måndag 28 november 2016

Topic 5. Course Reflection

"What are the most important things that you have learnt through your engagement in the ONL course? Why?" -Future Practice

I think that I have acquired a lot of good points on learning. In the beginning  of the ONL course I think that the biggest hurdles are to find your way into the first group meetings, and also how to transition from one set of communication strategies that we are used to into the communication strategy used by our PBL-group. From this, I learned two main things regarding how a digital literacy needs to be placed in a context in order to use it successfully.
  • The first thing I learned was that we need to have a defined communication strategy in the beginning of any course. It should not only point to the new means of communication but also describe the expected interaction pattern in that communication channel (the context). I have previously included the communication strategy but not how and when my students should use it. For example: In the introduction email should state clearly that Google Plus is the new means of communication but also that the students should daily monitor their plus account for new posts and also check the comments. That way the students are not only receiving the new tool but also the context on how to use that tool successfully in the course. 
  • The second thing I learned was that digital tools come with baggage in the form of how they are used to fulfill a goal. I call this the tools conventions This means that when a digital tool or platform is introduced in a course that the students have previously used, it does not mean they will be able to use it successfully in my course even if they have tool knowledge. 

The first topic on Digital Literacies was quite nice to reflect on how my digital personal sphere has gradually merged with my institutional work. David White does a good job explaining how to map yourself[1]. For example, my Skype account started in the personal continuum but has gradually been moved to only be used in my work.

Mapping myself on the Digital Visitor and Resident scale.

I have been quite open in my work as a teacher and for many years. But what I learned on openness was more on the importance of sharing responsibly. Something that I'm going to be a bit more careful about is share with a license (for example CC) so that my work is easier to use for others!

I shared some skills with my group

The most fun thing we did in the group was to work on collaboration topic! It was great fun to do some acting. But I have also learned that collaboration requires a lot more than to divide work amongst the members of the group. Acting is a great way to ensure cooperation! I hope to incorporate this in my tutoring soon!

Group 5's presentation on Topic 3. 

In topic four we designed a learning activity using ADDIE! This was also fun and at times quite confusing when it came to cooperating. Suddenly it felt like everyone had separate view on the topic, and it was very nice when we found our way and included a lot of different views. I especially liked reading and listening to the different models on how to design courses and content. I'm thinking of taking the opportunity to learn more about the five stage model from other groups work on the topic.

All in all, this was a fun course with an awesome group of fantastic people. 


[1] White, David, 2011, Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. Online Available: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049

Topic 4. Design for online and blended learning.

Constructive alignment is about making sure the assessment and teaching reach the learning outcome!
During this topic, we have looked at different models for constructing and evaluating online and blended courses. This was great fun since I did not know about any of them before, but did recognize a lot in them during my studies.

For example, the constructive alignment is about making sure that the learning outcomes as stated in the curriculum are aligned with teaching and learning activities as well as how we assess that students have learned. To me this was nothing new, teaching practical programming on the computer and having programming exams on pen and paper is not a good idea. More interesting to me is that Carolyn Hoessler chooses to start her video on the subject with the following quote by Parker J. Plamer: 
"Our assumption that students are brain-dead leads to pedagogies that deaden their brains". 
I think that is an awesome quote that reflects my impression on many dialogues with colleagues where we teachers complain over that the students lack interest in our subject. Maybe the lack of interest comes from our lack of belief in them?

I have spent many hours trying to make my learning resources more clear in order to avoid getting lots of questions and remarks on them. This is especially true for my assignments, where the assignments started out as short briefly described PBL-open-ended-tasks and then turned into more rigid ten pages with detailed descriptions of everything and some  of my students still asked questions and complained about the assignments. The difference is that now I can say "just read the description". The long detailed descriptions have now become a problem for some of my students.

I did not know at the time but I kind of used the model ADDIE of creating and improving these assignments. I analyzed the problem and used the feedback I got from the students to improve and try to create these "perfect assignment descriptions". In the Analysis phase of ADDIE the designer finds out the necessary steps to carry out the instructional goals but does also incorporate the learners current understanding of the subject. ADDIE also focuses on clarity and to get feedback from the learners to improve the form.

