Big and little questions

Week 1, no wait, week 0 of #ocTEL and a chance to reflect on why I’ve signed up this open course. A bit of background first of all, I’m an academic librarian, currently working at Lancaster University. I’ve had a teaching role for a few years now – my teaching nearly always involves using technology, and I teach students about using technology effectively in their own studies.

Some of the experience I have in TEL includes:

  • Creating interactive tutorials for VLEs
  • Creating podcasts and videos
  • Using social media and blogging platforms for student engagement purposes

And I suppose most essentially, my teaching is about how to use technology to find and manage information, and how to develop the skills to effectively understand and assess information resources.

As a student, I completed a postgrad diploma online via distance learning. It was probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. The technology aspect was part of what made it challenging (it felt very self-directed and at times very isolated) but the technology was what made it possible for me to study while working full time. I feel that right now in my career I’m exactly where I wanted to be when I started that course, so it’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience.

One thing I do find hard about many types of TEL is the social and reflective aspect. By my nature I find it hard to get something down on paper that I’m happy to share with other people, without umpteen revisions and rewrites. I’ve currently repeating Point 2 of these Huffington Post Blogging Tips as a mantra (“Let go of the compulsion to write or blog perfectly”) and I’m hoping that as #ocTEL progresses I’ll find it easier to express my thoughts on TEL. I’m sure there will be lots of good blogging by other participants to act as an inspiration.

My big questions for the course relate to stripping away the technology and focusing on the learning – the experience and the outcomes. I suppose what I’m most looking forward to on #ocTEL is interacting with a range of different people (teachers, lecturers, learning technologists) and learning about experiences and ideas to do with learning technology from outside the library “bubble”. I’d consider myself fairly up to date on how HE libraries are using technology to deliver learning experiences, but I have a lot to learn from outside that rather narrow field.

And I suppose small questions relate to more specific examples of TEL: I’m interested in Open Badges for instance, and would like to learn about interesting ways in which they’ve been used in HE.

Right, that’s been useful for me, and I hope it’s served as an explanation to my interest in #ocTEL. Looking forward to making contact with other #ocTEL peeps out there on the web. See you round.

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2 thoughts on “Big and little questions

  1. Hi Tim, That’s a very clear explanation. I hadn’t come across The Huffington Post blogging tips, but I’ve bookmarked them now – look to be very handy for me, as I suffer from some of the same blogging blocks that you describe. I see you decided to opt just for “99% perfect” writing quality 😉

    When you say “what I’m most looking forward to on #ocTEL is interacting with a range of different people” is it possible that that might help a little to overcome what you say you find hard about the “social and reflective aspect”? I guess what I’m probing at is whether there’s a degree of perfectionism in your attempts to do reflection and analysis? Perhaps if you didn’t think of it as “social and reflective aspects” but just as “having a chat to likeminded people about experiences we have in common”, it might feel easier?

    • Hi David, thanks for the comment! I suppose I’m looking forward to the social aspect but the `reflective’ aspect is the bit I’m always apprehensive about. There’s definitely issues with perfectionism to blame (I suppose I associate CPD activities like this with work, and start to overthink things “Am I being insightful enough? Do I sound like I know what I’m on about?”).

      I’m definitely going to keep your advice in mind, so thank you very much. 🙂 I’m going to focus on contributing regularly, even if I think my musings aren’t particularly profound. It’s all about the exchange of experience as you say, there isn’t a right or wrong answer!

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