POT Certificate Class 2012-13 is coming!

We are working on revising the syllabus and getting set up for the POT Certificate Class 2012-13. (#potcert12)

Thanks to all who participated in the survey to guide our efforts.

The next class begins September 1, 2012, although we plan a workshop in the POT Facebook group a couple of weeks prior to class.

A new blog will appear for the 2012-13 class here.

If you wish to join the cohort for 2012-13, email Lisa after July 1. The class will continue to be free, offered by the Program for Online Teaching (not an accredited institution), run by volunteer faculty and participants, and open to everyone. We will still offer a certificate for those who fulfill the syllabus requirements, and open participation for anyone not interested in the certificate.

If you wish to volunteer to help with the course, we need mentors (who help 3-4 participants continually throughout the year) and moderators (who introduce weekly topics and monitor discussion).


Week 24 catchup: Summarise, Assess and Contribute

So I have found my way to the end of the course.  Below are the links to my blog postings for this course.

I have loved this course from the moment I was sent the link to it.  The syllabus promised an interesting mix between theory and practical.  I love trying out new things but I need to be guided in this area – I need someone to suggest something to me and to give me a bit of introduction as to how or why I should do it.  Then I feel that I am in a position to play with it and learn how I can use and apply it.

Would I recommend this course to others?  Most definitely.  Anyone using or wanting to add web technology to their course delivery will find this course an exciting introduction to ‘what is out there’.  I want to come back and keep playing and learning and adding to my courses – even though I teach face-to-face.  It doesn’t matter how the course is taught, the tools and ideas apply to it all.

I have prepared a final video on how I have applied my new-found knowledge to one of my courses.

I have gone over the rubric of the course expectations.  I started the course last year and regularly completed the weekly posts but this year has been slightly different.  I had good intentions and even got the first week back completed on time (week 13) but after that things got a bit out of control.  There are a number of reasons for that but mainly for me it was the start of a new academic year and there were extra pressures because of the change in software being taught (hello Microsoft Office 2010) which has certainly taken me longer to work through than I thought.  I was reading the weekly requirements on a fairly regular basis and I did keep reading the textbook but I didn’t complete the tasks as I should have.  Fortunately, having completed the readings and knowing the type of task required did allow me to think about what I would post – when I had time.  Hence all of the catchup posts!!!!  After completing the mid-semester checkup I was determined to comment on others posts but that didn’t happen and now the number of posts to look at are overwhelming.  However, because I was regularly coming back to the course website I was able to peruse the posts coming through the feed.

What has all this taught me?  Besides the learning experiences I have had, the difficulty I have experienced in completing the tasks has taught me to be aware of what students are doing and catch up with them as soon as they start falling behind.  Maybe some check point post summaries worth a small value of marks would be enough to keep students on track.  For example, the mid year summary in this course was great for ensuring I was up to date before the Christmas break.  Maybe a monthly summary (being about every 4 weeks) might also be useful to ensure everyone is coping ok.  I have also learned that allowing catch up posts is great – I may have fallen behind but at least I am finally here!  I found it difficult coming back from the break in remembering how I had to add video and even to add a post!  All this was so new to me that  I had to refresh my learning.  Another thing to remember when interacting with our students.  I look back at my posts and discover that they are mainly reflective posts – what I think, my journey, how it all fits together for me.  I think that is what I needed to do for this course – figure out where I stand and how things fit together.  I am keen to return as a mentor next time around so I can keep adding to my knowledge, learn about the tools available and see what others are doing while adding to the collective knowledge in any way I can.

Some of the biggest things I have learned about using blogs are:

  • give all posts useful tags and categories (and I still need to determine what is the difference between tags and categories)
  • provide a link to the articles I am referring to (at least I can then find the article again – provided it is still at that link)
  • use the ‘read more’ option to make the posts showing on my blog smaller so that more posts can be shown on the page
  • make sure I reflect on my difficulties with blogging as others could have the same problems and I found it frustrating when I couldn’t figure out how to do things and I couldn’t find help from others! And tag these ‘how to’ posts accordingly it is easier to find again – I hate to think how much time it took me to find my post on how I added by Jing to the blog!

