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Anne Bradbury: Unit 0
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12 January 2013
Context and background: this arises out of the OU’s postgraduate MA in Online and Distance Learning Programme (MAODE). Modules are totally online and attract students drawn from all over the world who are working in the areas of education and training.
Students (as elearning professionals) grapple with both technological and pedagogical issues in their everyday work contexts eg. working with teachers to produce material for online or blended courses, sometimes producing material directly themselves. They come from a wide variety of work contexts including education, health care, voluntary organizations and the public and private sector, and a variety of roles (lecturers, teachers, trainers, support staff, educational technologists, media specialists, learning systems managers, librarians, learning centre advisory staff, etc). There are also ‘aspiring’ elearning professionals who are interested in working in elearning in the future but have limited current experience.
This results in students exhibiting a wide disparity in terms of background, experience and technological skills which impacts on the modules and the students, particularly at the start.
I would like to explore a ‘Unit 0’ which prepares students for studying on MAODE and covers some of the technological, pedagogical and social aspects which, typically, cause some concern to students initially.
It is hoped that by identifying existing relevant resources and other aspects which affect the students’ experience, the sometimes steep learning curve can be reduced!
There will also be considerations about whether this unit is for ‘for advice only’ (rather than be compulsory and assessed), about self-assessment and what duration it should be – and when it should be offered.
‘Unit 0’ - What prerequisites do students need?
Based on a postgraduate course in elearning.
What do students need to know before they start?
‘Digital literacy’ - are there technological competencies they need to have? If so, which?
Are there attitudes they should be encouraged to have?
Are there working practices they need to be aware of?
How do they work together – and individually?
How do students know which will the best ‘tools’ for them? (They will always be experimenting/adding to the list but are there ‘basics’ to get them started?)
How can this work with PLEs – and students use of Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wiki, Facebook, RSS Feeds, Twitter?
What basic safety issues should they be aware of (privacy/security)?
What are the best sites to help them improve their skills (eg. study skills, collaborative working, competency in certain technological skills/applications).
How can they assess where are the best places to look for information?
Potential resources might include (for example):
A useful link from OU library Services:
Another valuable resource:
(Thanks to Katherine Reedy at the OU for this one)
12:06 on 15 January 2013