  • A| Analysis
  • D| Design
  • D| Development
  • I| Implementation
  • E|Evaluation

While I still believe in clarity I think I lost something on the way. The ten-page assignments symbolize my lack of belief in the students. Problem is that a small group of the students uses the assignment descriptions as weapons and if they are not bullet proof I get a lot of nonproductive discussions about the details. But taking this course and listening to Gilly Salmons I now believe this might be due to the lack of scaffolding. Perhaps I do not support my students enough through the "easy stuff" like the use of tools, communicating, building groups, providing a welcoming environment to ask questions and how to search for information by themselves. When the students lack these foundational skills they are simply not ready for open-ended tasks. 

However, the long descriptions did do some good: I do now understand how much work it is to do the assignments and how many steps it takes. That is in ADDIE terms I gained the result from the "instructional analysis" and also the "learner analysis" . I believe I should now go back and re-iterate on the assignment since the instructional analysis shows that perhaps the assignments are too big and the learner analysis that the students lacked essential skills. These skills can perhaps be easier acquired in prerequisite courses or I should construct other assignments that must be completed  before the "hard one". 

ADDIE, Five stage model and Constructive alignment all help us to design courses and assignments. Using these I hope to regain the open-ended PBL assignment I once had.

söndag 27 november 2016

Watching ADDIE


  • A| Analysis
  • D| Design
  • D| Development
  • I| Implementation
  • E|Evaluation


Instructional Goals

Find out what the goals are from the client. For example: Make simple pepperoni Pizza, or every type of Pizza

Instructional Analysis

The curriculum designer defines all of the steps necessary to carry out the instructional goals. There are often much more steps than is first thought of. The result is a chart of all steps and in what order they can be carried out in.

Learner Analysis 

What do the learners already know? Do not spend time on things the students already know!

Not only the learners but their context needs to be addressed:  What equipment do they have?

Development of learning Objectives

These are things students should be able to do when the instruction is completed. Be specific and use strong verbs


Design Assessment

It is helpful to know how to test the learning outcomes before designing the learning material. Use the performance objectives to design good assessments. 

Assess in a context as close to the performance setting (the real world usage of the skill/knowledge). 
Write assessment clearly (correct punctuation and grammar). Avoid trying to trick learners by writing complicated or misleading questions.

Choose a Course Format

"The medium by which the course is presented to the learners"
Classroom setting, blended, over the internet etc...

Choose a course format that allows students to practice in a context close to that which they should be assessed in. 

Create an Instructional Strategy

  • Lectures
  • Readings
  • Discussions
  • Projects
  • Worksheets
  • Assessments
  • Activities
(Did watch the other videos too but without making any blog posts about it)

tisdag 15 november 2016

Watching Constructive Alignment

Watching Constructive Alignment

I'm watching the Constructive Alignment video by Carolyn Hoessler.

Constructive Alignments
The video starts by citing Parker J. Plamer "Our assumption that students are brain-dead leads to pedagogies that deaden their brains".  I think that is an awesome quote that reflects my impression on many dialogues with colleagues where we teachers complain over that the students lack interest in our subject. Maybe the lack of interest comes from our lack of belief in them?

Next is that John Biggs (2012) "talks about three levels of teaching" where we as teacher shift our focus when we grow as teachers. We start by focusing on good and bad students onto what we do as teachers and finally to what the student does. This shift is really good since it no longer focuses on the teacher but on how to allow students to be more active. In order to make that shift we need to be interested in who they are and what they bring to the course.
Constructive Alignment

The constructive alignment is about making sure that the learning outcomes as stated in the curriculum are aligned with teaching and learning activities as well as how we assess that students have learned.

I had a hard time following the examples she gave on alignment and misalignment...

The following I asked my group on +

I have a hard time understanding the short examples in the end of the video that are examples of when the Learning outcomes are aligned with the teaching and assessment. I think my lack of understanding comes from me being in a different area and that Carolyn goes through them very quick. Does anyone have a little bit more detailed example of alignment and misalignment that you care to share with me?

