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Itana Gimenes
5 March 2013

Itana Gimenes Design Narrative


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

I am a professor of Software Engineering at the Universidade Estadual de Maringá ( which is located in the South of Brazil. When the MOOC started I was on my holidays’ break so I had more time to dedicate to the activities. When classes started it was more difficult to stick to the course, but I managed to go through most of the activities. My interest in the OLDS-MOOC was both by the MOOC itself, as I would like to have an immersion experience, and for the topic Learning Design (LD) because I’ve been applying it in the development of a software engineering course. I first heard of LD at the Open University in 2011 when I was in a sabbatical license. Many of my students look at MOOCs in Computer Science, so I would like to understand better to be able to talk to them about this kind of courses and the issues around them.


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

I hoped to have an immersion in a MOOC experience. Issues I would like to experience include: (i) the technology applied and check how effective they were; (ii) the organisation of the course and its ability to guide the learners; (iii) certification; (iv) level of participants’ interaction; and, (v) quality of material used.

As far as LD is concerned, I had a previous experience in the application of OULDI so, I would like to enhance my knowledge by studying alternative approaches and tools.


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 taken the course seriously looking forward to go through all the activities. I thought this was the only way to make a good judgement by the end of the value of a MOOC, and at the same time learn more about LD. So, by now I only left week 4 partially incomplete because I had been away for one week. To help me with the journey I planned to apply for the badges 1, 3 and 6 weeks and the achievement. I also enjoyed doing the reflections as a mean of reviewing my activities and register my own judgement of what I have done.

My learning journal already has many issues that I could reproduce here; I’ll highlight some. The main event in the beginning of the course was to form a group and set up a project. This was a very difficult task. I published the project proposal, but there seems to be few people from my subject area interested to join the project. I ended up doing a project with a colleague I knew. However, due to time synchronisation working in a group was a problem, so I had to proceed with the project on my own. This was not actually a bad idea because I could proceed in my own speed. Obviously I lost interaction and feedback.

At the beginning of the course I missed real lectures, I was hopping to see the key people involved in the course talking about the subjects, so short videos was frustrating, but further I got used to the strategy and slides with audio did helped me.

In week 2, it was quite useful to learn about Personas, Force Maps and EoR. The similarities with software engineering design made the understanding of the concepts easier, actually across the whole MOOC. In week 3, I felt there was a gap between the knowledge acquired in week 2 and week 3. The 7Cs framework mentions Personas which do help to draw the scenario. This means that force maps and EoR were not considered, or maybe that one can use whatever they like to get here. I didn’t know EoR before but comparing what I see in our EoR, I think it does help to get to the course map view, maybe more effort can be placed in making them coherent, like Environment, People, Tools. I studied the concepts of week 4 but for time reasons I skipped the tasks.

I find week 5 productive and one that I had more feedback. I had the opportunity to see authentic learning and will consider it in further research.

I was following the convergence sessions, but at week 5 I was tired of people complain and discussing the MOOC issues and not taking the opportunity to discuss the subject of the week. Week 6 worked really well, both in terms of feedback and interaction in the convergence session.

Week 7 was great, definitely the one I most learned. I knew several of the concepts but I was able to understand them in the context of LD. The material used was rich and important to consider in further research.

My frustration is not to have enough feedback even in a course with so many people involved. Surely I have not given enough feedback to people too, minha culpa!

I would say that the tasks designed for the week were a bit long, in particular in week 5 and 7.

Overall, I am very pleased to have completed the MOOC. I think it was a success.


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 have achieved the goal of experience a MOOC. I had enhanced my knowledge o LD and come to know many tools and references that I surely use in my own research. By this time my understanding of education issues has improved a lot. I have produced the artefacts required along the course, the development of them was very important to consolidate my knowledge of LD.


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

I have registered many issues in my reflection not much to add in this section. A summary phrase would be: I can be a better lecture after this course and I am aware of more tools and material to use in my research, so I am quite happy with that.

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Patrick McAndrew
10:50pm 10 March 2013

Hi Itana,

Nice to see the comments about your visit to OU - was it really that long ago :-). Great also that you found the time you invested worthwhile in the end. I expect that it is the way you have engaged and reflected that has led you to a result you are happy with. I know you say that you are bit fed up with people "discussing the MOOC" rather than the topics, but your reflections on the design are very interesting as is the parts that you found most interesting and valuable. You highlight the evaluation section (week 7) - can you say what made that work for you? From what you say above it might be the overlap in your own filed of software engineering or is it that it worked well with what had gone before?


