ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

Archive for the ‘Reflexion’ Category

Nearly a year has passed since my last post about MOOCs in February 2016.

I have not been lazy in this year and I haven’t stopped thinking about MOOCs. For example:

  • In May 2016 together with Jenny Mackness I presented our work about Visualising structure and agency in a MOOC using the Footprints of Emergence framework at the tenth International Conference on Networked Learning in Lancaster.
  • I was and still am involved in two European MOOC projects led by my university: the AtLETyc project and the BizMOOC project.
  • In September, during the partner meeting of the AtLETyc project we decided spontaneously to create a small MOOC within a month to provide the partners with the MOOC experience on the one hand and to let them work on content for MOOCs on the other hand. If you are interested take a look at the AtLETyc MOOC camp.
  • And I did some really great MOOC learning in Matt Silady’s Comics: Art in Relationship MOOC. Because drawing Comics takes a lot of time I have spent less time writing about MOOCs ….

In the future my dealing with MOOCs will get more intensive as we will build one MOOC for athletes with useful knowledge for them with respect to the time after their sports career and another MOOC to provide business key competences to whoever may relate to.

In the BizMOOC project a common body of knowledge was collected which resulted in 14 discussion papers about MOOCS and online education, MOOCs initiatives, MOOC types, MOOC quality and MOOC pedagogy, drivers behind MOOCs, recognition of learning in MOOCs, business models for MOOCs, MOOCs and human resources, and useful online material for the BizMOOC.

Furthermore in the BizMOOC project we investigated needs and gaps with respect to business people, people in Higher Education and the society as a whole. I find the society survey on MOOCs very interesting. And I’m a little bit sad that according to this report face-to-face rather than online courses are still preferred by participants. There are so many amazing online courses out there in the web!

At the upcoming partner meeting in Cardiff this week we will work on the concepts for the three Pilot MOOCs focusing on life-long learning, business key competences and innovation & creativity. We will create a cMOOC, an xMOOC and a Hybrid-MOOC. I’m looking forward to our training session with Martin Weller, whom I got to now at the #change11 MOOC.

Schlagwörter: , ,

Lancaster University, one of the leading universities in the UK, has long experience of dealing with distance students and for a long time I have been curious about how their e-learning works. Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk to Karin Tusting, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language, and pose four questions.

(1) How are the Courses Organised?

  • How do you organise your PhD distance courses?  
  • Are all the different modules in a PhD distance programme fairly similar (with respect to how they are organised e.g. how many online meetings, how many assessments etc) or are they very varied?

Karin answered my first question with respect to the PhD in Applied Linguistics by Thesis and Coursework, where after six modules of coursework the students will start their research work for their thesis.


The distance students can attend the PhD programme full-time (completing all the coursework in one year) or part-time over two years. The programme is organised according to a blended learning approach.  Each year it is compulsory for the students to participate in four face-to-face residential weeks – one induction week in January and three further weeks in July.

There are 5-15 distance students every year. In the induction week at Lancaster University they get to know one another, visit the library, and attend classes where all the courses/modules are presented. After this week they should know which courses they want to take. Part-time students have to select three modules in the first year and three modules in the second year (dealing with the subjects of both linguistics and research methodology). After the induction week the online phase starts.

During the online phase in one of Karin’s modules for example, the students have two units in the first semester which last three weeks each, where they have to read papers, work on tasks, hand in their results, reflect and give feedback. Each module is offered once every two years; therefore there are two cohorts of students in each coursework module.

In the residential weeks at Lancaster University the students attend four to six hours a day where they have to apply themselves to their learning, present results, and communicate with teachers and colleagues. In their ‘free’ time they still have a lot of other work to do. After these three weeks the students are ready to work on their final papers for the modules. They have to hand in the first paper in September, and the second and the third paper in November. In this period they also start to focus on their thesis, by collecting data for example.


During their work on the thesis (and I forgot to ask how long this would last) the students are supported by their supervisor who will be available for them once every two weeks (for full-time students) or once a month (for part-time students). There are no group activities for students and there is no common learning community. Some cohorts of students do, however, self-organise in online groups.

(2) Which Software is Used?

