Web based learning example: LazosLearning

Jean-Marie Nau, ma multilearn, uni.lu, se 4/4

Comments on task 1:

USE your multi-blogging facility: a) Write on/document/present recent web-based learning experiences you went through WITHIN the MA (or outside the MA) and b) discuss why – according to your educational experiences this was an issue/a no-issue, c) what surprised you more and d) which was the most challenging challenge 😉 in using webbased tools in learning. e) Formulate at least TWO questions – for the students at JAMK to comment on your contribution via the blog-commenting function BEFORE the start of the seminar. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DONE a, b, c, d, e – by APRIL 14, 2011. And send us an update information as soon as you have DONE your blogging post.

Lazoslearning, a recent web-based learning experience

A.

In an effort to get additional perspectives on social action, I joined at the end of January 2011 a 17 week online course. The format of the platform seems to be based on the moodle platform we use in Luxembourg (http://moodle.multi-learn.org/).

LazosLearning Association is a non-profit organization registered in Ontario, Canada, whose goal is to make available, to a global audience, effective educational materials designed to enhance processes of social and economic development (http://www.lazoslearning.org/en/about-us.html).

Constructing a Conceptual Framework for Social Action is a 17-week graduate-level course from FUNDAEC’s Education for Developmentprogram. The course explores a framework within which an individual concerned with the transformation of society acts and reflects on action, and is directed to students of social processes, people engaged in social action, and those whose careers are oriented toward service.

The structure of our work is divided into a few parts. Our weekly outline includes reading a chapter (usually 15-25 pages), writing a few reflections on the reading (usually we are asked to reflect on a question), some of which are submitted to the discussion forum, some directly to the tutor and a general reflection is made towards our final paper (called paper journal entry). Each week, each participant is asked to submit at least one response to the discussion forum after having read the participants comments.

Our tutor is included in the list of participants and he sends from time to time general comments and specific points about the reflections we send. One of the comments was for instance that when we post our response to the discussions, we my to this as a general comment to the group, rather than to the individual response.

B.

I have chosen this example of online learning to show how a culturally diverse group of students are able to share experiences and learn in collaboration. The diversity of the group is enriching as they bring specific perspectives to the object of study. The fact that the guidelines are clear helps the learning process. I would like to see more interaction between learners.

C.

12 participants were enrolled for the course. Enrolment fees vary with the country of origin and can be reduced by 50% for countries like: Afghanistan or Cape Verde. The full fee is $280 and includes the course material and some additional reading, tutor interaction and grading of the final paper. After 10 weeks, 9 participants are still contributing on a weekly basis.

D.

One main challenge has been to be systematic in reading the material and posting the necessary reflection. It has proved to be useful and helped me to be organised and focussed.

E.

Would a weekly informal chat room help to increase interaction and understanding among participants?

Do you have any suggestions how to improve this online learning tool?

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