Posts Tagged ‘H808’

Supplemetary Activity 6.4 – reflection on group work

After a whole day of tampering with it, I finally uploaded our presentation to the course forum today. These are some reflections on the lessons I have learned from the whole group work experience:

Lesson 1. Divide up the task and choose/delegate roles and do not deviate from the plan without informing the others

When we were asked to work as a group to choose case studies of effective practice in e-learning, my first thought was to find a communal space to take the discussion out of the course forum and give us a chance to chat informally. Skype was the tool chosen by the group, but finding a time for us all to chat synchronously proved to be impossible. As a result, we didn’t manage to negotiate clear roles for each group member. This was not helped by the absence, due to extenuating circumstances, of several group members. The end result was confusion over who was doing what and me ‘merging’ two of the competencies (scaffolding and clear guidelines) without asking the group as I thought it made sense. I put the new list in the forum in a Powerpoint, but it was too late.

Lesson 2: Agree on a medium for the presentation and do not assume other people want to use the same tools as you

I had an idea at the beginning, that Voicethread would be a good place for everyone to add their voices to our project, making participation up to the individual. This idea generated some interest, but due to unfamiliarity with the tool, take up was limited. Instead, we decided, as suggested in the task prompt, to use a ‘simple’ Powerpoint show, but to include some animation and narration as evidence of the use of multimedia suggested in the task. This seemed to be going pretty well, until the amount of slides, voice files and animations became unmanageable. Part of the problem here was adding media from the case studies, which proved time consuming to transfer. If we had agreed at the beginning, to use only 2 slides each with narration, and perhaps to store our slides in a separate place, this may have been avoided.

Lesson 3: set deadlines and stick to them

After hours of trying different media (Audacity, Screentoaster, Powerpoint), I realised that, to make the process democratic, and give contributors ‘ownership’ of their input, the easiest thing to do would be to go back to square one and use Voicethread. That way, each person could add whatever they wanted to say about their own slides. The problem? I made this decision too late, and there was no time for people to respond in the forum as to whether they agreed or not. As a result, I decided to add the voice file I had recorded in Audacity to the Voicethread, in time with the PP slides. The result (I think) is a more dynamic and collaborative platform than, say, Powerpoint/screencast, but the only person adding to the VT is me, which may discourage others from getting involved. Anyway, there it is. I found this whole process fascinating. All the familiar problems of doing f-t-f group presentations (everyone having different ideas of what’s best) were present, but exacerbated by time, space and technological difficulties. Nevertheless, I was engrossed from start to finish in the process and would definitely like to try a similar project with my own learners (perhaps from different campuses) in future. Here’s the Voicethread. If you have read this far, why not sign up and leave a comment? At the moment, I am feeling a bit isolated in my attempts to make this work. Or am I missing something?

Core activity 2.4 – Reflection & learning

Moon and Creme both highlight the need to relate learning to ‘doing’. This is more easily accomplished in subjects involving practice i.e. nursing/teaching/journals based on work placement. For more theoretical subjects, reflection on the learning process is recommended as a possible alternative to traditional forms of assessment such as exams/formal essays.

Creme suggests that selecting quotes from different course contributions and justifying them is one alternative to the rigidity of exam style assessment, but notes that this is a compromise as it does not encapsulate the whole learning experience. Students who have contributed a lot to their epfs may feel hard done by if it is not recognised in the assessment. She also identifies the need to show coverage of syllabus and relate concepts to the outside world/life experience and suggests journal writing (whether included in the syllabus or not) as a way to encourage ‘risk taking’ and emotional engagement with the material.

Moon provides a great deal of learning theory to justify reflection as a means to ‘deeper’ learning. She points out the importance of embedding the reflection in learning outcomes and stresses the need for students to be able to give feedback on the feedback to encourage further reflection.

“Is Moon’s point about different disciplines being suited to different kinds of reflective activity relevant to your own subject area or this course’s”?

The H808 assignment guide requires the ability to relate to other professional experience. This is a major component of both Moon and Creme’s arguments and evident in all OU learning outcomes. Problems may occur when people do not have experience e.g. of teaching and have to find another context to relate theory to practice.

Another L.O. for H808 is understanding of professional competency. This could be assisted, as suggested by Moon, by making the reflection visible to a community of practice, increasing ownership of learning through social constructivism.

“Do these readings cast any light on the differences between reflecting on your learning on this course and reflecting on your practice in your work context”?

For me, the classroom is an ideal ‘sandpit’ to try out different tools and conduct ‘action research’ e.g. trying two different ways of teaching the same thing and getting learner feedback on their experience/preferences. This relates to the H808 competency of being able to Link claims to evidence.

Another H808 criterion is to Acknowledge collaboration. Requiring references from course members’ blogs achieves this, whilst also encouraging posting and comments on posts which fuel writing. Moon points out that peer and self assessment can be enhanced if students are able to reflect on what they accept/reject from others’ comments. Blogs make this possible, with emphasis on the learner to collate evidence.

“Do any of the technologies we are employing on this course offer any significant alternatives to writing as media for reflective activity”?

Podcasting is an alternative to writing but, again, needs an audience and peer feedback to be effective. Here is a podcast I made at the start of the course which nobody ever listened to. Boo hoo!

Post a comment to your blog reflecting on your own attitude to reflection in learning and on the usefulness or otherwise of blogging as a means of doing it.

I have scored the highest marks in OU modules for assignments involving reflection e.g. on discussions throughout the course (H807), so I’m all in favour! As usual, it’s the human to human interaction that motivates participation.

H808 week 2

This week, we have been asked to work in groups to summarise the key drivers for the use of e-portfolios in education. I am slightly overwhelmed right from the start with the extensive reading list, so I have tried to get people to share short summaries of different articles in a Google spreadsheet
This worked pretty well on H807 for summarising JISC case studies of innovation, but this time I fear it will quickly be lost in the pages of discussion boards and won’t get much take-up (zero entries so far apart from my own). Anyway, it will be a good personal resource.

As for finding the right repository for coursework, what I thought would be a straightforward activity is turning into an extreme learning curve as I try to figure out how to use Mahara and Zotero – both deceptively complex!

H808 Core activity 1.4 – First impressions

My first impression of H808 is that there is a very interesting mix of participants, some of whom are already involved in implementing large scale e-learning projects. My own experience is still small scale, though I am hoping to be able to put together a package for students taking the IELTS exam.

Since the start of the course I have been ‘tinkering’ with this blog and trying to organise it into pages for H807, H808 and a homepage. Unfortunately I seem to be going round in circles with this and I am beginning to wonder if it is a learning experience or a waste of time!