Next week is the 2014 Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference in Dublin. The programme looks very comprehensive and has 6 streams in motion, which means it’s going to be very difficult to attend and cover all the sessions I want to attend – which means I’m going to have to be very selective about what, and who, I see.
Here’s my first impressions of what I will try and see -
Wednesday, April 30.
Keynote / Prof Stephen Heppell. I have met and talked with Prof Heppell on numerous occasions (at Learning Without Frontiers in 2011 and during my time working at Bournemouth University) and know that his unique perspective and style will make this keynote both interesting and hugely profound on the issues affecting education today. This is one session you do not want to miss. Continue reading →
When it comes to developing materials and learning resources for your course, I think it’s important to know when to keep it simple.
We have all seen examples, or know of some, where every possible bell-and-whistle has been applied, in good intention, but the final result has made the course complicated and heavy.
Here are a few tips on how, and why, to keep it simple, which apply as much to online distance learning courses as well as campus courses:
Signpost: provide little ‘signposts’ to learning resources, assignment details, marking criteria, timetables, etc. to help the student. The larger the course or course materials then the more complicated the course structure could be, and the more lost a students will find themselves in your course. Continue reading →
Well, do we? The paper concludes in saying that the students “did not demand mobile learning and were in fact mostly neutral about the experience” and that “they did not perceive a notable improvement to their learning” (Kinesh et al, 2012). While the students did not report an opposition to the inclusion of the mobile App, they also are not reported to have had any prior experience of it, a preference to mobile learning that was not limited to Blackboard Mobile Learn, nor they opinions (positive or negative) to mobile learning in general. Continue reading →
Welcome to a final few thoughts on and about 2013: what did I do, what did I read, what did I achieve, what did I miss, what did I not do … you get the picture. Well …
After thinking, planning, and talking about it for nearly two years I finally got round to planning, writing, and publishing my eBook on QR Codes in Education. (May 2013).
Several years in the making I finally completed my CMALT portfolio and submitted it and gained my CMALT accreditation (November 2013).
In October I re-read my QR Codes in Education eBook and realised it would read better with a different structure to the contents and I took the opportunity to make it available as a printed book too (November 2013). Working with the CreateSpace website I restructured the materials, redesigned the cover and worked on the 2nd edition of the book (also updating the eBook too to match).
Worked closely with colleagues in Leicester on aspects of mobile learning, online marking and feedback, support, course reconfiguration, and roles & responsibilities.
Here’s the question … has anyone designed a Blackboard course purely from the perspective of working from the Mobile Learn App? Is it a mobile-friendly Bb course, or is it in fact a mobile-first approach to course design?
In my very unscientific approach I have seen differences between content I have loaded to a Blackboard (Bb) course and how it is displayed in the browser and in the App, but I’ve not seen what a Bb course looks like if it’s been designed purely for access and interactions through the App. Here’s why i’m asking:
I suspect that no one has built one yet.
I suspect that the course, designed for mobile, would not work well for a desktop learner.
I suspect that some elements, like tables and other “customization” approaches (as Bb refers to them), will not work pedagogically when we follow the Bb guide and the “suggest adding these content types as a PDF file” advice.
Can you create a good ‘design’ that allows for good pedagogy in the restrictions imposed by the App (images, files, layout, screen real-estate, etc.)?
I see plenty of resources that mimic the Bb help pages and resources, but none that actually explain and/or showcase good ‘design’. If you have examples, or links, or screenshots, or reports, or journal articles you can share with the rest of us then please leave them in comments below.
Here we are at week four and challenge four. At the moment of writing I’ve earned three out of four badges that have been issued, with my response for the third challenge updated to take into account the feedback and comments about the lack of details I made about the competency framework and individual student ‘persona’.
You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!
