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Kim Aling

ocTEL MOOC Activity 1.2 My Practice

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Edited by Kim Aling, Wednesday, 24 Apr 2013, 11:09

My Approach

Teaching with the OU has always followed a flipped approach where the students work through course material in their own time and then come to tutorials, f2f and online, where they use discussion to explore the ideas further and assimilate learning.  Here is where their misconceptions are cleared up and their ability to apply ideas to other contexts developed. 
Within a matrix of individual to social' and 'autonomous to directed my teaching methods tend to lie strongly towards the social and towards the autonomous:

Teaching matrix, social to individual, autonomous to directed

My technique is to use groupwork and discussion to come to groups responses and then a plenary. Sometimes I use flipchart paper so that they can write down their comments and then swap with other groups to add their comments. I use guided questions to get students thinking about specific aspects of the material and then to think deeper or apply it in new situations. Therefore it is less autonomous, though the responses are not right or wrong, but need good argument, which, for me means it's not totally directed.

If I wanted to shift into another quadrant, such as individual and autonomous I could provide students with stimulus materials and questions and let them explore for themselves and come back with responses.  This would work as on online activity using Elluminate, break out rooms and allow students to roam slides as they wish.  Breakout out rooms could contain different activities around different aspects of some material with weblinks, information etc.  Students could be asked to choose a room, work through the materials and create a response with a word limit that they can put on a slide and add to a response room. There would still be room for some social learning as we could review all the answers at the end giving learners the opportunity to take more away.  I'm keen to explore the opportunities for learning that Elluminate/collaborate offers by allowing participants the freedom to explore materials in their own way. 

I did this recently in a TMA briefing session where students came into the Elluminate room and with 'follow moderator' switched off and asked to navigate to the page for their TMA option.  There they found some questions designed to get them thinking about how to answer the assignment question and they were asked to add one of their own.  They had previously been told to think about a question to bring to the session.  When the session started the boards and students were put into break out rooms to discuss and respond to all the questions. Back in the main room later all students were able to contribute to both assignment options and extend the responses. These kinds of session require quite a bit of prep in terms of the materials provided, making sure it's relevant, covers several aspects of any idea and stimulates a range of responses.  However, it has the potential to result in a very good learning experience.



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Kim Aling

H808 Developing and editing wikis

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:27

These are my thoughts on the experience of being principal wiki editor for some staff development courses on VLE2.   I was also given the task of creating two new wikis, one for a self taught Elluminate module and one for Associate Lecturers to share ideas and good practice for Elluminate sessions in Region 02.

My aim was to, firstly, set up the necessary pages to start the wiki. As ALs may not be familiar with using wikis, I decided it was best given a clear structure from the start.  It will then adapt it as it gets populated.  Each page has clear instructions on how to edit it and links to the OU computing guide. There were some early issues with IE9 as I wasn't able to edit without going into html mode.   A discussion with IT support identified this as a possible IE9 incompatibility.  I switched to using Chrome and had no further problems.  I began to populate some of the pages with contributions so that no-one would feel they were the first. To make the wiki a little more attractive each page has an image as a header.   Each header follows a similar style and includes an image that reflects the page title. The one issue with Chrome is that when uploading images it doesn't offer the facility to resize in the html editor box, the size has to put in when you upload the image.  I discovered by trial and error the optimum width was 11cm.  Training materials developed for region 02 were uploaded here and included as attachments, a new feature of VLE2.  Links and bridges were also added to other Elluminate pages on other wikis.

The wiki created for sharing good practice in region 02 was done on the old VLE style and so training materials could not be added as attachments.  I therefore uploaded the materials (pdf files) to a public folder on Dropbox, and then copied the link into the wiki.  The documents then opened from Dropbox.  It was interesting to work a way around the shortcomings of the old VLE style wiki.

I now expect to gradually take more of a backseat role, housekeeping and tidying whilst allowing the wiki to develop in the direction determined by the crowd. The aim is that these wikis become a rich and valuable resource for all ALs using Elluminate in their teaching.


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