Sheila MacNeill's OLDS MOOC narrative (using STAR framework)
Cloud created by:
3 March 2013
I work for a JISC funded Innovation Support Centre called CETIS. We work with the UK HE sector and advise about the using of educational technology and standards. My involvement with CETIS (first as a member or one of their Special Interest Groups and later as a staff member) began 10 years ago when the IMS Learning Design specification came out. At that time I was a Learning Technologist for a government Quango in Scotland called Learning and Teaching Scotland. I was designing online course for schools and was very interested in finding ways of sharing designs and practice. This interest is something which has developed as part of support activities for a number of JISC programmes related to learning design.
Initially my main driver was to create an actual design. Working at CETIS I'm not involved in design of courses/teaching any more (though I do get to find out an awful lot about what others are doing).
Although I initially did have a plan for a leaning design and managed to link up with some like minded people and form a team. My main activity has actually been around exploring the potential of Cloudworks to be a more useful personal learning environment for students. Some thoughts I had about using its social features and open API seemed to strike a chord with Tony Hirst ( an academic at the OU who does some fantastic experimentation around data visualisations using SNA (social network analysis) approaches). So as the weeks went by and the team seemed to drop away I focused more on that aspect, and my prototype ended up being a mock up of a potential re-design for the Cloudworks profile page.
ResultsI think I have experienced several levels of outcomes:
1 - sticking with the course. I have managed to do something each week and more or less follow the week's activities. I've found the badges far more motivating than I expected as proof of participation. It's also been really interesting watching fellow student's work developing.
2 - trying out new things - I found the prototyping week useful as it gave me a chance to use a piece of software I hadn't used before. Because of my background I had already used a lot of the tools recommended in the course. So it was good to have an activity to try Balsmiq with.
3 - learning about /with fellow participants about being a student on a MOOC. I think the biggest thing I'll take away from the experience is my own reactions/emotions and strategies for being a student on a course like this. It has been quite a fascinating process, and I think I have made some really valuable new connections.
I think I've learnt quite a bit about the practicalities of learning design from reflection on being a student as well as the course activities/content/collaboration. It's also been fascinating and motivating to here the thoughts of the course team each week as they have dealt with the "reality" of the course.
I've also realised the importance of context - but more from a students perspective which is making me re-evaluate the whole notion of personal learning environments in the context of MOOCs.
MOOCs are challenging for students so confidence is key for a learner - both in terms of what you choose to do and don't do, and where/when/ how often you engage with your peers. There are a number of implicit digital literacy skills in that previous sentence. Being able to contextualise yourself as a learner online is something I see as being of upmost importance for a project based course such as OLDS MOOC. You need to let go, try things, not worry too much if they don't go as expected, not feel guilty if you don't do everything, and share whatever you have found useful with others.