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ItanaGimenes Learning Journal

I am a software engineering researcher and lecturer. I have interest in both learning design and how to design Moocs.

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Itana Gimenes
9 January 2013

This is ItanaGimenes Learning Journal for the OLDS-MOOC

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Itana Gimenes
3:57pm 10 January 2013

(1) Style of presentation: we should rethink about the style of presentation in a MOOC. The introduction in a seminar room with several slides with texts was a bad communication mechanism. Peter Norvig says that in MOOCs we should feel like in bar with a friend. I wouldn't go that far but I expected a different presentation from the launch where I could feel closer to the presenter. I expected a presentation more dynamic that call the attention to learning design principle. I think that bibsonomy can make the role of pointing at references.

Itana Gimenes
3:57pm 10 January 2013

(2) Reading the discussion list: It is impossible to read so many presentations.

Itana Gimenes
3:58pm 10 January 2013

(3) Streams of discussions with so many people is difficult to follow. Moderators should be more active.

Itana Gimenes
5:36pm 16 January 2013 (Edited 6:03pm 16 January 2013)

Reflection on Week 1

First reflection is to recognise and be grateful the OU/IET and its partners for the effort in carrying out the challenge of producing a MOOC. As seen in some comments we were eager to know how the experts in distance education would play this role.


The OLDS-MOOC was expected as an opportunity to experience the MOOC course style which is currently a buzzword. As for the topic of the course, Learning Design (LD), it is a nice coincidence as I’ve used the OULDI approach in previous research, so I feel confortable with the subject. I can reflect on week 1 from two points of views: (1) The MOOC pedagogical strategies and (2) the knowledge acquired of LD so far.


(1) I believe that getting used to the MOOC dynamic permeated most of the time this week. I would refer to several points: (i) support technology – I think the transmission of the event launch was bad, but I would say that its format was worse because it did not raise the main aspects of the course as launch. Actually, I was expecting the launch presentation was different from the introduction to the course. So, on the 10th I was expecting a more detailed presentation lecturing about LD that would open the path for the study in the week. But the same presentation came out with a very short week introduction; Although I managed to create the clouds/cloudscapes it is not nice and straight forward. It seems useful to document milestones but limited for collaboration. We will probably move to Google Drive or similar at the project development phase. Google+ worked fine, it was the best tool to exchange ideas so far. Tweeter nice for short notes; but if we tweet too much we don’t have time for other activities; Hangout was mainly concentrated in the MOOC dynamic so nice to see people but not very helpful to build a path for learning. (ii) project team – a week was very short time to make a team, maybe this will need more time, would be better to team up in the 2nd week. As I think LD is very depend of how much you know of the subject, I would not be confortable working in another area where I don’t have  expertise or would have to invest too much time. So, I thought best bet would be to stick to a small team as not many people from software engineering seems to be attending the course; (iii) Find the activity of joining in a study circle difficult, moderators seems to believe you are in a place where more people are doing the course, but this is not true worldwide. People around here are on holidays! (iv) Converge – don’t quite understand to what we converged to, but was it a good mechanism, I think we should have focused more in LD and how to access important material – overall guidance to study was missing. (v) Reflect – really nice; (vi) dealing with posts – this is a nightmare that don’t know how to mange, takes too much time to even browse. We see some, but certainly miss many.

(2) As far as Knowledge acquisition is concerned, I did not get much this week. I was expecting a real lecture as an introduction, one that overview LD and related work and raise important issues and challenges. So, I was struggling between interacting, give and provide feedback, but I feel I need to study too. So the activity of looking at the mindmap, for instance, and do the brainstorming should have be more assisted as the main learning task of the week. I manage to read the Lanarca declaration which I find excellent and very useful, but I feel that if I had to suggest changes to the mindmap, I would need more previous knowledge. Maybe this task should have be more highlighted not only as a brainstorm but as the “study” task of the week. I did not like the fact that tool is not free as well.

Itana Gimenes
3:35pm 17 January 2013

Plan for week 2

(1) Still need to explore Leaning Design literature - there are subtleties that I don't grasp well like the difference between learning design and teaching design - plan to commit ~2 hours exploring the concept throughout the week;

(2) Follow the defined activities - around 1 hours per day, maybe more for defining the project context.

