A Mathemateical journey is going to be a popular OERu offering! Initial reflections
Judging from my experience working in the developing world -- I think this course is going to be very popular and it covers so many relevant skills for a wide range of disciplines. A good blueprint -- clearly ESC is very experienced in the world of asynchronous learning :-).
I really like the blueprint reference to tutorials and support materials for using different technologies (in your case spreadsheets). mmmm -- I think we need an OERu logic model activity for the range of student support tutorials for technology. The OERu will need resources to promote capability development in digital literacy. For example, Module 4 of COLs Computer Navigators Certificate Course covers spreadsheets, and is licensed under CC-BY-SA. We already have good resources for teaching wiki skills, and I suspect we will need resources on how to create and use blogs etc.
Thinking out loud:
- What your your thoughts / recommendations for implementing the initial assessment of quantitative skills. Would this be an objective item test using online technology? I assume the initial test is formative / diagnostic and will not contribute to the final summative assessment?
- ESC are world leaders in developing custom learning plans. Any advice / ideas on how to design this in a way which can scale? I imagine that the learning plan consultation would require the input of a skilled professional to support the learner -- or are there ways of designing this consultation as independant study materials?
- Question of clarity: Am I correct in assuming that the "Weekly blackboard" sessions -- are video recordings of a teacher working through math problems? AKA Khan academy style vignettes -- or are you referring to the Blackboard LMS?
- I think it would be useful to include a high level assessment rubric table which shows how the different components of the summative assessment contribute to the final grade. This will help us think about the assessment services and how the no-cost OERu teaching interfaces with the assessment model.
- This is not a major issue for the prototype offering -- because we will be restricting the number of registrations. However, as a mentioned above, I think this will be a very popular course and it is plausible that A mathematical journey could register thousands of learners for each cohort. I'm not sure that Mahara will scale well in this context -- a community group larger than 50 or 100 learners using Mahara is not going scale. Any thoughts on how we might address the scalability question?
Always a pleasure working with folk who know how to design high quality distance learning!
Thank you, Wayne! Here are some initial responses- need to think through some of your questions further. Your comments have us thnking already about next steps in our own journey.
- Yes, the plan for the initial assesment is that it be online. I'm just getting into Moodle, but am hoping we can build the assessment in there. Yes, this is a formative assessment and will ot contibute to the final summative assessment.
- I've been pondering how to do the learning plan and will be wokring on a template to make it more scalable. Some interactio with an AVI at this point seems essential.
- Actually, for this I was thinking of a Blackboard/Collaborate session. Last fall, I and a colleague did a MOOC which included weekly sessions. I'd like to bring in a person each week who loves math and can share their passion. I thnk storytelling is a powerful way to motivate learning.
- Yes on the rubric- great idea! We'll start work on that component.
- These numbers are challenging! I can imagine creating subgroups within the Mahara server (and eventually, multiple Mahara servers.) Wouldn't that work?
--BettyHD 12:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
- Yep, Moodle will be able to administer and award a mark for an objective item (MCQ, True / False) type assessment and the OER Foundation hosts a Moodle install. I'd suggest that the development team consider not including the outcome of the initial assessment of quantitative skills because this creates authentication and identity validation issues. We will not have a reliable way of ensuring that the user who takes the test will be the student applying for assessment services at one of the OERu partners. One option to consider is a completion requirement where the learner provides some form of evidence that they completed the test in an e-portfolio -- but that the grade is not counted towards the final grade. At the point of assessment, the OERu conferring institution will be able to validate identity in accordance with local procedures and requirements.
- I'm looking forward to see how the learning plan design evolves -- this is going to become a valuable feature / option for OERu delivery.
- Aaah -- your "Blackboard" refers to synchronous web conferencing. It will be good to trial these technologies for OERu delivery in the prototype context. A few things we will need to consider in the design:
- The OER Foundation will not be able to host Blackboard /Collaborate. The Foundation only uses open source software as a matter of policy.
