March 31, 2015

Post-Course Reflection - Ignite Your Everyday Creativity

Post Course Reflection

At the conclusion of six weeks of creative and exciting study I need some time to reflect on a couple of aspects of this course.

At the start of this course I got the impression that there was some student lead learning involved. See my pre-course post here. However this was not really the case.

There were 3 tags used in this course consistently.
Each module started with a video created by the instructors. This usually carried the #bCreative tag somewhere in the video. In most cases the inspirational videos were optional. You could watch them, or not. The main tag was #bCreative which was used in Twitter and other social media. The last tag was used to indicate what sort of information was in the resource. At the start of this course I set myself about 3-4 hrs per week of study as a goal. I can't remember seeing an official study estimate but I felt that some weeks were just too much and I had to cut down and really choose or skim the available material.

My interactions over this course were usually sparodic as I subscribed to various forums. I connected more via Twitter although there was not much participant action there either. Maybe it is because the creative process is quite an individual thing, although we learnt about common tools to use. So the assessment work was as individual as are the humans submitting it! As the peer assessment (see below) was anonymous then this also cut out further interaction with others on my work.

How to track your MOOC learning:

One of the things that I have found common in MOOC's is the flexibility of choosing how you are going to track your learning and participation in the course. That is usually the challenge for the first week or two of the course. One thing I did differently for this MOOC was to try out a different blogging tool: Tumblr. See it here:

Now that I look back over the posts that I created for this MOOC I can say that I really like this way of blogging. It is very easy to use, more visual than Blogger and has a variety of ways to attach different media but a single way of presenting the material (much like Pinterest). It also has the ability for secondary blogs so I could create one for each MOOC that I have completed. I think it worked particularly well for this MOOC because pictures and Adobe files were used for most assessment work.

One of the main assessment pieces for this MOOC was a portfolio of work. At 29 pages long, I felt that it was a bit too much to complete for my own allocated time for this study. There seemed to be multiple issues with the Adobe format of the file and I chose (by mid course) not to submit this work. In retrospect I would have structured my own blog to meet these portfolio requirements. I found it frustrating that I could not just link to the blog in the course platform. I guess it is much more inclusive to have the material in the course platform directly but I found in the first few weeks, there was a lot of double-up in posting to blog, twitter and on the course platform and occasionally on G+. While the portfolio would be a great way to hold details of the work completed in this course, I felt that a cut down version would have suited my requirements much better. Just to have the main tasks tracked in a 10 page document would be easier to read later than this large document.

....the assessment question....

I had no problems with the Peer and Self assessment regime in this course. This consisted of five different items to be conducted in this way. I participated in four and while the rubrics were very basic and short I always enjoyed the free form text field at the end which usually had 2 out of 3 reviewers adding comments. I guess I would have like one of the assessments to be reviewed by tutor or teaching assistant as I think the quality of their feedback would have been of a higher standard. Perhaps that is what you get with the paid signature track. However I experienced that through the process of looking at at least 3 students work I could then self-evaluate my work against that 'standard'.

There was no digital badges used in this course and they weren't missed! 

I really appreciated the extra reading that was available at the end of each module and the section at the end of the course which included an Amazon reading list which I have been able to share with others outside of this course.

I'm now more aware of creativity in everyday life. I have more understanding of what is needed to progress my own ideas. I am more prepared to listen to and delay judgment on the ideas of others.
Thanks SUNY

March 25, 2015

Synchronous versus Asynchronous learning events

The Spark:

What I have learnt from this session combined with my experience:
This debate is part of the #HumanMOOC and thinking about humanising online interactions. 

There are certainly reasons why you would choose one method of interaction over another. I think the most telling part of the debate is at the end when both Maha (for async) and Peggy (for sync) can "state their position" and there is no definite answer. Peggy had to say "I agree with what Maha has said". 
Synchronous connections can enhance the learning whereas asynchronous methods may reach more people. 
Depending on your student cohort and understanding your students is critical to ensure the best learning experience (stating the obvious). However this is not always possible in large enrolment units or in the case of MOOCs. Good points about second language issues are also raised by Maha...where students may prefer async methods of communicating.

Even from watching this video I feel a bit more connected to the three speakers for a couple of reasons:
a) I have seen Whitney before in a Google Hangout (GHO) so she is now "familiar"
b) I have connected with Maha on Twitter so I'm more interested and atuned to what she says
c) I can see these three people in their chosen environment (mesmerising stripes!!!) which makes it easier for me to remember the different perspectives presented verbally.

This information could have been presented much more formally or even in a series of readings but this conversation method of communication is much more personable. My own filters of learning will pick up parts of the conversation and I can choose to follow that up with further reading or research. 

One thing that I do miss from this format is the ability to chat with other participants. I know that Twitter can be used as a backchannel and I usually have that open at the same time but having a chat area within the Hangout forum allows for more immediate interaction. I could then follow up this content with other students much more easily after the session.