Pre Mooc worrying

Sunday 27 January 2013.

I know the way I learn is shaped by how I have been taught to learn.

However open, responsive I try to be to taking on of new (to me) digital medias, it feels as if I will never understand enough, quick enough to a sufficient skill and standard.

My preferred approach to study is to absorb, assimulate then contribute, a quieter, less boisterous consumer of knowledge. I find myself uneasy by the sheer numbers and complexity of the #EDCMOOC community, the outpourings, the requests to participate, how will I know what is a more formal learning opportunity, how will quality be maintained or it is the sheer mass of the participation, the doing that does?

The course tutors ( maybe there is no hierarchy?) lets try the term ‘course originators’ have not completely entered the forum yet; because it seems that the masses have taken control by administering organsational formats, lists, maps to navigate, plans, directives and activities that are not yet part of the actual course delivery. I am visualising bees swarming, teeming masses without clear direction. Strength of characters voices are emerging already. There are tweets that are retweeted and followed by higher educational bodies ( I have seen HEA retweets); are those tweeters being followed more closely than others? or are they championed more?)

To explain the direction I am commenting or observing from.

My role in Higher Education is as a Widening Participation Practitioner. I have to address fairness for students at any stage of their educational pathway. I am driven by benchmarks of performance; profile of students, the profile of the student population, their success, their attainment, their retention, the journey travelled.

In this e-learning context where and who are the marginalised voices/groups that need careful consideration by the course designers or require additional support? I can see peer support evident in the facebook chatter. But disatisfaction, or struggle I think may present itself by dis-engagement and a drop off rate. Is this measured?

Factors that affect quality of face to face learning such as clear timely provision of information, signposting, tutorial support, clear Teaching, Learning and Assessment, quality and timely feedback I feel will need to apply in the digital environment.

Please understand I am not being critical of any aspect of the course just yet ( I cant ; it has not even started yet) just questionning, anticipating as I have to in my live/real world/non e-context ( which term should I adopt?) day job.

Tomorrow I may need to find some quiet, non digital zone chatter/ animated time to re-look at the course learning objectives, aims and expected outcomes. The learning contract. I see I am struggling with the jargon or language of e-learning; how do I define the different spaces or zones of learning that I am in at different times?

In WP (widening participation) we have an aim and a learning outcome to introduce our participants to the language of Higher Education, to demystify HE by experience, to overcome boundaries and hurdles put in place by hierarchies of academia.

Some of the levels of dis advantage that we have to address through our Access Agreements is level of skills of potential applicants and students who are entering into HE learning, to survive their chosen pathway, aspects of access; physical; equal, academic, economic, access to material resources and support, level of participation in HE (POLAR 3 maps of the UK) , Index of multiple deprivation (IMD), first generation participation in HE. The level of digital literacy is also there as a factor, as I suspect it will be in this course though some of the social media applications are what they say they are – for  communication across communities have become more everyday. But already we are being bombarded by a vast array of options, softwares apps and e-language fluency, level of skills, levels of confidence.

What I think is happening here is I am beginning to establish the lens that I am viewing my participation in this course through. I worry though, the programme is so huge that my participation may not be seen, noticed or heard?

As a counter to the above comment I know that where I am working has a community who are also participating in this course so we will be creating our own micro-community or sub group/learning pod. Ultimately lets see what tomorrow brings. The tutors might have completely different ideas that take us all in another direction?


About martell2013

Progression Manager, widening participation. MA , FHEA. SEDA SLT .
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