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Jane C's Reflective narrative

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Jane Challinor
2 March 2013


Where are you coming from? What is the context in which you are working and participating in OLDS MOOC?

I am a lecturer and course leader in a UK University. I have managed e-learnign programmes in the past but would not describe myself as a Learning Technologist. I currently teach face to face but enjoy incoprporating online platforms as much as possible, both institutional (VLE) and external - such as Google Docs, blogs, wikis, Twitter and Facebook. My current goals within my teaching are to develop greater research  and digital skills in my students.


What did you hope to achieve? What were your goals in joining OLDS MOOC? 

 I joined OLDSMOOC because I have an interest in this form of learning and because good learning design is something I feel I could learn more about and do much better! I didn't immediately make the link between the project and my own teaching but in desperation I combined the two with happy results :)


What did you do? What were the main events, interactions, practices and activities in which you participated? What were the obstacles - and how did you tackle them?

I have participated fairly consistently in the MOOC and been very active in completing tasks up until the last week when unfortunately I received notice that I would be moving house in 3 weeks! This has meant abandoning the MOOC, project and learning partner in favour of frantic packing.

The first week was incredibly frustrating as I did not (and still don't ) find Cloudworks to be an intuitive platform. In particular it proved almost impossible to select a project team to join and almost at random I started stalking a woman in Ireland who looked as though she might have similar interests to mine. The fact that we shared a Nottingham connection made the introductions a little easier, added to which she had an interest in the subject area of my course (Health and Social Care).

The lack of a social network integrated into Cloudworks makes connection very difficult - as does the lack of a logical site map. I constantly feel lost in here and this is not aided by the multiplicity of platforms being used, with emphasis shifting from Google to CW to Twitter to Slideshare....

What this has done though is taught me how very confusing it is when I switch platforms with my students and consistency is a principal of learning design that I intend to adhere to more rigorously in future.


What were the outcomes of your participation? Did you meet your goals? What went well, what didn't? What unexpected outcomes did you notice?

 My biggest disappointment is that I didn't get to complete a basic design for the module I initially envisaged. I guess in such a short time frame this was not going to be possible and had I joined this MOOC with teammates who are actually involved in the teaching of my module alongside me, this could have been more productive. 

Having said that, the best unexpected outcome was making a friend in Helen Crump and in actually meeting up with her face to face one splendid afternoon. Had I joined this MOOC with a team, such serendipity would not have been possible. 

I would have liked to have undertaken the evaluation of a learning design last week. Evaluation and reflection are two things I champion. However, work priorities at the moment include the National Student Survey, Peer Observations, Module Evaluation Questionnaires and a Course Approval and Review process across our whole School , so on top of the packing,  I probably felt a bit evaluated-out


What did you learn? What advice could you give others?

I do feel I have learned something about learning design and in particular I found the course features exercise in week 3 really useful. I think this is something I would take forward to use with my own team - and an opportunity is about to arise as we are planning an overhaul of how we teach research skills across all three years of our course.

Some activites were less useful for me, but that's OK. My advice to anyone undertaking a MOOC is not to stress about it (as my students would say). Do what you can, when you can. And have a partner to share the fun along the way. At times, the only reason I completed activities was because I didn't want to let Helen down. At other times, the only way I managed to do them at all was because she led the way. And sometimes, I got inspired and facilitated her.

Oh - and a final word: don't let badge envy ruin your day :)

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Tom Reeves
2:33am 3 March 2013 (Edited 2:39am 3 March 2013)