(3) Follow the comments posted

Itana Gimenes
7:16pm 23 January 2013 (Edited 8:24pm 23 January 2013)

Reflection on Week 2: Inquire

It was a more demanding week in terms of knowledge acquisition. I'll divide my reflections in two points (1) that reflects on my learning progress and (2) that reflects on (2) MOOC resources.

(1) learning progress - I started the week discussing with my project partner the learning unit domain (module) to both identify a common context of interest and to narrow the context to a feasible project within the time scale of the MOOC, as can seen at I read the Personas references which gave me a good idea of both Personas and Scenarios. We iteratively filled in the Template. I understand the ideas behind the concepts that drives us to think more of the features of users trying to understand their environment and behaviour. However, it is true that we feel that sometimes we building an artificial landscape that if we are not carefull we can get to the same mistakes that pre-conceptions of the user. So, I still believe that we have to support the scenarios with historical data about the users and their environment. 

Force maps - Second step was to draw the force map. I find a useful tool as an extra opportunity to think of the learner and it is environment. It acts as a means to model the scenario in a more discrete way, seeing the entities and their relatioship. From here I could go to a UML conceptual diagram, for instance.

EoR - Third step was to draw a EoR map. Find hard to understand and thought how can this add more information than what I've already have. Obviously I would need more time to study the concepts. The slides provided is not enough and I didn't have time for the book. Anyway, I made an attempt and came to the conclusion that it does help to organise the ideas and again make the elements needed in the design of the model more visible.

I think one can use either force map or EoR, maybe I would prefer EoR in further designs but I would adapt to my domain. I thought I could use this to help students to understand software systems contexts before the business model for instance.

Links to results are in my portofolio

Overall I continue to like learning design as an approach because it supports me to learn by making connections with my background in software design. 

(2) Mooc Resources

Thanks Josh, you were a very efficient guide with your daily summary and advices, even reply to a post at 2 am, midninght in Brazil.

The template does help, dangeous the learn may think that will reach results filling the template, in particular are not motivated to do force maps and EoR. 

Still wish the video was not just a few minutes introduction but real lecture, at least a half hour talk.

Convergence session was much better this week. Although we shouldn't be discussing problems with communications like cloudworks anymore. Although the decision might have been wrong, I don't like to change environment, so I find a way to get around. Google groups have been an efficient tools to concetrate discussions. It is really difficult to browse the clouds. I watch google groups and twitter everyday but only clouds that are referred to. 

A good point by Rebecca at the closing of the session was that it important from now on to concetrate on learning and issues behind learning as an approach and its various ways of teach and do research about it.


Leonor Barroca
9:03pm 23 January 2013


You achieved a lot, I feel quite desorientated.

Not sure about the lectures as all the teaching I do involves no lectures at all and students are very happy with it; and video lectures can be a real pain. I prefer to look at short videos and resources. I would like to see a more coherent set of resources as a focus for some discussion; at the moment there are too many foci.

I only managed tosee part of the convergence session this week and reallyliked it...I wish there was a bit more of that.

As for the collaboration, let's see how far we can push this forward, at least we know how to work with each other...pity no one else got on board

Itana Gimenes
9:23pm 5 February 2013

Reflection on week 3

I’ve select to use the tools: course features, course map view, compediumLD and some ideas of the storyboard. I prefered not developing the pedagogy profile before having the detailed activities designed. Just made an estimation of categories of tasks.

 I’ve noticed the content & experience replaces content & activities from previous version of OULDI tools – don’t understand why, actually content and activities still appears in Grainne’s slides.

 The artefacts produced are placed in First version of the card selection was developed using the OULDI feature cards only. After watching Grainne’s slides I’ve adjusted the cards as some aspects seems more consistent there. Even though, I had problems with jargons like “scaffolded learning” and problems with ambiguity like collaborative versus conversational. Some cards like innovative and authentic seems controversial, you may want to be innovative doesn’t mean you will really be.

 In Grainne’s slides there are 2 main points before the 4 course map dimensions: principles and pedagogy. Here, I found difficult to map these two points to the 4 dimensions, if I should do so. Anyway they help to trigger how activities should be planned. However, I think one can put more effort to map the pedagogy to the 4 dimensions, it would help to see a coherent mapping as an example. We have chosen the practice-based approach which will lead to focusing on exercises and examples. The course aims to transmit concepts of SE so the key issue is identifying activities that proves the coherence and usefulness of the concepts.

