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PS: On a note about the successes, I was really interested to read that two of the points for success were embedded assessment and the overtness (is there such a word?) of the Community of Practice. I’m about to conduct a training session (probably online) for my collegues and I was glad to know these points now so that I can stress the importance of these things. It’s true that you do see lot of attempts at TEL dive bomb for silly reasons that aren’t always clear.
Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for the comments. On my own tutoring website there is plenty of information about how the projects run and FAQ etc etc. There is less information on the brokering site where the iussues have happened though it does clearly say “blogging” as a medium. However, the learners do get a friendly interactive PDF of very full guidelines about how and why to use a blog and how to set it up, privacy options etc. I have to stress that it is only my hunch about blogging putting them off; it might be that they have signed up for projects as gifts to others who don’t use them. I survey my learners but these few people don’t respond when contacted so it remains partly a mystery. But I’m a big believer in the expectations you set up etc etc so I do provide plenty of guidance with additional email offers of help. Having done ocTEL I’m thinking of adding even more the initial guidance (videos) and introductions – it’s been a real help in that sense.
People might also want to see Learnist (http://learni.st/category/featured#/category/featured) which is a Pinterest-like site for grouping resources for “lessons”. Though it just looksl ike lists to me! I wonder if learners of all ages will lose the ability to find their own materials because there are so many MOOCs and social sites that just bunch stuff together. Or is this just a reaction to the huge and bewildering amount of information that is available?
At least I haven’t encountered the editing issues here….There WERE bullet points above and there were whenI edited it….Give up!
I was really interested to read your ideas here as I’ve been asked to put in a training event for my HE colleagues in my f2f institution to help them get at least one module per course online by September. Most of my colleagues are familiar with IT (I think….) but I was intending to put the training in an interactive PDF like a tiny little cMOOC (or would that be xMOOC..??)and ask them to undertake parts that they liked or found necessary in small – possible programme team – groups. As you suggest I felt that this might be a support network. They would be working away from me in their own time (perhaps within one day). I’m a bit surprised to find myself doing this training but the potential issues that you have raised are helpful. I felt that if they were finding out about designing online materials by undertaking online leanrning it might be useful – but I am wondering how this will pan out!! Any thoughts?
PS: Thanks for the link – very interesting and familiar! I also like the idea that home educators are “anarchists” (sic). I read a research paper that stressed that the only similarity between the 100 or so UK home educating families that were interviewed was that once they had taken the decision to home educate the families gradually became more radical, also choosing different diets, voting differently and so on. It seems the jump from “normal” to doing it yourself opens many political doors.
I think that when I’m attempting to “teach” (or provide opportunities for learning, let’s say) that I hope my learners are beginning to do it themselves and getting a little bit radical too.
No, that’s fine. I too have been involved with homeschooling – my elder son was “unschooled” and he taught himself design and music (music from scratch) – he is now a grauduate designer and succesful musician. I also make projects for the homeschooled. I also homeschooled myself through parts of my (school) education as my school was useless. So, yes I weas being off the cuff, but with a grain of seriousness.
I’ve noticed that in US home education, and indeed whispers of it in mainstream education, that they are looking to provide accreditation for all kinds of none “school” events, as well as more regular ones. I’d like to see a situation where anyone (any age) can educate themselves and keep a kind of CPD/accreditation record of it. Then we can all learn what we want to and use that.
One of my main queries is how do we prove our knowledge and skills to employers? I’m NOT saying that all education is just for employment……but you do have to have specific skill sets of specific communities of practice. How do we arrange industry to accommodate our personal learning?
Also, if we go as far as homeschooling everyone, how will parents work if kids are at home “educating”. We’d (hypothetically) abolish or abandon formal education only for private businesses to set up baby sitting places for all ages, inc teens, and they’d want to keep people occupied so they’d be providing “education”. The more I think about this the more it unravels.
Also, who is going to provide all of this education – I mean who will pay for “experts” to create courses or will “courses” just be – to refer to your other analogy – like libraries or even less structured? Unless some body, like governments, pays for all of the MOOCs and equivalents who are the tutors who will make the courses for no payment (course developers have to make a living). Seems we are back to a fundamental issue about the state and education. Then that raises issues in itself about content and accountability (just ask the world’s homeschoolers!).
Another thought – perhaps we could abolish formal education and everyone or any age could be a homeschooler…………….????