Jane, I think you deserve a badge for honesty and effort, especially given the difficult circumstances that you face in having to move in the middle of the MOOC. After reading Helen's narrative, I knew you and she formed a rewarding collaborative relationship. How great that you found each other and I hope you’ll be able to continue learning design and friendship long after this MOOC is over. It is wonderful how some of the relationships one develops while learning can turn into a lifetime of friendship. Earlier today, I was Skyping with my dear friend, John Hedberg, who is the Millennium Innovations Chair of ICT and Education at Macquarie University in Sydney. John and I first met each other when we both enrolled at Syracuse University in 1974. We formed a collaborative research team there (along with another student, Bernie Dodge, who is a Professor at San Diego State University) called “Citrus Research Associates” (Syracuse’s school color is orange), and did many of our research assignments together. Our friendship has extended nearly 40 years …..John and I are currently collaborating on a second edition of our 2003 evaluation book, and I’ll be going to Sydney to see him soon and he’ll be here to visit me later in the year. We continue to learn together. It will be interesting to see what kind of long-term relationships emerge from our shared journey through the OLDS MOOC. – Tom Reeves

Jane Challinor
10:31am 3 March 2013

Thanks Tom - that's a wonderful story too: inspiring!

Sheila MacNeill
8:54am 4 March 2013

Great post Jane, I've been really impressed and inspired by both you and Helen throughout the course. It's been great to follow your progress. 


Jane Nkosi
9:14am 4 March 2013

Dear Jane C.

Thank you for the inspiring narrative. Like you say, this has been a big learning curve having to adjust to different forums and may be feeling a bit uneasy when we get lost. The fun of it is that we Äll Learn". Thanks Jane :)

Jane Nkosi

Cris Crissman
7:03am 7 March 2013

I think you may have hit upon one of the real values of collaborative work, Jane -- committment to the team.  With all of the research now about MOOCs and why many are called but few complete, the story of the partnership you and Helen forged really does reflect why making the personal connections can pull us through when the going gets tough.  Congratulations!

Joshua Underwood
2:33pm 7 March 2013

Jane, thanks for the very useful reflections and advice:

  • don't stress
  • do what you can when you can
  • share the 'fun'

On reflection that is probably also helpful advice for MOOC facilitators ;-)

I also struggled with cloudworks, multiple channels, and switching between those. I'm not sure to what extent those issues are: failings in the platforms themselves; course design faults; issues with my own (and many others) digital (MOOC) literacies... Whatever, they certainly raise some interesting design challenges.

All the best for your move!


Penny Bentley
7:51pm 7 March 2013

Hi Jane

One of the benefits of participating in the #oldsmooc is the connections I've made and hope to keep. Sharing this journey with you and other oldsmooc ers is one of the reasons I was able to continue. The serendipitous nature of online learning bought you and Helen together and the rewards are evident in your narrative. 

Like you, I had a personal hickup which meant a dramatic change in how I was doing things for almost 2 weeks. I was so disappointed to have missed the "evaluation" week, it's work I will return to in good time. That in itself was a learning design experience.

Like Josh, I believe your advice "Sharing the fun"is important during online work, we don't have the physical presence that helps humans to connect, this is one of the next best options. 

I'm also beginning to realise that MOOCS work best if they aren't treated as courses to begun, finish then "file away" for use when needed. They're more a learning experience from which we pull what's relevant to us and build upon into the future, through our new connections/network/community of practice/allumni (many ways to see it:)). I think MOOC Facilitators are the ultimate content curators....gathering relevant resources and value adding with their time, experitse and passion. 

Looking forward to continuing the LD conversation througn #oldsmoocalumni.



Joshua Underwood
9:44pm 7 March 2013

#oldsmoocalumni sounds good Penny, I'll try to follow & converse there too :-)

Penny Bentley
10:41pm 7 March 2013 (Edited 10:42pm 7 March 2013)

Josh, it's great for us to remain connected to the experts. See you around on #oldsmoocalumni :)


Gráinne Conole
12:08pm 8 March 2013

LOL re badge envy! Glad you enjoyed the course features activity it's great isn't it? Also good advice to others about how to approach MOOCs, to chill and not feel you have to do everything, different things will appeal to different people!

Marie Arndt
1:04pm 10 March 2013

Hi Jane C,

I agree with what others have said about your project and effort in the MOOC. Josh and Grainne also have a healthy attitude to how to approach a MOOC; it made such a difference to not have to fret about deadlines for assignments etc etc.  


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