Tag Archives: Support


eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC #edcmooc

EDCMOOCOK, after all the fuss and blog posts written about MOOCs and how they’ll take over HE I’ve decided to take one, and the eLearning and Digital Cultures MOOC provided by University of Edinburgh and Coursera looks a good start (it’s also a January ’13 start date so I’ve time to prepare!).

“E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology. We’ll explore some of the most engaging perspectives on digital culture in its popular and academic forms, and we’ll consider how our practices as teachers and learners are informed by the difference of the digital. We’ll look at how learning and literacy is represented in popular digital-, (or cyber-) culture. For example, how is ‘learning’ represented in the film The Matrix, and how does this representation influence our understanding of the nature of e-learning? “

As a student I’ll be “invited to think critically and creatively about e-learning, to try out new ideas in a supportive environment, and to gain fresh perspectives on your own experiences of teaching and learning.” Starting with a “film festival” (i.e. YouTube) to review how the clips might relate to themes that emerge from the course materials, and then progressing to the “consideration of multimodal literacies and digital media, and you’ll be encouraged you to think about visual methods for presenting knowledge and conveying understanding.”

YouTube: E-learning and Digital Cultures

As with most MOOCs at the moment you don’t get any formal qualification or commendation from completion of the MOOC but ‘successful’ candidates do get a certificate.

For me this is as much about the topic (eLearning and Digital Culture) as attending a ‘profesisonal’ MOOC, to find out more about both areas. What about you – will you, have you, did you .. ??

PS. only three of the team are on Twitter, and I cannot see a hashtag for it yet.

I’ll also use this as evidence of CMALT application, if I still haven’t finished it by then. But if i have, then it can be used as evidence of continued development … there’s a thought!

Update: (yes, an update before I’ve even published the post!) I’ve just heard about this MOOC – the ‘Monstrous Open Online Courses‘ that is the MOOC about MOOCs … “beginning on August 12 [2012]. Over the course of one week, MOOC MOOC will explore the pedagogical approach, the sustainability of the form, and alternatives to MOOCs. “

Getting the job done

Getting the job done

Getting the job done

When you know what’s wrong and where or who to go to for help you can get on with things really quickly with minimal fuss and bother. But when you either don’t know what’s wrong or don’t know where to go for help it can be difficult and stressful. It is even worse, however, if you know what’s wrong and where to go for help … and then get stuck in a system that won’t or can’t help you.

This was never more important for me than when dealing with my new home phone line. The brief story is that an engineer came out to connect the phone line and broadband (4 weeks ago) but as ‘something’ hadn’t been switched prior to his visit so he couldn’t complete the installation. A second engineer was booked for the next day (phone line working fine at this point, I hasten to add). The next engineer got the broadband installed and working but now the phone line had really bad static and kept dropping calls (not that we could hear anyone because of the static!).

Now the calls to customer support and technical queries start, and continue for nearly 3 weeks! I won’t bore you with the trials and tribulations of this nightmare, but be sure I was not happy, nor calm, and definitely not about to accept a £99 callout fee to check their own equipment!

What made me mad is the complete lack of customer support from the customer support service. The ‘problem’ was somehow my fault and my problem, and I was made to feel like I was bothering them and interrupting their work. From my perspective, if you provide support, of any type, you ought to:

  • give your staff the tools with which to help,
  • provide your teams with knowledge to be able to understand the kind of faults they may encounter and to be able check these faults,
  • make sure you honour promises of help and call-backs, and
  • don’t get your customers involved in petty squabbles about who’s to blame (in your organisation) for lack of progress.

Unfortunately, none of this was really apparent with the people I spoke to almost daily. I could not believe the support staff I spoke to: their readiness to blame their colleagues for poor performance, their ‘rudeness’ at not calling back when they promised (only to not call back themselves)! I am not interested in the actions of one (or many, is it is here), nor am I interested in who caused the fault. I am interested in what they were going to do to source the fault and offer a solution. The impression I have of is not of a company who values their customers, not even a new customer.

However, to my rescue comes my PLN and Twitter, notably @veggieg3ek and @CraigTaylor74 … and ultimately @BTCare! From a (carefully worded and heavily toned-down) tweet my PLN put me in touch with this otherwise hidden customer care team who, in several short but very productive tweets and phone calls got me an appointment with an engineer, the very next day, and sorted the line with minimal fuss (and a call-back when it was promised)! Thank you @BTCare (Darren & Tony/Toni?)!

This is not to say that they did anything special, they didn’t bend the rules or anything like that. They did their job – they listened to the situation, identified one of several issues and acted on that in a friendly yet professional manner. They apologised for the mess that had been caused and said they’d work  with me to find the solution. And that’s what they did. Without the fuss and hassle I’d had from the main support team(s). Thank you (again).

So, from this I’ve learned that if you want to keep your stakeholders (students, colleagues, management, investors, subscribers, readers, etc.) happy when your systems or products are not working as advertised, or expected, here are some of my tips (from this experience, and others I have had personally and professionally):

  • Listen to what is being said, and deal with it the best you can.
  • Don’t say you can help if you can’t, and don’t say you can’t … offer to contact someone else who can.
  • If you start something, be sure to  see it through to the end … unless you can’t, then refer to the point above and find someone who can.
  • Take the feedback you are given and act on it, don’t ignore it or you’ll make it worse or even find some very negative comments about you AND your employer on Social Networks.
  • Don’t blame your colleagues, but don’t accept responsibility on their behalf either.
  • Be firm but flexible. Remember, it’s your job to help – you don’t have to take abuse, nor do you have to give it or make it worse by dragging the support out longer than is necessary.
  • Do honour your own promise of a call-back, no matter how embarrassing or painful it’ll be (trust me, it’s worse if you don’t).
  • Use Social Networks … your stakeholders do, and that’s where they will moan first and loudest!
  • Above all, stay calm (this goes for you if you’re the one calling support too!)

Image source: Nathan Read / Flickr