  • Which technical tools do you use on the courses? (learning platform, video conferencing tool, messaging software e.g slack, social media)

Karin told me that they work with Moodle extensively and that no other technical tools are used in the coursework modules. This means that the students are mainly working asynchronously and alone. Furthermore the assessments are all text-based. – This is true of the modules Karin worked on, but there are other modules on the same programme which could have different kinds of activities and forms of assessment

This is in contrast to the undergraduate and Masters courses where the students work individually and in groups, and where the teachers are experimenting with more diverse assessment methods at the moment based, on the Digital Lancaster strategy.

During the thesis period students and supervisors communicate one to one mostly via skype.

(3) How do the Teachers do their Job?

  • How do you train the teachers of the PhD distance courses to plan the courses, to implement their concept/build the virtual learning environment, to deliver/carry out the courses?
  • Do the teachers have help with the courses e.g. pedagogical help to plan their courses, technical help to build the environment, assistance when carrying out the course?

Karin told me that there is no particular training programme for online teachers. There is some technical support from the IT Services. With regard to pedagogical issues inexperienced teachers tend to learn from more experienced colleagues mostly in ad hoc team teaching situations. Once a year the department organises a Teacher Day where the teachers focus on a pedagogical topic with no special emphasis on online learning.

At PhD level there are no tutors supporting the teachers.

(4) How do the Students learn?

  • Do you succeed in building a learning community of students and how well does this community work?
  • What percentage of the students’ workload is group work or pair work or individual work?

The distance students mostly learn individually and alone. Group activities and interaction organised by the programme is limited to the face-to-face weeks at Lancaster University and occasional online discussions. Karin told me, that the students have usually bonded quite strongly as a group while doing face to face work, which affects how they engage with the distance bits. Online group activities happen on the initiative of the students.

A final question

Before I left, I asked Karin if she likes being an online teacher. She said that teaching online is demanding and that it needs more preparation and more time than f2f teaching. She admitted that time was an issue – as indeed it always is for online teachers. And she started to beam when she mentioned how much she enjoys it and how satisfying it is to watch students think and develope.

I would like to thank Karin for the interview and I’m sorry if have misunderstood anything – this blogpost is just my account of our meeting.

As mentioned before in my contribution How to use comics to organize and reflect (online) learning processes I’m engaged in creating comics. My objective is to evaluate how to use comics in my teaching. You may ask:

Why should a teacher use comics in his or her teaching?

As I believe that learning takes place inside the head of a person and I cannot influence that a lot (constructivism) I’m looking for tools to nourish the curiosity of my students. My approaches are broad and diverse while I facilitate mostly online learning processes (connectivism, emergent learning).

Phase 1: In May of this year I started with Nick Sousanis Grids and gestures exercise which turned out to be a nice experience. I learned how to create abstract comics and use them for structuring and reflection. I even offered a comics workshop for my colleagues who liked it a lot. Stimulated by the comic making exercise I reflected the positioning of grids in a comic and considered the relationship between space and image.

Phase 2: At the moment I’m learning in Matt Silady’s Comics: Art in Relationship MOOC. This time it’s a lot harder because I have to draw „real“ comics. We are now in week 4 and I haven’t started yet with the homework of week 3! Until now I created a two pages comic about myself and 5 (!) comic diaries.

It’s amazing for me to discover that there is a lot of theory behind comics! And I love theory when I’m invited to apply it.


In the first week Matt defines comics as visual art in relationship and broadens the former definition of sequential art. He invits us to look for comics in our every day life.

In the second week he mentions three types of relationships in comics: visual art & visual art (image & image), visual art & text, visual art & cultural context (mainly used in comic jokes). He lists 7 image-image relationships (moment to moment, action to action, subject to subject, scene to scene, aspect to aspect, non-sequitur, symbolic) and 7 text-image relationships (word specific, picture specific, duo specific, intersecting, interdependent, parallel, montage/pictorial).

In the third week we think about time and space, which are one in comics, as Matt declares. The „gutter“ between one comic grid and the next can contain a different amount of time, one second, one hour, one day, a whole life, … And that’s the next assignment I’m thinking about at the moment!

Reflection: Drawing this comics I realize that I cannot draw … so I limit myself to stick figures and strange perspectives. On the positive side I  can imagine stories and I get ideas how to sketch them. During this time I moved from black&white images to colored ones.

