Life under the microscope

Today’s live #PLENK2010 session was ostensibly about assessment in a Personal Learning Environment but it seemed to be more about how PLENK2010 (the research project) could assess whether the participants (us) could assess their own learning or indeed whether or not it was possible to assess what learning actually happens or could happen in a Massive Open Online Course. In other words, we PLENKers are lab rats running the maze of a completely unstructured learning experience so that the people in white coats can observe us and form theories about how lab rats learn so that they might build the personal learning environment of the future.

(And wasn’t an early lesson of the first two weeks that a platform built by a third-party is not a personal learning environment and is therefore by definition a VLE/LMS and must by the philosophy of this course be a bad thing?)

Maybe I’ve taken the wrong message home with me … but I feel like I’m somehow under the microscope, and I’m not sure that I am comfortable with that role.

One thing I am sure of is that if I set up one of my courses like PLENK2010, my students would have all bailed out by now and I’d be having to justify my teaching methods in front of the Dean.

I might be enjoying myself immensely, despite falling badly behind on my coursework, but I think my students might be more goal oriented, and I’m not sure yet what I can transfer to my own teaching.

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University