Week 1: Introduction, setting up my blog, setting up Diigo, visiting others blogs

Week 2: Teaching and Learning Online, reflection on RSS

Week 3: Pedagogy and Course Design

Week 4: Materials for Online and Prezi presentation

Week 5: The Online Syllabus

Week 6: Creating Presentations and getting Jing to work in WordPress

Week 7: The Online Classroom

Week 8: Creating Community and Symbaloo of online teaching tools

Week 9: Student Activities

Week 10: Open Platforms for Teaching and Learning

Week 11: Class Resources and Intellectual Property

Week 12: Resources Online / Mid-year Self-Assessment Check

Week 13: Images  and  I’m back

Week 14: Audio and Video

Week 15: Screencasting and Multimedia

Week 16: Our Online Students

Week 17: Classroom Management

Week 18: course management system

Week 19: Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes

Week 20: Does the Digital Classroom Enfeeble the Mind

Week 21:  Online Education Theory

Week 22: Personal Learning Networks

Week 23: Presentation

Week 23 Catchup: Presentation

My presentation for week 23

I have put together a powerpoint and uploaded it to Slideshare but unfortunately some of the links don’t appear to be working when the presentation is played online even though they all work when the powerpoint is downloaded!!

Week 22 catchup: Personal Learning Networks

I have just watched Dean Shareski, Sharing: The Moral Imperative and his last statement of ‘what will you share today’ is what this post is going to be about.  The last couple of weeks have seen me updating my Access 2010 tutorial (from the 2007 version) and changing some of the other parts to show them better.  Over the last few years I have put together a few tutorials related to people I have been working with as part of my teaching and tutorial jobs.  One day I finally got myself sorted and created a google site for these tutorials.  They take time to prepare and why shouldn’t I share them?  After all I have written them to meet my needs because I couldn’t find ones which suited my needs elsewhere.  If you want to know about my tutorials, please visit my website.  I know it’s not the most interesting to use but it meets my needs.  I share the link with others and I have had students ask for the resources because they know I produced them.  I have the tutorials on the course Moodle page but this is closed off to students after they have finished the course which actually locks information they may want in the future away from them.  One day I’m going to add creative commons licenses to my resources but that is for another day.

What else have I shared?  After Norm shared the MCCPOT Symbaloo I looked at this as a way of sharing things.  I put one together for myself and one for the different teaching tools from this  course.  At the start of this year, the student orientation week involved the students completing a number of tasks including creating videos and blogs.  What did I do?  Put them into a symbaloo of their work.  More recently I used it to meet a need I had at work.  I was unable to access the NMIT webpages using the work laptop and network.  I discovered I wasn’t the only person with this problem and the problem wasn’t being fixed because it had low priority as we all had workarounds and my work-around was to construct a symbaloo of the pages I didn’t have easy access to and I shared it with other tutors as well.  I use it all the time now (even since the problem has been fixed).  I have decided that I really like Symbaloo.  It is definitely a way for me to share different links in an easy way.  It is far better than adding favourites to my web browser or copying links into a document which are workable but not portable.  Symbaloo has made it easier for me to share things – even if it is with myself where I need access from a different place.  In fact, I see the Symbaloo as an ideal tool for accessing my personal teaching network as I can place links on it to media sites, resource sites, blogs and wikis, social networking services, digital communities, social bookmarking sites and photo sharing sites. 

All I have to do is place the link on my teaching tools Symbaloo which is easy to do!

Certified and Certifiable #potcert11

I started this blog back in August 2011 when I signed up for the MiraCosta Online Teaching Certificate Program for Online Teaching.
It’s a 24 week online course covering many aspects of online teaching. For me it was a unique online experience, full of many interesting assignments, fascinating people and also a lot of fun.
All of my work for the course has been posted in this blog under the category and tag potcert11. Last week our class met online for our graduation and awards ceremony. There’s a video of the proceedings here.

