The web-site is now in readonly mode. Login and registration are disabled. (28 June 2019)

Alice’s OLDSMOOC narrative

Cloud created by:

Alice (Xin) Huang
4 March 2013


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

I have been working as a training design, development and delivery for almost 15 years. I am currently working for the  Open polytechnic of New Zealand, the nation’s only correspond education provider.  With more and more students asking for flexibility of learning,  Open poly has moved to the new direction of online only or only plus print model.  Open Poly is my first experience working in the educational sector, curriculum design is new to me, I have been trying to find some opportunity to up skill myself in this area for a while, until I noticed this MOOC course. Learning Design for 21 curriculum, the title only tells me this is what I am looking for.


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

My expectation for joining this MOOC was to find out a systematic approach, and a step by step guidance of how to design a 4 year degree program.


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 started the learning journey without a specific  work-related project, and to be honest, I was carried away by the first week’s learning activity, “ your dream project”  I made a decision to choose my real dream project, which was the one I tried to achieve before I moved to current work, a project related to my previous work with Glasxo SmithKline, a learning project about the efficiency of an OTC sales force. I put together my dream project and published out in the cloudscape.  The good thing about choosing this project was that I successfully attracted Chris to my project as my study buddy.  From hindsight, if it wasn’t Chris, I might have quitted the course long time ago.  I found two  things very important to keep me in this MOOC course , they are feedback and support from tutor, and the communication and commitment from my study group.  I noticed the importance, so I did my best try to keep contact with Chris, we had set up several skype meeting, we also tried out Google hangouts, and of course we use email to talk, in these ways we shared our learning experience to each other, and I really think I learned a lot from Chris. These interactions got me through the most difficult stages of this 9 week online learning, especially week 3 and 4, when we were exposed to a huge amount of information, and often we found ourselves lost in the sea of links.

Once I have finished week 6, everything became much easier for me.  I lost contact with Christ at week 7, we couldn’t find any time to meet online that worked for both of us. Chris is in South Africa, and I am in New Zealand, the time difference between us is huge, we can only meet either early morning or late evening.  Although we can’t share learning with each other, the study habit has been established, so I just went on as usual, and managed to complete most of the activities and readings on my own. 

Back the project I put for this MOOC course, I stuck with my dream project trying to use this project to complete week 2, 3 and week 4 learning activities, really struggled….finally at week 5 I decided to switch to the e-learning project I am currently working on and felt much better.

So my reflection is that  if I could start over again, I would have chosen a project that relates to my current work, a curriculum design project I am working on for e-learning Degree course. This is not my dream project, but would serve my learning purpose and expectation much better than my dream project.   I think I was distracted by the “dream project” title and the instructions, and since it was week 1, I haven’t been fully prepared for the course.  

Another thing I found a bit struggle with this MOOC is the huge amount of information that presented to me via different source, MOOC cloudscapes, MOOD course page, other participant’s cloudscape. I forced myself to settle down, and tackle down one by one, half way through week 1, I suddenly had an idea, if I am so struggled with all the resources and information, other students must have similar feeling, so why not try to compile all resource in a more organised way as I work through week by week?  Because the resources for this course are multimedia content, so I think the best way to present is using iBook author.  So I emailed Dr Yishay, discussing the possibility of me using the content with Creative Commons license and put together a resource kit for others to use for free. And I got permisstion from Dr Yishay to do so as long as I follow the copyright rules. So from week 2, I started compiling a resource kit for this MOOC, including links, videos, template, exemplars, tools etc.  I am using Scrivener (a writing software) for the first step content compiling and organizing ever week at the same time when I study the content.  Next step is to use ibook author to develop a resource kit that will hold all resource together in an easy way for people to read. I will make it availabe to everyone once I have completed it. 


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

I really enjoyed participating in MOOC, some topics I have learned before, some are new to me. I did my best to complete most activities, and explored all tools and resource so I can put most useful ones in my ibook resource kit. Every week, I learned something new, I Yammer interesting topic to my colleagues, I also tried out new tools and approach at work, for example, the card game, I printed off the cards and took to a SME planning meeting for a course development, they just loved it.

I read all posts from tutor, and as many as I can from other participants, it was truly a great learning experience for me.

My biggest challenge was working at curriculum level. I am still struggling with it. This MOOC course is titled Learning design for 21 century curriculum, but the content and tools are more at course design level. How to approach the design at program level is still not very clear to me.  Also  I found some of the tools introduced in this MOOC is not very well maintained, some of them maybe developed a while ago and the links are broken, and content are a bit out of date.



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

I think learning design is a very big topic. Through this course I learned systematic way to approach learning design, I also learned a lot of tools and models, template to assist learning design, what is the most important thing when you apply to real work situation, is context.  I would like to recommend anyone who is involving in learning and development area to do this course, and one advice I would like to give is that always bear in mind your own professional learning context. Don’t get carried away by the theories, tools, resource, Context is the King! Context is everything! 

Extra content

Embedded Content


Sheila MacNeill
9:09am 4 March 2013

Hi Alice

Thanks for sharing. Agree the amount of places and content was a bit overwhelming and I think as I read everyone's reflections we have all found our own ways to cope with that. I feel really strongly that is a key part of digital literacy for students on MOOCs (and any other course for that matter).

Really glad you made a good connection to suppor you through the course too.


