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Marie's STARR narrative

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Marie Arndt
7 March 2013

Situation

 

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

A few years ago I completed an MA in Online and Distance Education, at the OU in the UK. Since then I’ve been hoping to develop my LD skills to be able to use it professionally to a wider extent, and get away from the traditional teaching role that I have had since I started in the profession over 35 years ago. So far I have not succeeded in my efforts.

I am currently teaching English language to local students at a college in Oman. It does not offer me to develop my interest in using technology in teaching to the extent that I would like, nor does it offer elearning opportunities in its present form. The MOOC partly fell during a period when I did not have any teaching, although I did have a trip away. I decided to work at my own pace without falling behind too much, to focus on what interested me the mostand to complete the course.

Task

In order to develop my LD skills and to find a professionally more fulfilling role I signed up for the MOOC, A few weeks before the course started I had talked to a manager about the need to improve English proficiency and academic skills of engineering students at my institution. I decided to use that as my project.  

Actions

At the beginning of the course I connected with other participants who were interested in a similar project to me. I di the activities and engaged with other participants. In the second week I went away for twelve days and fell behind on the course.  When I returned I picked it up again, but sadly could no longer keep up with my connections on the course.  I did, however, keep to my original plan, to develop a project that would fit with my intention to design a subject-focussed English enhancement programme for engineering students. I have done activities to the best of my ability and time allowed. I also had a hangout session with Briar in Canada, which was very enjoyable. Generally,

Results

I have tried some new tools and also revisited a few that I knew before. I was introduced to some vocabulary building tools that I will use as soon as I can. I have also revisited Cloudworks, of course, which I first used when I was doing my MAODE. 

I have used this MOOC to think more about how I can resolve a brief that is real in my own working environment. I have been inspired by Cathy Moore's action approach, which I knew about before this MOOC, and I will try to apply her thoughts when I develop my project further. I have so far used YouTube material as study material, but I hope to build in more vocabulary building activities to scaffold the LD even further.

As I had to think about not making the LD totally dependent on online access, I have tried to build alternatives into the LD, especially problematic for the collaborative aspect, unless you choose traditional pen-and-paper method, which may not be such a bad idea, hence the post-it notes in your video for planning the MOOC.

My LD I posted on both Sliderocket and on Slideshare, after I had made it into a PPP for sharing, which was happy with. In the future I think using PPP to build LDs will be my preferred option. I had tried it before, so I had already an idea of how I could use it. 

 

Reflections

After the first week I have continued the learning journey on my own, but found it very inspiring and enriching. I have learned about the finer details in the whole processes of learning design. I now think I am better prepared for what is needed for designing and evaluating a learning design. It was very rewarding to learn about the whole process of LD. It was exactly what I needed after the MAODE, and for taking the plunge into LD in a more extensive way.

I will use this experience as a topic for a conference presentation and implement my extended knowledge to develop learning projects for the students at my institution.  

 

 

Extra content

My Evaluation Plan

 

 

Introduction: 

The plan is for a blended-learning programme to enhance reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English for non-native students of engineering, especially for third and fourth-year students. It is intended to focus on subject-specific English language needs, to enable higher achievement in studies, as well as being better prepared for working life.

The plan will be written primarily by a lecturer in the English department, with input from colleagues in the same department and from the Engineering department. The tools will include vocabulary building online tools, blog, wikis, YouTube video clips, editing tool for writing. As network access may be repeatedly unreliable there must be an inbuilt option that ensures that work can be completed offline at times. 

Background: As network access can be unreliable the plan must include elements that do not require constant online access.

Purposes: The evaluation has to measure if the programme is SMART and consequently has to include elements that show if students can achieve the goals with the outlined plan, and if the level is right for their requirements, and if the content matches what they need to be able to complete required research, reading and writing in their engineering course.  

 

Limitations: The limitations of the evaluation are lack of time and funding. The first group of students to be exposed to this programme will in fact be a pilot group and they will be subjected to the evaluation process. A limited number of lecturers in the English department are academically qualified and experienced to be able to guide the students at a high academic level. In the Engineering department the subject-knowledge of engineering is high, but some lecturers have insufficient English skills to be able to guide the students efficiently to a desired level.

 

Audiences: Primary consumer is the students ultimately. In the first instance it will be the Dean of the college, the Heads of Engineering and English Departments and the Ministry of Higher Education. It would also be advisable to include the engineering company that has an agreement with the college to the evaluation process, as the view of the employer is important.

 

Decisions: The evaluation will be influenced by feedback from stakeholders, i.e. managers and lecturers in the English and Engineering departments, the Dean, the Ministry of Higher Education, potential employer, and the students. It is anticipated that the students and some academic staff may want to influence decisions to aim for a lower level of learning outcomes, while the potential employer and academically skilled academic staff, as well as scholarly ambitious students will aim for a higher level of learning, which would be more in line what is desired by the lead designer of the programme. Decisions may not be based on real situations, but the ideal, such as internet connectivity and ability by students. Furthermore, there may be a problem that students may be lead to believe that they can avoid more advanced learning, due to lax attitudes by some lecturers who may be involved.

