MOOC’s in NGL

I was reading a post today by Laura titled Connecting with NGL. In her post she talks about the realisation she has had that connecting with NGL is about connecting with the ideas and/or knowledge of others not necessarily with the people themselves.This is an idea that has been starting to form in my head but I hadn’t quite got to the point that I was able to articulate that concept in relation to me and my experiences with NGL.

There has also in my exploration of NGL been much mentioned about MOOC’s and this morning I came across an article by Monica Bulger that presents an alternative view of MOOC’s. Many people consider MOOC’s to be the future of education and a way to level the playing field for those seeking education. Monica suggests that perhaps instead of recreating classrooms, MOOC’s are an extension of libraries and texts in this age of digital technology. She suggests that the high enrollment rates and low completion rates are due to the sampling and selective engagement that occurs similar to the way we use a contents page in a book and read only the relevant chapters.

This article came to my mind when I was reading Laura’s post as it identified MOOC’s as a way of connecting with knowledge and ideas. I have been developing an interest in MOOC’s and how they contribute to learning, my experience has been that people are either for or against them and one of the biggest reasons I have seen against them is the low completion rates but when you look at it from the perspective Monica presents perhaps they have value in ways we haven’t yet considered. I am definitely looking at them in a different light.

 

MOOC’s in NGL

I was reading a post today by Laura titled Connecting with NGL. In her post she talks about the realisation she has had that connecting with NGL is about connecting with the ideas and/or knowledge of others not necessarily with the people themselves.This is an idea that has been starting to form in my head but I hadn’t quite got to the point that I was able to articulate that concept in relation to me and my experiences with NGL.

There has also in my exploration of NGL been much mentioned about MOOC’s and this morning I came across an article by Monica Bulger that presents an alternative view of MOOC’s. Many people consider MOOC’s to be the future of education and a way to level the playing field for those seeking education. Monica suggests that perhaps instead of recreating classrooms, MOOC’s are an extension of libraries and texts in this age of digital technology. She suggests that the high enrollment rates and low completion rates are due to the sampling and selective engagement that occurs similar to the way we use a contents page in a book and read only the relevant chapters.

This article came to my mind when I was reading Laura’s post as it identified MOOC’s as a way of connecting with knowledge and ideas. I have been developing an interest in MOOC’s and how they contribute to learning, my experience has been that people are either for or against them and one of the biggest reasons I have seen against them is the low completion rates but when you look at it from the perspective Monica presents perhaps they have value in ways we haven’t yet considered. I am definitely looking at them in a different light.

 

Adult learners and NGL

I stumbled across this article by Stephanie Ivec about motivating adult learners which I feel is quite pertinent for me as a teacher working with adult learners.

In the article Stephanie writes that adult learners want to learn how to handle real on the job problems. While nothing in the article is new, mind blowing information for me, it does indicate that using some of the concepts associated with NGL of learning being learner driven and contextual to the learners work supports my current thinking about my role as a teacher in NGL and my current thoughts about how I may be able to incorporate NGL into the courses in which I teach.

 

Process vs Outcome

I was reading Eleisha’s blog Learn Anything and it reminded me of an article that I read on Mind Shift by Katrina Schwartz titled Giving good praise to girls: what messages stick. Basically the article discusses the idea of praising the intelligence verses praising the process.

By praising the process not the intelligence of the student we are encouraging them to seek and develop a variety of ways of doing things, we “emphasise that all skills are learned through a process of engagement” (Schwartz, 2013). It is also suggested that a small amount failure is good.

This got me thinking my parents were actually quite cleaver when I was growing up and you know how you think “I’m never going to say that to my kids” well I find myself saying the exact thing to my kids as my parents said to me and that was ” it doesn’t matter if you can do it/get the highest mark/win the game as long as you try your best and are involved” In their own way they were praising the process not the outcome, this however got me thinking further as it makes sense to me with kids but I work in adult education so as a teacher should I be praising the process of learning more? and if that is the case then how do I structure a formal course to encourage the messiness, challenges and process of learning? How do I provide feedback that encourages the process when I still have to provide grades that support and encourage intelligence?

Do adult learners even need feedback on the process? My gut instinct is yes but is that because that is what works for me because of the way I grew up , could the type of praise/ encouragement required be different for someone else? From my exploration there doesn’t seem to be alot of research in this area but perhaps I haven’t looked in the right spot yet.

 

Reflections on NGL and me as a teacher

While I have very much been focused on me as a learner and student so far in this course I have started to think about myself as a teacher.

Currently I teach in an environment which while providing online post graduate education I feel is not very connected and networked in it’s approach.In many respects the courses are straddling the chasm between the paper based distance education of old and the online education on offer now, there is one foot in the old world and one in the new. This may be because of numerous factors that could include infrastructure and limitations related to staff knowledge and experience.

