Week 0 – Expectations, Familiarisation & Practice

Introduction: what kind of course is this?

Welcome to ocTEL, the open course on Technology Enhanced Learning! We hope you’re going to enjoy finding out about how to integrate technology into your teaching and learning practice – whether this is principally in classrooms, online or a mix of both.

This course differs from other online learning in several ways. Here are three of them:

  • as a professional development course, it’s less linear than some instruction-led courses you might have done – you are actively encouraged to go ‘off piste’ and explore areas that are driven by your own sense of your needs rather than any agenda set by a tutor or by the course texts;
  • the course is open – open for people to come and go as they please, open for you to reuse the course material if you wish (see the licensing permissions);
  • the main form of interaction is conversation with other people, rather than simulations, automated quizzes and instructional videos.

Participating and communicating

ocTEL aims to accommodate your communication preferences as far as possible, so wherever you feel most comfortable writing – as long as it is accessible without a login – we will do our best to collect it up and add it to the course mix. If you write on

then we will include your contributions in the Course Reader, which is the hub where other participants can link to what you’ve written and converse with you about it.

The Handbook has a Quick Start section and some more general advice. Please keep this to hand throughout the course. And 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. Investing in developing these shared understandings will bring big returns in what you learn.

Check-in Badge

10 Points

There is debate about awarding credit for attendance but given the style of this course we feel it's important to find mechanisms for you to see who also is active within each week. Click on this badge link to 'check-in' and see who else is also active in this topic.

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…

We encourage you to work out how ocTEL can best work for you and how much time you have to participate. Each week, we suggest one activity to do, if you only have time to do one thing. This week’s is to take part in our first webinar ‘live’ as it happens, or to watch the recording afterwards.

The first weekly one-hour webinar will start on Wednesday, 30 April, at 13.00 BST (12.00 midday GMT).

This week’s webinar has two parts:

  • a welcome to ocTEL, including a brief orientation and networking session,
  • a panel session featuring questions and answers for ocTEL tutors and participants from last year’s course.

This will be a great opportunity to get a feel for what it’s like to take part in a course like this, as well as for your fellow participants and the interests you may share with them.

Update: Thank you to all who were able to make it to the week 0 webinar. If you missed this session recordings are available. You can view the Blackboard Collaborate recording which lets you also replay the session chat or view the recording streamed to YouTube.

Webinar Badge

100 Points

Tune in or watch the weekly recording of each week's webinar to achieve the this badge. To receive this badge click on the badge link and enter the code given during the webinar in the submission box.

Activities for this week

Each week’s activities cover a few learning hours and it’s up to you to decide how much time to spend on each one, or those you choose to do. 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 people will spend less.

Activity 0.1: Big and little questions

(45 mins)

Please reflect on your work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching.

  • Can you identify the most important question about TEL that matters to you?
  • Or alternatively do you have a cluster of issues? Or perhaps you’re ‘just browsing’?
  • Write down your reflections on this, privately or publicly (on the JISCMail list, on the forums, on your blog, on Twitter).
  • Try and hold these reflections in your mind in the weeks to come – to direct the choices you make about which options to pursue, or as something to revise or refine it in the light of what you learn.
  • If you share your reflections online, consider including some personal context, for example, by telling others about
    • your previous experiences with TEL and what technology was involved;
    • any differences you noticed in the way you absorb, reflect, discuss, act
    • your experiences as a student, a teacher, learning technologist or indeed some other role;
    • if this is your first experience of TEL, the expectations you have of it.
  • If you feel shy about writing publicly, find another course participant who has done, and see if you can offer them a helpful ear, pose some questions and draw them out – this may help build your own confidence.

TEL One Badge

150 Points

Each week we award a TEL One badge for completing 'If you only do one thing…'. As week 0's one thing is to join/watch the webinar this badge is awarded to TEL One (other thing), which is to record your reflections for Activity 0.1 Big and little questions. Click on the badge link to enter your submission.

Activity 0.2: 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 like this one well or poorly suited to these challenges?

Please have a look at the Groups section of the website and explore how you can use it to organise in small groups — note the ‘Create Group’ button near the top of the page. Your group can carry on the discussion there, or agree to pursue it by other means (online or offline) as you choose. Feel free to reflect on how usable, or otherwise, you find the technology for supporting this task.


  • Explore the ocTEL site and course discussions.
  • Get familiar with the Handbook.
  • Make sure you can login and edit your profile if you wish.
  • Check out the webinar or its recording.
  • Make some contact with other participants.

Resources and more to watch, read and research

Technology Enhanced Learning

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)


Be a TEL Explorer

Activity 0.3: Exploring and experimenting

(30 mins)

Experiment with and 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 ocTEL groups, 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 the channels support relationship forming and community building? Is that important for learning?
  • Which do you prefer and why?

Activity 0.4: Active listening online

(30 mins)

Focus on actively listening to what other participants are saying, either on their blogs (find them on the course reader), on the forums, on Twitter or on the email discussion list. Irrespective of new communications technology channels, the ability to absorb what others are saying, as a precursor to constructive learning conversations, remains as important as ever

  • 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 0.5: Interesting examples of Technology Enhanced Learning

(45 mins)

Explore the resources on Technology Enhanced Learning (above – there are some substantial documents here and you will only have time to skim them)

Identify examples of TEL that you find interesting and why.

TEL Explorer Badge

250 Points

There are three activities outlined in the Week 0 TEL Explorer section and this badge can be earned up to three times. Click on the badge to make your each of your submissions for Week 0's TEL Explorer badges.