Online Learning Readiness

I completed all the questionnaires, just because I am a bit of a geek and like taking questionnaires :). Luckily they confirmed I was ready to take an online course, (phew seen as I am signed up for this course!). I did think they were useful tools in helping potential online students consider what they were about to take on, but also raised a couple of issues:

Firstly that it is important to manage expectation of students and this is not limited to online courses. We are focusing this on online courses as the course is about TEL, and because online courses are probably new to some people, so we have to manage their expectations. However each course, no matter what the delivery format should have its expectations clear in terms of how long it will take; the delivery format; what the tutor responsibilities are: what the student responsibilities are; how much self-directed study the students will be expected to do; whether group work and collaborative work are involved, and so on. This will make it much easier for a potential student to decide if a course is for them or not and will prevent wasting everyone’s time of a student enrolling on something that is clearly unsuitable.

I think the questionnaires did not make clear the importance of some of the issues. For example if you lack access to a pc with internet connection, that pretty much rules you out of doing an online course. However if you answered no to being able to attach a file to an email – that could be shown to you very quickly and should not act as a deterrent to participating. Some of the skills the students could develop as they participate. I am sure that not everyone will have had have the skills to participate in a MOOC at the start of this course, but it does not mean they won’t be successful in developing them during participation.

Finally on procrastination and time management/self organisation. Who isn’t guilty of procrastination from time to time, especially when you are using social networking tools to help support you take a course? In addition who could claim to have perfect time management and self-organisation? Often taking part in a course like this does drop down the priority list, especially when it is voluntary and not an official part of our day-jobs. Again these skills can be developed in time. Motivation is an important aspect to consider, as if you are highly motivated, you will find time to participate and develop the skills you need to succeed.

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About Sue Folley

Academic Developer, interested in effective use of technology in teaching and learning, Web 2.0 and social networking. Just completed an EdD about teaching online.

Posted on April 23, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi Sue – glad to see a fellow geek filling in all of the questionnaires :-). By the time I had completed the 4th one, I was loosing my concentration and was downgraded to a ‘proceed with caution!’ rating… always a good idea!
    I wonder if you have any thoughts about how you might advise students to use the feedback from any such survey? Thinking here about my ‘proceed with caution’ – how would I go about doing that, and what sort of advice would we offer students in order to make these admittedly fairly blunt instruments into something that could be more nuanced and effective by way of preparing students to embark on their online (or blended) learning programmes?
    Julia

    • Thanks for commenting Julia, apologies for the delayed response. You raise a very good point about how institutions respond to the survey results and I don’t have any easy answers. I think it depends on the questions really as I think motivation is a very important factor, and if that is missing, it may be difficult to fix this, and again this is true of any course, not just online ones. If it is skills that are missing, then these can be learned, and this could be responded to by providing training or activities to help develop the skills. I also think personalities come into it, as some of these questions related to expectations, and if expectations are misaligned, it does not follow that they should not be taking the course. Some people would be ok with the differences between what they expected and reality.

      I wonder how many of the institutions analyse the results of surveys like this and respond to the results at all, rather than treat it just as a self-diagnosis tool.

  2. Fabulous 🙂 I have done that one already as Helen Beetham posted it in the discussion forum as an alternative that she is developing. I put my response there – which was I really liked that one better than the others – it is positive and encouraging and gives really good steps on how to improve. The lovely graph at the end also appealed to my inner geek :). This is the link to the discussion forum post: http://octel.alt.ac.uk/forums/topic/an-alternative-approach/

  3. Kathrine Jensen

    yes, that is where I saw it, should have put link – bad lack of proper referencing on my part!

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