- There is an open source web conferencing system - BigBlueButton. I've not used the system much - -so we would need to do a little testing, see how it scales etc.
- If ESC is running the OERu prototype in parallel mode with full tuition students on campus -- you could provide web conferencing access using your own system (but ESC will need to carry that cost). This may not be possible for all OERu partners
- The disadvantage with synchronous web casting for an international context is to find a suitable time for 24 time zones. The only way to create a reasonable window is to schedule two sessions for each planned conference instance - -One for the Americas and the Pacific, another slot for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
- Web conferences be recorded -- but not the same as the live event.
- Drawing on our own data from the Learning4Content courses, in cases where web-conference were scheduled - -attendance was low around 15% of registered participants.
- I think expose learners to individuals with a passion for maths -- In terms of reaching the maximum number of OERu learners, I think short video vignettes with carefully designed peer-2-peer reflections will be more effective.
- Regarding scalability of social platforms and dividing learners into groups -- this is not a infrastructure limitation. Platforms like Mahara can accommodate thousands of learners. The challenge is the administrative load for an AVI to allocate groups and the practical limitations from the learners perspective to read thousands of posts.
A few more things for us to think about ;-). Also we will have the advantage of limited scale prototypes to help us gauge the ration of AVIs needed for different pedagogical designs.
All your comments on the synchronous web conference make sense. I have a Blackboard/Elluminate room, so cost is not a concern. The short podcasts are a great idea. My grad student, Susan Fall, is coming to Saratoga in April to do some podcasts. Our goal is to engage the learners in as many ways as we can.
For the prototype offering ESC will use a Blackboard/Elluminate room --- we must just remember when we develop the generic resources that it is designed as an "option" taking into account OERu institutions who many not be able to offer the service. We can easily configure this into the design.
For the prototype offering, does ESC envisage:
- Running the OERu version in parallel with full-tuition students (quite doable with the OERu model ;-))?
- Are you planning to cap the number of OERu learners for the prototype or would you like to run the prototype as a massive open course? (Again - -both options would work well for the prototype -- just good to know in advance for designing the course materials. If you get 500 students signing up for the synchronous session --- you want to be sure the technology and budget can accommodate this. I think Math course has the potential for drawing very large numbers.)
I've been thinking about the place of the weekly synchronous sessions and I think it may be cleaner to not highlight them for this course. I still plan to do the weekly sessions, but it may be better to include them as one of the resources, rather than have them as a listed component of this prototype course. (I remvoed that bullet from the blueprint.)
As for providing concurrently in the college for credit, the answer is yes. We have what is called a "Learning Opportunities Inventory" or LOI, for offering studies such as this that are available collegewide.
As for capping, am open to either way. When we did the MOOC, we got a lot of interest, but not many who engaged at a level that would be sufficient to gain college credit. So, I'd be comfortable with leaving the course open, with the expectation that the number moving fully toward the credential will be a workable group.
--BettyHD 14:53, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
That's a good suggestion -- i.e. offering the synchronous webcasts as an optional feature. You could easily integrate this with ESC's parallel full-tuition version (LOI) without this being a "requirement" for other OERu partners should they offer the course.
I'd keep this as a bullet point in the blueprint indicating that it is an option.
It would be good to have a few mass open prototypes for the OERu running (I'm thinking about doing the same for the "Why Sustainable Practice" course at Otago Polytechnic.)
When offering the prototype we could cap the number of assessment scholarships for the prototype to a workable number and allocate spaces, for example, on a first-come first-serve basis when learners register. This can be communicated at the OERu registration point and we could ask learners to indicate whether they will be applying for assessment.
It will good for OERu to collect data on the conversion rate of a free learning course to formal assessment. I think learners join MOOCs for a variety of reasons and they may not be representative of the target population an OERu course would attract. It will be interesting to see if the engagement required for college credit will be different in the OERu course environment - -especially for learners who join with the intention of gaining college credit.
Can't wait to see these courses running and to see what the formal assessment conversion rate might be.