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Shirley's OLDS MOOC Learning Journal

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Shirley Williams
10 January 2013

Shirley's OLDS MOOC Learning Journal

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As an opening we are asked to introduce ourselves, which always presents a challenge - which facet of my identity to use?

Well lets start with the titles:

  • Professor of Learning Technologies in the School of Systems Engineering at the University of Reading in the UK.
  • Honoary Professor with the Department of Information Studies at University College London.
  • National Teaching Fellow.
  • Fellow of the British Computer Society
  • ...

That seems quite pompous, so lets go for the more homely: I like: knitting, cooking and reading. Following a comment on Twitter I recently knitted a mobius scarf for one of my daughters in law, and scarves with a twist for the other daughter in law and daughter.


Shirley Williams
16:38 on 10 January 2013

On Google Plus Simon Waker asked:

What do you hope to get out of this MOOC?

expanding by saying: One of the big questions that may inform the learning design of a MOOC is the motivations for participation. Are they different to the motivations for participation in 'traditional' courses; is completion as much of an issue for you; how important is certification? What do you hope to get out of doing this MOOC? We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Peter and Simon (week 1 facilitators with Yishay)

My response was:

I signed up for this MOOC back in the summer with a view that I would participate lightly (a few hours a week).

 I had registered for CCK08 (the first MOOC) and had found it very confusing, and felt that it was impossible to keep up without committing a lot of time, which in the middle of an academic term was not feasible.

The sign-up for the OLDS MOOC had an option that allowed us to indicate the level of participation and I felt reassured that I was able to tick a box that allowed me to show the time level I could afford.

On the negative side: I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment there are so many posts that I can’t read everything, and I am left with a nagging doubt that I will miss something important.

On the plus side one of my colleagues is also registered and we have an idea as to some learning materials we would like to create and so we have an idea for a project which fits with our other commitments.

For myself I am not particularly worried about certification, however I will be disappointed if I don’t complete the course (that is I expect to reach the end and still be in touch with what is happening).


Shirley Williams
16:43 on 10 January 2013

There are still lots more activities to do for this week, the full list is given as:

I am wondering if anyone can do all that in 10 hours?

Shirley Williams
16:45 on 10 January 2013

I've contributed to the dreambazaar "Will this help me learn" helping learner's evaluate resources they find online 

I've looked through the titles of other things in the bazaar but don't think there is anything else similar - given the number of posts I only looked at the titles, and do wonder whether I could have chosen better.

Shirley Williams
17:23 on 12 January 2013

Yesterday I posted a comment on this journal rather than adding it as content, this is what I said:

I am hardly keeping up with what we are asked to do - suggest dreams, form project teams, join study circles, read emails etc, etc, I am not getting time to write a reflective journal, sigh.

Yesterday there was a fishbowl session at midday UK time - I was already committed to other things - I wonder if it is worthfinding an hour towatch, or searching for a summary?

Now I don't seem able to delete the comment although I can probably blank the content by editting, this may confuse me later, but how much do i gain by messing with technology and trying to get it to do what it seems not able to do because of how it is designed?

Shirley Williams
08:07 on 17 January 2013

We are asked to reflect on the week.

I am not sure that I can do a good job of reflection, I feel overwhelmed by all the strands of this, I think there is no way I can keep up.

I am wondering if people who design courses such as this have any real concept of the balancing act participants have to do?

If they did the solution may be to have different tracks:

  1. Fast: for those who have lots of experience in the area and plenty of "spare" time for keeping up
  2. Medium: for those with lots of experience and some time, plus people who are relatively new to the subject and have lots of time
  3. Slow: for the rest

With clear different objectives, and maybe different timescales

I am also missing a single homebase where I can go and check I haven''t missed anything important. I guess there is a cloud that does this but maybe  a link to this at the start of the daily summaries would help?

