Let the (e)Learning Begin!

Posted: February 23, 2013 in Masters of Education
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Monday I will start my first degree since the early 90s. I’m undertaking a Masters in Education, specialising in eLearning. The differences in the two approaches couldn’t be more pronounced. On the one hand, my first English lecture had 800 odd sitting listening to a lecture from a professor with decades of tenure, discuss (I think) the novel, Joseph Andrews. At the time (1989), I was in awe of the University itself – the oldest in Australia – with the size of its place, all of the buildings and the 1000s of students. So this wonderment transferred quite happily to sitting and (trying) to take notes in an A4 Lecture pad while the one-way delivery of performance was given. There were  “tutes” of about ten people, where we would break down the lecture in a more informal and social fashion. Then there was the social side – of clubs and societies, the cafes and bars and growing friendships. There were no mobile phones, the internet didn’t exist and, as I recall from a Psychology I lecture, “my presentations are copyright, so you are not permitted to make audio recordings of these lectures”.

Sydney University Quadrangle 2

Sydney University Quadrangle 2 (Photo credit: iansand)

How much things have changed. Now my University is 700km away and I am studying “by distance”. Ironically, “distance” can actually be measured in metres; the distance to my nearest computing device. Thus I was checking my (required) university email account as I lay in bed last night via my iPad. I can access all the online readings, the library database, the course notes… even the course participants who I will be discussing ideas and working with, without requiring any form of travel outside of my home. There are Facebook pages specific to the course and a Twitter hashtag to follow. I’ve already started using Notability to turn my required readings from PDFs into annotatable documents that automatically sync to Dropbox. I’ve started to use “e-highlighters” in a range of colours without unzipping a pencil case!

I’m excited with what’s about to follow. Most of my work will occur via a Moodlewhere I’ll be able to take part in discussion bulletin boards, use the class Forum and receive and submit my work. I am conscious of the self paced learning which recommends 12-15 hours per subject per week. It is self paced to a degree as I still need to complete those readings and submit those pieces of work. So while I might not need to sit down for a lecture at 9am on a Monday any more, I am conscious that I need to sit down some time and do that work. My education has, until now, been predicated on a timetable and while it still exists, the goalposts are being excavated ready for the subsequent shift. The irony is that I still play field hockey for my alma mater and fondly recollect that learning that I did in those days.

University of New England (Australia)

University of New England (Australia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, if you ever pop by in the future, feel free to give me an e-kick… up the back side, to keep me on course and get me back to my studies!

  1. acphelps2013 says:

    First, congratulations on getting your Master’s in Education and specializing in eLearning! That is awesome and makes me wish we had a Masters program like that here in New York. Although, I guess if it was about eLearning, it wouldn’t matter where the school was?!

    I started my college career back in 2006, through an online program. I was here in New York and the university I “attended” was in Iowa (which is over 750 miles from here. Don’t ask me to convert to meters). Never having been to college, I was 35, recently divorced and learning via the Internet…I was intimidated and terrified! After my first couple of classes, I quickly learned that I needed discipline and organization. Those two things aided immensely in the rest of my college career and filtered into my teaching style. Although, I finished up my undergraduate at local college, the eLearning REALLY set a foundation to self-motivation, pride, and enhanced my computer skills. Here at Nazareth College, we use Moodle and it is a great system (at least I think it is). I am currently taking two classes via Moodle and two classes at campus. Guess I still crave the human aspect of the classroom.

    Self-paced is a nice aspect! Good luck with your eLearning and I am sure you will find it very rewarding!

    • cgparkin says:

      Thanks so much for popping by and writing such a comprehensive comment! The tips are also greatly appreciated – I am conscious of my need to do things like “study” over “housework”… always a sign when I’m marking school exams and I think that a quick clean of the bathroom is probably a necessary option!
      I “start” today, so am looking forward to seeing how all the Moodle elements work. Cheers again for the thoughts!

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