Questions: The evaluation must include questions that measure the experience of all  academic stakeholders.

What academic skills did ss achieve? Are they sufficient to achieve on the course studied and help ss to function effectively in their future workplace?

What was lecturers’ attitude to blended leaning?

What was lecturers’ attitude to interactive elements?

Did ss acquire the needed skills, by interactive, individual and/or collaborative learning?

Was there summative or formative assessment?

What did ss learn?

Were the subject-related texts and visuals included in the programme appropriate for the purpose and audience? 

Did the pilot meet expectations of the stakeholders?

Methods: The evaluation will be through questionnaires and observations of how ss respond to the tasks and assignments. As the budget is anticipated to be zero, evaluation time must be kept to a minimum, to enable roll-out on a larger scale as soon as possible. 

 

Sample: A fourth-year sample of students, around 30, will be part of the pilot. Lecturers who are involved - on a voluntary basis in the pilot - will take part in the evaluation process. IT staff will also have to be involved, to gove technical support when needed.

Instrumentation: Evaluation instruments and tools to be used in the evaluation are questionnaires and observations. Due to cultural constraints it will not be possible to video female students and possibly not male students either, so this method is best ruled out from the start. A focus group should be formed, including students and staff.

Logistics: Lecturers involved in the programme will be responsible for implementation. A smaller group, representing all stakeholders, will be responsible for analysis. Reporting of the evaluation will be conducted by the lead designer and appropriate academic staff.

Time Line: Implementation is in fact the delivery of the programme: 15 weeks.

                    Analysis: 3 weeks

                     Reporting of the evaluation   1 week 

 

Budget: It is expected that no extra funding will be available for the evaluation, so the project will have to be evaluated on a trial-and-error approach.

Marie Arndt
04:32 on 9 March 2013

Embedded Content

Contribute

Hugues Chicoine
3:22pm 7 March 2013 (Edited 3:23pm 7 March 2013)


.
... dear Marie Arndt ("learning journey on my own"),
... here (ref.: D.R. Garrison) is another course outline dealing precisely with the subject at hand (educational design). The document states:

" Write a 15-20 page paper on an innovative and disruptive approach to teaching and learning. This can be a detailed description of an innovative course design scenario. Alternatively, you may write a discussion paper or design a study that critically explores an issue related to the adoption of innovative educational practices.

... further down, however, one can read that the major project of the course is to prepare a 'course design prototype':

" Major Project (course design prototype). A paper describing an innovative course/program design prototype that effectively utilizes Web 2.0 communications technologies.

D.R. Garrison is known to promote a post-industrial view of distance education and many such views find purchase today in education. A review of D.R.Garrison's work over a long period procures a cross section (landscape) of distance education (and of education in general where one also includes the 'blended' approach in the analysis): critical thinking and cognitive presence; DistanceEd definitions; oral and text-based communication; distance education and the post-industrial age; socio-cognitive constructivist theory (1993); audio-teleconferencing (1990). Throughout, media technologies are the main concern. Yet Garrison's take on autonomy and self-directed learning (Self-Directed Learning and Distance Education, p.161 et seq.) makes this conditional to a necessary didactic 'transaction', to constructivist theories and collaborative requirements, and is based on educators' lack of or poor understanding of 'student learning' (!?):

" The concept of self-directed learning has considerable potential to help distance educators understand student learning. To be a viable concept, however, it must also inform the teaching and learning transaction. In addition, if it is to have meaning and relevance for distance educators, it must be framed within a transactional perspective that considers both the private and shared worlds of the learner. As distance education enters the transactional era, the concept of self-directed learning must reflect both constructivist and collaborative perspectives. In this way, it could become a powerful concept, capable of illuminating and shaping the field. (p.167)

As was mentioned elsewhere we objectively need "approaches to teaching and learning that don't make assumptions about the motivations and interests of students" (Pegg). Much of education is based on self-defeating assumptions deriving from a so-called ignorance of 'how students learn'. The 'Actions' paragraph above (your 'activities') recount precisely how you and many other people learn.
/HCh
.

Yishay Mor
11:33pm 7 March 2013


Hi Marie,

could you share, perhaps as a second narrative, a bit of infomation about your project? what did you create and how did you arrive at that? which tools and existing resources did you use? did you evaluate, or trial the outcomes? 

thanks,

Yishay

Marie Arndt
7:13pm 8 March 2013


Hi Yishay,

 

Yes, I was referring to the project  I have used in the course, and yes, I mustn't assume that the reader of this document knew about it. I was in a hurry and it was early in the morning.  I'll try to add some more.

 

Regards,

Marie

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