Weller, M. (2014) Battle for Open: How Openness Won and Why It Doesn’t Feel Like Victory, London: Ubiquity Press; also available online at DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.5334/ bam (last accessed 30 March 2016).
I have experience of several MOOCs – all FutureLearn. My motivation for exploring MOOCs is to
build new knowledge
stay up to date around key business issues such as decision making in a complex world
experience Open Education Resources to assess their usefulness for my students and corporate clients.
I have completed 4/9 MOOCs I started and became increasingly frustrated with the lack of feedback and interaction. Recent MOOCs have introduced peer review which has added another more positive dynamic to the experience.
Pearl Trees is a curation and sharing site for online resources. I have been using Pearl Trees for about two years and have found it extremely helpful as people with the same interests will make suggestions and will share the resources they have found.
Assignment: Working as an international student team to produce a report using online collaborative tools.
Set the team up in advance. Thinking ahead and establishing the team availability in advance is essential. The project team for this project was set up on the day the project began. Given the project was to run for 7 days and the team members were located in the USA, UK and Japan this presented a huge challenge. The capacity to know each other’s availability in advance would have enabled better initial communication and task allocation.
Plan the working pattern ahead. It is important to plan as far ahead as possible especially if your team is internationally dispersed across a number of time zones. Our project team comprised time zone spans of -9 and +6 GMT. This presented a number of challenges, not least finding an appropriate time when we could all talk via OULive (a synchronous collaborative system)
Early communication. Creating initial opportunities to discuss objectives and approach and to establish accountabilities is vital to project completion. No group finished the project within the week, though we completed within 10 days.
Establish a clear deadline and stick to it. It was evident that teams lost energy as one week turned into two and the deadlines for completion shifted. Completion over longer (unplanned) timescale fell into the ‘too difficult’ box.
Trusting your colleagues to make decisions on your behalf is essential. Given the challenges of working remotely it is important to develop a series of ‘ground rules’ as a framework against which decisions can be made. It is important, that as a team member, you feel comfortable with this frame work.
Managing guilt. I experienced moments of guilt given I was unable to participate fully on two of the seven days the project ran for. The result of this was a foray into Google Docs at 3am in the morning to add papers and research. This had surprising benefits………
Feelings of belonging. On visiting Google Docs at 3am I found both my colleagues from the USA (6pm) and Japan (9am) online and working in GoogleDocs. This resulted in a real feeling of international camaraderie and teamwork. Whilst I am not suggesting this is best practice by any stretch of the imagination! this feeling of developing something together across time zones and geographies was exhilarating.
Finding the right medium for collaborative working. Google Docs offers the opportunity to work together synchronously or asynchronously, changes are tracked and reported and notes can be added. There is a chat function which was incredibly useful when working on the document at the same time. Additional people can be invited to comment on your work as it is developed and you can offer your work to be viewed by anyone. This is useful for getting feedback and progressing the thinking behind the work. OULive was essential in allowing virtual meetings and offered the opportunity to discuss and speeded up decision making.
Linking the learning theories of Behaviourism, Cognitivisim and Constructivism to innovative pedagogies identified by Sharples et al (2015)
Sharples, M., Adams, A., Alozie, N., Ferguson, R., Fitzgerald, E., Gaved, M., McAndrew, P., Means, B., Remold, J., Rienties, B., Roschelle, J., Vogt, K., Whitelock, D. and Yarnall, L. (2015) Innovating Pedagogy 2015: Open University Innovation Report No. 4, Milton Keynes, The Open University; also available online at http://www.open.ac.uk/ blogs/ innovating/ (last accessed 6 March 2016).
Reviewing trends, challenges and technologies in the Higher Education sector over the next 5 years
Considering the above trends and applying them to my world
Three areas for adoption by my organisation
Data are already routinely collected in this organisation to enable commercial decision making and to understand consumer behaviour. Current learning solutions are aligned with corporate goals and link to personal development plans for each employee. A logical next step would be to extend the culture of data mining into the learning space.
Learning analytics is the “measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs,” (1st International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, 2011). Learning Analytics offers opportunities for both the learner and the organisation. It offers the organisation the ability to assess completion of learning, provides detailed data on interaction with the various learning solutions and so test their value and has the potential to enable more effective tailoring of learning to individuals.
Learning Analytics allow learners to take control of their own learning by measuring their progress, helps them develop their capacity to self-assess through feedback and develop their corporate knowledge through discussion and forum debates.
Issues to consider
Security, privacy and ethics
Defining measurements – needs to measure what matters
The majority of learning options provided in the organisation are face to face workshops on topics ranging from Project Management to soft skills development, such as giving and receiving feedback. Pre-work is required for each of these workshops but is limited to a reflective question on setting an objective for the participant’s own learning.
Flipped classroom is “a model of learning that rearranges how time is spent both in and out of class to shift the ownership of learning from the educators to the students.” (Johnson et al, 2016).
The organisation is currently moving away from a Parent Child culture and encouraging employees to take more ownership of their skills development. Flipped classroom provides the opportunity to support this and shift the emphasis of learning ownership from the organisation to the individual. Another advantage would be the more effective use of classroom time, enabling sharing of learning, ideas and best practice across the organisation rather than it being a ‘teach in’ or power point led workshop. There is currently a 20% non attendance rate. Personal upfront investment in learning may lead to greater attendance.
Issues to consider
Individual commitment required pre-workshop. How to manage attendees who have not completed their pre-learning
This organisation has a global and itinerant workforce. Current management learning solutions are face to face in the UK and are inaccessible for global employees (whilst this is not policy, the barriers to attending are immense).
Online learning will open out management training across the workforce and drive inclusion and openness which are stated as organisational goals.
Issues to consider
Replication of existing face to face offer is not appropriate for online. Requires redesign of current offer.