By David, editor at Surviving the OU

David completes another two weeks by looking at schemas, learning design and a bit of Wikipedia and Blogging

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts then find them here: Entry 1, Entry 2Entry 3 and Entry 4.

So we finished up last time midway through Week 9 and ended with Activity 4 – using the CompendiumLD programme. We pick here up with Activity 5 and find ourselves much more into the meat and potatoes of learning designs. We first read a paper on pedagogical patterns and then different schemas for learning design. Even though I’m familiar with the word “schema” I’m not sure I would be as confident explaining it in succinct terms. If you’re like me then maybe a definition at this point would be useful.

Activity 6 was then entitled Mapping digital media to four facets of learning and featured a matrix diagram that maps tools to four simple aspects of learning (see below).

Activity 7 was a lot more interesting (I’d found the most recent activities a little on the dull side) and focused in on mapping tools and activities to pedagogy using three dimensions.

The three dimensions are:

  • individual–social: any learning activity can be located somewhere along a spectrum from being an individual, isolated experience to being essentially social in nature.
  • active–passive: some learning activities involve active engagement, whereas other aspects of learning may occur through some degree of passive immersion.
  • information–experience: learning activities vary in the degree to which they are information or experience based.

Finally, we compared different schemas for design within our respective tutor group forums. The remainder of week 9 was taken up by ideas for further reading and learning outcomes.

Week 10a: Who’s teaching, who’s learning?

Now this was an interesting week for sure. I really enjoyed the themes and ideas behind week 10, which was split into two parts: A and B.

Here are the key themes and issues:

  • ‘Knowledge’ is being created and shared by ever greater numbers of people for free: how do we evaluate it, and is there still a role for ‘the expert’?
  • Your own searching skills – and the use of social bookmarking
  • Your own blogging
  • Finding and re-designing some open educational resources
  • The abundance of free open educational resources and MOOCs may be changing the role of colleges and universities. Does this detract from the concept of paying for education?

Activity 1 centred on Wikipedia, it’s accuracy, uses and controversies. We focused in on the battles behind the scenes over gender and politics, including my first exposure to the “gamergate”phenomenon. We were set a task to read this article in the Guardian by Nicholson Baker who gave an interesting account of editing the popular information website.

Gamergate: Exposing the issues of sexism and racism within the video game industry

Activity 2 was about the crowdsourcing website Stack Exchange, which reminded me a little bit of Yahoo Answers or Quora. Well-received answers are voted up to the top in this structure, but how accurate or verifiable is the information given?

Anybody can ask a question. Anybody can answer. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top ~ Stack Exchange

We then looked at two social bookmarking sites, Diigo and Delicious, before assessing the future of libraries and going through a tutorial on how to find information in the Open University online library. I found this very beneficial as we touched on finding journals and evaluating websites.

The final point of interest, in Activity 5, was on blogs and blogging. As a blogger myself this was extremely interesting. Throughout the module we have been encouraged to set up a blog on our personal OU areas or, failing that, this module told us to go over and start on on WordPress or Blogger. In years gone by the module team ran a quiz to elicit responses on how to blog effectively. Here are some of the better responses logged in list form:

  • ‘Just appropriate the blog for your own needs and do what suits you most’
  • ‘Stick to one topic you are genuinely enthusiastic about’
  • ‘Try to set aside time each week to reflect on what you have learnt (even if it feels like nothing) as looking back can be quite illuminating’
  • ‘Start each blog with a single-sentence paragraph to act as a banner or lead-in to the piece’
  • ‘Go with the flow of your own thoughts: there’s no real right or wrong’
  • ‘Only write a blog if you feel like it, never because you have to’
  • ‘Blogs do not need to be time-consuming: post just enough to get your point across…’

That’s us done with weeks 9 and 10a for now. Thanks for reading and speak to you all in two weeks time 🙂

Thanks for reading, fellow Open University students. Don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE if you get the chance and let us know any thoughts, feelings or suggestions you may have about our articles.

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