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Technology Enhanced as taught by the Open University Masters in Open & Distance Education (MAODE)

End-of-module assessment question (EMA)

Length: 6,000 words. Cut-off date 26 September 2011

  • consolidate and reflect on your experience this year
  • pursue your interests within a specified framework.

EMA, Part A. Digital technologies: experience and evidence (about 2,500 words)

Choose two digital technologies that you have used this year as a learner.

If you have doubts about whether your choice of technologies is appropriate, please consult your tutor.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

For each technology that you choose, explain how it has been used for teaching and learning, and what you judge to be the strengths and weaknesses of such use(s) in one or more contexts that you specify.

  1. FORUMS
  2. MOBILE

Support your arguments by providing evidence from all of the following four sources:

  1. Your own experience of the technology within and/or outside H800 and, if possible, the personal experience of other learners – for example, H800 students, or others outside H800. Include examples and, where appropriate, brief quotations to illustrate your own and others’ experiences.
  2. Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials – the web pages on the website and/or materials (readings, blogs, YouTube, webcasts and so on) linked from the site.
  3. Relevant ideas, arguments and research that you find outside the H800 website – through your own searching and/or through sharing with other learners inside and/or outside H800.
  4. Brief numerical evidence – for example, of the kind that is explored in the first paper in TMA04 – from within or from outside H800. Use it to back up your arguments about one or both of your technologies.

INTRODUCTION

‘The first decade of the 21st century is already on the wane and we stand at an interesting point as regards the use of technology to support and enhance learning and teaching. The fact that we still refer to much of this enhancement as e.learning (and still disagree about what the term actually means) signals that the relationship between technology and learning is not as yet an entirely comfortable one.’ (REFERENCE JISC 2007 (Introduction)

  • High-performance computing and advanced networking are ubiquitous
  • Internet has matured
  • Becoming a viable educational platform
  • Have cell phones

Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning June 24, 2008

FORUMS online may be synchronous or asynchronous, that is experienced in real time or not. They may, particularly when synchronous, be voice-led whilst asynchronicity lends itself to text. Increased speeds, experience, improving, competing and complementary technologies has produced and is producing a plethora of choices regarding the affordances and popularity of particular forums and even puts into question the way a virtual learning environment competes and complements a personal learning environment.

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

MOBILE online learning differentiates between static systems such as a desktop computers, whether at home, the workplace or educational institution, and devices, through increasing miniturisation have become more and more portable, from laptops, to increasingly ‘smart’ mobile phones and most recently tablets, touchscreen computers of A5 size or less. To be mobile implies away from a desk, unhindered by cables, with a device that is portable, even pocket portable rather than in a brief-case or shoulder carrier.

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

ONE

FORUMS online became possible as the technology, connections and broadening availability and use of computers allowed institutions to attempt to recreate what would occur face-to-face in terms of formal tutorials or peer-group gatherings. There has always been a dichotomy between institutional offerings and what students did themselves, on the one hand building on old practices in the new world of what was still called ‘new media’ a decade ago whilst developing innovative and new ways of doing things. At the forefront of developing computer-based learning the OU through the Institute of Educational Technology and Knowledge Media Institute began to offer ways for students and educators to meet and share online in the late 1990s, signed up for H801, the original Masters in Open and Distance Learning, I have first hand experience of the ListServe forum that in essence aggregated short messages in a feed that was ostensibly asynchronous unless people happened to be online at the same time (in which case we’d debunk to Microsoft messaging). A decade later the advance of computing, the increasingly seamless interaction online, the development of intuitive, playful, reliable tools with broadband speeds and robust devices has seen increasing successful recreation of the affordances of live, face-to-face tutorials, seminars, lectures and conferences from the intimate to the arena in scale, while also new ways of doing things are constantly being developed, trialed, used, improved, drop in or out of favour and funding. Crucially, longitutdinal research has been vital to understand and track the trends, but also we have moved from a decade in the 1990s where ‘change’ was becoming a corporate way of life, to an online experience today that is fluid and not just invasive but part of many people’s everyday lives – all day, wherever they maybe.

  • Personal experiences of others in H800

Week 12 Activity 1. Interpretting John Naughton. In which Joanne Pratt tries again after reading Amanda’s blog, then offers examples of a lexigraphic explanation of the minutiea of John Naughton’s persuasive writing style. (2 May, 21:12 (accessed 7 May 2011) Identified, shared with further notes in my blog (Ecphonesis! Lots of work to do here – fun times ahead. 7 May, 06:45  In response to a fellow students H800 Week 12 blog entry)

I comment ‘This is why these conversations are so vital; it brings the exercise alive and takes you in directions the learning designers could never have imagined. My head hurts, yet there is no less a desire to understand the terms used to describe rhetoric as there is a desire to revisit quantitative and qualitative analysis, the various correlation techniques and interpretations used, in order to be able, eventually, to draw my own conclusions from Richardson’s research’. Having had

TO JANET AND JOANNE (12 May 2011)

<<For me, this is a key point relating to learner choices, ownership and boundaries. Should a learner be required to ‘open up’ their personal networks to include tutors/education institutions?>>

The idea of and value of ‘exposure’ has been debated since the early days of blogging. I could call up entries from 2001/2002. The feeling, amongst those of us who felt like blogging pioneers, was that by opening up we shared our common humanity and in many respects become less lonely souls as a result (not that I didn’t need additional companionship being happily married to my soul mate with two small children at the time!). This kind of blog is a genre in its own right amongst the thousands of genres on 120 million + blogs.

A formal forum discussion that engaged, running from the 8th to the 20th May, 67 entries, student initiate, 9 participants, over 12,000 words.  (Wk 13: Activity 1c: The Learner Experience 9 May 2011, 17:48 Janet Gray Post 14 in reply to 8 ) http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=470597

<< When the students in the study say they use social network sites though do not include tutors as friends/contacts or use it for college work this could be construed in a number of ways, one is they don’t wish education to over spill into their social lives.  Although they are confident in the use of the software they wish to differentiate between the two. >>

Hi Joanne

For me, this is a key point relating to learner choices, ownership and boundaries. Should a learner be required to ‘open up’ their personal networks to include tutors/education institutions?

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials

The world of work is increasingly collaborate driven by increasingly the global and cooperative nature of business. Horizon 2011

‘Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers – half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.’ (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997, quotes in Salmon 2005) REFERENCE Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating. The Key to teaching and learning online.

What matters is engagement.

Someone may need to act as the ‘eyes & ears’ for the group until it is established. Introductions have to be made, conversations started and moved along … if anyone is rude, they should be quietly put in their place; if anyone is being like a door-mouse, they need support.

‘The essential role of the e-moderator is promoting human interaction and communication through the modelling, conveying and building of knowledge and skills’. (Salmon, 2005:4)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings outside the H800 materials

Discussion is the key. The tutor DOES NOT need to be a subject matter expert. See my interview with Oxford Senior Lecturer Dr Zbigniew

Pelczynski.H800 51 Wk11 Why this is like talking with your fingers

FROM MY BLOG (25 April 2011)

Why I participate in some forums and not others.

