Friday, February 26, 2016

This is the first week of a seven-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with Stephen Downes. This Personal Learning MOOC is designed to help students gain a greater understanding of technologies available for online course delivery. It covers everything from the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) to MOOCs to developing models of personal learning and performance support.

The Personal Learning course is being delivered using Open edX, a Learning and Performance Support System (LPSS). So far the system feels and looks fairly straightforward. It has a clean and open layout and easy navigation. The discussion thread is easy to follow and use.

It seems hard to believe that I have been using an LMS, BlackBoard, for over 15 years. I was using an LMS before most of my colleagues even knew what an LMS was. This year my institution is getting excited about online learning. Yes, they are quite slow on the up-take! The Academic Centre at our NZ MIT is preparing to inaugurate what they thought was the “first” online offering from MIT. Yet, nine years ago, I ran an entirely online course in Intermediate Reading & Writing for the School of English. It was an incredibly successful course and I felt good about the quality of the work and the success of the students. However, I was moved to Foundation and no one was prepared to take over the ESOL online course and it ended up as a ghost on the LMS. After all the effort I made, it was incredibly disappointing.

I mention this as I am always interested in new technologies. I want my students to be absorbed in their learning. I want to offer them the best resources and the most engaging delivery possible. That is why I am doing this course. I want to know what is possible, gauge the needs of my students, and then apply the things I learn to make their educational journeys more successful. I look forward to the full seven weeks of this course.
Informal writing & formal writing on line course guides ©