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.

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