Reflection on H809 progress

Erik Estrada & Larry Wilcox from ChiPsAfter the frantic rush to complete TMA01, I swore I would never fall behind again. Of course a two week holiday put paid to all of that despite my diligence in packing some work to do by the pool (some hope!). I now find myself pretty much three weeks behind target. 

The anxiety about this state of affairs has been building steadily and has combined with H809 subject matter that holds little instant appeal for me: conceptual frameworks and their applications. That said, one of the reasons I’m taking this course was to engage with this very material and ill the gaps in my thus-far practitioner-only career.

So, I find myself looking at some of the few discussions in the forums and struggling to make sense of what is being said. I’ve finally worked out what this ‘CoP’ thing is (nothing to do with Erik Estrada, it seems. Damn.) but I’m bewildered and feeling rather challenged.

Despite this, I have the consolations of knowing that:

a) I’m certainly not alone – a quick glance at the three tutorial groups suggests that things have quietened down substantially (Rhona‘s group is very actively attempting to make sense of TMA02 though and it makes for engaging (read: terrifying) reading). A few lurkers have made themselves known, perhaps as a cry for help!

b) We’ve been here before. And we make effective use of terror and adrenaline to cut through the digital mountain and get things done. And in getting things done, it generally means having epiphanies. (And then swearing never to fall behind again, and so the cycle begins anew – is there a conceptual framework for this sequence? “Yes, it’s called Cramming”).

Flippancy aside, I had hoped to make far more use of the blogs. I really wanted them to work, but found that, while I like using them as a reflective tool, as perhaps I”m doing now, I’m not really using them to comment on other learners’ contributions. Same with the wiki. I advocate the adoption of these tools at work, and yet I’m not making use of them properly in a course on Online Learning. This is somewhat disheartening, but a healthy dose of realism in the sense that these tools are not inherently amazing, but our experience here will better prepare us for advocating their effective use elsewhere.

What worked very well, I thought, in H808, was when we were put into smaller groups of three or four and given tasks. Perhaps future incarnations of H809 could consider multi-author blogs. It might help foster a team/community spirit which spills over then into other areas. Entries get comments at least from the other authors, helping to keep the blog dynamic; my perception of the many of the current H809 blogs (including mine) is a reluctance of participants to ‘risk’ making assertions which can be publicly scrutinised – multi-author blogs could help alleviate this.

Ok, I may be getting m OU mojo back now, so I’ll surrender myself to the CoPs again.

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2 responses to “Reflection on H809 progress

  1. Hiya Enda,
    very interesting reading. I particularly like the multiple author blog idea…

    I hope TMA02 is not so traumatic as 01!

    Cheers
    Vic

  2. Hi Vic,

    Thanks for the comment & yes, TMA02 was just as traumatic – well until the last couple of days when it all began to make sense.

    Having come across a couple of studies for TMA02 using Conversation Framework or Activity Theory, I realised how important it is for learners to have tangible incentives that are built into the course. Multiple author blogging might be a way of getting the benefits of blogging with the incentive of not letting your blog-group down.

    Do you know if any OU module has tried this yet?

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