Itana Gimenes
12:24am 11 March 2013

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your comments. I was at OU in 2011, got back one year ago. I miss it a lot, wish to come back some time.

I already knew some of the material of weeks 1-6, except week 4. However, learning patterns and software patterns are about the same idea. Week 7 brought a nice big picture of evaluation that is useful for research in any field. This will help me to guide my students on looking for alternative evaluations. I have been using experimentation a lot but although valuable it takes too much time, for master students for instance. So, actually the similarities with my own field did help. I found the documents and the heuristic protocol very useful. The moderators were so careful even writing papers for the specific MOOC activity. I played with the tools in my own design and I found that they did made me reflect on possible changes and improvements in the design.

I also would like to highlight Tom Reeves participation in the MOOC. He seems so open, careful and bring so many interesting discussion in his comments. I think he made a very good point about LD in the olds-mooc google forum which I agree, I posted a comment there.

Ida Brandão
8:29am 11 March 2013

Olá Itana,

 Estive a dar uma mirada na Wikipedia sobre a sua cidade de Maringá. Já tive a oportunidade de visitar alguns países em todos os continentes, mas nunca estive em nenhum da América Latina. Os meus irmãos visitaram várias cidades e zonas do Brasil. Tenho de me penitenciar. O Brasil é um continente com tanta diversidade e tanta maravilha... a sua cidade parece ter muito boa qualidade de vida. Vi que têm uma catedral moderna monumental. 

Let's get back to english and to your learning experience. It's interesting to have another viewpoint from a software developer. 

I suppose that each of the participants got the feeling of overload at different stages (weeks). I got that feeling in weeks 2 and 3, perhaps because I started to explore too early all the resources and tools in the Learning Design Grid website and there was so much stuff I wasn't famliar with that time was running out and not being able to catch up with all. 

I think that MOOCs usually offer much more beyond the time you have to dedicate. We just have to control the impetus to catch up with everything and be afraid of loosing important things. We have to choose our own path and rythm and do the best we can under the circumstances. 

I also experience the feeling of not participating as much as I should. To read most of what peers write, to make some reasoning and associations and write comments takes time. I must confess that for some strange reason some of my messages in the forum didn't show up (in Twitter it happens a lot) and I get frustrated. I have opened a wiki for Open Discussion, where I write my comments and then paste them to forum or cloudscape, because it really upsets me when there's some failure and I've taken a lot of time to write them directly and then loose them. 

I hope we may meet in future MOOCs!

Jane Nkosi
9:45am 11 March 2013

Hi Itana,

Thank you for a good synthesis of what went on in the first 8 weeks of the MOOC. Like you I found the beginning a bit rugged but soon learnt that staying focused was the way to go. This was a great learning journey.



Itana Gimenes
8:49pm 11 March 2013

Hi Ida/Jane,

Thanks for your comments. Overall, I believe we share the good feeling of acomplishment. The comment I missed to Ida was about the design plan with the weeks, since the first time I missed which were the content topics there. I mention this because I feel that this might be due to the LD process followed. When I did the EoR there was a box with knowledge, which I did know where to put in the conceptual map.


Penny Bentley
3:45am 12 March 2013

Hi Itana, it sees that many of us had difficulties with forming project groups at the beginning of the OLDS MOOC. In recent weeks I've been following articles that have appeared on Twitter about MOOCS, and this problem has appeared elsewhere. I enjoyed reading your narrative as you clearly outlined what worked for you and the frustrations you had. All the best. Penny

Joshua Underwood
10:20am 12 March 2013

Hi Itana,

I find your comment about feedback useful. I had the same feeling and as a facilitator was very concerned about whether there was stuff going on that I was unaware of and not feeding back on. Of course even in a (mini) mOOC like this it is likely impossible for facilitators to provide feedback to everyone BUT I do think there is a lot more the tools/environment and design might be able to help with here.

In the current state of affairs I think if you are a highly skilled manipulator of twitter and other such tools (e.g. Sheila McNeil) you can attract attention to what you do and probably attract feedback. However, I feel this places too much emphasis on the learners (and their dig. lit. & dispositions). I wonder whether tools (such as the ones providing overviews of cloudworks activity) could help detect who isn't getting enough feedback and direct facilitators and other participants' attention? Maybe like in LinkedIn when you get asked to 'endorse' a selection of connections everytime you go there you could get asked to 'comment on' 3 or 4 pieces of work everytime you go to cloudworks (where the algorithm that selects which pieces of work you should comment on does something clever to make sure everyone gets feedback and to try to match up to feedback givers interests/skills)?

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