Here is an example from my own course, but I'm sort of having a hard time seeing if it is properly aligned or not.
The curriculum objective is that "the students should by themselves and in group be able to plan, document and conduct testing of a software system."
The teaching and learning activies are: "Students read and study examples of test plans, best practices for test plans, and I discuss those in lectures."
The assessment : "1. The students write a test plan document and conduct testing in a group(also a learning activity). 2. Individually peer review test plan document given by other groups according to the best-practices(also a learning activity). The test-plan artifact are graded and the peer reviews are graded.

fredag 11 november 2016

Topic 3. Collaboration and Cooperation

The promise (benefits)

My experiences in Collaborative Learning is mostly based on my work as a teacher. Since many of my students are online students  I try to provide opportunities for them to interact with other students.
 I believe it is good for the students to work together for a number of reasons:
  • Students get an opportunity to build and participate in a Personal Learning Network that benefits them during and perhaps also beyond the course.
  • My own experience is that learning in a group makes studying so much more fun. My most cherished memories from my own study period are intense group discussions.
  • Less work for me as teacher answering same questions over and over again (calming students) since they can ask their friends in their network first.
  • Group work is especially important for online students since studying alone might be very dull.
  • The group may encourage each other to learn deeper since students with high interests share their interest.
  • Students need to development critical thinking skills in order to sort between group opinions[1]. It is also easier to be critical towards authorities (maybe me as ateacher) in a group compared to a single individual, this may encourage different views on the learning material and perhaps I will learn too.
  • Since students need to communicate what they learn and learn what they communicate they are effectively co-creating knowledge and meaning[1]"
  • The very act of explaining a concept to a fellow student is extremely good for achieving a deeper understanding of the concept. A similar situation is when students are forced to state their questions aloud to the group. Who has not asked a question aloud and in the same moment found the answer?
  • Students are encouraged to reflect on the material in order to communicate it reflection[1].
  • Learners become active since they have to communicate, discuss and search for information with their peers[1].
In short:
"In a collaborative learning environment, knowledge is shared or transmitted among learners as they work towards common learning goals" - 
 Blaschke, Brindley and Walti [1]

The drawbacks (problems)

Group work is not without difficulties. Blaschke, Brindley and Walti draws up a list of a few:
  • First who has not heard of an unproductive peer[1] who does not share the load of the group. This may be due to Social loafing (an individual is less productive in a group than alone) but is probably more due to the inherent difficulties of coordinating group work. 
  • Secondly, Blaschke et al points out the trouble of having a difficult peer[1]. In my experience, these students are students that have a hard time when they are faced with other views than their own. But there are also cases of students who do not share the spotlight.  
  • Third problem according to Blaschke et al is that students had "... to carry more than their fair share of workload"[1]. A task designed for a group is often deliberately designed to be too large to do alone. But when students are faced with above stated problems one way forward is to do too much "at least that will show that I did my best". I do not think we should aim for fair division of the work, instead we must make it worth it to cooperate.
  • Finally Blaschke et al points out that students felt it problematic to have"... received a grade that they felt did not reflect their level of contribution to a group project[1]". 

The strategies (solutions)

 Siemens[2], draws up a continuum of involvement from Communication to Community. The ideal case of a learning community is where students discuss, share, work together and also have a common purpose (Se figure below).
Siemens and comes to the conclusion that in most online courses it is not realistic for groups to reach the community or even cooperation part of the continuum. I would say that this is true since building a community takes more time than is normally available during a course. Building a community could, however, be the longtime goal for educational providers such as universities that are giving educational programs with many courses that follow each other. Such a community would greatly benefit students even after a finished education. 
Siemens[2] continuum of involvement

Brindley, Walti and Blaschke[1] draws up a list of best strategies that can be used to increase motivation in group work. Most of the things are very simple and obvious like giving sufficient time to solve the task, having clear instructions, having an appropriate task for group work etc. Other things are designed to make sure the groups form early and also to make sure students have the tools and have mastered the subject to that extent that they can participate in the group. Giving enough flexibility in the tasks is important to make sure students have the freedom to learn what they think is important for them. This freedom must be balanced by the clarity of the task[1]. Finally the groups are also monitored by instructors enabling early interventions when something might go wrong.

Things that we have worked with in our educations is to create spaces where the students are able to meet (both online and real life spaces).

Finally something I try to give the students before a group discussion is a clear communication strategy. I tell my students how to give feedback, how to respond and I try to be present in every group a couple of times to monitor how the students work together. If there is a group that does not seem to work I usually just give them some more communication strategies that might resolve things. Finally I have learned that online groups usually work better if they are small (2-3) students per group.


[1]. Lisa M. Blaschke, Jane E. Brindley and Christine Walti, "Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment", 2009, Online Available
[2]. Siemens, "Interaction, Elearning Course", 2002 Online Available

onsdag 2 november 2016

Topic 2. Openness

Our web programmer study program to which I give my courses has been open for many years. As a result of that (and hopefully the quality of the courses) it is one of the most popular study programs at Linnaeus university. The study program is open in many ways but not fully open since the examination is only given to students registered on the course.

