

    As Creme (2005) observes in the 10-week course, “One or more of the two-hour seminars was given over to the students reading each other’s journals. This was generally very productive, the most useful outcome being the students’ growing respect for each other’s work and realizing how diverse each other’s experiences, thinking and way of writing could be”.


    Crème, P. (2005) ‘Should student learning journals be assessed?’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 287–96. Available from: http://www.informaworld.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/smpp/section?content=a713605501&fulltext=713240928 (accessed 30 Sept 2010).

    Moon, J. (2001) ‘PDP working paper 4: reflection in higher education learning’ (online), The Higher Education Academy. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/resourcedatabase/id72_Reflection_in_Higher_Education_Learning.rtf (accessed 25 Sept 2010).

    Moon, J. (2005) ‘Guide for busy academics no. 4: learning through reflection’ (online), The Higher Education Academy. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/resourcedatabase/id69_guide_for_busy_academics_no4.doc (accessed 28 Sept 2010).

    Salmon, G (2002) E-tivities
    Smith, M. (1996) ‘Reflection: what constitutes reflection – and what significance does it have for educators? The contributions of Dewey, Schön, and Boud et al. assessed’ (online), The Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. Available from: http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-reflect.htm (accessed 21 Sept 2010).

    The skills you need as an e-learning practitioner

    The skills you need as an e-learning practitioner

    Training as a TV producer I picked up some skills editing, writing and directing. A project was never too small that a person fulfilling each of these tasks wasn’t required. Indeed, the ‘one man band’ was frowned upon. Some TV crews were still unionised so you had a cameraman, assistant and sound engineer, minimum. Today in TV production a producer may not only direct and write, but operate the camera and edit the piece. To be a TV professional in 2010 you need this variety of skills. I do. I did the courses. Camera, editing … even six months as a sound engineer.

    To be an e-learning professional it strikes me that as well as research, design and planning skills, with a healthy foundation from an appropriate course that takes in learning history, theory and practice, that you will also need more that just a modicum of IT skills. IT literacy is a given, but further familiarity, even a confident working knowledge of a variety of 21st century e-learning tools and platforms will be necessary, as well as that 20th century skilling of touch typing.
    I have that.
    With this in mind I am tackling some software that I have to date resisted. I managed without Outlook, now I’m using it through-out the day. I hadn’t moved away from my original blogging platform of 1999, so have in the last two months started three new blogs in three different places, as well as continuing with the OU blog. I wanted to feel confident I know what these are doing. I signed into Facebook a few years ago but have let it pass me by.
    It may feel like the exclusive domain of my children, nephews and nieces, but I am now determined to master it, instead of it having control of me.
    And finally, though I have grown familiar with MyStuff and have mine well stuffed … I must decide on a second e-portfolio system to embrace. I want to try one, two at most. I’d like to run with Filemaker Pro as I’m familiar with it, but there is a cost and it won’t be of any use to others who don’t have it installed.
    Time to look at the Tutor Group Wiki.


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