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.