LMS & CMS

When did we all get so technical? Content management? Learning management systems, wow. I thought my only job was to add content, not be the expert on how to develop a system behind them. Comming away from this topic feeling extremley inadequate in the technological field and expertise of elearning.

No wonder teachers are often intimidated by elearning, there is obviously a lot behind the scenes that we are no experts in.

Of all the management systems decribed, the LCMS appeals the most. It seems u need the least expertise in programming to use it. But i think until i experience any of these first hand I really will have no real understanding of them. Perhaps just overloaded by the seeming complexities!

 

M- Learning

Okay, so are we really going too far? The suggestions that we are moving towards a world where we use our mobiles for internet use (no longer reliant on home computers or laptops) is no surprise but the small brief amount of information is surely an issue in m-learning. A mobile is great for looking up tibits of information on demand but as the source to do an entire course with is, to me, a little unsettling. As an adjunct to a course, I can definately say that would be advantageous but as the sole delivery method, again the limited amount of information remains a huge issue.

It is unsettling that by increased use of all of this technology we are encouraging in some ways our students to not attend class, why would you when all the material is online, you can listen to a podcast, access the lecture notes online and effectively have that lecture delivered at 3am if you need to. Why turn up to class really? So if all our students are off, doing there own study on their phones, we better ensure we include some sort of online discussion board or we may never get the opportunity to chat to our students, may never know if they are understanding the material while they bop along to their ipod reading our power points.

Podcasts and MOOCS

I particuarly found the comment by Loudon of Puredue University had some weight, ‘if a podcast can capture everything you do in a class, you deserve to have nobody comming’. I myself have previously been in this situation where there was no need to attend nursing lectures because the powerpoints used were put online and i could simply review them in my own time. It really brings to light the potential depersonalisation of education. One part of elearning that has always concerned me is that if a course is purely online then you really have no face to the student ID, no person to associate with that assignment.

The suggestion that in blended learning, that so much access to lecture material could result in the same atmosphere where you do not know your students does not sit well with me. How can you guide and nurture learning if you have no ‘person’ to guide and nurture but a student no.?

The MOOCS presentation really highlights the way education is moving towards a student being a number rather than a person, its description of MASS open online course really says a lot as to its personalisation. However the idea of free study is welcoming. Access, as long as you really have ‘access’ (a computer and internet connection) for all is an ideal state of education, a goal to aim towards!

 

Instructional design

The ADDIE model of instructional design lends itself similiar to many of the nursing care plan type models used within health that i am very familiar with. The ADDIE model is quite basic, whereas the Dick and Carey models nature of parallel work rather than linearly suggests a more open approach that can grow as the project grows. Nothing is perhaps more frustrating than working out at the end of a design that you needed to include extra goals in your original statement, so Dick and Carey’s model appears more user friendly.

Kemps models grows on this idea and appears even more complex in nature than Dick and Careys. To implement one would surely need an open mind that can look outside the box. I would agree that as a teacher i may not refer to these models by name but part of my role is in the assessment, design, develop, implement and evaluation of each course that i partake in as our world has become quality focused, providing the most up to date quality driven program and in essence it is these principle that guide us all to drive for continuos improvement in what we do.

Blended Learning

Is this the ideal, the goal? It is certianly represented in that fashion. However to interpret it as stated would suggest quite a component of online based learning and discussion. My interpretation and my application in my work context would be something quite different to thus stated. Given my student cohort I would not deliver anything by means of assessment online, I would not expect a certain amount of comments or blogs or online communication from my students as it would present back to me in the form of 20 extremley concerned faces, and panic would set in and surely withdrawls from the course.

My only aims around blended learning which would be in the design of the course would be at an introductory level, not expectant of competent use, but maybe an idea of how to. This ofcourse would also need to be evident in thier learning criteria as necessary.

So if blended learning takes into consideration the individual criteria of a student cohort group then it would be ideal to adapt to it, the goal would surely be appealing, however, one could also question wether we already did, or atleast to it principles, and that now it simply has a name?

 

E-learning

Todays lesson came across as trying to sell the idea of e-learning. It would be no surprise im sure from my previous blogs that I do have some reservations to e-learning. Of particular note in the powerpoints was the ‘Traits of a successful online learner’ –

Self-Directed, motivated, comfortable with computers, able to use email, internet browser, word pocessor, like to read and write, inquisitive, disciplined, independent, able to stay on task,

Not one of my student cohort would have all or even 80% of these traits. In a six month course i struggle to get a reply from a welcome email on the 2nd or third day of class.

The appeal to our course is that it is face to face delivery. It attracts those with little computer experience and those that often have english as a second language. It hence baffles me of how to engage this type of student cohort when i have them for only a six month period.