  • Start the ball rolling
  • to get through the week’s work
  • no one else has made a start.
  • I may fret about covering all bases

It can be like chosing a restaurant

  • You want to go where there’s some buzz already, though not so much that you feel you will never be able to join in the conversation.
  • This is an asynchronous beast. If I come in late I may read every post with care before I respond, which can result in a long response.
  • People should feel just as comfortable simply answering the question, ignoring others at first .. or just reading the last couple of posts and responding to them.
  • I might quote them in my own group. There have been times when lifting the thread of catalyst that got them going in another group will do the same in your own.
  • It is tempting to respond to someone in a DIFFERENT tutor group
  • At Harvard they use as system called ‘Rotisserie’ in some asynchronous threads/forums which, like playing pass the parcel (or pass the microphone) require people to take it in turns to say something.
  • It matters that activities have been designed that get people engaged without the need for a tutor all the time.

‘Structured, paced and carefully constructed e-tivities reduce the amount of e-moderator time, and impact directly on satisfactory learning outcomes, adding value to the investment in learning technologies’.(Salmon, 2002a)

(Blog 19 January 2011) My interpreation, visualised, of what life-long means from H807.

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

(Blog 25 September 2010) Why do the Plenck 2010 forums work?

Many themes. It is your choice to join. Updates are sent to your email. You read and add, return to the parent, and comment.

They are seasoned e-educators and lucid. It is more jamming around a piano.

You have three hours in which to return to your post and edit, add or delete.

People don’t question the set up, they just get on with it. Do we write about what it is to put words onto a sheet of paper with a pen? Or do we say something?

(Blog 9 September 2010) A tutorial works best one-to-one (like therapy), face-to-face, or in a small group, say six at most, discussing in an synchronous environment.

(James Turner, Policy Director at the Sutton Trust suggested supplementary tutoring of school students one-to-one was most common, two-to-one worked even better because of the collaboratory experience. BBC Radio 4 10.00 Tuesday 7th September 2010, Accessed again 16.00 Saturday 12th September 2010)

  • Numerical evidence


MOBILE

“[Mobile learning involves the] exploitation of ubiquitous handheld hardware, wireless networking and mobile telephony to facilitate, support enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning”

(www.molenet.org.uk/about)

The increasingly portable nature of computing hardware and technologies has progressed for three decades or more as the earliest efforts of mobile wordprocessing – the Microwriter, the popularisation of computing with the BBC micro-computer, then on to laptops that become ligher, smaller, faster and more robust, to palm devices such as the Psion and hand-sized PDAs, and the gradual merging of all manner of peronsonal, portable devices that carried music, organisers, phone technology and more, with MP3 players popularised by ipods, then the spread of mobile phones, in particular inexpensive communicating through text that brings us to 2011 and light, very powerful two-part keyboard and screen laptops, single part touch-screen tablets of various sizes that are becoming indistinguisable from smartphones. Uptake and support for various devices has been made possible as networks spread, the technology became faster, less expensive and widespread, and importantly a combination of content and communication made the devices increasingy appealing, powerful and personal.

  • Personal experiences of others in H800:

Fig 2.1. Types and functionality of mobile devices. Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler (2005:07)


REF: Kukulska-Hulme, A. and Traxler, J (2005) Mobile Learning. A handbook for educators and trainers.

The mobile promise – “that individuals will engage in learning at times when formerly they would have been doing something else; that they will be motivated to learn partly because the devices are attractive; that the devices enable communication from places where formerly it wasn’t possible; that formal learning can mesh with existing patterns of self publishing and online participation; and that mobile devices are particularly suited to multitasking, said to be one of the strengths of the ‘millennial generation’ (McMahon & Pospisil, 2005).”

REF: MacMahon, M., Pospisil, R. (2005 pp421-431) Laptops for digital lifestyle: Millenial students and wireless mobile technologies.

http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/49_McMahon%20&%20Pospisil.pdf

Attendance at Learning Technologies 2011 and subsequent use of a Sony Flip for itnerviews and surverys.

‘Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. Listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience’. (Kukulska-HUlme 2011:32

Personalisation

“Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate”. (JISC, 2009, p.51)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials

Mobile computing not just with laptop computers but also with cellular phones, internet-telephony, videoconferencing, screen sharing, remote collaboration technologies, and immersive graphical environments make distributed collaboration and interaction much richer and more realistic. Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning June 24, 2008 (REFERENCE wk21-22)

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28) REFERENCE Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings outside the H800 materials

Many Open University students combine work and study; consequently learning in a number of places, or on the move, becomes a habit.

Informal learning and social interactions are also increasingly recognised as important components of a person’s ‘learning life’.  Academic and support staff are part of this revolution.

Mobile learning is very flexible: it can be the sole mode of delivery, a significant learning activity, or just a small part of a print-based or online course.

The key points (largely from an IET Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Report Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)

Mobile learning is:

  • Very flexible
  • Appropriate/supportive
  • New
  • Convenient
  • Contemporary
  • Practical
  • Beneficial
  • Has its own unique affordances/advantages
  • Personal/personalised
  • Spontaneous
  • Immediate
  • Extends access to materials not replacement technology)
  • Locational
  • Universal (ish)
  • Leap-frog technology in Africa
  • Engaging
  • Expected

REFERENCE LEARNING AND TEACHING GUIDES FROM IET. MOBILE LEARNING. Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, with case studies by Anna Page.

Kukulska-Hulme (2010) says “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

‘E’ is a fact of learning life, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (2010) is quoted thus in the JISC Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review, “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

A distance learner’s mobile device (at the Open University) can be used as a way to:

  • carry around study materials
  • aces new or additional content
  • build up a series of personal notes
  • help make or maintain communications between different contexts

Supported by VLE 2.0 and Moodle 2.0

  • organised personal learning schedules
  • give feedback, opinions or answers
  • get quick information or support
  • communicate with other learners or tutors

The initial aim of the group is to develop applications around four key areas:

  • Enhancing Open University brand and awareness
  • Attracting students to new courses
  • Making existing course material accessible for mobile study
  • Prototyping innovative learning concepts

Woodill (2010:53) identifies seven main affordances of mobile learning:

1. Mobility

2. Ubiquity

3. Accessibility

4. Connectivity

5. Context sensitivity

6. Individuality

7. Creativity

Personalisation. user generated content. Bruns (2005) Produsers

  • Numerical evidence

We agree with Kennedy et al (2008) that ‘an evidence-based understanding of students’ technological experiences is vital in informing higher education policy and practice.’ (p. 109)

(93% UK penetration by 2008, presumably more in 2011). More from Mobisite

More in Cloudworks

2% of OU students (4,000 or so) use tablets (not just iPads). 11% use SmartPhones (not just iPhones).

