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Topic 4: Design for online and blended learning

I have several handicaps after a heart failure followed by anoxic brain injury 12 years ago, one of them being that I am unable to filter background sounds from those sounds I want to hear. Therefore it is really fatiguing for me to be in a classroom-setting, so I have developed other ways of teaching.

Presently, I have interactive lectures produced in Adobe Captivate. The students are asked to  prepare for class by going through a lecture. They then come to class and work in groups on specified problem sets. In class they have access to more senior students who can help structure the work, discuss solutions to the problems and answer questions about the course material. The new students can ask me questions through our LMS, anonymously if they wish, and I publish the answer to everyone in the course. They also have discussion threads in the LMS, where they can discuss different aspects of the course.

The problem is that the students mostly show up unprepared for class, and they don’t stay to work on the problems, but rather just take them and go. When it is exam-time, they start listening to the lectures and give the problems a shot, but all to late, so many of them fail, and then they complain that they don’t have a real teacher.

They obviously miss ”Teacher presence” so I will arrange more webinar-type sessions during the course. I will also think about how to shorten the lectures as they now take about an hour each.

Last year, I introduced Socrative in class for tests that yielded points towards the final exam. That is something I definitely will continue with.

I really like the idea of producing knowledge to learn, so I will introduce an activity where the students produce a page about an organic molecule on Wikipedia (inspired by Pia Palm in this course), maybe in a collaborative manner.

This autumn, I met a student who really likes to learn things. He expresses his desire to be at the University just to be able to learn stuff, but finds school activities ”getting in the way of his learning”, which I find very interesting, and also can identify with to some part during this course. So many interesting things to try out, but I have to contribute to a presentation or write a blog post…

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Topic 1: Connecting – Online participation and digital literacies

I have not been able to participate very much during the last two weeks of the course due to other obligations, but my reflections so far include that it is hard to organise and find what I should do, read, concentrate on, and so on. When I have a little time over and want to spend it on the course, I end up just looking around and reading something here and there in a very unorganised fashion – maybe because I am digitally illiterate ;-). When one has a course book, it is so much easier to use a half an hour here or there to read or solve problems and then just pick up where you were at the next occasion. Here, so much happens when you are busy doing something else, and I find it difficult to select what to focus on, and I spend more time than I would like to just looking for stuff.

I am definitely a visitor in the digital age, and feel very uncertain as to if I want to become anything else. I like the instant access to online help when using different tools and I am not really shy, I’m just not comfortable sharing my thoughts with whoever it might be. For collaboration or sharing work I think there are some excellent tools with I am happy to use, but I like to keep my personal life separate from my professional life, for example I don’t want to be friends with my students on Facebook and I don’t want them to know what is going on in my private life, nor do I want to know anything about their personal lives, except if they explicitly decide to share it with me.

I hope that ONL will help me to find new ways to connect with my students online but still in a professional way. So far, I used Moovly [1] to make a short animated film from an interview about starting university with some of my students, and it worked well. I would also like to share another tool called Socrative [2] with you. I use it in my course and it helps to engage the students!

  1. 2016-10-14
  2. 2016-10-14



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Notes to myself

Today, I attended the introductory webinar in the course ONL162.

I did like the use of different views in Adobe Connect and the demonstration of different possibilities to gather thoughts and information from the people following the course.

I did not like all the activity with people saying stuff like ”Hi, good to see you here NN” and so on. I found it hard to focus on the actual content of the course and my own thoughts. I wonder how one can avoid that kind of activity?

New note (161115):

Another thing I definitely will not use is the tweet chat, it was awful I think, with nobody listening and everybody shouting at the same time – not my medium!

What I would like to explore:

  • How to set up a course environment like the one used for this course with everything linked from a head page
  • How to set up an Activity tracker, which I really like a lot!
  • The use of Moovely for making videos – tried and liked it 🙂

More (161115):

  • The idea of letting the students contribute to Wikipedia in a collaborative group assignment.
  • The use of RealtimeBoard for the students group work. (Tried it out for Topic 4, and got a very messy and unclear board as a result, need to evaluate more before using)
  • Scalable Learning-type tools to use with my lectures.


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Here we go

First day of the course and we are getting acquainted with PBL, FISh, blogs, twitter, Google, Adobe… I hope to be able to use parts of what we learn in my own classes to get the students more active and to cooperate with each other in a productive way.