In the back of my head I’m looking for ideas how to transfer comics into my teaching. And …. I already used some of my own comics in a presentation at a conference.


Today I’m organizing a workshop about the use of comics as Nick Sousanis describes it. I like his approach to combine pictures and words and I’m curios how my colleagues, mostly university teachers will evaluate this approach.

Part I: Nick Sousanis Approach

At the beginning I will ask people about their „relationship“ with comics (I never liked comics a lot). Then I will present some of Nick Sousanis ideas very shortly. In groups the participants will discuss the comic page Balanced between art and laguage to deal with Nick’s drawings.

Part II: Grids and gestures

The most important part of the workshop will be the part where the participants draw the shape of their days and discuss their experience. They should reflect how thinking about the day and structuring it in grids on the one hand and the drawing itself changes their perception of this day. We will discuss splashes cutting through the grid and the role of emptiness.

Part III: Transfer

At the end I will present the transfer of these ideas in my work: once I was overwhelmed with structuring a complex workshop – and drawing a comic helped! And I gave my students a voluntary comic exercise. Then the participants will work on ideas in their own context.

jutta's comic



At the moment I’m sitting in this wonderful garden enjoying a splendid day in the Lake District. I’m told that normally it’s raining here all the time so I’m very lucky to experience already the third day of sun in the companionship of Jenny Mackness.


Of course we didn’t only walk and cycle and eat and chat – but were engaged in a profound discussion of our presentation about the footprints of emergence at the Networked Learning Conference in Lancaster – improving and finalizing it as well. Jenny believes that we could have invested more time and could have been more focused on the topic of our presentation but I’m confident about the power of emergent learning and our wandering around in the real landscape and in our inner landscapes.

Chatting with Jenny means to share experiences, to discuss believes, to get new ideas for collaboration, to get new books to read … and as we mostly meet online these face-to-face days are very valuable.


Jenny likes to learn in MOOCs and it seems that if she starts a MOOC she will finish it as well – which is not true for all the MOOCs I learned in. As I was in love with the Change11 MOOC (and did finish it!) my ideal MOOC would be an open and challenging cMOOC as well. But when I convinced people of my university that we should develop and offer a MOOC to get experiences about its potential and opportunities I had to acknowledge that nor our students nor my teacher colleagues would profit from a pure cMOOC.

Therefore we went for a hybrid design in the case of our Competences for Global Collaboration MOOC (cope15) with a weekly structure, learning materials including videos by experts and 2-3 tasks by week. Nevertheless I fought for a design as open as possible which challenges the learners by offering a lot of learning opportunities, encouraging them to look for further information about the topics and sharing them with other learners. And I gave them the opportunity to draw a footprint of emergence in the last week of our MOOC to reflect their learning process.

In preparing our paper Jenny and I investigated the footprints of the learners and the design footprint of the MOOC. We perceived a certain success of the design intentions and we liked the attitude of the learners engaged with the footprints. Of course further work analyzing footprints of emergence and relating them to learning scenarios and to individual learners has to be done.

Seit Jahren verwende ich die Footprints of emergence zur Reflexion meiner Lernerfahrungen. Die letzten sechs Tage verbrachte ich auf einem gruppendynamischen Seminar und ich erlebte eine recht heftige Lernerfahrung. Das gruppendynamische Setting – sich 40 Einheiten im Sesselkreis gegenübersitzen, in Austausch kommen, Beobachtungen und Gefühle teilen – hat mich stark gefordert. (siehe auch Peter Brügge: Ich lasse mich nicht auseinandernehmen, 1970).


Ich glaube, seit meiner Teilnahme am Change11-MOOC war das meine heftigste Lernerfahrung. In allen vier Clustern gibt es Faktoren, denen ich Werte im Chaos (ganz außen) zugeordnet habe.

Cluster Offenheit/Struktur: Ich empfand die Weiterbildung als gefährlich (Risk), galt es doch, sich ehrlich und ungeschminkt mit anderen und mir selbst auseinanderzusetzen. Den entstandenen Lernraum empfand ich als grenzenlos (Lim), was anstrengend war! Die Faktoren Störung, Selbstkorrektur, Viele Lernwege (Dis, S/C, Mp) liegen hingegen im Bereich der sweet emergence, da das Setting recht starr vorgegeben war.

