“Midterm” review: What does work, what not.

After not having written a blog post for 14 days, I am becoming a little nervous: do I need to “produce” a certain number of posts per week, does the blog not work for me or do I not work as much as I was doing before? It might help to reflect on what I was working on during the last 14 days. I remember my lecturer saying, that writing down what you are working on actually can be a good way of visualizing it.

In terms of class activities the last few days were stuffed with preparations. Just now I realise how hard we were working on finalizing our seminar on B.F. Skinner’s “The Technology of Teaching” and a written assignment on an evaluation plan for an actual research project. We were working in the same group for both tasks, which was not always easy but in the end we managed to get great results with merging all our interesting input. What I really liked about both projects was a good time management and how we split up the tasks. Room for improvement on my side is a better reflection on requirements and individual workload as well as an even deeper analysis of literature.

Besides my own group work, the last days included two classic seminars from other groups on Simon’s “The Sciences of the Artificial” and Papert’s “Mindstorms” and several workshops and lectures. Especially the seminars were interesting as we worked on one selected topic as a whole group. Meaning that these days were prepared by a smaller group and they were to make the whole class work on it. A lot of discussions, a lot of resources, a lot of input – a lot to digest.

During the Wednesday group of academic writing we were working on a preliminary draft of our Master Thesis topic. That was not always easy, as you have to decide against so many options by deciding for another. In the end my draft includes three possible areas to look at:

  • How Data-Analytics can improve both: workplace training performance and workplace training quality/effectiveness
  • The definition of digital literacy and its implication for recruiting and personnel’s performance
  • Training methods lacking “new” input concerning new media use, training & education in a new context

I got some valuable feedback on my thesis statements that I prepared for each area and will work with this to specify my intentions.

Besides the class input I am working with several online platforms to complement the Master courses and/or get a different perspective on what I am learning. These platforms are Coursera, Edx and futurelearn.

I was using Coursera to get a refresher on research methods for the project assignment (course details) and tried to develop my own digital story about Behaviorism (which has to be finalized but following the link you can have a look at my storyboard, course details), whereas currently I am exploring the future for education and take a deeper look at questionnaire design for Social Surveys. (Scheduled for this year are still E-Learning and Digital Cultures, e-learning Ecologies and Performance Assessment in the Virtual Classroom).

On the Edx platform I am starting with MITx: 11.132X Design and Development of Educational Technology (a course focusing on constructivism and cognitivism, it’s development within Edtech and implications for future educational technology), MITx: 11.126X Introduction to Game Design and UTArlingtonX LINK5.10X Data, Analytics, and Learning (“An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning.”).

Recently I discovered the platform futurelearn which I want to try out by subscribing for the course Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis (University of Auckland).

I also took care of my application for the spring semester 2015. The deadline is October 15th and I found some courses that sound really interesting. My intention is to register for two courses in parallel to cover some credits for semester 3 already. This semester consists of 30 credits of choice and instead of taking them all in one semester I try to spread them over the preceding semester, so semester 3 would be available for some studies abroad.

What does work?

  • Class activities: Online collaboration and storage of data, blogging about learning experiences, take some inputs and apply them to online courses and viseversa.
  • Online Courses: After struggling beginnings it becomes easier for me to select appropriate courses and work through these parts that are important for my purpose.

What does not work?

  • Readings: I want to read more resources in addition to the course resources related to my interests/Master thesis.
  • The broader picture: A overall (technological) solution to display all resources, learning outcomes, etc. is not (yet) on-hand, rather I am trying to cover this by final assignments and/or transferring knowledge from one project to another.
  • More content: I feel that I am lacking the coverage of actual content at this blog, mostly I am writing about vague own opinions than well-grounded essays. This is also what I want to improve in.

All in all my midterm review is quite positive. I think that there always comes a time where you have to push yourself a bit to continue the good work. I am confident, that what I am learning is what I am interested in. Just this morning I was reading the next book for Wednesday’s classics seminar about Turkle’s “The Second Self” – and I am devouring it.

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