Clare Gormley OLDS MOOC Week 3 Reflection: I can C clearly now...
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30 January 2013
For this week’s reflection, I’m going share some of my observations on the key tools/techniques discussed during Week 3 of OLDS MOOC. Not all of my NUI Galway IT Online colleagues would have been able to attend this MOOC, so I’m going to briefly review the tools encountered so that others can get a quick overview of the techniques explored.
1. Course Features Cards
a. What are they? Colour-coded cards that provide prompts for discussing & prioritising the core components of a course. Check out the nice overview video of how to use them. The actual cards can be printed off here.
b. How could we use them? These cards offer great potential for our upcoming Design & Development workshop as they offer a way for the team to discuss and tease out the “overall character” of a course. In other words, they seem to fit the bill in terms of helping us “Conceptualise” a desired result. Prior to the MOOC we had been discussing the importance of capturing our course developers’ philosophy and vision for a module upfront, and I’m excited that this approach could help to facilitate that objective. Very timely indeed! I’ve applied the cards to the design of a forthcoming workshop (see pic) and will be repeating this process with colleagues in the weeks ahead.
2. Course Map
a. What is it? An Excel or Word based template that can be used to capture a quick overview of the module across four dimensions (Content & Experience/ Communication & Collaboration/Guidance & Support/Reflection & Demonstration). It enables a brief description of the course activities in terms of the types of learning experience the learner will have, how they will communicate and collaborate with tutor and peers, as well as the guidance and support provided and the nature of any assessment. Check out how the Course Map looks and what it covers.
b. How can we use it? Building upon the Course Cards activity, this template (which could be slightly customized) could help developers to begin to consider the actual learning activities that students will perform during the module. Prior to the MOOC, we had discussed the importance of aligning learning outcomes, activities and assessments. This template should help participants to make suggestions on the types of activities and assessments that will ensure that the module outcomes and the overall vision for the module will be met. There is an existing activity set up in CloudWorks that we can tailor. Also, here is a ready-made eTivity specifically designed for this purpose (taken from the excellent 7Cs of Learning Design Toolkit): eTivity: Create Your Course Map
Alternatively, participants could be given printouts of the templates (which include a completed example) and start filling out the sections outlined. Following the Cloudworks example, this activity should take approx 10-15 minutes. (Quick Update - Actually, it's more like 75 minutes according to the eTivity above, including time for discussion. That time frame does sound more realistic to me.)
3. Activity Profile
a. What is it? A bar chart that represents estimated student time on a course according to the following six categories: Assimilative (attending to academic content), Finding and Handling Information, Communication, Productive, Experiential, Interactive/Adaptive and Assessment. It requires an hourly breakdown of intended activities. For a quick overview, you can view thisinteresting Activity Profile video.
b. How can we use it? Hmm, I’m not sure yet. As the video explains, this profile could be used at various stages of the design process. My gut feeling says that it might be difficult to decide the hours associated with specific tasks at the initial Conceptualise stage when we’re still at “vision” definition. That feels a bit early in the process for me when so much has yet to be confirmed. So for now, I’m inclined to perhaps use the six categories as additional prompts for the elicitation of the vision – a way, perhaps, of cross-checking that important module components have been discussed? This tool could also be used as a mid or endpoint evaluation tool as suggested in the video, which is something to ponder on.
4. Learning Design Toolbox
a. What is it? A crowd-sourced list of design tools and activities. You can view it at http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/1882,
b. How can we use it? As a source of ready-made design activities, resources and tools. For examples, there are activities on Compendium LD, a link to a very interesting Australian Learning Design toolkit and I’ve just seen a very fun looking board game for designing courses. The toolbox is definitely worth browsing and following for further design resources. Note that the case studies recommended to us addressed several of the tools listed and it was very helpful to hear the “real world” experiences.
5. 7Cs of learning design
a. What is it? A framework that illustrates the key stages involved in the design process from initial conceptualisation of a learning intervention to trialing & evaluating it in a real learning context (Conole). You can view a narrated presentation explaining what it means.
b. How can we use it? As a useful conceptual overview of the different aspects of design. In terms of applying this model in practice, I think the 7Cs of Learning Design Toolkit (from University of Leicester) will be very useful and I plan to spend substantially more time investigating it further.
6. Personas (from Week 2 but worth mentioning again here)
a. What is it? Personas are a tool for describing users, often used as a starting point for design. You can read more about why Personas are effective. A template for developing personas is available here: Persona Cards
b. How can we use it? Personas (and scenarios) enable us to build up a clearer picture of our learner and the context in which they operate. They would seem to be particularly useful for initiating design conversations so should be developed at an early stage – perhaps as part of or before the Conceptualise exercise?
Moving on to other aspects of the MOOC this week, just some general comments:
• Even though I didn’t manage to complete all of the Week 3 activities, I found those I did to be highly relevant, motivating, and above all practical. These techniques do seem to work in fostering creativity (well, deeper level thinking at least) and it would be fascinating to hear what students would have to say about such representations.
• So far, the team-based approach doesn’t seem to have really taken off in our case so I’ve taken a lone ranger approach to my project design activities. It’s been useful to me to work further on my own design idea in any case, and that’s been helpful. Hopefully we can confirm next steps (if indeed there will be next steps for our team!) over the coming week.
• I’m going to apply for the 3 Week badge now and see if I qualify (I didn’t actually request a badge for Week 2 although I participated there as I’ve been holding out for this one). I’ve commented on a number of clouds and it was lovely to get some positive feedback on my scenario from a couple of people. There’s probably lots more to say but I’m tired and tomorrow I’ll see where Week 4 takes me…