Innovating eLearning 2006 JISC online conference
A couple of entries really caught my eye and very much match with some of the isssues our institution is currently facing. Peter Miller - University of Liverpool
pointed us to the idea of Shared Learning Contexts (SLCs) which are described in Scott Wilson's blog at http://www.cetis.ac.uk/members/scott/blogview?entry=20050210014657 The diagram of the SLC illustrates a learner-centred model using open source technologies.
Geoff Stead's statement summed it up really - "VLE fervor has put shackles on a lot of creativity from people like ourselves who earn a living using technology to service learning. Five years ago we were creating learning tools that assisted low-literacy learners to find their voice and publish themselves online. We created project-based environments to share problems and strategies for dealing with low maths skills. But these things are impossible within SCORM (the standard VLE materials need to comply with) Almost 100% of the demand we get for resources to support learning need to fit into the lowest common denominator of VLEs ... namely: a single thread of learning objects, each one insular, curriculum mapped, with no connection to the learning process, no inbuilt dialog / saving / thought origination for the student. So yes, they have provided an excuse for less adventurous staff to hide behind. But they have also imposed a set of standards on all purchasing that have ended out stamping out a lot of creativity that was previously embedded in the resources as well. And all with the best intent! "
Some of the replies to this statement, referred to the usefulness of VLEs for staff new to eLearning. My thought on this is that we have basically trained people up to expect the VLE or Learning Management System approach whereas if the use of a variety of tools could have been "sold" to staff early on - through really good resourcing and support - we wouldn't all be caught up in using the corporate, expensive, proprietary tools. Tools which suit the company not the teachers and learners.
There was a very good article on one of the discussions - an evaluation of the use of blogging in a course related to technology.
Reflecting on professional practice by Annette Odell, University of East London. "Applications of Learning Technologies" is an accredited professional development course. Assessment is by means of a portfolio of work built up during the course and a key component within this is a reflective log, kept online using a blog.
This presentation describes the use of blogs on this context; briefly discusses different uses of blogs; reflects on personal experience with using blogs for different purposes and why the 'reflective blog' appears to be a consistently successful use; discusses factors that promote success and problems to be oversome; and summarises the participants' perspective on the value of keeping a reflective blog within this course and as part of their professional development record.