Smartphone Survey (http://testkitchen.colorado.edu/projects/reports/smartphone/smartphone-survey/)

Smartphone Stats, The Digital News Test Kitchen, August 2011

http://testkitchen.colorado.edu/projects/reports/smartphone/smartphone-survey

Martin Weller implies that a VLE constrains because ‘There are so many fantastic tools out there that are free and robust and easy to use.’ (WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins? REFERENCE)

It is the combination of physically being ‘free’ to roam with a robust mobile device, as OU MBA students Lt. Col. Sean Brady put it, a ‘university in your pocket’ (REFERENCE) and a playful, personalisation and desired ‘freedom’ to do things your way at a time and place that suits you, that enables learning to take place away from the learning institution, library or desk, unfettered by a bag of books and files. Mobility and immediacy, exposure to new, or similar products and tools, fashion, peer group, nature of the subject they are studying, their ambitions, who they are, how much time they have, their kit, connection and inclinations, let alone the context of where they are going online and most importantly the means to communicate this instantly through microblogging, blogging, social networks, email and text facilitates and fuels further development, the millions of people online making development commercially viable.

Taking advantage of participation (Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it ‘serendipitous learning.’ (me I think). (WK21 Activity 1c Web 2.0 Tools for learning REFERENCE) Conole (2011) invites us to use ‘metaphors for meaning making’.

  • traffic light
  • nurture
  • swimming
  • hub
  • serendipity
  • water-cycle

Expressed in various forms in charts from Dion Hinchcliffe.

Accessibility: Regarding the failure to turn a 4 day face-to-face course into a blended course of one day face-to-face, then online with four additional option. ‘Most of these problems seem to be rooted in bad connectivity which made communication difficult and audio discussions impossible’.

University of Derby, Online delivery of MSc Strategic management in Africa (Rachel Stern’s blog 5 March 2010)

(http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/case-studies/tangible/derby/index_html1)

One in three of com 2011

10 % of all UK web traffic

100,000 in Indonesia learning English through SMS messages.

INEQUALITY

300 million fewer than male worldwide (women and mobile: a global opportunity

See issues of accessibility from H807 and H810.

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Inaugural Lecture, August 2011

‘Furthermore, since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed’. (2011:33)

This cover 20 benefits of mobile learning though.

‘We consider that learners who use handheld mobile devices (e.g., their phones and mp3-players) to support their learning constitute a minority at the present time. We agree that their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks’. (2011:19)

PART A CONCLUSION

Both Forums and Mobile

In an age when “communities are jumping across technologies” as needs and trends evolve (Wenger, 2010), educators and researchers also have to stay informed about how learners use personal technologies as members of communities that may be social, work-related or educational’.

REFERENCE

Belshaw (201) Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review 2010 Doug Belshaw, JISC infoNet

Brady, S. http://blogs.ft.com/mba-blog/2011/06/22/distance-learning-or-nearness-learning/#axzz1WbbnlExG

Bruns, A. (2005) ‘Anyone can edit’: understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86

Guzman, R (2007) The Swim Drills Book

JISC. (2009). Effective Practice in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2009/effectivedigital-age.aspx

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

Kerfoot, B.P., Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.N., (XXXXX)   Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination:A Randomized Controlled Trial

Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Learning in a Mobile Age’ (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12, January-March 2009)

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream’ (in ALT-C 2009 “In dreams begins responsibility” – choice, evidence and change, Traxler, John (Professor of Mobile Learning, University of Wolverhampton)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

EMA, Part B. Digital technologies: your recommendations (about 1,250 words)

For each of the two technologies you have chosen, set out your key recommendations for other practitioners in terms of how they might use each one, making sure that you specify the context(s) you are referring to. Include some brief numerical evidence (as with Part A) to support one or more of your recommendations in Part B.

For each recommendation, indicate how confident you can be (‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’) in the light of the evidence you have used in Part A, explaining your reasons. Conflicting evidence, for example, is likely to lead to a ‘low’ or ‘medium’ rating.

For each technology, state the areas where you consider additional research is needed into the ways in which that technology can be used.

EMA, Part C. Digital technologies: your design or specification (about 1,250 words)

For one of the technologies that you wrote about in Parts A and B:

  • Design a learning activity, or create a specification for a module or training package, that uses this technology.
  • Explain: the characteristics of the learners; their previous knowledge (as far as you can tell) both of the technology and of any subject matter; the context(s) in which they will be learning; and how (if at all) others will support these learners. The context does not have to be the one(s) you wrote about in Parts A or B.
  • Explain any potential barriers your learners may face – including cost, accessibility for students with disabilities, issues of cultural diversity and convenience. Explain how your design or specification takes these into account.
  • Set out the learning outcomes that you expect the learners to have achieved by the end of the module/package. (If you’d like guidance on what constitutes a learning outcome, please see H800’s outcomes and/or search the web.)
  • Explain your reasons for your design or specification, drawing on the bullet points above and on your thinking in Parts A and B.
  • Do not submit the learning material itself; instead, tell your reader what the activity consists of: you may provide a written description, sample text, screenshots, etc. You may use one of the tools introduced in Weeks 8 and 9, or another tool of your choice, to clarify your design. (If you take this route, you may insert the diagram in your main text or – cross-referenced – in the Appendix.) But you can also use text, provided that this will enable the markers to understand what you intend.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

‘The psychological conclusion demands a distribution of repetitions such that some of them should be produced at a later time, separated from the first repetition by a pause’. (Vygotsky, 1926:Location 2686)

OBJECTIVES:

The objective of the study is to investigate the efficacy and acceptability of a novel online educational methodology termed ‘interactive spaced education’ (ISE) as a method to teach the physical examination.

DESIGN:

Randomized control trial.

PARTICIPANTS:

170 second year medical students.

MEASUREMENTS:

  • Spaced-education items (questions and explanations)
  • Validated by two experts
  • Piloted and 36 items selected for inclusion
  • 6 spaced-education e-mails each week for a 6 week cycle.
  • Students submitted answers to the questions online and received immediate feedback
  • An online end-of program survey was administered.

Students do the training, but may still have poor recall a year later. Spacing works.

The spacing effect is the psychological finding that educational encounters that are spaced and repeated over time (spaced distribution) result in more efficient learning and improved learning retention, compared to massed distribution of the educational encounters (bolus education). (P973)

As Vygotsky expressed it 80 years previously:

‘It should also be emphasized that every person has his own customary rate of response, and that any change in this rate, either speeding it up or slowing it down, weakens the force of recall’. (Vygotsky, 1926:Location 2686)

Micro-learning is favoured over more substantial time being given to this. I can imagine many applications.

Mobile over web.

