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Category: Programme for Online Teaching

POT Cert Week 3: a ‘clean’ approach to course design

Course Design

Ko and Rossen’s emphasis in Chapter 3: Course Design and Development seems to fall heavily on that of  ‘course conversion’. They say, “teaching exclusively online, [..] involves recasting your entire class in an online shape” (p.46). Well, I’m not “recasting”, I’m hoping to design a class from scratch that’s to be delivered online. I’m planning therefore to take what I’d call a ‘clean’ approach, this way I anticipate truly discovering the “opportunities afforded by the new online environment” (p.12).

You know, I think I’m going to really keep this idea of  ‘clean’ in mind as I develop my online learning space. Because, (picking up on Todd’s tutorial about constraints of the physical classroom) in order to manage resources and execute effective facilitation of learning, I think it’s really important to keep an uncluttered ‘classroom’, free from old handouts, out dated posters or notices and unnecessary furniture or equipment etc. It not only helps get the job done, but what’s more it sends out the message that you care and that you’re on top of your game.

My guiding force, pedagogical goals and objectives

Within the Where the Hell Do I Start?” tutorial, I found the idea of  identifying a guiding force for the course very helpful, especially as I’m starting from scratch and don’t really a have a syllabus. Consequently, I’ve chosen a recently published textbook, Understanding Digital Literacies – A Practical Introduction, as my ‘guiding force’ for this project. Now I can articulate the goals of my emergent course and tentatively identify its objectives before moving on to explore the best methods and approaches to make my pedagogy happen (online).

Here’s an idea of how I’m getting on:

Goal(s): to provide learners with both the theoretical and analytical tools needed in order to start exploring the many new digital literacy practices that have been afforded by recent developments in digital technology, and to encourage them to reflect on and critically evaluate their own digital literacy practices.

Objectives: (i) demonstrate an understanding that the concept of digital literacies (as opposed to ‘literacy’) is not just the ability to encode and decode meaning, rather it is the ability to do certain things, to show that you are a certain kind of person and to relate to other people in a certain way.

(ii) recognize that literacies are always situated and context-specific

(ii) recognize that an aspect of digital literacies involves understanding the affordances and constraints of individual digital tools

(iii) appraise a selection of digital technologies in terms of their affordances and constraints

POT Cert Week 2: facilitating learning online – a person-oriented approach

My thoughts – teaching online

A key point that Ko and Rossen make in chapter 1 of Teaching Online: A Practical Guide is that in an online learning environment the role of the teacher is somewhat altered, moving away from the classic “sage on the stage” to allow students to take a more active part. By skilfully steering the conversation and interaction, the role thus becomes more one of facilitating learning. Subsequently, the question is raised as to what kinds of people make the best online instructors, to which the authors declare, “it is ‘people-oriented’ people who make the best instructors” (p. 18). Oh, happy days for me it seems, both my field and my outlook are person-oriented. Furthermore, I want to develop/facilitate an online learning experience that places the learner at its centre and explores the notion of digital literacy ultimately enabling them to develop their own digital practices and competencies.

My reflection – results of the beginner’s questionnaire

On the questionnaire designed to discover your perspective on teaching I scored 6, indicating a strong Constructivist position. That is to say, I believe by experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world. It follows therefore that I favour discussion and other interactive student activities as the basis of this online learning experience that I hope to design.

Where am I in terms of getting started?

As I want the focus to be on discussion and group activities, I’m investigating the types of social learning platforms that are currently available to me. I’ve seen Buddypress in action and really like how this could be used to support my project but despite Ko and Rossen avowing that you don’t need to be a computer expert, I don’t have the skills or technological capacity to ‘self-host’ it. I’ve also heard of Instructure Canvas, which can be hosted in the cloud, but again it looks like it’s designed for a bigger project than the one I envisage. Therefore, I’m going to have to explore how I can make it all hang together using a combination of familiar discussion and collaboration applications like Facebook, Blogger or WordPress and Google Docs.Wish me luck.

POT Cert Week 1: hello fellow POTcerters

My name is Helen Crump and I’m currently an adult literacy tutor. Recently though, as part of an MA in Technology, Learning, Innovation and Change, I’ve been investigating digital literacies within higher education. I’d like to take advantage of the brilliant opportunity that the online POT cert course offers to develop this into maybe a CPD module for faculty or possibly learning support for students. I’m also excited to begin a journey exploring online teaching and learning.

I now live on the West coast of Ireland, but originally I’m from Nottingham, England. I love learning and exploring all sorts of different things, consequently I’ve always got a project on the go and a trip or two planned. I especially enjoy hiking and camping trips. I just walked coast to coast across England. I walk plenty in Spain too but dream of just wandering out of my front door with nothing more than some bread and cheese wrapped in a red spotted hanky (that’s not strictly true; I’d take an iPhone along too). For now though, let the POT cert journey begin.