Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Evaluating my 2 week asynchronous Event on blogs

Evaluating mini event on blogs as effective e-tool
Topic - Blogs as effective Asynchronous e-learning tool
Mode - Asynchronous through Discussion forum
Venue/Interface- Google Blogger
External Links- Link to presentation in You Tube
Interface - Open Source, anyone can post comment.
I advertised my conference details in the course wiki and also emailed blog link in the beginning of the forum to all the Facilitating Online Communities Group and also advertised in facebook to my friends.
Week 1 began with introduction to blog in education and where it fits in the broader context of learning and teaching in learning environment. Focus was not on just implementing blogs in e-learning set up, but its effectiveness in a learning environment whether its face to face delivery or online or blended.

Facilitation was aimed at generating content for participants to sink into the discussion and collaborate individual thoughts, knowledge and experiences.
At the end of Week 1 I summarised the discussions briefly and again sent a reminder to all FOC 09 participants and also notified my friends by email.
Since,everyone in the group was sorting out their mini-conference event, i thought (well I assumed) most of them must have forgotten about my asynchronous event amidst all organising their event.
Week 2 was about discussion around implementing blogs in education. I invited one of the participants from another module Katie Gibbs to share her experience with implementing blogs in her class.

How did it go?
Including mine , it created 40 comments to the post, so i must say the event generated intended outcomes.Everyone gave a valuable and useful contribution, which i summed up in my reflection.
HIGHLIGHT:In its second week, discussion came out to be more robust and alive and we were reflecting critically on use of blogs as a e-tool.

What went well?
The advertisement, the video and the content kicked well. It put everyone is state of equity and convenience; all got the writing space to voice their opinion because of asynchronous nature of the learning event. Unlike in real time where you could miss out on people who take longer to understand and post questions, the 2 week time frame generated lots of enthusiasm and contribution from the participants.

Being asynchronous in nature it overcame the rigidity of a live event where, if someone misses, they miss voicing their opinion, even though they could listen to the recording later.
Also, partcipants had time to digest,reflect and fine tune their thinking before posting.It made possible for all to give personalised feedback on their informal learning achievements like that of Debra,Katie,Roseanne,Satish,Catherine,Krishan,Ajit,Neethika to name a few.
I moderated the blogs, so that i knew who is posting, and that helped me facilate the discussion.I acknowledged all posts and tried to establish link with my content to generate more dialogue for continuing discussion.
The video presentation by my presenter Jagadish Ghimire was very clear,great synchronisation of voice and music with the content.
I must say it was hard to keep track and facilitate for 2 weeks, i had to be watching my blog all days (well not 24/7, but you can say that too).

What went wrong?
The hassle of clicking on link and going to Youtube could have been avoided by embedding the video, rather than the link.Participants could view the presentation but had to come back to blog to comment.This could have created confusion among the partcipants, about posting their thoughts/comments, although my blog clearly requested everybody to have discussion threads under my blog.
The interaction and the collaborative nature of event itself went smooth,however the content/discussions got questioned for its spelling and grammar credibility.So,that was a eye opener.

What did I learn?
I discovered peer-learning with this event and to some extent developed good writing communication skill. I try and re-check my draft, but obviously need to re-read and learn to polish my writing skills in the future.I tried my best to facilitate the event to my ability, and tried to generate rather than create content.

What would I change?
I could have combined the asynchronous activity with a synchronous one, where we get the real time buzz. Agreed about the technical nightmares one can face in a online live environment but hey, it could have enriched the understanding of the topic. We could have achieved the best of both worlds, would have been more effective to have interaction and live question on the topic.
I could have added the video inside my blog ,to void hassle to learners to go forward and come back.

Thanks Sarah for being such a supportive and motivating tutor.I was so lost in the beginning until you rescued me and got me sorted.

Thanks to FOC 09'ers, have learnt a lot from you all.I thoroughly enjoyed all your conferences on various topics.Now, how could you have possibly achieved that at the comfort of your Computer at your convenience and still be learning.

So yes learnt to dive in facilitating communities course(ocean) and came out alive too in the end YAY

P.S:Have to learn to make blogs more interesting and improve writing too in future.

