Transferring practice to alternative contexts

April 24, 2009

The other concern about ‘transferring practice to alternative contexts’ has arisen in connection with staff asking about the ‘online delivery of lectures’. It looks like institutionally there will be some support for Adobe Connect but whether staff are in a position to use it effectively will depend on a range of external factors. I’m preparing for a couple of PD events on the PowerPoint->Presenter->Connect equation and again, it raises a number of interesting issues.

Why! The educational developers favourite question (were we all those kids at the pool and in the supermarket queue going’but whhyyyyyy’ to parents great irritation?)  Why do you want to ‘deliver the lecture’ online. Why is it a lecture? Why is the student going to benefit from this mode of delivery. I’m looking at some interesting uses of PowerPoint/Presenter as stand alone resources which might be seen as multi-modal workbooks, animated, engaging

objects which stand-alone for the student. These might then indeed have some kind of facilitated discourse around them, and that may well happen inside Connect so the presentation (or an alternative version of it) might be shared and annotated, referenced and so on. I am struggling with the concept that the online synchronous ‘presentation’ is an effective use of the student, or lecturers, time. Why (there’s that word again!) would one take the time to present. Maybe it relates in part to the fact that in our face-to-face practice we can ‘half-prepare’ the representation because we often ‘busk’ around the edges. If we want to create a genuinely usefully internally scaffolded and referenced presentation… well that takes real work.

Do most academic staff consider these issues of internal structure to their content? Or are they so used to deal with a linear information exchange model that they just don’t think about it. Who can blame them? How do we change that. How do we move from the ‘Sage on the Stage’ approach to the ‘content author/facilitator’ model on an institutional basis.

Simon Atkinson (the old Open University mug!)
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Next stages of reusability

April 12, 2009

It’s always difficult to remember where a good idea comes from ! Two years ago, Kevin Burden and I, along with Theo Kuechel, began to conceptualise what became the DiAL-e Framework of ‘learning designs’ (www.dial-e.net). It was an iterative process of design classifications from 6, then 7 to 9 and finally 10 designs or categories of learner experiences.

Two of these were further divided into different iterations of the design. In London on the 8th/9th April, Kevin and I moved from coffee shop to the Institute of Education to coffee shop describing the process to each other as we remembered it. One wishes one had twittered and blogged then to have captured some of that process. Essentially we were considering a process. We were determined not to illustrate the NewsFilm archive with subject based exemplars back in 2007 and instead developed a framework, a window frame, for looking at a variety of facets, learning objects, archive materials, web 2.0 technologies, even staff assumptions about technology use. We have descriptions, and exemplars of different learning engagement techniques for different learning contexts. At workshops (ASCILITE07, ED-MEDIA08) these were well received and commented on.

Now we are beginning to take them out to everyone, not just the educational technologists and academic developers. And so we have agreed to populate the dial-e.net space with examples which can be ‘backwards engineered’ in a variety of simple accessible forms, slideware such as PowerPoint and HTML editors such as eXe. By the time we get to the European LAMS & Learning design Conference in July09 and EDUCAUSE in Nov09 we would hope to have provided significant access to the DiAL-e designs and see evidence of them being used.

We keep asking ourselves what other people mean by reusability, but seeing people download PPT files, edit them, deliver them and share them again would satisfy my definition !


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