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.
As 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.
My complaint is, and has been (and may continue to be), that they are not eBooks in the sense of an ePub or MOBI file, i.e. scalable, accessible, etc. Academic eBooks are files, often PDFs, loaded to a proprietary piece of software that controls access, printing, searching, etc. In this software you can view the whole book page inside their ‘skin’ which enables searches, thumbnails, chapter links, etc. When viewed on a desktop this is clunky, at best, but workable. Continue reading →
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.”
“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”
The 2014 IGGY Junior Commission report on Education and the Internet is an important read. I’ve not had chance to digest all of it yet, but what I have read makes for some uncomfortable reading for Higher Education – take note: children understand the technology they have access to, the understand the possibilities (and challenge them), and know how they want to use it and bring it into all aspects of their lives, including learning / classroom / education.
“The IGGY Junior Commission enables ten of the brightest young minds to collaborate with one another to achieve a global goal. These young people are the potential leaders of the future and deserve an opportunity to share their views and recommendations.”
Research and interviews from 289 school children and 109 teachers from 14 different countries helped form the conclusions of the report which include: Continue reading →
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 →
After such a successful run earlier this year, the team behind BYOD4L (Sue Beckingham, Chrissi Nerantzi, Andrew Middleton, et al) are working their magic again – put the dates in your diary: BYOD4L July 14-18. I have been invited back again this time to work with Sue, Andrew, and Chrissi (and the other team members) and will be engaging course participants online.
This article by Austin Fitzhenry asks a simple question: “can students teach their lecturers a thing or two?”
Go read the full article on the Times Higher Education website, it is very good, extremely well written, and full of thought provoking comments and observations that need consideration if we are to improve the relationship between ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’.
Below are a few sections that caught my eye for one reason or another:
“The question “Why am I here?” often strikes in the 73rd minute of a droning lecture. Don’t misunderstand – I love lectures. But only if the person delivering it knows how to allow learning. And yes, I do mean “allow”, for academics don’t create learning – only the student can do that. Unfortunately, most if not all lecturers are crippled by misunderstandings about their students and ill-founded assumptions about education itself. If we can filter the mud from the Pierian Spring, then they will have far less frustration in their lives and students will stop wishing that they were somewhere else. So one afternoon, after a particularly frustrating day with my professors, I sat down and wrote my lecture to them. I pray that they are taking notes.” Continue reading →
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.