Topic 5: Lessons leant

It was a short journey with very nice online team-mates from Sweden and South Africa. I learnt a lot and I am very happy of that. As a teacher, I will definitely recommend this course to the other teachers.

The PBL was a great approach and my first experience with it. In this ONL course, I learnt a lot about course development techniques and online teaching tools as well as challenges, issues and advantages for sharing course materials online. Besides these, I also learnt many other things about different presentation and collaborative work environments such as Sway, Google drive, Paddle, and Realtime board. Last but not least, I learnt how to solve problems collaboratively and online. This last one is useful in my research carrier as well.

Thank you ONL organisers for organising this fruitful journey and thank you lovely facilitators and very nice team-mates for making the journey more fruitful and enjoyable.

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Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

As a teacher, I had designed several courses for both campus and online programme. While designing courses, I considered the factors such as the aim of the course, what students are expected to learn, the level of the students, what the best scenario for lectures and exercise can be, etc., which are generally introduced in pedagogics. As a primary assessment, I asked a colleague to check the course and to give me feedback. By offering the course, annual evaluation conducted by students were used as a feedback to improve the course. What I learnt from topic 4 was the two interesting models: the Addie model (Bates, 2015) and the five step model (Salmon, 2016). Integrating these two approaches to come up with a framework for the scenario of topic 4 was also an interesting experience.

The Addie (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) model introduces a vey systematic approach starting from Analysing goals, learners and objectives and continues with Designing course format and creating instructional strategy. The Development phase includes creating sample instruction, development of course material, and conducting a run through. While the course is developed, the Implementation stage consists of training of trainers, prepare the learners and arrangement of the learning space. After offering the course two types of Evaluations: formative and summative are the last stages. Conducting an assessment at each stage is recommended.

The five step model (Salmon, 2016) is more about how to motivate students to use online learning tools. 1) Access & motivation, 2) Online socialisation (team building), 3) Information exchange, 4) Knowledge construction, and 5) Review are the main stages in this model.

In Group 3, we merged the “A” stage of the Addie model with stages 1 and 2 from the Five step model and the “D” stage of the Addie model with stages 3-5 (Group 3, 2016). Then we used this framework for designing an online course based on the scenario and other details that we discussed and decided in the group.

 

References

Bates, T. 2015. “Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning”. Contact North Contact Nord

Salmon, G. 2016. The Five Stage Model. Retrieved 2016 November 20 from http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Group 3, 2016. Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning, https://sway.com/XO9txW4FMie8FPZg

Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

Last year, in the context of a research experience, we used the community of practice for the development of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) in Tanzania (Mansourian et al., 2015). The community of Practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991) concept can be used to understand and describe how members of a community, often in a professional or organisational setting, share knowledge and learn in collaboration. SDI is an initiative intended to create an environment that will enable a wide variety of users to access, retrieve, and disseminate spatial data in an easy and secure way. It is achieved through the development and agreement on policies and standards that should be respected and followed for the production, storage and sharing of spatial data, including maps.

Being SDI a new concept in Tanzania, we had to use a technique in which in the context of a learning process, stakeholders understand the concept of SDI as well as the requirements in Tanzania for the development of SDI. This learning was very essential to be able to develop and agree on policies and standards. The community of practice was the technique that we used. However, we did not use digital environment and tools, mainly because we were not aware of them. Attending in physical meetings and making long discussions were the approach that we used. Besides the challenges of this approach that we are all aware of, a major issue was gluing the tasks and the thought of different stakeholders, had been conducted individually, before the meetings.

From the experience of this topic, I am fully convinced that the digital tools and environments for collaborative learning are very useful not only for pure learning purposes, but also the research and collaborative activities in which learning is also an important part.

References

Lave, J.; Wenger, E. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1991.

Mansourian, A., Lubida, A., Pilesjo, P., Abdolmajidi, E., Lassi, M. (2015). SDI planning using the system dynamics technique within a community of practice: lessons learnt from Tanzania, Geo-spatial Information Science, 18(2-3),97-110.

Topic 2: Sharing and Openness

In today’s digital world, different types of materials, ranging from musics, songs, games, and news to scientific papers and books, are available on internet. There are always questions on how legal it is to publish these materials on Internet (e.g. can one publish someone’s music on internet without his/her permission) and what the the legal aspects of using these materials are? i.e. copyright issues. Stephy (2008) summarises Lawrence Lessig’s opinion on openness for sharing the knowledge and remixing.

In the discussions relevant to openness and sharing course materials, the issues which are always highlighted, first, are relevant to the copyright of the material and how to ensure that the materials will be used legally. In a discussion at our department, a colleague said: “my course materials are very valuable. I have spent a lot of time and efforts to make them ready; of course for the students. But I do not want that other teachers use them for free, without citing me. And how can I keep track of this?”. It was argued that the availability of copyright laws together with current ongoing culturing activities among academic staff decreases worries. But the answer was: “It is in theory. What about the real world and in practice? You say that it decreases the worries. But I am too worry”. Another colleague asked if there are regulations at the department, faculty, or university level about it? “if e.g. the university have regulations avoiding us to share our course materials for free, then we can do nothing about it unless the regulations change”, said him.

In our working group (group 3) another important issue was also discussed: “What about the students who are paying for the courses?”. Many universities around the world receive tuition fee from students. It means that some students pay to get access to the courses. In this situation, is it fair to make the course materials available to everyone for free? Then what is the role of the universities? To charge students just for issuing certificate(?!). There are many issues that should be critically discussed and clarified when one talks about sharing and openness in education.

References:

Stephey, M. J. (2008). Lawrence Lessig: Decriminalizing the Remix. TIME. Available on http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1851241,00.html, visited Nov 2016.

Topic 1: What is a proper tool for an online learning?

The internet and the world wide web (www) have rapidly evolved online learning and collaborative learning (Kek and Huijser, 2015). Qualification, socialisation and subjectification are three different domains that should be met in an education environment (Biesta, 2015, p. 84), including digital environments.

There are a variety of tools, which can be used for online learning, either commercial or free/open source tools. They may be cloud-based tools (such as Google solutions: site, plus, drive, etc.) or software systems (such as Moodle, http://www.moodle.com). The selection of a tool for an online learning depends on the purpose and the potential learners group. For example, if the aim is to publish course material for public (e.g. general Swedish language course materials) then a cloud-based tool may be OK. While access to subjective high quality course materials is provided, providing tools for socialisation of the students, exchange of knowledge and ideas in forums, etc. need to be provided as well.

At the other side, if an institute intends to create an online training program, then using a software system on a local server may have a priority in selection. The main reason is that the institute needs to have full control over the system in terms of how to keep the track of students, linking it to institute’s/university’s student registration system, updating course materials as well as system’s users guide on time, etc. Imagine that an institute runs a learning system on cloud and then the cloud system and its user interfaces are suddenly upgraded and changed. The students will be confused for a while, until the institute updates its user guides on how to use the system.

References

Biesta, G. (2015). What is education for? On good education, teacher judgment, and educational professionalism. European Journal of Education, 50(1), 75-87.

Kek, M.Y.C.A., Huijser, H. (2015). 21st century skills: problem based learning and the university of future, third 21st CAF Conference at Harvard, Boston, USA. Sep 2016, 6(1), 406-416.

http://www.moodle.com, visited Oct 16, 2016.

Introduction

My name is Ali Mansourian from Lund University. I am associate professor at the department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science and member of Lund University GIS Centre. I have a background in Geomatics Engineering and specialisation in Geographical Information System (GIS) and Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI). I teach several courses, online and campus.