By David Wells, editor at Surviving the OU

David is all ready for the second year of his MAODE course

Welcome back everyone! Hope your Open University studies are going well or you are enjoying a well-earned break. Either way, no messing about, let’s get straight into it. I’ve started the second year of Masters and H817 is the course I will be taking you through as I negotiate my way towards an MA in Online and Distance Education.

Week 1: Getting Started

The entire theme of Block 1 asks the question “What is innovation?” so this gives us a pretty good overview about what to expect. The first week is pretty standard stuff about interacting in the tutor group forum and getting to know our fellow students and chatting in the tutor group.

The study objectives for the group are as follows:

  • develop online communication skills
  • reflect critically on your own practice in technology enhanced learning
  • use computer-based tools and applications to present ideas and information.

One of the other tasks for this week is sourcing and searching for relevant articles which will help with our Open University studies. I’ve done this before but I still engage with the task to search and print off an article by John Seely Brown (pictured below), who you may remember from H800. There is a keen emphasis on setting up a blog at this stage, to record and reflect on our progress.

Week 2: Innovation, an introduction

The second week was all centred around examining innovation, which is quite a key feature of this module. Innovation within elearning will be a theme we return to, again and again over the coming months. The study objectives for this week were designed so that we would have the opportunity to develop: 1. an understanding of how innovation operates in teaching and learning contexts and 2. an appreciation of what constitutes openness and innovation as two key concepts in technology enhanced learning.

We then asked the question “what is innovation?” and looked over dictionary definitions and took a look at something that was relevant back in H800, Open Educational Resources (OERs) and read a paper by McAndrew and Farrow on this very subject. After a brief discussion in our tutor group forum we had to Now select one from the following list of projects, visit its website and again reflect on how you would judge the project in terms of innovation. some of the projects listed included: iSpot, xDelia and other Open Learn tools. I chose the crowd sourced nature spotter, iSpot to focus on (see video below for an explanation).

We were then directed to some reflection in our journals and blogs and then required to set up the online room that we would be using to have tutorials in. I already have Blackboard Collaborate installed from the last module so it shouldn’t be a problem, hopefully.

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The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.