ZML Didaktik / Innovative Learning Scenarios

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.

Coursework

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.

Thesis

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.

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Im Dezember stand Phase 2 der Auseinandersetzung mit Twitter am Programm (zur Vorgeschichte). Die  40 #jpr16 Studierenden waren herausgefordert, die Qualität der Tweets und des Austauschs zu steigern, von einer Vielschreiber*in zu lernen und die eigenen Aktivitäten zu reflektieren.

Diesmal besteht die Herausforderung an mich darin jeder Person ein individuelles Feedback zu geben. Dabei gehe ich folgendermaßen vor:

  • Ich checke die Kontinuität der Tweets, gehe die Timeline entlang und lese so viele Tweets, bis ich einen Eindruck erhalte. Dann schaue ich mir unter Tweets&Replies die Gruppengespräche an und lasse das Twitter-Profil auf mich wirken. Ich besuche die ausgewählte Vielschreiber*in und mache mich auf die Suche nach der Reflexion, die in Tweets zu finden ist, in Google-Dokumenten, in einem Blog, in einer Twitter Message oder in einer E-Mail. Oft ist diese Reflexion auch nicht explizit irgendwo festgehalten.
  • Neben dieser bewussten Auseinandersetzung mit dem Tweetverhalten der Studierenden reflektiere ich meine persönliche Wahrnehmung: wie wirkt der jeweilige Twitterraum auf mich, gehe ich in Resonanz, nehme ich eine Person in der Fülle der Tweets wahr, erhalte ich Nachrichten, die mich ansprechen, werde ich zum Weiterlesen, Schauen, Hören, Schmunzeln verführt. Spricht mich das Profil an?

Jede Woche sollten die Studierenden 10 Tweets verfassen, das bedeutet mittlerweile haben sie um die 80 Tweets oder mehr verfasst. Ein Viertel der Studierenden (10) haben weniger als 75 Tweets verfasst, doch nur um zwei von ihnen mit weniger als 40 Tweets mache ich mir Sorgen. Mehr als ein Drittel (14) sind VielschreiberInnen mit zumindest 149 Tweets in den letzten acht Wochen. Das beeindruckt mich und freut mich.

Es ist durchaus legitim, dass manche Studierende noch auf der Suche nach ihrem Stil, ihren Themen, ihrer Twitter-Identität sind. Viele tweeten bereits recht professionell und es scheint ihnen auch Spaß zu machen.

tweet2812

Phase 3: Januar 2017 – Professionalität anstreben

In der letzten Phase bekommen die Studierenden nun den folgenden Auftrag:

1) Meine Feedbacks berücksichtigen und den Empfehlungen folgen, wenn sie für die Studierenden Sinn machen.

2) Ein bis zwei Themen auswählen und professionelles Tweeten ausprobieren (also wie beim Schreiben auch Recherchieren, Quellen auswählen und angeben, eigene Sicht schildern).

3) Werkzeuge rund um Twitter ausprobieren und miteinander teilen, wie etwa tweetdeck, Verbindung zu anderen Social Media, …

In der LV Webkompetenz für Medienberufe – 1. Sem. im Studium Journalismus und PR, FH JOANNEUM – steht der Erwerb von Web Literacies im Zentrum. Anhand des Mikrobloggingdienstes Twitter setzen sich über 40 Studierenden mit Competencies needed for reading, writing, and participating on the Web (siehe auch Mozillas Web Literacy Map) auseinander.

Auftrag der Phase 1 war Schreiben, Schreiben, Schreiben. In den letzten drei Tagen unterzog ich die Twitter-Aktivitäten „meiner“ #jpr16 Studierende einem ersten Monitoring und bin sehr zufrieden. 

Statistik

Zwischen 2 und über 200 Tweets verfassten die Studierenden in den ersten eineinhalb Monaten. Da meiner Meinung nach die kontinuierliche Arbeit mit einem Social Media Werkzeug für eine tiefe Auseinandersetzung nötig ist, gibt es den Zwang der 10 Tweets pro Woche. Da beeindruckt mich das Engagement der Studierenden sehr, 50% haben mehr als das Doppelte gepostet!

Durch kleines Anstupsen sind nun auch die beiden Wenigschreiberinnen gestern und vorgestern in die Gänge gekommen  🙂

Challenge

So viele Tweets zu lesen ist natürlich eine Herausforderung. Ich führe diese Aufgabe in vier Teilen durch, zehn Personen hintereinander kann ich noch irgendwie wahrnehmen. Zuerst scrolle ich den öffentlicheren Teil unter „tweets“, schaue, wo ich hängen bleibe, was in mir auf Resonanz stößt. Mein Anspruch ist bei jeder Person etwas zu entdecken, bei dem ich andocken kann und wo ich dann auch reagiere. Das ist meistens leicht, manchmal schwieriger – und gegen Ende bin ich auch nicht mehr so neugierig wie zu Beginn. Das tut mir leid! Es kann auch sein, dass ich dann vergesse, einem Studenten oder einer Studentin gegenüber zu reagieren. Das finde ich nicht ok, doch es passiert, auch hier sorry, falls es diesmal so war.

