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