I thought it would be fitting to leave one last potcert11 blog post here to show off my certificate.


If you’re interested in the training, I hear another session is planned for this fall, so keep an eye on Pedagogy First for more information.

I don’t know what’s next for this blog, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
Are there any questions?


Congratulations 2011-12 Certificate Grads!

Video of our online graduation ceremony. If you earned a certificate, but could not attend, you can find out which award you received.


Week 21 catchup: Online Education Theory

Here I go thinking that I can quickly finish this task as I’m on catch up mode big time.  I should have known better!!  Having watched the video and read the articles, I am left thinking about Issac Asimov’s Foundation series.  A lot of what was said makes me think that we have to be very careful where we go with learning.  I think we have to be careful to ensure that students are given the problem solving skills to interact with the vast range of information available to us rather than just relying on being able to find out what we want to know when we want to know about it.  The ability to have a learning network approach is very important but so is the ability to learn through building and sharing.

First the video

I usually turn up my nose at theory as I see myself as a more application person, but the content of this video totally hooked me.  My compulsory education years were in the 1970s and early 1980s and was totally of the instructivism mode.  Even my first tertiary qualification (accounting) was in taught and (and more importantly) examined (by an external body) using the instructivism mode.  How I grew to hate that.  I wanted to know more about the whys and wherefores of what was going on.  How did I meet this need?  By going to books and finding useful things to read by flicking through them (it certainly made my assignments time-consuming but I got to figure out how things worked).  I think this was the introduction to the concept of the constructivism mode.

As time went on and as my study needs changed, I moved to extramural study (management and maths) in the late 1980s to the early 2000s.  What did I like about extramural study?  I was given a basic set of information and then I had to figure out what to do with it.  Extramural study requires problem solving.  This time of my study life was pre-Internet and email days (at least until the end part of the period) which meant sending questions via the post (ie snail mail) and waiting for an answer to come back.  This could take a couple of weeks so it was important to try to solve the problems yourself and in doing so, learning was enhanced because of the trial and error process.

Coming back to face to face teaching (IT) in the mid 200s was an interesting time because the Internet was here and making a big impact.  As I became more adventurist with my knowledge gathering I first used How Stuff Works and Wikipedia and then as my confidence grew I stated using Google.  It was hard going and I’m still not competent at using it but I am certainly aware of my difficulties.

Now of course, we are hit by the Web 2.0 tools and I have been introduced to the connectivism mode which this course is all about – designing my own learning environment, finding out what works for me and trying new things.  I would love to be able to go off and just find things to learn by following my interests and putting together my own networked learner diagram but that is not me.  I still need someone to get me started, to provide the funnel which puts the learning into some sort of context, someone who facilitates and guides my learning or else I get overwhelmed by everything and end up coming to a standstill –> information overload leading to my standing still!

I conclude from my thoughts above that while the instructional approach worked well when I was at school and my knowledge was limited, I have grown up to become more inquisitive and prefer a more constructivist approach to my learning.  I am happy to include bits of connectivism but I think I prefer the constructivism approach overall – it fits well with who I am, a follower but not a leader.

If I look at my teaching style, I am definitely of the constructivism mode.  It probably fits well with my teaching interests – maths, accounting, systems development.  I’m not one for rote learning and I love the idea that there are lots of ways to complete an activity and that while some ways work better than others, there is often no ‘right way’ – it all depends on what is to be achieved.

