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Les Cowley: My dream: Learning design project proposal

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Leslie Jacobs Cowley
13 January 2013

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I am returning to this with some fresh thoughts as a result of having read through lots of discussion threads posted by some of the participants, particularly the responses to Yishay Mor's question "What does Learning Design Mean to You"  and also after having attended a VC session led by Dr Michael Smith of Lews Castle College, UHI on New & Developing Pedagogies and Technologies in Online Learning - part of UHI's Virtual Conference.

My refined "Dream Project" is now much more targeted and directly applicable to my current teaching workload. It is also much more informed in that I have a much clearer understanding of how I might develop an already existing course that I deliver in order to better incorporate some of the current thinking in social/constructivist theories.

Module: Acoustics for Sound Engineering/Production students.

Develop existing content (created using Compendium) by using CompendiumLD to incorporate some scaffolding to the structure.

Extend and develop the current use of Diigo social bookmarking to include highlighting and adding "sticky notes" to online content in addition to current use of group links. (This may need additional research as evidenced by the fact that this page has highlighting disabled)

Embed new design within Blackboard, the UHI's choice of VLE. The discussion board within the current version of Blackboard (V 8.0) I find less than satisfying so, explore other possibilities - can I embed Google + tools within BB? Should I use Facebook as a discussion platform? Will this approach be accepted within the constraints of the institution's vision for online delivery?

If the new course design is successful, seek local management support to make bid to deliver wholly online across the three campuses of the partner colleges that currently offer this course. (Alness, Perth & Argyll)

Scarlet : note to self


Leslie Jacobs Cowley
23:03 on 18 January 2013 (Edited 01:47 on 20 January 2013)

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Ann Davis
3:37pm 19 January 2013

I am one of those "mature students" and am not comfortable yet with some of this.  One of my challenges with this MOOC is that it seems we are using too many sites and it is hard to keep track of tasks.  One thought is to have a optional "pre-session" for those who might need some help upfront.  If you are using a website, keep it clean and make use of a table of contents or clickable lists to jump to the section you want rather than scrolling down a huge page.

Leslie Jacobs Cowley
5:51pm 19 January 2013

Hi Anne

Thank you for your comments. Firstly, on the "maturity issue", I would be surprised but not shocked if there are many participants here who are as "mature" as me - I am 60 in a couple of months. However, I consider myself fortunate in that my background is very varied and before I entered the realm of institutional education I was a programmer, technical manager & trainer for a company who were cutting edge. I didn't realise that at the time but to give you some indication of that; in 1989/90 I and a colleague developed software to allow the remote control of standard PCs down an old style modem - 240bytes/second - check your own broadband speed and you'll see how we've progressed since then.

The main thing is, that by participating in this course you have acknowledged that teaching online is new and requires new thinking and pedagogies to approach it with any degree of success - and you should congratulate yourself for that alone. Many, many educators I have met are simply stuck in their comfort zones, head in the sand. In my view there is a choice; get on board or be left standing on the platform with your suitcases (full of paper handouts and assessments). That is not to say that this, or any other model is THE answer - and that's the exciting part - this technology is by its very nature dynamic. Any solution we arrive at today will need to be reviewed on a regular basis in order to take account of this rapid progress that is IT. I have been using online resources and tools in my teaching for many years now - some have led me down blind alleys and some have been fruitful - the choices are staggering in their range and quantity.

What you are experiencing is well documented in recent research; feeling overwhelmed by the mass of content and interaction using this medium. If it's any consolation, given the brief outline of my background, I too am finding at times that there's so much to take on board and that's why I have adopted the approach that I now have; take what I can at the pace that suits me and my current heavy workload. For years now I have felt as if I am running flat out just to stand still in terms of keeping up with this technology.

My advice to you is this: Worry ye not! Soldier on - it'll be worth it. If there is anything that you think I can help you with please don't hesitate to ask but bear in mind, this MOOC is supported by highly capable and intelligent individuals who are moderating the whole thing and they may well be the best people to ask.

Good luck and thanks again for commenting.



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