Online discussion boards, and associated activities that use them, can get a bit of a bad name sometimes either through inacitivty or lack of quality posts to abusive or bullying. I admit these are extremes of activity, but none the less still valid concerns for academics who want to try something new or different.
I’ve always tried to advocate the approach of ‘design an activity and then see which tools fits’ rather than ‘an activity written around a discussion board’. The latter implies it’s the tool driving the activity, the former implies the activity or learning outcome is matched to the most appropriate tool.
When setting discussion boards up I’ve always favoured posts being attributed to and identifiable to the person posting it – this helps to build personal relationships based on content and opinions, it also helps to encourage ownership and a responsible online etiquette (netiquette). But what about the option of allowing posts to be anonymous? Does this stop the discussion taking shape or progressing?
The paper, by Roberts and Rajah-Kanagasabai (2013) looks at the anonymity of posts and the ‘comfort’ of students to participate in anonymous discussions over those where they are identified. 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 →
“This article examined how higher education students used text and instant messaging for academic purposes with their peers and faculty. Specifically, comfort level, frequency of use, usefulness, reasons for messaging and differences between peer-to-peer and peer-to-instructor interactions were examined. Students noted that they were very comfortable with using both text and instant messaging. Text messaging was used weekly with instructors and daily with peers. Instant messaging was used rarely with instructors but weekly with peers. Students rated text messaging as very useful and instant messaging as moderately useful for academic purposes. Key reasons cited for using both text and instant messaging included saving time, resolving administrative issues, convenience and ease of use. Text messaging appears to be the preferred mode of communication for students with respect to communicating with both peers and instructors. It is concluded that both text and instant messaging are useful and viable tools for augmenting student’s communication among peers and faculty in higher education.”
When I read this article – “Invest in Your Customers More Than Your Brand” – from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) I couldn’t help but make similarities between ‘brand’ and ‘learning’, between ‘customers’ and ‘students’. That is why this post is called “Invest in your ‘students’ more than your ‘learning’.”
I know we shouldn’t see students as customers but the simple truth is that many of them think of themselves that way and, since students are paying up to £9,000 per year for their University degrees now, Universities are competing for students numbers in similar ways to companies competing for High Street or online shoppers.
There are some incredibly recognisable brands in the world today, but why are they so big and so memorable? When someone mentions a big brand what do you think? If I mention Nike do you think about the ‘tick’ logo, the quality of product, or the sports personality wearing it? If I ask about Marks & Spencers do you again think green and gold logo or the ease of parking at their stores? There is a difference here between what the organisation wants their brand to be, and what their customers think their brand is. Brand is not necessarily what you want it to be, but what your customers thinks it is. Continue reading →
“A new study of U.S. college students asked them what they think education will look like in the years to come. What they had to say could affect your association’s meetings and education strategy when it comes to attracting these next-generation attendees.”
The Associates Now article by Sam Whitehorne is a good insight into what Generation Y / Millennial students, not educators, think the future of education should be. Based on research from Millennial Branding called The Future of Education the study shows how students who have grown up with the Internet and online ‘personas’ perceive education now and in the future.
Highlights of the report include:
A quarter of students feel unprepared for the working world and almost two thirds of students believe that it’s both their college’s and their own responsibility to be prepared for the working world. Continue reading →
What is at the core of an online course or a MOOC? You could argue it’s the academic integrity of the materials or learning. It could be the level of student engagement in required activities. I would argue that (even if not at the core, but very close to it) should be the expectations placed on the students both academically and technically!
There’s no point having a good (large, massive?) number of students enrolled on the course if you already know that a proportion of them are not technically or academically capable of engaging or completing the course. Is this one of the criticisms of MOOCs?
Registration is still open so, if you’re not one of the 900+ soles already involved and engaged, why not pop along to octel.alt.ac.uk and join in?
What can we expect, now we have more details than were previously available? Weekly emails, weekly webinars (including archived recording as well), and an email providing an overview to the week ahead. This is exactly the kind of student engagement and signposting I’ve been highlighting and pushing through my work and writing before. It is nice to see that I am in tune with ALT and those who are creating/running this MOOC! Thank you.
“ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is not behind a password login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the general mix.”
Well, the first extended week is set aside for an induction to this MOOC, MOOCs in general, and the platform itself – Continue reading →
What a great video with so much to say, but I’m concentrating on the elements of the “importance of teacher presence” section, especially given my recent experience with the Coursera / Edinburgh EDC MOOC:
“The role of an academic now is really designing learning environments that engage students. If I’m saying that engagement is the Holy Grail I’d better be engaging in ways they enjoy, not that I’m used to.”
A. Prof. Emma Robertson:
“You have to be there, you have to be paying attention to what they’re saying. And what I find is if you do that effectively in the first two weeks the rest takes care of itself – you’ve established the benchmark that you’re expecting”
Prof. Matthew Allen
“Teacher presence is a very important part of the socialisation of students into online learning, and it’s not that you are therefore dominating and telling students what to learn, it’s that you’re playing the role of ‘guide-on-the-side’, the person who’s there to help the students along but not to become the one they rely upon.”
The rest of the video is also worth watching, for an insight into creating learning environments, strategies for motivating students, and sustaining participation and engagement. A good resource, as are others in the series ‘Learning to Teach Online’.
I may have made the title up, as this video is not about a ‘wall of learning’ but it does showcase what can be done with technology and the need/desire to share and facilitate learning. The original Mashable post was simply about the tech and the multi-touch screen
“The wall … is designed to foster stronger engagement between visitors and individual items in the collection … not just for discovery, but for acting on that discovery. Using the museum’s ArtLens iPad app, visitors can link to the wall to add works to their own custom museum tours.”
This is a great way to introduce a museum’s catalogue of work to students, either in the museum or online (in the classroom. etc.). The student can pick one piece of work (or have one picked for them) and the wall/technology can show related or contradictory work, thus engaging the student and making them think about the work in it’s original context and/or in a new context.
Many museum’s have more work than they have space to display, so this could be a great way to bring artwork from archives and storage into the public display again.
Class trip to the museum can start in the classroom with a pre-activity that will direct what the student does or tries to find out when they are in the museum and can continue long after the trip is over and the students are back in class.
Wouldn’t it be good if it can be personalised, that it could remember who is looking through the catalogue (or use NFC to ‘see’ who is standing in front of it?), so collections can be tailored to the user’ profile? Or that it could be used to question the user on the artwork, the artist, or the sculptor, in collaboration with the app?
The idea behind the wall
“shows an openness and willingness, on museum administrators’ parts, to rethink traditional visiting experiences to achieve their chief goals: In this case, to foster interest and better educate visitors about works of art.”