Sunday, December 5, 2010

online Learning Journal

I attended an e-Mentor planning meeting. This was a learning experience for me to see how the e-mentors interacted to plan the e-learning project.

e-Champion Induction meeting – great to see how the e-champions were welcomed and included in the decision making. I learnt how to participate in Moodle by using the Bendigo Continuing Education Moodle. Also learnt which documentation to use to interview project participants.

Good to see how the Elluminate professional development season was planned. The topics were chosen with input from all attendees as well as project participants. Each topic was to be researched, planned and delivered by two e-champions with the guidance of an e-mentor. Champions and mentors volunteered for different topics resulting in a mix of champions and mentors from different regions. I felt that this was well done. The original plan was scrapped as a response to e-champion requests and the resulting mix of e-champions and e-mentors gave us a chance to work with others outside our regions. I feel that I learnt a lot about planning a project by participating in these meetings.

My e-mentor (Lynne) came with me to interview two of my e-leaders and determine their needs using the documentation we were provided with. I learnt a lot by having Lynne with me and interviewed the third e-leader myself to determined their needs.

The documentation helped me finalise the projects and I sent a copy of the final e-learning project to each e-leader and to Lynne for approval. This was a very good learning exercise as I had never done anything like this before.

I confidently organised face to face training for my e-leaders. This was also a learning experience as we had technical problems. Next time I will check the computers we will use before we use them. My session plan covered more than I could cover in the time allowed. I have learnt that although I need to have a plan, I also need to allow the training sessions to be learner driven and schedule more learning sessions if required.

The Elluminate training sessions conducted by the e-mentors taught me to use Elluminate as a training tool. I benefitted by attending the sessions as a participant and also by the learning content of the sessions. I attended some Elluminate sessions outside the e-learning project to learn from others conducting sessions.

I learnt a lot about planning Elluminate sessions by planning two Elluminate professional development sessions with e-mentors and e-champions from other regions. This taught me a lot about researching e-learning, working with others to plan a session and facilitating and presenting in Elluminate. The two e-mentors worked very differently. One allowed the e-champions to basically run the show only stepping in when asked for advice. The other e-mentor guided the e-champions and shared presentation duties with us. It was a learning experience to work with two very different e-mentors. Collaborating with the e-champions was also a learning experience as we had all used different tools to perform the same tasks so we could learn from each other.

Presenting Elluminate professional development sessions taught me that I need to practice more as I felt very isolated when I was presenting because I had trouble watching the chat while I was doing presenting. I think that I need to relax more and involve the participants more to enable more feedback from them where possible. The support my fellow presenters gave me taught me how to support a presenter and how important that support is.

Participation in Elluminate professional development sessions taught me about or more about:
- e-Portfolios – I have a Google site as my e-Portfolio but is was good to see Mahara demonstrated and to find out from participants which tools they have used for e-portfolios
- e-assessment – lots of new ideas that I can’t wait to try
- authoring software – a range of tools for rapid e-learning many of which were new to me
- voice technologies – a range of tools available to incorporate voice into e-learning
- Flip cameras – I now own one and am practicing using it to create videos of everyday activities to show my father-in-law in a nursing home to keep him involved in everyday life, the next step is to apply use these new skills to create resources for students
- blogs – I have a Google blog but it was interesting to see other tools used for blogs and especially to see what can be done with Google blogs – mine is just text at the moment
- Moodle – this session extended my knowledge
- e-Business – lots of new, achievable ideas

Conducted another face to face training session for an e-leader. Participating in the e-learning project as an e-champion has taught me that I have to restrict what I try to demonstrate and be guided by the learner. Also that e-leaders need follow up resources especially notes to support them in their e-learning journey.

Emailed links to all of the Elluminate professional development sessions to my e-leaders but only one of my e-leaders participated in any of the sessions. This has taught me that I may need to run one on one Elluminate sessions with my e-leaders to give them confidence to attend the professional development sessions. I think that time may also be a problem for the e-leaders. Identifying the PD sessions that should be most beneficial to each e-leader may also encourage them to attend. Being an e-champion is an ongoing learning experience, hopefully my experience will result in better outcomes for e-leaders.

