Ida's Reflections WEEK 8 OLDS MOOC

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Ida Brandão
1 March 2013




I'm a senior officcer at the Ministry of Education in Portugal. Since 1995 I've been involved in the pedagogical use of ICT and I have coordinated a national ICT programme for education (schools) from 1996 till 2005. Since 2006 I've been working in assistive technology for special needs, monitoring a national network of ICT Resources Centres for Special Needs.

I'm attending a PH.D course on Distance Learning/eLearning at the Open University in Portugal. In the scope of one of the seminars «Emergent Pedagogies and Learning Environments», the participation in OLDS MOOC was one of the activities proposed. In spite of the requirement being to participate till WEEK 5, for reasons of compatibility of timings with the duration of the seminar, I decided to participate in OLDS MOOC till the end.



As referred above the participation in OLDS MOOC was an activity of the Ph.D. seminar and the purpose was to provide a MOOC learning experience to participants in the Seminar, which for some colleagues was a first one.

This was my 5th experience in participating in MOOCs, but this time I engaged more deeply, following step-by-step, performing the requested activities, even applying for badges. In previous MOOCs I've just participated in discussions, though I've followed the entire courses.

I was particularly interested in LD (and UDL in particular), since I've been engaged in supporting our ICT Resources Centres for Special Needs to organize teacher training at local level. At present I'm involved in a european project for special needs and one of the products to deliver is to create and validate a course on inclusion and technology. Therefore, all the LD methods and tools made vailable in this MOOC were very useful (quite new to me)  to reflect and to a certain extent apply to the project I'm involved in.

We need more time to reflect on everything that this MOOC offered, but I also think that it's risky to extend these courses for a longer period of time, because there's a decreasing pattern of participation along online courses, the first 2 or 3 weeks are enthusiastically participated and only a few remain active towards the end.



Probably the most intensive weeks were the 2nd and 3rd, related to CONTEXT and IDEATE, when I explored the Learning Design Grid and all the methods and tools for learning design. In those two weeks I found it was too much to digest.

I found also that all the spaces opened for interaction led to some dispersion and I have participated rarely in some of them. I must confess I'm not a great enthusiast of Facebook, I've stopped using my wall for some time (rarely post in it - too much junk), I've migrated to Google+ to control groups and communities. I don't like telegraphic communication (like Twitter), so I'm more a forum and blog person. I'm a visual person, taking long time watching videos, talks, etc.

I was not enthusiastic about Cloudswork and in the beginning, for a short period of time, they seemed to have crashed with so many people accessing. I don't like to waste time with tools that don't work. Since the MOOC was based in the clouds I've used them and created more than I expected, but I'm not particularly found of the tool.

I prefer to use tools of my choice, so I've maintained my blog on MOOCs - (unfortunatelly Posterous will be closing this month and I'll have to migrate to Worpress) and my Ph.D. seminar blog Emergentes - . More detailed work was produced in my wikis, one per week, since PBworks is a very good tool:

WEEK 1 -

WEEK 2 - 

Week 3 -

Week 4 -

Week 5 -

Week 6 -

Week 7 -

Week 8 - 


The results are positive. In fact, I think that all the MOOCs I've participated in were very well organized, with qualified facilitators and made available quite good materials. MOOCs are quite intensive and, after ending, participants keep reflecting and reading resources they had no time to do. Many of the tools and materials of this MOOC had a practical use and will be useful in the future. I'll disseminate them among my community and european partners.

This MOOC helped to reflect and raise questions about the project «OER module» I'm working on. I don't know if I'll reach the best solutions, but no learning experience is ever finished, and we keep revising things with so many changes occuring everyday.


I'm always learning. I intend to keep updated about MOOCs releases and hope to participate in many more. It's a wonderful opportunity to be in touch with so many people all over the world, to have access to qualified professors and well organized courses. 

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Tiffany Crosby
6:50pm 4 March 2013


I find your story fascinating. I think your background is such that you would end up with quite a different perspective on many of the tools than someone like I would have that doesn't come from an academic background. I'm curious why your participating was much more detailed this time versus previously and why you chose to stay until the end. It seems like it was more than just meeting a requirement for your Ph.d seminar. For me, this was my first MOOC, so I don't have any basis of comparison. How would this one compare to your previous 4? 

Penny Bentley
10:50pm 7 March 2013

Hi Ida

correct me if I'm wrong, but the musical video/presentation of a class ordering numbers according to a pattern...was that your creation. I loved it and wonder if I use it sometime in the future? Very clever.

I also have an interest, but no expertise, in the use of ICT with special needs and gifted students. I look forward to bumping into you again, perhaps in another MOOC :)

Ida Brandão
2:46pm 8 March 2013

Hi Tiffany,

In former MOOCs I was also much interested in the areas (instructional design, virtual schooling, etc) and in the discussions and sharing of ideas. I explored lots of resources made available in those MOOCs and read many articles and publications. Perhaps, the former MOOCs were not so focused on structured activities.

In fact my Ph.D. didn't require me to be so immersed in the course, the purpose of the participation was more as observers experiencing a MOOC.

Probably, the motivation to follow the activities was related to the project I'm working on and a confluence of interests. I'm driven towards products and results, and I like to explore in order to apply.

My impressions about former MOOCs were highly positive. The quality of organization, moderators, contents and peers always surprise me for the quality standard.

I expect to join many more MOOCs in the future and I'm sure we'll meet again


Ida Brandão
2:55pm 8 March 2013

Hi Penny,

I'm very sorry I'm not the author of such presentation you refer.

I'm dealing with assistive technology (and universal design) for special needs. Our SEN services focus is on pupils with disabilities, more severe situations (autism, multiple disabilities, deaf, blind...). We don't cover gifted children.

I have created a website with a repository of freeware and other resources for special needs. It's in portuguese, but the products have links and most of them are in english -


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