Course:ETEC522/2010ST1/LearningCommunityEnvironments/Appended Teaching Guide

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Overview of Module 11: Learning Community Environment

Our OER was developed for ETEC522 participants. The materials are designed to be a pedagogic toolkit of skills and knowledge to enhance ETEC522 participants' knowledge of online learning communities. Case studies combine theories and practice of online learning and encourage participants to learn about online consortia as an emerging market. The materials in this OER were refined through the open course weblog (cohort experience).

Materials

Text-based materials are complemented by a series of videos and graphical representations (such as, prezi presentations). Several examples have been provided throughout our OER to aid understanding. Provided case studies are also very simple and support the information in each vector's presentation.


Each vector is highly structured, beginning with specific learning outcomes. Participants' learning is also scaffolded through our use of cases and discussion questions. This process supports navigation and comprehensibility of language. The module facilitates easy navigation of the learning environment.


A media library page is also included to provide participants with direct access to multimedia files.

Key Resources

The key resources offer practical knowledge on several aspects of online learning communities, such as leading learning applications, current online consortia providers, stability of online learning communities, total cost of ownership of online learning communities, and the future potential of learning communities in education.

Report on Cohort Experience

1. What's the rationale behind choosing to join an online learning community?

- Ease of management

- Comparison with other alternatives tried and currently available

- Access

- Navigation (simple design)

- Integration with current system

- Hosting

- Purpose/Need of the school

- Number of participants

- Training

- All-in-one solution

- Improved communication

- Paperless approach which is environmentally friendly


2. What elements should be incorporated in the design of online learning communities?

- Easy design (such as, the use of an avatar to guide students through navigating the web)

- Instantaneous course updates

- Networking

- Ample storage space to track learning

- Multiple control paths (such as audio, video, text, etc)

- Orientation program

- Try-this-out section for learners to share their experiences in experimenting with new tools, etc.

- Media Library Page to access multimedia files

- Resources Page to provide a list of external resources

- Clear teaching targets (Prescribed learning outcomes -PLOs)


3. What are the benefits of online consortia?

- Allows students to sample standards of quality

- Cost

- New Experience (gaining different experiences)

- Flexibility in taking courses not offered in a particular location

- Marketability

- Students can benefit from both worlds (Online and f2f)

- Variety in terms of approaches, teaching methods, styles, and content coverage

Limitations include:

- Only a limited number of credits may be received other institutions in a consortia arrangement. This ensures integrity and maintains the identity of programs or courses.


NB. Competition is necessary and will enhance the quality of delivery.


4. How does cost of access compare to cost of ownership?

- Pooling resources can result in better quality and quantity in providing media/materials

- It's a very good approach with a limited budget, providing more options to fund resources.

- Lower TCO. Hence, a more affordable venture than going solo


Drawbacks:

- Loss of power

- The possibility of "infighting" as everyone may not buy into the vision of the consortia arrangement


Implications:

- Who will ultimately own the developed material?

- Where will material be housed?

- How can individuals access the materials?


Clarification: Consortium is not synonymous with shared services.


5. Are people willing to pay to access advice from general online communities?


- This depends on the demands of the learner.

- Persons are willing to pay if they feel the cost is worth the benefit


Navigation

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