Open to potential students

As a result of openness, the information about the study program is more complete and easily available compared to other educations we provide. This makes it much easier to share information with potential new students and they can themselves search and get a feel for what the courses in the program will contain before even applying. They can listen to recorded lectures, watch lectures live, browse last year's assignments and in some cases take part of course evaluations (depending on course and individual teacher). They cannot however participate in exams and hand in assignments. Since I give courses with rather generic names it is quite common that students apply to a course but has no idea on the course content or if it is a course for them, that way it is really good that they can take part of last years course material to form an informed opinion before committing to the course.

A potential drawback would be that potential students that do not like how the education is conducted might be put off by the open material and decide to do something else instead of enrolling in our courses. Which is a good thing since they do not spend a year or two of their lives on an education they do not want.

Open to slow students

There are always some students that for some reasons do not finish the courses in time, since the material is kept open and available they can use it between courses and hopefully finish the courses next time the course is given. This is actually really good for students that have disabilities.

Open to alumni students

We have also noticed that a lot of our old students return to our courses after the course finished. They do that for several reasons: sometimes to give something back, perhaps giving a guest lecture. Sometimes they come back to check some details they need in their work or in their hobby projects. I have also been contacted by students that read the study material or listen to the lectures to take part of material in courses that was not part of their study program but they felt an interest in but never wanted to commit to. Some old students give the material to their colleagues at work so that they can brush up on subjects. This makes opening up the material as a service to the society.

Open to the public

I have on a handful of occasions been contacted by citizens that have found my material through other means (I guess google) and are grateful for it being there. They are open learners that perhaps have a hard time studying at the speed we give the courses. I try to answer their questions (if time exists) and usually try to motivate them to find and apply to a study program.

Responsible opening and sharing of material

In order to produce open educational resources, I think the following things are important.

  • Do not claim authorship of things that are not yours, try to find the source of your material and give proper credit!
  • The same goes for images, use google advanced search to find public domain images to use instead of stealing, I prefer to make my own and still give credit to the original source of for example diagrams. I try to include a link back to the source page (for example wikipedia)
  • Release your stuff(I write a lot of programming source code) with a license (perhaps MIT or CC) that shows how other can use your material responsibly.
  • Make sure that all students know when and what is going to be shared, if you have cameras in the lecture hall make sure everyone knows about it and how to place themselves outside of the image.
  • Have options for Students that do not want to be seen or heard to ask questions. We use Slack and that is not recorded, and I instead read the questions and answer them.

Opening your material is a powerful statement

It says: 
  • I welcome critique! 
  • I believe in what I do!
  • I think this is important beyond the university

fredag 14 oktober 2016

Topic 1. The reflective blog post

Tools and conventions

We do not go online anymore, we do not surf the internet anymore, and I'm sorry but we never did surf any wave online! We were just communicating. Either we were communicating by producing information, or we consumed information someone produced for us.

Communication is hard, even when we are close to another. A huge part of our brain is dedicated to interpreting facial expressions and body language. All that brain matter is there for a reason, it helps us to communicate with other people. We get a broader set of impressions, more bandwidth and more data to interpret. We use this data to interpret responses to our communication. This helps us survive.

The topic for this week is Digital Literacy and I think that is all about communication.

The impression I got from first weeks of the ONL162 course was that it felt a bit chaotic. I believe this has to do with how the course introduces new tools without any instructions on how to use them. I like the idea, it's problem-based and problems will arrive. People will miss meetings, fail to receive emails, struggle with their interfaces, and they will eventually learn to both use the tools and to communicate successfully through the tools. Please note the two different skills! It is a separate skill to use a tool than to use it together with others. I had used the tools before, written blogs, posted on google+, participated in webinars, etc. I could find my way around the keys and buttons of each tool. But since I communicate with new people and in a new problem context. I cannot be successful in the communication until all parties have achieved a common ground, the common conventions, and also  all must have some tool knowledge.
To successfully reach goals; we need not only tool knowledge but conventions

Example. We need to organise meetings and make sure everyone has a fair chance of attending.

In order to get people together in a synchronous meeting when we are in different time zones and when each of the group members has their own schedules, we must first have a means of communication.

