Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Week 2 - Declare, Where?

vintage apron hand dyed skeins
Photo Credit: madelinetosh via Compfight cc

I made a lot of rash promises in my last post. I said I was going to follow my 5 EVO sessions, plus the SEETA course, plus the OLDS MOOC. I said that, in this blog, I was going to give weekly digests of my learning progress. People even took me seriously. In the meantime I signed up for two more MOOCs on Coursera, which promise to be very interactive (EDC MOOC and Fundamentals of Online Education). At work, the week was hectic. And I have a presentation for a conference to write.

Still, I am here as promised. A little late, but I have definitely survived Week 2 in all my online environments. My level of participation was not the same everywhere at all times and I suppose I can say that in some of my groups I was sampling and browsing rather than studying seriously. And whether I do all my weekly tasks or not will depend on the amount of workload. OLDS MOOC, for example, is a fascinating course, but the workload is a bit too much for me at the moment. So, for this course I have a new plan - I will do what I can and curate the rest somewhere for further reference. I still might decide to share snippets from this course in my blog, but this definitely won't be enough to give you an idea about the scope of the MOOC. The same probably goes for my new Coursera MOOCs.

So, let's start with Neuroscience. This week we looked at the link between the emotional brain and motivation. I find the following video fascinating:

What it is saying, in a nutshell, is that the way we raise our children or teach our young students can influence how smart they are in ways much more direct than we thought it possible. Is it surprising, then, that adult students need so long to start believing that they can learn? People who come to my classroom have usually spent 12 (yes, twelve) years of their life sitting in English language classrooms, failing to learn the language. It takes quite a while to convince them that they are not going to fail again.

Several years ago I created this PowerPoint on learning and motivation:

Sorry for all the bullets and death-by-PowerPoint stuff. This was before my online days. One thing that I am especially interested in (and I believe this shows in the PowerPoint) is the supportive power of groups on an individual's learning.

It is good, then, that this week in Mentoring we read this text on scaffolding. I find the questions provided in the text very helpful, something that every teacher can use in his/her class.

And in OLDS MOOC we focused a lot on personas and scenarios. Thinking about who your learners are going to be even before you meet them is a useful starting point. Here's a PowerPoint explaining scenarios and here's the template we used. An important part of scenarios are personas. And the template for a persona card is here. One last snippet from last week in OLDS MOOC would be these cards. And here's a short video on how to use them.

Let's finish with Multiliteracies. This course is the glue that binds everything together, it is the reason why I am able to cope with multiple sessions. Multiliteracies has given me something essential - the method. You remember how at school your teachers told you that the most important thing to learn is how to learn? By learning about MOOCs through an environment similar to a MOOC, I have learnt that all this is not about curriculum and homework, but about me. And it is OK to forget where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do. It is OK to choose not to do something if you don't find it relevant at the moment. It is also OK to modify assignments and do them your way.

Last week in Multiliteracies was the week when we were supposed to declare, i.e. to state our own learning goals.

My goals this year are as follows:

1. to reflect on the course topics
2. to reflect on my past and present experience in various MOOCs
3. to reflect on my 2011 Multiliteracies posts

Reflect, where?

Well, here, of course. Where else?

I would like to finish this with a short Animoto video I created for my MachinEVO class:


Vance Stevens said...

Thank you Natasa for your post that gave me just the feedback I need at this juncture on my conduct of the M/literacies course in the manner of what I myself have learned from MOOCs. I sometimes feel guilty that my sessions appear scattered and incohesive to newcomers compared to the normal method of a moderator laying things out for you. In some courses I take I'd like things laid out too, but in a MOOC I don't expect that at all. And like you I expect to get from it what I get from it, and meet others like-minded, and benefit from the berries that look most delicious to me (I feel that both styles have their place, but that it is beneficial to at least experience alternate styles of learning - as Wesley Fryer pointed out in the 'keynote' I coopted from him). I have said this often but thank you for articulating this from the point of of view of one outside the developmental process, reporting on your experience with us. A big hug!

Vanessa Vaile said...


I went from a Multiliteraces straight to my 1st MOOC ~ at Vance's recommendation to the class. It was already two weeks underway. We'd already been talking about managing internet/social media generated information overload and how "navigating" was more appropriate (realistic too) than "managing."

MLit was and, in my opinion, still is the best introduction possible introduction and scaled down version for developing skills. I referred to it afterwards the gateway drug for MOOCs.

No doubt those discussions and comments are still on the Ning.

Webheads and Multiliteracies are hospitable too. Not all MOOCs are, although some are more so than others.

Natasa said...

You are welcome, Vance. I have to say that the first time I joined Multiliteracies, I was a bit lost. There wasn't much traffic (well, it is a relatively small group) and the exchange that did happen was too arcane for me to follow. Far too many readings in the wiki. I decided the best way for me to make progress was to start with the readings and blog about my doubts and insecurities. Somewhere in Week 3, I started to notice a change in my online life - it became much more focused and purposeful. So, yes, the method works. I guess it is necessary to experience the feeling of chaos in order to learn how to manage the chaos we face online every day.

Natasa said...

Vanessa, I agree with you about MLit. Everyone should take it before they go out to join a really massive online course. I also agree with you on the hospitality or lack thereof - I have experienced both. I learn really poorly if the environment is not supportive. Don't we all? Or do you think a challenging environment actually has its merits? Maybe it is something I should work on.

Sneza said...

Great post again from you! I haven't seen you much in Neuroscience, not to mention Baw so I was getting worried. And where to look for a devoted blogger but in her blog? Glad to see you 'alive and kicking'! Looking forward to a message from you!


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