12 January 2011

Another blog in the wall

The direct occasion to start this blog is my decision to enroll in the course “Technology-Enhanced Education” (H800 for insiders) at the Open University in the UK.   The course fits within its Master in Online and Distance Education programme.  The course investigates many ways technology can influence education and how it interacts with the pedagogy of the classroom.  The course starts on February 5 and end until October 31.  60 credit points of the required 180 are at stake.

To get myself ready for the course, I’ve taken a couple of actions:
  • Start up a blog, which you’re now reading;
  • Get myself a Twitter account (@stefaanvw) and get familiar with it (not to say addicted    to);
  • Enroll in two MOOC’s.  MOOC’s are Massive Open and Online Courses.  I’ll discuss them in more detail below.  Here and here are a few examples.

-      Get familiar with some popular tools in education, such as Prezi (for presentations, great), Hunch (for buying suggestions, not so great) and Slideshare (sharing PowerPoint presentations, very useful)
The course at the Open University is completely online, so there are no sessions “on location”.  Grading is based on continuous assessment through contributions on forums and blogs, and on 4 major assignments.
Blogging is required for the Open University and recommended for the MOOC’s for various reasons:
-  It's an instrument for personal reflection and remixing of the sources.  Content in open courses and MOOC’s tend to be offered, not through a centrally structured unit such as a course text, but through a tsunami of links, reports, articles and blogs, and it’s up to the learner to select, read, filter and make sense of it.  A blog can be helpful with this and invite outsiders to read, share and comment.
-      -  It’s a communication tool with other students.  Learners come from all over the world.  A blog offers insight in how other learners are trying to make sense of the information and an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion.
-      -   It’s an inventory of learning materials read and processed.  It enables you to trace back what you have read before and what your thoughts were on it.

The blog is intended for fellow learners and tutors at the H800 course, fellow learners at the MOOCs, and of course anyone who might be interested.  Although most of the posts will be related to technology and education, I do want to throw in regular posts on science education and the state of education in Cambodia (and by extension South-East Asia).
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