This finding is in stark contrast to the strong resistance we encountered when conducting a recent trial of web-based teaching modules among 693 medical residents and students. In this trial focusing on systems based practice competency education, trainees were expected to spend 20 minutes per week over 9 weeks completing web-based teaching modules (interactive web-pages and online narrated slide presentations). (p977)

And a finaly word from Lev Vygotsky.

‘Rhythm plays a decisive role in the learning process, unifying some of the material, conferring on it a sequential symmetry, and, finally, organizing the various elements into a unified whole’. (Vygotsky, 1926)

REFERENCE

Kerfoot, B, P (2006) SPACED EDUCATION. Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A randomized Controlled Trial.

Vygotsky, L (1926) Educational Psychology

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

EMA, Part D. Digital technologies: individual and collaborative learning (about 1,000 words)

As your conclusion to your EMA and to your work on H800, think back across your experience of H800 and give your answer to the following:

  • To what extent do you find the concepts of ‘individual’ and ‘collaborative’ learning useful in understanding your experience of learning this year – whether on H800 or elsewhere?

Give brief examples to illustrate your experience, and draw on some of the debates and theories in H800 to explain your position (for example, the work of Sfard, Brown, Engeström, Wenger, Säljö). If possible, indicate how your ideas have changed since you wrote TMA01.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Week 20: TMA03 (1000 words) Jonathan Vernon (T7400886)

Part A. Digital technologies: experience and evidence

Which two technologies do you currently expect to choose, and why?

1. Forums

2. Tablets

Forums as asynchronous and near-synchronous places to listen, comment and contribute have become the online equivalent of the one-to-one, face-to-face tutorial, the face-to-face tutor group, small class, even those moments of serendipity when you meet someone in a corridor, Junior Common Room or by the water-cooler.

Mobility is just one facet of the affordances a tablet offers to the learner; the fascination is to understand how the devices are used, rather than what they were designed to do. From research, blogs and forums the experience of the ‘tablet enabled’ learner suggests that unlike almost defunct hand and palm-held devices, this format will endure.

2. Which of the two technologies (if any) have you used on H800, and which (if any) have you used outside H800?

Forums

Since their development and my being active online since 1999 and starting the MAODL in 2001.

Tablets

Through their proposed exploitation with the new OU MBA and so having a tablet for the last month to explores its educational and other values to learners and the Faculty.

3. Briefly: how has each of these two technologies been used for teaching and learning?

My experience is both as an OU student, primarily for the last 18 months, but including a valuable dip into this environment for seven months in 2001 and now as a member of staff with the OU Faculty of Business and Law.

Regarding the use of tablets for learning, not only using one to do the MAODE it also holds OU MBA course content and incidentally it greatly facilitates the engagement in forums through RSS feeds, email alerts, near instant uploading to forums and the qualities of the tablets themselves in relation to screen size, speed reading, ease of response and so on.

4. For which context(s) will you be discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each technology?

The value to postgraduates working in international organisations on the OU Business School part-time MBA.

5. Briefly: what material will you provide in relation to your own experience of each technology?

Regarding Forums I have both the written record (research, papers, blog entries from 2001) to compare to 2011, as well as the experience of working in both the formal institutional setting, and as a student, embracing and engaging in external forums – all for teaching and learning purposes and blogging about this throughout.

Regarding tablets I have one device and can speak to others using different devices about their experiences with them. Some of this qualified by my blog and forum entries of others regarding their learning experiences with them.

6. Briefly: what material, if any, can you draw from the experience of other learners?

There are fellow students on the MAODE whose permission can be requested regarding their blogging on the use of tablets, indeed these postings informed my request to have such a device. There is research published in 2011 that provides a sound basis for discussion, though the rapidity of change requires something current this can in part be informed, with permissions, by asking specialists in the field of versioning content for Tablets for e-learning in Higher Education.

Where permissions are possible and confidentially isn’t compromised questions can be put to Faculty members regarding the way in which the use of forums for learning online has been conceived.

7. Which H800 materials do you expect to draw on? And which numerical evidence will you draw on, either from within or from outside H800?

Reports can be referred to as they are published. The desire is to draw upon evidential research, both qualitative and quantitative reports, particularly those from the OU Institute of Technology. Resources offered in H800 will be reviewed and the most recent publications identified.

8. If you have already found materials from four sources outside H800: which materials do you expect to draw on, and – in a sentence or two – what is their significance to your EMA? If you have not yet found (all of) them yet, where do you expect to look for them?

Forums

Linkedin Forums on e-learning and social media. Various publications on use of Forums in education including reports from JISC. Research of OU Library current papers.

Tablets

Reports and discussions in various forums, such as NMK (Westminster Metropolitan University) and eLP (Linkedin, moderated by Epic), as well as new publications.

Part B. Digital technologies: your recommendations

9. Briefly: which area(s) of additional research do you think are needed?

The interplay between the Tablet (part Smartphone, part Laptop) and therefore the ease with which it can be used as a communications device enabling live and as-live (synchronous and asynchronous) participation in Forum discussions.

Longitudinal studies of a cohort with these devices coming from undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Niche research on the use of forums and devices in business, particularly collaboration in multi-nationals.

Part C. Digital technologies: your design or specification

10. What type of learning activity or specification do you currently envisage, for which learners and in which context? What do you intend the learners to have learned when they have carried out the activity?

A useful resource would be a specific learning activity related to the management of projects carried out across different cultures with differing management systems.

11. How, in outline, will your design or specification deal with any potential barriers that your learners might face (including cost, accessibility for people with disabilities, cultural diversity and convenience)?

‘Device Agnosticism’ as The OU puts it is as important as other issues regarding access; neither affordability nor disability should be insurmountable barriers.

Part D. Digital technologies: individual and collaborative learning

12. What is your current response (possibly very tentative at this stage) to the question: ‘To what extent do you find the concepts of “individual” and “collaborative” learning useful in understanding your experience of learning this year – whether on H800 or elsewhere?’

Engestrom via Vygotsky.

Digital Technologies : Experience and evidence.

Fig. 1. My conception of lifelong learning building on Elliot (2008)

Why I participate in some forums and not others.

  • Start the ball rolling
  • to get through the week’s work
  • no one else has made a start.
  • I may fret about covering all bases

It can be like choosing a restaurant

  • You want to go where there’s some buzz already, though not so much that you feel you will never be able to join in the conversation.
  • This is an asynchronous beast. If I come in late I may read every post with care before I respond, which can result in a long response.
  • People should feel just as comfortable simply answering the question, ignoring others at first .. or just reading the last couple of posts and responding to them.
  • I might quote them in my own group. There have been times when lifting the thread of catalyst that got them going in another group will do the same in your own.
  • It is tempting to respond to someone in a different tutor group
  • At Harvard they use as system called ‘Rotisserie’ in some asynchronous threads/forums which, like playing pass the parcel (or pass the microphone) require people to take it in turns to say something.
  • It matters that activities have been designed that get people engaged without the need for a tutor all the time.