Cluster Interaktive Lernumgebung: Die Diversität der Menschen in der Gruppe, die Diversität ihrer Geschichten und Bedürfnisse (Div) war immer wieder einmal zuviel für mich. So stark mit anderen – im Netzwerk -zusammenzuarbeiten (FIN) war eine Grenzerfahrung für mich, ging es doch darum Vertrauen in die Gruppe (Trust) aufzubauen, auch zu mir selbst, und Persönlichkeiten – „Minds“ – zu begegnen, die anders sind, anders lernen (ToM).

Cluster Persönliche Entwicklung: Meine Bewertung der Faktoren hier ist sehr unterschiedlich. Einige Faktoren finden sich nahe der vorgeschriebenen Zone. Ich empfand, dass ich viele Möglichkeiten der Einflussnahme (OAff) hatte, obwohl ich wenig frei im Bereich der Selbstorganisation (SOrg), Autonomie (A), Verhandelbarkeit von Ergebnissen (NegO) war. Als sehr anstrengend und manchmal zuviel war für mich die Auseinandersetzung mit meiner Identität (ID).

Cluster Eigener Stil / Selbstpräsenz: Auch in diesem Cluster forderte mich das Netzwerk (Net). Kein reales Netzwerk, da ich meine Kontakte zur Außenwelt in diesen sechs Tagen minimierte, sondern mein inneres Netzwerk, wenn ich mittags bei wunderschönem Wetter meist alleine spazieren ging und im inneren Dialog mit den anderen TeilnehmerInnen oder sonstigen mir wichtigen Menschen war.

An diesem Footprint ist für mich meine stark unterschiedliche Bewertung der Faktoren im Cluster der Persönlichen Entwicklung neu. Ich „lernte wenig“ in Bezug auf Lernautonomie und war trotzdem in diesem Cluster sehr stark gefordert.

Diesen Footprint verwende ich auch in der ersten Woche meines Online-Kurses Fußabdrücke von Lernprozessen, der gestern begonnen hat.

Vor dem Start meiner Teilnahme an einem sechstägigen Gruppendynamik-Seminar bei Reinhard Larcher, das f2f stattfindet, möchte ich mich auf das Thema Gruppe einstimmen und meine Erfahrungen und Berührungspunkte mit der Gruppendynamik festhalten.

Ich bin mit Gruppendynamik am intensivsten im Rahmen meiner Tätigkeit als E-Moderatorin konfrontiert.

Meine Online-Lerngruppen sind mir sehr wichtig und ich habe mir in den letzten Jahren ein Repertoire an Interaktionsmöglichkeiten im Umgang mit ihnen erarbeitet. Als Moderatorin bin ich verantwortlich

  • für die Vorbereitung des virtuellen Raums inklusive der Materialien und Aufgabenstellungen/Fragen und
  • für die Begleitung der Gruppe und der einzelnen TeilnehmerInnen in ihren Lernprozessen.

Die Basis für das Lerndesign mit Struktur und Aufgabenstellung ist Gilly Salmon’s Fünf-Stufenmodell für virtuelle Gruppen. Zu Beginn brauchen die TeilnehmerInnen einer Online-Gruppe Zeit im virtuellen Raum anzukommen, sich zu orientieren und sich kennenzulernen (Phasen: Ankommen, Online-Sozialisierung und Informationsaustausch). Aufgabenstellungen für diese Phase sollen leicht sein, zum Schreiben einladen und einen persönlichen Touch haben. Gerne verwende ich in dieser Phase die Frage nach der Motivation der Teilnehmenden, Salmon’s Einladung „aus dem Fenster zu sehen und zu schreiben, was man sieht, hört, …“ und die Aufforderung eine für das inhaltliche Thema passende Kompetenz zu benennen. Salmon’s Struktur für Online-Aufgaben („E-tivities“) mit Ziel, Aufgabe und Reaktion fördert den Austausch in der Gruppe.

Zu Beginn plagen sich die Lernenden

  • mit dem Anspruch kontinuierlich „anwesend zu sein“ und
  • einen Überblick in der Fülle an Diskussionssträngen und Beiträgen zu bewahren.