Our first meeting was announced through Google+. I have used google plus for a long time, but I have not used google plus for planning meetings before, and I did consider it a platform that should or could be used for planning meetings, compared to doodle, calendar and email that I frequently use to plan and receive plans for meetings in.

Google Plus is "flow based" and older items drop to the bottom unless they are stuck. As such the user must browse all items to find the one with the invitation. Messages need to be expanded to be read. When browsing the flow you should not need to read everything. If the start of the message does not state that a meeting is going to occur.

Since its hard to magically know the schedule of the entire group, meetings must be planned. Planning them in a noisy video conference is not a good idea. We tried it, but I had some communication issues during that call and heard just a little. Planning meetings without everyone attending could result in the same people getting excluded in more meetings. I think it is thus better to do this asynchronously with help of an app such as doodle.

Since the schedule of everyone is not known when scheduling, the doodle should include many days, and many sessions every day to allow each and every member to find their free spots. When everyone has filled in the doodle the new meeting can be announced. But this requires some common conventions. The doodle needs a short deadline so that people get their timeslots back and can plan other things. The second convention or "ground rule" is how to select the time-slot? Doodle suggests time-slots with many participants but if everyone is not available, how to select which get to attend the meeting? This is a typical thing that needs to be solved within the group. We decided to make sure that people that miss out should be included in the next meeting if possible, in a flat organisation that works, but when people have roles and responsibilities those might rule the prioritisation process.

When a time-slot is selected, perhaps the one with the most attending members. The left out members may either reschedule conflicting activities or do work asynchronously, but at least they have gotten the chance to say which dates they could have participated!

On the visitors and residents

I watched Dave White's videos on visitors and residents. Dave tries to replace Marc Prensky's model of Digital natives and immigrants[1]. Prensky's model is based on the observation that some, the digital natives has much higher proficiency in being effective in digital communication than others, the digital Immigrants and Prensky tries to explain that students have grown up with the technology and thus are digital natives. The critique of such an idea is obvious, even if today's students have grown up with the technologies they still lack the skills to use them in new contexts, for example, the academic. Even if they can search for information, they might not have the skills areto sort out peer reviewed articles?
Dave continues by presenting his own model of a spectrum from visitors to residents[2]. A visitor is someone who is only using an application like a tool that can be put back in the toolbox after usage. While a digital resident communicates through an application in a way that leaves social imprints. For example, if I use Youtube to watch videos only I'm not contributing to the discussions there, but if I post comments or produce video's I'm a digital resident. To be honest, I thought the predictive or explanatory value of Dave's model to be very low until I watched another of his videos where he mapped his usage of digital applications into his model.

Here he adds another dimension of Private and Institutional to the model and suddenly I could relate to its importance. At least when I mapped myself...

My own mapping.

Since I have taught online for so many years, I have experienced at least some of the issues related to trying to separate the personal communication from the institutional communication.

Here are some of the applications I use that I have user accounts that I use both for private and institutional work, mixed accounts.

  • Skype: soo many students in my contact list, but also relatives and friends
  • YouTube: many lectures on my private account, but also private stuff
  • Drive: sharing documents and folders with students but also with family
  • GitHub: sharing code with students and the world
  • Linkedin: many contacts but also friends and family

Here are some applications I have purely institutional communication through,
  • YouTube: I have another account, that most of my lectures are released on this year
  • Slack: only for communication with students
  • work email: I never send any private emails and very rarely receive.

Here are some applications I intended to keep private but in some way got infected by my institutional work anyway.
  • Facebook: I get friend requests from old students, some are friends now.
  • Gmail: In this course, and other collaborations with researchers I use it.
  • cell phone: used by closer colleagues in work errands.
So from that aspect, the model can be used to explain the continuum and that how we use applications change over time. But White goes one step further and says that in order to be successful, the strategies and practices used in the private sphere do not directly translate into the institutional sphere and the opposite but at least I have learned that what is private and what is institutional will meet. 