Regarding the 7Cs framework:

Conceptualise - There is a gap from the knowledge acquired in week 2 and week 3. The 7Cs framework mentions Personas which do help to draw the scenario. This means that force maps and EoR were not considered, or maybe that one can use whatever they like to get here. I didn’t know EoR before but comparing what I see in our EoR, I think it does help to get to the course map view, maybe more effort can be placed in making them coherent, like Environment, People, Tools,

Knowledge & Skills raise important aspects that map to the 4 dimensions. First version of my map didn’t have content at all, so I adjusted it to fill in what I had written in the Knowledge & skill before.

 Capture to Consider they are nice. I wouldn’t call them activities, they are actually axis (dimensions) that we have to consider when designing course activities that are able to make the learners absorb concept supported by tools and material that promote knowledge acquisition, communication and collaboration, therefore leads to the achievement of learning outcomes.

 I support the relevance of Learning design as an approach that leads to progressive and structured discussions among designers, which articulate the course design principles based on design representations (artefacts) that can be shared.

 I’ve made comments to Ida Brandão’s design on Imagining Design Cloud - I found it very coherent.

 Listened to the Convergence session offline 

Itana Gimenes
6:02pm 12 February 2013

Reflections on Week 5

I've chosen one of the activities that was in my project workflow to do the prototyping. The prototyping plan made me reflect a lot about how to introduce examples and help the learners. I found it very useful. Through the discussions Tom Reeves send me the link to Authentic learning which I found very useful and will look in the future. During the prototyping  I thought that we missed something in the conceptual map and activity design. There, we should have thought more of the models of teaching (learning strategies) so that here in the prototyping we could be dealing with how to realize the activity based on tools (computer-supported or not).

I did not like the Converge session of week 5, I wish so much that we could have the opportunity to discuss technical details of the role of prototyping in learning design. We keep going back to problems with the mooc itself.

Artefacts of week 5 are in

Itana Gimenes
1:42am 21 February 2013

Reflections on week 6

I understand that OER has currently an important role in Education, as a result it important to know OER in the context of a Learning Design course such as the OLDS-MOOC. I think the leading group made a good job pointing at key aspects such how to search, licenses, reuse and limitations of the state of the art. It is clear that we can benefit from already available resources. In the case of computer science courses like MIT - Introduction to Computer Programming has an amazing set of resources, like videos, exercises, etc. If I compare the situation in 1980 when I was an undergrad I used to collect algorithms from papers and now students can see a lecture by Prof. John Guttag direct from MIT, the progress is fantastic. So, the problems we have now ranges from hardware platforms to more subtle questions of availability of producers to find motivation to open their resources in a reusable format, but I believe we are in the right direction.

I believe that working in communities will help people to find motivation to evolve the OERs.

I didn’t find many useful resources for the project subject but used some previous experience to carry out the tasks of the week.

The discussion in the convergence session was more focused and I enjoyed it. It is good to remember that despite the fact of many problems raised with licenses many other problems have been solved like copying books, illegal pdfs because we can know adopt OER in our courses. As pointed out in this TED talk a student can now print a book for 20 dollars. 

Itana Gimenes
1:20am 4 March 2013

Reflection on week 7

Definetely this was the week I most learned. The content was very organised and brought up very interesting material that I enjoyed reading and will certainly be useful in further evaluations. Again, I keep doing analogies with software engineering techniques, it was good to see the heuristic evaluation protocol, I'll use it the future. It was important to see a broader picture of evaluation as we most of the time work with experiments. It was good to follow the course activities, though they were very long, so I did my best, but to implement a heuristic protocol was not possible as it was too artificial.


Itana Gimenes
7:22pm 9 March 2013

Reflections on week 8

This week I've done my design narrative, read and contribute to discussion on LD and Larnaca declaration. Results are in

The design narrative was a review of many thoughts I've already register in my reflections. It was very interesting to observe the comments and views of MOOC's participants. Did like the mature discussion of LD in the open forum.

Itana Gimenes
11:00pm 17 March 2013

Reflections on week 9

This week I have looked at the posted narratives. I joined the convergence session 20 minutes late, but I enjoyed it a lot. I thinks it was a more matured discussion than the previous one. 

I think olds-mooc worth the time spent on it bot in content and mooc experience.

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