Blocks 3 & 4 Openness and Innovation cont.

Return to blocks 1 & 2

Block 3

…is a project and my project and team were announced 2 weeks before block 3 started. No pressure or anything.

Using digital diaries to support reflective practice in professional development

Consider a vocational training scenario, which involves a placement or an on-the-job element. How can you use digital diaries to promote reflective practice in support of learning?

Siobhan Duvigneau,  ICT teacher now works for an international research institute in Brighton

Pascaline Fresneau, admin and elearning support in a dental hospital in Ireland

Melanie Hainke, specialist Children’s Sports Coach, developing young coaches, Glasgow?

Kate Morris, a teacher in primary school in Clapham now leading training sessions for trainee teachers.

“It is very useful to start the block with a group meeting so that you can share your views about your expertise and vision of the project. I would also recommend that you continue to have regular meetings to agree next steps throughout the block. It is normally impossible for everyone to attend ever meeting so useful to agree that attendees can make decisions on behalf of the whole group. In past presentations groups have used a variety of means to hold successful meetings including forum discussions, OU Live, Google Hangouts etc. 

 At the start of the project agree roles and an outline plan (Activities 2 and 3 Week 14). This is worth spending time on. I do recommend spending the time to make sure everyone knows what is going to happen and agrees to the plan. The block is quite busy so it is important to avoid falling behind the pace. This may mean that you have to decide as a team how much effort to put into each part of the project

Communication is vital within each group so keep each other informed about your availability throughout the block. Most people have times when they are away or busy with life, family or work so no one expects you to be able to available all the time.

 OU Google Apps is used in this block: The university recommends that whenever you start a new session with OU Google Apps you log in via your StudentHome page so that the system recognises you as an OU student. The OU has also created a guide for the OU Google Apps tools you will need during block 3. Please consult that guide if you have difficulty using any of the tools that are mentioned in block 3. The Computing Guide and Google also have guidance and help on how to use the OU Google Apps tools. There are access and accessibility issues with OU Google Apps that may result in this platform being unsuitable for you. If you have problems, please let me know.

 I will set up some forum threads in Week 14 since it can be confusing with three groups using similar names for threads setting them up. You are free to ignore my suggestions and after week 14 you can organise your threads in the best way for yourself.” 

Assessment question

Block 3 is designed as a group project, and the assessment will thus refer to the process and product of your work on the project. The formal assignment will consist of the following elements:

  1. The group project website (tutor-marked for whole group).
  2. Design narrative (up to 2500 words).

The group website should be based on the site template, as described in the module guidance, with pages added and removed as needed. It should include 15–20 pages, of approximately 300 words each, incorporating a variety of media as appropriate. The website should clearly present:

  • the context of your project
  • the challenge you addressed
  • your technical and pedagogical approaches
  • the artefacts you produced (e.g. activity plans, resources or tools)
  • the process by which these artefacts were devised
  • your evaluation of their quality and effectiveness.

You should not make any changes to the team website after the TMA submission deadline, even if you have an extension. The website provides the same mark for all team members so work must stop at the deadline. Your tutor has been asked to check that no changes have been made.

The design narrative should be a personal and accurate account of the group project experience. It should be based on the STARR model: Situation, Task, Actions, Results and Reflections. The main focus of the project is the design of learning. However, you will also want to comment on the group team work, such as overcoming time zone issues, effective communication and balancing contributions.

Your report should include the following sections, clearly labelled with the headings listed below:

  • Situation: Describe the key characteristics of your context.
  • Task: What was the main objective and educational aim that your group addressed? How was your group organised to satisfy this objective, and how did your individual beliefs, desires and intentions shape the project?
  • Actions: What actions did you undertake to address the challenge? What technical and pedagogical approaches did you take? What obstacles did you encounter and what effect did they have on the project?
  • Results: How did you achieve your aims and objectives? Were there any unexpected outcomes? Assess to what extent you achieved your objectives.
  • Reflections: Reflect on the whole design project experience and consider what lessons can be learned from it. Give a reflective account of your personal contribution to the project, supported by evidence such as forum postings.

The report should be supported with references to published sources, forum postings and other sources.

Please submit your assignment as a single Word document. Remember to give a word count at the end of the assignment; it should not exceed 2500 words, excluding the references section.

Assessment criteria

Marks will be allocated on the following basis:

  • Group website: same mark allocated to all group members (28%Note: The group tutor will deduct marks from students who fail to participate in the project. Students who do not make any substantive contribution will receive no marks while those who make only a limited contribution will receive half the group mark.
  • Design narrative: your design narrative should provide an accurate account of your experience, supported by evidence and proper referencing of sources, and followed by meaningful reflection. (72%)
    • Situation: 12%
    • Task: 12%
    • Actions: 12%
    • Results: 12%
    • Reflections: 12%
    • Evidence:12%



week 12/13

I looked up everyone’s background introductions in week 1 to find out more about my team members. I posted a little about this in the forum and asked if we could use the forum as our comms tool since I am in a different time zone. There were a few replies with differing opinions and then it went quiet while everyone was doing tma02.

week 14

I nominated Pascaline to be project manager because she did this hyper-organised spreadsheet, and duplicated it in Google sheets. I suggested other roles be shared rather than separated since we want to “learn to do” as the priority. This is what makes this different from a real project – we are mostly new to this and want to learn it so we can’t easily pick roles and we want to participate in all aspects, i.e. not have the labour divided, but shared.

