söndag 11 december 2016

The aim of this blogpost is to evaluate my participation in the cMooc Open networked Learning. The first thing that strikes me about the course is the absence of techno/instrumental bias. The course has included many tools and learning platforms - but they have all been pedagogically motivated and are aligned with the learning processes they are intended to promote. Which makes me realise even more what a common mistake/pitfall it otherwise normally is when e-learning is used in education.

Writing blogposts throughout the various steps of the course has been a good way to find space for reflection. The blogposts are still there and it is easy now to go back and follow my development through the course... And they can be useful in the future, in a much more live way than handwritten exam papers handed in and returned - for one thing it would not have been possible to give and recieve feedback among course participants the way we were encouraged to do...

How will aquired knowledge change my teaching and practise?

Social learning

One of the strongest inspirations from the ONL-course will be the strenght of enabling and encouraging social learning: creating an interesting and stimulating environment where students/participants connect, communicate and share experience with one another. Many educational theories strongly emphasize learning as a social activity. I have worked for many years with group assessment in online environments, but I have not previously designed online environments for social learning in this clear and focused way. 

I am also aware that the reason I managed to go through with the course was the encouragement from the facilitators and interaction and group strength which was formed with the other members of the PBL group. In other words: enabling space for connections and relationships in online courses must be the most effective way to counteract the otherwise common problem of low completion rates...

The course was built up on a wide variety of learning activities, all very different and called for different types of approaches:

  •  the webinars based on the classical webinar format with a number of presenters and a parallell chat-window conversation going on, providing the place with a sense of meeting with all the course participants in one place
  • setting up a blog and writing blogposts - perhaps the most individual activity
  • a google plus place for the PBL-group combined with emailing and google hangout for the group work

In the beginning the many environments/learning spaces felt confusing, but over time I more and more got the "feel" of how the functionality in the different places worked, and which tool to use for wich purpose. Analysing the course, I see how the choice for the different environments are based on an idea of what type of learning activity is to take place there - as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this will be the most valuable insight which I will bring with me, and I even feel very eager to start planning courses and be able to try this out for real.

fredag 9 december 2016

Cooking up a course - topic 4

I remember when I started to teach university courses about 12 years ago: I was basically thrown into full responsibility for several university courses, that included a huge amount of online activites.
There was no teaching training. The senior teachers were busy themselves with other courses and tight deadlines. I was helped more by administrators with the formal requisites included in carrying out a university course. Other than that I was basically left to figure out how to do it on my own.
- Dont get me wrong, it *was* challening but in a fun way: experimenting with ways to encourage the students to engage and learn for life and for real, not just memorize facts for assesment.

Studying the Addie model I recognize many of the different stages and steps in planning courses, with all the various considerations and including the characteristics of the subject matter as well as the knowledge of the students. (jclarkgardner: 2011)

After a couple of years and a number of courses, I got the opportunity to attend my first course on university education.
There I met the theories of Biggs and Tang, and was introduced to the idea of student focus, (presented by Biggs and Tang as an alternative perspective to the opposing and common "blame-the-students"-approach or cases where all the limelight is directed on the teacher as the main performer... (Biggs and Tang: 2011)
This changed my teaching altogether and I got to plan much more focused, and felt really helped by the model, concepts and theories of constructive alignment. It made assessment methods a natural part of the complete learning process in the courses. At the same time it naturally increased the students engagement and motivation as they found the creative assessment methods fun and relevant for their future careers.
It also worked equally well regardless of instructional methods, whether the course was completely online, blended or entirely IRL, as the focus was directed towards students generating knowledge by doing, as suitable tools are chosen after learning objectives are clearly formulated.

In analysing the design of the ONL course I begin to see many aspects of the 5 stage model by Salmon, with the different steps, with supporting and present facilitators that are natural parts of the discussions, and gradual establishing of social strucures that encourage socialisation and building of relationsships, which in its turn enabled more deeper learning processes to take place (Salmon: 2013)
I think they are both useful, and could without problems be used as structuring help alongside the theories of constructive alignment and student centered perspective as explained by Biggs and Tang (Biggs and Tang: 2011)

I also think, that the more blending is going on in education, the more models and theories like the above mentioned are worthwhile to use and get help by, as more platforms and learning environments increase the need for good structure and planning, to avoind confusing courses where students just get lost in tools and technique.


Bates, T (2016). The 10 Fundamentals of Teaching Online for Faculty and Instructors.

