Match 7 - 11 was Open Education Week. This was news to me. Even participating in a post-secondary program focused on online learning and teaching this event passed without recognition or even notice. That in itself is testimony to how important such events are to increase awareness of the open education movement.
One aspect of open education that was seen to have much promise was MOOCs (Masive Open Online Courses.) These courses, offered free to any individual, anywhere, with access to a computer and Internet connection originated in Canada.,The Pedagogy Of MOOCs reports that the first was rolled out in 2007.. The goal was to reach as many people as possible, measured by the number of students enrolled.
This makes one pause to consider the pedagogy of MOOCs. Face-to-face instruction values small class size. Would servicing larger number of students in an online setting sacrifice the quality of the instruction? In an environment where students have access to online articles, videos, discussion forums, and video conferencing with professors, experts and peers, should MOOCs be presented in a different manner than classes in brick and mortar setting? How should assessment look?
I liked how Dave Cormier presented a simple, yet comprehnsive plan for success in his video: Orient, declare, network, cluster and focus.
But even following this plan, will all students be successful? Dropout rates for MOOCs are notoriously high. Why is this? Are they not valued because they are free? Are students who are familiar with traditional learning models unprepared for an online learning experience? Are the selected platforms for delivering instruction poorly designed or not being utilized to their full potential?
In her video Koller presents many of the advantages of MOOCs such as those in Coursera. These include making it accessible to anyone regardless of their financial circumstances, large peer groups being able to help problem-solve in a timely manner through forums, easing the burden of grading through automated marking and peer assessment and the ability to review material whenever and however often the student likes.
In his article Bates argues that MOOCs have not been successful in providing higher education to the intended underprivileged population because many of the people in this demographic do not have access to computers or the Internet and the certificates granted by Coursera and other MOC providers are largely unrecognized. Bates states that MOOCs remain a " second class form of education."
Bates also argues that the predominantly behaviourist pedagogy of most Coursera courses is obsolete. He also points out that Koller's camparisons to face-to-face instruction are limited to lecture models and don't take into account the inovative practices that many educators are using in their classrooms today.
In his article Legon questions the quality of many MOOCs. He states that because many MOOCs afre being delivered by experts in the field it is being taken as a given that the content and delivery would be of a high quality. "This assumed connection between content expertise and a mature grasp of the challenges of online teaching, however, has not been demonstrated in MOOCs." (Legon 2013) Transferring a lecture-based program to a digital platform simply isn't effective and being an expert on a certain topic doesn't necessarily equate to being able to deliver instruction on that topic effectively.
The next generation of MOOCs (MOOC 2.0) are focusing more on instructional design . One example is NovoEd. Amin Saberi, a Stanford professor is quoted as saying "With this transition from brick-and-mortar classes to online learning, you shouldn’t lose the social, collaborative aspects of learning, It should be able to enable it."
I feel that while MOOCs have extraordinary potential, they will not be the solution to the problem of educating the masses until more thought is given to instructional design, all students have equal access to technology and the Internet and the learning is recognized by on-ground institutions.
Bates, Tony. Online and Learning and Distance Education Resources. What’s right and what’s wrong about Coursera-style MOOCs. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/08/05/whats-right-and-whats-wrong-about-coursera-style-moocs/ (10 June 2016)
Cormeir, Dave. Success in a Mooc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8avYQ5ZqM0
Koller, Daphne: What we're learning from online education. http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education. June 2012.
Legon, Ronald. Inside Higher Ed. MOOCs and the Quality Question. 2013. REtrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/04/25/moocs-do-not-represent-best-online-learning-essay (10 JUne 2106)
New, Jake. Chronicle of Higher Education. New MOOC Provider Says It Fosters Peer Interaction. 2013. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/new-mooc-provider-says-it-fosters-peer-interaction/43381 (10 JUne 2017)
Stacey, Paul. edtechfrontier.com. The Pedagogy og MOOCs. May 11, 2013
Have you ever experienced that feeling as you approach the end of a journey? That feeling of anticipation mixed with a tinge of sadness because as exciting as the destination is, arriving there means the journey is over?
That is how I feel this week.
I am excited to have accomplished my goal of completing the training and am able to reflect on how much I have learned. I also feel a sense of loss, a void of sorts, as a result of having no new challenge to take its place as of yet.
This last leg of my journey focused on YouTube. I had always considered YouTube a somewhat frivolous phenomenon that fed on humanity’s narcissism. I had not considered its potential as an educational resource.
I was wrong.
I can now see its value as a resource in accessing and evaluating information and sharing learning. I learned how to search YouTube, upload videos, create and share playlists and much more.
