To get started, here is a brief summary of things you need to know to get the most of the course and make it work for you.
First things first
What we will do:
- As a registered participants (if you have opted in during the registration process) we will automatically add you to the email (JISCMail) list and register you for the course discussions. If you haven’t registered yet, we recommend you do.
- You will automatically receive details of the weekly webinar, including the link to join. The link to the recording will be posted online on the same day.
- You will receive a weekly email providing you with an overview of the week ahead.
Once you have received your username and password for the forum by email, use these credentials to login and complete your profile, which also allows you to adjust how often you receive the automated newsletter about the discussions. For help and orientation, go to http://octel.alt.ac.uk/help/ where there are also help videos to guide you.
Note: If you have registered for the course within the last 24 hours you will receive your username and password in due course.
ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is not behind a password login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the general mix. If you write on
- the JISCMail list firstname.lastname@example.org
- your own blog, using the #ocTEL tag (if you don’t already have a blog and would like one, we recommend getting a free one from http://wordpress.com/ or http://www.blogger.com/)
- your Twitter account, again using the #ocTEL tag
then we will include your contributions in the Course Discussions area for other participants to read and comment on.
Please also have a look at our guide to discussion and collaboration spaces.
You will find out more about each other through discussing your experiences and hopes, reflecting and commenting on them. Developing these shared understandings is critical to the course approach, and practising it will enable you to explore the different ways you can communicate with each other, including working out what works best for you, and telling us where you get stuck.
Keeping 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, unusual form of TEL, and still controversial in some quarters. This week, you’ll find out a bit more about it, work out what its advantages might be, and discuss the challenges it might present for you.
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!
Be selective, pace yourself, take time out
One of the features of this kind of course design is to present you, especially at the start, with a range of options that can seem over-stimulating at first. (Part of the reason we have this induction week, is to give you space to acclimatise and minimise stress.) Always remember that these are options: you don’t have to do them all.
This is a professional development course, and its designers trust you, as a professional, to make your own 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.
Help and FAQ
Thanks for reading. Now please carry on to the induction activities.