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Kim Aling

H808 Core Activity 7.4

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:25

 

Competence

Level of competency

Evidence

 

Poor  

Less than average   

More than average  

Strong   

    

Experience of audio and visual facilities of the web; for example, Netmeeting, Skype, digital photos, webcasting, podcasting

 

 

    X

 

 Strong skills in Elluminate/use of Skype - need to get to know other systems.  Created a short podcast using Audacity, hosted in the cloud and linked to from H808

 

The competence I chose was experience of audio and visual facilities of the web and the evidence I chose the podcast created in Unit 5.  Podcasting is a skill useful for teaching practise, as a means of communication and involves using specific software.  The content of the podcast was a critique of using forums with online groups and therefore can be mapped against this criterion also.  To create a podcast I used Audacity, a piece of software I have used before, so I was able to explore the editing functions a little more.  The podcast was hosted on Podbean which meant getting to know a new hosting site and exploring is functions. 

 

 

Understanding and development

 

 

Skills

Reflection

Analysis/critique

Proactivity

Competency

Practice

ü

 

ü

 

Communication

ü

 

ü

 

Technology

ü

 

 

 

Research

 

 

 

 

 

I consider my level of competency to be above average as I was experienced to know that I needed to script it, read through to identify tricky words and phrases and work in pauses to keep the pace right. I was able to edit the podcast, adjusting the pitch and amplitude and filtering out noise to create a sound I was happy with.  My experience of other hosting sites, such as Wordpress and Youtube meant I was quickly able to find my way around Podbean and provide a link from the H808 forum. I didn't assess as myself as strong, or expert because I still think there are things to learn about podcasting, such as frequent summaries and better use of emphasis and tone.   There are also still things to learn about audacity.

In this self assessment I have not only decided my own level of competency, but also have defined those levels myself.  Others may have different views on what constitutes below or above average and strong and on my view of my own level. 

Link to Unit 3 grid  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n0rvuogky0122dc/C7vjiL2ve-

Link to podcast http://kimlesley.podbean.com/.

 

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Kim Aling

H808 Core Activity 7.4

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:25

Robin Goodfellow's Self Assessment

The question is 'do you find it a convincing approach to self-assessment of professional competence'?  

This value of this kind of competency mapping depends on the audience.  As a personal activity is has value because:

  • It involves and is a product of reflection
  • Helps to map personal progress and determine development needs

However in a professional context it would need to be mapped against standards determined by the profession.  In FE these would be the FENTO standards and in HE the Higher Education Academy standards.  It therefore needs to be:

  • mapped against the competencies required of a role - eg mapped to a job specification
  • validated, for example evidence needs to be accepted by management

The limitations of this approach are:

  • It depends on how it is carried out by the individual. It may be a paper exercise and an expectation which doesn't really achieve the objectives of competency mapping.
  • It needs to ensure that evidence does support the self assessment, that it is relevant and appropriate
  • Terminology needs careful definition - what is meant by novice or expert?
  • The general difficulties associated with subjectivity

In the example we were given from Robin Goodfellow, the competency was the  'Ability to support students with diverse technical backgrounds following different pathways through material', of which he rated himself 'above average'.  The supporting evidence is  'the environment map that I produced for H808 students and tutors at the start of the course'.   

It could be questioned if the evidence does support the competency.  The environment map is a product, whereas to demonstrate that it actually supports students it would need results of a student satisfaction survey.  It would require an outcome as well as a product.

Therefore a limitation of this kind of approach is that there is likely to be disagreement between people as to whether evidence accurately supports a person's assessment of their competency. 

 

 

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Kim Aling

H808 Unit 6 Supplementary Activity

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:25

How can collective work be fairly presented for individual assessment as evidence of competence. Would less technically adept group members be justified in claiming that their own competence had been enhanced by working together on this with others who were more proficient? How could they evidence such a claim?

The assessment of group work has long been under discussion given the more recent interest in collaborative and group learning.  Group work especially prepares learners for the workplace where teamwork is the most usual way to undertake tasks.  However, education also must meet the needs of assessment and the individual's achievement.  There are several models around to assess an individual's contribution to group work, however two difficulties may arise from the fact that the product may be more than the sum of the parts and that it can be difficult to weight the relative roles.  Is the research as important as the person who put together the presentation, in the case of the recent activity?  What about the person who undertakes several small roles compared to someone who makes one larger contribution.  How do you weight the person who encourages and drives the process against the person who makes more concrete contributions?