Hugues Chicoine
5:58pm 4 March 2013

Alice Xin Huang, the title of the OLDSMOOC project was inspiring and promising to you as a systematic step-by-step design procedure not for a course but for a program. Alice was distracted by the “dream project” title; this happens a lot when metaphores or other borrowed notions are used. You say that the biggest challenge was working at curriculum level, i.e., the formal contents inherent to discipline-specific material and not context? (the formal institutional procedures?).


Alice (Xin) Huang
11:02pm 5 March 2013

Thanks for your comments. 

Yes, my biggest challenge is curriculum design. I used to work at course level, doing a lot learning design for a individual course and several related courses.  A lot of tools introduced in this MOOC are very useful for this purpose. But I still didn't see a step by step approach to do a degress level curriculum design at a program level, a cuirrulum that is made up of 3-4 years study, each year is made up of 100-200 credits courses. To me this seems to be a huge and daunting task, I don't know where to start.  This is actually  what I expected most from this MOOC course, and I don't think it was covered enought. 


Alice (Xin)

Hugues Chicoine
10:12pm 7 March 2013 (Edited 10:24pm 7 March 2013)

 ... "a degress level curriculum design at a program level, a cuirrulum that is made up of 3-4 years study, each year is made up of 100-200 credits courses. To me this seems to be a huge and daunting task, I don't know where to start" 

Alice Xin Huang, program design, before being fleshed out, must undergo some form of accreditation. I have seen and witnessed (not participated in) only one such process concerning an undergraduate program (90 credits). Accreditation is a very complex procedure undertaken at the institutional level and involving faculties, for example : 

"Also, accreditation is not a process somehow set aside from audit, assessment, or
standards monitoring such as external examining. Accreditation uses methods and has
purposes that overlap with audit, assessment and external examining.
"Before exploring these issues, some orientation on what accreditation is and how it
relates to other external processes. Accreditation may be of programmes or institutions.
Accreditation is the establishment or re-statement of the status, legitimacy or
appropriateness of an institution, programme (i.e. composite of modules) or module of
study. (reference, p.1) (download other reference and see p.24).

You'll have to search for and find how things are done in your part of the world.




Marie Arndt
10:33am 10 March 2013

Hi Alice,

Thank you for sharing your very thorough experience of the MOOC. Was it your first one? It was for me, and I didn't really know what to expect. Like you, at the beginning I thought it was very overwhelming with all the threads, clouds and cloudscapes. I find your effort to read so much of the messages admirable, but I knew it would not work for me unless I only skimmed messages; in the end I must admit I became very selective in what I read.

I think your comment that you should use a project related to your current work context is an important incentive to keep going, even when you fall behind in the course, which I did very early, as I was away for 12 days early on, and was never able to catch up fully. Great that you found a study buddy to keep you going. For me it was the usefulness of my project that kept me going.

I assume that you get out of a course depending on what you're looking for. it seems that you may not have got exactly what you were looking for, but that you found it useful and that you learned a lot, nevertheless.

All the best,


Hugues Chicoine
2:20pm 10 March 2013 (Edited 4:03pm 10 March 2013)

Alice Xin Huang, not that it was hidden but the crux of this MOOC is publicly available in the OULDI-JISC research centre. For programme design, you may want to examine the following reference, especially the flowchart on page 6.
CROSS, S., CONOLE, G., MUNDIN, P., GALLEY, R. CLARK, P., BRASHER, A. and CULVER, J. 2009. A Review of Curriculum Design at the Open University 2008-09: OULDI-JISC Project Baseline Report. (
The short, 62-page document includes 16 flowcharts complete with legend (how to read, TOC, abbreviations, terminilogy, progress status). The document examines curriculum design as well (most of it in this MOOC's weeks 3 and 4 activities) (view original (view original here). One realises that institutional and discipline-specific curriculum design exist separately, and that program design is not a less complex endeavour (the information you are expecting to find). Then OLdS MOOC is an exemplary adventure in testing the bottom end (entry, input) of curriculum design. OLDS MOOC introduces new elements in the existing process: OERs in search for flexibility and Ideation (is not mentioned in the existing 'processes' here: Processes). 


Alice (Xin) Huang
7:47am 11 March 2013

Hi Hugues, 

Thanks so much for your information! JISC does have a lot of information, I went to the section you suggested about curriculum design,  they are really good! Especially the baseline report, I will dedicate some time study all the material, this helps me a lot, thanks! 


Alice (Xin) Huang
8:01am 11 March 2013

Hi Marie, 

Thanks for your feedback. 

Yes, this is my first MOOC. Part of my learning objective is to experience what MOOC is, so I can understand what students' feeling if we also offer a MOOC course.  I felt confused at begining, overwhelmed by a sea of information. I almost quit, but I really want to know more about learning design, so I decided to tackle one item at a time, read and explore course material one by one, and go through activities one by one. From my own experience, I also found learning motivation is quite important, if students are determined, highly motivated, then they will find what they want to learn evatually, so  what I have been thinking all the time during this MOOC is how to keep students motivated, especially in the distance learning context, how to grab our students attention. 

Most of my learning expectation were met, I am so glad I didn't quit, I have learned a lot through this course, and I will apply to my work. 

I am so happy it is finally week 9 !  Yeh! :-) 


Yishay Mor
11:06pm 22 May 2014

Hi Alice,

We're collecting MOOC design narratives - our workshop on Tuesday -

Would you be willing to add yours to our collection? And maybe join us online?



Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.