Biggs, J. B. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university: What the student does. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

jclarkgardner (2011, June 11) ADDIE Model Instructional Strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Retrieved 2016 November 8 from

onsdag 23 november 2016

So much better together

Halfway through the cMooc Open networked learning, the topic of the week has been collaborative learning, the learning potential in peer interaction and group based problem solving. The group I am part of feels more and more as a group, even though we haven't met IRL and we are spread across both the northern and southern hemisphere.

Het vrolijke huisgezin, Jan Havicksz. Steen, 1668. Public domain. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 
Perhaps no organised learning going on, but the picture could symbolise the joy of togetherness.

One question posted at the beginning of the week was: 
Is there a recipe for making collaborative work a fruitful experience?

In our group we began by using a shared google document for brainstorming ideas on collaborative learning. 
It became clear that everybody had experienced problems with group work previously. But at the same time there was a flow of constructive strategies on how to overcome the problems and successfully arrange for online groups to function and bring about learning experiences.
So, yes, there are many different recipes to turn collaborative work into engaging, creative, challenging and fruitful learning experiences.

In the Theory and practise of online learning Andersson discusses how to find appropriate theoretical frameworks for the development of online courses, as traditional learning theories where written prior to the internet and connected world, and therefore have not taken their potential for learning into account (2008).
Anderson proposes that teachers search for a balance of both traditional learning theories, selectively combined with recent theories that are written taking the internet and its interconnecting possibilities into account.
Two different directions when planning for online learning are mentioned: the community of learning model, where synchronous meetings and peer-to-peer and peer-teacher communication is emphasised, and the independent study model which more corresponds to supporting an individual learner by designing a course that provides well-structured content (Anderson: 2008)

Hopefully educators across the world are becoming more aware of the value of collaborative learning, and that it is worth the effort for the teacher to counteract common pitfalls in collaborative group tasks.
I also think that the old traditional type of teaching and learning, where a single student reads and memorises facts in isolation, is much more of a matter of the head. At least for me, it seems to generate knowledge for my intellect only, whereas group learning engages the whole of me and the knowledge gained becomes a part of me, how I think and who I am much much more... (see J. Bruner, american developmental psychologist who emphasised the cultural importance of knowledge, and saw learning as taking part of cultural exchange in society, in for example Acts of mearning: 1990)

Anderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 343-395). Athabasca university press. 
Bruner, J, (1990) Acts of mearningHarvard University Press

söndag 6 november 2016

Proud to share - topic2

Recently I visited a swedish town I had never been to before.
As the town was new to me I took a taxi from the train station to the destination.
I was not in a mood for small talk, focusing on the meeting ahead, but the cab driver was nice and chatty, so I asked him something about what the town was like to live in...
To my surprise he turned off the meter and took an extra tour, showing me some beautiful places, and told me all the benefits of his town. Originally of middle eastern descent, he had lived here with his family for 17 years and vividly described what a nice town it had been for his children to grow up in. He also cruised by an old, fairy tale like castle, explaining with pride that he and his wife had had their wedding photographs taken there 10 years ago.
Vehemently refusing to be tipped, he dropped me off with exact directions to make sure I did not get lost, (and recommendations of where to get the best hot dog in town after the meeting)...

teleborgs_slott_växjö_2015c by: Bysmon CC BY-SA-4.0
This experience was at the back of my mind during the week, taking part of my groups PBL-work on topic 2 in the Open networked learning course.
In the PBL-group we discussed advantages and limitations and negative aspects of openness and sharing, analysing possibilities and strategies, getting familiar with online resources and the knowledge on how to use them presented in the course.
At the PBL-groups' hangout meeting the idea was put forward to turn ourselves into experiments:
that each one of us could try out something of using or sharing open educational resources in our own teaching or research and reflect upon the experience.
It was a good idea and even fun to try something practically.
I think we were all struck by the enormous amount of material which is available online under the creative commons license or the public domain. Initially it made me feel overwhelmed and a bit lost.
Using strategies for narrowing down searches, and getting the "feel" of the type of content on different OER portals made it more manageable.
In the ONL course we have been given interesting good presentations and links to material about openness and sharing. It really helped me get going and know where to look and what to do. But the "experiment" made it so clear what a different experience it is to try out something in practise, while keeping up a dialogue with the others in the group, compared to reading accounts of others experiences and knowledge.

