Sunday, May 14, 2006

Suggestions to Improve Our Class

I am really proud that I have learned and experienced our brief 6 week class. I appreciate being invited and the efforts Tony has made. I started by vaguely understanding blogs and not having a clue about the other Web 2.0 tools. I had never even heard the term Web 2.0 or Elearning 2.0. I have been out of that loop for several years.
If the intent of putting technical people with non-technical people was to have the technical people provide assistance in the learning, that did not happen for me. (With the exception of Steve's attempt at helping with the "blogroller." It must have been frustrating at certain points for those who really understood some of this to be involved.

If I were to teach this class, I would do the following:
  • Use a more comprehensive survey to learn more about the participants and why they are taking the course and how they plan on using the things they learn. This might provide more insight in developing various exercises or homework - pairing people with like needs.) I percievede our goal to be to learn and apply the tools.
  • Have a pre-class experience for those unfamiliar with the tools to learn more about them by having demonstrations or showing examples. (basic html, use of RSS feeder and establishing an account on Bloglines or Blogger in real time, for example.) Or dedicate the first 2 sessions to learning and applying the tools one at a time in our homework. In this way, those people who are already familiar with them could be given the choice of missing those sessions. Our initial two classes were very overwhelming for me and there was so much to see that I wound up going off in all sorts of directions which just got me more confused (social bookmarking experience). It was like a new driver being plopped down in the middle of the LA freeway system and being told to "go drive."
  • The links to how all of these tools interact was not clear to me early on. (a graphic for this is ideal.)
  • Initially I was very discouraged about the application of collaborative learning until I could really experience the tools myself. I am still not as comfortable with the "add ins" on our blogs and will look into it later. I would have like more collaboration early on. Pair people together and give them a topic to research (social bookmarking) and ask them to summarize their findings on the wiki. I felt like I was out there to learn by sinking or swimming. If we had started out using littler steps providing small successes, our collective experience would have been better.
  • The time commitment was the big detractor initially and led to my negative reaction. The first assignments were not accurately presented in terms of how long it would take to complete them. That could easily be fixed by taking smaller steps in the beginning and more clear direction and overview of the content.
I do believe there is value in Collaborative Learning or else Microsoft would not be putting so much research and money into it. However, in a blended learning environment, it requires very clear direction and guidelines as are listed in my previous post.
Thank you, Tony.


Blogger Tony Karrer said...

Great comments and very good actionable suggestions.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Oakes said...

Great ideas Paula! Check out my Post to see which idea I thought was best.

It was great taking this course with you.

Take care.

8:58 AM  

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