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#DigitalScholar week 2: course structure v a trail of breadcrumbs

CuriosityI’ve been working on my course outline as part of the #DigitalScholar course I’m participating in. The deadline is on Friday and I have been catching up on the guidance and help provided to get my submission ready. The topic of my course is using reflection as a CPD tool in Learning Technology.

As I mentioned previously, the course is run on Scholar, a new platform for me, and I feel we are gradually making friends. The ‘creator’ tool we are using took some getting used to – but it soon becomes easy to use. I’ve still drafted most of the text in a Google doc in the first instance, but translating the draft into the creator interface was straight forward and I really like the fact that you are creating content in a format which can then be used in different ways, basically working in something like a publishing interface meets back-end content management. Anyway, one of the most useful pieces of guidance provided by the course team is a rubric which sets out what sections you need to include in the outline for your future online course, what kinds of things to consider, what potential participants might need to know and so forth. It’s very helpful as well as thought provoking – in particular when it comes to thinking about possible business models for future courses. My experience on courses like ocTEL for example, was all about delivering an open course without any financial contribution from participants. The #DigitalScholar process makes you reflect on that and what sustainable alternatives might look like. It’s useful and valuable to be challenged to think about this during the initial course design phase I think.

But… yes, there is a but. I think the more I work on my course outline, the more I think about course activities, learning outcomes, accreditation or peer-review or indeed the underlying business model, the more I realise that the kind of course I’d really like to design would be quite different. Only by trying to create something new within a given structure, using the platform provided, have I started to realise what it is that I am actually curious about. It’s still a bit blurry, but some elements are starting to become clear. Here is what I have so far (and keep in mind that this is professional/personal development for me, so I am focused and what I am interested in rather than what I need to deliver at work):

Minimal content. A little like various “thoughts for the day” or “image of the day” creative approaches already happening. Maybe via email or Twitter – but no learning objects as such, mostly just a prompt. Or a trail of breadcrumbs to follow.

One way to curate contributions. That’s probably inspired by what we did with ocTEL, creating a way to use hashtags to collate contributions from across different platforms so that participants can stay within their native environments. It would probably be much harder to balance outĀ the bias of any chosen platform in practice than I imagine, but this is all in my head anyway.

No video. Just words. This is where the story element I am after comes in. Like reading a story, participants should be able to imagine things for themselves rather than being shown.

Any pace. I think my ideal course would have no set pace, no fixed end date. A little like my experience of participating in Dave Cormier’s #rhizo15 course, there would be a no constraints.

Reflect. The main focus of the course would be on reflection. Whether you do that in your head, draw it, write it down or share it wouldn’t matter. Reflection is a personal undertaking and the course wouldn’t need to measure that. It would be up to people participating to decide whether they reflect or how well it worked for them.

Hmmmm. All in all I am not sure what I am thinking about is a course at all. Maybe it’s more an activity others could join in with.

So, that’s my progress report from week 2 of the #DigitalScholar course. Thus far I have made a lot of useful connections, met a new platform, participated in a couple of inspiring online meetings, created a draft course outline and – well, come up with a completely different idea as well. Well worth it, I think!