Thursday, October 3, 2013

Online meeting and reflection

The online meeting was useful for getting some feedback and ideas around how to better engage the students with Moodle. It was suggested that I try out some methods whereby students had to complete online questions/tasks to access further information. For example, to gain access to a PDF with extra information on some aspect of design, they would have to answer a couple of questions to 'unlock' the file. Initially, I thought this was an interesting idea. However, after consideration I decided against it for a couple of reasons. Firstly - it seemed counter-intuitive and perhaps superfluous to restrict information from students. Design as a field is very much about communication and dialogue.The majority of my classes are filled with discussion around designs, design paradigms and the potential of design. In order for a PDF of info to be really useful, I would require the students to engage in some kind of dialogue or discussion around it. This would mean setting some kind of task in response. Seeing as I am already having trouble engaging them in discussion around topics online, it didn't seem the best avenue. I also suspect the students - given the tightness and small size of the cohort - would share the PDF/resource with each other. Potentially, I could release a couple of different resources, and require students to work in pairs to present some kind of discussion. However, I suspect the only way to get the students to definitely complete these kinds of (perceived) 'extra' tasks is to embed them in summative assessment. Secondly, the goal of using Moodle is to create meaningful, real world scenarios for engagement. I can't think of a real world scenario where I would have to perform a task in order to access some kind of content for my design job. Unless of course it was something like - providing a brief back to the client and some roughs in order to move forward - however at this stage there isn't a generic document to then 'release'. In future, maybe one way to trial this would be to restrict access to aspects of the assessment brief. For example, students do not receive the technical specs of the final file until they provide roughs. This seems like the most useful method to 'force' students to submit their roughs without engaging with superfluous or cumbersome extra tasks. It isn't a particularly 'real-world' scenario, but submitting roughs online is - which is what I was trying to capture with this project in the first place. This wouldn't work for the current cohort as we provide all this info on the briefs which are distributed on day 1. In conclusion - engaging the students in formative tasks online is still quite a challenge. One way to address this in future might be to 'lock' secondary aspects of the brief up until the formative tasks have been completed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Reflection on first implementation for Design 2

Again, very few students uploaded content to Moodle - only 4 engaged. This is despite the addition of these roughs becoming assessable criteria. The need to add roughs online was outlined in class verbally as well as via multiple Moodle mail outs. As a lecturer, it was difficult to negotiate making a response in a timely manner. This was due to some students posting on weekends or Mondays/Tuesdays - and I am only on site here from Wednesday to Friday. From observation, I saw that this would sometimes cause students to disengage from the forum - they did not get a prompt response, and so did not check back again. From this trial, I decided to again modify the project. I decided for the next assignment to have an in class session where students would upload source material in class to Moodle.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Semester 2 and Moodle

The design 2 subject follows on from Design 1. The subject outline contains all briefs and criteria sheets, and all of these have been modified to include a date for roughs as such: 6 roughs presented 30 July in class and forum (pass/fail) Both lecturers have run through Moodle in class and again stressed the need to engage with it as a professional tool. I also decided to add in a glossary activity. Students would use Moodle in class to add a design term to a communal glossary. these terms would then be laid out in an InDesign tutorial and printed for their final journals. I felt this would be a good way to integrate Moodle functionality with an existing element of assessment - the design glossary - and bring it together with a practical exercise using InDesign. This would be due in week 3. Students have been told verbally in class and also via Moodle mail outs.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reflection on Semester 1 implementation

In semester one, the project was implemented within the Design 1 Subject. For the students' final assignment, they were required to upload 8 roughs to Moodle for lecturer/peer feedback. This was communicated verbally in class and via posts on Moodle. The rationale for this was explained to students : that often in design, you will be required to send clients/teams roughs online for feedback, and that final files are always submitted electronically to printers/clients. Only one student uploaded roughs, out of 20. Most students showed roughs in class, and did not seem to want to upload to Moodle. Anecdotally, many saw it as extra work - to scan and upload images from their journals. From this, I decided firstly that producing roughs should be an assessable part of criteria in order to encourage students to do so, and that integrating Moodle into the subject from day one might help to familiarise students with the system and establish it as a primary platform for teaching and learning. I attempted to implement these changes into the next iteration of the project.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Research project

This blog will be used to document observations on the implementation of the Moodle/Creative Arts research project. The creative arts undergraduate curriculum at NMIT includes diverse programs in illustration, writing and publishing, music and music industry. NMIT has recently developed a flexible learning framework for higher education and over the past twelve months has integrated Moodle as the higher education Learning Management System. In the creative arts and in the Bachelor of Illustration in particular this has begun to influence our thinking about the potential of e-learning, social media and digital technologies in our pedagogical approaches and the design of our curricula. The project will develop and evaluate a model for implementing and delivering meaningful e-learning in the Bachelor of Illustration that can potentially transpose to Creative Arts. To do this, it will consider the nature of the contemporary Illustration industry – which integrates both traditional media and digital media skills. In light of this duality, the research will focus on ways in which the delivery of traditional ‘analogue’ skill sets can be enhanced or complemented within an online LMS that echoes the real world. The project will create an authentic model of a real world activity through the blended delivery and resolution of a design brief. Students will be issued a design brief in class, and then engage in collaborative feedback online through Moodle to progress the project through the iterative design process. They will engage in collaborative learning – uploading roughs for critique, then colour proofs and then finally submitting the print files. This project will use the NMIT Bachelor of Illustration as a case study to investigate the development of relevant e-learning within creative projects. Strategies used at Manchester Metropolitan University will be evaluated and potentially mapped to NMIT. The project will take an action learning framework. This methodology suits the desired outcomes and the qualitative collaborative nature of the inquiry. The reflective action research cycle will allow the researcher to work collaboratively with the creative arts team especially colleagues in the Bachelor of Illustration over the course of the project to plan, act, reflect, and improve.