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Alice’s OLDSMOOC narrative

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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! 

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