0. Induction: activities

This first week is an opportunity to get to grips with how the ocTEL course works and gives everyone the chance to think about some big questions in technology, learning and teaching. We will be touching on several of the issues that will come up in more detail later in the course, but dealing with them in the concrete, practical terms of

  • what you need and prefer as participants, and
  • how this kind of Technology Enhanced Learning is suited to meeting those needs.

This week’s aims

This course lets you define your own aims and follow your own paths, but we set out core learning outcomes for every week. By the end of this week, you should aim to

  • have a sense of different Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) contexts and some of their strengths and weaknesses
  • understand the range of prior experiences and expectations of the course participants, including those from different cultures, and the implications of these for this form of TEL
  • achieve basic confidence in navigating, discussing and otherwise participating in the ocTEL course.

If you only do one thing…

One aspect of participating in ocTEL is working out how the course can best work for you and how much time you have to participate. Each week, we suggest one activity to do, if you can only do one thing. This week’s task is to write a short intro about yourself.

You might want to include

  • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved
  • what about the technology made the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act different
  • your experiences as a student, a teacher or a learning technologist or indeed some other role.
  • if this is your first experience of TEL, the expectations you have of it.

Come and join the live webinar on 10 April at 12:30 (BST)

There will be a weekly webinar at lunchtime on Wednesdays, starting on 10 April. This week’s webinar has two parts: First, there is a welcome to ocTEL, including a brief orientation and networking session. The main presentation is led by Diana Laurillard and will focus on ‘big questions’ in Technology Enhanced Learning, getting participants to think about their own questions and how these can be explored over the next 10 weeks.

Activities for this week

Each week’s activities cover up to 5 learning hours and it’s up to you to decide how much time to spend on each one, or those you choose to do. Most of our activities you can undertake either on your own or jointly with other participants.

Activity 0.1: My big question

(45 mins)

Reflecting on your own work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching,  what is the most important question about TEL for you? Write it down. Whether you do this privately or publicly (on the JISCMail list, on the forums, on your blog, on Twitter) is up to you, but try and hold it in your mind in the weeks to come – you may find it useful to direct the choices you make about which options to pursue, or you may want to revise or refine it in the light of what you learn.

Activity 0.2: Initial comments and discussion

(30 mins)

Read other people’s accounts from the previous activities and comment on what you observe about individual preferences and other differences.

  • What characteristics do you think the participants in this course have in common?
  • In what ways might they be different or atypical of other groups of learners that might be important or relevant to you?

Activity 0.3: Exploring and experimenting

(50-60 mins)

Experiment with and/or reflect on different ways of communicating with fellow ocTEL participants. These include Twitter, your blog if you have one, the ocTEL JISCMail list [octel-public@jiscmail.ac.uk], the ocTEL forums, the chat window in the webinar. Try and use at least one channel of online communication that you haven’t used before (or don’t use regularly), and try and find out why other people like it.

  • What forms of reflection, challenge and learning do each of these do best?
  • How do they support relationship forming and community building? Is that important for learning?
  • Which do you prefer and why?

Activity 0.4: Interesting examples of Technology Enhanced Learning

(45 mins)

Explore the resources on Technology Enhanced Learning (below) – there are some substantial documents here and you will only have time to skim them – and identify examples of TEL that you find interesting and why.

Activity 0.5: Small group reflection

(60 mins)

With one or more fellow participants, organise a period of reflection and discussion over two or three days and see if you can arrive at a shared view of

  • What can we tell about the range of experiences and preferences among ocTEL participants?
  • What challenges does this present for the course?
  • In what ways is a MOOC well or poorly suited to these challenges?

We have set up a space in the forums area of the ocTEL website where you can organise in small groups. Your group can carry on the discussion there, or agree to pursue it by other means (online or offline) as you choose.


  • Post a short summary about yourself #ocTEL
  • Explore the ocTEL site and course discussions http://octel.alt.ac.uk
  • Make sure you can login and edit your profile if you wish
  • Check out the webinar/recording
  • Make some contact with other participants

Resources and more to watch, read and research

Technology Enhanced Learning

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

What’s coming up next?

Next week’s topic: TEL concepts and approaches, starting 15 April.