Belbin (cited in Belbin Associates, 2012) suggests there are nine key roles in a team, Plant (Creative, problem solvers), Monitor Evaluator (Maintains an overview, weighs up the group's options), Coordinator (maintains focus in objectives, draw out team members and delegates work), Resource investigator (looks at the opposition and makes sure the team's idea has relevance), Implementers (plans a workable strategy)' Completer finisher  (Looks for errors and polishes the final product), Teamworker (helps the team to gel), Shapers (provide the drive to keep things moving), Specialist (has area of expertise).  Within our own team we had slightly more defined roles, leader and coordinator, researcher, which was my key contribution, content writers (which everyone did), presentation creator, production person, reviewer (which several people including myself were involved in).  My main contribution was early on, reviewing the literature, adding synopses to the wiki and suggesting questions for the presentation.  I took one idea to write content for and then at the end proof read and made suggestions to improve it.

Laufenberg (2012) suggests that groups work better when individuals know that they will get a fair assessment. She grades work in two parts, one for individual work and one for the group.  Students are assessed on 5 areas, individually on research, knowledge and process, and the group on design and presentation. She also has space for self assessment.  In my own teaching I have also used peer assessment where each person comments on the roles played by others. This would be difficult to apply to the recent collaborative task as without further evidence it would be diffcult to assess the three individual criteria just from the forum discussions.  An addition to this unit it might be useful for  an individual journal of the activity to be uploaded to the blog for the tutor to assess.  From the forum, however, it would be necessary for the tutor to identify the individual contributions and grade them based on the quality of that contribution, eg how would the researcher be graded, or how would the presentation be graded?  It would also be instructive to allow some peer assessment and feed this in. In addition a grade could be given for the whole project and then a weighted final grade given.  My argument would be that the group project should have a slightly higher weighting than the individual contribution to address the difficulties of assessing different kinds of contribution.

However, can the technically less adept group members claim their own competence has been enhanced?  In the case of our own group project I would suggest this is problematic.  One of our group put together a PowerPoint presentation from our combined contributions, however, anyone not knowing how to use PowerPoint would not have learned any technical skills from this, though they would have seen a good example of a presentation. Additionally another member of the group recorded this using Camtasia Studio 7 and again, any who did not know this software would have learnt anything. What group members did learn was a considerable amount about ePortfolios in Lifelong Learning and had the experience of working in a team. Therefore to claim that technical competencies have been enhanced would be hard to substantiate, in this particular exercise.

References:

Belbin Associates (2012) 'History and research' Belbin.com found at http://www.belbin.com/rte.asp?id=3 [Accessed 24/11/12]Laufenberg, D. (2012) 'Group work doesn't have to suck' blog post 1 November 2012, The Innovative Educator found at http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/group-work-doesnt-have-to-suck.html?m=1 [Accessed 24/11/12]

Laufenberg (2012) 'Groupwork doesn't have to suck' Blog post, The Innovative Educator. Available at http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2012/11/group-work-doesnt-have-to-suck.html

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Kim Aling

H808 Core Activity 5.3

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:26

In teaching it has always been good practice to use a variety of resources to make lessons interesting and to cater for different learning styles.  Instructional design recommends the use of multiple ways to deliver information and encourage interaction.  As the Penn State advice argues the main thing is to be careful that your different modes of delivery don't conflict, so for example, images should relate to the subject text.

With advancing technology and web 2.0, not only are there a whole range of media that can be used by individuals, but storage systems such as eportfolios are also able to upload many different file types.

Recording audio and video is easily done on pocket sized devices, even phones, and files can be converted to compress their size and to be compatible with different storage facilities. There is free software available to do this such as Freemake. For recording evidence for eportfolios the whole range of media can be utilised.  You can do audio recordings of your thoughts and idea, or even video all from a home computer. You could record your blogs as audio blogs using something like Ipadio (Phlogs).  For capturing extracts of audio you can record on a phone, or using software on the computer. Windows 7 has a very handy snippy tool for quickly capturing screenshots as jpg, gif or png files and so you can capture your forum or blog posts in situ, web pages, PowerPoint slides, wiki pages, or your tutors comments on a piece of work.  I used the snipping tool in TMA01 for some of the evidence. Screencasting software could be used to convert PowerPoint presentations or extracts into wmv or mp4 files.  Jing is a handy free tool to capture audio and screencasts. For capturing hand written notes and drawings, and newspaper cuttings or other hard copy I use an iphone app called Scan Pages which does just that and saves them as  pdf files that you can email to yourself.

I think the key thing is that it's so easy now to do these things that previously required expensive equipment and software and exclusive sharing methods.

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Kim Aling

H808 Core Activity 5.1 creating a podcast

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

Creating a podcast.  The activity was relatively straightforward as I have done podcasting (and vodcasting) before.  I already have audacity and have a reasonable amount of experience using it, including some of the advanced features.  The best way to do a podcast is to have a script and I break it up into clear sections so that the podcast isn't rushed.  I also do about three or four practices sorting out the difficult phrases - it's surprising the words that suddenly become tongue twisters - for example H808.