Unter tweets&replies sehe ich dann ein vollständigeres Bild.

Das schaue ich mir an

  • Welche Inhalte kommen vor? READ / WRITE
  • Wie viele retweets, wie viele Verlinkungen? READ
  • Werden Media eingebunden? WRITE
  • Wird die Person für mich sichtbar? (etwa persönliche Kommentare zu Links, Auswahl der Medien, Profilbild) WRITE
  • Wie (sehr) ist die Person in Kontakt mit anderen? PARTICIPATE

Die follower / following Infos checke ich Ende Dezember.

Gruppenfeedback

Mein Besuch der studentischen Twitter-Räume war spannend und unterhaltsam. Ich wurde zum Lesen unterschiedlichster Artikeln angeregt und zum Musik Hören. Ich sah tolle Medieneinbindung. Die bewegten Gifs bin ich rasch übersprungen.

Manchmal erschien mir die Person noch ein bisschen in ihrer eigenen Echokammer mit vielen retweets und wenig persönlichen Bezügen. Ich bin über Dialekt-Tweets gestolpert, das ist nicht mein Stil, doch ich habe es dann gleich ausprobiert. Tweeten in unterschiedlichen Sprachen finde ich nett. Offen ist für mich das Thema der gepinnten Beiträge. Ich würde einen Beitrag nie pinnen. Das mache ich in facebook mit Studierendengruppen, damit die Aufgabenstellung sichtbar bleibt – doch Twitter hat einen anderen Drive für mich.

post-dez

Phase 2

In der zweiten Phase bis Weihnachten geht es nun darum die Qualität der Tweets und des Austauschs zu steigern, anhand einer Reflexion der eigenen Aktivitäten und eines Vorbilds (es kann ein gutes oder schlechtes Vorbild sein).

Reflexionsfragen

  • Mein Twitter Profil: welchen Namen verwende ich, welches Bild, warum habe ich den Namen ev. auch gewechselt?
  • Mein Twitter Stil: Wie viel an eigenem Text schreibe ich? Wie viele Retweets? 
  • Wie viele Links zu anderen Inhalten? Glaube ich, dass ich meine LeserInnen zum Besuch der Links motiviere? Und wie mache ich das?
  • Verwende ich Multimedia in meinen Tweets? Warum mache ich das und was ist der Erfolg?
  • Wie gut bin ich mit anderen vernetzt? Gibt’s auch Gespräche in einer kleinen Gruppe? Wie profitieren wir da?
  • Welchen Leuten folge ich? Und was habe ich davon?

Cool wäre es diese Reflexion in Twitter sichtbar zu machen!

Vorbild: Vielschreiber*in

Aufgabenstellung: Sucht euch eine Vielschreiberin auf Twitter (jede Person jemanden anderen) und verfolgt ihre oder seine Aktivitäten für eine Woche. Postet die ausgewählte Person in einem Tweet. Überlegt dann, was diese Person schreibt, warum sie so viel schreibt, und was ihr von ihr lernen können. Ev. startet Ihr diese Beobachtung auch mit Eurer persönlichen Fragestellung. Teilt ein paar Einblicke auf Twitter mit anderen.

Studierendenfeedback

Gleich nach meinem Posting gab es die Reaktion eines/r Studierenden. So ein rasches Feedback finde ich total fein, da es mir dabei hilft, die Auswirkungen meines Feedbacks klarer zu verstehen. Ich möchte gleich betonen, dass auch Personen, die sich seit ewiger Zeit mit Webkompetenzen auseinandersetzen, nur eine Sicht haben (nicht die Sicht). Ich lerne gerne selbst dazu und überprüfe meine Annahmen.

„Sie schreiben immer wieder, dass bei manchen Studierenden die Person dahinter nicht sichtbar wird“

Mit Person dahinter meine ich, ob Tweets auf mich authentisch oder aufgesetzt wirken. Immer nehme ich ja – auch online! – zu einem gewissen Maß auch die Person dahinter war.

„Ich möchte nichts Privates posten … hat ein Posting über mein Essen oder darüber was ich grad daheim tue nichts in meinem Twitter Feed verloren“

In Bezug auf private Inhalte ist umstritten und unklar, wie viel an Privatheit „gut“ ist. Zu viel an Privatem gefällt mir auch nicht. Andererseits werden private Seite beim Posten sichtbar, etwa Radfahren, was einem gefällt, politische Einstellungen beim Posten zum Tagesgeschehen. Für mich kommt hier der Aspekt der Authentizität zum Tragen. Was ich schreibe, soll zu mir passen, soll ich gut vertreten können.

Darstellung „meiner Person …. sollte … nicht Pflicht sein um als „gute“ Twitterin zu gelten.