Sometimes I meet students on the street or in the grocery store. I say hello, I'm polite and if they are old students I sometimes ask them if they felt they have use for what we learned, sometimes we become friends sometimes not, it's just communication! The digital world is actually the same as the real world... just not so many waves to surf... (anymore)


[1] Prensky, Marc, 2001, Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Online Available: http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

[2] White, David, 2011, Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. Online Available: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049

tisdag 4 oktober 2016

Topic 1. Reading the Scenario

“I have just signed up to do an online course and I am excited to be there. But I have little experience of online courses and it feels really challenging to get started to connect and find my way with all these new sites and tools. I guess that other participants will be more experienced than me and I feel stupid asking about things. We are asked to create a Learning blog on the web; it feels a bit scary to do this. I do share things on Facebook with friends, but here in the open? I want to keep my private life separate from my professional life. But on the other hand, my students seem to share and discuss in social media and use all kinds of tools and resources. I think I need some guidance in how to become more digitally literate and what competencies I need to develop to keep up with what is expected of me” - ONL website


So we have finally gotten a scenario. In this blog post I will react on what I read and try to put two different types of perspective on that, that of me as a student and that of me as a teacher.

 “I have just signed up to do an online course and I am excited to be there. "
Student perspective: I guess this is the way most students feel, they have enrolled in a new course, they enrolled since they have an interest or a desire to get something out of the course. Me as a student of this course is excited since I have the motives to learn new tools, meet new people, and to get new perspectives.

Teacher perspective: It is good that the student is excited. I want to keep the students excitement over the entire course. But their excitement is caused by their motives for taking the course. By understanding those motives and see if they are the same as the course goals. There might be a gap between what the student thinks and what is given.
"But I have little experience of online courses and it feels really challenging to get started to connect and find my way with all these new sites and tools."
Student Perspective: I have taken a few MOOC's and also online courses so I'm not that challenged by the technologies, sites and tools themselves. For me it is more a matter of trying to understand how these tools are used in this particular course and when to switch. The communication strategy is missing.

Teacher Perspective: As a teacher I need to be super-clear with the communication regarding the basics. What to read, What to do, and How to do it. I also need to understand that there takes time and effort by the student to process the information I give them. Don't give to many things at the same time, one document, organized. Give them time to master that and then give another.
"I guess that other participants will be more experienced than me and I feel stupid asking about things."
Student Perspective: I know that my students sometimes feel this way and some classes are better than others at this, I don't know why. Some students are worried that them asking questions are going to affect their grade, not sure why?

Teacher Perspective: As a teacher I want questions, I want discussion, I want student answering each-others questions, I want to be challenged and I want to get feedback. To provide such an atmosphere the openness is not helpful (for some). I make sure to answer all question and give credit (I say thank you) for asking and answering questions. I try to encourage debate and critique, and hope that students will understand the importance of it, and also how to do it. They need to learn how to criticize and ask questions!
"We are asked to create a Learning blog on the web; it feels a bit scary to do this
Student Perspective: This is not my first blog so I don't understand the problem. The students may be semi anonymous and just create a persona? Technical side, register, advertise in plus etc...

Teacher Perspective: I have learned that other learners of this course felt this was a big step, would be interesting to hear their side of this.
"I do share things on Facebook with friends, but here in the open? I want to keep my private life separate from my professional life"
This was one of the things I liked about Dave Whites videos, the scale between the personal life and the institutional! I myself have experienced this and uses a lot of mixed accounts.

Students of Facebook makes me not want to share personal things. But when they leave academia its an asset.

Students on Skype makes me not want to open Skype at home, since a student once was sort of undressed in her image.

I put a lot of my lectures on my YouTube account and I don't see much of a problem with it. I have started to put videos on a university account instead.
But on the other hand, my students seem to share and discuss in social media and use all kinds of tools and resources. 
Teacher: I think we have to provide the students with good tools and maybe we have to go to where the students are. In our case we moved to Slack since the students use it and many programmers.

I think I need some guidance in how to become more digitally literate and what competencies I need to develop to keep up with what is expected of me”
I agree, I think we should not just give the students a new tool expect them to excel in it, we must also give them a way of working within the tool!

onsdag 28 september 2016

Taking the Introduction Webinar, notes


Starting the webinar at https://connect.sunet.se/onl/. We started the webinar with some soundchecks and questions to make sure people knew how to use the chat.

Nice to see so many participants.

Unfortunately I lost sound in the beginning of Lars talk and had to restart. I got back in time for the questions session... I hope they recorded properly...
 Quite good presence 41 participants + 7 presenters and seven hosts. There seem to be a lot others that also have sound issues. But with 80 participants that is only 50%!

We also wrote lists on what we expect to gain and what we thought was going to be the challenges we face. I wrote that I look forward to make new friends and that I look forward to gaining the student perspective, both things were mentioned by the hosts, nice!