‘Structured, paced and carefully constructed e-tivities reduce the amount of e-moderator time, and impact directly on satisfactory learning outcomes, adding value to the investment in learning technologies’.(Salmon, 2002a)

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

(Blog 25 September 2010) Why do the Plenck 2010 forums work?

Many themes. It is your choice to join. Updates are sent to your email. You read and add, return to the parent, and comment.

They are seasoned e-educators and lucid. It is more jamming around a piano.

You have three hours in which to return to your post and edit, add or delete.

People don’t question the set up, they just get on with it. Do we write about what it is to put words onto a sheet of paper with a pen? Or do we say something?

James Turner, Policy Director at the Sutton Trust suggested supplementary tutoring of school students one-to-one was most common, two-to-one worked even better because of the collaboratory experience. BBC Radio 4 10.00 Tuesday 7th September 2010, Accessed again 16.00 Saturday 12th September 2010)

  • Numerical evidence

“Mobile learning involves the] exploitation of ubiquitous handheld hardware, wireless networking and mobile telephony to facilitate, support enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning” Molenet

The increasingly portable nature of computing hardware and technologies has progressed for three decades or more as the earliest efforts of mobile wordprocessing – the Microwriter, the popularisation of computing with the BBC micro-computer, then on to laptops that become lighter, smaller, faster and more robust, to palm devices such as the Psion and hand-sized PDAs, and the gradual merging of all manner of personal, portable devices that carried music, organisers, phone technology and more, with MP3 players popularised by iPods, then the spread of mobile phones, in particular inexpensive communicating through text that brings us to 2011 and light, very powerful two-part keyboard and screen laptops, single part touch-screen tablets of various sizes that are becoming indistinguishable from smartphones. Uptake and support for various devices has been made possible as networks spread, the technology became faster, less expensive and widespread, and importantly a combination of content and communication made the devices increasingly appealing, powerful and personal.

Fig 2. Types and functionality of mobile devices. Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler (2005:07)

The mobile promise – “that individuals will engage in learning at times when formerly they would have been doing something else; that they will be motivated to learn partly because the devices are attractive; that the devices enable communication from places where formerly it wasn’t possible; that formal learning can mesh with existing patterns of self publishing and online participation; and that mobile devices are particularly suited to multitasking, said to be one of the strengths of the ‘millennial generation’ (McMahon & Pospisil, 2005).”

Attendance at Learning Technologies 2011 and subsequent use of a Sony Flip for interviews and surveys.

From My Student Blog 28 January 2011, 08:38

Armed with a Kindle with the Swim Drills book loaded I was poolside teaching and coaching swimmers for three hours.

For the last year I have run programmes based on drills in ‘The Swim Drills Book’ and have relied on lesson plans and sometimes laminated print outs.

Today I took the Kindle

From The Swimming Drill Book (2006:04) ‘Standing Streamline Ruben Guzman.

Never before have I found the swimmers so attentive, coming close to the side of the pool to look at the pictures.

Here is a great drill to develop streamlining

Fig.3. From The Swimming Drill Book (2006:06) ‘Streamline Float’ Ruben Guzman.

They start in what we call ‘Dead Swimmer’ then straighten up, arms first, then legs into the ‘streamline position.’ They then kick off, add a few strokes and continue up the pool.

They got, far quicker than my efforts to demonstrate and talk them through.

  • Simple.
  • The pictures say it all.
  • Is this mobile learning?
  • Whatever it is, this works.
  • Producers

‘Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. Listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience’. (Kukulska-HUlme 2011:32

Personalisation

“Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate”. (JISC, 2009, p.51)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings in the H800 materials

Mobile computing not just with laptop computers but also with cellular phones, internet-telephony, videoconferencing, screen sharing, remote collaboration technologies, and immersive graphical environments make distributed collaboration and interaction much richer and more realistic. Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning June 24, 2008 (REFERENCE wk21-22)

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

  • Relevant ideas, arguments and research findings outside the H800 materials

Many Open University students combine work and study; consequently learning in a number of places, or on the move, becomes a habit.

Informal learning and social interactions are also increasingly recognised as important components of a person’s ‘learning life’.  Academic and support staff are part of this revolution.

Mobile learning is very flexible: it can be the sole mode of delivery, a significant learning activity, or just a small part of a print-based or online course.

The key points (largely from an IET Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Report Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)

Mobile learning is:

  • Very flexible
  • Appropriate/supportive
  • New
  • Convenient
  • Contemporary
  • Practical
  • Beneficial
  • Has its own unique affordances/advantages
  • Personal/personalised
  • Spontaneous
  • Immediate
  • Extends access to materials not replacement technology)
  • Locational
  • Universal (ish)
  • Leap-frog technology in Africa
  • Engaging
  • Expected

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (2010), with case studies by Anna Page.

Kukulska-Hulme (2010) says “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

‘E’ is a fact of learning life, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (2010) is quoted thus in the JISC Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review, “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”

A distance learner’s mobile device (at the Open University) can be used as a way to:

  • carry around study materials
  • aces new or additional content
  • build up a series of personal notes
  • help make or maintain communications between different contexts

Supported by VLE 2.0 and Moodle 2.0

  • organised personal learning schedules
  • give feedback, opinions or answers
  • get quick information or support
  • communicate with other learners or tutors

The initial aim of the group is to develop applications around four key areas:

  • Enhancing Open University brand and awareness
  • Attracting students to new courses
  • Making existing course material accessible for mobile study
  • Prototyping innovative learning concepts

Woodill (2010:53) identifies seven main affordances of mobile learning:

1. Mobility

2. Ubiquity

3. Accessibility

4. Connectivity

5. Context sensitivity

6. Individuality

7. Creativity

Personalisation. user generated content. Bruns (2005) Produsers

  • Numerical evidence

We agree with Kennedy et al (2008) that ‘an evidence-based understanding of students’ technological experiences is vital in informing higher education policy and practice.’ (p. 109)

(93% UK penetration by 2008, presumably more in 2011). More from Mobisite

More in Cloudworks

2% of OU students (4,000 or so) use tablets (not just iPads). 11% use SmartPhones (not just iPhones).

Smartphone Survey (http://testkitchen.colorado.edu/projects/reports/smartphone/smartphone-survey/)

Fig. 5. Smartphone Stats, The Digital News Test Kitchen, August 2011

http://testkitchen.colorado.edu/projects/reports/smartphone/smartphone-survey

Martin Weller implies that a VLE constrains because ‘There are so many fantastic tools out there that are free and robust and easy to use.’ (WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?)

It is the combination of physically being ‘free’ to roam with a robust mobile device, as OU MBA students Lt. Col. Sean Brady put it, a ‘university in your pocket’ (REFERENCE) and a playful, personalisation and desired ‘freedom’ to do things your way at a time and place that suits you, that enables learning to take place away from the learning institution, library or desk, unfettered by a bag of books and files. Mobility and immediacy, exposure to new, or similar products and tools, fashion, peer group, nature of the subject they are studying, their ambitions, who they are, how much time they have, their kit, connection and inclinations, let alone the context of where they are going online and most importantly the means to communicate this instantly through microblogging, blogging, social networks, email and text facilitates and fuels further development, the millions of people online making development commercially viable.

