Transcript of introduction to week 3
For people who’ve not taken part in an online open course before, here are some of our own experiences of being on one, and how to engage with one.
Don’t worry about being able to keep track of everything. There are numerous different technologies, modes of interaction and information available. If you are being assessed, then the key element is to submit the assignment. The more you can do, the easier this assignment will be, as the more experiences and ideas you will have to build upon. For the rest, it simply means that you learn more, and others can learn more from you.
The very first MOOC was the Connectivism ‘o8 MOOC and in that people were mostly at a loss about how to interact. One post on that made sense of it for me (Mark) was likening it to a walk in the woods. There’s lots of different paths through it, and lots of interesting things to see, but no one right way, and no obligation to see everything. We would suggest adopting that approach. The tasks are meant as a signpost, but it won’t matter if you don’t complete them all, although if you want a specific badge then you will need to complete the task for that badge. You may prefer tweeting, you may find the synchronous get-togethers more inspiring, you may feel that the forum boards get your mind working, or you might not like that as a format but want to blog. Any of those are fine. Find the thing that gets you interacting and reading and learning and be comfortable with focusing on that.
We would add that, like the walk through the woods, the more you explore, and the more you plant and forage along the way, the more ingredients you will have for when you finally cook up your assessed piece. But don’t worry about drifting off the path. The best discoveries happen that way.
One thing we would say though is that this journey isn’t one you make on your own, so this does place some obligations on you, particularly now we’re in the collaboration week. When you have your groups worked out, it’s best to discuss what you will expect from each other. What is your preferred mode of working, when can you commit to collaborating, when is it going to be difficult? How much can you offer, and expect from, each other? What’s the best way to reach each other? We’d suggest picking one platform for synchronous communication (Skype, Hangouts, Connect etc), one for asynchronous communication (email, FaceBook, group texting, etc) and one for sharing documents (DropBox, Google Drive, Cubby, etc.) This will help to avoid any misunderstandings and conflicting expectations.
There are three tasks for this week. The intention is that these are to be finished by the 24th April. However, as next week is followed by a week off for Easter, if you need to you have an extra week. We would suggest completing it in one week if you can.
Task 1 is creating a digital artefact. This can be anything, a piece of text, a PowerPoint presentation, a short video. This is about what support students need in online collaboration. As you are producing this artefact we will ask you to reflect on what issues you face, as these will form the content for task 2, which is a post about your experiences of collaborative working. This can be a forum entry, a series of tweets, a blog post, a Facebook note, but please link to it from the forum,. We’ve posted some reflection questions to start you off, but please don’t feel limited to these.
Task 3 is a case study about students doing groupwork online. Have a look at the presentation, then think about some of the issues raised. We’d like you to post your thoughts about the case study, wherever you like, but link to it from the discussion forum.
The reading for this week introduces two more concepts, that of social presence and transactional distance. The case study tries to indicate how these might be applied in an actual teaching situation. These are pretty short, but there’s plenty more in the further reading, and outside the course on the rest of the Internet. There’s books too! Please post about anything you’ve come across that you’ve found interesting and start off more discussions in the forums.