Course Handbook

Quick start

  1. Read the course materials.
  2. Check you can login – go to the home page and enter the details you received from ALT in the Course Welcome message).
  3. Edit your profile, including registering your blog, and manage your notification preferences – see the screencast.
  4. Find the forums, groups  and email list – details on our Guide to Discussion and Collaboration Spaces.
  5. View the weekly webinars – check weekly updates for dates and times – or catch up with the recordings later (details are in each week’s course materials).
  6. There is help and orientation, where there are also help videos to guide you.

Checking in

  • Browse the daily newsletter (sent by email).
  • Check the Course Reader, the Forums and the Groups to follow latest contributions.
  • Are you looking to start the next week of the course? Check the course pages to see if it’s live.
  • Have you got the date and time of the next webinar in your diary? Of if you couldn’t attend ‘live’, have you seen the recording?
  • Have you done the ‘one thing’ for this week?
  • Is this a topic that you want to set aside some time to explore more? Either now or at a later date?

Guidance

Timings

There is no minimum (or maximum) time to spend on this course. As a rough guide, if you were to spend five hours a week, you should find that sufficient to complete the course reasonably comprehensively. There are sufficient activities to spend more time than this, but most will spend less.

Keep calm in the face of abundance

  • ocTEL is a particular form of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) known as a MOOC – a Massive Open Online Course. This is a relatively new form of TEL (and still controversial in some quarters).
  • In this course, we present you with a lot of material, a large number of activities and different places where conversations are going on.
  • You may be tempted, even unconsciously, to see this as a learning programme that you have to work your way through comprehensively and feel pressure to keep on top of all strands at all times.
  • Please don’t feel this way, especially if it creates stress and a sense of struggling to keep up!
  • Each week of the course has a one-hour “if you only do one thing” activity. Sometimes only doing one thing will be the right thing for you.

Be selective, pace yourself, take time out

  • The course design presents you with a range of options that can seem over-stimulating at first.
  • Always remember that these are options or choices: you don’t have to do them all.
  • Don’t be afraid to make your own professional judgements about what learning activities are useful to you and which you can skip. The reason there are so many options and alternative ways of spending your time is precisely to give you choice and control over selecting a path that feels right for you.
  • We recommend that you pace yourself through the course. Don’t worry if, for reasons within or beyond your control, you miss a week.
  • Resist any feelings of guilt or envy when you read about other participants’ interesting activities that you weren’t part of.
  • Try and make time for looking away from the screen and out of the window, letting your mind freewheel on some of the ideas, because that can be a very valuable part of the learning experience.

Non-completion of activities or missing weeks is not a fail

  • ocTEL is not a traditional ‘course’ so don’t feel non-participation is a failure.
  • ocTEL is about making connections to people and knowledge – if you don’t achieve this then we have failed not you.
  • Take from the course what you need – if you feel you’ve achieved the most you can from ocTEL don’t feel guilty about not returning to the ocTEL material and activities.

Accreditation

There are two ways you can record the learning and experience you gain from ocTEL as evidence of your professional development:

  • collect three of the four ‘badges’ available in each week/topic to attain a topic badge (badges are a form of lightweight accreditation – see our badges page for more details);
  • use the work you do as part of ocTEL activities as part of your portfolio of evidence when applying for CMALT accreditation (CMALT is ALT’s Certified Membership scheme, providing peer-based professional accreditation for people whose work involves learning technology. Here is more information on CMALT).

Please note: achievement of a topic badge will be taken into account by CMALT reviewers, but does not guarantee an ‘adequate’ rating in the corresponding ‘core area of work’.

Help and troubleshooting

We’ve set up Help and FAQ pages. If you cannot find what you are looking for you should email octel-tech@alt.ac.uk for technical help, and octel@alt.ac.uk for all other enquiries.