Taking advantage of participation (Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it ‘serendipitous learning.’ (me I think). (WK21 Activity 1c Web 2.0 Tools for learning REFERENCE) Conole (2011) invites us to use ‘metaphors for meaning making’.

  • traffic light
  • nurture
  • swimming
  • hub
  • serendipity
  • water-cycle

Expressed in various forms in charts from Dion Hinchcliffe.

Accessibility: Regarding the failure to turn a 4 day face-to-face course into a blended course of one day face-to-face, then online with four additional option. ‘Most of these problems seem to be rooted in bad connectivity which made communication difficult and audio discussions impossible’.

University of Derby, Online delivery of MSc Strategic management in Africa (Rachel Stern’s blog 5 March 2010)

One in three of com 2011

10 % of all UK web traffic

100,000 in Indonesia learning English through SMS messages.

INEQUALITY

300 million fewer than male worldwide (women and mobile: a global opportunity

See issues of accessibility from H807 and H810.

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Inaugural Lecture, August 2011

‘Furthermore, since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed’. (2011:33)

This cover 20 benefits of mobile learning though.

‘We consider that learners who use handheld mobile devices (e.g., their phones and mp3-players) to support their learning constitute a minority at the present time. We agree that their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks’. (2011:19)

Forums and Mobile

In an age when “communities are jumping across technologies” as needs and trends evolve (Wenger, 2010), educators and researchers also have to stay informed about how learners use personal technologies as members of communities that may be social, work-related or educational’.

REFERENCE

Belshaw (201) Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review 2010 Doug Belshaw, JISC infoNet

Brady, S. http://blogs.ft.com/mba-blog/2011/06/22/distance-learning-or-nearness-learning/#axzz1WbbnlExG

Bruns, A. (2005) ‘Anyone can edit’: understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86

Guzman, R (2007) The Swim Drills Book

JISC. (2009). Effective Practice in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2009/effectivedigital-age.aspx

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

Kerfoot, B.P., Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.N., (2008)  Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination:A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kukulska-Hulme, A. and Traxler, J (2005) Mobile Learning. A handbook for educators and trainers.

MacMahon, M., Pospisil, R. (2005 pp421-431) Laptops for digital lifestyle: Millenial students and wireless mobile technologies. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/49_McMahon%20&%20Pospisil.pdf

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Learning in a Mobile Age’ (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12, January-March 2009)

Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream’ (in ALT-C 2009 “In dreams begins responsibility” – choice, evidence and change, Traxler, John (Professor of Mobile Learning, University of Wolverhampton)

University of Derby online survey (http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/case-studies/tangible/derby/index_html1)

 

 

How phenomenology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired learning response.

Between formal and informal learning design styles

Highly prescriptive vs call up the information you need as you go along. So defined instructions vs figuring it out for themselves. Perhaps using tools to guide and inform. We were given the simplest of tasks, teaching students how to cross a busy road in safety.

I made a point about any group requiring leadership or a champion.

I made a point on Randy Pausch whose 3D lecture series included mixing up student groups who then had to vote on each other’s levels of collaboration in the group.

There was a discussion on informal peer assessment that I didn’t entirely follow, certainly my notes are somewhat cryptic. Hopefully the session was recorded so I can listen back.

It is the unexpected insights in a synchronous session that prove valuable, especially the asides in the break-out room.

Assemble the books and papers you plan to refer to ahead of writing.

This is a new one to me. I prefer to write what I want and deal with the referencing after rather than fitting the assignment to the books and papers.

Perhaps a combination of the two is required.

The learning plan you produce may not be followed closely given the myriad of ways people respond. Many are drawn in by the assessment but not all.

Can such divergent styles be accommodated?

As the Elluminate discussion progressed, four students, one tutor moderator, I did a doodle.

doodle

Having shared the idea I then corrected it.

From Wenger (1998:233)

‘There is an inherent uncertainty between design and its realization in practice, since practice is not the result of design but rather a response to it’.

Phenomenology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired response.

The notes reads ‘design as well as we can … ‘the students share the outcome. We set the learning, that is then displaced to or set in the context of each learner. We might have a learning objective, but students can and diverge from this’. (A good thing if you want diversity and originality)

As a learning designer you have to anticipate a variety of behaviours and plan for not too many being wildly divergent. This can be achieved by understanding the students.

From Computer Lab to iPad – my 30 year journey through learning enhanced by computers

I was, in 1983, introduced to the wonders of the University Computer Lab.

‘Back then’ this wasn’t an elective, but rather signing up to some additional, extra-curricular training.

It did not appeal one bit; I could imagine to some degree where it was going and its necessity in one of my options in my undergraduate degree course (remote sensing from space), but to achieve anything (I am neither computer literate or mechanically minded), it struck me, as was the case, that your required a certain mindset (that of an engineer or mathematician). Because it was in little demand, not networked, bespoke to a project and housed in one place it was akin to joining the stamp club and about as exciting. It was however ‘on request,’ rather than compulsory and could with ease be ignored.

I wonder if a more laissez-faire approach would work?

More of an internal market in an organisation where choices are offered to individuals so that the decission making could be more bottom up than top down? i.e. you have a budget, you pick the kit you’d like, the software you need rather than being prescribed a piece of kit and software and obliged to learn it.

I imagine the moment I can afford to buy a Mac I’ll do so.

The simplest analogy would be is that I feel I’ve been told I have to use a Rotring pen and a ruler, but I’d prefer to use a soft HB6 pencil and a pad of cartridge paper. The end result, the task or peice of communication I have to deliver will be the same, I just get there ‘my way,’ rather than ‘your way’.

My university experience from the 1980s, to that as student and now insider thirty years on at the OU is different, however, invited to meet a group of Associate Lecturers yesterday to have my mind picked regarding web-conferencing, Elluminate and synchronous learning in general, I was struct not by how things have changed, but how what matters hasn’t changed at all – there are educators who are fascinate by and passionate about what they do.

There is a desire to do the best by their students and to get their heads around what tools could be used to improve or enhance this experience. Even speaking with my 85 year old father-in-law, a former prof who still ‘teaches’ I am struck by this vocational zeal, which is shared whether by email and Skype, by snailmail or a tutorial, collaboration on a book, or giving a talk (still) at a summer school.

The lesson I have learnt therefore is never to let the technology get in the way of this experience, that between educator and student, the knowledgeable and the less knowledgeable, playing on this inhate human desire to share our experience and knowledge whatever that might be.

Increasingly, when discussing the merits of kit or software, I return to this theme, that people have not changed and that the natural relationships that form between people in markets, in villages, in communities, is what we crave and repeatedly recreate online in a multitude of ways.