Yes, I totally agree that many places need “cheaper” education. I have no issue with this. Perhaps global education needs a complete re-think as I do support the principle of free education for all and always have done.
There are many ways that this can be done to make it effective, especially online. It is more the idea of “cost-cutting” as a practice that I object to, in the sense of cutting corners, cutting back and making-do.
Your point about the levels of the students who sign up is interesting. I often wonder what happens to the less able or motivated students and I do have concerns about cherry picking and coming away with a “full” understanding of a topic of just coming away with a patchwork of (ineffective) knowledge. What is the consequence of this, for example when you try to get employment? There is a huge drop off rate from MOOCs which wouldn’t be acceptable in an f2f institution – not just financially but I guess morally. No-one seems to care if free learners drop off. I was on a cMOOC that I had to give up as I was ill – it seemed really strange and indeed harsh that no-one noticed or followed it up. I wonder how much research goes on at the bottom end of MOOC s.
I think people worry about leaving comments in print/screen where people can always return to see what a twit they were! (Or not!). In f2f, the moment goes into the ether. I don’t usually worry about it in f2f and though I do worry about it online I’ve given up worrying – I’d rather have the feedback. When I’ve made posts here the feedback has nearly always been helpful and goes off in direction I never imagined. So it is worth the risk. What I do notice though is my typos – I can’t seem to make a comment with it beign full of them.
Thanks for raising the point about writing. One of the main reasons that we started to push blogging was specifically as we had found that those who struggled with writing in a journal or sketchbook found it much easier to write in blogs. In fact before we started, our dyslexic students often asked it they could blog instead of hand writing stuff. And indeed we have found, as research indicates, that writing levels do improve with blog use. This is partly because bloggers have to choose a public “voice” and partly because they have to make “rounded posts” (Kirkup) rather than what you might call “random” notes. Those with challenges to writing when surveyed do state that they prefer blogging. However, I do have one excellent student who is very aware of his awful spelling and he prefers to use a sketchbook. I must say, on a note of convenience, that it is much easier for us to read blogs than plough through some terrible hand-writing and this too has helped clarity and indeed has enabled grades to rise.
Some of our students do keep thier blogs on private at all times and staff can be invited by email to be allowed to see the content, so no-one has to work in the public eye. Most bloggers though, do prefer to keep their blogs public as they are seeking comments from all and sundry and feel that the how-to tutorial parts of their blogs help others as they are helped by tutorials. And yes, in most blogs the comments are moderated so don’t appear in the blog until the blogger has allowed them. But it is this very public-ness that enables professionalisation of identities (Turner), which is why in-house institutiuonal blogs (Moodle, for instance) don’t work in that sense.
With our f2f graphics learners we have one large module on graphic design and typography, which some learners have not encountered before. They have several projects across the year and get formative – sometimes peer led – feedback on the work. At the end of they year they can re-work any part that they like, now their type skills are better. They can add extra work in too. Only then does it get a summative grade. Once this has been done they can’t re-submit it though.
We also take in a draft of the BA 3rd year dissertation andf I spend a week or two marking them up formatively. They can then re-work these and submit for a grade. They often go up a grade level at this point. But what would be the point of just being graded on what you can do when you enter the year?
We have lots of interim (formative) crits too so that learners can develop their work before being graded.
It all depends on how much work you want to put in doing formative assessments. But you couldn’t go on grading and re-grading for ever.
I recognise what you are saying about an art crit, but I was horrified that you felt that if the tutors didn’t like it that was that. I often don’t like work that my design learners put in front of me, but if it is effectively answering the brief and indeed meets the dreaded learning outcomes I wouldn’t dream of marking it down. When I’ve been involved in marking art it has always been about negotiation not just criticism – and the criticism should be two-way critique anyway, not just negative stuff.
Do you think things might have changed (not sure when this was) or do you think that design is a different kind of discipline? – though art has a brief too. I think it would be awful to go to assessment thinking that the tutors grade subjectively.
I suppose that many learners do feel that their relationship with the tutor might have a bearing in the end result of their work. How often do you hear about school kids in particular giving up a topic that they liked because they couldn’t get on with the tutor! I wonder if learning online, for example, lessens this relationship issue and makes thinsg seem more fair/objective?? Are we back to teaching machines then?!