sue watling

Looking ahead is not always recommended. Comparing Week 3 tasks to do with available time to do them brings the word withdraw to mind. Stop now. Reclaim my time. With another five weeks to go, how much longer can I run to stand still while getting further behind the activities?

Time for some realistic appraisal.

In the eclectic world of academia, it’s a given that scholarship has no walls. It’s difficult to measure thought or reflective practice, keep track of those light bulb moments when solutions arrive in the bath or 3.00 in the morning. We commute ever further, looking for efficient ways to use travelling time, and regardless of the views of health health minister Anna Soubry, eating over the keyboard is common practice.

Virtual learning tools and technologies have intensified academic life and perceived efficiencies can be outweighed by the lived reality of learning curves and frustrations. Things are not always what they seem.  So why MOOC – in particular why OLDsMOOC? If the resources are openly available what’s the advantage when to complete and collaborate is being squeezed into an already stretched week. Why do it?

For me, ultimately, it’s about the experience. The displacement in unfamiliar technology; a reminder what it feels like outside my comfort zone, how designing virtual learning has to take into account the diversity of digital confidence and competencies. OLDsMOOC usefully brings digital literacies centre stage. Designed and delivered by technology experts, it’s being received by people with an eclectic mix of digital skills. Like most people I’ve picked up digital literacies as I’ve gone along. Being around when it all began gives me a grasp of the basics but I’m a DIY’er, not an expert. This immersion in ed tech  offers powerful learning and the mix of people external to HE is proving invaluable in broadening my understanding of DIY Multimedia production.

The Features Cards activity at OU Learning Design Initiative was timely. I hadn’t come across OULDI in my digital travels and this is also what MOOCing is about; signposts through the massiveness of the internet, like a scattergram of key stopping off points for content on learning design. If I left now, the learning would be worth it – but I won’t because what can’t be measured is on-going struggle to maintain participation in online distance learning, alongside everything else in my life, and when it comes to learning design it’s having this student experience which is the best tutor of all.



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