Understanding the practicalities of learning design for learning online

PART ONE

This is how I develop a Creative Brief … this happens to be an MAODE exercise on Learning Design.

As a video producer this is the idea I’d sell to the client.

I’d then work with a coach and group of swimmers to set the scene and milk it.

This is the kind of thing corporate clients use to teams of 10,000 employees. This is also how I go about writing scripts, sometimes adding drawings, cut-outs from magazines and photos. Nothing hi-tech at the thinking stage … which gives people more freedom to contribute.

A whiteboard marker pen on unforgiving wallpaper backing paper (30p a roll in from the reduced bin!). Stuck to the kitchen door.

PART TWO

The Forum Thread deserves as Swim lane of its own with as much activity into it and Elluminate as I have put here into a blog/microblog.

Often I find a dedicated thread such as e-Learning Professionals is more likely to guarantee a response to something I say; the reason for this is simple, they have thousands of active members.

There are reliable statistics to say what tiny per centage of people are happy to write, read, comment and contribute. 1% to write, about 4% to comment. This has to be reflected in forum activity too, however much it is required by the course. I’ve missed out blogs other students keep, and the links back and forth to these.

You’d be surprised how much goes on in the background.

I’ve found myself working things through with people in different tutor groups, who did the module a year ago … or who have nothing to do with MAODE but have an answer. Which reminds me of the fantastic diagram drawing tool dia. How does Naughton’s journalistic point of view compare to those of an academic?

I worked through it alone, blogged about it and offered thoughts and replied in the tutor forum.

The degree or blogging I’ve put forward reflects what I consider an invaluable addition to taking part in Forum Threads. You express what you think, ‘stream of consciousness’ into your own blog, edited to140 character for Twitter than take part in a Forum where some back and forth discussion should come about.

The other invaluable form of participation is through a conference call – as Jonathan Swift said, ‘I don’t know what I mean until I have heard myself speak.’

This is akin to a treatment outline for a video. The script in our case is the ad-libs and verbatim responses of student and input from the tutor. I like the idea of swim-lines and can imagine the Tutor online as a coach, rather than a subject matter expert, as a guide and mentor.

The reality is that such rapport develops with fellow students.

It is a shame that there isn’t more continuity through your original cohort. I have used the Compendium to share projects, using the layers to attach documents and have another contribute. For a simple mind map I like bubbl.us, otherwise I’m as likely to do a sketch and photograph it to share … or draw directly into a paint/draw package such as ArtPad using a stylus and Wacom board. Like all tools you need to have a clear use for it, rather than playing in a sandpit. To be able to collaborate in a team people need to be familiar with and using the same software/platforms.

Compendium can be used as a basic mind-map or flow chart and with experience be used for much more, as an e-portfolio of sorts.

It is overly prescriptive. Tools need to be intuitive and follow common practices regarding buttons and outcomes. For a first draft I prefer marker pen on paper, followed by bubbl.us.

As Beetham’s Chapter 2 (Activity 2) points out learners will find their own way through a task regardless. We understand things differently, draw on different experiences and come up with our own metaphors.

Whilst I go with the ‘Swim Lanes’ analogy, I often think the reality is like a Catherine-wheel nailed to a post in the rain.

Should an exercise such as this be addressed in a way that has so scientific connotations? It is surprising how easy it is to share the narrative of a linear activity in a multitude of ways. A simple set of numbered bullet points, perhaps worked up as a presentation. As a board game, one step taken at a time. Or a set of activity cards. You can talk it through by counting five activities off on your fingers. I’ll do one of these in the truly, joyful, brilliant www.bubbl.us and post it to my ou blog and extracurricular blog’ ‘My Mind Bursts’ which in turn is fed to Twitter ‘jj27vv.’

Make one of these mind maps, then change your mind and be tickled with the way the ‘node’ or ‘bubbl’ behaves . Go see! This and a list of wonderful tools from an H808 student who is a primary school teacher in Thailand. Work should be fun, especially learning design. After all, if you don’t enjoy it, how do you expect your future students to behave?

PART THREE

Bubbl.us has gone from toy to a grown up tool with layers and the opportunity to add sound, images (stills and moving) and no doubt much more, none of which I have had time to try.

The old bubbl.us was like playing with kid’s party balloons and when you deleted a balloon (or node) it blew up and burst into flames. This new version still does some magic to the eye, fading away like a mist, also when you save melting into the background like a rainbow of ice melting.

An extraordinary delight to the senses and apparently of far more practicle use than I credited it with a few months ago.

 

 

Click on this and it takes you to Picassa Dropbox. You can then enlarge it, save the code and help yourself. I think all the images I’ve put into this OU identify album is ‘open to the public.’

Seeing this all again I am reminded of my inspiration David McCandless.

By working on this a few more times an art director or designer would turn it into a thing of beauty; it is this level of inspiration that sells ideas to committees, colleagues and others.

People buy into ideas. People like to be inspired.

The pedagogy must of course be sound, the right offering of activities, outcomes and learner flexibility and support is the OU magic mix.

P.S. Don’t imagine I was familiar with any of these tools until I started the MAODE in Feb 2010, most of everything I now use I was introduced to by someone here.

PART FOUR

Adding the role of the Tutor.

Is this a model or an expression of what took place?

At what point, by adding Tutor engagement, and then picking out individuals in relation to their tutor group forum participation do you make assumptions?

A questionnaire would elicit the facts.

At some point the complexity of the activity shown diminishes the ease at which the chart is interpreted.

 

I’d replaced the imploring ‘HAVE FUN!’ with the more germane ‘ENGAGE!’ i.e. take part, I say this because debate and discussion may not be fund with a smile.

Often I liken a session that spins out of control as a Catherine-Wheel nailed to a post that fizzles and falls … or winds down. Some activities can be like this, ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

They tend to be the most fulfilling, where everyone in the group takes part. Or at least SIX on a regular basis to give the thing some spin.

Failure to participate is the killer; with it an activity can be a wild success, drawing people in, urging them to take part. Without them you are on your own ‘with your books and your thoughts.’

The reality of distance learning online is a bit of both, the trick is to be able to engage and disengage with reasonable flexibility, not feeling guilty whether you are quiet for a period or when you are ever-present.

The role of the tutor is a tricky one

Mentor and coach, or subject matter expert? Institutional insider to guide? Overseer? Absent landlord? Marker? Assessor? Animateur?

The role is changing. It will be as different as it is in the ‘real’ world from the one-to-one private tutor, or the ‘gang master’ running 60 students via pre-recorded video lecture. Customers, as students can call themselves with greater validity if they are paying significant sums, will be demanding.

‘Change is all around us’.

(Sung to the tune of Wet, Wet, Wet’s ‘love is all around us’).

PART FIVE

Get in a designer and make it a thing of information beauty.

Sell it internally and externally.

Schedule, produce.