Shirley Williams
08:18 on 17 January 2013


In October I started a module from our university's Institutional Wide Language Programme (IWLP) in Japanese. I have few language skills, Many years ago I passed GCE French, and I usually learn "hello" and "thank you" in the languages of countries I visit.

My group for IWLP has about 10 students (there is some transition between groups due to timetabling) we meet twice a week for 2 hours, plus outside time for studying. 

So while the commitment is similar to that advertised for OLDS MOOC the group size differs by orders of magnitudes.

I feel quite overwhelmed by the IWLP, there is so much I didn't expect to have to learn - there are three different character sets, and subtle different between the size of characters, they have different counters for different things, different words for one, two, etc depending what you are counting, and lots more before which I can talk about at length.

But at the end of each week I can reflect on what we have done in Japanese and tell anyone who is interested what I have learned.

But at the end of this first week of OLDSMOOC what can I tell an interested party that I have learnt? Sadly only that it is all overwhelming.

Shirley Williams
08:30 on 17 January 2013

can I post from the diagram for the week to here?

The answer seems yes and no - the heaadings are below I'm moving them as I edit.

1.Plan your week


  • post objectives & plans to learning journal

To keep up!

To do the basic readings

To investigate context re the the "Will this help me learn" problem

at It is suggested that there are two short routes:

  • Short route 3+ hours (Activities 1, 2, 3, 6 & 7): This involves thinking, reading and discussing about context for learning design. 
  • An alternative short route is to do activities 2 & 4: This involves applying contextual approaches to your design project.

i think I'll try the alternate that is project oriented.



2.Start to contextualise your project

 develop initial scenario

  • post scenario to portfolio
  • comment on others' scenarios

3.Consider context

  • add to context mindmap
  • find out about 1 or 2 approaches to context

4.Apply contextual approaches


  • develop personas & force maps
  • develop EoR analysis & representations
  • document use of alternative approach

5.Review & Share

  • present your contextual analysis (4 above)
  • review/revise your thoughts on context
  • review/revise your initial scenario
  • summarise what you have done & gained

6.Discuss & Reflect

  • comment on others' analysis
  • contribute to context & learning design discussion

6.Curate & Evaluate

  • publish a reflection on what you have achieved & learnt
  • seek recognition




Shirley Williams
10:16 on 18 January 2013

OK -  OLDSMOOC has had more than 3 hours of my time this week.

I understand what it is that we are asked to do but at the moment I seem to be alone in the clodscape for the work - am I in the wrong place?

Given limited time I think things are slipping - sigh

Shirley Williams
16:33 on 20 January 2013

There is a link I picked up vis google+

this explains more about persons

I feel I already use this approach - grounding what I am talking about in stories, examples etc.

Shirley Williams
16:38 on 20 January 2013

Had a busy week with plenty of stuff going on in real life.

Coming back to my project area nothing has changed since I was last here - so I guess I am on my own with the project.

Group workwas put forward as an important aspect but with busy people it is tricky to do asynchronous communication if teh gap gets too long (well at least in the context of a few week course).


Shirley Williams
08:01 on 25 January 2013

Just looked at some of the starting materials for week 3.

Intro video and really interestingly:

Activity: OULDI Course Features

Now this activity seems familiar and since Reading University gets a mention I probbaly went to an early workshop on this work when the project team were developingtheir ideas.

The team design with cards seems a really good idea for developing curriculum.

I have no idea how one could achieve the same results working online asynchronously.

Shirley Williams
08:25 on 25 January 2013

Week 4 is called Connect.

Looking at Patterns

There is no short route offered through the materials, there are a list of activities wth times next to them.

There sin't any time for the background reading nor for the formations of pars which seem essential for the work.

So i will have a readof some of the stuff - watch the video and call that it for this week.

Shirley Williams
10:28 on 4 February 2013

Embedded Content


Shirley Williams
8:02am 16 January 2013 (Edited 8:07am 17 January 2013)

blank - see content above

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