Connect really is not a good platform anymore, its based on old technology and I have used it far too long.

Good things about Adobe Connect

  • Low latency on sound
  • Many can participate
  • Multiple chats
  • Polls
  • Divide participants into separate rooms
  • Nice to see webcams
  • It feels like a classroom!

Bad things about Adobe Connect

  • Sound needs to be setup for everyone
  • Does not work the same on all platform 
  • Lots of students drop out due to techical issues
  • Recordings are not in mp4
  • Generally very messy to setup sound

Its going to sound like I complain a lot on my blog but I try to capture the student perspective and see what problems there are that creates obstacles for the students.

Unfortunately the webinar did not give that much to me. It was mostly a QnA session I missed the presentation and I guess I have to watch the recording instead. I think the most giving was a cite from Lars:
"The course was the course" - Lars Uhlin

måndag 26 september 2016

Reading Topic 1, notes


Topic one was finally introduced today and its time to take action and to prepare for it. The course web site has four new blog posts on the subject. These are my notes from reading them.

Introductions, aims and resources

Some notes on reading it, its a bit wordy and unclear at best.
"An essential part is to connect with peers and facilitators, begin to build relationships and to form groups. "
This I guess is a reference to the google community. At least that is boiling with activity right now. I spent some time reading others blogs and giving welcome messages and handed out a +1 to every one I could see. But the cite sounds like we should form groups ourselves of that I'm not sure I thought we would be divided into groups. +Lotta Åbjörnsson wrote "You will get a mail from +Lars Uhlin tomorrow telling you what group you're in and what to do next!" So I guess that is going to happen, just wait an see. Some seems to already know what groups they are in, and the co-facilitators seems to start sharing to some that they belong to a group... confusing at best... and makes me feel a bit left out. Mental note: release vital information to everyone at the same time.
"You will be encouraged to start creating your own online learning space for sharing of reflections on your learning. "
I guess this means the blog I'm writing. Its a learning space. Hm spaces and places now again.
"As a starting point you will reflect on and discuss your own digital presence and identity and your experiences, concerns and challenges."
I guess this is the first blog task. I do hope there will come more instructions!

Reading and resources.

There are two short videos and an article, there seem to be another article not yet published on PBL. This means I will have to go back, hm how to remember.

Watching: David White: Visitors and Residents (part 1)

He start by rambling about digital natives and immigrants. I guess this a competing theory to his own? I totally don't agree that the younger generation are born into the digital skills. They are consumers but have little understanding. Sure they can handle an interface, but that is not understanding. Fortunately David comes to the conclusion that that model did not hold.

David goes on and exemplifies a couple of learning literacies:
"...critically evaluating a range of digital resources" and "...formulate and express cogent arguments online."

David proposes (his?) model of "our relationship with the web" showing a continuum of "modes of engagement" from the visitors who uses the platform as a tool to solve a task and don't leave social traces, like paying bills - to the residents ( oh no! the spaces and places again! ) who go online "to be present with other people". He then lists different types of social activities like posting on Facebook.
I always wonder what kind of explaining power or predictive such model as the visitor/resident has? I hope he will reveal it soon! 

The model as proposed
David expands the model by adding a vertical axis of personal and institutional, they are not opposing forces but again a continuum. Then right at the end he states a lot about resident forms of practice and how it can affect the institutional work. Resident forms of practice (mode of engagement) give new ways to engage students and staff. They can affect how we assess credibility, how we produce and consume knowledge etc.

Watching: Visitors and Residents: Credibility (part 2)

The video start with a comment on the price of creating content now and before. 
The question is is some knowledge less worth if its online than if it was published with peer review?

Now he start telling of currencies... The traditional credibility currency given by institutions and the second popularity currency of likes and search result fit.
Students often chooses convenience over "accuracy, authority and legitimacy". Wikipedia is used as an example of a learning black market where students go to actually learn and then they need to pretend they got the information from more accredited sources.

Developing digital literacies (2014) JISC guide.

"Digital literacies are those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society."
"digital literacies are essentially a set of academic and professional situated practices supported by diverse and changing technologies."
The seven elements of DL, according to image:

  • Media literacy - critically read and produce academic communications
  • Communication and collaborations - participate in networks for learning and research
  • Digital reputation and online Identity management
  • ICT literacy Use digital devices, apps, and services  
  • Learning skills in formal an informal technology rich environments.
  • Digital scholarship - academic, professional and research practices that depend on digital systems
  • Information literacy -  Find interpret, evaluate, manage, and share information.
Then there was something about the Beetham and Sharpe’s framework (2010), probably going to read up on that, since the info on the page was not understandable... "a development process from access and functional skills to higher level capabilities and identity." . 