Here's to the never ending journey called "Learning"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Reflections on 2 week Asynchronous Event on Blogs

In this post i will be reflecting on my 2 week asynchronous event on implementing blogs in e-learning that took place between 16th Nov and 30th Nov 09.
I came across this wiki link on e-learning that i would like to share with readers,it provides overview of e-learning and many more related topics.
My reflections on the event that was:
As part of my mini-conference for Facilitating Online communities’ course, i chose topic e-learning using asynchronous delivery with blogs as an effective learning tool, how successful it can be?
The outcome i wanted to achieve was that Collaborative learning/sharing activities using blog can be implemented as a great teaching and learning method.
Is it collaboration or is it sharing, or is it sharing collaboratively!
Did the two week time frame allow for reflection and collaboration?
“Yes”, it surely did. The content in the blog post with the youtube link on educational blogging surely generated knowledge from our lovely participants. It reflected our personal belief, experience, apprehensions and also our understanding of the complexities of a teaching and learning process.Special thanks to Jagadish Ghimire for his contributions,you set a collaborative tone to the event through your presentation on educational blogging with your youtube link.
Here is my summary of learning outcomes i believed we all achieved collaboratively on implementing blogs as effective tool in e-learning enviroment:
1. Blog as tool to facilitate learning is the excellent way of sharing knowledge.
2. Blogs help you formulate your thoughts and Improves Writing skills.
3. Being asynchronous it gives more time for a reflective thinking as it is the deepest level of learning.
4. As a Free eLearning tool is accessible globally and time is not the factor.
5. Teachers can link the students to the original source of materials for deeper thinking into that subject matter.
6. Blog is a good way for students to collaborate their ideas and reflect on their teaching activities.
7. Blogs are great learning tool to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.
8. It provides a platform for the readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
9. Blogs can be used as a forum for teachers and the students to interact about a particular topic that is being covered.
10. Teachers can facilitate the student learning and encourage self-initiated learning. Teachers can facilitate the student learning and encourage self-initiated learning.
1. Students miss on real life interactions with their teachers as well as their class mates. This could lead to developing poor communication skills as they progress in their life as majority of their interaction is done virtually.
2. Students will only "write" what they have to for an assignment rather than writing to learn or for enjoyment so this could also be a struggle for some!
3. Blogs are time consuming and hard to maintain.
4. In blogosphere, opinions are not rendered and debated at the same time. In a class atmosphere, discussions take place in real time and when the class finishes the teacher is free to do some other task.
5. Chances of discussion being hijacked by another topic or debate is high thereby leaving few queries being left unanswered, which in face to face had yielded real time response.
1. Very useful especially in the age of on demand knowledge base.
2. Any form of learning is good learning, as long as they are learning the right thing.
3. When we look into blogging, particular information is provided, and for further reading, links can be established allowing the learners to go ahead if they want to get further details on that subject matter.
4. We do not “own” information, we can use our facilitation skills to direct learners to these information or resources and they learn from it.
5. Promoting reflective thinking through collaborative tools like blogs prompts learners to understand their own thinking, relate what they have learnt to prior understanding and what they need to know as they explore.
6. You don’t have to be a technical expert to use blog tool as seems to be as easy to use as email so students make a smooth transition. The students do get to visit subject areas and reflect on these and it is great how it creates their journey. They can look back on their learning and see what worked well and what may need to be developed in their own teaching practice.
7. It has high scope of interactivity with the wide world, you are not controlled by time & distance and the reach and access has not only changed the way we think and learn but how we live.
8. In this student-centred educational setting, students discover what it means to be autonomous, spontaneous, creative, and self-disciplined in their efforts to reach their own goals.
9. It takes time to write a meaningful and exciting post which is essential, to entice someone to read the blog. People have limited time due to personal and professional commitments; hence there is a slow decline in blogging.
10. Blogs can be easily and quickly updated, categorized and can help to order the chaotic thoughts and experiences we all have, while learning.
11. In a blogosphere due to its 24/7 “opening time” threads can be posted anytime. This makes it hard for the blog moderator or facilitator to keep track and kindle the discussions. Moreover the moderator or facilitator has to spend more time, at different hours, “looking after” the blog.
12. Educators could update latest course content, assignment submission reminder and links.
13. 'Many educators are already supporting mixed delivery to support self paced learning with live conference/chat sessions. 'Even subjects that are more hands on and perhaps considered as ones to be taught face-to-face only can be successfully adapted for blended delivery.
14. Blogs are time consuming but so is preparing lessons and resources.
15. Downside to using blogs in learning-lack of access to technology:We live in a changing world and more and more people are gaining access to web 2.0 technology.
16. Technology is a tool to be used appropriately to enhance and support learning. It is not a panacea; a poor teacher will not become a great teacher by using technology. A variety of teaching methods and variety in assessment methods should meet the needs of students and encourage learning to take place.
Blogs have come down to 14th place in 2009, unlike last year when they were no 10.2. Educators and learners have already started venturing out of their networks and forming groups through blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook page.


Thats about it in the reflection guys.

Once again big thank you to all partcipants for bringing my blog alive with your positive and critical comments and to all my colleagues in being part of my learning journey.
Feedback welcome for my reflections.
Happy learning everybody and thanks all FOC09'ers for all the support in my learning process.Congratulations to our colleague Rachel for being nominated in the best Student Blog category in edublog awards.

Greetings of the season.
Meena Adhikari
Second Life: Rashmi Melody