Moodle 4 Teachers: Week 1 Reflections

March 7, 2010  Tagged , ,

Week 1 of our the online course Moodle 4 Teachers (hosted by IT4ALL) will finally be over in about 7 hours. Apparently, everyone in my team (Moodle for Tesol) has managed to make it, and we’ve all submitted assignments in time (I guess I was just the last one to upload my team file as a PDF a few minutes ago), though there’s no real way to check who’s done what (I’m basing my assumptions on froum posts by different team members).

What I’ve learned during this first week:

  • team assignments are things we need to work on collaboratively, but submit individually,
  • not everyone finds Google docs easier than Moodle tools! (sounds rather obvious, but it was not to me at first!);
  • all assignments are submitted by doing something (writing, uploading a file, etc) on the same page where I can read the task rubrics.

What I’ve liked about this first week:

  • we’ve tried uploading files in different formats, and submitting assignments (though, until they’ve been graded, I’ll still feel pretty unsure about whether I’ve done “the right thing”  in each case);
  • now that the large group has been divided into teams, a sense of intimacy has started growing among us, I feel. It’s much easier to ask questions of a smaller class, and my team has at least 3 members who seem to be available 24/7 for support, which has definitely contributed to everyone in the group thinking it’s possible to succeed :)
  • by being challenged to do different things on the platform, I’ve been placed in the shoes of the learner once again, and clearly  experienced all the discomfort and confusion learners can have to face when online.

What I’ve not liked about this first week:

  • more than once I couldn’t make sense of why we were asked to carry out certain tasks in certain ways, and this blocked my learning;
  • We’re supposed to “play around” with Moodle tools, but all my time has been taken up by carrying out the compulsory tasks! Moodle blogs and wikis were introduced, but I do hope we look into them in more detail at a later stage in the course, as I haven’t been able to make much out of them…
  • most of the time I’ve felt a “fool” who keeps missing clues and is always at a loss, needing to be guided by the group… not my usual place in class, so I didn’t enjoy it at all! ;-)

Also, I’m still wondering if it’s right to post my reflections here (weekly reflections ARE a course requirement, so whether I’m posting them at the right place is no minor issue): I first tried posting them at my Moodle blog,  but apparently that did not allow for comments; then I turned to the Moodle wiki, but couldn’t make head or tail of it, and my idea of a wiki is more like a website or a collaborative writing tool, not for individual reflection. Then I decided to post here, in my learner blog, where I can share all this not only with my classmates but also (eventually) with anyone on the Web who’s interested (I don’t like writing “for myself”, I can think without needing to be by my computer, the whole point of posting – IMHO- is sharing with “the world”).

Looking forward to feeling more confident by the end of week 2,

Gladys

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Moodling for social constructionism

Collaboration in online learning

Collaboration in online learning

I’ve just finished reading Interpretive analysis of an internet-based course constructed using a new courseware tool called Moodle, written by Martin Dougiamas (Moodle’s founder) and Peter C. Taylor (available here).

IMHO, a most interesting paper. To put it in a nutshell, they describe how they worked on the design of Moodle to enhance it as “ a tool to create online courses that embody and further develop our social constructionist pedagogical framework”.  Have been googling a bit, and found a year later they published a new paper: Moodle: Using Learning Communities to Create an Open Source Course Management System. (available here). Definitely mean to read it ASAP! It’ll be interesting to learn what the results of the modifications they planned to implement at the moment of writing the paper were. And -how did the “adventure” as they call it – go on?

My personal reflection: I’ve taken several online courses already, most of them using Moodle as an LMS. My impression is that “peer support” is usually the weakest aspect of online learning. No wonder, since this is usually a neglected aspect in f2f teaching! :P!

Could go on rattling about this for ever, but have to go back to my professional duties… Oh, if only I could be a full-time student!

B4N,

Gladys

Learning to Moodle: getting to know my class

March 2, 2010  Tagged , ,

A few statistics to help me feel more comfortable in my new online class:

  • Course participants: 155 (no wonder I felt overwhelmed by intros!)
  • Facilitators: 10
  • Participants from Argentina: 4 (all female; 2 in Buenos Aires, 1 in Rosario – Santa Fe; 1 in Rio Tercero – Cordoba)
  • Participants from other South American countries: 1 from Brazil; 2 from Colombia; 1 from Ecuador; 2 from Peru; 1 from Venezuela; 1 from Uruguay.

A teacher from Jamaica, several from Mexico, loooots from the USA and the UK!

  • English teachers taking the course (as learners): about 20, I guess…

Nice to get to know a bit about my classmates! :)

Gladys

Learning to use Moodle: first day in class!

I feel just like you watching this!

I feel just like you watching this!

Have enrolled on an online course to learn to better use Moodle as a teacher (a wonderful initiative by IT4ALL). One of the course requirements is to share reflections, and, as I’m quite free to choose how to do it, have decided to use this blog of mine for that purpose. Hopefully, that will enable me to share my thoughts with my classmates as well as my usual followers!

Here are my first class notes:

Have never tried Moodle blogs and thought this would be a good chance to create a record of my course impressions.
Course started yesterday. I introduced myself and chose a team (Moodle for TESOL) last week. Today I’m trying to catch up: too many posts to the forum (planning to check how many participants there are, seem over 50 to me!). Have downloaded a couple of great tutorials shared by course mates. Can’t enter the team sandbox (which is the key???). Dizzy after reading all forum digests…. Feel like drowning (typical first day, bah!)…
Swimming, swimming, swimming, should get easier…
Gladys
PS:no WYSWYG editor here, just plain text. Wonder if this is also bec/I’m using Chrome right now?
PS2: who can read my Moodle blog? :-?
PS3: why is my post automatically tagged “Nellie Deutsch”?

Course started yesterday (I’d enrolled last week). I introduced myself and chose a team (Moodle for TESOL) last week.

Today I’m trying to catch up: too many posts to the forum (planning to check how many participants there are, seem over 50 to me!). Have downloaded a couple of great tutorials shared by course mates. Can’t enter the team sandbox (which is the key???).

Tried Moodle blogs and got more questions:

  1. no WYSWYG editor here, just plain text. Wonder if this is also bec/I’m using Chrome right now? (someone wrote the WYSIWYG editor doesn’t work for the forums with Opera or Chrome at the moment, though the new Moodle version coming soon will fix this, at least for Chrome).
  2. who can read my Moodle blog? :-? I was able to see many entries, apparently by course mates (not sure who’s who yet), but apparently you can’t comment on other people’s entries? That takes all the fun out of blogging! :-(
  3. why was my post automatically tagged “Nellie Deutsch”?

Submitted an online assignment, apparently successfully, but then saw “Not submitted yet”… Posted my doubts under “Submission”… Will that work to get some help from the facilitators?

Still have to watch a WIZIQ session that was recorded on Sunday, hope to feel more confident after that!

Dizzy after reading all forum digests (like the girl in the picture!)…. Have realised Moodle layout is not that clear, even for an experienced user like me! Feel like drowning (typical first day, bah!)… Swimming, swimming, swimming, should get easier…

Gladys

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