#ocTEL Activity 0.1

Firstly, hello everyone, I am Ricky, a current student at York St John. I am gaining some work experience within the TEL department there so hopefully this course will help me along my way.

One of the main aims for me throughout this course is to find out how others are using Technology Enhanced Learning in different roles. I would like to say I am quite on top of current general trends with technology but I would like to see the specific technologies, activities and roles people are using. Although I have seen a lot about learning with technology through my degree (Education Studies), I have moved on to investigating how people are teaching with technology. My most recent project, actually my dissertation, was to investigate how primary school teachers can use mobile technologies (specifically the iPad) to enhance learning and productivity. This was looking at specific applications and demonstrating them to trainee teachers, in order to gain some feedback and investigate how easy the uptake of this practice would be. As I have had a lot of experience around mobile technologies, I am keen to find out more around other areas, such as the flipped classroom, blended learning and experiences with online courses, so any opinions or examples on these would be much appreciated.

Other than this, something I would like to note is a previous experience with completing a marked assessment as an online forum. Through one of my modules which investigated the future of learning, we had to interact with an online forum for a summative assessment. Although at first this was really daunting, I soon got used to the format, writing style and layout, which allowed me to concentrate easier on the content. Although I felt that I had not done as well as I could have, I ended up getting one of by best grades in it. After a bit of reflection though it turned out that there were some extremely high grades and extremely low ones; a much larger range than usual. I just wondered if anybody had any similar experience with being a student in something like this?

All in all, I look forward to the rest of the #ocTEL course and hope to here about other people’s experiences with TEL.



  1. Hi Ricky, Welcome to the course. It’s good to have you bringing a student’s perspective to it, and I’m interested in your experience of assessment based on participation in an online forum (though I’m afraid I can’t directly answer your question). All the best!

  2. Hello David, thank you for your reply. I will try to elaborate a bit more regarding the assessed forum. Basically the assessment for the module was split into two tasks, the forum and a report suggesting a possible outcome for the education system in 2030. The module was taught as a sort of basic blended learning scenario. We would have an hour of taught time each week and then would be given discussion topics to interact with on a forum. One of the most interesting ones was something to do with locations, and we actually had to write on the bottom the location of where we posted. The purpose was to discover how diverse the whole learning online thing was.

    With regards to the actual assessed forum, it was set up through Moodle and the discussion topic was anything to do with technology and education. We all had to create a thread and at least one reply; we were also strongly advised to do a lot of little posts rather than two big ones. The forum was open for 4 weeks, over the Christmas period. If I remember correctly I based my discussion around an idea I had with my dissertation, that it was important for teachers to be able to ‘learn, unlearn and re-learn’ when it comes to technology. There was a lot of threads around the idea of blended learning, flipped classroom and mobile technologies if I remember rightly.

    With regards to assessing it, as far as I know, being the student and all, the tutor was able to load up all our posts and read through them in context. We were marked on the content, the writing style (we had to get a good balance of referencing and personal posts in there), how well we interacted over the 4 weeks (someone failed because they did two large posts, 2 hours before it closed) and then our reading/references.

    As with the whole experience as I mentioned before it was quite daunting at first but the more we posted the more I got used to it. It was just a new experience so we really didn’t have a clue how we had done grade wise. It was actually quite interesting as a lot of people got penalised for writing too little in a short space of time or really close to the deadline. So I suppose it allowed the tutor to see the amount of effort being put in by whom. It was also interesting in terms of content as it went off in all sorts of directions. As there was 30 in the class there were 30 threads started, however some did get repeated by the late comers. Which in retrospect was quite annoying as they could have just replied to the originals. he one thing I would have like to have seen would have been the tutors input in the forum. Not so much to give us answers or lead us, just to get some sort of guide as it was such a new experience for us all. He did comment in the early ones, but not in the assessed one (to my knowledge anyway). All in all it was a good experience and I am glad I had chance to do it, with the added bonus of getting a high first.

    I hope this gives a little more detail on what the experience was like, if I have missed anything or you have any more questions please ask away!


    1. Ricky,

      We are experiencing similar with are marking and i have done also as a learner.

      One i have done as a learner, i noticed how mindful it made me of making sure my answers on the forum were considered and thought out as they would be marked. This prevented me often from acting on my gut as it were, and writing the first thing that came into my head.

      We also found a disparity between high and low marks and I think like you the marking criteria was never fully made clear. It would have been interesting to see how the marking was guided.

      Russ Brookes

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