The open course on Technology Enhanced Learning (#octel) from ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) began its second run yesterday and I have signed up. For the next few weeks then, this blog will record my participation, learning and reflections as I read, engage and … whatever the tutors have planned for us. Posts will also be tweeted and shared on Googleplus where I hope they might lead to some wider discussion.
This first week of ocTEL has been framed as a period of orientation and that is going to be valuable given the challenges participants often experience on this type of open course. With a lot of online spaces available for sharing and discussion it can seem overwhelming if you try to see and do everything. Hopefully the time and the activities in these first five days will allow participants to get their bearings.
The first activity, which is the subject proper of this post, gets us off to a good start by bringing the focus down to what each of us wants to get from the course. By reflecting on our own context and articulating our ambitions we are able to clarify what we might need to look for as we move through the course. By selecting materials and choosing discussions I expect to be able to tailor the course to my learning needs, but unless I have a clear idea of what those might be I risk spending the time trying to take in everything – and getting frustrated and anxious in the process!
The first task, then, is to reflect on my work experience and ambitions for developing and teaching to identify the most important question about TEL or cluster of issues that matter to me.
I suppose the over-arching question – the BIG question of the title – would have to be around digital literacy. How can I use my role, knowledge and experience to develop digital literacies among staff so that they can in turn develop them in their students?
This breaks down into smaller questions:
- How can I encourage colleagues to explore or try digital technology options?
- How can I best bridge the gap between teaching/learning from a (research) academic perspective and technology?
Does identifying these questions help me to establish some learning outcomes for myself in ocTEL? Would doing that limit my learning in this great big open resource that could hold so many possibilities for serendipitous learning? I think it is probably too early to say. For now I have recorded what seems important to me now, but I will try to stay alert to opportunities throughout the course.