Monday, December 19, 2011

Online participation experiences with MOOC #change11

I had my first opportunity to participate with the MOOC # change 11 on-line, in a live discussion, thanks to a Perth based Murdoch university guest speaker Jan Herrington, the start time was suitable for Australian based participants! The ICT was painless via Blackboard and the quality of the connection was good for the hour long discussion - some lag on audio and video but chatting via the keyboard with other participants was instant. I did find the keyboarding chat very open, broad ranging and encouraging so thanks everyone! It is a bit daunting to give it a go at first! I did find trying to read, type, listen, follow, comment was the most challenging aspect of the participation for me!
Enough about the the ICT  - it worked and was operated by me - unaided ( wee hoo! It must be fool proof)

The theme of the webcast was"Authentic Learning".

I got the gist of the content and got to follow the presentation. I did find the concept of "Authentic Learning" interesting but struggled to see the secondary school based subject application across most areas, without it becoming non-authentic and frankly it seemed a bit of a forced fit. This is mainly because of the premise that school learning is somehow 'authentic' and has 'real world' application.  'Authentic Learning' seemed to be best matched to vocational contexts - simulated situations, reporting, observing, etc. schools often are responsible for the skills prior to these simulated situations the ones surrounding the ability to writ a report, observe and record, report etc... it might have been that I got the wrong end of the story but Jan  Herrington seemed to be equating 'Authentic Learning' to realistic applicable tasks that have application only to the real world and any other type of learning such a 'learning to learn' seemed to not have application as a simulated real experience therefore was seen as a de-contextualised learning experience which rendered it inauthentic.  The definitions were ill defined rather than established and shared from the beginning. School based tasks seemed to be labelled inauthentic if they have little application for students beyond...well just learning it .. i guess for me it was the idea that in secondary schools are somehow not real world and instead offer learning that is not applicable to 'real world' was a strange position to begin from and it felt at odds with what I have understood of tasks assignments and assessment in schools. I  will read more on the topic and reserve my further comments for now but as a reflection this is my first blog on the topic - I'd love to hear from others about their thoughts on the topic.