Last Thursday week two began and I although I have been awarded a badge for week one I didn’t feel I had really assimilated all that was said in week 1 yet. Of course a lot was said and a lot was discussed simply because there are a lot of people involved. So I allowed myself last Thursday to look back at some of the discussions. In week one we thought about what learning design means and of course different approaches can be taken and I liked Ida Brandão’s piece about this where she gathered together various theories in one place. What concerns me is how to assist academics who want to design and teach on online courses and how to ensure that what they produce meets certain standards of quality.
I am not the course designer, they are but they rely on me to facilitate their online course and to offer guidance and advice. I’m wondering whether I can, or should, steer them towards any particular design philosophy. And is this even practical? Shouldn’t they be the ones on this sort of course (ie a course about learning design)? It seems to me that I still need a checklist approach or a list of criteria to which they sign up. They don’t have the time to study the contents of this MOOC and I don’t have the time to teach the contents of this MOOC. So what am I looking for? A template?
My experience is that most academics transfer to their online courses things that work in their on-campus teaching. Maybe they modify things slightly with the use of forums to aid discussion and engagement and they may add more smaller assessment or self-assessment points simply because they cannot otherwise gauge how their students are doing, but overall the design is made instinctively by using materials they already have and by employing similar activities as would be done on campus.
My department (e-learning dept) is, more often than not, called on only to offer technical solutions for both staff and students.
In week two we will be looking at the learners’ context, how this needs to be taken into account when designing an online course and we can personalise the learning experience for the learner. I’ll be thinking – if this is viable and desirable, how can I encourage academics to consider context and how might I add this consideration to my ‘checklist’ (if indeed I end up producing one).
[later edit] I have just found this discussion on the OLDS MOOC OPEN FORUM which is talking about roles in learning design. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/olds-mooc-open/FB__Ip5k2qQ
Placing the designer in the centre assumes there is a designer. My experience is that courses are often not designed but hastily compiled by tutors or put together on the fly. This may not be the ideal but may be the reality when there are not resources to pay for course design per se.