Friday, 15 February 2013

Week 2

There was a lot of discussion on the forums this week that focused around examining innovation.

There was a discussion on OpenLearn, the OU site that provides free educational resources. While investigating this site, it struck me how open source models are very similar to those of open education. I suppose common sense should have told me this. This even led me to examining the GNU General Public License.

I contributed quite a long post into this discussion about how the OpenLearn site was in fact innovative - even though I had initially thought it wasn't. This view was changed when I investigated the wiki for the site and read about it's history, fundamentals and the features it offers, it really is a good resource. There were some interesting (and lengthy) posts about how people define innovation and of course their opinions on the site.

In this investigation, it brought me back to thinking about how years back, open source software was rubbished, is the same thing happening now with open 'free' courses? Do people think that because they free, they are not going to be as good as proper 'paid-for' academic courses? One of my colleagues at the moment is doing a MOOC elearning course, and seems to be happy with the way the course is structured and put together, however is at odds a little with the content and doesn't feel as if the course is really about elearning, but more 'digital culture'.

I think the standout discussion for me was about learning analytics, probably because I could relate to it, as my organisation is currently investigating ways of centrally interrogating data that is available from a wide range of sources. This discussion however focused on the benefits of intervention (using technology?) techniques for monitoring student progress and outcomes etc. Again a varied discussion in this thread about the techniques that others employ. Someone in particular raised an interesting point about learners that are not monitored have borderline performance, and those that are perform better.

An Elluminate session has been organised for this week. Our discussion is about:

1.  What drives innovation in the examples you have investigated?
2.  Does an innovation have to be useful for the learners?
3.  Should innovation lead to far-reaching changes in practice for the learners or the teachers? Or both?

Based on the forum, it should be a lively discussion!

Monday, 11 February 2013

End of Week 1

So it was good to get going with week 1 on the course. I was really surprised at how busy the forum was. I managed to introduce myself to a few others on the course and post back some replies, I am sure I will get round to meeting everyone eventually.
I had a read at the reflective writing article by Michaud that details Gibbs’ Model of reflection, which I found to be quite useful. I had heard of the model before, but not in any great detail. Coincidentally, I was involved in discussions in work and with other colleges about reflective writing and learning, so I was able to forward this article, which others agreed was very useful.
Perhaps more interestingly this week, I went to visit a University and was involved in discussions about using technology in learning and teaching, with a focus on Moodle and Mahara.
After reading the Conole (2010) article ‘harnessing the power of Web 2.0 practices’, which details the difficulties in HE with utilising technology (especially with regards to pedagogy and organisational issues), I was struck by how commonplace these problems still are in education and in big institutions. Conole, however, goes on to detail (promote?) Cloudworks as a solution.
At the university, I was being faced with serious (and I mean serious) academics with not that much experience of technology. They were discussing (almost panicking) about how they get their new curriculum online, how they adopt suitable online teaching strategies and pedagogy and what tools can they use for assessing. They did not seem to be getting that much help from the organisation - bit of a shame :(


My new H817: Openness and Innovation in eLearning starts with the OU tomorrow. I am looking forward to it and have set this blog up especially.
I am going to use this blog for the reflective writing process as well as to keep track of papers I have read and resources that I come across. This will be handy when it comes to TMA time. I may also use it for work.
I have to read this, it looks quite interesting, I have already circulated to some people who might also find it interesting.