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Helen Whitehead: Personas and Scenarios OLDSMOOC-W2

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Helen Whitehead
20 January 2013

Related to assessment in MOOC

Saima is a third year Business School undergraduate (UK) who is taking the MOOC for extra credit. She is taking the 10-credit version of the module in order to build up enough points for a Nottingham Advantage Award which she hopes will give her an edge in securing a job on graduation.  She doesn’t have a lot of time but is motivated to get those last 10 credits. She isn’t very social media savvy and has never done a MOOC before. She is interested in the credit, not the MOOC format. She will be working from University PCs and her iPad and she wants to know exactly what she needs to do to pass the module.

Donna Li is a postgraduate student at the China campus. She is taking the module for credit, to get 20 credits from it, and hopes that it will help her both improve her English and add to her employability skills.  During the course she may struggle to understand what to do, and be diffident about working in an online group. If these needs are not met, she will likely drop out.

Anne is an administrator in the School of Law (UK). She is taking the course without student credit but hoping to count it as continuing professional development. She is interested in the subject of the MOOC but isn’t social media savvy. She wants it to be very clear what she needs to do and she’d be happy to work with others. She is unlikely to persist if she starts floundering and can’t understand how it works.

Beatriz is a lecturer in Spanish (UK campus), she will enthusiastically take part as she likes new things, but is likely to be be very critical, and is more interested in the mechanics of the MOOC than in either the MOOCs subject or employability skills. The activities need to engage her enough to interest her in the subject matter!

Paloma is an elearning specialist at the Malaysia campus. She is early in her career and a bit nervous about new technologies although it is part of her job to introduce them to colleagues.  She comes to the MOOC with an open mind and mostly wants to be able to help other people take part. (see more about Paloma below).

Emily is the wife of Martin who is a mature lifelong learner at the University. She doesn’t have a login at the University so she is participating peripherally in the course using the OERs and other open resources while her husband downloads . It’s a subject close to her heart as she volunteers in this area, and she becomes involved to the extent she wants to submit assignments.  Her husband is reluctant to let her submit them in his name.

Implications for course design

  • Face to face study groups as well as online ones (especially for credit-taking students)
  • Make it easy to join those groups, as well as allowing people to form their own groups. Provide ready-made groups (especially for the 10 and 20 credit students) as well as encouraging formation of groups by participants.
  • Designated facilitator for students who are taking the module for credit
  • Very clear information on what to do and which activities/assessments are essential for getting the credit.
  • Both staff and students at all levels will be taking this module, so we need to ensure that the content, learning opportunities and forms of assessment suit everyone – this may mean a choice of ways to proceed – and that the assessment fits the level of the participant. (The Advantage Award is well established and the assessment for that credit should be reasonably easy.)
  • The MOOC is open and uses OERs, but we will need to use Moodle. Can we use social media channels enough to provide a satisfactory experience – and an opportunity to gain badges perhaps (obviously not credit!) - to those who do not have a University login?

Extra content

So I'm wondering if this is closer to personas than scenarios.  I don't really see how a narrative about one person can help design - you'll end up with a thoroughly personalised design for one person!  And a course - particularly if it's a MOOC - needs to be relevant to many people.

Let's take one of these people and extend her story.

Paloma starts by accessing the Moodle space which is where she understands all University courses start. She sits near the person who is organising the campus face to face study group for those participating on her campus, so she emails her personally and asks when the first meeting is. 

The Moodle page is long and confusing so she starts at the top and is pleased to find Introductory Week and a clear description of activities, including instructions on how to set up her learning journal, where to fins preliminary readings, and instructions on how to find a study group. There are also instructions on how to set up some social media channels but they aren't ones familiar to her - in her country different channels are used.

Paloma goes to the first meeting which is in a seminar room with a single computer, projector and screen. There are six students aiming to do the module for credit.  The facilitator covers much the same ground that Paloma has already covered online, but she comes away with a much better idea of the materials she needs to read, and has promised to read the blogs of the other participants. She has also heard it explained exactly what to do to get credit and she decides to follow the 10-credit learning pathway as it involves four very clear assignments. She's not sure yet whether anyone will mark her assignments, though, as she's not taking the module for credit. And does she submit them to the same assignment dropbox?

Helen Whitehead
14:17 on 20 January 2013 (Edited 14:19 on 20 January 2013)

Factors and concerns I have started to to think about and can flesh out.

However a force map involves drawing. I don't do drawing. It takes me much longer and is more worrying to draw something than to think about it.  So long as I have a personal understanding of the positive and negative forces and how they affect personas, hopefully that's enough!

I now have a list (not posted) of positive and negative factors.  Maybe if I see some more examples of force maps I'll be able to do one, but for now it wouldn't be helpful.  Will try to add more Key forces, but it's difficult without examples to reflect on.

Key forces

Isolation  -           Group support   -

Need to Belong +?             Facilitation  +

Ease of use of technology  (+ or -)

Use of language   clarity +

Time constraints -

Interest in subject / Course's approach to subject and how it relates to personal approach (+ or -)

Helen Whitehead
15:24 on 20 January 2013 (Edited 15:27 on 20 January 2013)

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