Activity 2.2 – a reflection on activity 2.1 (Core activity)
The learning activity
This activity was a small group collaborative activity to complete a template based on information gleaned from scanning several readings. I was assigned to the blue group.
The original template was a word document, but via the discussion forum googledocs and the wiki were debated and it was quickly decided to paste it into the wiki to enable group contributions. We didn’t actually spend much time in the forum on this activity, except to organise ourselves initially and then to finalise the task deliverable.
At this stage I had not expressed a preference for technology – I am only just beginning to
familiarise myself with the wiki, although to date it’s been a positive experience and seemed to make sense since it’s readily available to all and supported by the OU.
Googledocs is something I’m interested in trying out since I use other google things, so that would be a new experience. I observed that the wiki was fleshed out pretty quickly – I came to it late in the week and the only problem had been when someone else was active in the wiki, so I was unable to edit and had to come back later.
Ian suggested having a Skype meeting to discuss our group findings and meet the requirement to reach a consensus on what we see as the key drivers to eportfolio
implementation. This is something I haven’t done before with OU study, on my
last module we had experience of meeting in Eluminate, which was often poor sound
quality and tended to be a bit slow to get group discussion going. We managed
to schedule a time when 4/7 of us were able to Skype, at the end of the assigned week for this activity.
I found this a bit of a challenge, to read more than 3 of the core and 1 supplementary readings. I noticed in the forum that others had found it a challenge:
“I’m only gradually ploughing my way through these readings (despite a quick scan, it’s still quite time consuming isn’t it?)” (Katie)
“It is taking a surprising amount of time to scan” (Ian)
I don’t think I’m very good at ‘scanning’, I tend to read through and highlight and make
notes on each reading . . . this is a skill I need to improve upon if I’m going to keep up on the course! Another thought was that when I come in late to an activity, I should check what others have read and choose readings that haven’t been covered, so as to make a more valuable contribution with different content.
The meeting between the four of us was a positive experience, Ian was instrumental in
setting it up, I proposed an agenda and Ian pasted the wiki content into a googledoc so that we could do live editing, I think this was a new experience for most of us and was surprisingly easy (except for the pressure of typing into a document whilst others lurked in the ether :-)).
I did panic when Ian first conferenced us all into Skype, having tested my laptop I decided I’d do the audio element on my iPhone, but when he called I automatically answered
via my laptop! After a few minutes I was brave enough to ask if Ian could dial me back in so I could use my iPhone, freeing up my laptop memory for the online doc and referring back to the OU website etc. It was surprisingly good sound quality for everyone and there didn’t seem to be any time lag when we spoke, which helped to get a free-flowing discussion, even with Ian in Colombia!
I think things came up in conversation that may not have done otherwise – from memory the other 3 are all involved in teaching/lecturing in some way, so as a non-teacher
I was able to pick up some practice-related points around eportfolios that others
had experienced and drivers for their use, such as Pepplepad being user-friendly
and free and good to support lifelong learning.
I think the wiki element worked well and at the end we pasted the link to the googledoc so those who missed the Skype call could add any further thoughts. We used the forum to
finalise our key drivers and wrap up the activity, being as inclusive as we could be for those who missed the call.
We were concerned about whether the product of our collaboration was going to be assessed and how much work we needed to do on it. Our tutor clarified that it was more about the process than the product, and in particular the learning opportunity and
providing evidence of this.
I felt I had been proactive later on in the activity, suggesting an agenda, making a small
contribution to the wiki, taking the role of following up after the Skype session by posting to the forum.
I know that I tend to ‘go along with others’ to complete an activity. An example is that our
drivers template seemed to have a lot of detail and I wondered whether we shouldn’t make it more succinct, but others liked the level of detail. I guess my summarising of the key drivers helped to provide a succinct summary of our findings, with the detail in the wiki/googledoc supporting this.
Conclusion – my learning
We are using a ‘framework for personal professional development’ which we can use to label evidence of our learning, such as the evidence from this activity.
I think this activity provided evidence of my learning in the areas of:
- Technology-related skills – trying out the wiki, googledocs and Skype
- Communication-related skills – Skype and the forum
- Proactivity – my small contribution to the content and via the different technologies
I can see I need to be organised so that I can prioritise my readings earlier on; selective in
what I do read and reflect on the activity to identify my learning and hopefully progress.
Since we’re about to move on to delve deeper into the use of reflective writing, I am sure this first attempt is going to provide a useful reference point and comparison with
later efforts as I (hopefully) progress and develop during the module 🙂
One final thought, is this a short reflection at over 1000 words . . . probably not! Also
took me an hour to write, plus preparation time . . . not a quick activity!