Educational Development

3rd Design Meeting

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Terry and I went along to the Friday arvo design staff meeting this week to discuss online and flexible learning. I was particularly looking forward to this meeting as it was mt third, Terry's second with the team and at the previous meetings the staff had expressed interest in hearing more about open networked learning methods such as blogs, wikis and open courseware.

Unfortunately I was a little late for the meeting due to being held up recording a very worth while presentation on mobile learning by Peter Mellow. A few of the design staff were also at that presentation and were impressed enough by it to bring it up at the design staff meeting afterwards.

When I arrived, Terry was full flight into talking about Black Board. He spent a while going over the various benefits of Black Board and basically rehashing what we had talked about in the previous 2 meetings. He then showed 2 examples of Polytech Black Board courses, demonstrating examples of simple animated resources within them. He talked a little about the use of Course Genie to generate well ordered text base resources from word documents, and how Black Board automatically unpacks Zip files.

When a couple of the staff started expressing concern that their students would not engage with, or even get much out of the Black Board LMS, I took the opportunity to show examples of open networked learning resources. I showed Michael Nelson's Web Design course in Wikiversity and explained how the resource is constantly being updated and modified by Michael, his students and outside collaborators. Wikiversity generated discussion in the group with Product Design lecturer Mike Wilson bringing up MIT Open Courseware as an interesting model for him. We looked at the Open Courseware finder and discussed the benefits and issues with OP Design adopting such a model, and using other organisation's courseware.

The discussion then moved to how the Design Department needed a website, and how they had been waiting for quite some time to see that through. Given that we had been talking about wikiversity, I brought up the Wikipedia entry for Otago Polytechnic and showed them how they could use that entry to start building a website for the Department. This again generated an energetic discussion, with agreement that students would find such a collaborative environment engaging. While the wikipedia entry may not be suitable for the main Design Department website, everyone agreed that it would be a good tool in which to build up content to copy into a more formal website when it is available to them.

Over all I get the impression at all three meetings so far that the Design staff are considering using Black Board to administer and manage their courses, but are very interested in exploring open networked learning strategies in their courses.

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