An example of this from my current teaching.  The objectives of the systems development paper is to design a system which will meet a users needs.  For the assignment, we are documenting the creation of an online bookstore.  There are many ways in which this can happen and I am introducing the technics which students can use and then letting them experiment with them to come up with their own designs.  I have learned a lot about how these systems work and keep adding and adjusting the assignment scenario as students introduce me to new ideas.  After the first assignment was marked, we had a general discussion on what had been discovered and put together a framework for the second part of the assignment.  Off the students went again.  I listened to their conversations, had new conversations with them on the assignment and then put together the starting point for assignment 3 based on what they were finding out.  Now here is what I think is an important part about my teaching practice.  The students are putting together a database to implement their ideas.  I could get involved with good database design in this class (and in fact, previous tutors have) but I’ve chosen to look at the results of the queries rather than the design of the queries because I know students will look at the design of the queries in other papers.  I asked myself, what is the purpose of this part of the course – database design or an appreciation of what a database can achieve?  I decided on the achievement aspect so I have said to them ‘I don’t care how ugly their query design is, just as long as it can produce the output required’ because that is the purpose of this paper and I want students to experiment with getting the desired result of the output sorted out, rather than looking at how to efficiently get that output.  Let’s break it down and achieve 1 thing now so that later they know they can produce the desired output and can therefore concentrate on getting there more efficiently.

Second the article Individual knowledge in the Internet Age

This article was fascinating.  My immediate reaction was my posts for weeks 16 and 20 and how this complimented them.  In one of the IT courses I completed we discussed the concept of knowing:

we know what we know,

we know what we don’t know,

we don’t know what we know,

we don’t know what we don’t know.

This article seemed to be relating to the above concept of knowing.  How do we know what we know? We have learned it through reading, doing, hearing, repetition etc and we understand that we can rely on that knowledge – we just know how to do it.  We know how to read, we know how to use a dictionary, we know the basic maths concepts.  Likewise, we tend to understand that we don’t know things.  I know that I couldn’t make my car go if it wasn’t going – I know that I have to ring the garage to book the car in.  My knowledge of my car is that if I put petrol in and turn the key it should go.  If it doesn’t go, I know the signs of a flat battery but that is it.  If the mechanic asks me questions about what is wrong with the car, I can’t actually tell him much at all.  As far as telling cars apart, they have different colours and that is about it!!  I really don’t know anything about cars but that is okay.  I know what to do to find out about them (ring the garage!!).  These two are the easiest concepts for me to understand.  Fortunately we actually know about things we didn’t think we knew anything about.  For example, if the mechanic asked me to add more oil, I could probably figure out how to do that but it isn’t intuitive like putting petrol in.  If someone asked me why the computer isn’t working, I would check things and see what options are available and see how I got on.  In this situation, I don’t actually know what I know but somewhere I have learned stuff without actually realising it.  This is bonus knowledge – I didn’t know I had it.

The most difficult situation is what we don’t know we don’t know.  We may assume we could solve the problem at the time but we have no idea how we would do that.  This is where the idea of being able to Google an answer is useful – but only if we have access to a working computer successfully connected to the Internet, but only if we know what key words to use and how to filter the information which comes screaming down to us, and even realising that we don’t know something.  Here is a question: If the power goes off at your house, do you know how to check to see if it is caused by a blown fuse, and if so how to fix it without resorting to the Internet (after all you have no power).  It is often out of emergency situations people find out what they don’t know.

How does this all relate to the article above?  My question is, what happens when no one ’knows’ anything because we can always Google it?  If we don’t know about it, how can we search for it and having searched for it, how do we know we have found it?

I think we are heading into a dangerous area if we stop learning things to know what they are because we can always find it out later.  How far do we take this.  O well, I suppose it doesn’t matter if I can’t read or write because I can always use audio to find things.  We should  always be able to go back to the source of the information or else we will be relying on the summaries and decisions others before us make and who knows what caused them to make the decisions and summaries they did.  I think the way Wikipedia sums up how to use it for research applies to all research on the Internet:

You should not use Wikipedia by itself for primary research (unless you are writing a paper about Wikipedia).

And to be able to research using the Internet means we have to know how to do lots of things first, not just that we can do them.

