Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Week 3 - microMOOC complete

This week marks an ending and a beginning.  The end is marked by the close of the IDML13 microMOOC this weekend... yet there's a beginning marked by the possibilities for future development using the tools and knowledge I've gained throughout this course.

This week's introduction... VoiceThread.  This tool can be used to create asynchronous audio and video discussions.  Instructors start a video thread asking students to complete some kind of activity.  Students then respond to the video by commenting on the VoiceThread.  They can use their mobile device to record video, their voice, and/or something in their surroundings.  Don't worry if you don't have a mobile device though because there's also a web app that works directly in a browser.  The mobile app is currently limited to iOS devices, but it sounds like there's an Android app in the works.

So (hopefully to give you a better idea of how it works) here's my example...
Respiratory Tract (1 page)

Click the link above to view and participate in the VoiceThread. Making comments is really simple and you can delete and re-record as many times as you like.

If you are viewing this on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and you have the VoiceThread app installed, tap here to view this VoiceThread on your device.
I've been thinking of other ways this tool could benefit our online courses.  One instance could be the typical icebreaker activity in the beginning of class.  With online classes we typically use forums to introduce ourselves to the class, but VoiceThread could make it a bit more dynamic and personal.  However, the video could get quite lengthy for classes with hundreds of students.  Perhaps groups or a time limit could help address that?

All too often students don't come to class prepared for discussions.  Using VoiceThread and requiring students to comment before class could be a way to ensure they've looked at the material prior to class discussions.  For example, the instructor could start the Voice Thread with, "Friday in class we'll be going over throat cultures.  Your task is to record a brief description of what you've done to prepare for Friday and also a preliminary report of the culture image I've included here."  Students are then charged with preparing outside of class and then actually proving that they've done so.  I'll have to think about how to avoid students listening to the first student and regurgitating that answer though won't I?

In the big picture, I think this will be a useful tool!  It'll just take some time and experimentation.

Overall, I think actually taking this MOOC on a mobile device has been a great way to get a feel of the student view.  It's helped me discover things that students may run into, which provides me with some preemptive troubleshooting so I can address the issues and hopefully prevent students from having them at all. This will help ease their minds and hopefully provide a more pleasant experience.

I've also learned a tremendous amount of information regarding mobile learning.  I had no idea the amount of existing research into mobile learning and the pedagogy behind it so this has really been an eye opener for me.  I am thankful for the opportunity to not only learn about some of the new tools available, but also to get to experiment with them.  It's been a fast and furious experience, but I am incredibly glad I gave it a shot!

Thank you for this great adventure Academic Partnerships, Faculty eCommons, and our wonderful wayfinders!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 2

This week's IDML13 content is incredibly valuable as it covers the pedagogy behind mLearning.  Through the readings I've learned about different ways to design, build, and implement mobile projects in the classroom as well as when mLearning is and isn't appropriate.  For example, mobile activities can provide situated learning relevant to a learner's location.

This week's assignment was to use SoundCloud to record a short audio clip and create a representative image using Textgram. Two more applications that are new to me.  The online courses I work with currently have a "getting to know you" assignment at the beginning of the semester.  The activity is currently submitted using forum discussions, but in creating this week's assignment, I can see how students could record audio or video clips to share a little bit about themselves with the class.  This may help make the activity more personal for the students, which may also help build their online community.

SoundCloud link (the Textgram image is shown with the audio file)