WIZIQ upgrade to Premium

I have been playing around with a few Virtual Learning Environment (VLE’s) and have decided WIZIQ is the most simple to use.

It has limited features (no polls or breakout rooms), but I am looking for a tool that my students can use to deliver an online training session and it needs to be simple to use.

View WiZiQ Profile of Jenni Parker

So today I upgraded from the Free version to the Premium version which is $49.95 (US) per year. The premium version will allow me to record unlimited sessions.

This is an excellent price compared to many other VLE’s (Elluminate, Discovere, AdobeConnect & Wimba) and I found it to be easier to use than the other FREE products I tried (DimDim, Sclipo). Plus the service I have received from WIZIQ so far has been excellent.

Exploring Google Groups

Today I created a Google group to look at what features and tools were available for students to see if it might be a suitable workspace for students to collaborate on group tasks.

This is a private group – following info for my reference.

Group address: http://groups.google.com/group/man3655-2009

Group email: man3655-2009@googlegroups.com 

Features:

  • upload files
  • email
  • create pages
I need to explore further before I make a decision.
I also played around with Grouply – a tool for managing a number of groups (eg: Yahoo or Google groups). Now that I’ve created a google group I should be able to add it to my Grouply site.  Still exploring this.

A Constructivist Approach

Today I read Gina Minks blog post Learning about eLearning. Her questions

” what does a constructivist learning environment look like? What would a constructivist eLearning environment look like?” 

prompted me to write this post.

I am endeavouring to create a constructivist environment for the online course I am writing on Workplace Learning. Due to university constraints I am unable to create a “connectivist” learning environment. However the course structure is similar to the CCK08 course

Currently this is what the course looks like…

1/ Readings – required & optional

2/ Learning activities (optional)

  • PowerPoint Presentations (week 1 – 12): an extension on what is covered in the required text 
  • Audio recordings (Podcasts): of on-campus lectures
  • Blackboard quizzes (week 1 – 6): self-assessment of key terms mentioned in the textbook 
  • Elluminate live online meeting (week 1 – 6): Live case study – students co-construct a Learning Strategy. (week 7-12): Live case study – students co-construct a Learning Program

3/ Assessment tasks (required)

  • Assignment 1 – Part A: Discussion Forums & Personal Blog.  Part B: Deliver an online training session.
  • Assignment 2 – Develop a Learning Strategy for a particular workplace issue
  • Assignment 3 – Design & develop a Learning program (including a detailed session plan & resources for a specific topic) as outlined in the Learning Strategy
I am trying to provide a range of learning activities where the students can:
  • interact and share their knowledge and ideas (forums, live online meetings)
  • utilise their skills and knowledge to create examples of the required assessment tasks (live case studies)
  • connect with guest speakers currently working in different training environments (elluminate meetings)
  • reflect on the course readings, extended readings, content of elluminate meetings etc (personal blog)
Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

Introduce Yourself

Today I’ve been playing around with voiceThread and Frappr. I’m looking at various tools that I can use for course introductions. Most of the online courses I’ve been in or seen have used a discussion forum for introduction.

I find this a sad substitute for a face to face meeting. In a classroom environment everyone gets to see each other and hear each others voice. In a discussion forum you MAY get to see the other person’s face, but that depends on what picture they have uploaded as their avatar.

And since I’ve mentioned avatars…I’ll just have a little rant. From a learning perspective I think it’s very important to see the person you are connecting with…so PLEASE upload a photo of yourself not of your dog, a cartoon character or other silly picture! They may be amusing, but they do not help you form “connections” or rapport with others in an online environment. 🙂

With Frappr you can see them and see where in the world they come from. So it’s a nice tool but I like voiceThread better. With voiceThread the person commenting can choose the tool they are most comfortable with or have access to. Video, audio or text and they can also annotate the picture that you upload. I still haven’t got around to buying a webcam yet (but it is on my list of things to do). So currently my preferred method is audio. I have uploaded a photo of myself, so when you visit the voiceThread you get to both see and hear me. Nearly as good as meeting in person 🙂

So…please feel free to try them out for yourself and let me know what you think.

voiceThread World Map – Introduce yourself

Frappr World Map – put yourself on the map

(note: anonymous visitors will not be displayed – your need to enter your first name as well as your location)

  

MAN3655 Getting Familiar

I find with any new job the first thing I need to do is familiarise myself with my new environment. So for the past couple of weeks I have been reading all the existing material for the MAN3655 course.  

Textbook

Textbook-NoeOverall I think the textbook is a good learning resource, however it needs to be contextualised to suit our learning environment as all the examples in the book are about American companies. 

I will include a few examples about Australian companies, however I think the students will have a better learning experience if I re-word the discussion and application questions at the end of each chapter so that they can research, explore and contextualise the information to suit their own environment. This course usually includes a number of international students from diverse cultural backgrounds. So this course is a great opportunity for learners to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

Resources

I’ve also been exploring web 2.0 tools to see what I can use to enhance the online learning experience. I particularly like voiceThread and would like to use it for the students to introduce themselves to each other. The reason I like it, is that they can comment using a number of different methods (text, audio, video) so they can choose the medium they are most comfortable with. Being able to see and hear each other should help build rapport and a sense of community. I discovered this tool through Nellie Deutsch’s Moodle site – Integrating Technology: Exploring New Domains. (Thanks Nellie!)

And I’ve started to bookmark other resources that I think might be useful for this course.

Meetings

After reading all the course info I had an idea of what I liked and what I would like to change. So I arranged to get together with my supervisor again to discuss what I can and can’t change.

Yesterday I met with the ECU Blackboard guru who gave me a quick rundown of what tools are included and some basic editing tips. Blogs, discussion boards & wikis are all available in Blackboard however he advised they are very basic. He is very interested in workplace learning (his current focus area) so he is keen to assist me in any way he can which is fantastic!