I started in on the materials while there was a lot of messages in the forum about how to communicate, which I found ironic, but followed from the materials saying we should discuss it, so what can you do. Kate took on the role of team leader and started the website but didn’t make it open to the team. In the meantime I read a blog about personas which seemed rather waffly and then after the site was opened I created a persona on the project site, based on Father Ted‘s Mrs Doyle. It’s a clunky and ugly Google tool – I played with templates but there doesn’t seem to many options so I’m stuck with the neo-retro-Zen look unless I want to go full html re-write. It has a subscription so I will get an email about each change to keep a record.

my persona mrs doyle

I realised I had misunderstood personas – they are characterisations of imaginary users based on tacit knowledge of real users intended to aid ideas about what users need, will struggle with, etc. That’s different from engineering where we assume every user will do something unexpected with the design. I also followed the instructions to create a team page under “about” and started adding names and links on it. The next thing was updating Pascaline’s xl with my unavailability. The last thing on Friday 13th (!) was reading the rest of the materials and downloading the academic papers that were referenced in it about the big five of teamwork.

Week 15

Sat 14th, I added some more about Mrs Doyle on the persona and put a profile on the site about me. The project manager was pushing roles so I took on media manager, updated the site, and made a Twitter account for us. I wanted to put a feed on the site like I have on my blog, so I created the widget and cut and paste the html into the html edit on the site, but it rejected the script so it only shows a link, not a feed. I don’t know how to fix this. I also want to make the site look good but it doesn’t seem to have much scope for this, without re-writing the html. I did manage to add images using html code.

group twitter account

I read Paige Cuffe blog of tips from veterans doing these projects. It’s all Tweets and most include so many names in the tweet that they are five word nuggets of advice. I am reminded of Twitter’s character limit as both a strength and weakness. Finally, As an example of why Google sites is rubbish, I quickly set up a WordPress version. So then I spent the rest of the day offline, reading the printed study guide.

Sun 15th – 2 problems to fix. How to correct the spelling error in the domain name “diairies” and how to get the twitter feed script working. The domain name was easy – I used the manage toolbar to create a copy at a new address :

and then posted this on the old site with a name change to DEAD SITE, plus a post in the forum and a tweet or two. Hopefully the team will use the “new” site.

To add the twitter feed, I googled for help with the problem, and found these sites with instructions and mods to the instructions. I created the xml file but got stuck because I don’t have a private Google site. I gave up. It’s taken too long and I’m now behind the study schedule. Again. So I posted this to the forum suggesting someone else take it up if it mattered to them. I’m getting demotivated by Google sites.

Monday 16th – I spruced up our Twitter account to make it look more enticing, and then tried to fix the Twitter feed issues. I spent 3 hours on this before giving up and posting in the forum. Melanie and Siobhan still haven’t done anything on the site – they haven’t even given their OU email so we can add them. So I also started a forum thread in week 15 for activity 6. This is listing factors and concerns for our persona. Since only Pascaline has done a persona so far, I’m ahead of the rest of my team. I also finished reading week 15. Here’s some advice from Basecamp about how they organise teams.

basecamp group project software

Tuesday 17th – deleted two redundant sites that got created when I copied the original. Replied to posts in the forum. Added a document about the ORID questioning method of reflective learning to the reflection page and tweeted it too. We have six followers now so I need to tweet more. I looked into setting up a YouTube channel. I had some login problems and tried a few different ways, read their help pages, but couldn’t solve the problem. I also posted all this in the Facebook MA ODE group. I then did the team leader job of creating the “Factors and Concerns” document derived from personas. I’m not sure how to include Mrs Doyles’ skills and experience to this – it is a factor but it isn’t material or social, so I put it as intentional. A point of reflection – I’m learning that the design of this part of the course is restricted by the OU in various ways (such as the three factor categories, or the use of Google sites, although the latter is officially a choice) and that is demotivating. I think I can analyse and perform much better if I am free of these design restrictions, which leaves me to think about how I would design a course on learning design, but that’s too meta to be worth considering.

youtube problem

Wednesday 18th -I answered a few messages in the forum and spruced up our site with a background image and better looking headers, text, etc. It still looks a bit naff but not quite so obviously so. Alan posted links to other completed project sites so I had a quick look at those – most look as amateur as ours. I tried again with the xml code – spent three hours trying to get a Twitter feed working. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because the OU site is locked whereas other Google sites are not.When I sign in to the OU this signs me out of all other Google stuff I’m using like Drive etc. The website we’re creating can only be seen by OU people too.

I read the rest of the materials and found I could do two more activities without waiting for the group – find and analyse a case study or theoretical framework and deduce principles from it.

Thursday 19th – I did a search in the OU library and Google Scholar, found two suitable case studies, and printed them to read at the weekend.

