Last year I suggested doing a MOOC for Christmas. Participation seemed a good way to experience online learning design but after my first week with OLDsMOOC, I realise how passive my previous MOOCs have been. The challenge of OLDsMOOC is it demands action and integration. OLDsMOOC is too big for lurking. You need the sense of a group with a shared purpose. Otherwise it’s like being in a giant city for the first time; full of iconic landmarks and exciting to be there – but even better with map of the public transport systems and some familiar faces to share it with.
DIY Multimedia at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/olds-mooc-diy-multimedia is taking shape and it’s exciting to be sharing everyone’s contributions in this way. Useful commonalities between OLD and the use of multimedia in teaching and learning are emerging. Both areas sit outside subject specialism. Multimedia is part of being digitally literate. The recognition that digital literacies would benefit from sector wide funding under the JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme was welcome. However, funds tend to go to teams already embedded in digital ways of working with the risk of assumptions made by innovators and early adopters about individual confidence and competence with working in online environments. This also applies to OLD. Experts in face-to-face design and delivery can be left to work out OLD for themselves; this can result in a mass of content posted online with little variety or interaction. A common complaint is ‘I set up a discussion forum but nobody used it!’ Experience of an online course, or MOOC, in particular the loneliness of the long distance learner, or overload of information, is invaluable. OLDsMOOC is experiential learning at its best.
The strange becomes familiar: Facebook has arrived on OLDsMOOC!
Facebook has arrived! After the strangeness of Cloudworks and initiation into Google Groups, the OLDs Facebook site offers a welcome familiar face. Facebook for me has become a useful mechanism for keeping up to date with community groups and organisations as well as family and friends. To see OLDsMOOC appear here was almost a relief; at last, an environment I can integrate into my daily online routine. The link between familiar online environments and retention might be worth further investigatinon.
The OLDs calendar of w/b on Thursdays is another anomaly I’m finding difficult to adjust to. I can’t shift from feeling Mondays is the start of the week. Does OLD work best when operating on a traditional time scale? Another question to reflect on for future practice.
Reflecting on the blog below I feel a mixture of professional and social online identities is the ideal. This can offer a prospective employer a holistic view of you as a person. I’ve been engaged in a quest for the holy grail of online identities with which to do this; one that incorporates everything into a single place. The closest I’ve come is over on the top right of this screen; the Social Homes plugin. It’s a shame that all the icons are not working but this is close to the one-stop-shop I’ve been searching for.
As well as saying something about us, this variety of tools demonstrates competence with Web 2.0 type software. It also shows we’re in control of what we chose to put online. That’s not a bad thing. Even if we struggle with Facebook or Twitter we still need to engage if only for the benefits of networking and increasing our virtual profile. This is one side of the digital divide where we clearly need to position ourselves. Apart from demonstrating that this is our forte, there’s also the separate issue that if we don’t take control of our online identity someone else may take it over instead.
I’m a minimalist type of person. I don’t like clutter and I like my online life to be similarly organised. Multiple login details are frustrating especially when they don’t work. For example when trying to access a hotmail account (to find login details which I’ve forgotten) I get the following message: ‘The e-mail address or password is incorrect. Need help? ‘I do so I click and am asked for my email address; it’s the password I’ve forgotten so I key in the address, I decipher the Captcha and I get the following two options: ‘Send yourself a password reset e-mail message.’ No good, I can’t get into my account because I’ve forgotten my password. ‘Provide account information and answer your secret question.’ But I don’t recognise the secret question never mind what answer I may have given – so I give up.
It’s a similar story with gmail. Google docs tells me ‘The username or password you entered is incorrect’ and offers me a ‘I cannot access my account’ link. I select this and Google apologises for any inconvenience I’m experiencing and gives me a range of possible reasons. I select ‘Forgot my password’ and am invited to visit their password recovery page. Here I’m not asked for my email address – which is a pity because I know that – instead they want my user name – I’m not sure what that is but I take a guess, decipher another Captcha, and am told initiating the password reset process involved following the instructions sent to my ringassociates.co.uk email address. As far as I know I haven’t come across ringassociates before so I give up.
With MySpace – I get off to a better start: ‘Forgot Your Password? No Worries… Just enter the email account you signed-up with, and we’ll mail you your password’. So I try an email address, and then another, both of which are valid, but all I get is ‘No such email address was found.’
And that’s the end – no more offers of help.
I’m tempted to try Facebook but feel that’s enough rejection for one day.
I’m sure someone somewhere has collected all these attempts to automate the help process and I’m not sure if this blog is a sad reflection on my virtual organisation skills or an example of another battle in the war of the digital divide. Either way I’m logging off and going out for a walk instead.
The defection from Twitter to Yammer has been interesting; a few weeks ago we were twittering away then along came Yammer. It not only attracted a greater number of UL employees but those with dual status seem to have gradually moved across and deserted Twitter in favour of Yammer. There’s a noticeable decline in Facebook contributions too. It seems that one is enough. Two is too many. Is this the nature of Web 2.0 tools? The flavour of the month is easily replaced by a new taste. What will take over from Yammer? There must be something equally new and addictive just waiting in the wings.
You have to join facebook to use it and it’s the best way to get an insight into social networking. You’ll find me there – and a range of other people from the University of Lincoln. www.facebook.com/
Research from JISC shows ‘Social networking sites are still being widely used and more frequently, mainly for personal or social reasons.’ and ‘Students make wide use of social networking but struggle to see how it could be used in learning’
There is tension between the social nature of the software and potential exploitation of student’s online ‘space’. There have also been issues around the exposure of disparaging and derogatory remarks made within the social network environment.
The University of Leicester is currently researching into the possibility that social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace can help first year students integrate into university life. Preregistration and induction times are middle ground areas where the boundaries between social and institutional may merge more successfully. But there is a real danger in assuming that everyone has access to the technology….