Watch what happens and adjust accordingly.

How do you study if you are both a tutor and a student?

I guess if you are a chemistry tutor and you’re studying e-learning the two are complementary but you cannot, be both tutor and student of the same course (though interestingly this has/is occurring in our module with a tutor absent the OU failing to accommodate).

It’s rather making me think that student as tutor is absolutely possible.

Why not? All it requires is leadership and initiative. I don’t see tutors as subject matter experts. Can you cater for everyone? In communications you need to know your audience. Writers are meant to think of their reader as one person, not millions. How should teachers/tutors think? Of student, or students? Does it matter anymore?

Can we, knowing or indulging ourselves, choose from a plethora of ways into a subject?

I have to wonder, thinking in extremes, why we don’t have tutor groups by gender, by generation, even by profession … let alone our current professional status. Would for example all those working for the armed services benefited from being in a group of their own?

And how do we make such a choice?

Too late if you buy a book, even read a sample, only to find the rest of the content doesn’t deliver.

What about a course?

You pay the fees for a module only to feel or realise a week or so on that it is going to disappoint all the way to the end?

Do you choose by Brand?

Do you choose by awarding body?

And what say do we have?

Can we play-act the model online student?

Would it help to have such an image and then be this person?

Can we assume ourselves into a level of comprehension what we haven’t yet reached and as a result of such aspirations and performance become this more informed and ‘educated’ person?

With an interest and some training in sport and developing young elite athletes I’ve studied Long Term Athlete Development. With a sport, let alone studying, we can group children by gender and biological age. When or where do such groupings or any groupings become difficult to create, or politically incorrect to create? Should not institutions go to greater lengths to group people scientifically?

And to mix these groups up as we go along, if only to change and balanced the learning opportunities?

This is the OU’s show, their party. They are hosting an event, or series of events or have we simply taken a few steps beyond getting a box of books and CDs on the doorstep at the start of a module … to the set of railway tracks that is the like a cartoon, are laid before our eyes as each new week approaches? Who ‘owns’ this course? I get know sense of that, or someone leading. The tutors/authors of the course left years ago. Perhaps this is obvious and given the topic and the speed of change in e-learning is detrimental. I wonder, if given time, more ‘natural’ tutor groupings would form in the national forums of ‘General Discussions’ and the Café from which break-out tutor groups could be constructed (or they do?) I wonder if the solution is in the ways resources are presented, that there need to be multiple ways into a topic. That once size never did fit all.

That ideally we would each have a personal tutor, that all learning would be one to one and tailor to our needs, as they are and as they change … and as we are changed by the process and anything else that is going on around us.

Do we all want a take-away, or a pot-lunch?

The set menu and if so as a school dinner, or from a top restaurant? Home cooking or our own cooking?

Might I say with H800 are getting the ‘set menu,’ i.e. the choice is limited. All I’m discussing here is choice; the next point would be the size of helpings. How do we respond to either being hungry as a wolf (read everything) or not hungry at all (graze nonchalantly doing the bare minimum?) The answer, as I found in H808, was to have plenty of moderated activities in the General Discussion, Café and Supplementary Activity Forums … where like minds could meet, where if you found you had time or wanted to make time, you could get involved in a different group and therefore benefit from an alternative dynamic. I have found that with groups, even more so away from the OU, that are global in scope, that you find groupings that are topic specific and where you can, whenever you like, find a conversation to engage with that adds to your knowledge.

It is a vital part of the learning process I believe, where you form opinions and develop ideas as a result of your engagement, the only issue being that your voice comes out of the tips of your fingers rather than your mouth, which rather suggests we’d all have been better off communicating to our parents and siblings at home via a QWERTY keyboard from an early age so we had these surprisingly necessary skills in place.

Perhaps, as there appears to be so much inclination, whether desire or otherwise, to shift towards the Oxbridge tutorial system as a model, (small tutor groups), might not we also have junior, middle and senior common rooms?

Might we not also have a variety of virtual colleges? And taking just one idea from this … ought we not to have more than one tutor, even within a module, perhaps a different module for each TMA?

Reinvention’s the word!

The diffusion of innovations according to Roge...

The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers (1962). With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t ‘re-invention’ the word? (Rogers, 2005. P. 114 -115)

 

Not wholesale repurposing, but as Rogers puts it ‘It should be acknowledged that rejection, discontinuance and re-invention frequently occur during the diffusion of an innovation and that such behaviour may be rational and appropriate from the individual’s point of view.’ (Rogers, p114 2002)

 

I wonder how my experience might have been with a group of colleagues or friends, signing up together … but might this too ‘spoil the party.’ And how over a longer period fellow students would be emailing and messaging and getting on the phone … let alone meeting up.

 

This fascinates me primarily because I am convinced that collaboration, sharing, discussion and so on is crucial to a deeper learning outcome.

 

But does this not have to be down to the drive of the individual and permitted by the institution they belong to?

 

How much motivation can others really offer or be expected to offer?

 

If neither a carrot or stick will work with adult learners, especially in a online environment, then what do you do?

 

‘You can take a horse to the trough, but you can’t make it drink.’

 

As I’m about to take a course on the Psychology of Sport as a Senior Swimming Coach I may gain some further insights into waht motivates people to do something and how outsiders can influence this in a positive way.

 

And just because we’re invited to drink from this trough once, dos not mean we will do it again, or often or with enthusiasm. Our moods will wax and wane, or commitments beyond the course will impinge.

 

Deep learning, as I’ve learnt, benefits from, even requires a rapport with one or several others at various levels of understanding – a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or experts, a tutor, a couple of fellow students on the course, and perhaps someone more junior who can be in turn mentored or tutored by us (first years being buddied by a second year, a post-grad student supervising a fresher).

 

How much this mix can be set by what little the OU or other Distance Learning Provider knows about an individual is quite another matter.

 

Do you run a call-centre like team of facilitators/moderators … or aspire to the one-to-one relationship of tutor or governess to student mimicking some land-owning/aristocratic model of the distant past?

 

 

Or is this something for a DPhil?

 

A free-for-all would create imbalances, inevitably … for the institution. But whose experience are we prioritising here?

 

Whilst a balance must be found, if the best outcomes are to give tutors and SMEs much more time online to forge relationships then this should be – a good coach attracts the best athletes and attracts the interest of other coaches. How does she do that? (Expertise, training and personality … enthusiasm, putting the athlete at the centre of things)

Perhaps by pursuing ‘educational social networking’ institutions are shooting themselves in the financial foot?

 

The time put in to make a freer networking between students, tutors and SMEs, with students in different time zones and different priorities would be prohibitive. Undergraduates studying on campus, in a homophilous cohort, with fewer worries (other than debt) don’t know how fortunate they are to have this opportunity to study, probably for the only time, before the life of the wider world impinges.

 

REFERENCE

 

Rogers, E,M. Diffusion of Innovations. (2005) 5th Ed.

 

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