Sunday, 4 May 2014

#ocTEL Week 0 thoughts

Over the next couple of months I'm going to attempt to flout all the basic laws of time and space by participating in the Open Course for Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL), run by the nice people at the Association for Learning Technology.

ocTEL logo

I participated in the second run of the EDCMOOC last November and although I enjoyed it, I found it hard to keep up with all the various discussions and diversions and groups that formed and morphed and spread out.

Perhaps I relied a bit too much on Twitter. It's very easy to get disheartened when everyone seems so far ahead in their thinking, and I think Twitter heightened this feeling for me. (For some reason, right from the get-go, EVERYONE seems to be much further advanced on Twitter!)

I found it interesting just how much my perception of my own progress and accomplishment relied on interaction and feedback from others. Getting a comment on a blog post seemed to validate it, somehow, whereas a post or a tweet that went seemingly unnoticed was really disheartening. Obviously in course with such a huge membership there's no way to guarantee interaction, but when the whole premise of the cMOOC relies on connectivity and peer-learning - and on each participant being brave and putting stuff out there into the big wide webby world - it's bound to be disheartening when silence is the result.

I did find myself considering giving up on the EDCMOOC before the last couple of weeks when I got my teeth into the practical element of creating the final assessment piece, and this spurred me on to complete the course.

This time, I hope that setting some learning goals will help - both to reduce the pressure I put on myself, but also to keep me focused on getting what I want out of the experience.

I also like the idea of forming small groups for reflection and discussion, in order to keep things manageable.

Activity 0.1 Big and Little questions

I'm not sure I have one 'Big Question' I'm looking to find answers or ideas about. I'm still at an early stage in my career in Learning Technology, so I feel I have lots of listening and reading to do. That might seem like a cop-out!

I suppose if I had to pick one area of particular interest, it would be around video and audio, and creating media content in and around TEL. That's quite a wide area, but by that I would include opportunities for collaborative work on such content, perhaps in innovative ways over the web - perhaps I'll blog about this later.


  1. Thanks for your blog post Neil. I agree that getting feedback on blog posts is important -especially as they are not, in my experience, the quick write that you might think. Especially as we are using them to reflect on our learning and our professional practice - all in public!
    It's great that you've been able to identify an area of interest but when you say 'if I had to pick' I think you speak from your MOOC experience and recognise that there is going to be lots of other interesting stuff along the way!

  2. What are the chances! The one blog post I am drawn to I see my lovely colleague with whom I sit with all day has pipped me to the post! I did enjoy your post though so I am going to comment despite the urge to look for another post and assert independence :-) Yes, I did enjoy your post. It was very funny the idea of flouting the laws of space and time! I too have felt a little intimidated on Twitter as conversations go at lightening speed and you can feel a bit panicky as if it's musical chairs and the music has stopped and ...oh chair...(sort of).
    Thank you for your entertaining post. It's good to know that I am not the only one struggling with the laws of space and time, and a MOOC to boot.
    Well done us!
    Best wishes,
    Learning Technologist (who sits opposite lovely Anne, above)
    Sussex University

  3. It's a small world, indeed! Thanks to both of you for commenting, glad you enjoyed my scribblings.

    It's interesting, from my own experiences and reading some other people's thoughts, that there are so many areas where learners could potentially feel alienated or disillusioned or left behind... it's a really difficult challenge to be wholly inclusive. Maybe that's why educational theory is such a deep and interesting topic!

  4. When I first started using Twitter and blogding, someone asked me who I did it for and I replied 'for me'. That's *mostly* true but... how nice it is when you can see some evidence of being read and possibly appreciated. The counter side to this is, as you say, that disheartening feeling that no one is listening.

    The thing I take away from this is you can probably not underestimate the value of providing someone with a sign that their message has been heard: a Like, a Retweet... something. Also, the sooner you do it the better because it's easy to become discouraged.

  5. Thanks Tracey - I agree, and I really do try to think of something thoughtful to post when I'm reading someone else's thoughts.

    I guess one of the challenges of e-learning, though, is to encourage participants to do the same - in that situation it defeats the purpose if the teacher or learning technologists are doing *all* the 'liking' and commenting!