Friday, February 15, 2013

On Steve Kolowich and the Human Element

An interesting read. One comment stands out for me
"For Hersh, engagement goes hand-in-hand with audio-visual communication. The more that exchanges occurring within an online learning environment resemble those that occur in classrooms, he says, the more that students will feel connected to their professors and classmates, and the more likely they will be to stay in a program”
This reminds me of the Stagecoach/Railway analysis where the early railways adopted a Stagecoach seating arrangement to give passengers a ‘feel’ for the old ways. Yet the Stagecoach seating arrangement on railways has disappeared for far more practical designs. We are still trying to get a feel for the old ways of doing things. We need to learn and adapt to the new. John Locke’s response resonates with me on this MOOC:
“when the instructor takes the time to actually call each student a week before the course starts, the rate of anxiety is greatly reduced and the student realizes that there is, in fact a caring, feeling person who is also an expert in his or her field on the other end of the connection”
I had a high degree of anxiety before I started this MOOC. It dissipated in the first week but has resurged now in week 3. I am hampered by slow internet speeds (I have been to my service provider yesterday to upgrade my ADSL speed but yet to see any better response times). I am stressed that I cannot speak to any faculty member at Edinburgh and I am relying on my fellow students for help. What is helping me to ‘stay engaged’? I recall two years ago I ‘attended’ a course on the ILM VLE (Institute of Leadership and Management Virtual Learning Environment). I found it very hard going. I was lonely. I was the only student at the time undertaking the learning. I made it through in the end because I hate starting something that I do not finish. On this MOOC I am working hard to stay engaged by reading the threads of my colleagues, by responding to them, by writing my personal ‘Learning Log’ (with thanks to Dr Peter Honey so many years ago who introduced me to such things and some others), and by writing up some of my thoughts on my ‘Learning Blog’ and getting the odd bit of feedback. All of this is most definitely part of the ‘Human Element’. Do I need audio-visual content? Not really.

1 comment:

  1. Dave - Thanks for commenting on my blog post about this topic! I hadn't found your blog yet so am excited to read the various posts. If you would like to join us on the Voice Thread please do! I have to say that it has helped me feel much more connected during this EDCMOOC. We are having a Google Hangout this weekend. Read more here: