Assignment one reflection

When I told my daughters (aged 14 and 17) that my first assignment for ETL523 was a group project they both rolled their eyes and groaned. It seems they’ve both had bad experiences of group projects, feeling (rightly or wrongly) that they end up doing most of the work while others slack off. Then the 17-year-old said “Oh, it’ll probably be ok mum, ‘cause you’re old”!

Well, I don’t know how much age or experience had to do with it but I have to say that I found this assignment to be a great experience, probably the most enjoyable one so far in this degree (this is my fifth subject).

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on. I could see how easy the temptation to delegate rather than collaborate could be – “ok, there are four of us, let’s divide our topic into four distinct sections and take one each” but this approach would not result in an integrated, consistent learning module.

I feel very fortunate in finding myself in Team 5.2 with Karen, Glenda and Amanda. We were able to find lots of common ground and quickly bonded. It helped us greatly that we were able to meet face to face early on. This meeting allowed us to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time in a way that would be difficult to replicate online. We were lucky to not have challenges of time zones for scheduling online meetings, just the usual work and family commitments. As Karen has said, each member of our group brought their own particular skills and knowledge and we were able to take advantage of strengths and learn from each other. Every page in our wiki has input from each of us.

Team 5.2 hard at work

Team 5.2 hard at work

There were a couple of frustrations, more technical than anything else. The Wikispaces platform has some quirks – adding extra blank lines after embedded objects each time anything else on that page is edited; embedded objects appearing, disappearing, and reappearing seemingly at random (and without intervention); and applied styles reverting for no apparent reason.

Also, keeping up with the various discussion threads was tricky. In an update email it was not always clear which discussion or page the new comment came from. This is ok if you are on a computer but not so good when you are out and about and on your phone – it might be a question you could answer quickly but if you’re not sure of the context…

Completing INF532 (Knowledge Networking for Educators) last year was a great preparation for ETL523. I was able to share what I had learnt about instructional design and we were able apply it in the design of each page and the module overall. Even more helpful was the experience of creating an artefact. Last year I learnt a lot, mostly the hard way, about designing and editing a video, particularly the importance of writing and recording the script first. This time my artefact, an introduction to the whole learning module, came together relatively painlessly. It’s still a time-consuming process but, unlike last year, I didn’t feel I was wasting time re-doing things. And the audio and video matched beautifully. Here it is:

I’m very proud of the learning module we created and I’m looking forward to sharing it with teachers at my school.