ocTEL – Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning

I have registered to participate in the Association of Learning Technology’s #ocTEL (MOOC) to explore the subject matter “Technology Enhanced Learning” whilst simultaneously exploring learning via a MOOC.  I am equally interested in both the subject matter and the learning experience as part of my life-long passion of using IT to inspire others to learn.

The course doesn’t start until 15 April but the doors were opened early to let everyone settle in and become familiar with what’s what in an effort to avoid us feeling over-whelmed.

My initial reaction is that the course is very well organised and each email received from the organisers is easy to follow enabling me to know what needs to be done, by when.  I wasn’t able to read any of the emails received last week due to a family bereavement.  As a consequence my inbox was, to say the least, extremely full when I opened it.  However, a few hours of plodding through, with a wise use of skim-reading and deleting, I am now in a position to focus on the tasks for the week.

Week 0 (zero) – Induction (finding our feet…)

Whilst skim-reading through the many emails from fellow participants I was very interested to see different people’s reasons for signing up and the various reactions to us being asked to introduce ourselves which had caused an inbox invasion.   A change of settings will enable each of us to manage what emails we receive and the frequency thereof.  It’s all part of the learning curve of being part of a “massive” online course.

My reaction to so many emails from so many people was that it was interesting to read a snippet about who people are / what they do / what their past experiences have been / what their reason for taking part is.   Perhaps that’s partly because I am doing this skim-reading during the peace and quiet of a Sunday afternoon rather than in the middle of a busy working environment.  Perhaps it’s because I am equally interested in how a MOOC operates (and what people’s reactions are to this form of learning) as much as the subject matter itself.  Perhaps it’s because I’m in the process of undertaking a PgCAP (post graduate Certificate in Academic Practice) and am enjoying the process of reflecting on how I and others learn.  Perhaps it’s because I am interested in knowing a bit about my peers because I consider “the community” to be an integral part of this type of learning environment.  Who knows?

Whatever the reason(s) I have enjoyed skim-reading / deleting my way through all the emails because it has taught me that people have signed up for this MOOC for various reasons and that many of the people already have a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the world of learning and all have an interest in using technology to enhance learning.

Skim-reading/deleting all those emails has shown me that I’m in the right place, in the company of the right people and that this is a perfect place to share and learn from others who have a common interest.  I am looking forward to being part of this Personal Learning Network which I anticipate being one of the benefits of a MOOC for professional development.

Here are some snippets from this week’s Things To Do / Advice …

“This week’s aims”

“This course lets you define your own aims and follow your own paths, but we set out core learning outcomes for every week. By the end of this week, you should aim to

  • have a sense of different Technology Enhanced Learning contexts and some of their strengths and weaknesses

  • understand the range of prior experiences and expectations of the course participants, including those from different cultures, and the implications of these for this form of TEL

  • achieve basic confidence in navigating, discussing and otherwise participating in the ocTEL course”

“Keeping calm in the face of abundance”

“You may be tempted, even unconsciously, to see this as a learning programme that you have to work your way through comprehensively and feel pressure to keep on top of all strands at all times. Please don’t feel this way, especially if it creates stress and a sense of struggling to keep up!”

“Be selective, pace yourself, take time out

“Try and make time for looking away from the screen and out of the window, letting your mind freewheel on some of the ideas, because that can be a very valuable part of the learning experience.”



For full details you can visit http://octel.alt.ac.uk/

There’s still time to register if this has inspired you to find out more …


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