Attended Carole’s Moodle sessions to learn how to manage Moodle. I still feel that I need more learning so will practice and maybe catch another of Carole’s sessions next year if necessary.

I have been corresponding with my e-leaders by email and not getting much response. Finally phoned each of them and got a much better response. Also had encouraged the e-leaders to use the discussion board on the Eastern region wikispace to correspond with me and each other but this was not taken up. I have learnt that I will have to conduct another face to face session about communication. I had intended to include communication in the face to face training session that we had at the start of the project but time did not permit it. Will also have to schedule regular get together sessions with e-leaders – on discussion board, Elluminate, by phone, by email. This will also give e-leaders experience of online communication and allow them to learn from each other.

My phone calls resulted in
- conducting a couple of Elluminate sessions with one e-leader
- another e-leader has been re-enthused to continue with her project
- helping the third e-leader with problems she was having with her project

Using Doodle to inform the organisers of my availability for a conference planning meeting has shown me a tool which will be very useful. I can see lots of applications for using this tool to organise meetings and professional development sessions and intend to use it next time I have to organise a group of people to get together at a time that suits everyone or most people.

I will learn to use Voice Thread and iPadio in preparation for ConVerge10 conference.
Used Elluminate to conduct some trouble shooting sessions with each of my e-leaders. I will introduce Elluminate earlier in the e-learning project. One to one sessions are great for problem solving with individual e-leaders. Seem to be more empowering to e-leaders than face to face sessions. Group sessions would be good for delivering training and developing a support network.

ConVerge 10
ConVerge was, of course, great. It was wonderful to meet up with the e-mentors and especially with the e-champions I have been working with over the past six months. We met at the induction in June but that was overwhelming with lots of new people to meet and the challenges of planning the project. So it was great to be able to meet and spend some time together. It was interesting that most of us did not recognise each other but when we got together we had so much to discuss. I believe that I have developed my personal learning network with the other e-champions. Some of us have been emailing each other since the conference to share skills and resources.

I enjoyed doing the voicethreads for our presentation. Junita shared her experience with me in a couple of Elluminate sessions so I was comfortable using voicethread. I found this a good reflection on what I had achieved with the project. I have also demonstrated voicethread to one of my e-leaders and suggested that it would be a useful tool for her to use with her VCE studio arts students next year.

I was nervous about presenting. I was happy with the reflection I had written and had tried to memorise it but it wasn’t working for me. I was disappointed but accepted that I would have to read it. When I saw how the other regions were presenting I decided that I could not let the group down and read my reflection. So I lurched into it. I was disappointed when I realised some of the things I had forgotten to mention. Next time I will just write myself brief reminders of what I want to say and then just talk to the topics.

I was inspired by what the other e-champions were reporting. I will take on board some of the methods they used with their e-learners. So this was a learning experience both for presenting and for ideas to use with e-leaders. I found our presentation extremely interesting and was proud to have been part of it and the e-learning project.

Review of my Learning
The experience of being an e-champion in the ACFE e-Learning Project 2010 has been a significant learning experience for me.

I have learnt how to plan, interview, devise projects to suit e-leaders, determine their training needs, communicate online and train e-leaders. I will be able to use this learning to enhance my role as flexible delivery officer at my RTO.

I have learnt from attending meetings with e-mentors and e-champions. I have increased my knowledge of:
- how to plan and manage – meetings, projects, learning, conferences
- how to welcome, include and value all participants
This knowledge extends my existing knowledge of managing people and projects and I will be able to incorporate this into my practice.

I now have the skills and experience to use a larger range of e-learning tools. Ideas are buzzing in my head of how to incorporate these skills into my e-learning practice and also to share some of the skills with my colleagues in my role as flexible delivery officer.