Two online courses

Yesterday saw the start of ocTEL proper and the start of our own Teaching and Learning Online (TALON) do I have my work cut out. It will be good to compare the two online courses as they progress. On TALON we have 8 staff members compared to the 800 or so on ocTEL so presumably very different experiences. This week our TALON participants are going through their orientation week and will experience the ‘flood’ of emails although the flood will be more controlled. I will send out the ‘manage the flood’ forum post today.

A blogging start

To be a ‘real’ learning technologist or e-learning professional I feel I need to give regular blogging a go. I have tried this before but not very seriously so have not got much from the experience. I am more if a doer than a writer or reader (although I read fiction avidly for relaxation) but I get the feeling there is much to be gained from the experience if I put in a bit of effort and self discipline (I am known to start things and not stick to them).
Having experienced the pre #ocTEL experience I have got a feeling for the Waltham of quality blogging that is going on in the TEL domain and I would like to join in. My contributions might not be impressive to start with but I hope I find some worthwhile things to say that will be of interest to others. Mostly, I hope that I will learn useful things from this experience.

If you only do one thing … Introducing myself

  • My first experience with TEL of a kind was in about 1990 when I used a networked room of 380Z’s for some Maths teaching! Things have moved on a bit! However, I still get a buzz about the possibilities that TEL opens up.
  • Although the software was very basic in those days it still brought the learning to life – the kids became very absorbed in their learning. We used some basic simulations – my favourite was a simulation of the London underground which today’s users would out of town but it had did what it needed to do to get the kids involved in map reading around London without leaving the classroom (and so with fewer health and safety issues presumably) We also did some fabulous programming with LOGO.
  • I recently completed an OU module – the e-learning professional – and it overwhelmed me completely. I found it very hard to prioritise the time to keep up and missed out on much quality collaborative stuff as a result. I know I needed to be better self disciplined but there was always some work thing that just had to be done. My previous experience with the OU in completing a maths degree was much better. It wasn’t online in those days although technology was involved with the tv programmes and audio cassettes. However, I wasn’t having to work at the same time and I think that is an important, if very obvious, point. One of the main problems with open learning is that it is so available and we fool our selves into thinking we have the time for it without actually making the time – or at least that is what I do.
  • This isn’t my first experience of TEL as you can see from the above and not even my first experience of a MOOC. I lurked in a MOOC recently to see what was going on and so became a non-completer statistic. Thus, I hope to make this my first complete open learning experience!

Getting my blog sorted + This weeks aims

It has taken me a while to get my blog sorted. We have various blogs on wordpress account shared by myself and my husband and the usernames, passwords and email addresses have sent me round in circles. The up shot is that I am now using a different blog from yesterday with a slightly different name. Thanks to all of you who had liked my post yesterday on the old blog.

Enough faffing around – I am ready to go.

Adding the weeks aims here so I can look back and comment on whether they have been met:

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.