Collaborating to Learn – 3rd, last, but definitely not least

Unit 4 student-led summary was a game of 2 half’s for me. In week 1 my favourite activity was the BIG DEBATE where again we were split into debating teams, with one team advocating the virtual university and the other team providing critical challenge of it.  I appreciated the colour identification set up for all posts by the seminar leaders – this added a new dimension to following a debate with ease:

  • The blue team identified thus       – Blue
  • The red team identified thus         – Red
  • The seminar leads identified thus – Leaders

…making identification of the purpose of each posts instantaneous – very useful.

I must confess that I did not particularly like the first activity of week 1: The African Adventure Trail Quiz.  It was a little tedious to find my way around the African Virtual University and personally I didn’t really see the point.  I seem to recall that I didn’t do very well in my first attempt but learned from the feedback.  I got a good enough score in the second attempt but was not in the least interested in making a third attempt to get to the top of the leader board.  I was not motivated by getting a perfect score for something that I didn’t consider to be important enough.  This is interesting information in itself though.

The seminar orientation was very well laid out with lots of information and very useful to refer back to whilst completing the seminar e.g. the explanation of the Progress Bar.  I also appreciated joining in the discussion in activity 3 where one of the leaders, Anne Jamie, provided some additional and very interesting videos from the ‘School of Thought – A Vision for the Future of Learning’.  In fact my experience of watching, and learning from, these videos led me to putting into action an idea that I’d been ‘brewing’ for some time; workshop video pre-work. I was motivated into producing the suite of video shorts that I’d been planning, and activity 3 was the catalyst for me getting this new online design underway.

See below for a link to my Creating Convincing Proposals Video Shorts that I’m currently in the process of trialling with a group from the Business School on a Live Project.  The idea behind this online initiative is to save time explaining the techniques in the workshop by asking students to watch 12 mins of video (all 7 video shorts) before attending. This should allow more time to be devoted to discussing how to utilise the techniques for a graded presentation and put ideas into practice in the safe environment of the workshop, whilst also receiving feedback from peer groups.

Creating Convincing Proposals Video Shorts

My favourite aspect of this seminar though was the gamification and mobile learning activities in week 2.  I’ve already indicated in my blog entry on the 9th April, how I achieved the highest score for the seminar’s gamified elements in Week 2 and won unit 4 Top Scorer award.  I found myself intrigued and immersed in the learning games in  week 2 (in spite of my belief that I had little interest in online gaming!).  What really captivated me was what I’d call the ‘treasure hunt’ aspect of ‘chasing’ additional points where I had to for example:

  • add at least two posts to the debate OR
  • submit a new post, at a certain time with a heading of ‘what I had for breakfast’ OR
  • add something to the virtual dictionary

I found this part of the ‘game’ very captivating and grew more delighted as my progress bar was completed.  I was also able to offer a little advice to a fellow participant who was trying to understand how to complete their task bar.

I truly consider that I was in competition with myself and perceived that everyone of us on the seminar could be at the top of the leader board as we were all able to achieve the 55 points for a place at the top.  I was secretly delighted though that I got a Top Scorer badge 🙂

In a conversation with one of the seminar leaders we discussed whether the PGcert cohort were somewhat ‘debating and discussing weary’ by this stage in the module. The fact that there were fewer of us participating in the discussions leads me to suspect that this was in fact true.  Again, another useful point to take into consideration when planning ongoing activities for online learners.

All in all I have enjoyed the 3 seminars and found them a stimulating and enlightening learning experience.

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