This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

First task: respond to the questions.


Well, here goes on my very first blog on a few days after my first tweet and it’s all thanks to #ocTEL  :) There follows answers to the questions posed in the induction activities 0.1. Neat way to get started!

  • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved

My previous experience with technology enhanced learning has been mainly to do with VLEs such as Blackboard and Moodle. Within these frameworks I have developed online quizzes and live exams (under controlled conditions) and, perhaps shamefully, used them as a repository for course materials. As an ex-researcher, I used to program my own analysis software using Matlab, and am keen to find a way to get back into a deeper interaction with things like learning objects in order to emulate the fantastic examples I see elsewhere.

  • what about the technology made the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act different

I have always been into computing (thanks to my Dad for those BBC basic programming books :) ) and enjoy the problem solving skills and observational skills that you develop looking for that &**(&**(&£ missing semi colon in the code. The concentration required to master technology, especially those things that don’t come naturally (for me, blogging and tweets) lead to a real feeling of self actualisation. I am more at ease when learning can take place in the comfort of your own home, yet you still have the vague feeling of competitive discomfort that motivates you to try. I am also more likely to reflect on the work I do using technology as there are always back ups, previous versions and others available to comment on the work (whether you want them to or not).

  • your experiences as a student, a teacher or a learning technologist or indeed some other role.

This is my first experience of any online learning course, and it is prompting me to take up methods of communication with which I am not comfortable, but realise that as a 30 something, I am falling behind with what is normal in the next generation. I am unfamiliar with updating people about the state of my feet every five minutes, and with the thought that anyone would actually be interested.

As a teacher, I am very much engaged with ILT, and occupy the post of the ‘ILT champion’ for the Access department at The Manchester College. Though there is no cape with this position, I am enjoying it immensely. Part of the reason that I am taking part in this course is to hone my skills, and calmly reflect on the possibilities available to our department in terms of TEL. This is especially important as my BIG question is based on the accessibility of ILT in areas where not everyone owns a computer, or a smart phone, or an iPad; I want to know what kinds of platforms/TEL resources would be best suited to those who have limited time and resources.

My experience of training with staff is to come from the approach that, like with anything, there is a ‘time to learn: usefulness’ ratio. All of my training is based around the format inspired by Phil Race ( in his talks, where we establish parameters for the needs of the group and then sections can be chosen as and when necessary. This format has received a positive response from tutors who appreciate not having to be taken away from departmental duties for information that is perhaps completely irrelevant to their work at that particular time. It was especially well received by staff for whom it was established had no need for this particular piece of software (Turnitin)- she still had tea and biscuits in the evaluation session though :D.

  • if this is your first experience of TEL, the expectations you have of it.

I want to learn all I can about best practice, how to engage learners, and if there is anyone who is particularly good at Xerte and other learning object types, I would love to make contact. I would also like to make links other like minded individuals who feel like they are starting out in this particular area of technological wizardry. I’d also like to learn how to program apps, but that’s a different course…

I hope that’s enough and now I am off back to my comfort zone of tinkering with new fangled learning objects and uploading links and resources. I hope I grow out of the latter soon…

Follow me on twitter @tunners78

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