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Graduation 2008

Collaborative project - reflection

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Tuesday, 10 June 2014, 14:10

The project

After coming up with the idea of euthanasia as a topic I did not quite understand how we would initially use it as a learning opportunity, however with collective creativity we generated such an effective website that it seems a shame that it won’t be used by carers and that the conference/OER/MOOC are only fictitious. Possibly due to the moral and ethical topic or to the personas (or both) I believe that most of the team felt quite engaged with the project. I enjoyed researching Creative Commons images, quotes, music and finding relevant theories etc.

The team

From previous MAODE collaborative projects I knew my likely frustrations would be with working at different paces and not everybody pulling their weight, however with this group we were pretty much within the same week’s activities for much of the time. This was like a breath of fresh air for me because I struggle with working behind the study calendar dates, whilst acknowledging and understanding our other commitments. As with all teamwork there were some moments of difference and considering this was my longest online collaborative project it went really well, commitment was evident and I am pleased to have been allocated to this team. We didn’t always agree on the minor points but tended to on the major points.  Our team consisted of a group of strong-minded individuals with good ideas and I’m proud of the website that we have collectively achieved. The project manager kept us on track and the team leader put in a lot of time and effort, in particular helping with website edits and additions etc. I wasn’t especially clear on what was required of me in my role as Connector so I aimed to make links and add ideas focusing on depth and breadth as that seemed to holistically represent connection.

The activities

Discussions were interesting because we were all getting to grips with interpreting what was required and it was quite a challenge, as I expected. It was not always clear what the groups were supposed to do and I’ve found this in all but one (H800) of my MAODE modules. However discussion benefited this through interpretative dialogue to reach consensus and I find this helpful in informing/reinforcing my own understanding. This is my second module where a TMA has been based on its collaborative project and I find it interesting and useful for reflective learning.

Educational technology

I’m pleased to have had more practice with Google Docs, Cloudworks and to have learned about digital storytelling. I used Popplet for the first time and it was my first joint creation of a website, which at times I found difficult to edit and add items to – yet this was part of the learning process. I’ve learned some of the process for creating videos and Maze stories plus I have been introduced to new survey tools (Likert and Padlet). It was informative looking through the other websites although frustrating that not many were accessible for making comments, due to time restraints I only commented on the websites that allowed this.

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Graduation 2008

The benefits of blogging

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:39
I am a huge fan of Weller - following his blog and Twitter. I also bought his book as soon as it was published. He highlights that academic blogs "compete with traditional means of public engagement" (Weller, 2011 p. 49). An example of this is where blog web-links are shared automatically via Twitter. Blogs are an invaluable tool to share ideas.
Conole demonstrates how blogs and reflection link together. "Use of the site during the conference is a perfect example of how we are actively co-developing the site, watching and reflecting on user behaviour to fine tune and tailor the site specifically for educational professionals" (Conole, 2010 p. 11). I follow Conole on CloudWorks and Twitter.
This is succinctly summed up by Kirkup as "The kind of academic blogging which seems to produce the greatest sense of subjective well being, and is best at enhancing professional reputation, is the blog of ideas. In this kind of blog authors engage in conversations with their own ideas and the ideas of their peers. Blogging is both a process where ideas are developed and expressed, but often in a concise and accessible form quite different from the traditional long, analytical, and discursive academic texts that are the products by which most academics are assessed" (Kirkup, 2010 p. 21). I've come across the work of Kirkup in previous MAODE modules.
Conole, G. (2010) ‘Facilitating new forms of discourse for learning and teaching: harnessing the power of Web 2.0 practices’, Open Learning, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 141–51.
Kirkup, G. (2010) ‘Academic blogging, academic practice and academic identity’, London Review of Education, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 75–84.

Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice , London, Bloomsbury Academic.

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