Week 4 – Learning Providers
I can see the benefit of looking at badges for the soon-to-leave-education school leavers, and those already in work either actively looking for a new role or to up-skill themselves. But please don’t ignore higher education and both staff and students in it. Undergraduate degrees (and postgraduate degrees too) have as much to do with life skills as the specific subject of the degree award, and badges are a new and clear way to showcase these skills if, as I’ve said before, the criteria is selected and applied carefully and considerately. Continue reading →
You can read all my posts from this MOOC on the OpenBadgesMOOC tag, when I’ve written them!
Why this MOOC?
Why is this MOOC interesting to me? I have posted about Open Badges a number of times, and how I feel the ability to demonstrate skills and knowledge obtained during a formal course of study (University) are not always easy to spot, and certainly not easy to show through the normal / formal certification received. If students can earn badges for skills, group work, ability, etc. rather than an overall ‘grade’ which is considers pass / fail then this is of use to prospective employers? Aren’t we always hearing how students are not being prepared for the modern workplace? With a Mozilla BackPack full of badges (here’s my Backpack: Mozilla Open Badges) the student able to show and demonstrate these skills will have an edge. Yes?
Now that the CourseSite has opened up the meatier sections we can see what the next six weeks is about. We’ll be looking at Openness, Badge Fundamentals, Employers and Learners, Providers, and Opportunities. There are a number of groups for us to join, no doubt to help us focus on the area(s) of most interest or importance to our own badge requirements (personal or professional). I joined the following groups:
Badges for Higher Education Instructor/Faculty Professional Development
Badges for MOOCs
Badges in Traditional Higher Ed Courses
Week 1 – “Openness”
Week one is about ‘openness’ and the disparity between job descriptions and alignment of knowledge that formal courses have to the job specifications. This fresh approach (badges) could be viewed as a new ‘currency’ exchange “between job seekers, learning providers, and employers”. Continue reading →
As many of you will have heard, either from the tweets or Blackboard notices, there is building block for Blackboard that allows you to assign and issue badges of achievements to students which they can copy to their Mozilla Back Pack.
I think there still needs to be some proper consideration on what the badge is being issued for: the video below states the badges are issued based on “specific student performance metrics” (don’t get me wrong, I’m in favour of badges and some gamification of learning, but it needs to be an appropriate badge for an appropriate activity) such as:
a section of a course … possibly using the ‘mark as reviewed’ status? This is not meaningful as the students can just mark everything as reviewed and get the badge (I’ve done it before).
complete assignments … why give a badge for this? if they complete the assignment they get a mark and progress to the next module (would a student want to show a badge for a B grade when their friends are showing A’s)?
I would argue that a badge issued to a student who shows a skill learned, not a score or grade given, is more meaningful: e.g. debating skill, team or group management, individual goal attainment, etc. The badges could be carefully aligned to skills and metrics that are as much about the learning and subject as about the professional nature of the course – something the student can use to demonstrate a skill and understanding, something that an employer or interviewer would want to see from an applicant? That would make it more valuable to the student, and increase the importance of the badge.
There are more to badges in learning than just being able to show that the student passed an assignment or activity. What do you think?
As if my MOOC failure rate isn’t bad enough, I’ve signed up for another MOOC in the vain hope that I’ll complete it (only 1 completion out of 6 so far). This one is run through the Blackboard CourseSites environment and is run available for self-enrollment now for a September 2013 start.
The MOOC aims to expand flexible learning opportunities and authentic evidence-based assessment with the use of the Mozilla Open Badge system for “accreditation and employer recognition”. The participating organisations plan to use the MOOC to
“… convene and moderate an international discussion on the role of badges as a new currency of exchange for high value, post-secondary credentials for the new workforce … [and] will explore the ecosystem for a new credential economy based on badges and surface aspects of what would be required to adopt such an approach.”
Starting on September 9th this will run for 6 weeks, so hopefully I’ve done what I need to before I start on my Masters degree with Grainne Conole at the University of Leicester. I do however see one very large downside to this MOOC – there are regular synchronous online sessions planned each week and, being on the other side of the Atlantic, means they will running at an awkward time for those in the UK or Europe.