Having got a version I was happy with I adjusted the amplitude and the pitch, just so it didn't sound quite like me. Setting up Podbean took longer.  I did this before doing the podcast so I could explore it a bit.  Setting up an account was straightforward.  I then played with the theme and worked out how to do things and where to upload files.  I discovered that it was similar to Wordpress and that made it easier.  Uploading the mp3 was therefore pretty straightforward and then I published it to the site with a little bit of an introduction and took a copy of the url to post onto the course wiki.

There was a big thing about podcasts about 3-4 years ago and as a college we were involved in the JISC MoleNet project  (Mobile Learning Network).  We were partnered with several colleges across the south west. The project involved funding for podcasting equipment and training for staff and the setting up of a podcast hosting site, which was our role.  Several podcasts (and vodcasts) were created and uploaded to the site covering a range of subject areas.  I can't say they were of any great quality or particularly engaging which raised a fundamental question about creative skills in this area.  It is not just about having the equipment to create them and the will, but they have to be good learning objects in the end.

The best podcasts in terms of learning were the ones created by the students themselves where they discussed things they had been learning in class.  It made their learning more interesting and having to explain something meant they had to understand it very well.  They also put it into words that their peers understood.  For me this is the best use of them.  As teaching tools they work if they are short and sharp, but they are essentially passive and so best used sparingly.

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Kim Aling

H808 Unit 4

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:26

One of the themes considered so far is the idea of an elearning professional and the competencies that might be required.  A study of the posts available in the elearning category reveals a huge diversity of roles and titles. There seemed to be two main types of role, one more technical and the other more pedagogic, embedding technology into teaching and learning and supporting staff in ways to do this.  Few of the roles here were teaching roles, though some had an element of training.  In contrast the studies of competencies by Hiller (2002) and Goodyear relate to teaching and teaching online.  It's far from clear, therefore, exactly what an elearning professional is.  My own role includes both forms, a distance tutor using a range of technologies to support learners and as a Learning Technologist, involved in developing online courses and resources for others and promoting education technology to teaching staff.  Supplementary activity 3.2 was an interesting discussion around developing a list of technologies for elearning and the underlying competencies required of an elearning professional. I contributed to a wiki, adding to the technologies.  To try an tease out the underlying competencies I added a section on 'issues', designed to explore the different issues that an elearning technologist needed to understand.

Goodyear, P., Salmon G.,  Spector, J.M., Steeples, C.,Tickner, S. , (2001) Competences for Online Teaching: A Special Report in  Education Technology Research and Development Vol. 49. No.1

Hillier, Y. (2002) 'The quest for competence, good practice and excellence' (online), The Higher Education Academy. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/resource_database/id494_quest_for_competence

 

 

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Kim Aling

H808 Core Activity 2.4: Reflection and Learning

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:26

I've been in education both as a student and teacher for many years and believe that reflection is an important aspect of both.  Being able to reflect on one's learning develops strong independent learners and being able to reflect on content promotes deep learning and real understanding of a subject.  Reflective practice helps a learner build a much clearer picture of their own strengths and weaknesses and to develop strategies to improve.  However, as Moon (2001) suggests this does require some training to help the learner develop good reflective practice, including clear and constructive feedback on their work to inform their reflection.  As Moon also suggests, explaining the value of reflection and providing examples is also important.  On two modules I teach for the OU students have to do a 'self reflection' of 50 words at the end of their assignment on a specified aspect of the experience and this enables me to guide their reflection a little.  In H808 reflection is a large part of the module activities and assessment. Blogging is a useful way to reflect and I've started adding a weekly post to the blog on my eportfolio about how I'm feeling about the module so far and where things have gone well and why things haven't gone so well.  Moon made a very good point about emotion in reflection which I believe is thoroughly underestimated in all learning theory.  Much of my learning and work does involve quite bit of frustration and anxiety, as well as pleasure and elation at times, and I intend to also explore my emotions with regards H808 as well.  My reflective blogs remain private however as I think that if I know they can be read by others then they won't be true reflections as Crème (2005) suggests with regards assessed reflective activity.

 

References

Moon, J. (2001) ‘PDP working paper 4: reflection in higher education learning’ (online), The Higher Education Academy. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/resourcedatabase/id72_Reflection_in_Higher_Education_Learning.rtf [Accessed 23 September 2012]

Crème, P. (2005) ‘Should student learning journals be assessed?’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 287–96. Available from: http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602930500063850 [Accessed 23 September 2012]

 

 

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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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