Why getting your FutureLearn certificate is easier than you think

Gaining a certificate is so simple and could be the key that helps to unlock your careers potential.

Certificate of completion of FutureLearn course – Why planning your research matters

You might ask why this is. Well for me I decided to be a product of the product. I currently work on developing courses with FutureLearn at the prestigious OU.

So I decided to participate and complete a short course with Deakin and Griffith University – why planning your research matters. This course helped me to formulate my research question and to solidify my study of a course at the OU. The MOOC helped me to plan, structure and finalise my research proposal. It also gave a me a fresh perspective on how other partners use the FutureLearn platform, which all use in many different ways and styles.

The PayPal process and the billing options were simple to navigate through. My only comment to add was that the additional check was longer but needed to alleviate potential fraud happening. As a suggestion would vouchers offered to family, friends and colleagues help towards their learning journey in their career? I think it would help hugely within disadvantage members of the community. Another suggestion is could FutureLearn offer more bitesize chunks in time blocks. So if you commute to work which podcasts could you listen to on your journey? Or if you have 10 to 15 spare what learning could you do and complete fully. To offer my perspective meta data will help in classifying the learning assets and mapping the student workloads too.

Learning more about editorial

So I started reading on different books on this subject but I have also discovered a FutureLearn course on writing good essays for degree level.

I realised that FutureLearn has lots of positive learning opportunities. This has enabled me to learn more about what other partners do in their copy within their course content.

In today’s reflection I learned that courses need to be engaging and contain more active learning opportunities. As opposed to all learning being passive or all about just pure acquisition of knowledge as that makes the learning experience too lazy and laid back.

This brings me onto my final point and that is when I check through content this is when I put my teaching hat on. What does that mean. Well I’m checking that the learning content is engaging on different angles. Does the reader understand the content? Is the wording structure correctly written in good correct use of grammar? Are the activities there or is there just article content to read? Have we tested the learners understanding? Did we test too late and not early on? Is there fun tasks we can add that build the learners up? How about assessment have we embedded Briggs constructive alignment; learning outcomes, learning content and assesment all come together as a triangle visual representation.

Are there signposting for individual tasks and collaborative tasks for learners to do. How about building learners ability to use library resources, citation and reference management application like Mendeley. Or do you know how the learning content builds towards the learners assessment, which it should do.

Successful factors in MOOC development

Good quality discussion thread,

‘under the MOOC quality project, Creelman et al. (2014) propose some key areas related to the perception of MOOC quality, such as providing clear pre-course in- formation, such as the course’s structure or the expected workload, to set adequate expectations (originated the factor with the same name in Table 1) and mixing formal (for credits) and informal learners (for self-development). In the same context, Rosewell and Jansen (2014) distinguish eight relevant key principles suited to MOOCs, namely, openness to learners (related with the free admis- sion of participants and to different ways of participation) and media-supported interaction (refer- ring to the use of rich media, namely video and audio, and to the interactivity the online medium supports). Walker and Loch’s (2014) study pointed out some features that can contribute to MOOC quality in the perspective of academics as MOOC users.’

References

Azevedo, J., & Marques, M. M. (2017). MOOC success factors: Proposal of an analysis framework. Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice, 16, 233-251. Retrieved from http://www.informingscience.org/Publications/3861

Being educated in editorial

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Bookshelf of Chinese books in Milton Keynes Central local library @Kulvir Bahra on Flickr

I started my new role from Learning Designer to Digital Development Editor 4 months ago. One of my ongoing aims is to become knowledgeable in online editorial work aspects within my role. So where do I gain my ongoing editorial knowledge?

Read whenever possible is the simplest answer. I also note when I see good copy and bad copy – just like I did as a Learning Designer. Where I would note where bad practice occurred in online teaching methods on many platform providers.

Books, books and more books. Basically make books your best friend. Why? Because they too will help me to learn the rules of good grammar, punctuation and to develop good writing skills. So far here is my list of books that I’m reading to build up my editorial skills:

  • Graham Kings series Collins Improve your writing skills is a good starting point to read. The trilogy covers the three above areas plus its written in a style that is easily digestible and well written.
  • Gwynnes Grammar The ultimate introduction to Grammar and the Writing of Good English by N.M.Gwynne published in 1988 is a great book that is compact and contains similar themes in writing with good grammar. The remaining books I’ll list for now.
  • Elements of Style by William Strunk Jnr.
  • Basic English Grammar for Dummies by Geraldine Woods.
  • The Penguin Dictionary of English Grammar by R.L.Trask.