I however am not one to sit idly by and go with the flow (at least not most of the time), in fact I am probably the opposite (and this can sometimes get me in trouble). I love the challenge of identifying something we could do better and come up with solutions to improve the process or outcome. So what does this mean for me as a teacher in relation to NGL?

Firstly it means that if I want to take the concepts of NGL and implement them into my teaching I am going to need to tread carefully and perhaps take a phased approach. The courses I teach into and the culture in which I teach I don’t believe would allow for a networked and global approach such as I have experienced in this course however there are elements of this course that I think would enhance the learning and engagement of students therefore improving the level to which my teaching and the students learning meets the courses graduate outcomes.

One of the elements I would love to trial in my courses is blogging. Currently the students participate in alot of forums. These were introduced to increase engagement by students and while engagement has increased it is limited and often the questions used do not allow for discussion they are more about reflection. When I have previously broached the idea of using the blogging feature on the LMS I was met with resistance and reluctance but my experience with blogging in this course (my first foray into this area) has been really positive and I can see some benefits for my students by using blogs. While I know there are going to be some downsides and perhaps some anxiety and reluctance from tutors and students I think with the right support the benefits will outweigh the negatives.

Another aspect of this course which has me facinated and excited about the impact it could have on my teaching is the automated marking that David has developed for assignment 1. In the courses I currently teach the forums the students participate in are graded for both content and engagement according to a rubric. I must say that grading these discussions is a time consuming and tedious process considering that they are usually worth 10-15% of the overall course grade for 3-4 discussion forums. Now I definately don’t have the tech knowledge to do that I have had some peliminary discussions with a colleague who does and we are going to explore the idea of a more automated marking process further but it is one of those things that is far off in the distance as far as achieving it is concerned.

Deb’s post Student views on networked learning has added further fuel to the fire as it got me thinking about particular issues I have in some of the subjects and gave me ideas for potential solutions using a networked approach. In one of my courses students complete 80 hrs of clinical placement in the nursing specialty in which they are studying, these placements are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and the professional body associated with the course would like to double the amount of clinical placement. One of the ideas that has been floating around is to increase the number of professional activities the students engage in as part of the course but how do we do that? The video in Deb’s post has given me some ideas as to the types of activities to include eg. interviewing and developing a mentor relationship with a current specialist nurse, attending professional association meetings etc. and then blogging about these experiences, also about adding more collaborative activities to the courses to assist student in developing their own professional networks as many of the students don’t remain in contact once they finish the course.

I am not sure how these activities will go and there are significant internal issues that I will need to overcome but I am excited to give them a go because the current student experience is not adequate.

Musings on the theme of Being Critical about NGL

I have been reading the various posts by Andrew and Tracey regarding being critical of NGL. I have to say that all make valid points.

From my perspective as a learner, NGL has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and therefore I have had a HUGE learning curve so, if you were to ask me if participating in NGL had caused me to learn anything then I would say yes i have learnt a lot, however I am not sure if I have learnt what I am supposed to have learnt. Why? Because like  Tracey has mentioned in her blog and I have alluded to in previous posts my lack of knowledge and understanding of the technology has inhibited my ability to progress at what appears to be the same speed as others. It’s a bit like the tortoise and the hare, those who had the tech knowledge at the beginning of the course are the hare’s who have been able to fly along and engage where as those of us who have not been as familiar are the tortoise who have slowly and at times in a befuddled state plodded along slowly. I think that assumed knowledge of tools that support NGL is definitely a potential draw back for NGL, why? I have found that getting familiar with some of the technology, how to use it, how to integrate it into my existing study routines and creating new study routines because of the technology have impacted greatly on my ability to progress with the “learning” that is supposed to be occurring.

This leads me to consider the potential downside to NGL as a student. The access to the technology and how to use the technology and the digital literacy associated with that could be a factor that limits the benefits of NGL. Both Andrew and Tracey have mentioned digital literacy as a barrier and I tend to agree with Tracey that while I am digitally literate, I was not literate when it comes to the new tools (I may still not be literate, and how do we measure the literacy?) I also suspect the open nature of NGL and the vast amount of content that it can deliver could be overwhelming for the students even your most organised and focused student as it is easy to get sidetracked or go off on a tangent, I know that has been the case for me at times and hours have seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye without me achieving what I had planned to.

I don’t believe I have had enough experience with NGL to comment from the perspective of a teacher but I am sure there will be some draw backs.

Striking a cord

I have just come across an interesting article by Eric Pat noudes regarding Empowering students through blogging. In the article he talks about using student outcomes to drive the use of technology and how an authentic audience can improve student motivation and engagement.

While the article is focused on school students it has me thinking about the possibility of similar outcomes when used in adult education particularly in the tertiary relm. My initial thinking and much of that is based on my reactions to my use of blogs in the course is that it possibly would increase motivation and engagement in students particularly with non assessed activities.

Increasing the use of blogs in my teaching is something I have been thinking about doing in my teaching for the last couple of weeks although I am a little restricted by organisational requirements but this is something that I am going to work on for my next semester subjects.