I can engage them by using the computer myself at the front of the class, but not by getting them to engage with me on the computer. It really is a sark contrast to the ideas brought out in this weeks topic, but on a realistic front, to not have computer skills would be seen as a disadvantage to the industry in which i teach to, so r we disadvantaging the students by not affording them or forcing them to engage with technology?

 

Digital Natives and Digital immigrants

So, looking at the timelines, our teachers are mostly digital immigrants and our students, digital natives. A by-product of the rapid growth of technology. Todays teacher was more than likely not educated in their undergraduate studies on elearning or how to teach a digital native. Concerning, the expectations on our teachers to be so computer savvy and innovative when the pressure really is on, they are teaching students who would by theory be more confident with a computer than they are. this quick growth in technology really has not been a teachers best friend. Having seen many older colleagues grappling with being told they must develop and work with online resources is somewhat disheartening, the older generation of teachers do genuinely struggle.

The most interesting aspect of the video was around what students really do in a day, the 26.5 hours equating to 24. The student- the multi-tasker. Having a young family, work and education commitments myself i am very familiar with multi tasking, often myself finding I will muti-task within the classroom just to keep up with all the roles that fall under my umbrella. I had often not been very pleased with students texting and so forth in the classroom, so this really was an aspect that stood out, I have to multitask to get all my 30 hours of work within 24 and hence my students texting may very well be to keep up with their commitments, they are not necessarily only bored with what im teaching, well, i hope!

Wiki’s

Being no stranger to wiki’s, i found this weeks reading especially interesting. Parker and Chao (2007), give many ideas to teachers who have not previously adopted wiki’s into their classroom some innovative ideas.

Wiki’s do however require some basic computer knowledge and within the learning environment i teach within, the courses are run for only 6 months and most students are mothers returning to the workforce. It actually takes a lot of prompting to engage students with little computer experience to the use of an oline tool. In addition, the short course duration does not give students a great chance to build their skills gradually, especially if looking at the topic of assessments.

If an assessment is expected to be completed online and you have a computer illiterate student group you are putting them at a huge disadvantage by expecting them to complete it online, one would question if you are assessing computer literacy or albiet, world wide web saviness or course content. I as a teacher am really only interested in knowledge and application of course content rather than how savvy they are with a blog. Reminds me of a student who produced a computer file with some pictures against a background song that covered nothing of the prescribed content of the presentaion but looked appealing, needless to say her mark reflected that of poor course content knowledge. She was not upgraded because she had savvy skills, likewise i would not degrade a power point presentation because the student was not very good with formatting, it really is about the content.

The article does give me some ideas to work with eventhough the work environment is not the ideal picture for the introduction of wikkis.

Web based blogs, blogging

Ironic to be discussing or reflecting on the use of blogs in education in a blog, but needless to say if you haven’t experienced blogging yourself as a student it would be difficult to form an opinion on there worth as a teacher. Apart from this e-learning subject, I have previously had to do weekly blogs in other subjects. So their worth? Well, they are traditionally seen as a reflection on a topic and open to comment. In it, that idea of reflection is what always has created an issue as a student for me.

My idea of reflection may be entirely different to another eventhough the word itself has been wikepediafied, does not mean it is not open for interpretation. So my interpretation of reflection is not a summary of the weeks readings but putting some meaning behind the topics at hand. so do i like reflection, yes, in my own space and my own time, in a web arena? Not so sure that is so appealing, but if its the assignment for the subject is there really an option?

So rather than summarise for these blog entries i will go against my better judgement and do what i believe true reflection is, i will attempt to put meaning behind my uderstanding of the topics covered in my upcoming blogs

 

 

 

Todays class was unfortunate to start without our lecturer but in his place we had a very interesting lecture from a guest lecturer who presented “The Convergence of Blended Learning, Industry Training and University Education’.

Of particular interest in this lecture content was the concept ‘A good learning environment supports a good learning model – what is good learning in Higher Education’. Having not previously studied e-learning as a topic this concept grabbed my attention. Exactly what type of model is e-learning? Does it fit under David E kolb’s model or does Anthony Gregorc’s abstract sequential box fit the theme? Does it indeed even fit any model or does the act of blending it with face to face change it altogether?
 
The shell experience provided great insight into the thought and effort that goes into a complex system around e-learning environments. It was obviously a much more convenient system than taking someone away from their family for up to 17 weeks and more cost effective for the company. I am however cautious with e-learning in that the right person needs to be selected to do it as even if it is a good learning environment, based on a good model it is, in the end up to the individual students and it is he/she who chooses how to engage and how much they will get out of the course in its entirety.