#H807 The Final Verdict

In a few weeks, I resume my MAODE studies at the OU with the module H810, Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students. I submitted by H807 EMA hours before boarding the plane to Belgium, and I didn’t got to blogging during my holiday.  As the dust settles – but without the EMA scores in yet – I want to write a few final reflections on H807.  

I would summarize my overall feelings on the course by saying that it was better than I expected, but less than the previous course, H800. Lower expectations were due to the facts that the course was actually quite old, being its seventh and last presentation and that there would be some overlap with the themes discussed in H800 (assessment, feedback, Web 2.0).  Actually, both of these concerns turned out to be very relevant concerns.

Yes, there are few papers more recent than 2008 in the course materials, but the TMAs and EMA require you to complement the core readings with papers and other resources you find yourself, allowing plenty of scope to include more recent materials. Often, seminal papers on the topic are not very recent either, for example the papers from Nicol (2006, 2007) and Black & Wiliam (2001) on assessment.  The same goes for the alleged overlap between H807 and H800.  You have some freedom in choosing the topics you want to elaborate on in your writings, leaving it up to you to what degree you want to cover the same ground.  Tutors/ Assessment software also check your previously submitted papers.

Where are the differences then with the – excellently evaluated – H800 course?  First and foremost, the course design does not reach the same quality.  A well-designed course text should read as if the course instructor is sitting next to you, it should motivate you to delve into the readings, providing a good introduction and posing thoughtful questions.  It should also provide coherence to the course, adding rationale why a certain theme is encountered at that particular point in the course and linking course themes with each other.  The design  should also introduce various media.  Not only academic papers, but also podcasts, video lectures, blog posts and newspaper articles.  All this was present, but in a lesser degree in H807.

Second, there are no tutor-led Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate) tutorials in H807.  I found the tutor-led tutorials in H800 valuable to get a better understanding of course concepts (e.g. Sfard’s metaphors of learning), but they also helped creating a supportive and enjoyable atmosphere among learners.  After a few tutor-led sessions, learners felt ok to set up their own sessions.  In H807 learners were encouraged to have synchronous sessions, but it didn’t take off.  Starting with one or more tutor-led sessions could have helped, although the composition of the particular tutor group likely played a part as well.

Regarding the assessment, both courses consisted of some challenging and some less interesting assignments.  However, for H807, course activities went on until 2 weeks before the deadline, whereas for H800 there were quite a few weeks available, allowing more  time for exploration and reflection than for H807.

Some of the differences are in small details.  The weekly welcoming message, for example, nicely updated for H800, whereas for H807, the message from week 1 stayed unchanged until the end of the course. Also, the fact that courses can be done at any order, implies that some items (introducing B.Collaborate, introduce library etc.) are repeated in every course.  

Anyway, some items were excellent, such as the parts on non-verbal communication, e-tivities and elements of successful feedback.  I’m now looking forward to starting H810, a course that has  collected excellent reviews, at least from those learners I know – OU end-of-course evaluations are unfortunately not made public.

References:

Nicol, D. (2006) ‘Assessment for learner self-regulation: enhancing the first year experience using learning technologies’, In paper presented at the 10th International Computer Assisted Assessment Conference, 4-5 July 2006, pp. 329–340, [online] Available from: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/4413.

Nicol, D. (2007) ‘Principles of good assessment and feedback: theory and practice’, In from the REAP International Online Conference on Assessment Design for Learner Responsibility, 29-31 May 2007, [online] Available from: http://www.reap.ac.uk/reap/public/papers//Principles_of_good_assessment_and_feedback.pdf.

Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (2001) Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment, British Educational Research Association, [online] Available from: http://weaeducation.typepad.co.uk/files/blackbox-1.pdf.

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This entry was posted in H807.

One comment on “#H807 The Final Verdict

  1. […] for previous modules (see reflections on H800, H807, H810), I want to write down some final thoughts on H809.  I, myself, have appreciated very much […]

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