- Ok, not sure what this is... not sure if the first page or the entire guide. not sure If it is at all interesting... Oh I guess I need a break from this... learning continues another day...

I ended up filling in the activity tracker...

lördag 17 september 2016

I am an ONL 162'er (presentation)


"As a starting point you will reflect on and discuss your own digital presence and identity as well as your experiences, concerns and challenges. You will be encouraged to start creating your own online learning space for sharing of reflections on your learning." - ONL 162
To know someone, you need to know what roles they play or hope to play.
Here is a set of "I am a ..." that I hope defines me...

I'm passionate about computers, therefore I'm a programmer

Once I aspired to become a game programmer. And for a while I happily programmed computer games like Caribbean Pirate Quest and Hero with Spell of Play Studios. Unfortunately, writing games did not pay the bills... but fortunately there was a teaching opportunity at the University, first as a teaching assistant and later as a lecturer. I'm still passionate about programming and daily use the programming skills but not so many games lately...

I passionate about sharing my passion, therefore I am a teacher

I started teaching fifteen years ago and since then I have given a lot of different courses. Most of my teaching concerns programming with different flavors: web, games, database, operating systems, algorithms, artificial intelligence, and lately code quality and software testing. I have found that what drives me as a teacher is to inspire students to share, engage and learn.

I'm curious, therefore I am a researcher

A couple of years ago I got the opportunity to continue my studies. The subject of my research is to find what programming practices that are good for programming students, and I want to automatically identify students that needs help and also help them. In my research I use techniques from educational data mining, learning analytics, and statistics.

I have kids, therefore I'm a father

Finally I'm very lucky to be a father of four, from the eldest ten year old son to the youngest daughter of only a couple of weeks. Kids are naturally curious and generally awesome!  As a parent you need to keep on growing with your kids, therefore you are never done learning.

I want to continue to learn and teach, therefore I'm an ONL 162'er

I'm taking this course to get new experiences. I hope to find new tools, new skills, and new friends during the course. I hope to struggle, learn, share, and experience...with you.


Starting the course

This fall I'm taking the Open Networked Learning Course at Linnaeus University. The course uses methods for open networked learning and is also given as an open online course available for anyone here.

The course description can be found here (in Swedish) and states that the course aims to give the participants an opportunity to explore open online-learning and use digital-tools for teaching and learning. 

There are two main goals that we who takes the course should achieve:

  • first we should be able to explain different aspects of e-learning such as digital competence, cooperation, open and online-learning.
  • second we should critically reflect on questions regarding e-learning and something that I do not get... in Swedish: "kritiskt reflektera över frågor som rör e­lärande i samband med äger praktikinställningar.."  does not make sense too me, google translated? Lets ask Alastair when I meet him.
I searched for definitions for the concepts in the first goal and found the following:
  • Digital Competence "...skills and understanding people should have in the knowledge society" - What is digital competence? by Liisa Ilomäki, Anna Kantosalo and Minna Lakkala
    (Sounds like programming, math, and science to me... :)  )
  • Open learning "activities that either enhance learning opportunities within formal education systems or broaden learning opportunities beyond formal education systems." - Wikipedia Open learning
    To be true the openness was more due to "...the development and use of open educational resources." and there seems not to be any consensus definition. But I like almost everything open, open source for instance... and most material in the courses I give are openly available. Do we give a certificate to anyone in the ONL-course? Where does the money come from?
  • Online Learning "Online learning is a way of studying for an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus." -The University of Edinburgh 
    Seems simple enough!

The course is given over ten weeks and the first meeting will be on Monday. Apparently It will be just me and Alastair Creelman. The following meetings will consist of Problem Based Learning(PBL) work in groups with a topic per week and a given scenario. According to Wikipedia PBL gives the learner not just knowledge about the domain but skills to solve problems, collaborate and also improves intrinsic motivation, Sounds exciting! 

To get the course certificate I need to actively participate in the PBL groups, present findings, write reflective blog posts (400 words) with references to course literature, a summary blog post, but also to give feedback to other course participants!

My main concerns right now is to get my schedule synced with the other course that I take and the courses I give.