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Reflections on OLDS-MOOC week 3

Cloud created by:

David Jennings
30 January 2013

What three words describe this week's activities?

Practical. Articulation. Frustration (mild).

What did you like about this week?

I liked the way the taxonomies and tools give you a relatively (see below) easy to use method of articulating learning designs. Being an awkward b*gger, I am trying to use them to design a learning experience that isn't a course, so I accept some of the difficulties that come my way in attempting this (though I also think that the C21st curriculum is going to be much less course-based).

Because of time issues (see below), I ended up doing the "short route" through this week. I hope to have time to do more on the activity design for my project in the next week or so.

I also took time out to read Conole (2007) on Designing Learning Activities. This was because I'm curious about the taxonomy of learning activities, where it comes from, what the evidence base is for it, and how 'universal' it is or could be in terms of contexts of application. As far as I can see (I stand to be corrected), it is not derived from evidence, but more from general experience?

I was curious about how I might apply it another project I'm working on, which (helpfully) is a course. I found that in the authoring template I wrote for that course, I'd specified 

"a set of 4-8 activities that involve a combination of

  • reading, viewing, listening to absorb ideas and perspectives
  • individual reflection and relating issues to personal experience and ambitions
  • discussion with fellow participants, and collective articulation of shared understandings
  • practical activities and demonstrations
  • critiques of case studies"

... which, on reflection, seems not a million miles away from the taxonomy.

So I'm wondering whether part of this methodology is about codifying common sense, or at least codifying common current practice... Not that there's anything wrong with that: codifying practice to make the tacit elements explicit and shareable is valuable.

Am I missing another dimension, though?

What could be improved?

I got stuck on a couple of usability/implementation problems.

  • I could easily use the Course Features Cards as I don't have a colour printer and my b/w printer is low on toner, so not practical to print the toner-heavy design. I made my own cards, and used them, but this made the activity longer, and means that I haven't done as many of the other activities as I might have done otherwise
  • I also tried to use the Activity Profile spreadsheet, but -- hopelessly non-standard that I am -- I don't have Excel, and I lost more time trying to get the spreadsheet to work either in Google Spreadsheets or Apple Numbers, in vain.

By the way, while I'm on the subject of usability issues, it would be great if Cloudworks allowed you drag the corner of the text entry box (the one I'm writing in now) to make it bigger, as with many other forms on the web. It's frustrating only to be able to see five lines of text...

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