POTCERT11 Summary post: second semester

Week 13: Creating Class Elements Part 1: Images and screenshots

Week 14: Creating Class Elements Part 2: Audio and video

Week 15: Creating Class Elements Part 3: Screencasting and multimedia

Week 16: Our Students Online

Week 17: Classroom Management

Week 18: The Course Management System

Week 19: Web-Enhanced, Hybrid and Open Classes

Week 20: Introduction to Educational Technology and Instructional Design

Week 21: Introduction to Online Education Theory

Week 22: Personal Learning Networks

Week 23: Presentations

First, the quantitative analysis using the rubric:

  • Quantity of posts: here I’m very likely to achieve high learning objectives, because I did post regularly and frequently (though I fell off a little at the end).
  • Quality of posts: I had some good posts, but a few were perhaps not as thoughtful, so I think I’m probably somewhere between moderately likely and highly likely to achieve high learning objectives.
  • Length of posts: I had at least one post of several paragraphs for each module, so I think I’m very likely to achieve high learning objectives. I didn’t do many video or audio posts, but I generally prefer writing and reading to recording and watching or listening.
  • Completing and absorbing readings: once again I’m probably somewhere between moderately likely and highly likely to achieve high learning objectives, as I did all the readings, but I did fall behind a little and have to catch up.
  • Studying videos and other content in the prompts: I watched all the videos and read all the articles, so I am highly likely to achieve objectives.
  • Time spent per week: I easily spent 5 hours or more per week, so I’m highly likely to achieve high learning objectives.
  • Commenting on colleagues’ blogs: Here, I think I’m moderately likely to achieve high learning objectives. I read and commented on others’ blogs, but I should have commented more. Once again I fell off a little at the end, and didn’t respond to comments on my own blog as quickly as I should have.
  • Extending participation in the online teaching community: here, I did better first semester than second. Throughout the year, I participated in most of the synchronous events and even led one. I don’t do Facebook because I don’t like their cavalier and ever-changing privacy policies, so I didn’t participate there at all. I’ve continued to be active on Twitter, but the big change has been Google+. I was pretty active on Google+ the first semester, and not at all after February (more below).

From a more quantitative perspective, dropping out of Google had a big effect on my participation in the class. I was very active in Google+ the first semester, and enjoyed the hangout feature immensely. At the beginning of the year, Google announced changes to their privacy policy in ways I didn’t like, so I killed my Google account. I don’t think it had a noticeable effect on Google, but I’ve felt much less connected to the class since then. The hangouts are a really effective way of holding synchronous meetings (except when I’m in the lab and can’t talk). I don’t check my newsreader nearly as much as when I used Google reader, so I’ve fallen off on my RSS feeds as well. I’m really conflicted–I don’t like Google’s new policy, but I like the social tools they made available to me. The semester’s over, and I’ll be out of the office for the summer soon, with summer to think about how I’ll connect in the fall. I’ll be back, but I’m not sure how.

I’ve really enjoyed participating, and I intend to continue to do so. I’ve made some great connections, and I have some big issues to wrestle with over the summer. I have ideas for next fall’s courses, but they’re still pretty amorphous at this point. My classes will be different in the fall, but I don’t know exactly how yet.

Final presentation

For my final presentation, I decided to follow a suggestion (was it Walter? I can’t find the comment to give credit where it’s due) to use the least advanced technology that will work. In this case, I’m just going to talk:

I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I did get what I needed.

Web-enhanced, hybrid and open classes

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Pig Monkey
I’m certain that it indicates a lack of imagination on my part, but I have a hard time conceptualizing how I would put together an hybrid or blended class. (Then again, I’m still struggling with how to teach my online classes.) I know plenty of instructors teach such classes, and I’m sure many do them well, but then again, lots of people lecture to hundreds of students at a time, and I can’t see myself doing that either.

Online and face to face teaching just seem so different, that I have a hard time seeing how I can put them together successfully. In either case, there’s the real challenge of getting to know one’s students. I have strategies that I use in my online classes, and strategies that I use online, but I don’t know how well they would combine. It seems to me that I would wind up diluting both, and neither would be effective.