#edcmooc Hanging out in the Mooc

In last night’s Hangout of the Mooc  one thing sticks to my mind in particular: some students were eager to know all about the final assignment. Hamish Macleod commented on that and explained that the assignment was kept deliberately vague in order not to limit your creativity. And he advised  keeping the assessment  criteria in mind while designing the digital artefact.


Screenshot by one of the participants of last night Hangout of the Mooc.

As a teacher I recognize this phenomenon all too well: my students too want to know exactly what the end product has to look like  to make  sure they get a good grade. And my answer is a lot like Hamish Macleod gave.

I have to be careful not to feel a little agitated, because for me it is not the product at the end which is most valuable , but the path leading to it.

The end product may or may not be sufficient but the main question is: what did you learn? And , as important: what do you still need to learn?

Moving into the 21th century this skill will become more and more important in education I think; knowing where you are in your own personal development , creating a personal learning environment (PLE)  and to know what  to do to  add the missing parts. ( Mooc’s , possibly  being  one of the main, future  ways in live long learning  are in my opinion great tools to work on these PLE’s.)

But it will take a while to develop this awareness that one is accountable for his own learning path and to really take the responsibility for it. Moving on in the 21th century we have to help students and each other to develop this capacity and slowly help shape it into a daily routine, so that after leaving this  institution we call “school”,  they can grow on their own.


Over ilonkahebels

I teach communication skills and journalism at a University of applied sciences in the northern part of The Netherlands. I am doing research in the field of collaborative learning in web-based environments and am interested in technology in education; how can we apply it trying to enhance learning? This is part of my Master study Educational Theory I hope to finish by fall 2013.
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8 reacties op #edcmooc Hanging out in the Mooc

  1. Ilonka, you have a great point when you write:

    “The end product may or may not be sufficient but the main question is: what did you learn? And , as important: what do you still need to learn?”

    I appreciate too the concept of a personal learning environment (PLE) as well. I guess the next question is what are the mechanisms the allow students to build that accountability for their own learning path.

  2. ilonkahebels zegt:

    Hi Felicia,

    Thank you for commenting on my blog.
    And yes, the last thing you mention is exactly what I was pointing to: how are we going to do so?
    In this field I am currently using the Assesment and Teaching of the 21th century skills (ATS21C) guidelines and white papers.
    I do not know if you are familiar with them, if not you might find it interesting. > http://atc21s.org/

  3. Jaap van der Molen zegt:

    Ilonka, I had the same thoughts as you when Hamish Macleod talked about the final assignment. It’s a dilemma for every teacher: how do you motivate learners without marks or certificates of qualification? I agree wit you that learners are responsible for their own learning path. That path is important, but on a journey people need also moments where they stand still and look back, at least I do. And when someone else encourages you saying “Well done”, it can be an incentive to continue.

    • Jaap, one think I learned through the Critical and Creative Thinking Program at UMass Boston (http://www.umb.edu/academics/caps/degree/creative-thinking) in terms of motivating student learning was to de-center the grade.

      One strategy was to tie grades to a point system and provide way more points than are needed for a passing grade. This allowed students to pick and choose assignments and activities that motivated them and provided them with some amount of control over the process of grading.

      Another strategy was to have a constant cycle of submit, revise and resubmit. Work was never done and could be submitted at any stage in the thought process. This adds a bit of extra work on the instructor’s part to provide continuous feedback, but the added benefit was that the “product” oriented aspect was pushed down in favor of a more “process” oriented strategy.

      These have been two invaluable strategies that I’ve added to my teaching toolbox.

      • Jaap van der Molen zegt:

        Thank you, Felicia. Maybe I can add them to my toolbox too. I’m always trying to decenter the grade in an institution where tests determine education and your suggestions are worth thinking over.

    • ilonkahebels zegt:

      Thank you Jaap, I consider this a “well done”on my writing 🙂 indeed an incentive to continue!

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