How different it is the second time round! When logging into the virtual classroom environment for my second module of the MA Online and Distance Education – H808 The ELearning Professional – no longer did I fumble around wondering if I had made a mistake signing up for this, would I be able to cope with the work, and wondering if this was going to be really boring distance learning. After a fantastic and challenging first module, where I have to to really dig deep within myself to meet the assessments, I am really lookig forward to this particular module, having been told it is very practical, hands-on and reflective.
First impressions are pretty good. Having covered learning design and ‘design for learning’ in H800, I am now actively looking out for discernible elements of design in the activities set up. So I guess the introductions and meeting the module course authors via podcasts is an icebreaker and familisarisation with the term ‘Elearning Professional’. Positive points on the design front so far are:
- A supportive, welcoming and engaged tutor who has responded to individuals warmly.
- A well constructed opening activity which is a podcast allowing us to ‘meet’ the module authors and academics who give their views on what it means to be an ‘ELearning Professional’. This is in contrast to H800 where I don’t think we were really introduced to any particular individuals upfront, and I really only realised who was who as regards the module academics as the module went on and then only rather fuzzily.
- Engaged, friendly and smart individuals in my tutor group who have already started my learning by sharing their views and opinions. I suspect that there is not going to be much holding back in this group and I don’t think we are going to have too much empty discussion forum-itis which I believe can lead to the death of an online course dependent on student-student interaction.
It’s also interesting that there are core and supplementary activities on this module. The core activities are supported by the tutor in tutor group forums, while the supplementary activities stream seems to be module wide and is run by a separate facilitator. We have to partake in the supplementary activities to be considered for a distinction and it seems these will involve blogging and using the wiki, from what I understand. I wonder how these incentives will pan out for student motivation and engagement as the module advances.