I work as an e-learning consultant at the University of Southern Denmark. We are currently in the process of finding out what MOOCs are all about and whether to design and deliver MOOCs ourselves. Therefore participation in this “Open education” course seemed like a great idea. Not only do I gain insight into open education and the MOOC concept in particular. I also get to experience MOOCs as a learner. I think that is a very valuable experience to draw upon in the design of MOOCs. It is my impression that many people see MOOCs as a collection of videos that are available online. They do not seem to be aware of the great demands that MOOCs put on learners in terms of networking and both initiating and participating in learning activities online. The idea of making education so widely available is excellent, but how does it work in practice? What possible models exist? What are the experiences so far concerning the design and delivery of open education?
A bit about my background
I have a MA degree in English, International Studies and Communication and was employed as a teacher at Tietgen Business College in Odense, Denmark from 1995 – 2008. Around 2000, I became involved in e-learning as my college started using Blackboard as an e-learning platform. I quickly ended up as a technical and IT-pedagogical support person. In the “early years”, the platform was mostly used for distribution of messages and materials, but then I started using discussion boards and suddenly the world changed. Students who were reluctant to participate in a face-to-face lesson, would write long, thoughtful pieces in Blackboard. Those who were always quick with an answer in class, only left a few lines in the discussion board. And suddenly, I as a teacher had a much better feel of the learning process students were engaging in and their current levels.
These experiments with e-learning in practice led me to believe that online learning could be so much more thant just a few posts and slides uploaded to Blackboard, so in 2005 I embarked on a master programme on ICT and Learning offered by a network of Danish universities and delivered as blended learning with a few face-to-face seminars and many collaborative learning activites online. In my master thesis, I focused on the competence development of teachers within the field of e-learning. I completed the programme in June 2008, much richer in terms of both knowledge and skills. The most rewarding learning experiences was probably being a student in a blended learning programme trying to cope with the online learning process, finding out how to use my fellow students, the texts and other resources and our supervisors.
As I started on my master thesis, I switched jobs and became an e-learning consultant at the University of Southern Denmark, working full time with staff development. Today my field of interest is educational design of blended learning and distance learning with a particular focus on collaborative learning processes and feedback. I design and carry out teacher training in the field of e-learning and e-learning platforms. I’ve also done a bit of publishing on web 2.0, the use of 3D virtual environments for teaching, teacher training and live, online teaching via web conference systems, and I am a co-editor of the Danish online journal “Læring og Medier” (Learning and Media: www.lom.dk).
Looking very much forward to this course and all the online activities/Inger-Marie Christensen