I will not make the mistake of allowing preconceived notions to prevent me from exploring the potential of a popular resource again.
Check out my brief tutorial on creating a YouTube playlist as well as the screencasts of my final unit tests to glean some insight into what you could learn by taking advantage of Google's free training and using some of Google's many apps in your practice.
Reflecting on my learning journey I realise just how much I have learned. I have discovered apps that I didn't know existed and seen the potential they have for enriching my students' learning and increasing my own efficiency.
The first week of my learning focused on digital citizenship and keeping yourself safe and secure online. It also covered Google Calendar Google Hangouts, Google Forms and Google Keep, I was excited to embark on this journey and was amazed by the array of apps contained in the suite and the potential they had for transforming education.
My second week explored Google classroom as part of a Professional Learning Group. While I did gain as much experience with the apps as I wold have liked, building a network will prove extremely beneficial next year when I start using these tools myself and sharing them with the staff at my school At this time.I also took the opportunity to explore Google Calendar more. This week's blog post contains a Flipagram of adding a goal to Google Calendar. Students will love demonstrating their learning with Flipagram!
Week Three of my learning journey was filled with frustration. I was learning about all these wonderful apps but didn't have access to them to apply what I was learning. I was also unsure of how to make my learning more visible. This frustration is expressed in the second episode of Visible Learning.embedded in my blog post at http://onlinelearningjourneyofchantelle.weebly.com/my-learning-journey/staring-across-the-abyss.
Week four of my learning was centered around Google Slides and Google Play for Education I relished actually being able to play with these apps and gain real experience. This is when I discovered just how helpful YouTube could be in my learning, and how it could benefit my students as well.
As detailed in the beginning of this blog post, week five was all about YouTube. I experienced a real shift in thinking regarding this app that I had previously seen as a time suck and platform for those cursed with excessive vanity. I can now see its full potential and value. Providing students with an audience gives them purpose and motivation and knowing how to access and evaluate videos on YouTube provides them with access to more materials on a broader range of topics and helps them become critical thinkers
While the official Google training comprised the largest component of my learning, YouTube videos also proved very valuable, particularly in learning Google Keep (Flipped Classroom Tutorials) and playlists for YouTube (David Walsh Online).. Screencasts of people performing certain tasks using given applications proved very helpful to a visual and linear learner like myself.
In conclusion I feel confident that I can use Google Drive to share documents with colleagues and students, use Google Calendar to stay organized, use Google Slides to create presentations with animations, transitions, embedded YouTube videos, hyperlinked text and presenter notes, use Google Sheets to record student grades and create graphs, and use Google Classroom to post and collect assignments and share announcements and I am happy to share these skills with my colleagues. In fact, I am excited to share!
I am a goal driven purpose who thrives on challenges. My next challenge is taking my level one Google Certified Educator test in preparation for assuming the role as my school’s EdTech mentor. Maybe I’ll continue on and take the level two training. One thing’s for sure. It won’t be long before I find a new challenge to replace the one I have just finished.
If my learning project for OLTD is to be compared to a game of baseball I would say that in the last two weeks I have been getting walks. I was progressing but it wasn’t particularly satisfying. I lacked the tools to apply my knowledge and gain practical experience.
This week I feel more like I hit a home run.
This week’s training focused on Google Slides and Google Play for Education. Thanks to a YouTube video produced by Teach 101 I discovered how to access Google Slides and Google Sheets which I had previously been unable to locate. Bam! The hands-on experience I had been anxious for. I was even able to download the apps onto my iPhone! You would have thought I had won the lottery I was so excited.
I took the opportunity to record my first attempt at creating a slide show using Google Slides. It turned out to very simple to use and had most of the features that I was familiar with from PowerPoint, such as transitions, animations, themes, embedded images and videos. I am excited to play around with it more and explore some of the more advanced features such as audio. hyperlinks and Word Art. I know how impactful PowerPoint presentations can be and with students having the ability to create presentations in Google Slides and upload them to Google Drive to share with their teacher or classmates it is another way for students to demonstrate their understanding. That is always a good thing. More choices. More students engaged in learning.
Yes, my AdministrayGoogle Slides Screencast
With the free online training offered by Google and the other open resources available to me, I am gradually becoming more confident that I will be successful in my leadership role as Ed Tech mentor at my school next year (yes, my principal is putting my name forward for the position) when Google Apps for Education is rolled out in my district. After all, I aced my unit 10 exam :-)
Unit 10 Screencast
Homerun photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.0File:20060825 Barry Bonds follow through.jpg
Created: 25 August 2006