The big takeaway for me is that its good to have the books to hand, but its about reading them and applying the skills gained into my everyday role as a Digital Development Editor.

30 day challenge

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Tate Modern London, DADA Russian CCCP propaganda magazine covers @KulvirBahra on Flickr

How do we all see ourselves today compared to 10-20 years ago without connectivity to the internet? A lot different than we imagined. I value offline time more and being immersed with nature.

We all now see the internet as a complex network of a system that counts as one of the most needed services in our homes today. Taking a 30 day challenge to see how I would do with how I perceive my online space was interesting. I reflected that I didn’t need my social media fix as much as I originally thought. However, a big question arises can I survive without much internet use? And the big answer is yes I can survive with less internet.

Social media like media publishing outlets play an important but crucial part in amplifying stories whether true or untrue and sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

People as a whole can be influenced by sometimes the wrong information at the wrong time which could make the wrong outcome from a guess what a wrong decision.

Digital critical thinking skills will play a very important role in helping to debunk untruths lurking online. So too will being able to spot fake news or spoof hoax stories of the how the aliens landed on planet Earth.

The internet and blogging world will help to democratise the way we consume news in the future. We wont always need to refer to same old media news sites anymore. We might even have a Google portal where the live event streams the news from the consumers or people themselves. Google are already using AI to ask users to rate where they shopped during the day. Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) they can track where you were to what you may want to eat for dinner.

Imagine if everyone had a chance to tell their story, in a way that gives them a voice – to be equal amongst the noise of the competing media giants. We would then value our people whom we live near by to find our common ground to find the simple values that make us all connected to common life values.

We’d probably end up with less angst and less radicalisation as the public will be given the truth in the education that they are provided. Knowledge is certainly power, but only if it comes into the wrong hands.

We need to treat one another as humans and not as them and us.

How do you blog or utilise online digital tools?

Good question, firstly I tend to have many levels of blogging and online personal learning networks depending upon the context and reasons. Here are a few below and the reasons will all be very logical and reasonable.

– Google Keep is my though bucket a private space where all my to dos go, shopping lists, check list, research notes etc.

– My OU Blog space is set up for public view with all my study notes from my PG study on MA(ODE)(Open).

– I have a further setting built in to the OU blog for ‘my eyes only’ ie personal notes and peer feedback from forum study.

– I did try to use Blogger but failed miserably, this one is closed down.

– WordPress is my public space that I have just revived from the ashes with the phoenix rising.

– Flickr is my photography legacy page as I love to take photos.

– Instagram for social media related arts/galleries/ things I like. Incidentally I deleted my account due to the T&Cs, however after reactivating this, all my pictures were intact, how spooky.

– Pinterest – again recently revived and all my saved images are all intact.

– Twitter for Ed Tech and motivational CPD.

– Linkedin work related professional development at work and for all previous work colleagues and companies that I have worked at.

– Facebook RIP Cambridge Analytica.

– OpenLearn/FutureLearn for curating CPD content for Teaching Assistant roles and computer programming skills.

– Mendeley, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, Cite Them Right for referencing useful Ed Tech research papers.

– Slack for cross team communications (sometimes better than email).

– Trello good for project management and task status check ins.

– RSS feeds – aggregates useful information in one place.

– SoundCloud and BBC Sounds app – recently toying with podcasts.

– Blinkist – recently started using and gives nuggets of useful blinks of books and podcasts.

Over to you, how do you blog or utilise online digital tools?

Meaningful versus meaningless learning

There is a really poor tendancy to always think that the more courses one completes the more we know.

However, I realise that learning acquires a need to learn and collect evidence of completion for let’s say for example CPD purposes. But what if one was collecting learning certificates for the sake of fueling one’s own ego – then the process of learning becomes disengaging, methodical and possibly meaningless.

There’s real beauty in engaging with our peers, our family, our sangat (Sikh community Punjabi word), our neighbours, our departments, in fact everyone including the universe.

The choice of learning modes enables us to find the best style of consuming learning depending on our mood or context. This could be very beneficial when curating online content for a specific range of purposes.

So going back to my original point that accumulating numerous lists of certificates on xyz, and badge for this and a badge for that – like it has become a hobby to collect them to accumulate by mass rather by specialism turns us into consumers not learners.

So it’s the need to learn more with a good reason rather for the sake of learning. Sometimes just taking a break can be so much more better than cramming in too much and crashing out like we had a sugar rush.

Key takeaways –

Be honest with yourself learn what you really want to learn and not for the sake of learning.

Take a break from learning do something else – read a book or listen to a podcast or talk to someone.

Be real be you – be nice be kind.