Week 16

Monday 23rd – Pascaline updated the site with the factors and concerns and created a forces table. I added some ideas to that about our personae range of motivations and styles of reflection to the forces. Something no-one has yet discussed – what system of reflection are we going to implement – Gibbs? ORID ? Kolb? Will we have the same cycle for each group of teachers? What about media? I added forum posts about this and also started a discussion about the next activity – defining the challenge. It is the last activity in week 15 so we’re a little behind.

24th and 25th – tried to encourage others to catch up and discussed the challenge and forces some more. I then spent another two hours playing with colour schemes and I think it looks okay now. Here’s the About page.

reflective diaries about page

27th – read 4 papers about teachers’ cpd but was so tired I couldn’t bring myself to do the STARR report for the site, plus I’ve got marking to do. I posted some thoughts on the readings in the forum and also pushed Pascaline to accept the vote, which she did, and then she updated her persona. I did some more font changes and added pictures to the site, then wrote a context and added a challenge statement. I also added forces and did a few other minor edits, before designing and adding a forces diagram. So the background section is now complete; about a week late. Finally, I added a comment about another team’s site to tick that off my to do list.

Week 17 is the halfway point

28th – created a Google doc for the team to evaluate different reflective systems. Encouraged Melanie to improve the content on the site. Read another project site about digital diaries and found a REFLECT model that looks good. I didn’t want to read too many of these in case I copied instead of learned, but with time pressing, well, now I have to be realistic about getting it finished.

1st – spent my whole day off first updating the About page with information about autonomous/self-regulated learning I got from two sources. Then I added a load of stuff about 5 theoretical frameworks and how we can decide on Gibbs or other iterative problem-solving cycle. I also did a starr report on a case study about reflective blogging. The last thing to do was read up on another cyclical reflection – REFLECT – and update the Google doc. A long day studying, writing and improving the site.

2nd – mostly forum postings, the REFLECT theory, and learning how to clone the site using a jar tool. The clone is here:

reflective digital diaries home

3rd – wrote some design principles on the site and also a design plan for HE instructors. So that completes the work I need to do before we move on to the next activity which is conceptualising and creating storyboards. I can’t do this until the rest have caught up, so I’m hoping for a weekend off. Actually, the OU schedule says we should complete the storyboarding by June 4th. Other groups are on track, so it is doable.

Week 18

4th – I created a quick flow chart of the site design and added it to the site as my storyboard. I also looked at Pascaline’s – it is a lot of text and no pictures, which is not my concept of a storyboard.

Work took over for several days so I just read forum messages and site updates in my email but nothing else.

11th – I found the team had caught up but not moved on. I queried a bit of language, corrected another, read the storyboards, and suggested we vote on a storyboard so we can move forward.

12th – kate did the final storyboard, nominated to do weeks9+10 of it, and Pascaline edited it. I read it but was unsure what to do so will do 9+10 after 7+8 are done. These colours give me a headache.

Final Learning Design Storyboard

13th – wrote the prototype features based on the above for weeks 9 and 10 and added them to the table on the site. I reckon my team will take several days to get the rest done so I have a chance to start writing TMA03.

prototype features entry

14th – read forum posts and the updates to the site. Improved the fonts on the new text. Wrote some more of TMA03.

17th – I read the new entries on the site and made a few corrections, improved cohesion, fonts, links, etc. Although the team leader had got ahead, my allocated work was the last piece of the prototype so I could not do my part yet because 2 of the team still had not completed their part of the prototype. So I could only add a shell for mine and once again wait. I found out how to add audio to the site and shared this in the forum to help the team with a problem. I wrote a little more of TMA03 – about half way through a first draft at this stage.

19th – I saw from the forum notification emails that mine is the last part of the prototype to get done so I started working on it by updating the Google drive presentation file.

22nd – I finished the prototype, gave some tech tips in the forum, answered posts, added reflection, offered to create our prototype on a public access WordPress site, worked through the heuristic evaluation, reviewed the site, added two heuristic points…

23rd – Tutor group forum has gone quiet – I guess everyone is working on TMA03, due in 4 days, so I will too.

24th – posted in the forum to add reflection about the best/worst parts of the project.

25th – almost finished first draft of TMA03. No activity on the site or forum.Maybe Brexit shock. 🙂

26th – only had a small amount of time – just finished first draft.

27th – TMA03 deadline – spent five hours on the draft and then submitted it. Once again, I’m not confident that I’ve interpreted the question in the way it is expected, and I’m very aware that expectations are all that matter, but there’s no time left.

This was a challenging project for one main reason: time.

Block 4

The study guide is in five sections.

The introduction searches for a definition of learning analytics (LA), looks at the use of educational data to solve some learning problems, the politics behind the evolution of using big data and the resources that are available to do so.

The second section looks at the relationships between LA, design and pedagogy. It looks at applying LA to environments and 2 kinds of LA, checkpoint and process analytics.

The third section is social LA.

The fourth is planning for LA.

The final section is LA in practice.

And then it’s on to the EMA.