Tag Archives: Distance Learning

What makes a good online course?

What makes a good online learning experience?

Is it possible to define the qualities of what makes a good online learning experience, or a good MOOC? Is there a check list we could have pinned to the wall which we could use as we design and build our courses?

Here’s a few items I think the list needs, feel free to add your own ideas in the comments field below:

Presentation: Is the student able to relate to the subject and the presenter / educator? This is not always easy as the platform (Blackboard, Moodle, FutureLearn, Udacity, etc.) often controls how the materials are ‘presented’. Even with these constraints you do have options on designing your materials and laying them out in ways which make them easy to navigate or interact with.  Continue reading

Netflix

Learning the Netflix way

I’ve just read the post by Donald Clark called ‘What does ‘learning’ have to learn from Netflix?’ which has resonated with much of my own thinking from recent work and discussions I’ve been having on Twitter.

I signed up for one of the free 1 month trials of Netflix when it was first available in the UK. I enjoyed it, then cancelled it. I’d got what I wanted. Then I realised I wanted access to the binge-watching phenomenons like House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and the one that started them all, 24. But more than this, as Donald mentions in his post, I wanted access to the kind of programmes I like and at my convenience. I am not always available at 9PM every Thursday to watch the latest instalment of my favourite show(s), just like I don’t actually want to wait a full week for the next episode. I first watched 24 on DVD, not Sky, so I did binge-watch the show, usually 4 full episodes a night (or 1 DVD) and went to bed wired for the next marathon 24-fest.

So, if we’re changing our viewing habits, are we changing our learning habits (as pointed out by Donald)?

Yes. Consider Donald’s points:  Continue reading

Interview with Sharon Flynn, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Sharon Flynn, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this fifth post I talk to Sharon Flynn, Assistant Director at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, National University of Ireland, Galway.

DH – Hi Sharon. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

SF – Almost everything I do, on a daily basis, is affected by technology. From the radio alarm waking me in the morning, the coffee machine that provides the kick to get me started, the always-on aspect of my mobile phone, the constant expectation of availability by email/phone during (and outwith) office hours, my almost constant presence on twitter, my new slow cooker that allows me plan family meals, through to the glorious availability of anything I want to watch on sky+, my day is mostly ruled by technology. And that’s before I get into the proper work aspects of technology for teaching and learning!  Continue reading

MOOCs

MOOCs – 9 points on what I like, and what I don’t

Over two years ago I wrote about a few experiences I’d had with some online courses / MOOCs, and why I ‘failed’ (according to the general headline figures of engagement, attendance, etc. that are used in mainstream press).

I want to revisit this, in light of more experience in both designing MOOCs and being a student on them.

Disclaimer: This is based on courses I’ve taken on the FutureLearn, Coursera, Cloudworks, EdX, and WordPress (OcTEL) platforms. I also highlight whether is was a student on the course, or part of the development team.

1. Comments and Engagement: For the most part I’ve been a silent students. This is both deliberate and accidental. Where it’s been a deliberate choice to not engage in the comments and discussion it’s been because I knew I didn’t have the time or inclination to trawl through the hundreds of fairly uninteresting posts to add my two-pennies worth or find the one nugget of insight that is worth anything. It’s also because, for some courses, I didn’t have enough interest to take my engagement further.

Continue reading

Interview with Wayne Barry, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Wayne Barry, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this second post I talk to Wayne Barry, Education and Social Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent.

DH – Hi Wayne. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

WB – Hi David. That’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t considered before as technology is so much a part of our lives that we don’t always stop to consider it’s role and impact.

Continue reading

Interview with Sue Beckingham, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Sue Beckingham, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this first post I talk to Sue Beckingham, Educational Developer at Sheffield Hallam University.

DH – Hi Sue. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

SB – It’s an integral part of my daily routine. By this I mean that I make use of the affordances of my mobile phone to access a wide range of apps to help organise my day, provide me with news, information as part of my research and of course social networking places where I keep abreast of what’s happening out in the field via my personal learning network (PLN).  Continue reading

10 Ways to Keep ELearning Interesting

10 ways to keep eLearning interesting

From the  Sh!ft eLearning website – 10 Ways to Keep ELearning Interesting. Creating the learning resources and delivering the content is one thing, but creating and delivering content that is both engaging and thought provoking (and ‘sticky’) is something else. This infographic (below) is a nice handy chart on the kinds of things you could consider adding to keep the learner interested.

“Even more than other types of education, eLearning must struggle to attract learners’ attention: the Internet is full of distractions, and adult learners are both busier and more free to indulge in distractions. Helping students to pay attention is a primary concern of training professionals, so here are some optimal methods to win the attention game in eLearning.” 10 Ways to Keep ELearning Interesting

5 Tips To Engage Your Students in eLearning

5 Tips for engaging your students #eLearning

A handy ‘5 tips for engaging your students in eLearning’ infographic – something to print out and stick on the wall as a handy reminder of what you/we can do to make it easier for students to get the best out of their (e)learning:

  • Keep it interesting & relevant
  • Keep it organised and uncluttered
  • Keep it interesting
  • Keep up to date
  • Make it engaging & interactive

5 Tips To Engage Your Students in eLearning

Continue reading

Utopia Classroom 2050

Classrooms in 2050

What will classrooms look like in 2050? Of course it’s easy to picture (!), haven’t you figured it out yet?

Yes, I know that I know nothing of this, which is why five leaders in their field were asked what they thought about it: what is the future of education? by Ariel Bogle.

This is what they think. As I read it (and please do so yourself on the link above) I got more and more annoyed. It was less and less about classrooms or learning in 2050 and more about ‘what’s happening now you think will have an impact in 30+ years time’. Only two, Naomi Davidson and Michael Gibson, seemed to truly look beyond the here-and-now projected education 36 years forward.

  • students will already be used to “interactive, engaging, live classes from anywhere they may happen to be, with the only requirement being a camera, a screen, and a wi-fi connection.”

Is this a warning? If we’re going to truly support engaged learners we need to get this done at the basic level to enable further change, connection, etc.
Continue reading

Research in Learning Technology

Reading: Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective

Mobile learning is a relatively new phenomenon and the theoretical basis is currently under development. The paper presents a pedagogical perspective of mobile learning which highlights three central features of mobile learning: authenticity, collaboration and personalisation, embedded in the unique timespace contexts of mobile learning. A pedagogical framework was developed and tested through activities in two mobile learning projects located in teacher education communities: Mobagogy, a project in which faculty staff in an Australian university developed understanding of mobile learning; and The Bird in the Hand Project, which explored the use of smartphones by student teachers and their mentors in the United Kingdom. The framework is used to critique the pedagogy in a selection of reported mobile learning scenarios, enabling an assessment of mobile activities and pedagogical approaches, and consideration of their contributions to learning from a socio-cultural perspective.

Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K., Aubusson, P.. Viewing mobile learning from a pedagogical perspective. Research in Learning Technology, North America, 20, feb. 2012. Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/14406. Date accessed: 08 May. 2014.