Week 6 – assessment

fading fast this week: tomorrow begins a new week and so far I have done nothing. I missed the webinair and the two I have done have given me some small sense of community and make it easier to continue


So I am now looking at the ” if you only do one thing this week…” for this week, I have downloaded three papers on on-line assessment and am reading and blogging at the same time. The first paper,assessing my own performance, details using technology for trainee doctors to make clinical decisions in an unfolding case study. Now this is interesting, as it fits with an assessment process currently being used by my own profession of counselling. As far as I can see students work in groups to decide which course of action they will take with a virtual patient. I can see this working in our skills modules, which currently are heavy on staff time. It does not say if the students were working together in synched time or asynched time and it might be important to know that.


Although if I was to develop it I would need bags of help. please, to anyone reading this in my own institution. I think this would work well for my ethics module too – I am getting quite excited at the thought of replacing the paper case studies with an on-line version, though I have not quite worked out how students would work in groups on it.


Whew. I have done a third of this assignment!


second paper: putting assessment at the heart of learning.

I have flicked through this fairly quickly as it seems as if many of the ideas in it are ones that we in my school at Huddersfield already have in place.  A student from a different school was most impressed with our on-line feedback system and is going to agitate to have it in his school too.


I need to go and cook now, but if I read the third paper I will blog separately.


Glad to have got going on this task, though it has taken time from other work

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Week 5

I have not blogged for awhile, partly because I am rather drowning in the mass of materials. I think that I have noticed that as people drop out, the conversations appear to have got more techy but perhaps this is only an illusion. Still, I am here, and afloat,  even if I am still taking in great mouthfuls of water with every second stroke.

This week, I am addressing the questions that we were asked to look at:

I do use a VLE at work, but mainly as a repository for course information and lecture notes etc, although in my dept, we also mark electronically which I love, as a)I can write a lot more comments b) it is cleaner and simpler c) there is a permanent record of students work and marks d)  there is no need to carry loads of paper around. I have used a course blog, but there is a course facebook page, which should serve the same purpose, and increasingly, students develop their own course FB page which staff cannot join, and which therefore gives them obvious benefits.

This means that there are less choices than with the OCtel platform, but it makes it more manageable as well. Given that many students are just interested in doing enough to pass the course, this is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Given how much I am struggling to keep going I think my sympathies are with the student body at the moment.

A big question is whether University education will survive at all in the Brave New World of instant ( and free) access to the information stream. However, accredited courses do prove that graduates have had the stamina to complete a course of study, and essays etc allow clear stepping stones along the way. It is both more difficult and easier to stay with a course that has no way stones.

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Last week

Here I am on this weeks task ( if you only do one thing….do this). I found last weeks task very interesting particularly as I discovered that on-line learning is probably not my best way of learning.

This weeks task is what is designing active learning and I have to think about how I learn. Here is where my dyslexia snaps into play as I am an “other ” learner, which means I learn best through emotion, or action or even play I have very little short term memory so remembering facts is quite hard.

I look back as per the instructions, to the last thing I learned thoroughly.

When I have large documents to analyse and learn thoroughly I try to  learn the whole thing by heart, which means reading and re-reading, and then, in order to analyse it, I think and think and if possible, dream about it too.  It is quite a long and thoroughly tortuous process, and not one I can really encourage students to work with, but it works reasonably well for me. Is this the weirdest learning method anyone has or do others have eve n more peculiar ways of learning?



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Week Three

day one of the week and I have already completed my task for the week ( if you only do one thing this week do this…) The task is to do some surveys which test fitness to be on an On-line Course.

Two out of four surveys told me that I probably should not be doing an On-Line course as they require the sorts of skills ( good-time management, the ability to understand instructions easily, which I may not have.

So I have learned more this week than in the previous two weeks.

Good news of a kind.

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Week One: not waving but drowning

Last week  I did the live webinair which taught me at least one new thing: the drop out rate on MOOCs is very very high.

So this is  Week One of the course (last week was week 0). There are some learning objectives for this week, Here they are:

  • become familiar with a range of concepts and approaches relevant to TEL
  • start reflecting on how these could be applied with your students
  • get a feel for what learning technology is and what learning technologists do
  • contextualise your approach within a wider field of theory

My problem with this is that I am not clear about the method: am I supposed to do the work myself and then blog about it? Will it all be on the webinair? I suppose  I need to do the first one and then the second goal of reflecting is exactly what I do all day long anyway

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Day five week one “Oh Brave New World, which has such people in it”

The first webinair of the course today, About 100 people, from all over the world, logged onto listen to speakers, none of whom I have heard of, although they may be quite prolific in their field. The speakers speak, and their powerpoints come up on the screen. In another, smaller screen, participants comment as they listen. Much is lost as there is no way of telling how remarks are meant to be taken, which causes some confusion, There is no emoticon for irony , as one writer points out plaintively.

So are MOOCOWs (no, that is not really the abbreviation) which stands for something like Massive On-line Open Courses, really to be the Brave New World of Higher Education? And if so, do I , committed as I am to relationships and to the inter-personal, want to be part of it? 

We are asked to think of “big questions” that we want to explore during the course. Mine has to be something like “if this is the future, where and how will I fit?”

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Day Two #ocTEL

Day two of the course and my bewilderment is only increasing. What is it all about? What am I supposed to be learning?  Maybe it will all become clear at the end of the course, but it is interesting to be on a course that does not have neat module headings and clear learning outcomes. It looks as if learning will be more organic this way but there will also be a need for more discipline.

There are some forums on the post but so far none that have grabbed my attention in part because they seem to be written by people whose understanding of technology is much more advanced than mine.  When I interact with other academics I realise how narrow my own field is: I am a counsellor practitioner and come to academia through that route. So I know about my that, and in particular I have a fair understanding of ethical working ( in practice mainly but  also a little of the theory) but I am not a born intellectual.

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