Ich möchte unterstützen, dass jede Person ihren oder seinen eigenen Stil sucht. Ich kann und möchte Euch nicht zu einem Stil zwingen – doch ich erwarte, dass Ihr Euren Stil reflektiert und in dem Rahmen, der Euch passt, auch was ausprobiert.

„es macht mehr Spaß als ich anfangs gedacht habe „

Das freut mich und ich möchte Euch auf gar keinen Fall den Spaß nehmen!

Schlagwörter: ,

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.

comic-diario5-tw

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.

comic-diario4-final

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

Links

 

Today I carried out a workshop in the school “Rainergymnasium” in Vienna, with 68 school students between 14-15 years and from three different classes. Their teacher Vera Kadlec invited me to support the students to reflect their experiences in an IMST project with special regard to the subject informatics.

IMG_3655

The workshop was planned for two school hours. I started with a short introduction to emergent learning and the footprints of emergence. Then each student drew his or her individual footprint using a sheet with further information; the sheet contains a question for each factor and a picture which visualizes the factor.

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As the weather was beautiful most of the groups worked in the open. Vera, her colleague Jochen Reichert and I observed the students drawing their footprints and helped them if necessary. During the process of drawing the footprints the students asked a few questions about specific factors. One student felt that the questions in the sheet need a “yes” or “no” contrary to the footprint template where there is a continuum for each factor.

After the first school hour many students had finished their drawings. In the second hour I started to discuss the footprints with groups of students whereas Vera and Jochen supported the others to finish their footprints as well.

IMG_3660

Some observations of the footprints

Cluster Open/structure:

  • A student put the factor risk in the sharp emergent zone. She said that despite of learning a lot for the exam there are questions she cannot answer. Therefore she feels a lot of risk to fail.
  • Another student loved the possibility to learn in other places than in school (lim).
  • Many of them positioned the ambiguity factor in the sharp emergent zone or at the edge of chaos (amb). In the analysis of the footprints Vera will check if this result is related to the specific school class.
  • One student created a footprint with rather high factors of disruption and self-correction. He told me that in class he often cannot finish his work (high disruption factor) and he hates it. Then he has to solve the problem by himself after class (high self-correction) and he likes it. This was an interesting learning experience for the group, that sometimes we like to be challenged and sometimes not.
  • Many students spoke in a positive manner about different learning paths.

IMG_3661

Cluster Interactive Environment

  • Many students gave the factor experiential a high value. With respect to this factor they reflected mostly their experience in the subject chemistry.

Cluster Agency

  • Many students were stressed because they often had to organize themselves and be autonomous. Some of them didn’t like this at all and put the factor self-orgainsation and autonomy into chaos.
  • In the discussions I was not sure if the students understood the factor identity. They see very clear and fixed roles of being students or teachers (alas a factor in the prescribed zone) whereas some of them put the factor identity into the (sharp) emergent zone.

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Cluster: Presence / Writing

  • We discussed the factor solitude and contemplation (S&C) which was sometimes in the sharp emergent zone. The students said that if they do not succeed in finishing their work in class the professor allows them to finish it at home. But they find it hard and difficult to work alone at home.

After the workshop Vera and I discussed our impressions of the interaction with the students.

IMG_3664

Altogether the students said that they are happy to learn within a structured learning environment and that they didn’t want more freedom in learning. Furthermore they stated that during the first semester the design of their learning space was more open and more closed in the second semester.

With respect to the workshop 68 school students were too much to deal with. Next time we will do a workshop with every class again.

I really enjoyed this conference. There was so much food for thought! The discussions around metaphors (for more detail see the blogpost of Jenny Mackness) added to my interest into more creative learning spaces.

Many years ago I started to develop more open learning spaces based on a gender mainstreaming approach. I reflected about the use of language (and metaphors of course) and aimed to use open wording/phrasing in tasks and online communication. From my students I learned to like smileys and in the creativity MOOC of Tina Seelig 2013 I got further ideas about creating and using artefacts in learning.

Before the #nlc2016 conference I stumbled upon Nick Sousanis ideas about unflattening the world and looking for more perspectives. So I responded to his exercise to draw comics about the shape of a day. I’m not brave at drawing but I liked to create a picture about my day as for example about Monday at the Networked Learning Conference.

nlc2016

I believe that we need as many approaches as possible to deal with the complexity of today’s learning challenges. Maybe drawing comics could be one. I plan to include the option for drawing a comic into the next task for my students which I’m meeting at London at the moment. And of course I will discuss aspects of networked learning with them.

The footprints of emergence framework is another possibility of dealing with complex learning scenarios. In my blog I collected information about the footprints and different options of drawing them.

The footprint of my experience at this week’s networked learning conference in Lancaster is rather balanced one.

footprint-jp-nlc2016

My footprint is mostly in the zone of sweet emergent learning. Attending the conference was a pleasant learning experience for me. And I was challenged by all the networking experiences and by meeting so many other “minds”.

I’m looking forward to reading some of the #nlc2016 papers and surfing some slides. And it would be a real pleasure to attend #nlc2018 in Zagreb.