Sie sind aufgefordert, eine Strategie für ihren Umgang mit den Online-Aufgaben zu entwickeln, die Komponenten des Zeit- und Kommunikations/ Beziehungsmanagements enthält.

Hat sich die Online-Gruppe etabliert, können sich ihre TeilnehmerInnen dem gemeinsamen Wissensaufbau widmen (Phase 4 nach Salmon). Ausgehend von inhaltlichen Fragestellungen bietet sich ihnen die Möglichkeit, die eigenen Antworten mit den Antworten der anderen Lernenden zu vergleichen und daraus gemeinsam etwas Neues zu entwickeln. Besonders gut eignen sich dafür heterogene Gruppen, die etwa aus Personen unterschiedlicher Fachdisziplinen oder  berufsbegleitend Studierenden bestehen. In diesem Prozess besteht die Rolle der Moderatorin darin:

  • zu motivieren (etwa durch wertschätzendes Feedback),
  • zu strukturieren und Wichtiges festzuhalten (etwa in zusammenfassenden Kommentaren oder der Erstellung einer Übersicht über das gepostete Material der Lernenden)
  • sowie ein Monitoring der Aktivitäten durchzuführen und die Beobachtungen den Lernenden zurückzumelden.

Eine für mich wichtige Regel dabei ist, dass die Moderatorin alles lesen muss – was für die Lernenden auf keinen Fall gilt, diese brauchen eher Mut zur Lücke.

Im Moment moderiere ich vier Online-Gruppen und zwar die neunte Gruppe unserer Hochschuldidaktischen Weiterbildung (HDW), zwei Jahrgänge des Master-Studiengangs Content-Strategie (berufsbegleitend) sowie einen Jahrgang des Bachelor Studiengangs Journalismus und PR (Vollzeit). Eine Gruppe betreue ich bereits im 4. Semester, die anderen drei Gruppen sind neu für mich. Die HDW-Gruppe wurde frisch zusammengewürfelt, die Studierendengruppen bestehen bereits länger. Nächste Woche beginnt eine neue Trainingsgruppe zum Thema der „Footprints of emergence“.

Das Thema Gruppendynamik interessiert mich schon lange, gerade auch in Hinblick auf meine Online-Gruppen. Theoretisch setzte ich mich damit in Kooperation mit unserem Studiengang Soziale Arbeit auseinander. Mein Kollege Heinz Baumann und ich entwickelten 2009/10 den dreiwöchigen Online-Kurs „Experiment virtuelle Gruppe“, in dem wir versuchten, Elemente eines gruppendynamischen Seminars in den virtuellen Raum zu bringen. Der Online-Kurs wurde zweimal abgehalten, die Teilnehmenden waren Lehrende aus dem E-Learning Umfeld sowie TherapeutInnen mit Interesse an der virtuellen Gruppe. Aufbauend auf der Erfahrung mit dem „Experiment virtuelle Gruppe“ veränderten Gert Lyon und ich das Kursdesign, nannten den Kurs „E-Sensitivity“ und führten ihn einmal durch.

Für mich gibt es zwei fundamentale Unterschiede zwischen einer realen Gruppe und einer Online-Gruppe.

  • Online ist man nur „sichtbar“, wenn man in irgendeiner Weise aktiv ist, während man im realen Raum auch wahrgenommen wird, wenn man einfach still dasitzt.
  • Als Mitglied einer Online-Gruppe kann man den Laptop zu klappen und damit die Gruppe verlassen. Präsent ist das Verlassen einer Gruppe wesentlich schwerer.

Beide Unterschiede haben Auswirkungen auf mich als Moderatorin von Online-Gruppen.  Einerseits empfinden die Lernenden E-Learning anstrengend, weil sie immer etwas tun müssen – andererseits fallen sie leicht aus der Gruppe heraus.

Trotz Einschränkung meiner Sinne in Online-Kontakten habe ich das Gefühl, die Lernenden und ihre Emotionen gut wahrzunehmen, weil ich sie recht kontinuierlich beobachte und mich jeder Person einzeln widmen kann.

Ich bin nun schon sehr neugierig auf meine Erfahrungen im gruppendynamischen Seminar, das in vier Stunden beginnen wird. Die Möglichkeit des Laptop-Zuklappens werde ich vermutlich vermissen!