Apart from all the good rational benefits of OER, it has been fun to have tried contributing in a small way. It feels good to offer my material to others, rather than to keep it isolated in my own little teaching bubble. It makes me feel proud that resources created for teaching at the small campus and tiny island where I live, could also be useful for another teacher, in another part of the world, perhaps using the material as a starting point to build something new.
Weller highlights the altruistic element of OERs  in his discussion of the development of openness in education from the emergence of learning objects, OERS and MOOCS. He concludes that while the development of open educational resources is rooted from a striving to improve education worldwide, as OER is growing and becoming widespread it is also being noticed by commercial interests whose use and adaptations could undermine the original altruistic orientation (Weller: 2014)
But maybe there is hope that the striving to share just for the sake of helping one another will live on in the OER-sphere, like the taxi driver who switched off his meter to drive an extra round, wanting to share and to show somebody else something he was proud of.

Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.

onsdag 2 november 2016

Demonstration of creative commons

This blogpost was created live to demonstrate how to use creative commons licensed images, during a presentation at the Swedish Customs HR-department in Stockholm:

The participants asked very good and interesting questions, like:

  • How do you credit an image that you use as part of a video clip?
    • (I would include information about images in the after text)
  • What about images in powerpoint presentations, that are only presented to students during a lecture, and not published online?
    • In presentations for students it is equally relevant to make clear the source of the images I have used, preferrably by adding the photographers name clear and visibly at the bottom of the image. 


The demonstration: 
Jag börjar med att söka och hitta en bild på nätet som jag vill använda, som också har en creative commons licens:

feelings by Lena Tembe CC BY-NC 

To use a creative commons licensed image, you need to add the following metadata, preferrably directly under the image.
  1. The title of the image + a direct link to the original place on the web, where you found it.
  2. The name of the creator, in some cases the username, + a link to the website of the creator
  3. Add the type of creative commons license of the image + a link to the creativecommons website where the conditions of this particular license is explained. 
(Thanks for clearing that out to me, Kristina Alexandersson at, in this "how-to"-youtube movie)

För att dela en creative commons licensierad bild, ange följande metadata, nära helst direkt under bilden:
  1. Bildens titel + direktlänk till bildens original (där du hittade den på nätet)
  2. Upphovsmannens namn, *eller* användarnamn + länk till hens webplats/bloggplats etc
  3. Den creative commons licens bilden har + länk till förklaringssida om just den licensen

Women holding parts of the first four Army computers

 Public domain

The image above is not under copyright = all rights reserved,
nor does it fall under creative commons = some rights reserved.
Instead it falls under the public domain.

måndag 24 oktober 2016


The course has now been going on for some time, and I have observed how openness and fluidity can be disctracting:
I wake up in the morning to check out what is on the agenda in the ONL -blog, but hours later I find myself having started off at the blog, discover and follow an interesting link someone posted, which in its turn links me to something new and interesting which I have been dying to read about for a long time...

So to write this blog post I have taken refuge to an old fashioned swedish konditori (more like a patisserie/tearoom than a coffe shop) WHERE THEY HAVE CAKE BUT NO WIFI!!!
Without wifi I am left alone for sometime with just the laptop offline and my thoughts, and time alone to put some more depth and focus into reading and writing....

No wifi. But an original jukebox from the fifties. 
by Lena Tembe. CC BY-NC

Hierarchical or content related course structure?

I also realise how much my previous experience of online courses influence my expectations of a course structure and how the course information is layed out.
Its like there is an internal mental course structure, that I search for when entering a new course.
Course-sites in LMS:s are usually  much more hierarchically structured. There is usually only one online course place, where the navigation relies heavily on a menu to the left of the interface. Usually the content is divided into one folder for administrative stuff, one folder for literature and resources,one with examination material and also a link to a discussion forum.

The ONL course does not follow this structure. Course information and functions are spread among several different platforms. This has created a sense of confusion, and also a considerable time spent looking around for information and upcoming tasks. The great advantage of this approach however, is that each tool used is much more adequate and fitting to the needs of each task and activity to be performed there.

It seems that the strategy when building a course in an LMS is more about squeezing the content into a predominant structure, while the ONL course is more about selecting and adjusting tools and course structure from the characteristics of the content and the needs of the intended learning activities...

onsdag 28 september 2016

Taking part of ONL

Hello, here is my blogspace which I will use in the ONL course...
My first time to study in a MOOC :-D

(I have used it occasionally over the years so there are also a few posts on various ICT topics in swedish)

Yay! I am back to studies after years of putting other people into learning situations...
Already one year ago I made an attempt at this course but had to postpone because of too much work at the time...
Now I have more free time and look forward to meeting knew knowledge, new ways of communicating and meeting many interesting people!
I work with educational technology and have worked on a project at Uppsala university Campus Gotland. I have worked a lot with many different LMS:es (learning management systems) but look forward to exploring the different approach in this course with a combination of many online learning environments...