Tag Archives: Progress Report

The Story So Far…

I know I have been absence from my blog for a while but there were a few things I had to get sorted out. Firstly from the feedback from my PR01 and Residential School I have moved the focus of my research slightly, which has meant a rethink in my research strategy and a movement in my literature review.

Then I went on holiday. Not ideal timing I know, but it was booked 6 months before I was accepted onto the doctorate programme and I thought in holidaying in September that I would avoid any clashes with deadlines. How wrong could I be! Shortly after I was due to return from holiday I had the deadline of PR02. As it wasn’t possible to extend the deadline due to work travel commitments meaning I would have little extra time to work on my progress report I packed my bags for my holiday complete with a lever arch folder full of learning design papers, my laptop, iPad, notebook, highlighters and pens.

Studying on holiday isn’t easy. It’s not the distraction of the sun or the beach that you have to contend with, it’s the 40 plus degree heats that dry out your highlighters and gel pens as you mark and write, leading you to crank up the air conditioning in your room to arctic blast setting. And then to top it all off you have to fight for bandwidth with hundreds of other guests in the hotel lobby so you can log on to an Ethics seminar that you need to partake in, praying that the broadband in the desert will hold out long enough to post your forum comments, resulting in you keeping the hours of the hotel cleaning staff just so you can study before the sun rises and the sun worshipers flock to the lobby to upload their photos from the night before to Facebook.

To top off this study challenge extravaganza I fell prey to the Tunisian tummy bug after being served tap water in a mineral water bottle on the night of day seven leading me to spend the rest of my holiday in solitary confinement. The bug stayed with me long after flying home and after submitting PR02.

So, where does this leave me? To be honest it left me in a frustrating place, lacking in time and energy. But it was at this precise moment in time that my supervisors picked me up, dusted me down, and helped talk me through the planning of the next stages of my research.

The biggest difficulty of my research is that the field I wish to research is limited in the way of literature which means I have to read around the field into a number of other fields to see if I can reframe theory into mine. No easy feat. This leads me on to my second biggest difficulty, I’m old school. I’m a printy paper off, highlight, reflect, and write notes down with ink and paper kinda girl. This will not work for the volume of papers I will have to scan, shortlist, and read. Ironic as I’m known to always be carrying and making notes in my tablet for work, and my phone is surgically attached to my hand at all times.

This therefore requires a cunning, yet simple plan. And here it is, my blog becomes the place for my mini-literature reviews. I keep all my notes here with the aim to write a mini-literature review weekly. No more written hand notes like the ones above. And as I have self imposed my weekly deadline, no more reading papers to discard. The scanning of the abstract, findings and conclusion will be my ruthless filtering system.

Oh, and it starts today. Next blog posting coming up shortly. I feel like the energiser bunny.

For now, I’m still…

Doctor in Waiting

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The Story So Far…

So following on from my ‘about me, myself, and how am I here?’ section I think it best to update you with where I am to date and then promise faithfully to update my blog on a regular basis with my thoughts and findings as I progress through my doctorate to my viva, and hopefully post a few happy celebratory photos in the concluding installments on my journey to become Dr Gore (I know, I would have made for a great hammer horror style surgeon).

Following on from the feedback I received from Rebecca my supervisor on my proposal, I reflected on the amendments that I would make to get this proposal tweaked, tuned, and in tip top condition for my first progress report. I thought upon submitting my PR01 eight days ahead of schedule (I did say I was no ordinary doctorate student) that I had my research questions and plan in the bag. How wrong could I be.

Residential School was like a baptism of fire on my little brain. I had sparks, tangents, and lightbulbs flashing all over the place. After three days of sessions with my supervisor, I thought I had cracked it, and tottered home happy with mental exhaustion. Then I slept and thought some more. Then reflected on the thoughts, then thought some more. Now I have my doctorate.

Drum roll please…

Title: Effective Processes and Structures in Online Learning through a Social Paradigm

Aim: This research will investigate the delivery methods of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), the success criteria required in its pedagogical design, the structure of the platfom required delivering it, and the learning obtained in understanding the digital footprint of design an informal learning journey within a social paradigm.

Specific Research Questions:

1. What is an effective learning design of an informal learning journey featuring MOOCs?

An effective design is the foundation of a successful learning journey, with MOOCs being facilitated through third party platforms, which are beneficial to the social missions of educational providers, do come at the cost of delivering a disparate approach, segregating learners onto different platforms with limited aggregation to deliver community based informal/social learning. When registration numbers of MOOCs range from tens of, to hundreds of thousands, developing an effective learning design could impact upon the registration of formal offerings within The Open University.

2. What is an effective delivery of a MOOC within an informal learning journey?

At present there are two predominant types of delivery; xMOOCs which are online course provisions delivered through a broadcast method on a singular platform (such as FutureLearn), and cMOOCs in which learning communities are facilitated solely in third-party social platforms. The former provide structure but lack a connected approach as a learner journey, but the latter are too disparate in delivery and depend on learners possessing high digital literacy skills. Since the creation of these two strands of MOOC there have been further developments of versions of these:

  • TORQUE – Tiny, Open-with-Restrictions, focused on Quality and Effectivement
  • DOCC – Distributed Online Collaborative Courses
  • SMOC – Synchronous Massive Online Courses
  • SPOC – Small Private Online Courses
  • BOOC – Big Open Online Courses
  • Corporate MOOC – developed solely for the Continuing Professional Development market
  • MOCC – Massive Online Closed Couse

However, all these draw from the primary two types xMOOC and cMOOC. And none of them consider the informal learning journey in which they reside.

So there you have it in a nutshell, years of thinking has got me to this point, and the next few years of thinking will help me to shape these questions into answers.

For now, I’m still…

Doctor in Waiting